As a small business owner, time is of the essence and anything that can help save time is a good thing in my book. At Mykidstime we have been in business for 10 years and we have tried lots of different tools over that time to help run our business more efficiently. Here’s our current pick of 7 Business Tools to Make You More Efficient, freeing up your time so you’ll have more time to spend on your marketing and selling to parents!
I’ve picked out 7 tools across different parts of the business:
- social media management
- lead generation
- visual content
You may be familiar with the idea of shortening links to share on social media. Sometimes URLs that you share can look long and frankly, a bit ugly. Plus you want to be able to track different traffic from different social sources and Google Analytics doesn’t always break down social channels specifically enough. We’ve used both bitly and tinyurl in the past but our latest favourite link shortener is Rebrandly which offers the facility to create links with your own domain name. (It’s also free to sign up.)
So for example, the link http://mykidstime.link/freeica23 is a Rebrandly link we have created for one of our Data Insights reports on Mums and Family Holidays.
The nice thing is you are sharing a link with your own brand name in. The free account is a bit more limited than bitly say, it just shows you the total number of clicks. But good news, you can also sign up for a free Clickmeter account which you can then link to your Rebrandly account to get some stats about your clicks.
#2. Facebook Pages Manager app
For social media management, I’ve picked the Facebook Page Manager app available on both iOS and Android (it’s free to download). Hands down I have found it is the easiest of the apps out there to manage our Facebook communities.
In particular I like the Inbox feature which lets me see quickly which posts have had comments so I can reply if required.
#3. Google Analytics
The number one tool for checking your website activity and understanding your visitors is Google Analytics, and it’s free!
Sign up for your Google Analytics account using a gmail address then add a piece of code to your website to verify it and get tracking your website on GA.
There’s a wealth of information on GA but here are some key things you can find out about your website:
- how many visits you are getting every month
- where are people visiting from
- what devices they are using to view your website
- what content they are reading
- how they are entering and exiting your website
- whether or not they are taking action on key places
We have been using Optinmonster for a couple of years now on Mykidstime.com and I have to say I like it because it’s very user-friendly and it works. You do have to pay but their plans start at a very affordable $9 per month.
You can set up a Lightbox which is the popup that appears and make it on exit so that it only appears when people go to leave the piece of content they are on. On the popup you can offer a free thing (guide, checklist, handy tool) in return for a quick email and name capture. Optinmonster also integrates with major newsletter software providers such as Mailchimp and ActiveCampaign adding the email straight to your mailing list.
If you go with their middle priced plan you can also create and place a signup box at the end of your blog posts which we find on Mykidstime is very effective at converting people onto our mailing list.
If you don’t want to pay then Hubspot offer a free slider tool for lead capture.
If your business needs to send out regular invoices, these can be quite time consuming to sit and generate. One of the new time saving options I recently came across is Intuit Quickbooks which lets you create quotes and invoices in a few taps with QuickBooks Invoicing Software for Small Businesses.
You can create and send invoices on-the-go from your laptop, smartphone or tablet, helping you to use your time more productively. You can also track real-time payments and schedule repeat invoices which is handy.
They have a Self-Employed plan which is £2.99 a month or their cheapest Small Business plan costs £10.50 a month.
I can honestly say I don’t know where we would be without Canva. It’s the tool that has transformed our visual content. There are many wonderful things about using Canva but my favourite things are
- you can overlay text and your branding easily and quickly to save out the new image for use on blog or social media
- there are tons of templates to save time – just pick and customise one to your needs
- it lets you copy existing designs quickly so you can batch-create a bunch of visuals
It’s just such a timesaving tool on top of allowing you to create high quality visuals without needing to enlist a designer.
Donna Moritz also recently recommended Easil which I have on my list to try out so I’ll report back on that vs Canva.
Another new tool that has just come across my radar is NoteCloud, which I think could prove really effective as a quick communication tool for your customers. It’s free to use and it allows companies to share important news, updates and offers with their followers. At time of writing they have just been finalising app testing so if it sounds of interest I would ask them to let you know when it’s live.
If you have tried using Whatsapp for your business then you’ll know that while it is great and you can do a lot with it, one of the problems with Whatsapp is that group members can access each other’s numbers whereas on NoteCloud unlike Whatsapp groups you can’t see other follows but you’ll still get all the messages the company sends.
NoteCloud messages can be up to 500 characters and can include hyperlinks so you could send out a New Product notification to let your followers know that you’ve launched something new, for example.
I think this could become really useful for marketing communications.
I hope my pick of business tools has given you some ideas for things you can use to streamline and save time, something as a busy small business owner you’re always short of! As usual, let me know your thoughts in the comments below and tell me what business tools you use that really help save time.