Great idea: ✔
So what’s next? You’ll need more than just a well-designed site and great products to stand out and be seen online these days. We’ve collected some of the essentials tools you’ll need to establish your site as an authority and stand apart from the crowd.
1. Social Media Management Solutions
Social media posts are a part of your weekly, if not daily, routine. Keeping up with the latest trends, creating posts, growing your community…can all become very time-consuming. So this is where the adage ‘work smarter, not harder’ comes into play.
One of the best ways to save some time is to prepare your social media content ahead of time and upload a week or months worth of content ahead of time. You can upload your visuals along with captions and hashtags for the platform, choose the time and the software will post for you, freeing you up to focus on other tasks.
There are dozens of scheduling tools available. Many have various tiers of membership from free to paid – with each level offering more functions than the previous. Review which social media channels you use regularly and then begin your research.
Here are a handful of options to consider, based on your needs:
Facebook Creator Studio is great if you are on Facebook and Instagram. It is a free tool that will allow you to upload your creative, write your captions and hashtags and then schedule them accordingly.
Hootsuite has a free version with a limited number of channels that can be connected and users allowed. You can opt to upgrade to one of their paid plans and have up to 6 social networks connected and scheduled for.
Later has customizable plans along with available upgrades. There is a saving if you choose to pay for a yearly account versus monthly.
2. Email Marketing Platforms
It’s generally accepted that Social Media for business is necessary, but Email Marketing is often ignored. An essential part of your plan, email marketing can be automated to a point, allowing yourself more opportunity to spend on things that can’t.
Mailchimp currently has 4-tiers available from a Free account for up to 2,000 subscribers that can grow to their Premium level for over 200,000 contacts. It features a drag-and-drop style email builder that is very customizable and it also offers many integrations with various software.
Klaviyo is a powerful tool that can also include SMS marketing to supplement your email messages. They do offer a free tier for both services and can be adjusted as subscribers increase.
Flodesk offers a free 30-day trial to familiarize yourself with the platform and then has a single flat monthly fee without any caps on subscribers or email sends.
3. Help Desk/ChatBot
Today’s breakneck pace and need for instant information means customers want quick and easy access to information. Here is where installing a Help Desk/ChatBot can come in handy. You can set up an AI helper on your site with relative ease and give your customers the information they need as quickly as possible.
ZenDesk – One of the most well-known options, it has products for both Sales and Service agents; both of which have multiple tiers with different features.
MobileMonkey – A comprehensive tool that includes pre-built templates and customizable options. They also provide SMS marketing tools and options for Facebook Messenger ads.
Tidio – Services provided include Live Chat, personalizable ChatBots, and email marketing. They have standard tiered packages that can be customized as needed.
There are dozens of options for all these types of tools. Thankfully, most of them have either a free trial period or a free tier in their offering. As with many small business related items, it make take time to test out each of these items to find which yields the best result for you. As every business is unique there can be no cookie cutter one-size-fits-all plan. If you have other tools that small businesses need to include in their arsenal let us know in the comments!