Small business owners and entrepreneurs have limited time and money. Good news! Many tools and resources can help us get things done easier without breaking the bank. Top marketers and large businesses use these tools every day, and we can use them too.
Social Media Management Tools
Buffer lets you schedule content to your social media sites. It also enables you to curate third party content. I particularly like the optimal timing tool. Also, it comes with Pablo, an image design tool. A more recent feature is the ability to schedule Instagram post. The buffer App is free for one social profile and starts at $10 for ten profiles.
CoSchedule is also a social media scheduling tool. It’s like a visual calendar that allows you to organise your social media post in an efficient way. With a WordPress application, its sits on the dashboard making it excellent for bloggers. You could take a little time to learn the usefulness of the platform, but it’s not short of training resources along the way. It price starts from as little as $15 a month.
Hootsuite is a social media management software that lets you automate updates to social media accounts. A favourite feature with Hootsuite is that it allows you to bulk upload a CSV file of status updates. With the presence a Home Stream, Hootsuite makes it easy to keep up with conversations. It starts from free for three accounts.
Post Planner, like Buffer, provides a way to share content to your social media sites. With a twist, it offers content designed to increase engagement. Postplanner has one extra feature that I love, and it is the Recycle feature that lets you set your “evergreen” content on steroids! Post Planner starts at $7 per month.
Ritetag is a marketing tool that lets you make the most of the hashtags. It can increase your visibility by highlighting high volume and popular Hashtags. The cost is $49 per year.
Email Marketing Tools
Boomerang is a Gmail extension that simplifies your mailbox. It lets you schedule emails and plan events. It’s a nice productivity feature that can save you time. The more advanced features include recurring emails, attaching notes to messages and CRM functions. It starts from free for ten message credits a month.
Getresponse is Email marketing software. It is easy to use and used my many small businesses to start their email marketing campaigns. It comes with more advanced automation and RSS feed features. I like it because it gives the option to create landing pages and light pop-up boxes. They are also currently offering an extensive email marketing course for free. It starts from $13 a month
HelloBar lets you create bars for your web site. The idea behind Hello Bar is to convert more site visitors to customers. You can include the various call to actions on this bar that grab people’s attention. The application provides weekly performance report and is easy to install. It starts from Free to use.
PopUp Domination lets you create high converting email subscription pop-ups. The tool is easy to use and have some attractive editable templates. You can integrate your favourite email provider to build your list. It comes with useful triggers to time the pop-up to meet your preference. It starts from only $9 a month.
WiseStamp is a tool that allows you to create professional email signatures. You can add more than the usual information such as videos and impressive social media icons. Wisestamp starts from free.
Increase Website Performance Tools
Google Analytics is a powerful tool that lets you capture all the important stats about your website. You just need to embed a small piece of code on your site. It can show you stats like how long visitors spend on your site and even the country of your visitors. It shows you whether your marketing efforts are working. It’s free to use.
Pingdom is a software that monitors website speed both from your desktop and mobile devices. It checks site issues and provides a full report. Website site is important for your SEO so it’s worth keeping on top of things. It starts at £7.56 per month.
Hotjar.com lets you watch user engagement with your site in real time. It allows you to see what’s working and the things not working too well. It removes the guesswork out of making improvements to your site. The basic version is free for first 2000 page views.
Hubspot Marketing Grader is another useful tool. You enter your site address, and it analyses over 30 elements and provides an actionable report. The Hubspot Marketing Grader is a free tool.
Increase Traffic to Website
SumoMe is quite brilliant. It’s a one-stop shop for a bunch of tools designed to help you grow traffic to your site. It has a feature called heat map to identify the popular and not so popular areas of your site. The image sharer and highlighter will help people to share your content on social media. There is also email signup features that will help you build you list. This tool starts from free.
ClickToTweet: This nifty little app lets you format sections of your blog post in “tweetable” chunks. All your readers have to do is “click to tweet” and share on their Twitter account. It could increase traffic to your site, and many marketers use the app. It starts from free.
