Revolutionize Your Business with Google Apps and other Google Tools
Google Apps can manage your email—oh, and you should use it for everything else too. Here’s a short video of this Post if you don’t like to read. 🙂
How nice would it be to have all your contacts, calendar information, and email synced across all your devices in real time? What about combining phone, video, and chat into one platform? How about paying $5 a month (per user) instead of $20,000 a year to manage that old Microsoft Exchange server?
Bottom line—if you are using an in house Microsoft Exchange Server or a plain old POP or IMAP account, you are missing out…HUGE.
Let me explain.
Top 10 Google Apps functionalities that will revolutionize your business:
- Email syncing with folders across all devices
- Calendar syncing and sharing for your co-workers’ calendars
- Contact Syncing across all your devices (yes, Google Apps sync with Macs—extremely friendly)
- Google Docs replaces need for Microsoft Word
- Google Spreadsheet replaces Microsoft Excel
- Google Analytics
- Google Drive- online file storage and management
- Google+ Page for business (formerly Google Places)
- Youtube/Google+/Pictures- video hosting
- Hangout- Video Chat
In this blog post I’m going to share our company’s experience in how Google Apps has changed our business and made us amazing more efficient and effective at our work.
Gmail – Google email is simply one of the most secure and easy-to-use platforms out there. How many spam emails have you gotten from people using Yahoo? If you are like me, you get several each week. Do you have an internal MS exchange server? Gmail replaces that equipment—taking away reliance on your company’s power and internet connection—for a mere fraction of the cost. Gmail also allows you to sync all your folders across multiple devices. Lastly, there’s GChat and even Google Voice—the ability to make phone calls from your computer (FREE in the US)—incorporated right into the online email client.
Calendar syncing – We allow everyone in goBRANDgo! to see every one else’s calendar. This makes finding times for meetings super easy and when you use calendar invites for everyone that show up right on their phone—it is rare that someone shows up late or unprepared. Simply amazing tool that now runs my life both personally and professionally. You can invite people both inside your organization and outside through a simple and easy to use web tool. Oh, and it syncs 100% with your Android or iOS device, allowing you to view other people’s calendars and manage the invitations right from your phone. (PROTIP: when installing on iOS, add it as an MS Exchange account, enter m.google.com as the server, leave the domain field BLANK, and enter your full email address as the username. Little trick that makes it work better on iOS.)
Contacts – While this feature is not as robust as Microsoft Outlook, it does a pretty good job giving you the ability to set up groups within your contact list. The amazing ability comes in setting up groups for your organization where you can specify accounting, sales, and other departments and send emails to people in those groups company wide. You can also allow people outside your organization to email that group. I’ve set up several groups for goBRANDgo! and it does a phenomenal job of keeping everyone in the loop. It does sync with your iOS device and is very nice for keeping all your contacts straight.
Google Docs is Microsoft Word, only you can have multiple people working in the same document at the SAME time. Amazingly powerful tool that allows for you to share the document with people inside and outside your organization. No need for versioning control—it saves every version as you are working on the doc. Have a question while you are working on it? You can chat the other people working on the doc right from the screen. Like to work on your iPad? Google docs really shines here—it wipes the floor with Pages and is the best word processing app for iPad I have seen yet.
Google Spreadsheet is Microsoft Excel. While it can’t handle some of the crazy mile long formulas like Excel, the collaboration and ease of use far surpasses traditional Excel. The program runs all the numbers for our company. It allows for all of us to collaborate and view several sets of spreadsheets including our sales, cash projections, debt, and virtually every aspect of our numbers outside of Quickbooks.
Google Analytics is the Gold Standard in web traffic analytics. A powerful free tool that gives you awesome insights into who is viewing your website and what information is most relevant—this tool can give you a solid measurement of ROI on your marketing. We set up custom url’s for everything from direct mail campaigns, to social media, and web form submissions. This tool shows us what is working and what marketing tactics are converting suspects into leads the best.
Google Drive – while there are dozens of online file storage programs out there, all very good, I like Google drive because it allows me one place to manage a lot of documents. From here I am able to share folders with people both inside and outside of goBRANDgo!. This has proved extremely helpful for the various non profit and other organizations I lead. Simply upload all the documents (I convert the excel and word docs to google docs) and click “share.” Enter their email addresses, and poof, it’s shared.
Google+ for Business is now THE STANDARD LOCAL SEO tool out there. Fail to optimize this page and your local SEO efforts are screwed. The page is tied to the physical address of your office and you need to make sure you fill out all of the information available…yes, even what type of payments you accept and your hours of operation. Take the time to claim it and keep it maintained. (PROTIP: for further optimization, upload 10 pictures and 1 video. There are more tactics, but I will get into those in a later post.)
YouTube/Google+/Pictures – Everyone knows what YouTube is, but have you ever thought about using it as a customer service tool? For instance, I had a client the other day that needed help with how to set up and use their Linkedin account. I pulled out my laptop, fired up Quicktime on my Mac, and did a screen recording of how to use Linkedin. I then posted this video to YouTube and shared the link with my client. They were thrilled, and it made both our lives a ton easier. I also use the Google+ pictures to store my pictures online and keep track of them.
Google Hangout – I just started using this as there is now a option to add this to every calendar appointment you set up. This is replacing traditional conference calls for me. My business is about connecting with people and that’s tough to do on a traditional conference call. A video chat (Google Hangout) however is the next best thing to being in person. Google hangouts currently support up to 10 people and are a great way to spice up the boring old conference call. Try it out and you will be amazed at how much more fun it is.
Do I love Google? Not necessarily. But is it the most valuable company to my life? You bet. It allows me so much more freedom and productivity. It’s no wonder that Google has done so well. They take a simple approach to building tools that allow us to connect with one another easier and provide tools that streamline our work lives.
By: Brandon Dempsey
Questions? Email me at Bdempsey(at)goBRANDgo.com
Comments? feel free to comment below!