When you’re a small business any edge you can get can go a long way to your success. Fortunately for savvy business owners who are willing to put the time and energy in (those who are willing to learn and be dedicated), there are numerous ways to grow your small business into one that grows bigger every quarter and every year. Here are just a few things you should keep in your toolbox when trying to grow your online presence, and do so with skill, dexterity and purpose
1.Google Analytics. Google has a fantastic analytical tool that can tell you exactly where you stand with your online business presence. With this tool, you can track the traffic your site is generating. You also see where on the planet your site is being viewed. What your demographics are. (who your potential customers are). Where they are coming from. Most importantly you also see the key drivers viewable by day, week, month and year. Yes, Google Analytics lays it all out clearly. It becomes easy to see, to read, understand and navigate. When you see your online presence through Google Analytics you finally know what you can do to tailor, adjust or reconfigure your site and content to maximize your appeal and gain customers.
- 2. Echo Sign. Echo Sign is an eco-friendly solution to rows of filing cabinets and boxes of files that all of us seem to accumulate as we do business. With it, you can upload your docs to the cloud and send them to all individuals you need to reach. You can also e-sign docs with no need for a printer or scanner. All of that will save you time, space and money because you won’t have to spend money on printer inks and scanners etc. And that will not only save the planet but possibly your sanity.
- DropBox. DropBox is great for moving large amounts of files or data without fear of them being lost.It utilizes the Cloud and is a reliable link between all your internet dependent devices. It is a perfect way to keep your files organized, accessible and transportable.
- Slack. What’s great about this tool is that it can help you keep your tasks organized and help you communicate with people in charge of different aspects of your online presence. It recognizes the juggling that all of us multi-taskers, running small businesses face. It works like this. It captures, organizes and sync’s up your task lists by collecting all your data, your to-do lists and even your thinking around each task. Once the data is collected, it gets organized into a more proactive form so you can manage and actually achieve them, then share your thoughts with collaborators or client through the chat functionality. Your data gets stored in the Cloud so you won’t have to worry about a crash and it’s accessible anytime, from anywhere.
- MailChimp. With is easy to use and navigate templates and instructions even the non-designers among us can create email newsletters to keep you front and center in the minds of your customers. With it, you can create an exciting and motivational E-blast. It’s a proven fact that regular contact builds your customer base and will increase your Website traffic.
- Skype. Skype has made phone usage fees ancient history. With it you can do audio as well as video calls and conferencing, making it perfect to communicate with a large group of people. Skype also allows you to instantly send docs even while the call is in progress. Once you get used to it, you may never travel to a meeting again, saving you gobs of time, money and hassle.
- Go Daddy. It’s a lot more than crazy commercials and a place to register your domain name. Go Daddy is a hosting platform complete with Social Media widgets and simple imaging tools so you can create a pleasing and effective website by yourself, with 24/7/365 assistance and support, unlimited bandwidth and WordPress compatibility as well as 150 GBs of disc space. It is the go to platform for people that want to get things going.
- LinkedIn. The net has allowed all of us to link in and expand our horizons and open even small companies to the breadth of talent looking for new opportunities. This makes it particularly useful for start-ups or emerging and expanding organizations. With its online source of resumes and skill sets, it gives you the opportunity to find who you need or see what is available to you in your own quest for advancement or new business options. People are still the greatest source of business success, find the ones you need on LinkedIn.
- Slide Share. The old adage, “a picture is worth 1,000 words,” certainly applies to Slide Share, especially in our time-crunched world. With it, you have access to over 50 million monthly users so you can share and upload videos, how-tos and music files. It also provides a blog enabling tool so you can really get your word out.
- Square. If not being able to take a credit card is costing you sales, as the song said, “It’s good to be square.” Just attach it to your I-Pad or smartphone and you’re in business. Perfect for off-base sales or when you go out to perform sales or service. It’s simple to use and set up and makes sure you don’t lose a sale because of payment options.
- Uber. Uber has turned the taxi and limo service on its ear, delivering service that is more efficient and less costly. Until you have your own drivers and fleets, Uber is the way to go. A simple app on your device, books your ride, tells you who is coming, when they will arrive and all at significantly less than a taxi or car service. Many Uber users also say they feel safer with an Uber driver. Your female staff will appreciate that.
- Haro. Hato means, Helping a Reporter Out. It is a great way to disseminate info about your company to people who can write about it, and there is nothing better that free positive ink. With it you will have access to media pitches and responses to your pitch letters. Haro has opened the door for those of us without the budget for a PR pro to get the word out.
- Jira. Jira is invaluable in the BETA stage when a product is being launched and tested. With it you can build your prototype or product, test its progress and gain feedback from outside sources to make changes or improvements. If you have a completed product, you can monitor and update it based on comments and reviews. It has made the capture of data and response to it easier than ever before.
- HootSuite. Start-ups usually face Catch -22. So many jobs to do, it’s hard to get them all handled and done. That’s where HootSuite comes in. Using platforms like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, HootSuite uses a post-scheduler system to create information ahead of time so it can be spread out and managed even while other projects are in play.
- Evernote. Evernote is an informational organizational tool that does 3 things very well. Capture, access and find the information you need without ripping through a pile of paper. It gives you instant access to what you need on all your devices. And because it’s a free app, you can try it, test it, love it and keep it, or keep on going through the piles on your desk.
- LastPass. LastPass solves the problem of remembering all those passwords, especially for access you don’t use all the time, while still insuring password security. With it, you create a free user-name and single password which is synched to the place you use the most. E-mail, websites, social Media, saving you time and anxiety attacks.
- WordPress. One of the pioneering blogging platforms but still, one of the best. They offer two versions. The free WordPress.Com and a self-hosted WordPress.Org. With it users can select one of millions of templates and also have options for multiple plug-ins. If you plan on being a aggressive blogger, the self-hosted WordPress.org is the one to go with. Lighter users should opt for WordPress.Com with its simple sign-in and support systems.
- Quora. Got a question? Need an answer? Quora might just be the place to go. The only problem could be the source of that info since it is a relatively open forum. Accounts are free and the questions can be pretty freewheeling but if you have a good information filter you can get what you need answered here. Once again, they don’t vouch for the information, they just provide the platform. But it is a great place to get unfiltered opinions for free.
Yes! Your online presence is important but using the above tools can make it more powerful, knowing, interesting. It’s in using these tools that you can make your web presence truly a powerful tool for your clients. One where they will turn to when they need answers to important questions.