NEWS / INSIGHT
Top 9 apps to boost your business
Our pick of the most useful tools for small businesses
How could you be digitally connecting with your colleagues and customers?
Proverbial Russian wisdom holds that the only free cheese is in a mousetrap. But that’s not the case with these 9 cloud apps...
Firstly, we ought to clarify that all of the apps listed below all have versions that are free for anyone, or any small business, to use. . As Chris Reed of Restless Communication explains, “Many start-ups would kick off with the free versions only to find that they’re so valuable and they scale so well, that as the company scales, they stick with them.”
Even the biggest cloud application & software developers find that it’s often in their best interest to make the freebie versions indispensable – and in yours to squeeze every drop of goodness out of them. So here’s our pick of the most useful tools for small businesses:
First and foremost, Slack is a brilliant messaging and productivity app. Not only does it make collaboration easy, you can quickly search through multiple project threads and highlight ideas for you and your team to follow up on, making your chats a lot more productive. To top it off, Slack boasts a highly intuitive, easy to use interface that makes managing multiple projects a breeze.
Great for: File sharing and teams in multiple locations.
Another collaboration tool, Trello organises your projects into boards. It’s highly visually appealing, and easy to curate, enabling you to see at a glance what stage each element of the project has reached. For those who enjoy a more visual, tactile project management experience, it’s certainly worth experimenting with!
Great for: Managing projects.
If you’re in search of secure cloud storage, you need look no further. Google Drive allows you to store and share files and folders across desktop, tablets and mobile phones at the click of a button, providing instant collaboration without even needing an email attachment. What’s more, it’s compatible with Microsoft Office, offers AI search capabilities and best of all, your first 15 GB of storage is free.
Great for: Smart, cross-device cloud storage.
A digital filing cabinet and project management system – it’s one container that can store everything from social engagements to holiday snaps, receipts to your latest world beating ideas. Whether you’re adding to your lists at work or on the go, you’ll always find them again, neatly catalogued and instantly available on multiple devices.
Great for: People with lots to remember, but nowhere to write it down.
A favourite for businesses and marketing professionals alike, Hootsuite. It lets you manage all your social platforms in one place. You can schedule posts in advance and analyse the content that’s generating the best engagement for your business, helping you save time whilst getting the most from your social media.
Great for: Taking control of social (especially if it’s just you doing it).
Facebook Messenger for Business
With 61% of Facebook users messaging a business in the last 3 months1, the demand for businesses to engage socially with their customers is at an all-time high. Facebook Messenger for business helps you respond quickly and efficiently to customer queries and even offers a service that helps you find a partner to build your business an AI messaging bot.
Great for: Next generation customer service.
Free SEO Tools from Moz
SEO is still a vitally important part of running a successful online business and these tools are the perfect place to start. From exploring the key search terms customers use to find your business, to optimising your link profile and Google My Business listing, Moz provides a whole range of tools for those just beginning to explore the world of SEO.
Great for: Taking your first steps into SEO.
The easy to use templates allow you to create email campaigns and send to up to 2000 of your subscribers, absolutely free. What’s more, you can automate campaigns, get feedback from Mailchimp’s inbuilt analytics and even connect with other platforms like Slack, Shopify and Google Sheets for ultimate marketing and sales synergy.
Great for: Running your email marketing like a pro.
You can never know too much about your customers and the best way to find out what they think is to ask them. Survey Monkey lets you do just that, giving you the chance to create customised surveys, add branding and even analyse the effectiveness of your efforts. There’s gold in those email addresses – and one quick survey could change your business. Well, it’s worth asking isn’t it?
Great for: Getting customer feedback - the smart way.
So there you have it, a bunch of great apps that won’t cost you a penny (and might save you a few).
1 Motivations, Mindsets and Emotional Experience in Messaging (vs Feed)” by Sentient Decision Science (Facebook-commissioned survey of 8,156 people in BR, UK, IN and the US), Jun 2018