11 essential tools for small businesses in 2017
One of the main benefits small businesses have over large corporations is the fact that they can adapt quickly to new technology. As soon as a new tool with clear benefits is introduced to the market, it can be adapted into a small business very quickly. By not actively adopting new digital marketing tools into your small business, you risk being left behind and your business becoming redundant. In this post we look at the most useful tools every small business needs to implement in 2017. Here are the 11 essential tools for small businesses
1. Social Media Management
We all know how important social media is for any business, if you are not implementing social media into your business in this day and age then quite frankly you shouldn’t be allowed on the internet. However, it does seem like there are an endless number of social media platforms, and managing all of them separately can be time consuming. This is where social media management tools come into play. The two main ones you should worry about are Buffer and Hootsuite. You should look at which one is more suited to your brand and implement it. Hootsuite is more focused on management, you can delegate different tasks to different users, which make it more suited as a team platform. Buffer is better at scheduling and posting content to different social media networks.
2. Analytics software
Every business needs to have a website. No this is not optional, it is essential. And with that creates a need for analytics software. You need to effectively track the different users and demographics that use your site, so you can adjust your business strategy accordingly. The obvious choice is google analytics, it’s completely free and offers a lot of data. Another analytics tool you could try is Clicky, it comes as a free service if you are only tracking one website, however if you have multiple sites you will have to opt into their premium version. The dashboard is very clear and simple to use.
3. Visual Content Creator
We are not all professional designers with amazing Photoshop skills, however visual content is essential for all businesses. It will allow you to engage audiences through social media. This is where visual content creation tools come in. There are many tools out there you can use (who all claim to be the best) this can be overwhelming when choosing a tool to use. One tool that I highly recommend is PicMonkey. PicMonkey is an image editor that is cloud based. It makes it extremely easy for you to create customized graphics that are brand specific for your business. The layout is extremely east to use and self-explanatory.
Suggested Tool(s): PicMonkey
4. Organisation Tool
As a small business owner, organisation should always be very high on your agenda. Evernote is probably the only organisation tool you really need. Evernote is a powerful note taking app that can be used across multiple devices. It essentially gives you the ability to put all your ideas and plans in one place, which you can then access from any device that has the app installed. The tool has a lot of features that make it a lot more than simply a note taking app. definitely and essential that will help organise your life and your business. You can also use Microsoft’s OneNote which does the same sort of thing.
5. Accounting software
Get a handle on all your expenses and invoices so that you can focus your attention on other aspects of your business. Freshbooks offers you a cloud based accounting software that is tailored specifically for small business owners. It is definitely one of the more simple to use software’s out there, and edges out competitor tools in terms of quality support and overall customer recommendations.
Suggested Tool(s): Freshbooks
6. Logo creator
A logo is a very important part of any business. It essentially represents your brand. When people see your logo they should be able to instantly associate it with your business. For this reason a striking logo that looks good is a must. If you don’t have the design skills to do this yourself then Logomaker could be for you. You can browse through thousands of icons and images, and in minutes you can create a ready to go logo with your unique design.
Suggested Tool(s): Logomaker
7. Call to action link sharing
Sniply is actually a very interesting tool that you might not have heard of before. At first it may just seem like a regular URL shortening tool, however it is far from that. What Sniply essentially does is it lets you share other people’s content on social media platforms while at the same time allowing you to promote your own content. It does this by allowing you to embed a call to action to any link. It is very impressive and certainly a tool that you need to implement in your business.
Suggested Tool(s): Sniply
8. Website Creator
We all know the importance of a website. However, as a small business owner, creating a website might not be your area of expertise. And since a website directly reflects on your brand and your business, it is absolutely essential that it is well designed and put together. If a potential customer accesses your website and cannot find what they’re looking for then they will probably look somewhere else. There are a few tools out there that are for the less tech savvy but will still enable you to create a very attractive site so that you can showcase your business. Examples include Weebly and Wix. These tools are very easy to use and have drag and drop interfaces, with limitless options in colours and design. So you can be sure the site you create will match your brand.
As a small business owner, you may come across small tasks that need to be completed. Not all of which you can or even have the time to do yourself. Whether its logo design, article writing or search engine optimisation, you can get someone to do this for you. And at a really cheap price too. As you can probably guess, at Fiverr, $5 goes a really long way.
Suggested Tool(s): Fiverr
10. Customer feedback/ survey tools
Surveys are a cost effective and efficient way to discover what your customers actually want and need. Customer feedback is an essential piece of the puzzle in all modern businesses, regardless of size. When you know what your customers want, you are more likely to keep customers happy, and that will obviously give you an advantage over your competitors. A great tool you can use is SurveyMonkey. It is used by millions and is extremely popular for good reason, it is extremely easy to use and gives you feedback instantly, and with the data you collect you can create visual graphs that will allow you to spot trends and patterns.
Suggested Tool(s): SurveyMonkey
11. Email Marketing
In 2017 email marketing is still one of the best business tools that will give you the greatest return on investment. Once you have an email subscriber, you have them for life (till they unsubscribe of course). However, in order to utilize email marketing you need an email marketing tool. There are a bunch out there on the market but the ones I would recommend are either MailChimp or GetResponse. MailChimp stands out as one of the most easy to use tools for email marketing, also it is free till you reach 2000 subscribers. As far as I know they are the only email marketing software that offer a free account with no catches, or limited trial. Keep in mind that MailChimp can become expensive if your list begins to grow substantially. Get response is great for small businesses since it is affordable. It is also feature packed, therefore there really isn’t much you are missing out on by not going for the more expensive email marketing software’s on the market. GetResponse is also optimised for mobile and comes with over 500 beautifully designed templates so that you can certainly find one that matches your brand.