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What does “being more productive” mean to you?
For some marketers, it’s all about mobility. The ability to do things from your mobile phone–from anywhere–has spawned an entire industry around mobile productivity.
Whether it’s posting to social media, getting status updates on projects or even closing a deal from your phone, marketers and salespeople alike associate the accessibility that mobile affords as being more productive.
Still, many feel that it’s more of a distraction and actually makes us less productive.
That the expectation to respond, share an opinion, or answer a question will prevent them from digging into the deep work that really matters.
Regardless of your position, it’s hard to ignore the vast market of mobile productivity apps.
Which ones are worth your time? Which are more likely to waste it?
To get these answers, we polled our community of 1000+ digital marketers to learn which apps have the biggest impact on their day-to-day work.
Some shared apps that make it easy to stay on top of their work (regardless of where that work is done), while others shared apps that use native mobile capabilities to make it easier to concentrate during working hours.
And, if you are looking for more tools for small business, check out our guide to software tools for startups and software tools for marketing agencies.
If you want to keep a daily habit, one easy way to hold yourself accountable is to complete an activity at the same time every day. It is ALWAYS easy to blow off creative writing or journaling because they don’t really relate to any other daily activity. Creative writing apps ensure that you keep up with your writing every day.
How I Use It: I’m using this app for journaling. Creativity is a large part of my work, and journaling helps me develop new ideas. I record my thoughts and experiences in the app and as I let my thoughts flow, I always stumble upon interesting ideas that I then use in my work and life. The app is an incredible tool to discover the benefits of free thinking.
My Favorite Part: Other than providing a smooth interface for writing, the app also analyses my mood, emotions, and topics I talk about in my journal. It’s a very interesting feature that encourages me to keep to a regular writing habit – I’m always curious to see what insights about my journal entries the app will show.
Sure, individual marketing tools like HubSpot, Google Analytics and AdWords have their own individual apps. But, if you want to stay on top of ALL of your data, having an analytics app or an app store dashboard will save you from the vicious cycle of logging into multiple apps and navigating multiple user interfaces to check on your KPIs.
How I Use It: Checking the key marketing metrics for all our clients.
My Favorite Part: What I love most about the Databox mobile app is that I can check on the marketing performance for all of our agency’s clients, no matter where I am or what I’m doing. I don’t have to manually log in and out of separate accounts for HubSpot, Google Analytics, AdWords, Facebook, etc. Databox displays all our key metrics updated in real-time. It’s invaluable for staying on top of everything!
Get updates on up to 10 of your business’ KPIs on your phone every day with Databox’s Scorecards
Communication is the core use case for mobile phones. So, any email or chat app will easily fit into your existing behavior.
How I Use It: I live on Slack – both the desktop version and the app. About 40% of the team at IMPACT works remotely (including me), and Slack is our primary tool for staying in touch throughout the day. Not only do I use it for my work at IMPACT, I’m also in 17 other Slack channels that provide me with ways to stay in touch with other marketers, network, and learn. The Slack mobile app is a lifesaver when I’m not at my desk and means I never miss an important conversation.
My Favorite Part: Slack makes it super easy to communicate in whatever fashion is easiest and most appropriate – whether that is via text or images. You can even use voice transcription through your phone to post messages when typing isn’t practical. I also love that the app lists channels with active conversations first so you don’t have to go searching for new comments.
Frequency: Multiple times per day
How I Use It: I use the Slack app to chat with colleagues and share important updates and documents on the go. This keeps projects and marketing activities moving forward, even when I am not at the office.
My Favorite Part: The best part is that it is always synced, and I can continue where I left off on my desktop.
How I Use It: Slack is the best app for staying updated with your team and colleagues. It is easy to use but not intrusive because is not like Whattsapp or other messaging apps where people can see your last visit or if you have read a message or not.
My Favorite Part: You can create separate channels for certain team as well as channels for everyone in the company.
Also, the possibility to integrate a bot for sales or chat requests from your website is amazing!
How I Use It: Staying on top of work while on the go or out of the office
My Favorite Part: Its ease of use – finding information, logging ideas, and responding to colleagues is made very easy.
How I Use It: Typically, communication between team members.
My Favorite Part: We love Slack because it allows us to separate our team communication from being lost in the onslaught of emails, text messages and phone calls. As an all-in-one solution, we rely on Slack every day to complete tasks, update each other and collaborate effectively.
Google G Suite
How I Use It: Anything involving email… whether it is deleted unwanted emails, carrying on a conversation with a client, or answering requests!