Similarweb is a platform that gives you insight into your competitors’ traffic. Not only that but also shows the source of traffic. Many marketers use this method to plan out their paid ad campaigns. The cost of Similarweb starts from $199 a month.
Snip.ly is a convenient app for those of us who curate content. With Snip.ly, you can add a call to action to curated content. Small business owners who curate content can drive traffic to their site. The starter plan is free up to the first 1000 clicks.
Productivity Tools and Storage Tools
Dropbox lets you store your documents in a cloud-based service that could free up space on your computer. It exists both as a desktop and mobile app so you can access your stuff on the go. It offers collaboration features where you can share your files with others. Dropbox is free for up to 20GB of data.
Evernote is like your virtual filing system. The application lets you save your notes and share your ideas at any time. It enables you to organise your information using notebook and tags. Some other features include the ability to edit PDFs and scan and digitise business cards. Evernote starts from free.
Google Drive is an app that allows you to store your files in the cloud. It exists as an app and desktop drive. Business owners, bloggers and marketers use this to access their records on the go. It is free for the first 15GB of data.
Trello is a project management tool with powerful collaboration features. You can track complex projects that involve many tasks. Within Trello, projects are organised onto a dashboard and different phases of each project on cards. It’s a free application for up to 10MB.
Search Engine Optimisation Tools
Mozbar is an SEO tool that lets you access and analyse SEO data on any website. It exists as a Chrome extension so you can carry out your assessment as you browse the web. Business owners use it to improve their SEO efforts or to learn the strengths of competitors site. This is a free toolbar.
Writing and Content Curation
Grammarly is a text-editing tool that highlights grammatical errors. It helps writers to avoid embarrassing mistakes. It exists as a standalone tool as well as browser extensions for Chrome, Firefox and Safari. It’s an excellent companion for bloggers or those who produce content on a regular basis. It’s as low as $12 a month for yearly subscribers.
Hemmingway App is a writing app that lets you produce quality content for your audience. The app highlights your text and makes recommendations for improvement. Top bloggers use this app to create easy to read content. The web-based version is free.
Klout is a site that lets you measure your influence on social media. It gives you a Klout score but also allows you to see who the influencers are in your niche. Your score is a reflection of how good your content is and how well you engage on the platforms. Klout is evolving to help you identify content that you can curate for your audience. Klout is free for a personal account.
Hubspot Blog Topic Generator is a tool that allows you to generate interesting blog titles. It lets you enter up to three nouns and provide suggestions that you may find useful. This final topic may need tweaking but can be a good source of inspiration. The tool is free.
Scoop.it lets you curate relevant content to share on your social media site. It’s like intelligent curating because it allows you to give your insight right there alongside the article. Also, instead of directing people to the source, you get attention via a 3rd party page. It starts from free.
Lastpass is a tool that remembers all your passwords for you. It saves you time with trying to remember and resetting them all the time. The smart application saves your username and password when you create an account or when you log into an account. Some other advanced feature includes auto login. My favourite feature is that you can share access with others with the option of hiding the login details. This feature is useful if you are working with freelancers. Lasspass starts from free.
Web Creation Tools
Bluehost is a web hosting platform of choice for many, and it’s for good reasons. It’s a stable and reputable provider. It allows you to host WordPress sites, and you can create personalised email accounts without paying extra. The price starts at $3.49 a month.
JotForm is an easy way to create professional forms online. Whether it’s a short survey, event registration or contact form- this is a go-to tool for entrepreneurs everywhere. The form can either be standalone or embedded in a website, with payment collection features. If you are building an email list or nurturing leads using information from your form, you can integrate with email and CRM software. Jotform offers a free membership for up to 100 forms a month.
Leadpages make it easy for you to build professional landing pages. They provide a range of templates optimised to help you collect more leads and increase sales. Small business owners and entrepreneurs can also learn from free education resources on the site. The pages integrate with email marketing and CRM tools. Pricing starts from $17 a month.
Wix is a website builder of choice by many small business owners. Having tested the leading website builders, Wix is the best when it comes to SEO features. It also has an extensive collection of beautiful templates. It starts from free to use Wix.
