The best part about making the leap from employee to freelance marketing consultant is, by far, all the fun tech tools. The worst part? All the fun tech tools.
When I worked for someone else, I was given all the marketing apps I needed to do a satisfactory job. As my own boss, I want to do better than just “satisfactory.” I want to be the fastest, smartest, most articulate and creative consultant out there. To do that, I need the very best apps for marketing.
While it’s fun to shop around and try new tech tools, it takes time to sort through the clunky, glitchy, spammy and sometimes downright weird options. Nonetheless, I’ve done the work, and today I’m sharing my favorites with you.
Imagine brilliant custom email marketing templates, scheduling and analysis — all for free. This app lets me schedule a series of follow-up emails to clients based on where they are in their sales cycle. HubSpot is how I check in, get feedback, suggest more business, pitch ideas and even follow up on invoices for current clients. Client prospects are put on a separate email track: Intro pitch, discovery session and full-on custom proposal — and, a few days later, a ping reminding them to consider me a resource. Other email marketing automation options to check out include MailChimp, Constant Contact and Campaign Monitor.
Every successful freelancer has been approached by a potential client that wants something a little outside their regular jam. Udemy is the best app for taking a crash course in whatever it is that’ll take your business to the next level. Whether you’re requested to write an e-book, address a crowd or add some HTML tags to your product for a website, there’s an instantly-available Udemy course to teach you how. With this app, your reputation can sell itself. Want more examples? Try CreativeLive, Teachable and Learnyst as alternatives.
A few months ago, my favorite content curation tool, HootSuite Suggestions, was officially laid to rest after years of providing me with the most relevant, interesting and somewhat subversive articles surrounding my niche. Enter DrumUp, a gem of a replacement I would’ve missed if not for the demise of my trusty Suggestions app. DrumUp lets me build a content stream based on keywords in my niche. And like the more popular, robust and expensive apps, it lets me link up my favorite go-to blogs so I don’t even need to leave the app to re-post goods from my trusted industry heroes. If you’re looking for more, Curata, PostPlanner and LinkHubb are also favorites that supply regular, fresh and relevant content I need.
Here’s a bot that stalks your Twitter followers’ conversations so you’re free to do other things. I simply type in a hashtag or two (or ten) that I’d like my bot to report on, and at the end of the day I can see which of my followers are saying what about each topic. I can either jump into the discussion with my unique perspective, or retweet their most poignant thoughts. Both moves score me points for staying involved, when really, I was at the pool. The result is a lively, organic community — the richest soil for relationship marketing. Alternatives include SproutSocial, Sendible and CommandPost.
Gone are the days of simply posting every finished product you’ve delivered to promote it to your followers. Algorithms are smarter than that, and your Facebook Page’s updates rarely even appear in followers’ news feeds anymore. The answer? Private groups, with the safety of a closed group where members feel safe contributing, and where your posts will actually appear front-and-center. Manage, nurture and moderate your own private group on the go with the Facebook Groups mobile app. I also love Slack, Google Hangouts and Yammer for community building and collaboration.
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This is one of the best apps for marketing pros like me — a.k.a., marketers who don’t enjoy self-promotion. Because marketing is one of the most effective forms of advertising today, this app will help you partner with other brands to tackle systemic injustice, diseases and poverty. The goal is to stretch your philanthropic wings, sure, but you’ll be rubbing shoulders with potential clients and subcontractors the whole time. CharityMiles, Feedie and PocketCause will also do the job.
Apps streamline your marketing, but spending hours, days and even weeks figuring out which ones are the best can get frustrating, tiring and even expensive. Turn things around by downloading these tried-and-true marketing apps and see how each one works to grow your unique business. Let me (and my bot) know which app works best for you!