Don’t you just love the moment when you discover something new, something that saves boatloads of time, something that just makes life easier? Well, I hope you’re sitting down, because I have not one … but FIVE somethings to share with you right now. I use these tools every single day, and I don’t think I could live without them. Ready? Let’s go!
One of the ways that I make business life easier for the less digitally savvy is by confirming my clients’ digital architecture to ensure that they have the right tracking pieces in place. That includes tags for Google Analytics, Google AdWords, Google Search Console, and all the rest of those important tracking mechanisms that provide full transparency into traffic so that we can optimize our digital marketing efforts. Google Tag Assistant is an amazing extension for Google Chrome that dramatically speeds up the verification process.
Here’s an example: I recently started working with a client who completely overhauled their website. After the new site launched, my marketing efforts seemed to go dead. Using Google Tag Assistant is my go-to troubleshooting tool, and with it, I was able to see that the tracking codes had not carried over from the previous site. Those codes are crucial for tracking traffic, site metrics, user demographics, and—extremely important to me—Google AdWords remarketing. We properly implemented the codes, and my marketing efforts were successful again.
Truly, one or two simple codes working properly can help you be more aware of what is happening on your site so that you can up your digital marketing game. And Google Tag Assistant makes it so easy to confirm that the tags are firing properly. Many businesses are still in the phase of not understanding the importance of having these tracking codes in place. My advice is this: Even if you don’t understand and don’t know how to use the data right now, just get them installed. These tags start collecting information and data the moment you install them. In time, when you’re feeling more comfortable and/or have hired a savvy marketing professional to help you, that data will be critical for growing your business.
If you’re going to run any ads on Facebook, you simply must have a Facebook pixel code embedded on your website. Just like Google tracking codes, the Facebook pixel tracks your site visitors’ actions, enabling you to create custom audiences to target with your Facebook ads as well as create dynamic Facebook ads that display products that the visitor viewed on your site. Facebook Pixel Helper is another Google Chrome extension that verifies if the all-important Facebook pixel is set up properly on your site.
Let’s say you want to get more advanced with your site, and you’re asking visitors to opt in to your mailing list. You want to be able to track what traffic is actually hitting that landing page, then who is filling out the form, and then who is making it to the “thank you for filling out the form” page. You’ll also want to know where site visitors are dropping off in that process so that you can make educated marketing decisions. Facebook pixel enables you do just that.
And even if you don’t think you’ll be advertising on Facebook this month or even this year, you might next month or next year, and having the pixel installed lets you collect data about your customers right now, before you even need it. So like all of the Google tags, please just install the Facebook pixel tag. Then, use Facebook Pixel Helper to ensure it’s functioning properly.
Zoom, Ecamm Live, and BeLive
When it comes to tools that I can’t live without, Zoom is probably at the top of my list. I use it every single day in my business, and it’s how I conduct all of my client interactions. Why? Zoom is a very stable, solid platform that enables me to have live video call meetings during which I can share my screen. The ability to screenshare is imperative for teaching something or showing how something works.
I love that video conferencing tools like Zoom have changed the way people do business because it’s possible to be face-to-face even if you aren’t in the same room (or even in the same country). However, Zoom doesn’t do everything I need it to, so I incorporate a couple of other tools to work efficiently and effectively.
For livestreaming, which is live video for a larger audience than just one-on-one meetings, I feel kind of stuck with Zoom because I can’t put screen overlays or see my live chat feed. That’s why I turn to Ecamm Live. For the Mac platform only (sorry, PC users!), Ecamm Live is an incredibly robust and flexible livestreaming tool that enables screen overlays. Plus, it’s easy to use.
However, the easiest tool to use for livestreaming is BeLive. This is your absolute fail safe. So if you’re brand new to livestreaming and you know you’ll want to screen share, have one-on-one interviews, and even have “talk show”-style videos with a panel of experts, BeLive is the tool for you.
In a nutshell, here’s the spectrum of livestreaming:
Zoom is comfortable, stable, handy, and useful for videoconferencing but somewhat limited for livestreaming.
