Our Top Five Business Tools for Marketing

Business tools can be absolute lifesavers for your company.

As the saying goes: “Work smarter, not harder.”

There’s an entire universe of supposedly “helpful” business tools out there. Which business tools are actually helpful and necessary for your small company, though? We’ll go ahead and say the annoying thing that you don’t want to hear: it depends.

But don’t worry—we have good news too!

We’re sharing some of our favorite apps and programs, which rock our business world. AND the even better news is that they’re all well-vetted, have been around long enough that they’ve worked out the glitches, and they sync well across channels. No matter what your business does, these tools are worth a very, very close look.

Think of using these systems like hiring an expert to handle the behind-the-scenes stuff. They should work for you! Here’s how…

Mailchimp

The chimp isn’t just for show. This smart emailing tool is the standard for small businesses for a reason—it can do pretty much any email marketing task your to mid-size company could need. For one-person endeavors and solopreneurs Mailchimp is worth using…especially because it’s free.

How it helps
  • Templates make creating emails easy. You can add text, pictures, video, links…pretty much whatever you want.
  • Organize your contacts into lists and campaigns.
  • Use Mailchimp’s sign-up forms to collect emails
  • Automate email blasts, newsletters and sales funnels.
  • Get helpful analytics to see how your emails are being received (opens, clicks, etc.)
Cost
  • Free for individuals and startups that don’t need the fancy features. Up to 2,000 subscribers and 12,000 emails per month free.
  • Starting at $10 for growing businesses. Triggers let you build a sales funnel and send targeting marketing; multiple users can collaborate; it connects to your CRM and Google Analytics.
The Bottom Line

Email is one of the most direct ways to connect with clients and customers. But honestly, it can be a pain to manage marketing campaigns. Mailchimp makes it look easy so you look like a pro.

Canva

Anyone and everyone can create stunning graphics with this easy drag-and-drop graphic designers. Facebook posts, flyers, business cards. Just to drive the point home: my 65-year-old mother designed and ordered brand new business cards in under half an hour using Canva.

How it helps
  • Create graphics for social and print without any fancy software or design expertise. It’s a lot cheaper to make your own graphics.
  • Your can build Facebook shares, stationary, business cards, Instagram posts, flyers, cover photos, infographics and more.
  • Templates and pre-built designs—50,000 of them!—make designing easy.
  • There’s a built-in library of stock photos and illustrations. Some paid; some free.
Cost
  • The free version is plenty for basic designs
  • Business accounts are still cheap: $9.95 per month when paid annually or $12.95/month. It lets you customize fonts and color schemes, gives you unlimited storage, and more free illustrations and photos.
  • Worth it is you’re company does a lot of social posts!
The Bottom Line

If you want your website, social ads, flyers, letterheads (if you’re into that)…pretty much anything…to look pretty. Canva is hands-down your best bet for designing.

Facebook Business Page

Facebook is where it’s at for businesses right now. From indie creatives to Fortune 500s, everyone’s trying to win at the Facebook feed race. This January, Mark Zuckerberg made an announcement that the rules of the race will be changing dramatically, prompting articles like this one from Inc.com: “Will This Facebook News Feed Update Kill Struggling Businesses?” The rules might be changing, but we’re still for Facebook as an awesome place to grow your business…if you’re smart about it.

How it helps
  • Connect with your audience on a platform they already spend tons of time on.
  • Showcase your brand with comments, visuals, videos.
  • Sync with your other sites, like Pinterest, Instagram, Twitter and your blog.
  • Business pages can run Ads to reach more people and target certain audiences. Check this article out: “How to create Facebook Ads
  • Business pages get insights and analytics
  • You can schedule posts in advance, or backdate them.
  • Businesses can have a Shop section of their Facebook for direct sales.
Cost
  • Free; that’s the best thing about social sites—they’re like a powerful business website without the cost.
  • You should be running Ads! Those coast money of course, but they’re worth it. Just be smart about who you target, when you run them, and what content you push. In over your head? Drop us a line: hi@greenbagdesigns.com.
The Bottom Line

Changes or no, a Facebook Business Page will make your business exponentially more legit and accessible.

If you want to DIY your page, check out Hubspot’s “Setting Up a Facebook Business Page in 5 Easy Steps.

Google Analytics

Businesses might wish they could read customers’ minds. Google Analytics is the closest most of us will get. Analytics tracks visits to your site and gives you helpful information, like where they came from, how long they stayed on your site, where they clicked etc. With that data, you can improve your site, understand whether you’re connecting to your audience, and even retarget customers. It’s pretty easy to set up; check out Business News Daily’s “How to Use Google Analytics.” We’re here if you get stuck.

How it helps
  • Know whether what you’re putting out there is actually reaching anyone. And if so, who and when?
  • Understanding who’s looking at your site and where they’re coming from helps you create better targeted
  • content and ads.
  • You can pair Analytics with pretty much any site—Wordpress, Blogger, Squarespace etc.
  • Analytics syncs with other Google services like AdWords to give you even more insight on your site and campaigns.
Cost

Analytics, like most Google services is Freemium. Though we recommend hiring an expert to monitor and run it for you…unless you’re super into that type of thing.

The Bottom Line

Want to know if your business is working? Analytics is the standard for monitoring the 5 W’s of your visitors: Who, What, When, Where, maybe even Why.

Want to dive deeper, here’s a place to start: “How to Use Google Analytics to Generate More Leads in 2018.

Vaetas

People like to look at faces; that’s been proven again and again. And what’s even better than a static face? A smiling and trustworthy person talking directly to you. This is where Vaetas comes in. The video-based web tool lets businesses create and share pre-recorded videos with their customers. It’s the next best thing to meeting in person. In fact, it might be better—no coordinating schedules or weird interruptions.

How it helps
  • Personal connection to your customers.
  • Better click through rates on your emails. Regular emails get 1-4%, video emails get around 30%.
  • Vaetas lets you end each video with a call-to-action pop-up, increasing interaction with your audience.
  • Syncs with other video sites like YouTube and Vimeo if you already have content there. You can then push videos to sites like Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram, Constant Contact, MailChimp, Hubspot, WordPress and Blogger.
Cost
  • Free level gives you full access and 3 videos.
  • It’s $25/month for unlimited videos.
The Bottom Line

People speaking words speak louder than words alone. Video creates a strong connection to your audience, Calls to Action increase your probability of sales, and Vaetas makes this all easy.

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