The Best Business Apps To Make You More Productive
Have you ever had that feeling that your phone should be able to do more than just make calls or take pictures? Don’t get me wrong. Those pictures are amazing. They need to be cropped and the last one should probably be deleted, but you could consider it art.
In any case, we spend a lot of money on phones, first to get them, then there’s the monthly bills. And that’s all assuming we don’t accidentally step on them. With those costs, you wonder sometimes if they should be cooking us breakfast in the morning. We need them to do MORE.
To get more from your phone, you need apps. Yes, I realize last week we made the bold statement that building your own app isn’t worth the investment. Not only do you have the initial investment, but also your monthly upkeep and any add-ons you can think of to keep the app relevant.
That’s not to say that apps themselves aren’t useful however. In fact, apps can be extremely useful. There are apps to keep time, apps to create invoices, apps to take notes, and with the new generation of smart phones, there will be apps to measure distances and immerse you in virtual reality. Apps can be interesting and useful or interesting and absolutely useless. What matters to you, is that whether you use the free option or the paid one, you aren’t paying the thousands of dollars for upkeep and debugging when Google or Apple updates their software.
Many manufactures load their phones with initial apps that have good functionality and offer integration across different devices. Apple does this as does Google with their web services such as Maps, Gmail, Hangouts, and Google Drive for storage.
Just telling you there are apps out there and leaving it up to you to find them is like teaching half a lesson however, so we compiled a list of our favourites. It’s a work in progress though so you may want to bookmark this page./p>
You wouldn’t think that note taking is all that important, until you don’t have a notepad during a meeting. Evernote has grown to include audio recording for those who can’t type fast enough, image storage, and web clipping storage. On top of all that, you can share it with your team. The cost isn’t terrible and there are a few different options to choose from.
You can use WaveApp for just your invoicing or you can use it for your entire accounting package. The great part? It’s free for the base app. The best part? You can accept credit cards for a nominal fee, which is cheaper than having a terminal. It works great if you’re a freelancer or small business on the go. There’s no need to go back to the office to get an invoice created. You can use the app on your phone or log on to the expanded desktop version.
Twitter has a lot of users, over 1.3 billion in fact, with 100 million users active every day. But of them all, almost 50 percent never tweet. What they do is listen. Whether you use lists or just look at what the people are saying that you follow, you can learn alot. You can learn social trends or find out what’s happening down at the local store. Just be careful. About 15 percent of users are robots.
As a business however, you have the opportunity to build an audience and monetize your efforts. Harnessing Twitter can be difficult, but once you have the correct rhythm, you can grow your audience and increase your chances of selling your services.
Buffer allows you to access several of your social media profiles all at once. You can even have two twitter accounts up simultaneously. That’s not that much unless you start filling it with posts for the rest of the week. That’s right. This App saves you time and makes your posting consistent. You can write your own posts, or share others’. It’s even integrated into your desktop browser so if there’s something you like while you’re browsing, just send it to your buffer.
Buffer has a few different levels to choose from including a free option.
It isn’t just about having a Facebook account. If you own a business and you’re trying to use your mobile phone, then you need the Facebook pages App. You’ll have access to different options for your business posts and you can schedule your posts so they go out at the right time. This program is free and actually fairly intuitive you use. It wouldn’t be fair of my to not mention that Facebook has other Apps such as the Adverts App which lets you control more of your marketing efforts for boosted and advertising posts.
Oh, did I mention, Free?
We just came to Asana recently, but so far so good. With Asana, you can share your task list with your team so you can manage your projects without having to have daily meetings about what each of you have accomplished. The boss can assign things to her people when they’re out of the office and you can even attach files and images through Dropbox (another favourite of ours). This is another app that’s free, up to fifteen users. It’s great for a decentralized team.
Sending an email to a few colleagues is simple enough. Once you get up to a certain number, however more email providers will shut you down because of spam laws. With Mailchimp, that issue goes away. Not only will you have customization for your emails, but you will also have the double opt-in required for Canada and an option to quit imbedded in each email. Of course you don’t want to give that options, but in Canada you must.
