How much can you actually do from your mobile phone?
Whilst watching a rather lacklustre England football game on my sofa the other evening I started going through various bits and bobs from work on my phone. I realised that I could pretty much get myself fully up to speed with everything that had been going on in the office that day purely through apps. I wasn’t just vaguely keeping up to date with what was going on by checking emails, but actually seeing all work that had been done, analysing results that had been achieved and creating action items off the back of what I had found.
As a director at a growing digital marketing agency I thought it might be useful for other digital minded people to see how I use my mobile phone for business. It might not interest you in the slightest, but I’m always nosey and ask people what their favourite apps are, so I thought you might like to see mine.
When reading this blog, try to imagine sitting on the sofa and not being able to use a desktop, laptop or tablet, and these are the apps that work best for me. I’m sure there are 100’s more, and having seen some other “Top Business App” blog posts, my choices vary quite a bit. Bear in mind we are a midsized digital marketing agency!
# 1. Wunderlist is a nice and simple task management app. When our agency was small we found it great for sharing tasks. You can share task lists and give others permission to add tasks to your lists. Each party is then notified when a particular task has been completed. Like most apps these days Wunderlist is cloud based so tasks can be added and viewed on your mobile but are also accessible through a desktop application. We found this to be unsustainable as we grew, but would be great for smaller businesses or for personal use.
Teamwork PM (Paid)
# 2. Teamwork PM is a task management software with what I think is a great app that allows you to do the majority of things that you can do from the web based version. You can set-up projects and task lists within each project and give permissions to each. Different people can be assigned to each task and users can be notified when new tasks are completed or added. You can add milestones, dependencies and Gantt charts. It’s also possible to add links, notepads (from meetings) and various other things.
It’s a great way to add things that come to mind throughout the day or double check what project tasks have been completed that day.
# 3. I’ve been using Evernote for as long as I can remember. For those of you that don’t use it, quite simply, when something pops into your head that you want to jot down you can jot it down in Evernote. If someone mentions a fantastic tool at a networking event rather than try and remember it (which inevitably won’t happen), just pop it into Evernote. You can add tags to your notes so you know which ones are business related and which are personal. I have used the recording feature in numerous meetings to make sure I don’t miss anything and this is also the app that I use to make all my meeting notes. When you get back to the office you can access the web based version of Evernote on your PC and copy any notes straight into an email and send the minutes onto the relevant parties.
Again Evernote is cloud based so you can take notes on a phone and have them immediately accessible on a desktop after the meeting.
# 4. A lot of my friends, particularly those in finance, still think Dropbox is extremely complicated. It isn’t.
More and more offices don’t save locally anymore often using Dropbox as the new “My Documents”. Everyone has 100GB which is plenty of space and everyone has access to everything they need from any device. Although “DB” is great for business I use it personally for a number of things. The point of this blog is to highlight some of the best mobile apps, and this is certainly one of them.
I also quite like to see what files are being updated every time I see a pop-up in the bottom right!
**Whilst writing this the whole of Dropbox has gone down. This is all we are seeing on their site:
Google Drive (Free)
# 5. I know a lot of digital agencies like ours use Google Drive instead of Dropbox. To be honest, I’d probably be happy to use Google Drive seeing as we use so much other Google technology and all reports I have are positive enough. My phone syncs with Google Drive as well as Dropbox and we do share various documents with partner agencies and clients who use Google Drive, but it isn’t our cloud storage app of choice. From what I’ve seen the app functions well too. Sorry I can’t give you more on this one…
# 6. I’ve used Pocket for quite a few years now and really loved it. I use it almost on a daily basis. Pocket enables you to view articles, news, blogs and articles offline. I spend half an hour every morning looking through my favourite digital/tech blogs, but it is quite hard to always find the time to do this. If I know I have a long journey or sometime during the day when I’ll be without internet access I’ll save these articles to Pocket. You do this by clicking a little icon on your web browser, which then syncs the content with all your portable devices for viewing offline at a later date. This certainly made my tube journeys go faster. It also means you don’t have to rush when you are at underground platforms to download a web page if you know the train is pulling away in any moment.
