Productivity Tools for Time-Starved Operators
Running an FEC requires a tremendous amount of time and energy. The good news is that there are plenty of productivity tools available that can boost your work efficiency and help you better organize many aspects of your business.
With this in mind, we’ve collected a resource of different tools that could help you be more efficient in your everyday tasks.
Here are our 5 must-have tools to help you maximize your time and make your business grow faster, all the while keeping your expenses under control (all these popular Web platforms are free or have a free version).
#01 – Canva – Quick & Easy DIY Graphic Design Tool
You want to make professional graphics that will catch your customer’s eye, but you don’t want to spend a lot of time or money creating them. Whether it’s a nice Facebook banner, an eye-catching flyer or a well-designed poster to print and display locally, Canva has a template to simplify the process. Canva is an online graphic design tool developed with non-designers in mind, making it easy to drag-and-drop objects and images until you like the way it looks. You can create high-quality graphics quickly using the templates, layouts, and design elements – even on the free plan!
The web design tool offers easy-to-customize templates for just about any design need you can think of: Flyers, coupons, logos, menus, posters, and so on.
There’s even a section in the library purely for social media graphics:
With this tool, you can minimize the time you take to create awesome social media content. Instead of creating your graphics from scratch, use Canva’s giant library of templates, which you can use and customize for free!
#02 – Pixlr – Photo Editor
Are you looking for free image editing software for your photos?
Pixlr is a free, web-based photo editing tool that’s fast, simple, and has plenty of features to make your photos look professional for your social media posts or website.
When you go to Pixlr’s website, you can choose to use Pixlr Editor or Pixlr Express.
If you’re already familiar with Photoshop, you’ll find that the Pixlr Editor menu options are quite similar. It’s packed with the kind of image-enhancing tools you’d find in the premium software, and more are being added every day. This option is meant for more experienced users who have a basic background in graphic design.
The Express version is much easier to use, offering a variety of one-click changes that are fun, fast, and a very good choice for beginning editors. It allows you to apply effects, overlays, borders, stickers and text in only a few clicks.
#03 – MailChimp – Email Marketing Software
Email marketing is one of the most cost-effective marketing tools to easily reach out to your customers and keep them interested in visiting your FEC. By growing a list of subscribers who expressly signed up to hear from you, you can easily send out regular emails highlighting upcoming events and promotions, party packages, news, opening times and any other updates about your location. If you have weekly specials, send an email, and if you have a new game or attraction, you can spread awareness and invite guests to come check it out!
There are tons of great email marketing platforms to choose from, but for small businesses we recommend MailChimp because of its very easy-to-use interface with great tools and amazing support.
One of the most popular email marketing service providers, Mailchimp comes with an easy email creator, autoresponders, contacts segmenting into groups, and simple tracking and analytics so you can track the effectiveness of your email campaigns.
MailChimp offers a ‘forever free’ plan which allows you to send 12,000 emails to up to 2,000 subscribers. Their paid plans start from $10/month.
#04 – Hootsuite – Social Media Management
Are you concerned about the time you spend on social media trying to keep your audience engaged? The first and most important technique to cut down on time spent is to automate your social media posting.
Hootsuite is one of the most popular social media automation tools on the market. It allows you to connect all your social media accounts (Twitter, Facebook, Instagram) and to manage them from a single dashboard.
The primary benefit of a social media management tool is the ability to schedule your posts ahead of time to be shared across various social networks. This allows you to focus on other areas of your business, while keeping your social updates fresh.
Hootsuite’s free plan includes managing up to 3 social media profiles in one place, scheduling 30 posts in advance and basic analytics for tracking followers and various growth and content statistics.
#05 – Facebook Polls – Simple Survey tool
Want to know what your customers think about a new game you are considering buying? Want to run a promotion but not sure which one would work better with your guests? Polls and surveys are a great way to connect with and gather opinions, insights, and information from your customers.
Facebook polls are a useful tool to help you take the pulse of your audience. You can create a simple, one-question poll from your business page by clicking on the ‘Create a poll’ option.
From there, you can type whatever poll question you want to be answered in the status box. Then you add two options you’d like for the results. You can add images or a GIF to each option (answers) as well as give a life limit to your poll and schedule your post for later.
Facebook polls are a great way to learn what your followers prefer between any two topics. However, if you want to create a more comprehensive survey, Polls for Pages is another very easy-to-use tool that allows you to have as many questions as you’d like, and you have a lot more options for answers to each question as well. You can choose the question format (multiple-choice, checkboxes, drop-down list, ratings, etc), add images, modify the layout and many more options to customize your questionnaire.
Each time you have a question about your products or customers, don’t rely on intuition. Just ask them!
We use many of these resources ourselves and hope you find them useful as well!