The base App doesn’t let you create emails yet (You have to do that on your desktop) because of the complexity, but it does show you all the stats of each email such as who opens your emails, the number of times they open it and any links with the email that are clicked. Mailchimp does come with a second App that you can download that will allow you to make very simple emails from your phone to make up for the limited usage in the mail app.
The fees are based on the number of people on your list and you can run different automated email campaigns.
We’ve all done it, written down a password on a slip of paper and then lost the paper. Where did it go? No one saw it, did they?
Password keepers solve this issue. With mSecure, you can save any number of passwords for various types of apps, programs or even doors. The program can automatically be synced with Dropbox so it gets updated until the day your phone dies and you need to get all your passwords from it.
File Transfers/ Cloud services
When you need to transfer a file between organizations then Dropbox is your ideal program. It will allow you to move a lot of files in a short period of time. As we already mentioned, other apps have been set up to automatically use Dropbox so you don’t have to keep bouncing back and forth.
Dropbox permits you to move files between devices and its definitely affordable. You can save files to the box that you want people to download from your website or transfer files directly between devices or people.
Google Drive is similar to Dropbox except there is one notable difference. You can still transfer files lightning fast between devices and people, but you can do a lot more with Drive. The limit is 5TB which pretty much means you can transfer your entire music collections several times over. You can have your photos upload automatically and the monthly fees are reasonable though if you have a Gmail account, you are limited by the number of emails your have saved because they share the limits.
Apps can be very useful.
To get the right one however, you may have to spend many long days playing with different ones to choose what works for you. The great thing about most apps is they will either give you a period of time or a free version with limited options.
Don’t be shy if you have one you like more than ours. Drop us a line and explain why yours is the best. We’ll check it out and if we like it, we’ll add it the list. That way if you ever think to yourself, “Self, I need an app to do this,” you’ll know we have a growing list of apps that will work perfectly for the job.
Don’t Panic, The 7 Steps You Need To Respond To A Poor Review
It happens. In fact, it happens to people who deserve it and those who don’t. In our search for the coveted review, there will invariably be times when we get someone who woke up on the wrong side of the bed, who happened to have a bad day and decided you should too, or worse, you actually deserve the wake-up call because your service wasn’t as good as you promised.
In any case, there are seven steps you need to take when you have an angry customer and maybe, just maybe you can turn your bad day into an opportunity.
Step 1: Reply
Whether it’s a review on Facebook or Google, you must reply to each one. The good ones are easy, thank them, tout your service, and invite them to do more business. For the bad, however, you have to acknowledge that whether right or wrong, the customer feels wronged. Don’t apologize for what happened, but show empathy for their position.
- I’m sorry that you feel this way.
- I understand your frustration.
Step 2: Get the conversation offline
The only way you will salvage the conversation and the client is to speak to them privately. Some people feel emboldened when they are suddenly given a pulpit to spew their verbal diarrhea from. By getting the conversation offline, you can get to the root of the problem without airing your dirty laundry for everyone to see. Email is okay, telephone is better. You take the bluster out of many people when you speak to them directly.
Step 3: Get to the root of the problem.
Ask questions. Often the problem isn’t the apparent issue, but something different altogether. By asking questions, you accomplish three things.
- You deflect the anger away from you and towards something you may or may not have done.
- You show more empathy by engaging with the client. They feel like part of the solution.
- You find out what the real problem is. You may not have been aware of something you were doing was not appreciated by all parties.
Step 4: Repair the problem
Once you understand the issue, ask permission to repair the problem. Correcting the wrong will go a long way to making someone feel better. When you get to this point, you may have to give a deep discount in the process or if the wrong is real, you may have to offer your service for free. An unhappy customer will tell ten times the people that a happy one will.
