Marketing Expert: Lori Lyons
I don’t know about you but I love gadgets. My husband will attest to all the cute little kitchen gadgets I have – from a strawberry huller to a cherry pitter, they all serve a purpose.
And… some things I only use once a year but still, it’s a big time saver!
I remember growing up, it was always the holidays when my mom got the hand crank grinder out. Its sole purpose was to grind the fresh cranberries for the cranberry jello salad. (And for those that grew up with the canned jiggly stuff – this was freshly ground cranberries with chopped pecans, pineapple, and other fun stuff molded into a beautiful star shape.) Bring on the turkey and dressing!
For business owners, we all have tools, apps, and gadgets that our businesses wouldn’t survive without. In no particular order – here are 5 gadgets our business needs to survive!
“When I realized how easy this was – booked a time in less than two minutes I was a convert.”
1 – An Appointment Scheduler For Our Business:
My top numero uno tool. It was probably five years ago that I received my first invite to book on a calendar. My first thought was – “gosh – is she so busy she can’t take the time to plan a time to chat?”
My… have I learned! When I realized how easy this was – booked a time in less than two minutes I was a convert. I immediately started investigating calendars.
Here’s What I Looked For In My Calendar System:
- Integration with my online calendar – Google, Outlook, etc.
- Calendar Availability times – could I set the calendar times manually to open and “block out” certain times?
- Calendar Types – can I have multiple calendars to allow for different types of meetings?
- Did I need to have paid online availability so clients or prospects can book online and pay for the service at the time of booking?
There is a myriad of other tasks that the calendars can do – most send reminders and connect with Zoom or other meeting services automatically. For me, this was a $15 a month admin that took care of all my scheduling needs without hiring an actual person! I had other hiring needs that were more pressing and this took a lot of the pressure off.
2 – Evernote:
Evernote does it all and is a powerful tool for less than $75 per year. Here are two reasons I love Evernote – among many reasons!
I am a “lead magnet junkie.” I love to see examples of great lead magnets and the emails that come with them. With Evernote – I added a Chrome extension and now I can right-click my mouse and “web clip” the lead magnet PDF directly to my Evernote account. I have my lead magnet examples all in my Evernote system for reference. They can be tagged and sorted by category, expert, function, etc.
“Templates can be created for forms you use all the time for onboarding clients, questionnaires, etc.”
All kinds of lists and checklists can be created over and over again. These are “real” checklists too, not the kind you have to fake in Word docs or Google drive. You can actually check a box to mark off!
You can create lists of anything – especially those that you do over and over again. Shopping lists with items purchased frequently. Monthly tasks that you need to create lists for, anything and everything to do with lists, tasks, to do’s, etc.
Templates can be created for forms you use all the time for onboarding clients, questionnaires, etc. They are easily stored and ready to go at a moment’s notice.
It syncs with Rocketbook (see next tool!)
3 – Rocketbook:
This versatile notebook is one that you write on and erase so you can use it over and over again. AND you can scan photos of the sheets into Evernote and tag them. Through the magic of technology, the words you wrote can be searchable.
I use these for client notes (taken the old-fashioned way – with pen and pager) then click them into Evernote (can also save to Google Docs, Dropbox or a number of other storage places) then the notes are in one place for a client. Amazing! Just wet an included micro cloth, clean it, and it’s ready to start again. FYI – special erasable pens are needed that come with the books.
4 – Google Business Suites:
I don’t particularly like Google Drive for storage because the notifications leave something to be desired but the crown jewel of this system is their email address functionality. For $7 per month (including all the other suite stuff, not just email) you can have an email address with your domain and up to 30 aliases on that one email address.
So for example, I have [email protected] as my main email address. I can also have [email protected], [email protected], [email protected] and up to 26 more aliases all on one email address. I can have [email protected] on my website for contact and if I’m running a promotion- I can make a fun email address – [email protected] for example.
They all go to my [email protected] email address so I just have one email to check. In all the years of using Google for my email I’ve never – repeat that – never had a problem with my email.
“Email systems are sort of like romantic partners”
5 – Email Distribution System:
From free, simple systems like Mail Chimp and MailerLite to expensive and complicated systems, every business should have a system to collect and send emails to their clients and prospects. (See my article on email marketing.)
Email Systems Are Sort Of Like Romantic Partners:
The systems will set up your automation and act as a CRM and even a sales pipeline in some cases. Email systems are sort of like romantic partners – we each have our own requirements and there is someone (thing) out there for everyone. But, unlike a romantic relationship – our business can’t survive without one. While a partner… well… sometimes we can survive without those!
We all have our favorite tools and I can add about 20 more including an accounting system, project management system, and on and on… comment below with your favorite business tool that your business can’t survive without.
About the Author:
Lori is America’s Midlife Marketing Maven helping GenXBoomers take the frustration and mystery out of marketing their businesses. She owns a digital marketing agency, Igniting Your Business and specializes in website design, branding and marketing strategy. She loves teaching Encore Entrepreneurs how to grow their businesses so they can concentrate on following THEIR passions and THEIR clients. Lori thinks there is nothing better than seeing someone’s eyes light up when they “get it” and then they take it and make money, easily and simply and without the stress they had before.
Lori will be launching her podcast, The Encore Entrepreneur Podcast this summer where she will be interviewing entrepreneurs and talking about how they market their businesses and the tools and techniques they use. She lives in Atlanta with her husband of almost 30 years and helps her 22 year old entrepreneur son with his marketing. She is a sports fanatic and loves her Atlanta Braves baseball!