Insanely Great Online Tools
For Sales & Marketing
In the old days, we’d have multiple assistants to help us plan our day, schedule meetings, and take care of so many of the things crucial to running a business. Technology has changed all that. More and more SaaS (Software as a service) companies are cropping up, providing superb value for tasks that would otherwise require keeping a full-time employee. And for a very affordable price at that.
This is a no-brainer for start-ups who want to keep things lean and want to keep overheads low. Not only do these SaaS services provide incredible value, your entire work resides in the cloud meaning no heavy storage needs to follow you around. As a business traveler, this is a godsend. No chances of your most important work getting lost or damaged in transit. Sometimes a coffee spill during turbulence can be the culprit.
If you’ve been a little overwhelmed as a budding entrepreneur or start-up founder, we’ve done a little homework for you in choosing some SaaS tools you’ll drool over. In our research, we wanted to make sure each tool provided value to the business we operate – textiles for menswear. For Huddersfield, here are our favorites:
Easily create beautiful designs and documents with Canva, an online tool with a drag-and-drop feature and professional layouts to design consistently stunning graphics. Canva allows you to create logos, business cards, posters and many other print / digital media for your brand assets. It also includes great ready-to-use templates, and stock images if you’re looking for something quick and dirty.
Don’t forget to check out Shutterstock for great images when preparing your brand assets on Canva. Sometimes there’s just not enough time or budget to take great quality images, so Shutterstock is a great platform to leverage in parallel. They’ve got a vast collection of images to pick from and have various pricing plans to suit most individuals (and businesses’) needs.
Canva is free to sign up and use on their free forever plan. Expect to pay if you’ve got a large team and need serious storage. Even then, it’s fairly reasonable at 12.95 a month.
Instagram and Facebook is still probably the ultimate marketing tool and Client Relationship Management. There are several plugins that can fully integrate with Facebook and Instagram to make them work better.
Understanding how to use your Facebook business page effectively can be daunting at first. Enter Pagemodo, a tool that helps you create timeline cover photos, build custom tabs, design posts, and even has an easy-to-use interface for creating Facebook ads.
As an even greater incentive, Pagemodo can help you build a Facebook store onto one of your page tabs. The interface is fairly straightforward and what better way to monetize your Facebook following than bring the storefront to them. As a start-up, this tool may just be your best friend on Facebook, until you find another that is.
Instagram and Facebook are still probably the ultimate marketing tool and Client Relationship Management. There are several plugins that can fully integrate with Facebook and Instagram to make them work better.
If you’re running an e-commerce operation, chances are you have a lead magnet to collect emails. What you do with those emails it totally up to you, but having an Email Service Provider (ESP) service will allow you to put those emails to good use.
Create segmented email lists, build holiday templates, perform A/B testing of email campaigns, and just manage your entire community of subscribers with ease using your preferred ESP. We’ve tested and used Mailchimp, and love its ease-of-use functionality. It’s free to sign up but once your list really grows, expect to pay for their tiered memberships. Use the trial versions of the ESP’s you’re considering before settling on one.
We do very creative wordplay and clever call-to-action design with our e-mail newsletters and it is one of the best marketing tools for us
If you’ve ever struggled with scheduling appointments, then Calendly is for you. It provides an automated method for your invitees to schedule meetings with you, without your direct involvement. Simply setup the type of meetings and time slots, and the rest is up to Calendly and your invitee to sort out.
The service comes with calendar integration and has a simple, modern interface – making it very easy to use. The basic package is totally free but with limited features. Depending on how much functionality you’re looking for, paid upgrades are available.
Bespoke tailoring business is mostly an appointment based business. When I design sites for my clients I always include the most important call to action design for ‘Book Appointment’.
It’s hard enough to scour the internet in search of tutorials and guidelines, so why not just pay for courses that can teach you. Lynda is a phenomenal online library of over 4000 courses in business, technology and creative skills taught by industry experts. Best of all, you’ll learn a new skill online, and on your own time.
There’s two subscription levels, with each allowing for unlimited access to the online courses. A free trial is available before taking the plunge. If you do pick up a plan, LinkedIn integrates with Lynda meaning you can showcase your completion certificates right on your profile. Now that’s something you can sell to potential employers!
I have been using Lynda.com ever since I was 8 years old. I was able to get to advanced level in photoshop without going to any graphic design school. Photography, Webdesign, and business management courses can all be found.