It’s natural for humans to remember two things about an event, the first and the last. That’s how speed readers can read so fast. They read the first sentence of a paragraph and the last. You’ve already started with a bad impression, you want to leave them with a decent taste in their mouth. It is important to note here that though it may be easier to repair if it’s a perceived wrong and not a real one, you still have to fix it. It may not be your fault, but it’s still your responsibility.
Step 5: Repair your reputation
This comes in two parts. You are either fixing your reputation after taking advantage of an opportunity or you are going into reputation management. In the first case, you ask the client to reconsider their review and adjust to the new level of service. It’s ok if they just make an addendum. You want two things, a change in the number of stars and an update to say you did the right thing. Sometimes they may replace the review altogether, but at least get an update.
The second option to repair your reputation is a little harder. Unfortunately the only way to drown out someone who is shouting is to shout louder. One poor review is worth 1/5th of a star. That means for every 1 star review you get, you need at least 4 perfect scores to get a 4 star average. You need double the reviews to reduce that to a 4.5. You get the picture now. One poor review has a deeper effect on your average than a good one.
The same theory applies to your wall. If someone has written something on your wall that you don’t want people to see, then you need to give them something else to look at.
Of course, it’s important to note that these reviews and comments need to be genuine and real. They can’t come from family members or fake people. Your clients aren’t stupid and will see right through that scheme.
Step 6: Review
Don’t let that client disappear. Their memory will always return to the dichotomy of the good and bad. If you touch base with them periodically to give them the personal service then they will eventually rewrite their memory to only include the good service you offer, not the poor service.
Step 7: Automate your system
Whether you are responsible for your social media or you have someone else doing it for you, give them immediate and full authority to work quickly. This means canned responses and a dynamic response system. When you can address a problem quickly, you can save it from escalating.
Bonus Step 8: Get your act in gear
If it was a real review about a real thing you’ve done wrong then correct the behaviour or the work so it doesn’t happen again. If you aren’t responding to clients fast enough, then respond faster. If you aren’t polite enough, be more polite. Review your service promise and make sure what you’re giving is worth the price you’re charging.
Consumers want a response from a company within an hour on social media. When we give them an opportunity to speak up, we have to listen. Unfortunately you have to take the bad with the good, even if it’s an unfounded review. What’s important is that you neither take it personally, nor can you panic. Have a system ready to respond so you can have empathy, but without emotions.
Yes, I spelled behaviours with a “u” as I am Canadian and follow Canadian grammatical standards. Celebrate it if you’re Canadian, snigger at it if you’re reading from State-side.
For the longest time when studying how to help my clients I would constantly look at my American contempories to see the strategies they’d been employing. I assumed with their experience, I would be able to take some short cuts. Essentially I could learn from their mistakes.
“Target this”, they would say, or “Target that behaviour”, they would exclaim. The reality is that Canadians are short changed when it comes to the features our American friends have at their disposal.
Canadian marketers have to work doubly hard – not complaining – to extract the same amount of value when trying to get the most for our clients. As a marketer, I get excited that I can work with this type of detail, but I do long to have some of the striking benefits Americans enjoy.
Missing Behaviours In Ad Manager
3) Charitable Donations
5) Job Role
7) Purchase behaviour (Limited)
8) Seasonal Events (Limited)
Missing Demographics In Ad Manager
1) Income (30k-500k+)
2) Net Worth
3) Home (Limited)
4) Office Type
5) Ethnic Affinity
6) Parents (Moms)
The following graphics come from our friends at Wordstream who put together an epic infographic on all things related to ad targeting on Facebook. What you see below is my chopped up version of their piece of art that represents what we Canadian marketers have to work with.
It can be disappointing when you see all the X’s on the infographic; it really highlights the disparity.
This piece isn’t designed to illicit pity however, but to invite creativity. Now that we know the limitations of our data, our challenge is to determine how we can maximize a Facebook marketing campaign. How do you do it? Do you click off a few ticky boxes and let it ride, or have you found the combination of demographics that define your perfect client?
While we’ve had success in marketing for our clients on Facebook, we’ve also had some failures. What strategies have you tried, either good or bad?