# 7. I have to admit, I think I was a little late on the Feedly scene. Feedly is available in all major browsers and as an app via a Google account. Quite simply it imports and combines all your RSS feeds. It can be thought of as a better looking and more functional Google Reader. There are many ways to customise and organise your feed such as; what’s new, latest, shared, history, saved, categories etc…Like Pocket you can save articles for reading “offline” at a later date.
This app is a must have for combining all your favourite RSS feeds and reading them on the go.
Google Hangout (Previously Talk)
# 8. I was a little annoyed when Google Talk on my phone merged with Google Hangout, but I’m getting used to it now. In our office everyone is on Google Talk at all times and can always be contacted, even if they have their headphones on! When I leave this office I have an app that turns on my Google Hangout so that I am still contactable even when out and about. This may not be everyone’s preference though!
What’s APP/ Viber (Free)
# 9. Both these apps are huge and I’m sure everyone has heard of them. For me they are a fantastic way to communicate with some of our clients who are based abroad. My personal preference is Viber because it is combination of Skype and WhatsApp. I message clients in Australia and speak to them through the same platform at no cost. I find Skype a little clunky and from a business perspective seeing each other isn’t of upmost importance. It is a quick and easy way to communicate with clients based abroad.
# 10. Teamviewer is a software package that allows desktop sharing, remote control, file sharing and much more. There is a Teamviewer app that allows me to easily access and control any computer in our office via my mobile phone. I certainly wouldn’t want to be doing anything complicated, but just for checking information and data it can certainly be very useful.
# 11. I had been waiting a long time for this app to come out. The amount of clients I can check up on whilst watching TV at home is amazing. The only downside is you will find it hard to stop checking! The app will enable you to customise charts over different timeframes and showing different data. You can see Adwords data, e-commerce data, goals and filter using segments. This is particularly useful for monitoring Adwords spend and goals, if you have them set-up correctly.
I’ve also found it interesting to look at real time data during launches or big marketing pushes. One example of this was when one of our clients was interviewed on This Morning and we could watch the number of active visitors on the site rocket.
SEO SERP App (~£3 for Pro)
# 12. I’ve tried various SEO tools, all of which seem to be pretty poor and a waste of money. What I wanted was a tool that could tell me quickly and reliably the rankings of our clients’ core keywords from my phone. This is exactly what this app does. It is still in development, but I find the results to be, on the hole, very accurate. It tracks rankings over time and tells you if each keyword has moved up or down since the last update. It also gives some other info on the site such as; pages indexed, PR, and various other onsite SEO factors which are pretty basic but may be useful to you.
Adspert Real-Time (Free)
# 13. This tool achieves a similar thing to the Analytics app. It is simple and easy to use tool which shows you daily; conversions, impressions, clicks, cost/conv and costs. You can flick through the last 5 days and quickly see the cost/conv at a glance. You can also quickly skip between different adwords accounts.
Incognito Browser (Free)
# 14. This app is very specific to digital marketing or SEO agencies. I’m sure you know that it is likely you are served personalised results based on your browsing history and cookies. This means you won’t necessarily see the true rankings of the webpages you are following for certain search terms. By using this Incognito App all personalisation of results are removed, therefore showing you a true reflection of the results page.
Google + (Free)
# 15. Google+ is the social platform that the average person on the street doesn’t use. However, it is quite well used by people in the industry. I believe it is certainly something that shouldn’t be forgotten about. Increasingly Google + is having an impact on SEO and major brands are starting to latch on. I would advise getting involved sooner rather than later, even if just as a precaution. Even if you only replicate what you put out on Twitter or Facebook onto it.
It does help you stay connected through updates, photos and hangouts.
# 16. LinkedIn is probably my favourite “business” app. You may have noticed there have been some pretty big updates recently to both the desktop version of the site and also the app. It’s certainly looking a lot sleeker at the moment. You can do pretty much everything you would do from the web based version; look at your groups, jobs, messages, news feed and who’s viewed your profile. I find it easier to approve invite requests through my phone than login on my desktop.
# 17. I don’t think the twitter app needs much explaining. It does exactly what you need it to and has a nice widget for your home screen to quickly and easily see interactions. Great for communicating on the move and interacting at live events.
# 18. Tweetdeck is a useful app to have on your mobile. It allows you to arrange your various social media feeds and enables you to add relevant search columns. Swiping left or right toggles between your chosen feeds. I like to keep a track of the main phrases relevant to some of our clients so I’ll spend 2 or 3 minutes checking my Tweetdeck each evening to see if there have been any interesting posts containing those words.
