This is the second blog of a four-part series from Alkaloid Networks member, Matt Schwartz of Inspry, a digital web design agency specializing in web site design, web development, and e-Commerce in Joomla, WordPress, and Shopify. Matt and his team develop and maintain the sites for many Alkaloids including Alkaloid Networks, ArtsATL, and the Atlanta Coworking Alliance to name just a few. In an effort to help other Alkaloid Networks members minimize disruption, we offer his tips to the broader community.
We’re all dealing with upheavals in our normal business routines. Be sure to take advantage of business tech deals that make it easier to work from home. And while you are at it, try some new digital methods for customer outreach. From connecting with coworkers and clients to managing projects remotely and automating processes. Use this opportunity to adopt smart upgrades that make your business more efficient. This will give you the potential to bounce back faster and come out stronger in the end.
New Ways to Do Business
With millions of people now working remotely, business tech companies are offering generous deals. These essential tools keep businesses running smoothly. Whether you need to schedule meetings with employees, track progress on special projects, follow up with customers, or host online events, chances are there’s an app for that. Check out these offers on useful software to empower your teams and stay in touch during the crisis.
- Google Hangout Meet – If you have a basic G-Suite plan, take advantage of free premium upgrades through July 1st. You can host up to 250 people on video call, or live-stream to as many as 100k viewers. Use Hangout Meet to conference with employees or go live on your social media. Consider inviting customers to trivia night for branded events from home.
- Webex Meetings – Cisco has expanded capabilities on free personal accounts. Until further notice, you can enjoy unlimited videoconferencing for up to 100 participants with dial-in and VoIP capabilities. From private classes to corporate meetings, it’s an easy way to connect remotely on one of the most secure, reliable platforms available.
- SignalWire – This new-kid-on-the-block, boasts to have the next-generation video collaboration platform. It was developed by the original geeks of software-defined telecom (the Alkaloid founder knows several personally). It is powered by an elastic cloud communications network featuring APIs for voice, SMS, and video functionality. Now is a good time for the 30-day trial.
- Loom – This video messaging tool can help you stay engaged with coworkers and clients. It has easy screen sharing, recording, and editing options. It’s an innovative way to connect with recipients. Loom has removed recording limits, extended free trials of Pro to 30 days, and priced all paid plans half off.
- Microsoft – In response to increased demand for work from home tools, Microsoft is offering free access to Office 365 E1, including Teams software, for 6 months. This includes web-based Office apps, email, file storage and sharing. It’s a secure way to manage your business, collaborate with employees, and automate your workflow.
- Wrike – Collaborate across teams while tracking task progress, managing resources, and boost productivity while working remotely. New accounts can enjoy 6 months of full access to Wrike Professional for up to 15 users.
- Zoho Remotely – Zoho is offering free use of their Remotely suite. This bundle includes a dozen cloud apps makes working from home a breeze. Communicate, collaborate, track assignments, manage documents, and more, with secure access for up to 100 users.
- HubSpot – With CRM software from HubSpot, data-driven systems help track customers and manage marketing, sales, and service from one convenient platform. Get free access for 90 days to premium tools like Quotes, E-Sign, Meetings, and Video, plus unlimited email sends. Interested in upgrading? You can lock in discounts for up to a year and save more than half off regular pricing.
- Calendly – This handy scheduling software is offering Zoom and GoToMeeting integration for free currently. It’s easy to stay on top of meetings while you’re working out of the office. In fact, you can schedule an Alkaloid Networks tour or free day pass using the WordPress integration.
Reach Customers Remotely
Coronavirus shutdowns are forcing everyone to find a new normal at home. Now is a good opportunity to experiment with new methods for customer outreach. From webinars to podcasts, plus new social media channels, take advantage of the down time. These business tech offerings can assist you in pitching your products, demonstrating DIY solutions, or create compelling content for new venues. Host virtual meetups to maintain relationships. Network with email and video calls to generate long term leads. With everyone feeling the effects of isolation, you can maintain established relationships, build new contacts, and boost brand authority through digital means. Alkaloid Networks even has podcast equipment available for members to use as part of their membership.
- Podbean – This free tool makes it easy to create audio and video podcasts and distribute them across platforms. Includes options to monetize your content and track audience insights. It’s worth playing around with, especially if you have the time to start building a following.
- Blubrry – Another option for creating and hosting podcasts, Blubrry offers paid plans designed to fit any budget, and convenient WordPress integration options for your website.
- Loom – With extended free trials and unlimited recording, you can easily share videos with one client or an audience of many.
Take Advantage of Automation
Everyone stuck in limbo waiting for the economy to start churning back to life. Make business tech choices that your future-you will be grateful for. Automate some of your daily processes to save time and money. Get a competitive edge when business starts picking up again. Use Customer Relationship Management (CRM) tools and Project Management software to build a responsive sales funnel to attract inbound leads. Automate proposals, invoices, and schedule on-boarding and follow-up contacts. Setting up these tools may take some time, but it will be well worth the effort when your customers begin to return.
- Zapier – This all-in-one automation tool makes it easy to integrate apps. It’s free to schedule up to 100 tasks per month. Set actions to trigger automatic responses, from generating leads to replying to emails and saving documents. Customize processes with pre-set templates, or create your own, and take the work out of your workflow.
Business tech companies are offering some great incentives to try out new tools for remote work and digital engagement. Take advantage of the opportunity to experiment with software and find new methods that work for you. Alkaloid Networks member, Inspry can provide free quotes and personalized recommendations on software and services that can help your business meet unique challenges during the shutdown.