I use Google Docs for drafting articles and blog posts. I also use it to record my poetry.
My Favorite Part: Both are very easy to use… and they save me time!
I also have a “dictate” function installed on my phone, so if I have a really long email to type (or an article to write), I can simply just dictate it with my voice. This makes better use of my time, because typing using a phone can be quite tedious!
How I Use It: Bonjoro lets me do one thing and that’s to record and send videos to new customers.
My Favorite Part: It’s simple and lets me focus on the job at hand. It gives me a list of people to send videos to and it lets me be creative as I can record videos from anywhere. I can send welcome videos, milestone videos and so on. It’s been awesome so far.
How I Use It: Trello is a productivity app that allows me to organize my daily tasks accordingly. It allows you to create detailed work schedules and tasks through a very customizable layout. Best of all, you can share your tasks with your teammates, which helps make the workflow smoother and more efficient.
My Favorite Part: When it comes to productivity apps, user experience is key, as all team members would like an app that helps keep them organized with their daily tasks. The Trello app creates tasks and coordinates with your co-workers, which promotes a more efficient workplace.
Grow and Convert
How I Use It: Checking the status of projects, responding to client questions, managing our publishing calendar, etc.
My Favorite Part: I get immediate updates on the status of different projects in our business and I can see them on my phone.
the eFax Mobile App
How I Use It: Sending faxes (they aren’t completely gone, you know!)
My Favorite Part: It takes the hassle out of faxing and allows me to do so from anywhere. Seriously, the amount of places that make you fax your contracts instead of email in the 21st Century is frightening!
Rodica Maria Lazar
How I Use It: Checking whether the team delivers tasks on time, making sure I don’t miss any communication/messages from clients, keeping on top of deadlines, timelines and activity for the entire team wherever I am
My Favorite Part: I love how easy it is to stay on top of workload. It integrates with your calendar and you can just forward emails and they’ll be noted in your tasks as well. It makes it so much easier to never miss a deadline or a request for any of my clients.
How I Use It: I’m usually browsing through all my to-dos, tasks, and projects so that I can stay proactive and plan out my day, even when I’m not in office.
My Favorite Part: I like that it’s user-friendly. It makes it easy to see everything on my plate, even when on the road. Whether its an update from a coworker or simply checking something off my to-do list, It’s pretty great.
How I Use It: WhatsApp Business app is made with business owners in mind. It has unique features which are not available in normal (usual) WhatsApp.
Using it, you can interact with customers by easily automating, sorting and quickly responding to messages. Here is a brief view on its unique features:
The features help me focus more on work than on replying messages of customers with little to no effort.
My Favorite Part: I specifically love two features of the app:
These two features are great time savers for any business.
Some marketers have gotten tired of endlessly checking their social media feeds or email. We are going to loosely define educational apps as any app that encourages you to self-educate in your free time. These apps usually deliver books, videos or blog posts to users.
How I Use It: A couple of months ago, I realized that my smartphone was making me jump from one app to the next as I reacted to various notifications and a constant need to get back to clients and colleagues. It wasn’t healthy. When a notification came in, I’d be worried about the drain it was going to have on my time – ‘what do they want now?!’.
At first, I tried turning off my email notifications and this helped a little. But I would still jump into my email app to see if something needed my attention. Soon, I realized that this was after I’d finished reading a bunch of social media posts.
I came to the conclusion that I needed to focus my attention on the stuff that really mattered and stop opening my email app as a default habit when I picked up my phone.
I moved my Kindle app to the home screen and filled it with all the books I’d wanted to read for my professional development but had never found the time. Now, when I reach for my phone, I open a book and do something that will benefit our business. I’m focusing on important topics in greater depth. It’s been a game changer for me.
My Favorite Part: The simplicity. Pages of text, all saved for offline reading. Easy to record the most important bits using the highlights feature but, most importantly, the fact that I choose to give it my attention – it doesn’t demand it via notifications.
How I Use It: Pocket is an app for managing a reading list of articles from the Internet. I save the best content such as in-depth articles or videos throughout the day and then read it later when I’m traveling or have a spare time.
My Favorite Part: I’m not disturbed by reading articles or watching conference talks in working hours and get the most of my time which will be otherwise wasted when on the go or in a queue.
Frequency: Multiple times per week, but not every day
These apps either make it easier to organize your thoughts, or encourage you to focus on the real work that you should be doing when you get the urge to check your phone. Either way, they help you accomplish a higher volume of creative work.
