Our Favorite Business Tools
It feels like the right time of year to do a little reflection on the year, and to begin gearing up the excitement of goal-setting (and subsequent crushing) for the months ahead. First up, we’re talking about the best tools and resources we use to keep our business running oh-so-smoothly.
Asana is the ultimate in to-do list creation and project management. We assign tasks to team members and keep them organized by project or client.
There is the option to view tasks by calendar or list view, which we toggle based on need. There are so many ways Asana integrates seamlessly into our lives, including viewing tasks by color-coded status, exporting to Google docs, syncing to our calendars and creation of custom teams. They’ve also got web and mobile apps, so no matter the device, we’re on top of our task lists.
Plus, every so often after clicking the satisfying check mark of completion, Asana celebrates with us by way of a flying unicorn across the screens! As if checking the task done wasn’t satisfaction enough!
Content marketing, social media, and blogs can all be scheduled and managed through Co-Schedule. They take the guesswork out of when to publish so people will see our posts. Rescheduling is a breeze with a quick drag and drop. For blog posts, Co-Schedule has a seamless WordPress plugin that allows us to create social content on the same screen as our blog post. They also integrate flawlessly with WordPress and Google Analytics.
Simply put: Co-schedule has cut our social media scheduling time in half – at least. And that’s now valuable time we get to put towards other projects. Yes!
Email marketing tools have grown like crazy over the past few years, but MailChimp continues to be our favorite. It’s easy to use, integrates with nearly every service or option you can think of (directly or via Zapier, another favorite!), and the friendly folks over at Chimp City continue to pack more value into the tool.
We use MailChimp for all of our email marketing, and we also use it to build templates for our clients – which are then super easy to share via email.
If you’re looking to get started with MailChimp – or make a change from another tool – be sure to check out Paul Jarvis’ Chimp Essentials course. It’s a Gorilla-sized course covering all the, well, essentials.
We use Adobe Creative Cloud every day, and have been delighted to find that we’ve got “an app for that” every once and awhile when we have an obscure task to complete and find that Adobe’s already created the program we need to get it done. And it’s included in our Creative Cloud subscription. Yessss.
Skype. Oh, for the love of Skype. We don’t have a traditional office at Raven Creative, so most of our team meetings take place on Skype. Which gives us all a regular dose of humility when you get to see how you really look that day. Web cams are harsh, y’all. Yet, we’ve found Skype meetings to be much more fun than the standard conference call, and much better for sharing documents, expressing opinions and all-around team-building.
Agendas, deadlines, and assignments. Okay – so not actually “tools” but these principles have helped us keep up the productivity here at the RC. No agenda = No meeting. Every task gets a deadline and an owner. Making these things clear and public help us all stay accountable and get done what we say we’re going to do. Oh, and they’re F-R-E-E.