• Background Image

    The Communication Hackers Blog

    Small business

February 20, 2018

Our Four Favorite Productivity Tools for Busy Business Owners

Four Productivity Tools for Busy Business Owners

Thanks for joining us! This is a members-only premium article in our Favorite Things series. In this series, we share the digital marketing tools that we’ve discovered and actually use ourselves, after almost two years of testing and experimenting. We’ve done the research and test-driving, so you don’t have to. Today’s topic: productivity tools for busy business owners.

No affiliate or promotional links. We are committed to providing you with unbiased digital marketing advice. That means nothing you find in this, or any other series, will ever contain affiliate or promotional links. Rest assured that when we recommend something, it’s because we use it and like it. We never recommend products, companies, or tools because we get a kickback.

In this post, we’ll be sharing our favorite productivity tools

The thing about being a business owner is you’re always busy. Ever feel that way? Do you feel like your mind is always running in 5 different directions at the same time? Often wonder how you’ll fit everything in? For us, time literally is our most precious resource and as we juggle two side hustles and a full-time job. There are certain productivity tools that are total lifesavers. Without these tools, we couldn’t be half as productive as are and would certainly have lost our minds a long time ago.

The productivity tools

Evernote – searchable, shareable note-taking anywhere

You never know where you’ll be when great ideas pop into your head. Waiting in line at the grocery store, at the gym, waiting for your food to be brought out at a restaurant… anywhere. Without a tool to capture these ideas, you could lose them forever – maybe even the next million-dollar one! Evernote is our favorite mobile note-taking app. Huge portions of the ideas behind Communication Hackers were recorded in Evernote notes! With pretty sophisticated editing tools, you can even brainstorm, outline, and write entire blog posts directly on your phone in Evernote so you can be productive literally anywhere!! The coolest thing is that Evernote is available for virtually all of your devices: laptops, iPhones, Android phones, tablets… So you can start a note on one device, continue on another, and retrieve it on a third!

Evernote is perfect for teams too. You can share individual notes or entire notebooks and the sync function works pretty seamlessly and perfectly in our experience.

Finally, all of our notes are infinitely searchable, and quickly too. Wanna know when you wrote the phrase “killer idea?” Whether it was yesterday or last decade, the search function will serve it up in an instant.

If you’re a busy business owner, Evernote belongs in your toolbox.

Details: Evernote website. Free basic account. Minimally priced premium features including additional storage, priority uploading of images, and ability to sync more devices.

Grammarly – your very own copy editor

Few things make you look more like an amateur than poor grammar or spelling. Of course, the problem is, spell-checker only works in certain apps (like Microsoft Word) and who can afford their own copy-editor right? Well, the folks at Grammarly heard us loud and clear and gave us a powerful spelling and grammar-checking tool that works (almost) everywhere.

Want to make sure emails to clients look good so you don’t let dumb grammar mistakes erode their trust (or get misunderstood)? Grammarly has you covered with an Outlook plugin.

Need an extra eye on your blog posts so they make you look good? Grammarly works on just about any website you’re on. In fact, Grammarly is giving us helpful hints on our spelling and grammar as we type this very blog post (it just told us about the missing comma after “Of course” at the beginning of this paragraph.

Look your best across all of your digital marketing with Grammarly!

Details: Grammarly website. Free basic account including plugins for Microsoft Office products. Upgrade options for even more intelligent copy-editing (like editing for a specific style of writing).

Cloudapp – screen capture, video capture, & annotation too

They say that a picture is worth a thousand words. Nowhere is that more true than when you’re trying to explain something to someone.

Ever wanted to describe something on your computer screen to someone and wish you could just snap a pic and mark it up or make a quick video of it? Maybe you even tried hobbling together a solution using your iPhone that didn’t work quite so good (not to mention the 5+ steps it takes). This is a problem when you’re trying share information with friends and family. When sharing info is part of your business, that problem starts to cost you money.

Cloudapp is our go-to solution to easily take screen grabs and even capture video so we can explain things really easily. We find ourselves using Cloudapp all the time – whether we’re collaborating with each other remotely and want to explain something real quick, working with a client and need to explain what we just found on their website, or are calling to customer service for some app we have and want to show them what we need fixed.

You’ll want to add Cloudapp to your toolbox for sure. It will make your life much easier anytime you need to explain something digital to anyone.

