One of the main issues that Business Owners face on a daily basis is how they can quickly and efficiently communicate with all of their employees. This is often a hugely time consuming issue because people within a team have different preferences for communication platforms.
For example, some will prefer Facebook messenger, while other will use the Skype chat, WhatsApp and some may just stick to email. This is an issue, especially for managers because they will have to remember which platform each employee uses, then log in, remembering the login and password for each platform.
This many not seem like much of an issue, but for managers with a number of employees it can be very draining on the key resource of time!
Slack removes all of these issues by being a unification tool for the communication between team members. Business owners can create teams, and from them they can create channels, which will be focus on specific areas of the business or individual projects the business is currently working on.
For example, a marketing team may have 5 or 6 different channels, as they may have a separate channel for events, promotions, campaigns, social media, online courses etc. The people who are needed for the specific projects or areas of the business can then be added to the channel and it acts as almost a professional WhatsApp for Mobile (and now you can get WhatsApp for Desktop) space for everyone on that team to communicate efficiently and effectively.
Slack also has a direct messaging capability, as it may not always be appropriate to post all messages into the channels, so the direct messaging option makes communicating with a specific person within a team very quick and easy.
While, some might say this is just the same as email, it is much quicker and easier because there is no need to log into another application to contact someone individually, you can just quickly click on their name in the direct message section of the application and instantly message them. It also saves huge amounts of time in terms of people covering themselves sending numerous emails with people copied into them to ensure the blame does not fall on them.
This ties into one of the best features of slack, as all the messages are instantly saved and stored safely within slack. Therefore, using the sophisticated search feature you can quickly and easily find messages, images or files that have ever been sent within a team.
Also, unlike email, twitter and Facebook to an extent people can only post messages and contribute if they have been added to the channel, therefore you do not have to waste time wading through messages that are not important for the business, and are irrelevant to this specific sector of the business or business project.
These features effectively reduce the time needed to engage with content of this type, focusing the communication in an intelligent way and consequently leading to increased productivity within the business.
Another amazing feature of slack is how it can be effectively integrated into many of the other tools which your business may already be using. Here at Koogar we stress the important of integration for all businesses marketing, and this tool makes integration of a number of elements/tools seamless.
An example of this integration is Dropbox, a hugely popular application which is used by almost all businesses as their primary storage facility for images, graphics and documents.
Slack will effectively integrate Dropbox into your communication channels and teams, and not only can you share any of your files from Dropbox into the channels, but if they are ever changed in Dropbox the files within slack will be automatically altered, so the version you posted in slack is always up-to-date. This feature is extremely useful for a range of businesses, especially when more than one person is working on the same document, image or graphic.
Slack can also integrate with a number of other application such as Wunderlist and appear.in which make the most of the /command function, through which slack users can view their Wunderlist to-do lists right in slack or they can start an appear in video conference at the touch of a button. This highlights how slack is a hugely effective unification tool, which not only unifies your teams, but also unifies the applications that you use and love.
The range of different integration options is one of the best features of slack, because it makes it truly customizable, both in terms of individual taste and industry needs.
There are even add-ons such as slack digest that have been developed for extremely busy slackers, as it digests the content from a channel and condenses it down into the key information. Subsequently, busy business owners can keep up-to-date with the communications within the channels without having to read the full threads.
Overall slack is an amazing application, available across Microsoft, mac and chrome operating systems as well as android and iOS. It is the tool that all business owners, managers and members are using to effectively communicate, share ideas and share files all on the same platform. Once integrated with other apps such as Dropbox, Wunderlist and appear.in, slack truly has the potential to transform the productivity of businesses, and it is easy to see why people are so very excited about it.
Having recently adopted Evernote (after Amanda had told me about it), I have to admit… I was sceptical!
What is Evernote?
Evernote makes modern life more manageable by letting you easily collect and find everything that matters.
From work notes and to-do lists to recipe collections and travel plans, add everything to Evernote to help you get organized without the effort.
Before we go any future I would personally like to invite you to join Evernote!
My mind was quickly changed due to a range of the following factors:
- User Friendly – Having now used Evernote both on my Samsung Galaxy Note 4 Phone and my computer it is a VERY user friendly and aesthetically pleasing application, which is especially important when using a mobile application.An issue I had with my previous note taking app “S Note”, was that there were user issues such as scrolling responsiveness and having to manually save the notes every time you exited the application. In Evernote, these issues have clearly being thought through in detail, as the scrolling is perfect, all notes are saved automatically upon exit from the application and you can even add tick boxes to your to do lists…what more could you want?
