No matter the size of your company, success in the business world doesn’t happen in a vacuum. Even the most skilled entrepreneurs need a helping hand on the regular and, if the support comes in the form of a software solution, it doesn’t need to cost you a dime.
Discover the 10 best free software tools your business needs to succeed:
From automating your marketing and social media presence to guiding you through the administrative and financial sides of running your business, these online software tools can make a huge impact on your organization’s revenue and online engagement numbers. The no-cost factor means that using one of these platforms won’t affect your budget either.
The best part about every software tool that I included on this list is that they integrate with numerous other solutions to create a strong digital ecosystem for your business. Regardless of how you manage your content or what your site’s technical configuration looks like, each of these software solutions will fit seamlessly into your organization’s current workflow and operational processes.
Let’s dive right in and break down the best online tools that can make a difference for your business today:
When it comes to social media management software, they don’t come much better than Hootsuite. Free to use for up to three social media accounts and/or 30 pre-planned messages, their intuitive layout allows you to write, edit and schedule your posts with ease. Want to include images, GIFs or videos? Hootsuite seamlessly allows you to add visuals to your social media content, so you can stand out from the crowd.
Hootsuite also allows you to track the performance of different posts across multiple social platforms using detailed analytics; this way, you’ll know how your audience is responding and what tweaks you can make to increase impressions. If you’re willing to shell out some cash for this service, you can also boost select posts to drive even more engagement.
Looking for more social media hacks? Check out our blog for some great insight!
Now more than ever, data is power in the business realm. That’s why Google Analytics is an indispensable tool that helps you make sense of the glut of digital information your organization’s website generates online. While they offer a supercharged paid version of the service, most businesses will only need what Google includes in their free Analytics plan.
Keep track of important statistics such as the number of new visitors to your site, average session duration and number of webpages visited during that time, bounce rate, call-to-action clicks and so much more. Google will also share notifications about any data irregularities it encounters and even helpful tips on how you can fully optimize your online presence.
Speaking of Google, ranking well on their search engine – well, any search engine really – means you must be leveraging the right keywords that will give you maximum visibility. How does one figure out what those keyword terms are, you ask? By using free keyword research tools offered by leaders in the search engine optimization (SEO) industry.
The best place to start is once again with Google and their online keyword planning software. Enter individual words, multi-word search queries or even entire website URLs and the tool will generate a list of recommended keywords you can use in webpage titles, on-page text or online ads. Moz’s Keyword Explorer is another good option; however, their free version has a limit on the number of keyword searches you can do at one time.
The most important thing to remember when doing keyword research, regardless of which tool you use, is to put yourself in the shoes of internet users who are searching for a product or service like the one you offer. Make sure you’re ranking well not only for issue-related keywords (i.e. – the problem that your business provides a solution for) but also geo-specific terms as well, like the name of your city or town.
To read more about how you can use local SEO to grow your business, check out our previous blog post on that topic!
Used by some of the biggest online retailers in the business, Unbounce is a great tool to build custom landing pages, test their effectiveness and improve your business’ conversion rate. Though the free version is relegated to a 30-day trial period, this is online software that is worth the investment of time and (potentially) money for a fully-fledged plan.
Why use Unbounce to optimize your landing pages? The biggest reason is that, because quality landing pages will lead to a lower cost per click when it comes to lead acquisition, your organization will save some serious cash and be able to stretch your advertising budget farther than ever before. With their easy-to-use interface, setting up new landing pages and making tweaks to existing ones is a very simple process.
If you’re looking for some virtually instantaneous feedback on how your website and social media presence are doing, HubSpot’s Marketing Grader is an excellent tool that analyzes areas like page size (which affects load speed if it’s overly large), page speed, optimization for mobile, SEO performance and more.
The best part is that you barely need to enter in any information to get started. Just enter your business’ website URL and an associated email address, and, in a matter of seconds, a report will be created for you. While you won’t necessarily be able to change anything about your site using this tool’s interface, HubSpot will offer up specific recommendations based on your overall grade.
While this tool is geared towards smaller businesses and entrepreneurs who are trying to make a name for themselves, the U.S. Small Business Administration’s free in-depth guide can also provide some valuable insight for managers at bigger organizations who are looking to simplify their operations and solidify their foundational principles.
From planning your business to launching and maintaining your new enterprise, the SBA guide walks you through everything you need to know to hit the ground running. This includes legal obligations, tax information and any licenses or permits you should apply for. There’s even a section containing advice on how you can grow and scale your company over time. A solid amount of reading is required to get through the whole guide but it’s undoubtedly worth your time.
Creating a detailed business plan plays a vital role in the success of any organization. Normally, this process can be a long and complex one but, fortunately, Enloop has a free online tool that can help jumpstart the writing of your business plan.
Simply enter your company’s general information, including what type of currency you make the majority of your transactions in, and Enloop will populate their business plan template for you. They even include bank-ready financial forecasts that can save you a ton of time.
All that said, you won’t want to rely only on their online software when creating your business plan; however, I think it’s a simple, effective tool that will start you off on the right path.
Want more tips on what you should (or shouldn’t) include in a business plan? Check out our blog write-up now!
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If you’re looking to produce sleek-looking design elements for your website and other online content without shelling out a huge sum of money you’d need for some professional freelance work, you could do worse than set up your business in Canva.
With free plans that are perfect for solo entrepreneurs or small businesses, you and your team can create any number of high-quality documents; from media kits and one-pagers to social media banners and images specific to one platform, Canva has you covered. It’s a collaborative piece of software too, making it easy for all project participants to see work in progress and make necessary edits before the final product is released.
It may sound like a very 90’s communication method, but the fact remains that email is still one of the most effective ways to get in touch with prospective customers and maintain relationships with existing ones. As such, when it comes to properly market your emails and analyzing their performance after you push the “Send” button, MailChimp is the best tool to use.
They have a great free plan that, as long as you stay within certain contact and sent message parameters, offers a robust suite of features that will streamline the email marketing process for any business. See the average open rate, average click rate, the number of people who unsubscribe and more on one easy-to-use dashboard. They also have preconfigured automation campaigns that make remarketing, follow-ups and targeting contacts with ads simple and effective.
As your business grows, trying to keep track of everyone’s information and important files via email or social media messages can become nearly impossible. That’s where Slack comes in – a free online software solution that centralizes all of your work-related communication and integrates effortlessly with other platforms like Google Drive, Microsoft’s Onedrive and other filesharing hubs.
At Amilia, we use Slack a lot. Thousands of files and tens of thousands of messages are exchanged between all our employees and managers per month. Can you imagine trying to streamline that process using multiple online solutions or third-party programs? Neither can I. There’s a slight learning curve when it comes to the ins and outs of its interface, but Slack is one of the go-to additions to many modern workplaces.
A lot of small business owners and entrepreneurs are scared off by the prospect of making a dent in their budgets in order to purchase software tools – but you shouldn’t be! This list of free online solutions is honestly just the tip of the iceberg; with some research on the search engine of your choice, you can discover even more tools that can help your organization generate more engagement, convert more leads and ultimately increase revenue substantially over time.
Even if you’re a larger organization who has some budgetary means allocated for things like purchasing software tools, you may not even need to go that far. With these no-cost options, you can experiment and tweak your business and marketing strategies without using any of those funds, a move that will allow your company’s money to go farther. Taking the initiative to proactively seeks out software tools that will improve your business long-term is the best non-financial investment you can make.
Once you’ve implemented some of these digital strategies, you’ll need to focus on not only attracting new clients but also dazzling your existing customer base. We’ve got client retention advice galore in our downloadable eBook – another tool that’s absolutely free. Get it now!