Running your own business and being as productive as possible is likely to be two constant battles every day as you work towards your goals. Fortunately, there are a number of tools that can help you get more done in less time. It’s just a question of what you want to accomplish.
Here are some suggestions for five typical tasks every business owner needs to do in order to succeed.
1. An Email Marketing Platform
An email marketing platform allows you to automate as much of your email marketing as possible, driving sales and profits. A good free option is MailChimp.com, which will let you create a list of up to 2,500 people. Another is AWeber.com, which has many more features and starts at around $20 per month for the same number of subscribers.
Every business needs an email marketing list to build relationships with their target audience and to send promotional material to help make sales. As your list grows, it would be impossible to manage manually, so automation will be key. The sign-up, registration and confirmation parts of getting a person on your list are some of the ways an email marketing platform can help you run things as hands-free as possible.
The other is known as the autoresponder. In this area, you can queue up email messages in advance, so when a person signs up for your list, they will receive the pre-written emails and be able to learn more about your company and develop a sense of how much value you offer.
2. Social Media Management
There is so much to do on the top social networks that you could spend hours on this every day. If you are a staff of one to five people, however, the more efficiently you manage your social media interactions, the more time you have for everything else on your long to-do list.
There are a number of free and paid tools that can help. Buffer.com will allow one account and up to ten queued posts for free. Other levels of service will allow ten or more accounts, and unlimited queued posts. Hootsuite.com gives even more options, but with a price tag and learning curve to match.
Each social site is slightly different, but you can adjust the postings as needed for each and queue them up in batches. The buffer will also calculate the best times for you to post to your account and queue up your posts as per that schedule.
3. Project Management and To-Do List
If you have a lot of projects and deadlines, a project management tool and a to-do list can help you juggle all of your needs. If you are working as a team, it can also help you all be on the same page. There are a couple of easy and affordable choices. Trello.com uses a card system to publish projects, assignments, and to-dos.
Basecamp.com is another good option, with projects, a calendar, management tools and more. Both programs are user-friendly even for beginners. Both also email assigned participants, so everyone is on the same page about the work that needs to be done.
IFTTT.com stands for IF This, Then That. It connects up to a wide range of apps you use every day to help automate certain functions. For example, if you publish a new post on your blog, you could set up a parameter to tweet it at your Twitter account too. There are lots of parameters ready to use right out of the box, so you can work smarter, not harder.
5. Google Analytics
This is the top analytics program for tracking the performance of your site, and what your audience is doing. Access it free with a Gmail account. Add a small snippet of code to your site and you should soon start getting an impressive amount of data to help you grow your business strategically.
These tools will help you automate routine tasks so that your time is freed up to earn more money.