Ecamm Live is great for livestreaming and lets you be creative in your presentations.
BeLive is the easiest way to get started and learn livestreaming.
Pricing: Zoom is free for one-on-one meetings; paid plans (for longer meetings with more participants) start at $14.99 per month. Ecamm Live has a one-time $79 fee with free lifetime updates. BeLive has a free plan; paid plans start at $15 per month.
At its core, Nimble is a customer relationship management (CRM) system. If you’re sending out proposals and trying to determine where your potential customers are in the sales process, Nimble is very helpful. However, I’m a solopreneur with a relatively small book of business, so the aforementioned feature isn’t really applicable to me. I like Nimble for a whole other use case.
I go to a lot of social media conferences and events, where I meet a ton of amazing people. Many times, those amazing people want to hand me a business card. The problem is, if you hand me a piece of paper, I’m probably going to lose it. But with Nimble, I can scan the business card, and Nimble pulls the information into my contacts database. Yes, a lot of systems do this very thing, so wait … there’s more.
When I’m at a conference and I meet someone who I really want to connect with, I want to build that connection immediately. Facebook is my go-to, so I usually suggest that we connect there. As soon as I get home, I go to Nimble. No matter which social platform I’m on (Twitter, Facebook, etc.), when I hover over someone’s name, Nimble brings up a sidebar that provides all of that person’s public social profiles and information.
Let’s review that: I meet you at a conference, and we connect on Facebook. Later at home, I hover over your name, and Nimble pulls up your Twitter handle, LinkedIn profile, any public email addresses, all of that kind of information. Then, with the click of one button, I can add you into my database. I don’t need to go and collect that information from you because Nimble has done all of the research for me. What a timesaver! In addition, Nimble lets me tag people—where I met them, for example, which helps in providing context down the road.
Pricing: paid plans start at $12 per month
For several years, I was a surfer. That is, I was surfing for a tool or system that could help me with social posting and provide me with analytics on my campaigns and ads. I surfed a rainbow of tools—everything from Buffer to Sprout Social to HootSuite to Meet Edgar to SmarterQueue. All of these tools have their perks and bonuses, but they also have big gaps and holes in what they can’t accomplish.
And then I found the perfect wave: Agorapulse. From functionality to reporting to social listening, it has been a game-changer for me. Although Agorapulse is a little more expensive than some of the other social media management tools, I’m a firm believer in the “you get what you pay for” concept. I wasted a lot of time, energy, and effort in mucking around with cheaper tools, trying to make something work. What I needed was a tool to keep up with me, and Agorapulse does that.
Yes, it helps me to schedule posts, which most other tools do too. However, Agorapulse has some other juicy features—Social Media Monitoring, for example. Last June was the Road to Social, a 10-day, 3-conference road trip for social media influencers that used #RoadToSocial. I wanted to know everything about that hashtag: who was using it, who was tagged in posts using it, how people were engaging with it. I was able to set up a monitor for that hashtag specifically that was kept separate from my regular feed. I’ve set up monitoring on my name, my profiles, and different hashtags that I’m interested in, and then I can engage with the people who posted. This feature truly provides me with a greater level of transparency.
In addition, Agorapulse offers agency-style features. For instance, I can easily switch between clients that I have built into the system, and I can give access and permissions to clients to log into their profiles without having access to anything else. And with Queue Categories, I can find content across the web that I want to be able to schedule out for clients or even my own business.
In my opinion, the Cadillac feature of Agorapulse that I absolutely LOOOOOVE is Social Inbox. If you’re like me, you probably have a lot of notifications from a variety of social platforms to weed through every day. With Social Inbox, I can see all notifications from all platforms in one box. Then, I can clear individual notifications or all at once. And if I’m in a time crunch, but I see something critical, I can quickly assign it to a team member to handle.
So there you have it: My list of time-saving tools that I can’t live without. If you take my suggestions, I highly recommend putting the energy into each tool so that it’s working for you. It might be hard to rewire your habits, but it’ll be worth it in the long run.