Every business the world over relies on software nowadays; whether it’s a digital marketing agency with a tool for just about everything, or a local bar that uses a touchscreen cash register to process transactions, software is everywhere.
And there are pieces of software you could be using right now to enhance your business, from the creation of your marketing campaign to the managing of your employees, so let’s get straight into it.
1. Unblock your mind with the right writing software
Remember delicate pens and the art of writing with ink and paper? Old-school stuff. Nowadays most people do most of their writing on devices. Desktop keyboards, laptops, tablets, smartphones—even shopping lists now take the form of digital notes for many people. And if you’re in digital marketing… well, digital…
Since so many of us spend so much time writing—school papers, articles, job ads, emails, reports, guides, social media posts, fiction, poetry, campaigns, sales copy—it makes sense that we be comfortable with the tools we use to write. So, what does this mean? What should effective writing software do?
- Block all distractions other than the page and your words. We want maximum space for creativity and concentration.
- Offer timers and alarms—for example, if you’re doing a timed exercise, or need to meet a deadline, or you find that you work best in short bursts, like Gene Schwartz and his 33 minutes trick.
- Auto saving. Code name: Life Saver.
- Allows editing and annotating.
- Document templates.
- Provide planning tools, such as to make flow charts or diagrams.
2. If you’re going to write, you should do it right
Spelling, grammar, punctuation, syntax. Most writers can successfully dress their writing with correctly spelled words, precise grammar, effective punctuation, and a range of successful syntax—often subconsciously once the knowledge is deep in the writer’s brain.
But eventually, everyone encounters a problem in their writing. It might be trying to remember whether it’s effect or affect, or how to complete the subject verb agreement for collective nouns, or any of thousands of other compositional conundrums.
Whatever it is, errors in your writing are welcome in one place only: everywhere except for your final draft.
Some of the best word processing software has proofreading functionality. A tool that can review your writing word-by-word, clause-by-clause, sentence-by-sentence, will help you debug your writing and ensure your readers don’t jar out of the page because of an error.
3. HR software to help you run your business
HR software should be something every business looks into as soon as they start up. Think about key aspects of HR management, such as:
- Planning staff holidays.
- Logging sickness and absence.
- Creating work rotas so your employees know their shifts.
- Storing important documents securely—without limit.
- Employment law advice for the tricky parts of managing a business, such as disciplinary procedures and company policies.
Invest in HR software to help manage your employees and see how much of your HR processes you can streamline. No more messy annual leave spreadsheets; no more unkempt filing cabinets that house critical documents—make it safe, make it secure.
Great HR software will also offer you features such as a clocking-in system, so that you can review what time your employees arrive and leave work.
Finally, your employees are your business’s best assets, and you must want to support them for your company to increase its value. Therefore, HR software that offers employee support through an employee assistance programme (EAP), wherein your staff can access round-the-clock emotional support for any personal problems (or workplace problems) is a must-have.
4. Make the most of effective digital communication
Video call software helps ambitious businesses set up operations in new territories and keep those new outposts in check during the inevitable rough early days. Video call software lets you develop client relationships no matter how many oceans and borders separate you from your clients.
Video call software helps your business expand. It’s that simple.
With strong internet connections, effective video call software gives business meetings a more personal touch than a conference phone call ever could, and removes the need to pay for expensive flights around the globe for a two-hour meeting.
5. Tailor your emails to operating hours
Do you want more success from your email marketing? Then you need email productivity software. In what ways could software enhance your email to a client? How about:
- Optimised sending times—do you really want an email to land in someone’s inbox a minute before they clock off for the day? Instead, what about an hour after they arrive in the morning, when they’re firing on all cylinders?
- Optimised email frequency for marketing.
- Data and knowledge sharing.
And what about if a piece of email software can offer you a tool that proofreads your email and advises you of how well it meets criteria such as politeness, or subjectivity, and, ultimately, how likely a response is?
Don’t settle when you’re exploring which software can enhance your email campaigns. Find the tool that offers you what you want.
6. Schedule easily with calendar software
It shouldn’t take a dozen emails between a client and a vendor to set up a meeting. Easy-to-use calendar software takes away the back-and-forth and adds tailored features to your calendar setup so that preparing a meeting is smooth as a screen.
When searching for a calendar software that’ll benefit your business development, ensure the software integrates with whichever email suite you use, such as Google, Outlook, 365, iCloud, and so on.
Furthermore, investigate what other features a product offers. Does it detect time zones for all participants of the meeting? What devices does the software work on? Does the device give you notice of an upcoming meeting? Can you take minutes using this software?
7. Climb the search rankings with SEO insights
If you’re looking to bring more traffic to your website organically, you need to work on your SEO. Of course, SEO isn’t just about ensuring a webpage has the relevant meta properties, and keywords that correlate to voluminous search queries.
SEO is all about the O—optimisation. Great SEO tools allow you to explore and enhance your website and its content with features including
- Keyword planners—you need to know what words and phrases people “Google” when they’re searching for something related to your product or service.
- Site audit—what’s going on with your website? Do you have duplicate pages, redirect chains, broken links?
- Site explorer and domain comparisons—do some competitor analysis. What keywords are your biggest opponents in your industry outranking you for? And why?
8. Get to know your Google Analytics
You want your website and all of its pages to rankly highly on Google. So what better web analytics tool than Google Analytics?
GA lets you track goals, for example conversions, such as filling in a form or requesting a demo.
GA provides you with audience reports so that you can learn about the demographics of your visitors. You can gather data that focuses on time on site, bounce rate, and you can even see which parts of the world you’re converting in most and least.
Google Analytics also shows in-page analytics and helps you discover what content is keeping your visitors around the longest.
If you’re serious about knowing your own website, you need Google Analytics.
9. Unify collaboration in your workplace
Want to improve the way your teams communicate without adding an extra thirty emails to everyone’s daily routine?
Use a collaboration hub.
Think back to the days of MSN, but add a little professional touch to it and make it available for all devices. Great features to search for include:
- Communication channels that you can dedicate to specific teams, specific projects, clients, or anything else in your organisation.
- The ability to leave or join a channel as and when needed—no more imprisonment in a lengthy email chain.
- The option to have conversation threads away from the main topic—after all, you don’t want a project channel to suffer from too much non-work conversation.
A great collaboration hub can allow your workforce to focus their communication, while providing audit trails so that you can contextualise how a team made a decision, or if somebody’s already working on a known problem.
10. Manage projects at granular detail levels and with complete transparency
If you’re not using project management software yet, you might well be doing business wrong.
Do your research and find a tool that lets you create visual planning and scheduling for projects.
Assign these projects to teams. Split projects into individual tasks and assign these tasks to individuals within the team.
Allocate deadlines. Report progress in real-time with transparent progress labels (not started, in progress, done, etc.). Have all of this information available on a 50-inch computer screen at the front of the office.
These are just the basics of a good piece of project management software. But in addition, look for integration. Most software companies know that they’re more likely to gain clients if their product integrates with the other types of software mentioned in this article.
Always do your research
Your business is unique, so never rush into a decision that’s going to cost your business money.
All of the above software can enhance the speed and functionality of your business, but there are hundreds of software companies out there hoping for your custom. Once you know what you’re looking for, engage the suitors and schedule demo sessions so that you can establish how well their product works for your business. And only then, make your decision.