Facebook Pages Manager (Free)
# 19. Managing your Facebook Page is essential for any business. This app allows you to make updates, particularly photo updates on the fly, particularly useful when out of the office at events. Reactiveness in the social world is crucial and you shouldn’t have to wait to get back to the office before replying to comments or messages. I find it quite useful for checking Page Insights and sharing links from other apps where possible.
# 20. For those of you that haven’t heard of Meetup, it’s a fantastic website that helps you find others interested in getting together and chatting about common interests. I use it for some of my charity work and marketing related Meetups. The app enables you to quickly find potential Meetups in your area, find out who is going and RSVP immediately.
There is a new Meetup every 13 seconds!!!
# 21. TED provides a great way to hear and watch talks from some of the best speakers in the world. No matter what you are interested I’m sure you would find something for you. I particularly like the tech and business videos. This is maybe one for the evening or weekend when you have a bit more time.
# 22. Eventbrite pretty much achieves the same thing as Meetup. I’d say I use this app a little more, but that is just coming down to personal preference as both are good. I quite like the ability to get tickets from the app and the event suggestions they make seem to be very well tailored. Event details and directions are useful and it’s really easy to add them to your calendar. I love the fact you don’t need to print paper tickets and can just show the ticket on your mobile instead. All tickets should be like this!
Fleetmatics (app free if you pay for service)
# 23. One of our clients, and another business I have a personal interest in is a logistics / junk clearance company. At the click of the button I can see where their entire fleet is, when their engines turn on and off, mileage, average/top speed and much more. What a fantastic app that enables me to keep a track of exactly what is going on with my fleet at the end of each day.
# 24. No need for much explanation here…
Business Banking – Barclays
# 25. For a growing business, being able to keep a track of your finances is very important. They also have business banking which is a big bonus and generally being able to make payments and transfers on the move is a bonus. There has been some debate over the advantage of usability vs. the ability for these programs to be hacked.
Hullo Mail (Free or £5.99)
# 26. I won’t dwell on this one. I’ve used this as a personal app for a bit of fun over the years. It allows you to assign personal voicemails to each of your friends. It certainly does shock your friends. From a business perspective I quite like to assign a specific business voicemail to all of my work contacts. You also get notifications when you have had a missed call when you are fully out of signal. You can also quickly and easily forward a voicemail via email to one of your colleagues to deal with when you are busy. One more useful feature is call recording which I use from time to time.
Google Maps – (Free)
# 27. Again, not much explanation needed, but fantastic if you get lost on the way to a meeting. Also quite useful for tracking mileage.
# 28. I love how easy it is to record programs on your Sky box at home from your mobile the Sky + app on your phone. From time to time someone will mention something that is worth a watch and you try to remember it, but don’t. One option is to jot it down on Evernote, but even better just wack it on record straight away. No messing.
I also quite like using the app as a remote control, fast forwarding, pausing and playing by simply one or two finger swipes. Pretty cool. Why you would need this, I’m not too sure. Why is this in a blog about business apps, I’m not too sure either.
# 29. Again, not that business related, but I believe a happy work force is a productive work force, and Sonos makes the Passion Digital team happy. We have a Premium account for £9.99 per month and everyone adds tracks to shared playlists. Sonos has a good desktop application and a fantastic phone app too. We have a couple of Sonos Play 5 speakers that do the job just nicely and can be set-up in stereo too!
# 30. 123-Reg is quite a useful app to have on your phone if you want to quickly check to see if domains are available. I wouldn’t recommend actually hosting your site with them if you do go ahead and purchase the domain.
Most people have around 45 apps on their phone, but the vast majority aren’t really used. I like to try different apps, but I think it’s important to cull the ones that you don’t actually use or need and focus on actually getting the best benefit out of the ones that are useful.
There are millions of apps available and I’m aware that the above only form a tiny proportion of these. Some of the apps that I don’t use, but I can see would be useful to business owners in other sectors are:
- QR Reader
- Adobe Reader
- Right Signature
- Documents to go
- Google Wallet
I hope this article helps to stop you drowning in the waves of apps being released every day!
Please comment or share if you found this useful.
PS. All screenshots taken on my Samsung Galaxy SIII, NOT an iPhone 😉