- Sync – Another benefit which was not available when using my previous application is that Evernote automatically syncs across all of your devices! This is especially important for me as I often take notes in my lectures on my phone, which I will then look over, edit and add to at a later date on my laptop. This feature removes the fiddly task of copy and pasting the notes into an email, emailing them to myself and then transferring them into a word document.
- Notebooks – Notebooks are one of the best features and are again really helpful for organising my University notes. This is because I have individual notebooks for each of my modules where I keep all of my notes for that module, organised in date order with the title of the lecture. Therefore, when I go to add more detail to the notes and eventually when I use them as revision tools they will already be organised in a simple and logical way and format, which will save me time and improve my productivity during the limited revision period.
- Work Chat – Work chat is also a great feature of Evernote, this is similar to other messaging applications and features within others apps. Effectively it just allows you to message your friends and colleagues who also have Evernote – this can REALLY useful if you are working on a project together or if other forms of communication are not working such as email or WhatsApp.Additionally, it is a less formal way of communicating than email, but a more professional communicative channel than WhatsApp.
- Share Workbooks – Another feature which I feel greatly adds value to the Evernote service is the ability to share workbooks. This is important and will be appreciated by people working on projects who are constantly sending and sharing notes and pieces of work through email and WeTransfer.While these forms of transfer and very useful in their own right, sharing a workbook can save lots of time and effort as every member of the workbook can instantly see all changes that occur within the workbook.
- Web Clipping – Finally probably the most technical feature on Evernote is the web clipping feature, which enables used to quickly and easily take clips from the Internet and save/add them to their notes. This uses the Evernote web browser extension and seems very slick… Although I have not used it yet. I do intend on using it in the near future.
All in all Evernote is an amazing application and I would recommend it to anyone and everyone!
This post was written by Lawrence Chadwick (Marketing Assistant Intern for Koogar)
Guest Blog by Traci Williams of Excel Ace
When you think about Marketing your business, I’m sure you think of the common Marketing Tools such as Social Media, E-Mail Marketing and Branding etc, but I’m sure you don’t think of Spreadsheets??
Well, I can assure you, they are one of the most valuable assets to your Marketing Campaign, and can help with:
- Identifying your Target Audience
- Measuring the effectiveness of your Marketing
- Following up and prioritising Leads
……and you don’t need to be a Spreadsheet Whizzkid either, here a few simple tricks:
Identify your Target Audience
You probably have a box full of Business Cards that you’ve collected over a period of time, but which ones do you select to aim your Marketing at?
I’d recommend listing ALL of your Contacts (from Business Cards, FB (Facebook) Friends, Linked In Connections etc) on a simple Spreadsheet……… but don’t only include the standard information you find on a business card, add a couple of additional items of information, like those columns at the end of this example:
If you are then trying to find Contacts within a particular Geographical Location, or within a specified Industry, you will be able to apply Filters, to your spreadsheet to pick them out quickly and easily.
Filters enable you to drill down into your data, by temporarily hiding rows and just leaving your selection visible. Once complete, the Filter can be unapplied showing all of your data again.
To apply Filters, highlight all of your headings, go to ‘Data’ Ribbon’, and select the ‘Filter’ icon.
This will apply ‘Filter’ arrows at the top of each column. You can click on the arrow at the top of each column to see a list of all the items in that column, then manually select or de-select them as required. (Tick ‘Select All’ to un-apply Filters and return to all of your original data).
Measuring the effectiveness of your Marketing
Keep another Spreadsheet, where you collect the details of all the Enquiries you receive, as follows (copy & paste data from ‘Contacts’ spreadsheet as necessary):
By using Filters, you will be able to track the total ‘Value’ of the Enquiries that relate to each ‘Source’ or type of Marketing Activity, to see how effective it has been.
I would also recommend taking this sheet one step further by adding columns for ‘Action’, ‘Date of Next Action’ and ‘Status’, as this sheet shows:
The ‘Status’ column contains Data Validation which provides a ‘Pick-List’ to select one of three statuses from, and also contains Conditional Formatting which will also change the colour of the row according to the status selected. This makes it easier to pick out those enquiries that are still ongoing (you can also apply Filters using these colours too).
You can also use Pivot Tables & Pivot Charts to analyse this data:
This Pivot Table & Chart show the Value of Enquiries converted to ‘Clients’, by Marketing Source.
