As a marketer, you’re pulled in a million directions at once. Explain these new marketing tools, write next week’s tweets, negotiate a vendor contract, code and send out this email — the possibilities are endless. One second you’re creative and the next analytical. How can you be expected to keep your head above water with changing priorities and each day looking different than the last?
I’ve been on an endless journey to discover the best marketing tools and tactics to help me be more productive, focused, and thrive day-to-day. At NewsCred, I’m frequently asked what the icons in my toolbar are or what a specific program/extension is, so I figured if these tools can help a few co-workers, hopefully they can help you as well. I’ve included a link to each tool below, a Windows equivalent where appropriate (I’m on a Macbook), and a description of how it can help.
I’m not sure how people use the web without this. It’s pretty self-explanatory, and like the name suggests removes most ads from websites you visit. The results are a cleaner, faster, and less annoying browsing experience. Plus, the widespread use of this really hammers home the importance of content marketing, as it’s really the only way to reach a full audience today.
aText Windows alt
This is maybe my favorite tool on this list, saving me hours every week. It’s a text expander — you type in a word or combination of characters and the program expands that into sentences, shortcuts, and more. I use it to have multiple email signatures (with/without phone number), write canned email responses, insert common code snippes (HTML styling + Marketo tokens), autofix common typos, and assist with filling out forms. Here is a good guide from Lifehacker showcasing a ton of use cases. It’s for a different text expansion product, but the principles apply the same regardless.
Boomerang for Gmail for Outlook
This is an easy-to-use extension for email clients that allows you to schedule emails, return emails to your inbox at a later time, send auto follow-up emails, track responses, and more. Definitely give this one a shot.
Chrome Omnibox tricks If you’re not using Chrome yet, get it together!
My favorite use for this is to search sites like LinkedIn, Salesforce, Gmail, and Google Drive without navigating to those sites and clicking into the search bar. It’s also helpful for doing quick calculations, quick composing emails, and more.
Not a ton needs to be said about this one! It’s great for quick access to files across the organization, sharing screenshots, and keeping your computer file set-up tidy. I’d recommend setting up a custom sync of folders that will auto update to your computer, and for the items you don’t need as often you can navigate via their web app. There are also plenty of alternatives if Dropbox isn’t your thing (Google Drive, Box, iCould, Amazon, etc.).
Evernote has a scary amount of features, and power-users can do just about anything. I use it to keep track of meetings, maintain vendor notes, save web articles for later reading, and tag notes for easy indexing and searching.
This is a mandatory install for your computer. Trust me, just do it. f.lux tweaks the color of your screen to account for the time of day. During nighttime it cuts the harsh blue light emitted to reduce eye strain and better regulate your body’s internal clock. You can disable it for certain programs if needed (Photoshop for example, where accurate colors matter). This is one of those rare tools that can actually improve your life!
Gliffy is a super clean, easy to use flowchart builder. If you spend any sort of time doing project management, it’s a great free browser extension to help you save time without needing an additional application on your computer to help create these.
Gmail shortcuts for Outlook
If you’re anything like me, you spend a lot of time in your email. Writing and responding to email, organizing folder structures, searching for old messages, and so on. Gmail and Outlook allow you to use keyboard shortcuts that allow you to do just about anything, and save a lot of time while doing it — just pick a few favorite shortcuts that would be useful and use them religiously. My favorites are selecting/deleting emails, archiving, creating links, and searching. While you’re here, learn the advanced search tricks that will help you immensely in finding emails. You’ll be amazed at how much time you save and how quickly you can navigate your inbox.
We all know it’s recommended to use different passwords across programs, but how many actually do? Trust me, you don’t want a hacker compromising your entire company because you use the same password to access Dropbox and email as you do to access Twitter. LastPass is the most popular password manager to help you keep track of your different log-ins, and will provide recommendations on how to be more secure. They also offer tools to automatically fill out forms, saving you the repetition of typing your name, email, and company over and over again.
Pomodoro One Windows alt
The Pomodoro Technique is a time management method consisting of 25-minute work increments followed by short breaks, and it is something I follow religiously. Pomodoro One is a free program that keeps track of these time intervals and alerts you as appropriate when you should start a break or your next work cycle. At each break look away from your computer, get up from your desk, and stretch a bit to promote a healthy workspace.
Spectacle Windows alt
Excel, PowerPoint, Evernote, Chrome, Wunderlist, and Slack. Those are the applications I have open right now on my computer. With a limited amount of screen space, how can you manage so many different things efficiently? Enter Spectacle, my favorite app to move and resize application windows with a keyboard shortcut. You want Chrome to take up 3/4 of your monitor, and Wunderlist the last 1/4? No problem. You want Evernote on the top half and Excel on the bottom half? Easy. Want to full screen Slack from the small window it’s open in now? Done. This is one of these marketing tools that once you get used to, you’ll wonder how you ever did without it.
Spotlight Windows alt
Spotlight is one of the most basic features on a Mac, but I’m constantly amazed at how many people don’t know how to use it. Quickly launch programs, access settings, and find files with a simple keyboard shortcut (Command [⌘] + Space bar). Alfred is a Spotlight alternative, but on steroids. One of the most versatile programs you can install, but unless you’re a very techy power-user of your computer in general, stick with Spotlight.
This is my personal favorite for keeping tabs on Twitter. Manage multiple accounts, display custom activity streams, and more all in your web browser. It’s a simple, easy to use tool for those of us that aren’t full-time dedicated to managing social media.
The best free to-do list manager I’ve ever come across, and I’ve tried just about all of them. Set custom due dates (including recurring tasks), manage multiple to-do lists, add attachments and notes, create sub-tasks, and set desktop notifications all in the program. At the end of every day I go through my email inbox and make sure that I add any outstanding items to my work to-do list. Also has mobile versions so you can keep up to date across all your devices. If you’ve never tried it, give this one a shot!
If you spend a lot of time brainstorming or conceptualizing, XMind will be a nice addition to your application list (plus it’s free!). Manage gantt charts, build matrices, and brainstorm with ease all right in the app. This tool is only limited by your creativity in how you apply it.
Marcus Stoll is Head of Marketing EMEA at NewsCred