I had originally posted this in the Software & Tech section, and I see that a couple hundred folks have read it. I hope that this info is valuable for you! Just to keep it visible, I'm uploading it as a blog with a few updates.Starting with a new software tool can be tough - you lay out a significant amount of money, and then you have to rush to learn the new system. Luckily, these 4 tools offer a great free version. Dip your feet in, see if you like it, and then buy when you're ready! Best of all, each tool adds a valuable new capability to your business.
MailchimpWhat do you get for free?: Bulk email sending. Up to 2,000 subscribers and 10,000 emails sent.Why do you want it?: Email marketing is the best way to touch a large group of contacts all at once. Whether you're asking previous customers for reviews or rehashing old demo/no-sale leads, email marketing is quick and easy way to do it.
For instance, we've run review request campaigns for EcoView Windows, our window replacement partner, and the deliverability and ease-of-use are second to none.SidekickWhat do you get for free?: Email tracking. See who has opened and clicked on links in your emails.Why do you want it?: This gives your sales team superpowers. Has Mr. Customer viewed that proposal you've sent them? Now you know. Has he opened your email 3 times in the last hour, so you should give him a call? Now you know. This tool is now called 'Hubspot Sales,' so have a look for it!HootSuiteWhat do you get for free?: Bulk social posts. Write one blog post, and then syndicate it to Facebook, Twitter, or others with one click.Why do you want it?: You should be maintaining social profiles. Facebook, Google+, and Houzz, at least. HootSuite takes some of the leg work out of the process, saving you time from logging in and out of your half-dozen accounts. Give Hootsuite to your designated social media guru, and watch them do more with less!Google AnalyticsWhat do you get for free?: Wall-to-wall web analytics. You see what your website is doing, from which pages bring in visitors to which pages bring in sales leads.Why do you want it?: This is probably the most important but least sexy software on the list. You NEED an analytics package. You don't want it, you 100% need it. For instance, let's say 10% of people who view your site ask to meet your sales team. If you bump that up by just 2% with a website improvement, you can add dozens of sales into your pipeline. If you don't already have a numbers guy or gal in your office, hire one just to use this tool.Want an easy idea to test? Make your quote form shorter and easier to fill out. I bet you see a 10% improvement to your conversion rate, right off the bat.So there you have it! 4 free software tools to make your life easier and your bottom liner fatter. Have I missed any? Let me know.