In this challenging time of COVID-19, there is no doubt many of us rethink how we work and live. Zoom and Skype have replaced meetings at work and popular eCommerce and delivery websites such as Instacart, Jumia and SafeBoda have replaced trips to the grocery store. Technology and digital tools are filling in the gaps while everyone stays home in the name of saving humanity.
With almost every work shifting remotely for a foreseeable future, here are nine free online tools you can take advantage of to stay on top of both work and your personal life.
Digital tools for Work
When you need to setup a meeting with your team, clients and partners, Zoom comes in handy. It provides a remote conferencing service that combines video conferencing, online meetings, chat, and mobile collaboration.
The Free version can connect for a period of 40mins before having to reconnect again.
When you need to send out mass communications to clients or customers, automation is a godsend. HubSpot has always had a 14-day trial period for its suite of tools, but they’ve also recently added free meetings, quotes, e-signature tools and video creation for 90 days for existing users. That’s on top of their already-free CRM with email marketing.
If you need something fast, HubSpot’s CRM is a great tool to track your business’ contacts and leads, and the email marketing feature enables you to send out critical communications quickly without needing a mail merge.
If you need something for the long-haul, their suite of marketing and sales tools make it easy to get full visibility of your sales pipeline. Plus, you’ll have access to more features for 90 days at no cost to you.
If you haven’t moved to the cloud yet, working remotely has probably been a unique challenge for sharing files. If your team stored everything on local computers before the pandemic, Box (not to be confused with Dropbox) is offering a free trial for 90 days as a response to the ongoing crisis.
As a versatile cloud-based tool, Box can integrate with Office 365, Salesforce and GSuite. The 90-day free trial includes unlimited storage and data loss prevention, so you and your team won’t be hamstrung in your productivity.
One of the most important technical aspects of remote work is ensuring data stays secure. To help companies and businesses do that, Okta is offering access to its single sign-on and multi-factor authentication products for free for emergency remote work and teams.
Okta is a great tool for securing your business’ data from leaks or breaches. The single sign-on tool will streamline logins across apps and platforms while also protecting your team’s data from breaches. It’ll be like having your own private security.
Jing has always been a free screen or image capture tool. But for those with older computers, sharing screens over a Slack call is suboptimal at best, computer-crashing at worst. That leaves screen capture recordings as the best way to share what you’re seeing without risking laptop death (RIP).
You can download Jing for free and use it to capture and share screen recordings with your team members. This is especially helpful for troubleshooting technical issues you can’t describe in words!
Life (And Work, Too!)
6. Simple Habit
As we all navigate the uncharted waters of COVID-19 together, it’s easy to forget to take a breath. Simple Habit can help with that.
Simple Habit is a meditation app to help you achieve mindfulness and sleep better. You can pick from meditations to guided sleep sessions. The app is designed for on-the-go life, so even if you only have five minutes to spare, you can still get in a quick meditation session.
They say the best way to eat an elephant is one chunk at a time. While we absolutely don’t condone eating an elephant, the saying applies for balancing out your work.
Pomofocus will track time and help you stay productive without overworking yourself. The Pomodoro technique splits up work into 25-minute chunks with a 5-minute break afterward. After an hour, you can take a longer 15-minute break.
The Pomodoro Technique works because it focuses your attention and energy on these small, manageable chunks of time. Instead of work-work-working yourself for four or five hours on one project, you can jump between priorities and rest your eyes and stretch.
Who doesn’t love a list? Todoist is like a sticky note list on steroids, and it’s totally free. You can add tasks, prioritize them or set them to recur. So there are no more excuses for “forgetting” to take out the trash every Thursday!
You can use Todoist for separating your tasks out for the day, like scheduling time to help with your kids’ homework, ordering groceries and mowing the lawn. With the world in quarantine, now is the perfect time to get some things done you may have procrastinated up until now (like cleaning out the garage at home or finally achieving Inbox Zero at work). Separating out your day into tasks and to-dos can de-clutter your brain.
9. Google Calendar
Never underestimate Google Calendar. The Calendar can sync to apps like Slack and your Gmail to keep you on top of everything going on in your work life and home life. You can also schedule your own time and block out critical time for yourself, or set reminders to unplug from work for the day.
Google Calendar is a tool for times when you don’t have enough time. You can coordinate your schedule down to the hour to ensure you get the “me time” you need.
The Coronavirus is reshaping industries all across the globe—especially where and how we work. This crisis has made for some unprecedented evolutions in the economy. The companies that make it will adapt to the times and win by investing in viable strategies.
In a time where the ground is shaky at best, you’re looking for some solid footing. That’s why now, more than ever, businesses need to be doubling down on their digital marketing plan.
Think of your company as a sports team. This is your chance to take possession of the ball. Go forward instead of playing defense. While your competition has benched their star players, the goal is yours for the taking.
Supplement Your Outbound Strategies
If you’re a B2B company, leads are definitely the beating heart of your business. You might have relied on cold-calling and pure outbound strategies in the past. But with the Coronavirus making it impossible to meet leads in-person, it’s time to invest in digital marketing to empower your outbound strategy.
Inbound marketing strategies work to get your company in front of the right people. With cold-calling, the likelihood of your contact already wanting your product or service is slim to none. With inbound, your sales team is hyper-focused on only the most qualified leads that are more likely to close. In a time where your staff may be reduced, you can focus your precious resources more wisely.
Replace Outdoor Advertising
When everyone is stuck inside, outdoor advertisements (like billboards and benches) aren’t going to be as effective. Unless you’re in the healthcare industry, we would recommend pulling your budget away from these out-of-home advertisements. Focus your ad dollars where you’re most likely to convert.
Google Search, display and social advertisements will get your business in front of people actually interested in your services. You’re not rolling the dice on passing drivers or foot traffic. The truth is, if you’re not digital, you’re no longer in the marketplace.
The truth is, if you’re not digital, you’re no longer in the marketplace.
Long-Term: You Need a Strategy for When the Worst is Over
Think of a Jenga tower. You have a set number of blocks to build your tower. When you take one block out, it doesn’t go back in the box—it goes somewhere on top of the tower. But if you take out the wrong block, it all falls down.
That Jenga tower is your sales and marketing strategy. Our advice? Don’t make the mistake of removing blocks that knock your tower over. While that one block may appear to be the easy removal, you could be destroying your stable foundation. Rebuilding from scratch is a lot harder than carefully wiggling out one brick here and there.
Your Customers Will Remember You Were There for Them
Right now, you want to keep a hold of your customers. That’s completely understandable. The last thing you want to do, in that case, is pull back on marketing and communications. While the Coronavirus has people scared, going dark will cripple your relationship with your customers. If you’re out of sight, you’re out of mind.
Compassionate and empathetic messaging across your social media platforms and your digital presence is your best bet for the future. Everyone is seeing headlines of doom and gloom. Separate yourself from your competitors by offering real help and support to your target audience.
Be there for your customers and they’ll remember it in the future. Downplay the current situation and they’ll remember that too. There are times where it’s best to not comment on current events, but this isn’t one of them. Your customers will want to know you’re there for them.
Want help setting up these digital tools for your team or getting your business online? Contact us today: E-mail: email@example.com