Boxshot lets you create realistic 3-D mock-ups for your online products. You can easily create anything from software boxes, CD covers, Mugs and much more. These designs are useful for e-product demonstrations to compel your audience to take action. A single licence starts from $79 a year.
Easel.ly is a straightforward way to create high-quality infographics. It comes with many pre-designs with the option to start from scratch. There is a community feature where you can create or join a group. If you are design savvy, you can also submit your design. The platform starts from free with only $3 for a premium account.
Freepik is for anyone who wants to create quality designs without the design skills. The platform offers a database of high-quality pre-designs or backgrounds where you use just minimal text. The platform starts from free.
PicMonkey is a photo editor that allows you to design like a pro. You can upload and edit images to the look and feel that you need. It’s the go-to tool for many marketers who want to create the quality design quickly. An account starts from free.
PlaceIt is a cool application that lets you create beautiful 3-D mockup you can use in your marketing. It is easy to use, and you can demonstrate just about anything such as your website or business card on multiple screens or even virtual billboards. You can use the platform for free to download small images.
Shutterstock provides a broad range of professional photographs for your marketing. It’s a must for those who want to come across professional and stay with copyright laws. It’s free to browse, but it starts from $42 for five images.
Snagit is a screen capture software that lets you capture pictures and video from your computer screen. Coaches and bloggers use this tool to create online demonstrations for clients. It comes with many editing features such as crop, text and highlight. You can try it free for 15 days, but a license cost a one-off fee of $49.95
Video and Multimedia Tools
Animoto lets you create video and slideshows. The cloud-based platform has a range of graphics and soundtrack that you can use for a professional finish. Animoto gives you the option to upload your video to popular sites like YouTube. Price start from $10.50 per month.
Camtasia is a video and screen recording tool. It captures whatever you are viewing as well as video of you- the instructor. It allows you to add captions and edit audio. It’s great for tutorials and training as you can record PowerPoint presentations and more. Camtasia has a free trial.
Instant Teleseminars lets you launch a seminar without the need for you or your audience to download any software. It is used my coaches and business owners to sell expert knowledge. Besides its ease of use, your audience can also interact with you making it a real experience. The system can display slides and also lets you host events from your website. There are a 21-day trial people for only $1.
Join me is a software that lets screen sharing. Companies use this service to help clients with software setup issues. Coaches also use it to deliver hands-on training. It’s easy to use and starts from free to use.
Wistia lets you Host video that you would like to keep private. Coaches and trainers use the platform to host their training videos. The professional video hosting service also boasts great analytics and is SEO friendly. Wistia is free for the first five videos.
Serving your Clients Tools
Google alert is an important online listening tool for reputation management. It allows you to set-up alerts around keywords of choice. Google will send these alerts to your email. Many companies use it to know when someone mentions their business online. It is free to use.
Make My Persona is another genius tool from the guys at Hubspot. It allows users to create a fictional persona of your ideal customer. This web tool has a series of questions, that once you answer will produce a complete profile for your prospective client. The buyer persona determines everything you do in marketing. Marketers use this tool before planning their marketing strategy. The tool is free to use.
Zopim lets you add a live chat feature to your website. The idea is to answer queries that your clients may have. It is easy to install and exist as a mobile app. Zopim starts from free.
Finance & Scheduling Tool
Schedule Once is a one stop solution for online scheduling. You can streamline your bookings automatically with cancel and reschedule features. I like the fact that it integrates with popular email marketing providers so you can build a list from your bookings. Coaches use it to sell consultations, and it’s an excellent tool to automate interviews or appointments. It starts from free.
Wave is a free accounting software that helps you to manage your invoicing and payroll activities. Once you connect your bank accounts, it tracks all your spending and also produces useful reports. It is an excellent app for both small business owners and freelancers. You can also use it to collect payment. It is free to use.
What a list! Do you use any of these tools? Or, perhaps alternatives that you find better? I would love to hear from you. Please leave a comment below.