Productivity Tools To Speed Up (And Ease) Your Agency's Workflow
This week I’m bringing you Productivity Tools To Speed Up (and Ease) Your Agency’s Workflow. Starting or growing your agency can be tough (trust me, I know), we’ve all been there. It takes the right people and the right tools to equip you for exponential success. One thing that we’ve all experienced is having to go through free trials (or even paid sign-ups) and sometimes we end up canceling memberships/accounts due to lack of features, massive bugs, pricing, false promises, etc.
My curated list encompasses tried and true solutions that I use on a daily basis to get things done quickly and efficiently.
For Google Chrome
I’m a big fan of Google Chrome, but as some of you know, Google Chrome can be a huge memory killer. These tools are specifically designed for Google Chrome and other third-party applications.
1). Merge All Windows: In the midst of using Google Chrome, every now and then some links end up opening in other windows, or I end up opening a website in another window for whatever reason. In some instances, you may end up with around 3-4 different windows. Merge All Windows provides a single button that magically merges all Google Chrome Windows into a single window. No more searching through all of the windows to find what you’re looking for.
2). Reload All Tabs: I have to admit, I’m sort of a tab junkie. A normal Google Chrome Window may include at least 50+ tabs (I’m trying to break the habit). If for some reason a set of web pages is loading slow on my Mac (or I want a fresh copy of all of my open tabs), the only thing I have to do is hit the “Reload All Tabs” button, and it typically fixes the issue/reloads everything.
3). OneTab: Here’s another one for the tabs. If you have a cluttered window, this extension consolidates all of your open tabs into a neat little dashboard for quick access when you’re ready to open the tab(s) again.
4). Tag Assistant: Here’s a great one for anyone that utilizes any sort of analytical tracking on their own/client’s website (hopefully everyone). Google Tag Assistant is a great extension that verifies if your tag(s) was/were installed properly. Google Tag Assistant is a branch of Google Tag Manager, a great platform for tag consolidation.
5). Checker Plus for Google Drive: Okay.. a little background story first... Provided with G Suite, I use Google Drive to backup copies of all client work and important documents. Clients are given access to a certain folder if they need to send something my way pertaining to their order. The one flaw I see with Google Drive (in my opinion) is that there’s no built-in functionality for upload/modification notifications. Before, I was having to manually check the folders, or ask client’s to let me know when they’ve uploaded something. “Checker Plus for Google” is a beautiful extension that allows me to receive a notification every time a file is uploaded or modified in Google Drive. For a small donation (optional) of your choosing, the developer unlocks additional tools and options at your disposal.
6). Goo.gl URL Shortener: The Goo.gl URL shortener is a quick way to send someone a short link without all of the extra mumbo jumbo (or for character purposes). The great thing is that all you have to do is click the button and it automatically populates a link that’s ready to go!
For those more interested in brand consistency, I’d recommend “Bit.ly”.
7). Rapportive: Rapportive can be used a tremendous sales tool when you have someone emailing you for the first time. The extension scrambles through the internet to find corresponding profiles and information to display right next to the email message for your use. A great use case might be to tailor their experience based on the information that's provided to you.
8). Google Tone: Google Tone is best used in team environments where one person wants everyone to take a look at the same link on their laptops at the same time. Instead of emailing everyone the link, you can have Google Tone send out a particular tone, and the notification to access the specific URL pop’s up on everyone’s laptop within range. Google Tone must be installed on the receiving end as well to receive the notification.
9). Grammarly: We all have our little slip-ups when it comes to Grammar and Spelling. Grammarly is a beautiful tool that goes beyond the typical spellcheck. Think of it as your little English teacher. The extension will correct spellings, check for grammar, suggest new words, and more. You’ll be looking like a scholar in no time.
For Your Agency
I’ve definitely had some ups and downs finding these tools throughout the years, but when I finally did, things ran a lot smoother..
10). PayPal/Stripe: Ever since I started my agency I’ve always used PayPal, and have always vouched for PayPal as much as I could. Through the years I’ve learned that financially, PayPal isn’t the best option, but that doesn’t mean that I should stop using them altogether. Most clients prefer to use PayPal to handle transactions for one reason, trust. They know that if a payment is sent through PayPal and any problems arise, PayPal will be there to get them through it and vise versa. So with that trust factor, I’ve always kept PayPal as an option. Additionally, PayPal offers financing for clients that would love to go down that route. As of now, I use PayPal only if a client requests it.
My primary solution is Stripe, which I can’t get enough of. They provide a very clean/sleek interface with tons of options and features, all included within their platform at no extra cost. Most of my clients are on some sort of subscription model, and Stripe does a great job of handling automated reoccurring billing. For all of the developers out there, Stripe offers a robust API Platform that allows custom integrations and solutions with your website or app.
11). Toggl: I’ve learned (through trial and error) that I need to be keeping track of how much time I’m spending on a project for any given client for pinpoint pricing. I’ve found that Toggl is the absolute best option (in my opinion), all for free. Toggl offers additional desktop and mobile apps as well to compliment their website.
12). Dashlane: We’ve all been there, having a couple passwords in this notebook, on this sticky note, on our phone in the notes section, etc.; there’s just passwords everywhere. When dealing with passwords, whether yours or your clients, it’s crucial to maintain organization at all times. I stumbled upon Dashlane about last year (after using LastPass and 1Password), and I’m glad that I made the switch. Dashlane is phenomenal for password management. They have a mobile app as well to access your passwords on the go. Dashlane offers businesses accounts for team password distribution as well.
13). Twitter Analytics: Here’s a hidden feature that I stumbled upon a couple years ago, Twitter Analytics. Twitter provides some great insight into your engagement rate, impressions, profile visits, and more. It’s a free feature, and it’s definitely insightful to know the impact of your Twitter profile. Once enabled, it's active for life.
14). Hubspot Free: Hubspot has always been like a Christmas present that I’ve always wanted, but never actually got. Last week the team just launched FREE versions of their CRM, Marketing, and Sales platform, and I can tell you first hand that if you don’t have it, you need it! Their inbound marketing tools provide you with great insight and strategies to close more deals and keep your team in the loop.
Just For Fun
15). Honey: Hands down, this is one of the best apps to date. Honey is a Google Chrome extension that searches the internet for Coupon Codes (as well as their own affiliate codes) to provide you the cheapest rates possible on most e-commerce sites. Honey has become a true margin booster across several partners and vendors. I've used the extension across business and personal platforms, and I've seen the results. You don't want to miss out on this one.
16). Google Trends Screensaver: I couldn’t close this out without providing you something that every marketer would find indulging. I’m pretty sure at some point in time you’ve taken a look at Google Trends, a Google Tool showing you what’s trending on Google. You’re able to harness that information straight from your screensaver on any desktop or laptop. It’s pretty neat, and a great way to Stay Googly!
Well, I hope that there's at least one tool that you can put to good use within your agency. If anyone has any questions about a particular tool, please feel free to reply to this thread. I’d love to answer your question, and if you start using any of the tools, let me know, I'd love to hear your experience!
Brandon Lucius is the proud Owner and Certified Digital Specialist of Concierge Creative, LLC. Concierge Creative, LLC is a modern digital agency that specializes in Advertising and Marketing, Business and E-Commerce Solutions, Graphic Design & Printing, and Web Design and Development.
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