By Jessica Gust
New tools are constantly added to the digital marketplace everyday. While many of these tools may not make it on to your radar, there are at least five that deserve serious consideration from any small business owner. These tools can free up much of your time by automating or optimizing certain tasks. This means that areas like social media, shipping, and can be set aside for the big-picture items you’d really like to focus on in order to grow your business.
For businesses large and small, social media can become a full-time job in and of itself. But rather than tediously combing through each task on each social channel (engaging with your audience, analyzing metrics, etc.), Hootsuite allows you to centralize your workflow. From Hootsuite’s interface, you can schedule posts across accounts, monitor conversations, and easily retrieve data reports.
For many small businesses, mailing services are a must. But taking your shipments to the post office everyday can take up much of your time between parking, queuing, and filling out forms. This is where Endicia comes in handy. You can weigh packages, print postage, track package deliveries, and monitor expenses with this software. Then all you need to do is schedule a pick up from the post office and your shipments are out the door.
3. Contact Form 7
For WordPress users, there are plenty of plugins that will help you run your website more efficiently. Contact Form 7 is one such plugin that enables you to optimize your incoming emails. With a simple form, website visitors can contact you at their convenience. The plugin has spam-sorting capabilities as well, so you will be able to determine whether a genuine person or some kind of third party is contacting you. And for business owners with multiple employees who have work email addresses, you can set the form to route relevant emails to the right people.
This timesaving program can change the face of your marketing campaigns. With a focus on social media, Needls. Creates different versions of ads in varied shapes and sizes, helps you re-target your marketing efforts, and gives you the tools to turn website visits into conversions. Your interaction with the program can be relatively minimal, as it requires just a bit of content and media to get started.
Perhaps the ultimate email alternative, Slack can be an invaluable resource for your business. Its design is inherently organized and user-friendly, so it won’t take long to adjust to using it. And with a sophisticated chat function, you can easily be in touch with your entire staff or individual staffers—whatever you prefer. Slack also allows you to share files, integrate other apps (like social media), and set notifications if something urgent comes up.
If you do choose to integrate any of these programs into your daily workflow, first be sure to familiarize yourself with all of their tutorials in order to ensure that you are getting the most out of the software. Then if you do find that something isn’t working for you, you will be able to contact the software developers about additional functionality or seek alternatives that can better accommodate your business. Odds are that with so many options out there, there is a tool that can accommodate any business need.