There are so many tools out there for the smart marketer and some great lists to tell you about them! This isn't a post about the essential marketing tools – you probably already know about them (thinking Moz, Kissmetrics, HubSpot, Hootsuite etc).
This is about those tools which make you more effective and productive in your work and admin tasks. It's about getting stuff done! So from our experience at Connect Labs, these are the free marketing tools we find very useful on a day-to-day basis.
I'm actually typing this in Grammarly right now. Grammarly is (according to their website) the world's most accurate grammar checker. And that's really something. Because I feel like a lot of errors are not necessarily spelling errors (which Grammarly also does extremely well), but grammar errors. Stuff like typing 'too' instead of 'to'. But it's pretty advanced. It picks up stuff most CMSs won't, and most word processors won't.
It also spell checks as you write online! The Grammarly plugin will check your spelling and grammar on emails and social media, and most other places you write within a web browser.
Another excellent feature is its own word processor, which I find really handy for writing in. It has a nice clean interface and of course, the spelling and grammar checks ensure my writing is on point.
My final comment on Grammarly is that you can set the language to British or American English, and it actually works! So nice to not be told I'm spelling 'organisation' wrong.
Cost: Free with premium options for grammar nerds.
A lot of people use Trello. We are definitely a Trello group. Between our own organisation and our clients, we have a lot of things to keep tabs on. Trello is an excellent organisational tool. You can *takes big breath* make boards, make lists within boards, add cards to those lists, assign people, attach things, colour code, click and drag, customise, create deadlines and build checklists *exhales*. And that's just the beginning.
Trello is really quite flexible and can adapt to suit your needs. It also integrates with tonnes of cool stuff like Slack, Gmail, Twitter, Google Calendar and MailChimp.
What a Trello board looks like
The calendar view is useful
Cost: Free with paid monthly subscriptions for more sexy features.
We use Slack because it's the best messaging service on the market. It just works and it has whole lotta super features which make it so convenient. It's easy to search, customise, channel and organise. We only need Slack for pretty basic functions, but it has so much potential for use across multiple industries and organisation sizes.
The capacity for integrations is also something pretty special. Trello, Kayak, LucidChart, GitHub, Skype, Gmail, Zoom, Zendesk, Hootsuite, Google Drive and Dropbox are literally just a few of those available. The personalised emoji of your own face is also an essential for any serious, respectable business.
Our discussions at Connect Labs are super serious and hard hitting
Cost: Free with paid monthly subscriptions options for extra oomph.
Ah, blessed Canva; how amazing you've made our lives. I am not an artistically gifted person, sadly. It's just not who I am. But with Canva I can trick you into thinking I am.
Canva makes design easy. You can make gorgeous pictures, graphics and even documents for free. Coming with a huge range of free (or if you're rich, $1) elements, you can piece together a masterpiece in no time. Drag and drop to get started, and customise from there!
My language skills are insufficient to tell you how amazing Canva is, so you best just check it out for yourself.
The best thing about Canva is how professional the outcome is. Obviously, nothing beats a graphic designer or professional branding, but this software definitely bridges the gap between us design peasants and the design pros. They also have one of our favourite B2B SaaS blogs.
Cost: Free for standard with a cost of 1 US dollar for some elements. Get a monthly subscription for more zazz with Canva Work.
Ok, I lied. I'm sorry. It's seven free marketing tools. PandaDoc actually costs real money. But it's very much worth it. We use PandaDoc for our campaign proposals and contracts.
PandaDoc is basically a tool to help you with documentation. You can use it for delivering and tracking sales documents. It makes a pretty schmick looking document AND – best thing about it – legally binding electronic signatures! So no longer is it a case of send, print, sign, scan, send it back, print, file. Use templates and professional looking designs to make your documentation much easier.
Cost: Not free, starting at $19 a month on subscriptions. No actual Pandas included, sadly.
FireShot is my handy little screenshotting tool. As great as Command-Shift-4 is, it has limitations. We use a lot of screenshots, and they're usually something the client sees, so it's important they look professional.
With the click of a button, FireShot automatically scrolls down the page so that you can get the whole page in one image. You can also choose to screenshot only the visible part of a page or a selection. It then allows you to save as an image or pdf, copy to clipboard or print.
There's also some pretty cool options for annotation if you're willing to shell out some cash for the pro version. Ironically, I wasn't able to FireShot the Fireshot screenshot page below.
Cost: Freeee! You can buy a pro version for extra options.
Zoom is a web and video conferencing service. You get a pretty great service with free membership, but there's also pricing plans for larger organisations with bigger needs.
The great thing about Zoom is that it's easy to use and works on pretty much anything. You can choose to conference with or without video, and you can also choose screen share, which we've found very useful.
It also has a plugin called Zoom Scheduler that works with Google Calendar so that your meetings are easily arranged.
Cost: You can get this champ for free, and of course there are paid subscriptions for more features.
You have to work with some tunes – it makes work much more fun. You probably don't need a sell on Spotify's features, but we find a 3pm dance-off can really make your day! Especially with Beyonce.
Cost: Free as a bird, unless you want Spotify Premium for $12 a month.
So that's a little insight into how we stay productive at Connect Labs. You might find that variations on these tools are the better for you, but this is what works for us!