As a business, you know that the challenges you face are not unique: others before you had the same questions. So you know, of course, that there are a lot of solutions out there to solve your problem. The question is, which one is the right one for you?
When we started, we faced the same questions that you probably have. So we want to share with you our technology tool stack that we use, and we hope this gives you a jump-start on getting more done using our favorite business tools. (Updated 2017.10.28)
Domain Name Registration
We use Godaddy, and we are a reseller. Typically, the prices on our reseller account are lower than retail prices. We like Godaddy for DNS registration because it is simple and straightforward.
Email and productivity
We use Google Suite. As a marketing and creative agency, we don't all need to have Microsoft Word, Excel or Powerpoint. In fact, most of our work is done using the Google Apps equivalent. We also like it because of the cloud storage and the ability for multiple users to edit one document at the same time.
We actually have our own dedicated high-speed server for the websites we design and maintain. This is because our websites tend to have a decent-sized payload as well as high traffic, and we don't want the webserver to be a bottleneck. However, if your website is not complex, and if you don't expect to have a lot of traffic (which is probably true if you are just starting out), GoDaddy with cpanel is a good option.
I have to admit – I was very reluctant to try out Slack. Did I really want another messaging app that I need to keep track of? The answer is YES. Because Slack actually decreases the amount of time we spent searching for email threads, texting on a phone, calling on the phone for a quick question/answer. If you are a B2B company that needs to keep track of clients, you can organize messages and even documents into different channels which keeps things organized and save time. And it’s free to try out for the first 10,000 messages.
Screen Sharing and Video Conferencing
Quite often it is much faster and easier to share a screen or hold a video conference than trying to explain over the phone. While there are a lot of apps out there, we use Zoom. We like it for the simplicity, performance and stability. We’ve even used it for presentations where everyone had a laptop, but there was no screen/projector setup. Zoom seamlessly integrates with Google Calendar and allows you to record audio so you can pay attention to what is being discussed and then go back later to take notes. Like so many other apps, it’s free to try.
You can't control what you don't measure. Google Analytics is the industry standard for understanding key metrics such as the number of visitors, referral sources and pages visited. If you don't have Google Analytics, get it now so you can understand what your website is and is not doing for your business.
Google Analytics is great, but if you are a visual person and want to understand how visitors are behaving on a page, then you need to check out HotJar. Heat Maps - CHECK. Clicks - CHECK. Mouse Movement Recordings - CHECK. This is a fantastic tool that we use in our redesign projects so that we create pages that are optimized for how visitors actually use the site.
Time and Project Tracking
This is an area on which we spent considerable time and expenses to find the best solution for us. We tried a bunch of separate applications for time tracking and project management. While they may have been the best in class, what we really needed was an all-in-one solution. Luckily, we finally found TeamWork, and it has proven to be a solid choice.
If you are obsessed with conversion rates and knowing if your landing pages are actually converting, then having a dedicated phone number for your marketing campaigns is a must. We like Call Tracknig Metrics for it's comprehensive feature set and reasonable pricing tiers.
Customer Relationship Management
Full disclosure: We are a Hubspot Partner.
So it should not come as a surprise that we recommend Hubspot CRM. But we also tried several other CRM packages before realizing that the HubSpot Suite (Sales, CRM and Marketing) is an incredibly powerful combination that, if implemented and managed correctly, will produce amazing results for almost any business.
What we love about Hubspot CRM is that it is FREE. That's right. Free. The tool is feature-rich, provides detailed insight into your contact database and is highly customizable while being extremely user-friendly.
Sales Pipleline Management
The Hubspot Sales Application has two tiers: Sales and Sales Pro. The Sales version has less features, but is also “free,” while the Pro version has unlimited email notifications, document tracking, sequences and what I think is a very cool feature: meetings. When CRM and Sales are paired together, you get a powerful tool that allows you to track every lead and their interaction with you.
This is where the magic happens—when you combine CRM, Sales and Marketing, you get an exceptional technology stack that allows you not only to bring in more leads through top-of-the-funnel marketing activities such as blogging and designing high-conversion landing pages, but also to clearly identify warm leads and follow up through personalized and automated email campaigns.
The reporting is exceptional and a true time-saver because your contact records, customer data, documents, interactions, web page, social media campaigns and sales pipelines are all in one place that is easy to understand and easy to change and adapt with your business.
Are you interested in learning more about Hubspot? Ask for a free Hubspot Consultation.