Wise Marketing Professionals has used this #covid quarantine to review the marketing and productivity tools that are free or inexpensive that we can't live without.
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Without further ado and in no particular order...
If you have never heard of MailChimp, you should definitely check out their website. MailChimp is designed to help small businesses dream big. It's a one-stop-shop marketing tool that allows you to create beautiful HTML email marketing campaigns, gather market research data, follow recipient engagement, share content on social platforms, create landing pages - including shoppable pages, and even send postcards to your CRM. Mailchimp has four different package options, priced accordingly. For a small business with under 2,000 people that you regularly market to, the free package works just fine. MailChimp allows you to keep a small CRM or integrate with your CRM either directly or through Zapier.
If you want to start building your email list or your customer base, MailChimp has all of the tools to get you started. We LOVE it! We work with our clients to create monthly newsletters, re-engagement email campaigns, recruiting or job ad email campaigns, and so much more!
Linktr.ee allows you to "connect audiences to all of your content with just one link". This tool has so many uses, we can't get enough of it! Add it to your Insta profile and allow your followers to always have access to the products your selling, a way to schedule an appointment with you, link to other social profiles, specific blogs. Treat it like a landing page. Send recruits. Send buyers/sellers. Send clients. Whatever you call your target market, this tool is perfect! You decide what to feature for your audience! It's a must-use tool! The best part is it's FREE. Yes, there is a PRO package, but even that is only $6/month. See package features here.
You don't have to be a graphic designer to create custom images! You just need to have a Canva account. Social Media is such an important aspect of business growth and utilizing eye captivating graphics with your posts will help with follower engagement. Canva allows you to customize templates to create fun, artsy, modern, sleek, designs OR have a blank canvas and create your own magic. You don't have to be a graphic designer to drag/drop and create custom images using Canva's easy-to-use dashboard.
Canva has three different pricing packages ranging from FREE to $30 / month for the enterprise level. Most small businesses can get away with using the free account, but the premium account for $9/month offers you more features including templates to choose from, better stock images, ability to resize graphics already created! More about Canva's pricing here.
Keep Notes is a program that comes with G-Suite. It is what we used before we began using Trello. It was such an integral part of our lives, I'm including it on the list! Keep Notes allows you to keep to-do lists on your computer, phone, or tablet. You can share the notes/to-do lists with your team to collaborate. Or even create checklists to mark complete, which is extremely satisfying!
Let's face it when you're working from home or have a home-based business, organization is key. Trello lets you work more collaboratively with your team allowing you to focus on the project and not the who, when, how of the project! Trello has boards, lists, and cards that are designed to keep you organized and allow you to prioritize your projects in a "fun, flexible, and rewarding way." This was something we implemented as part of our business growth strategy for 2020, and we're so glad we did. This platform is super easy to use and the add-ons - they call them power-ups - fill the gaps.
Trello is available to try for free or you can upgrade to a paid package. List to compare options here. We were able to get by with the free option for a few months as we learned to features and developed our processes, but have upgraded to a paid plan. Trello's ability to create project-based boards and manage deadlines, calendars, and track time has been critical to managing and monitoring our processes.
Hootsuite is a social media #scheduling tool that allows you to curate your social media content calendar across all platforms (with a desktop login), schedule it, monitor user engagement, and respond to messages on one easy-to-use dashboard. For Wise Marketing it's great to use for continuity in messaging across platforms + responding to engagement. We like to be sure we stay on-brand for our clients and post relevant With a paid plan you can even collaborate with your team and review analytics on posts or page management.
Learn more about Hootsuite pricing and plans here.
If you have a need for stock images but can't afford your own photographs to be taken, then Pexels is for you! Pexels offers "The best free stock photos & videos shared by talented creators." Don't go hunting for images anymore, simply search for them! There is an option to donate to the artist if you love the photo, so don't forget to support the artists if you can!
Do you have a notebook with passwords? Or a file with all of your client's passwords? Lastpass is SUCH a lifesaver. Not only does it allow us to keep passwords secure, but we can also safely share passwords with new team members plus easily remove their access if needed. Managing all of the passwords to the various systems we use in one place saves so much valuable time each week. If you're using the same password for all of your access points or even worse - the same username and passwords - then there is a strong chance that your information is not being kept safe. It's time to"secure your digital life so you can always access everything you need", as LastPass says. Don't forget your passwords again.
Last Pass has so many different package options for individuals, families, and business users. Ranging from free accounts to $8/user max. More about their pricing options here.
Do you spend time on the phone or emailing clients to schedule and confirm appointments? That's a few emails back and forth, email event reminder or calendar invite, then a confirmation email, phone call, or text just to have a 30 min - 1-hour conversation with a client. Well, we were finding ourselves spending far too much valuable time doing this, so we began using Calendly. We send a link to our calendar and ask the client, prospect, or recruit to schedule a time with us that works for them. Better yet, Calendly will send a reminder email before the meeting for us! We find that by giving everyone the flexibility to schedule a meeting time themselves, they are more apt to show up!
If you don't use Hootsuite to shorten your website links, then you NEED to know about Bitly. Bitly allows you to shorten links when they're shared anywhere - social media, email, website. If you want to copy/paste a link to a template but it's 250 characters long and takes up 3 lines on an email, which if we're being honest just looks messy, copy that link over to Bitly and shorten it for FREE.
Even better, Bitly offers a paid version to shorten any website link using branded links.
If you've read this far, you're amazing! What apps/programs do you use for marketing or productivity?