Small businesses are generally limited in terms of cashflow and infrastructure – so any thing free is generally a bonus.
Luckily most of these free online tools offer amazing functionality, scalability for when your business grows and infrastructure such as backups, export/import features and access from anywhere.
- Social Media Tools – a must have to get your social signals out there – ultimately to build credibility in the marketplace and help boost your Google rankings. Yes, SEO is slowly becoming a thing of the past.
- Facebook – great for hitting your target market in a relaxed and highly popular environment.
- LinkedIn – a must when building B2B relationships or having a more professional front – quickly increase your LinkedIn network BUT only post at most twice per day – once in the morning and once in the afternoon.
- Google Plus – a must have if you want your Google rankings to be high. It’s Google’s answer to Facebook but with added features such as Hangouts where you can host a webinar and record straight to YouTube for free.
- Twitter – great for sending out short reminders to your followers of articles you’ve written and to re-tweet people’s content. This one can be used with high frequency.
- YouTube – the world’s largest TV station. Get some content out there, even if you just record it with your phone and ask your network to check it out. Keep your videos around 1-2 minutes for intro topics and a maximum of 5-7 minutes for more detailed topics.
- Startup Nation – a fantastic resource for small business including small business forums.
- WordPress – most web hosting packages allow a WordPress style website and blogs to be used. If this is an option, find a great template or designer that works for you.
- Try the Customize theme
- FetchTweets plugin
- AWeber – an almost free lead capture and email marketing platform.
- Meetup – a fantastic resource for finding business groups who meet up regularly AND groups who are your target market!
- Google Drive – a must have to store at least 15GB of files that you can access anywhere plus word processing, spreadsheet and presentation software. Never have to worry about forgetting that USB stick – just store it on Google Drive.
- Hootsuite – an amazing piece of software that allows you to post Facebook, LinkedIn, Google Plus, Twitter etc. posts at pre-defined times. Write all your content on the weekend and allow Hootsuite to post it at the times that your target market accesses your social media channel.
- Base (CRM) – integrates all your contacts and sales funnel into a single free application. Upload it to your phone and hey presto – after a contact calls you the screen pops up with the option for you to write notes straight away!
- Google Analytics and Webmaster Tools – allow Google to track your web site usage, where users came from, what they searched for to get to your site etc…
- Wordle – a fun tool to create your very own word clouds – awesome!!