Facebook Marketing – Part 2
>> Read Part 1
As much as we’d like to think we can run forever without a website, we can’t. We eventually must have one to communicate to our audience. In fact, a website can help convert your audience. You do however have some legwork before it becomes the Taj Mahal.
Step 1 – Buy a web URL
Yes I know, this is about how we can leverage Facebook to get you your website, but it’s important you actually have a website fairly early in the process. You can own one for as little as ten bucks and around a hundred to have it hosted for a year. You really don’t have to do much with your website, only a coming soon picture. What you gain however is @yourwebsite email address, something that will make you appear more professional.
Step 2 – Open a Facebook business page
The whole process can takes as little as ten minutes to get a simple page set-up. You want to pre-populate it with a couple industry posts and pictures of your company, your logo, and your product or service. If you do this yourself there is no actual cost beyond your time.
Step 3 – Build an organic audience
This is the part where you work. It isn’t easy, but what work is? Building an audience takes time and while some industries lend to developing an audience easier than others, you still have to earn those like. Buying a thousand likes on your Facebook page is hollow and won’t establish any engagement. This process doesn’t have to cost anything though there are things you can do to help or give yourself a boost, but more on that later.
Step 4 – Establish an ad campaign
While you can certainly do this part yourself, Facebook has a how-to or four, establishing a relationship with an agency that does Facebook marketing is wise. Facebook has a certification process to teach you how to take advantage of their demographic engine. You goal is to establish a campaign to do just that. The campaign can be as simple as words on a page or as complex as a creating a visual advertisement as well as landing pages within Facebook or your website. These landing pages are designed to specifically convert the audience that is landing there.
You can spend a lot of money at this stage, but if you are target the right audience then it’ll be worth every penny.
Step 5 – Boost Posts
Boosting posts has historically received a bad rap. Essentially through the same demographic engine that ads use, you boost any post, regardless of its content to a wider audience of your choice. Boosting doesn’t cost as much as an ad campaign and for as little as a dollar a day you can expand your reach significantly.
Step 6 – Earn money (Profit)
Ok, it isn’t that simple. You may actually have a store on your Facebook page, but if you don’t, your goal is to convert your audience. To do that, you have to increase your audience. Your short time play is your ads, your long term is your posts. Over time, you increase the number of people who you interact with on your page, either through likes, comments, or shares. The demographic engine enables you to lead people to like your page and over time to convert your audience.
Step 7 – Create website
Once you make a bit of money you can pay for a website. In fact, if you are a self-starter, you may have been creating content since the beginning. With a website, you have another opportunity to convert your audience, either through people who come from Facebook or Google. You can build specific landing pages for segmented audiences and begin blogging to show the value of your knowledge.
Step 8 – More profit
A website isn’t a field of dreams. You can’t build it and expect your audience to arrive as though they were waiting for you to finally put up your site.
By establishing a funnel first, you can coax your audience into your virtual store and interest them with nuggets and morsels until they’re ready to move on to the next level.
Are you ready to set up shop? Let’s start with step 1. Think about what you want your website to be. This part isn’t going to be easy. Choosing the perfect website takes a long time, making sure it isn’t already taken is even longer. It’s worth it though, so pull out your pad of paper and get writing.
I’ve been sharing tactical strategies on the Vlog, and today’s Vlog is no different. It’s a goodie. When creating an ad for your client, the messaging is the first key and writing the proper copy is absolutely critical.
I can’t take credit for this, but I do employ it often. When trying to write the best copy for an ad, the Feel, Felt, Found method works exceptionally well. It goes basically like this: I know how you feel, I’ve felt this way too, until I found… it’s so simple yet so very effective.
The first part: I know how you, FEEL. The notion here is you want to create a connection. That connection is
what powers and drives the ad and creates the initial interest. This can be both a positive or negative feeling. When it’s a negative feeling it’s usually called a pain point.