Detox Procrastination Blocker
How I Use It: Well, I use the app to get stuff done that doesn’t require the phone. I even do tasks that require an internet connection on my laptop.
Basically, this app locks your phone for an amount of time that you set. All you can do within this period with your phone is just call people up. As we all know, our phones contribute heavily to our daily procrastination. Locking your phones will help you get more stuff done, unless the work you do requires heavy use of your phone.
My Favorite Part: It is an enormous procrastination killer. I save huge chunks of time and get a lot of work done by working for long stretches of undistracted time.
This app also has a “Hard” mode which prevents you from bypassing the app’s lock by restarting your phone and uninstalling the app!
First Five Eight Media
How I Use It: I’ll need a mobile app just when travelling, and Evernote is great for taking notes, which I can then act on when I’m back at my desk. This is just for capturing the details of the conversation, or task to be completed when I get back to my laptop.
My Favorite Part: It syncs well across multiple devices. You can record audio, add drawings, images and other attachments. It allows you to set reminders to follow up and reduce the chance of forgetting about the note. It’s a great tool for getting things done quickly on the road, and allows you to catch up again when you’re ready to work!
Digital Marketing Institute
How I Use It: Offtime allows you to get work done without digital distractions. If you need to zone in to get a project or task completed without distractions, you can use Offtime to restrict your access certain apps, block calls, texts and notifications for selected periods of time.
My Favorite Part: What’s great is it’s not just for work – you can also use it to focus on family or yourself. During work hours (or short periods of time when you’re working on a project) you can block your access to social apps; whereas during your home hours you can block notifications from your work email app if you find it difficult to switch off and give your family your full attention. It will also provide you with analytics on your phone usage so you can see times of day when your level phone usage might be problematic.
How I Use It: I use this app for meditation & focus before the beginning of work in the morning. This allows me to push out any distractions and concentrate on my mission-critical tasks. I easily see at least a 20-30% increase in my productivity on days I take the time (even only 10 minutes) to use the Calm app.
My Favorite Part: I love that it’s simple to use with a great user interface/experience (UI/UX). There is a daily meditation which is always different and only 10 minutes, so it’s easy to just click into the app and start my meditation to get focused for the workday. Lots of content is available for free which is always appreciated.
How I Use It: This app shows me how much time you spend on my phone. I use it to audit how I spend my time and ensure I’m maxing out my productivity.
My Favorite Part: I always want to ensure I’m using my time productively, and when not working, I want to be engaging with others, not mindlessly scrolling through my phone all the time. Moment enables me to be intentional with my time.
You may be accustomed to scheduling all your social media marketing from a desktop app. Or, perhaps you need to stay active on multiple social media platforms at all times. Either way, a social media app will help you track and publish on multiple social networks at once.
How I Use It: I use Crowdfire to schedule my social media account and manage followers based on the analytics it provides.
The app lets me manage all my social media handles from a single dashboard. I can keep track of my followers, who followed me, unfollow those who don’t follow back, check how much interaction a post has received and all those important features which are required for my business.
There’s also a content curation tab which will help me find the best content from an interested niche and share it directly with one-click.
My Favorite Part: Crowdfire has one of the most pleasant user interfaces. Setting up social accounts is a breeze, plus the beautiful color pallets used make it more interactive.
I like the feature of having analytics about followers and posts. I can directly check how many impressions a post has received and user actions. Also, I can unfollow those who are not following me back from the same app and with one-click.
How I Use It: I promote my blog posts on Instagram, check on my Twitter analytics, and “rebuffer” if needed.
My Favorite Part: Buffer is easy and has a variety of purposes. For example, I can use it for a variety of social media sites. Also, the price is right since there’s a free version.
How I Use It: I use it for last-minute social media posts designs.
My Favorite Part: The templates
We all work differently, therefore there are very few apps that appeal, and will be useful to everyone.
For individual contributors, mobile apps can often be a distraction from work that requires a deep level of focus.
It’s up to you to match the mobile apps that you use with your preferred way of working.
Just because you can access all the updates from your project management and chat tools on mobile, doesn’t mean that it will necessarily be helpful or productive for you.
You also need to consider your team before adding more tools to your stack.
Does it fit their working style? Will it distract more than it informs? Does it align us more closely with our priorities and goals?
There are a lot of decisions to make, but we hope this inside look at what others are finding helpful removes some of manual labor from the process of figuring it all out by yourself.
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