This past Friday the Main Street ROI team got together for our end of the year meetings and holiday celebration.
During my meeting with Phil and Pete they asked me about my favorite tools we used throughout 2016 and why I liked each one.
While my answer included some tools I’d used in previous years, there were also some new tools added to my list. All of them help to keep us organized, efficient, and creative at work.
Here are my 6 favorites tools for 2016…
Finding this gem of a tool has been an absolute lifesaver. I have a terrible habit of sending an email that says something to the effect of “I’ll follow up with you (insert time/date)” and then never remembering to actually send that follow-up email. At the beginning of 2016 I started using a spreadsheet to keep track of all of this which was extremely time consuming and inefficient.
Yesware changed all of that.
This tool has a ton of great features but my personal favorite is the “remind” feature. Before hitting send on a your email, you can mark “remind” and choose a date/time for a reminder email to be sent to you telling you to follow-up. There’s an option to only get the reminder if someone doesn’t reply to your email as well. This has removed the need for confusing spreadsheets but also ensured that I get back to colleagues and partners in a timely manner.
Some other great features of Yesware include email scheduling (write the night before and send out the next morning), mail merge capabilities, email-open tracking, template creation and inputting, and reports. If you use Salesforce, Yesware also has an integration tool.
If you read my Thanksgiving post about why I’m grateful to work for Main Street ROI, then you know that we have the flexibility to work from home, which is amazing.
One of the ways we’re able to do this and still successfully work together as a team is no doubt because of Asana. This is an online collaboration tool that allows you to manage the tasks and workings of your team through a digital platform.
Each member of our team is part of Asana. On this platform, we’re able to create projects and tasks and assign members of our team to join the project. It allows for internal conversations, task tracking, due dates, calendars, and following of tasks. This tools has been amazing for making sure that each project within the company gets done and that we know who is responsible for each part of the project.
There is also a very easy-to-use mobile app for Asana as well so you can check tasks on the go.
3. Google Drive
There’s a reason Google is one of the top grossing companies in the world. Google’s search engine capabilities and apps make all of our lives easier and Google Drive is by far one of my favorite tools of this year, and maybe of all time.
Being able to store any file- photos, videos, designs, documents, spreadsheets- in one place and access them from anywhere, with multiple devices, is invaluable. This guarantees that you can access a file at any time, not just when you’re in front of a computer at your office.
From a team perspective, the real-time updates on Google docs and spreadsheets allows our team to connect from anywhere. Using Google Drive contributes to our team’s success in working remotely. While on a conference call, we can all access the same document and all be editing live so we can view the same information. Drive also allows for sharing outside of your organization so that clients and partners can access files you need them to as well.
Plus, there’s a benefit to knowing your work is auto-saved so that even on an accidental window closure you don’t risk losing all of the work you put in.
Canva is an amazing tool that allows you to create beautiful image designs in a few quick steps. With hundreds of pre-designed templates and beautiful stock images, Canva makes it easy for non-graphic designers to create images that are great for sharing on social media or use during presentations.
While some of the images and templates require an extra $1 fee for use, there are plenty of excellent free options available as well. The program also gives you the option of uploading your own photos that can be inserted into various templates and edited directly within Canva.
This handy tool is a way to battle the multi-tasker within all of us. Freedom blocks distracting websites and apps (including email) while working on a project in order to increase productivity and focus. It can be used on all of your devices so that you’re unable to be distracted by any of them. You’re also able to schedule Freedom sessions in advance or start one on-the-fly whenever you need it.
Fair warning, they really fulfill their promise so if you enter “lock mode” and start a session, it’s almost impossible to get back to your email and apps until your Freedom time is up.
This may be one of the most important tools we use at Main Street ROI. Infusionsoft was created for small businesses and facilitates email, sales and marketing solutions, CRM, e-commerce capabilities, and even referral partner tracking.
The email functionality in Infusionsoft is one of the main reasons we love it. It allows sending and scheduling of mass emails, such as weekly email newsletters. You can also use it to send and schedule autoresponders, such as a targeted sequence of follow-up emails. Plus, you can use tags to create very specific segments from your overall list. One downside to Infusionsoft is the price. Packages start at $199, which can be expensive for small businesses. However, the cost can easily be offset by the increase in sales from your email campaigns and the time saved using the automation features.
Interested in checking out Infusionsoft? Click here to get a free demo