The second part: I have FELT the same way too. You want to create empathy, true empathy by reinforcing the
same initial feeling, but expanding on it to create further connection. I’ve felt this way too. I’ve been there as well. Everyone wants to bel understood and your copy is infinitely more powerful if you can illicit that same type of connection and empathy.
The last part: Until I FOUND. This is where your product or service comes in. Your product which has to be good resolves those feelings in Feel and Felt. If you’re selling a pair of Construction Boots, it’s much easier to create a connection by describing the feelings of tired feet and that your boots are going to resolve that discomfort than it is to describe the boots having hardened soles or three layers of waterproof protection. There are some clients that absolutely care about those stats on boots, but the most powerful ads are the ones create an emotion connection.
…the most powerful ads are the ones create an emotion connection.
Listen, the ideal prospect isn’t one that understands what you’re selling, obviously, that’s important, but your ideal prospect is one that feels understood by you. Execute this strategy and you’ll find a lot more success and increased click through rates on your ads.
Again, we’re straight practitioners. Period.
You’ve done it. You’ve made the plunge and now you’re an entrepreneur.
Unfortunately the question is, where do you start? There was a time when you could open your doors and people would just wander in. That’s what your parents or grandparents did. All they needed was a phone number and shazzam, the world started calling.
You, however, aren’t so lucky. You know your product or service is perfect, if only people could see it. The problem is letting people know. You just have to get the word out there.
Everyone has told you already that you need a website. Do you have a website yet? Who’s building your website? Are you building your own?
Of course, the answer is the internet. A website is the answer to everything. It will tell people what you’re doing and explain to them how you do it. It’s perfect, right?
You’ve been online all week checking out your competition. Every single one of them has a website, all beautiful, compelling, and spot on.
If only you could make something like that on your budget. If you had enough money to pay someone to build it, or the skills to do it yourself. What you need is a website NOW so you can start selling.
The answer isn’t by building an expensive website that may take you weeks to produce.
No, what you need is a Facebook business page. Not a profile, but a page.
7 Reasons to Choose Facebook
1. It comes with built in Champions
There are gatekeepers in every industry. The shareable nature of Facebook allows you to communicate with them and turn them into your champions to do your marketing for you.
2. Sell! Sell! Sell!
Any real estate agent will tell you that the most important element of a house sale is location. The storefront application allows you to sell directly from your Facebook business page and they don’t even charge you a commission.
3. Add-on apps
There are so many applications you can add to your Facebook page. You can use thirdparty apps like schedulers, add your Twitter feed, or build your own. You don’t have to spend hours trying to figure them out and you can add them today and remove them tomorrow if they aren’t working for you.
4. Time is of the essence
Facebook allows you to schedule your posts or you can use social add on programs like Buffer and Hootesuite to make it seem like you’re posting when you’re actually working. The consistency that scheduling allows you is great for getting in front of eyeballs when they’re actually looking at Facebook.
5. Mobile friendly to update
In the field? No problem. There isn’t a huge login process to post whatever it is you want to communicate to your audience. And because you’re using your phone, you can add a picture right there.
6. Open Forum
Customer complaints are out in the open for anyone to see, as are your responses. Respond well and you have the perfect opportunity to convert complainers into champions.
7. Limited design
With Facebook, everyone is the same, which means you are all on the same playing field and your content is what matters. It doesn’t matter if you’re competition has three stores to your one. By sharing and creating compelling content, your audience will grow.
How to Take Advantage
Websites cost a lot of money. Even if it’s simple, you’ll be spending at least a thousand bucks and then there’s the upkeep.
And the last agency you spoke to said it would take at least a month to get you up and going. A MONTH!
Of course, you don’t have that kind of time. You need to get selling now.
Facebook is the answer. You can build your page tonight and have it running by morning. YOU can do it. You don’t need an agency to make that happen.
When you’re ready, you can think about a website, but until then, grow your audience and sell your wares.
Click here and head over to Facebook to open your page. All you really need are a couple pictures and a logo. You could be speaking to your audience and earning money by morning.