Following up and prioritising Leads
The ‘Date of Next Action’ column can be used to identify a list of Actions that need to be completed for a selected period of time, providing a ‘To-Do-List’. These dates can be simply overwritten as actions are taken and dates are amended.
The data on this sheet can also be ‘Sorted’ in order of ‘Estimated Value’ (in descending order, to put the highest value first), to help to prioritise which actions to take first.
Hopefully this has given you some idea of just how valuable a Spreadsheet can be to your Marketing……..and it’s not really that difficult either……..I promise!!!
The ‘Lead Tracker’ is a FREE Template you can download form my Website and it already contains the Filters, Data Validation, Conditional Formatting, Pivot Tables & Pivot Charts………so all you need to do is add your own data:
Please don’t hesitate to give me a call if you need any help with any aspect of your Spreadsheets……..they’re easy when you know how………and Excel Ace can show you how!!
If you have a CMS (Content Managed System) website or blog, or comment on blogs and news articles that belong to other people, then this article is for you.
As you may or may not know, commenting on others blogs actually helps our ranking and status online in four ways:
#1: giving our opinion to others and showing off our expertise
#2: starting or joining in the conversation
#3: leaving a link back to our website on their website or blog, which means at the very least they will click onto see who you are and what you do if they haven’t come across you before which leads me onto the final benefit…
#4: more hits/traffic to your website with potential sharing and further investigation
Getting people to comment on our blogs and articles is difficult. Most of us have a concern that our audience won’t agree or like what we have written (but this is what makes us all different), so we don’t promote it as much as we should.
You also have to be aware that it takes time to leave our thoughts with other people. As you know, time is precious so we need to use it as best we can. I know 2-5 minutes to leave a comment isn’t a lot of time but sometimes we can think that doing something is going to take us a lot longer then it actually would, which means the majority of people just won’t bother. Its the thinking time that takes the time, not the typing.
You should be commenting on someone else’s blog at least once a week to join in the conversation, gain new followers, make friends and new peers by being interested in what others have to say.
We also know that people buy from people, which means we like to do business with people we like and are relevant to us. This is what I call the 3-5 second rule. As soon as we look at someone we know instantly (within 3-5 seconds) if we like them or not.
So once you have left your comment on someone else’s website why not also show them WHO you are by creating a free account over at Gravatar! All you need to do is upload a photograph/image that you are happy with and once you have done that, your face or your logo will start showing up on websites and blogs you comment on (like in the image below);
So what is Gravatar?
Taken from their website – An “avatar” is an image that represents you online—a little picture that appears next to your name when you interact with websites.
A Gravatar is a Globally Recognized Avatar.
Gravatar uses your email address and assigns one photograph/image to that email address, which means you can have a number of different Gravatars for different emails addresses within your Gravatar profile. Using an avatar will help you build your brand online and you will get noticed a little more.
Now that we are using a variety of platforms online that uses an image of some sort, we can recognise those people and accounts a lot quicker by seeing their avatar or profile picture. LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook all have their own versions but essentially they still display an image.
So for brand recognition… sign up to Gravatar, it’s FREE!
You can use either a photograph of yourself or logo. In my opinion, adding a professional photograph of yourself would be the best option for the majority. As humans we look for similarities and symmetry in others’ faces. The faces we relate to more are the ones we are drawn to, which naturally makes a face online more interesting to look at and investigate further.
Just to say; I’m not saying that you shouldn’t use your logo. On the contrary, a logo should be used in certain circumstances. For example; some of us don’t like our photo taken and wouldn’t dream of adding it to our profiles, larger brands don’t yet have a face for its company, so this is where a logo is more appropriate.
Bloggers of the world are happy to display photographs of themselves so you can put a name to a face, but do make sure you do put YOUR name to YOUR face. Online we can be whoever we want to be but as business owners, bloggers, team members, marketing managers and the like we NEED to “walk our talk” for the company we are promoting. #beauthentic
WordPress isn’t the only online platform that uses Gravatar, there are a number of other platforms online that use this functionality like Hootsuite amongst others, but it is mainly used for blogging including publishers and commenter’s.
Finally, having a Gravatar ensures that the person who is commenting or publishing has a REAL email address, so more often than not they are a real person leaving you a comment.
I hear clients and peers constantly talk about the amount of spam comments they are receiving through their inbox and on their dashboards. To make sure your comments do not hit the spam filter, create your Gravatar today and stand out from the crowd!