There are so many tools out there that it’s impossible to know them all. Every day another amazing must have SaaS tool is released to the market that can slice, dice and serve your data and give you amazing insight. Do you have all day to spend looking up, trying and testing the latest tools listed on Product Hunt? I wish I did, but I don’t. I do, however, have many friends in Marketing and when one of us comes across a truly wonderful tool we share it with the others.
These tools have been chosen because they make my life significantly easier in running the business and working with clients. I can honestly say some of these tools save me hours of time – time that I can use to focus on building our clients. These are the tools that we at Hunter & Bard use on a regular basis to get things done. This list runs the gamut from gaining mind share and brand building, to understanding your reach and figuring out your competition.
Why 10? It’s not an overwhelming amount, yet still gives enough information to be helpful.
Now this is a funny one to add since we don’t have it integrated yet into the Hunter & Bard website (it’s a case of the cobbler having no shoes). I recommend SumoMe to every company that we work with. It’s simply the best tool out there to grow your email marketing list, period. You can use the free version – but if you know my opinion on Freemium you’d know I recommend paying for the Premium version instead. Premium takes the SumoMe logo off and helps you build your brand. We will be paying for it, when we finally integrate it.
Find out what your competition is up to. I’ve found it to give better, more accurate and helpful information than Alexa. It won’t help much with information on small companies without much traffic – but if you have an 800 lb. gorilla on your back this will give you some great insights.
It’s all about gaining mind share. If you’re building your brand every chance you get for your name to be in the customer’s eye is a good thing, and if it’s there because of something helpful it’s a great thing. Start a Fire adds a small badge on the right bottom corner (our eyes read a page from upper left to lower right – so it’s the perfect spot) with your company name and other possible recommended links. If someone clicks on your a post shared anywhere on your social (i.e. Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Google +) they will see your badge in the corner. I love this, because I keep a browser open with 20 tabs (at least) of articles that I want to read, and the badge means I know who posted the article when I go back to it days or weeks later. It also sends a weekly report so you can see how your links are doing. Start a Fire is still in closed Beta (invite only), so the link on this list is a special link given by the team for readers of the H&B blog. You’re welcome 🙂
Yes, we’re a certified HubSpot agency, but I chose to become one for a reason. The software, analytics, and support are amazing. HubSpot handles inbound holistically. Which means that it takes inbound from many angles – it’s not just your social that brings in people, there are landing pages with helpful information, blog posts, newsletters, etc. All of these are covered inside of HubSpot and you can create campaigns and CTAs (calls to action) that inside every point and hub that brings people to where you want them to go. I could write far more than just a paragraph on this – so if you’d like to know more on why I like HubSpot so much feel free to leave a comment for any questions you might have.
Even after all of these years it’s my favorite website platform. Yes Wix is great and so is SquareSpace – but WordPress remains my favorite. It’s rare when I like custom built CRMs (Drupal needs to die, seriously) although I understand why some companies need that level of complexity. However, most companies out there don’t need something custom built from the ground up – and WordPress is the best basic platform that anyone can figure out. It’s also the one that everyone knows, so even if it’s a customized WordPress back-end, whatever is there can be worked on and fixed by someone else. It’s just easy and universal.
If your company isn’t on Slack, stop what you’re doing and get it now. Right now. Seriously. Slack has brought our distributed team together and become our virtual cafeteria. It’s cut down internal emails to nil and has raised our productivity. It’s just wonderful. We love Slack.
I lead sales efforts for the agency, which means I get to follow up with all leads on a regular basis. Boomerang brings emails back into my inbox at the day and time that I specify and reminds me to follow up and what to follow up on. It’s raised my productivity ten-fold. This is a service I can’t live without – as such we pay for it. Such a small thing makes such a critical difference.
LinkedIn profiles inside your Gmail. Why would you care about that? Again – sales and marketing. Looking for the right email of a reporter? Try different combinations inside of gmail – when you hit on the right one their LinkedIn will pop up. It also helps you know who you are emailing with. I sent a request to a company wondering about their services and they saw I was a mentor at 500 Startups. They were a 500 company, and they offered a discount, which I’ll be taking them up on in January. Knowledge is power. Rapportive is knowledge.
Your office inside the cloud. Work on reports together, share files, and have it all within easy reach whenever you need it. Internet required.
You cannot manage what you do not measure. Google offers a ton of free tools on how to use its amazing platform so if you have the time, you can teach yourself all you need to know to manage your own analytics. While it’s not the simplest tool in the world, the only thing better at measuring would be your own servers.
And that would be it. The the 10 Tools I can’t live without. There are more, of course, but these are at the top of my list and will be helpful to any SaaS company looking to grow.