As a business owner or manager, you are always looking for ways to operate more efficiently and to get an edge over your competitors. In the new decade, automation is taking over to help your employees coordinate better, streamline your marketing efforts, foster better communication in general and provide a host of other benefits.
There are a number of tools that will automate and streamline the various processes in your business using a simplistic interface and intuitive functionalities. They vary in price, but most have free versions to start and then enable you to scale up with your company’s growth in the new year.
If you’re serious about growing your business, you know that getting and staying organized is half the battle. This award-winning customer relationship management program will enable you to keep track of all contacts that leads or customers have with your company.
It includes email and website integration, management tools for your customer database, customized reporting tools and you can use it to synchronize your marketing efforts. It has a free version but also provides three paid levels with ever-greater capabilities to keep pace with your growing company.
This online data storage service gives you the security of off-site storage for all your files, so you don’t have to worry about losing them to fire or theft. It’s a great place to keep files that you’re working on in collaboration with others.
You can set different levels of permission for each document to control who’s allowed to access them and instantly view changes that others have made as well as any comments. Best of all, this handy service is free.
This software tool will make you a master of social media marketing. You can manage posts for several sites, such as Twitter, Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn and others, all in one place. It lets you schedule posts so that they are placed at a time when most of your potential customers are known to see them.
Its ability to track keywords and phrases lets you hone in on what those engaging with your social media posts are saying and how you can better tailor your efforts to market to them. It starts at around $30 a month and is worth it if you want to maximize your impact across social media.
Email may seem old and boring in the world of digital marketing, but it still holds an important place in getting your business in front of leads and customers. Every business needs an email management tool, and MailChimp is still one of the best out there.
It lets you quickly get statistics on your email campaigns with concise reporting tools, so you’ll know how to refine them for greater effectiveness. It has a free plan if your business’ doors are only just opening and pricing on more feature-laden plans that scale up from there as you grow.
This tech tool performs a similar function as CRM software except that it is focused on coordinating tasks, actions and communications between your employees. Whether it’s organizing a website launch, the creation of a podcast, a client meeting or anything else that needs to get done, Trello helps you stay on top of everything that needs to come together to make it happen.
As a manager, you can see all the information you require at a glance, and you can add comments and attach any documents that members of your team may need. It’s also free to start.
As useful as online document sharing services like Google Drive can be, sometimes you need to actually have face time with members of your team or with a client. This is where Skype enters the picture. This highly-rated, web-based communication tool enables you to see and speak to others across the nation with the people on each end only requiring a webcam and the Skype software.
The version that has business features comes in at a meager two dollars a month, and you can conference with as many as 250 people at once.
Faxing may seem like something from a by-gone era, such as pagers or floppy disks, but it’s still essential in many industries. Faxing is particularly prevalent in the health care and financial service sectors as well as others. Thankfully, the rise of online faxing means you no longer need that clunky fax machine that collects dust in the corner.
As long as you can get a paper document that you need to fax into your computer or phone with a scanner or by taking a picture of it, you can then use an online faxing service to send it to anyone. Faxage is a particularly good option for this. It has flexible, low-cost pricing plans covering various needs and is easy to use.