Details: Cloudapp website. Free basic account. Upgraded accounts offer longer video capture length, more storage, and more bandwidth.

Slack – team collaboration at its best

Communication. Where would we be without it? Just about everything in business revolves around good communication.

In the digital age, communication often means email. Email might be fine for customers, old roommates, or people you’d like to keep at a distance but it downright sucks for communication between teammates. Attachments can be clunky, privacy is a nightmare, send delays can result in your teammate down the hall cursing you and yelling “where’s that file again?” and don’t even try to do anything useful with the search function.

We’ve entirely jettisoned email for team communication and use Slack instead. Slack is one of the biggest growing players in the small business and entrepreneurial scene and it’s no wonder. Think of Slack as secure, infinitely searchable, highly organized instant messaging. You can easily attach images, video, URLs, or just about anything else you can think of to your Slack conversations so you can get more work done! Oh, and the list of Slack integrations is endless. For example, we use a Drift Bot on our website to be as responsive as possible to our customers and the Slack-Drift integration allows us to answer Drift messages right in our Slack stream. It’s like magic!

If you haven’t migrated your team communications to Slack yet, you’re really missing out on some huge productivity gains and super cool integrations.

Details: Slack website. Free basic account. Upgraded accounts for unlimited archiving/searching, guest access, screen sharing, and more.

Here’s to more digital productivity!

There you have it. Our favorite digital productivity tools! These tools will have you doing much more in less time and staying sane in the process.

We’d love to hear from you! Have you tried any of these tools? What do you think? Did we miss any of your favorite productivity tools? Let us know in the comments or come drop us a line on our Facebook page.

September 12, 2017

The truth about Instagram marketing. 3 simple reasons you need it.

The Instagram marketing train is leaving the station. Are you onboard?

Everyone is talking about Instagram. But, isn’t it just for teenagers? Can Instagram marketing be used for your products and services? Does this simple, picture and video-driven platform really work?

Yes! You can and should be using Instagram marketing to promote your business.

In fact, you can’t afford to do without it.

It’s time to stop talking and start doing. Get the jump on your competition and get your business on Instagram before your competition does!

Still not convinced?

Here are the top 3 reasons you should add Instagram to your B2C or B2B digital marketing strategy.

Reason #1 It’s The Fastest Growing Social Media Platform

As of April 2017, Instagram has more than 700 million monthly users—and counting!

Six out of every 10 adults are on Instagram, and 77.6 million Instagram users are from the US.

So, while Facebook and Twitter may be popular, you simply can’t afford to ignore Instagram for much longer.

In fact, a recent study shows that while Instagram is seeing meteoric growth, Facebook is holding steady, and Twitter is actually losing users!

Reason #2 The Early Bird Catches The Worm

Even with its rapid acceleration, very few businesses are using Instagram. Remember, only 77.6 million people in the US use Instagram. That means lots of room for growth.

This is good for you because early adopters get rewarded.

Between 2016 and 2017 the number of users placing Instagram on a monthly basis grew from 200,000 to over 1 million. So, as you can see, things are really picking up!

Start using Instagram today, before your competition catches wind.

Can you imagine being one of the first businesses to really capitalize on Twitter in the early 2000s or Facebook in its initial growth years?

Now you can do that with Instagram.

Reason #3 Engaging Visuals

People love pictures and stories. Instagram delivers both.

And not to worry because you don’t have to be a whiz with photoshop. Instagram’s built-in filters and photo editing tools are easy and intuitive. After just a few posts you’ll have the hang of it.

Since you may not yet be familiar with Instagram, you can also post 3 to 60-second videos on Instagram.

In fact, when videos were introduced to the social platform—over 5 million videos were uploaded in the first 24 hours. Statistically, these videos generate 2 times the engagement of photos posted to your current social platforms.

While many other platforms are still mostly words, Instagram delivers what people crave: a clean, simple interface, and beautiful images.

Instagram Marketing: You Don’t Want To Get Left Behind

Want to get a leg up on your competition and build an Instagram presence for your business the right way? Sign up for our FREE Instagram for Business training workshop. We debuted the workshop last week to the Washington Center for Women in Business and they loved it. So we will be offering some live classes in Tri-Cities, WA and will make it available as a webinar by October. Wanna get in on the action? Just sign up for the pre-launch list and you’ll be the first to know when it is available!

Get on the Instagram train. It’s leaving the train station now, and we don’t want you to get left behind. You don’t wanna get left behind.