5 Free Tools That Small Businesses Can Use To Grow Their Business
As a small business owner, you know that even small changes in your work processes can increase your efficiency and help you gain an edge over your competitors. As a small business owner, you only have 24 hours a day where you want to do multiple tasks like customer service, business development, marketing, finance management and more but there’s not just enough time!
The best way to overcome your time limitations is to automate some of your processes and use helpful tools to reduce work for others. In today’s digital age, we have more tools at our disposal than ever before, and our success depends on choosing the right set of tools. In this blog post, we will introduce you to 5 amazing software products which will help you in automating your tasks and revolutionize the way you operate.
- Generate More Leads with Email Automation
Email is an important marketing channel for any business and 60 percent of consumers say that email marketing influences them to make a purchase (Source). Email marketing is still one of the most cost-effective and efficient tools to connect with your customers.
When looking for an email marketing service, you should look for a software that enables you to create highly effective and engaging emails, manage your customer contacts, segment them into logical groups, allow you to track your performance with important metrics and most importantly, prevent your messages from landing in the spam folder. MailChimp is one of the popularly used email marketing software. MailChimp offers an easy to use user interface and it easily integrates with thousands of other software to make your work easier.
With MailChimp, you can select from multiple templates and easily customize your email communications. It is advisable to first chart out your customer journey, decide the content your user wants to know at that stage and then start working on your emails. MailChimp allows you to set up delivery times based on your customer’s timezones, set up segments based on their locations, set auto-response emails and much more. Their free plan allows you to have up to 2,000 subscribers and send up to 12,000 emails and their paid plan starts from $10 a month, which is quite reasonable for any small business.
- Promoting and Maintaining Online Presence
A website is the online identity of your business and it creates a trust factor for your business online. A website is a cost-effective way to share relevant business information with your customers. A website gives you an opportunity to showcase your products and services, your customer experiences, share details about your business and most of all allow potential customers to connect with you to find out more about your business.
You can easily set up your website within a few minutes with the help of free website building tools like Wix or Google My Business. You can choose from thousands of customized website templates and customize your website with your business information. A website increases your discoverability online and allows you to reach a broader audience. The free tool like Google My Business offers powerful features like automatic responsive designs, a custom domain and it automatically updates the information when you make any changes to your Google listing. You can create and manage your website on the go from any device, so any update can be easily added to the website. You can improve customer experience by adding live chat options on your website with tools like Intercom, Live Chat Inc, Chatra, and Zoho Desk. You can integrate them into your website by simply adding the code provided by these platforms on all your website pages.
- Acquire More Customers with Online Appointment Booking System
Your small business will be successful when your clients can easily locate your website and connect with you effortlessly. If your business involves setting up one on one meeting appointments, scheduling group events or lessons, offering reservations or rentals or maybe just offering services then you can greatly benefit by including an online booking system on your website.
SuperSaaS is easy to use, flexible and highly customizable online appointment scheduling system which can be used for all types of scheduling needs. With the SuperSaaS booking system by your side, you can easily stay available for your customers 24×7, allow them to book an appointment with you with just a click, accept online payments, set up your own discounts and promotions and deliver effective personalized emails at the right time to the right customers. SuperSaaS allows you to reduce no-shows and create an effortless online booking experience. SuperSaaS offers you lifetime free trial with a limit of 50 upcoming appointments in the free version and the paid plans start from just $8 per month for unlimited users, unlimited access to all features and unlimited schedules.
You can easily integrate your schedule into your website and simply relax. The system sends automated email/text reminders before and after the appointment and hence helps you in creating an amazing customer experience. You can promote your schedule on multiple platforms and help build more trust with your customers with this booking system.
- Task Management and Collaboration with Team
Teamwork and collaboration are powerful and essential tools for any business owner. Collaboration not only helps grow your business but it also helps you in forming meaningful connections with your team members. If you’re not communicating and sharing within the team, then you will end up losing great opportunities to learn and improve your business. With online collaboration and task management tools, you can easily communicate with your team and it’s also a great way to reduce your costs. Online collaboration not only allows you to collaborate with teams working remotely but also enables you to handle emergencies better.
Asana is a great tool which will help you coordinate the tasks within your team With Asana, you can set up different projects, delegate tasks to specific team members, assign deadlines, stay on track with automated reminders and create visual project plans to plan your resources better. Slack is another great tool to communicate internally within small teams. Slack allows you a single platform to organize all your conversations, remind you about tasks after a specific period of time, search history, share documents, connect with video calls or simply by sharing the screen and best of all it integrates well with many of your tools like Google Drive, Dropbox, Asana, Zoom and many more.
- Automate Social Media Marketing Posts
Almost 90% of marketers say their social marketing efforts have increased exposure for their business, and 75% say they’ve increased traffic (Source). As a small business owner, you want to make sure you’re not missing out on the opportunity to reach more customers. Majority of your customers are already using one or more of the social media channels, and hence it makes complete logical sense to connect with customers where they like to be connected. Most marketing channels like emails, text messages, etc. are one-way communication but with social media, you can engage in meaningful conversations with your potential customers. In addition, if you research the web you will notice that majority of your competitors are already using social media and hence, it becomes even more important for you to maintain your online presence to avoid losing out the opportunities.
Although social media channels are quite easy to set up, it takes quite some time
Buffer is a popular automation tool for social media marketing. Buffer allows you to schedule as much as 30 days in advance and supports posting across multiple platforms including Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+ and Instagram. You don’t need to spend time every day in creating content for your social media channels. Just follow the below-listed steps:
- Designate 1 or 2 days of your month when you brainstorm ideas for your content.
- List the ideas for a mix of original and repurposed content (content created by other organizations).
- Work on creating your content with the help of free resources like Canva (for designing social media posts), Unsplash (repository for amazing visual pictures free for commercial use) and Adobe XD (free designing software).
- Find out helpful content from other reputed sources that will benefit your customers and list them down in an excel file along with their source.
- Schedule the content on your social media channels and relax
Once you start using Buffer regularly for social media marketing, you will see that user engagement will automatically follow.