As a business owner, you have to manage all aspects of your business – from customer satisfaction to payment to marketing campaigns. How do you keep track of it all while still making sure that your business is growing?
Thankfully, it’s 2017, and there are literally thousands of apps and tools for any kind of business task imaginable.
And if you’re a regular ShoutMeLoud reader, you know that we review a lot of tools…
5 Great Tools For Small Business Owners
In this roundup, we’re going to name five excellent tools designed for solo entrepreneurs and small business owners. We hope these tools help you achieve your business goals and make life easier for you and your team.
Brand24 is a monitoring and analytics tool for small businesses who want to track their brand reach and reputation across popular social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube.
Its main function – Projects – tracks keywords about your brand, topic, or even the name of a competitor.
The tool will return social media mentions, influencers, and other data relevant to a Project. These vital pieces of information will help you gauge how your business is perceived in social media and other online platforms.
A feature called Mentions will track specified keywords and classify them into positive, negative, or neutral sentiments. And a list of all social media posts of these mentions will be shown below the graph.
The Engage button will lead straight to that social media post, so you can reply, for instance, directly to a post on Twitter.
Brand24 has all the social tools that a small business owner could want or need. Its dashboard and UI are easy to learn and use. Information is presented in a clear and modern format. You can hover over line graphs to get more details about specific elements.
You can even get a PDF or infographic of your Project mentions.
Brand24 is great for tracking and analyzing social media reach, but it doesn’t come free.
Its Plus (personal) plan costs $49 a month, which is limited to one user and offers very few features.
The Premium (professional) plan is $99 a month and allows 10 users, up to 400,000 mentions, and gives hourly updates.
Finally, the Max plan is $399 a month and has all Premium features. The Max plan will also unlock Mention Analytics, and you will be assigned an account manager to help you maximize the use of this tool.
For a detailed review on Brand24, read this post.
If you rely on generating leads as a primary way of growing your business, then LeadFeeder is a valuable tool for you.
This tool connects with your website’s Google Analytics to see companies that visited your website in the last 30 days. Clicking on a company will give you more details including their LinkedIn profile and website, as well as the date and time of their visit.
A new feature called LeadFeeder Contacts will show you a list of people who are connected with any company. Note that this feature may not be available for all company profiles.
LeadFeeder also integrates with CRMs like webCRM, Pipedrive, Zoho, Salesforce, and Dynamics 365.
LeadFeeder has four pricing tiers on a monthly subscription basis.
The $59/month plan can return results of up to 200 companies.
The next plans come at $99/month for 400 companies, $169/month for 1,000 companies, and $299/month for 3,000 companies.
Are you not getting enough sales from your email marketing efforts?
You might want to try PushEngage.
It’s like asking website visitors to subscribe, but instead of getting an email, they get pop-up notifications inside their browsers.
To use this feature, you need to install a script (provided by PushEngage) to your website. There are step-by-step instructions on how to do this when you log into the PushEngage dashboard. You can also use this post to help you get set up.
Once the script is successfully installed, you can now create your opt-in box and write or schedule push notifications just like you would write email sequences for your email subscribers.
In addition to sending notifications, PushEngage has a feature designed for eCommerce sites. An automation feature will detect a visitor who leaves your store with unpaid items in their cart. You can create an automated pop-up when this happens so you can encourage the customer to buy the product or offer similar products they might be interested in.
You can use PushEngage for free (one website and a cap of 2500 subscribers).
The paid plans start at $29/month (2 sites, 10k subscribers), $49/month (3 sites, 2 users, 50k subscribers), $99/month (5 sites, 5 users, 100k subscribers), and $249/month for an Enterprise plan (25 sites, unlimited users and subscribers).
Another social media management tool, AgoraPulse, is designed for agencies and social media managers.
If you’re a small business owner, chances are you don’t have an entire team to handle your social media accounts. But even if you do have a team, this tool will make life easier for them, and they’ll get more done in less time.
What I like about AgoraPulse is it’s more than just a social media publishing tool. Its Fans & Followers tab tells you who among your followers share and engage with your posts. You also get to see a feed of posts that mention you on Twitter (or message you on LinkedIn or Facebook) under the Listening tab.
Beyond scheduling posts, you can set posts to be re-published in daily, weekly, or monthly intervals.
What’s even more remarkable is that you don’t have to schedule posts from scratch. When you sign up for an account, your old posts will appear in your calendar, and you can simply duplicate posts to publish them again.
As with most social media management tools, AgoraPulse is a paid service.
You can opt for a monthly or yearly subscription, with the most affordable plan being $49/month ($39/month, if paid annually). This option allows for 3 social media profiles and one user.
If you want to manage Facebook ads and apps, then you’d have to get the Small Business plan at $99/month. This plan allows for 10 social media profiles and 3 users.
The next two plans go for $199/month for 25 profiles and 6 users, and $299/month for 40 profiles and 12 users.
Depending on where you are in the world, 2Checkout and Stripe are great ways of getting paid for your products and services.
Unlike PayPal, Stripe and 2Checkout can accept payments directly from credit cards without having to link it with a PayPal account. This makes it more convenient for customers who might not have PayPal or don’t want to go through the hassle of creating a PayPal account.
2Checkout accepts payments globally, so you don’t have to worry about limitations due to your location.
As for Stripe, its best feature is that the money accepted goes directly to your bank account. It’s also the best option for business owners who might want to develop apps or websites and include Stripe as part of its interface.
Stripe also has plugins to work with WordPress and Squarespace.
Stripe is pay-as-you-go, which means that for every transaction, you pay 2.9% plus 30 cents.
They also have Enterprise plans available for high profile businesses and customers.
- Also see: How I Opened A Bank Account In The USA From India: Stripe Atlas Experience
- Top 7 Paypal Alternatives For Bloggers and Freelancers
The Best Online Tools For Small Business Owners
Whether it’s knowing what your audience is saying about you online or keeping your payments organized, these tools could be the key for any business to achieve faster growth and better results.
But don’t take our word for it. As with any tool or software, you still need to do your own research to determine how your business can really benefit.
Once you make the purchase, make sure to track and measure your ROI (return on investment). With this approach, you’ll have solid data to justify the cost of these tools.
Have you tried any of these tools for your business? What are your thoughts? Share your experiences below!
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