Starting your own business can be hard, especially in the early phases as you are building your team. The good news is that there are lots of online tools and services to help you get the work done.
This article will discuss some of our favorite tools for your main marketing, managing social media, automating your email, managing your data and metrics, optimizing search engine optimization ( SEO), and getting you started with usability testing.
If you require any help with developing your startup product or MVP, we can help with that.
Google Marketing Platform
Google Marketing Platform is essentially a customized set of Google Suite applications specifically meant for businesses.
The apps in the suite include Google Analytics (which we’ll talk about later), as well as tools to organize your browser, test different versions of your software, and send surveys to your customers and clients. It’s a pretty basic version of just about everything you need, but it’s just about everything you need and it’s free.
Social Media Management Tools
Buffer is a social media management service that’s been a real player for about three years, although it’s a little older than that.
One of the main features of this website is automatically posting content at a specified time in the future. If you want on
e new item to appear on your social media every day, instead of logging in every day you can input all of the content to Buffer and set the day that you want Buffer to post it for you.
Perhaps the biggest tool Buffer offers is letting you view multiple social media accounts on a single dashboard, rather than logging in and out of sites or having multiple social media tabs open in your browser.
Buffer also has a built-in tool for designing custom graphics for your posts.
Buffer has a lot of different pricing tiers for different-sized businesses. As your business grows, you can also move up from tier to tier. The lowest tier is free and allows you to manage three social media sites, with ten posts per site per month. Their most expensive is $400/mo. and gives you access to 150 social media accounts with 2000 posts to each site per month. It also allows multiple users to have administrative access to the Buffer page.
Hootsuite is another social media management service. Hootsuite manages your analytics, posts in advance, and gives you one website for all of your social media pages similar to Buffer. Hootsuite does do some things differently, however.
Hootsuite doesn’t have the image creator that Buffer does, but it does have a tool for hosting sweepstakes and contests through your social media page. More advanced pricing tiers also give you a custom URL and page design templates.
Hootsuite has fewer pricing tiers than Buffer as well. A downside is that Hootsuite doesn’t have a free pricing tier, but they don’t limit your scheduled posts like Buffer does. Hootsuite’s cheapest tier is $30/mo., they have a middle tier for $130/mo. And a larger option with customized features and no set price.
Email Marketing/ Automation
Mailchimp has been around almost as long as email has. The basic tools of this website work by allowing you to create visually attractive emails that are then saved and automatically customized and sent to visitors to your site. More advanced features work by using data from your e-commerce sites to target users of your site. It also works with popular social media websites to help identify potential customers.
Mailchimp has three price tiers, the lowest for free, the middle tier for $10/mo. And the highest for $200/mo. The basic differences are for how much support you get from the website. The more advanced tiers also let you do things like adjusting email sending times for different recipients’ time zones.
SendGrid is a few years newer than Mailchimp and provides the same basic services. Basic packages don’t allow as much email customization as Mailchimp, however. It’s also a little harder to learn about all of SendGrid’s tools without committing to at least a free trial.
SendGrid has a pricing system that is very similar to Mailchimp’s, except a larger number of resources are restricted to higher price tiers and there are fewer tools, to begin with.
Analytics tools for startups
Analytical tools are so ubiquitous that we haven’t even been bothering to mention them in the tools so far discussed. Every tool in this article has some basic form of analytical software. Google Analytics, however, is different.
Google Analytics is a little limited in that it can only gather data from your website or any associated apps. It can’t gather data from your emails the way that Mailchimp or SendGrid can, and it can’t gather information from your social media the way that Buffer or Hootsuite can. What it can do, however, is use Google’s advanced computer learning technology to get more out of that information than you could imagine.
Google Analytics comes in two price tiers, one for free, and one at a custom price billed monthly. The more expensive option integrates with more of Google’s other tools to provide deeper insights into your data.
Kissmetrics is another analytical tool that operates quite differently from Google Analytics. Kissmetrics is based on behavioral analytics, so it does some of the same calculations as Google Analytics, it does those calculations slightly differently and is able to come up with different interpretations. Kissmetrics can also gather data from a wider range of locations than Google Analytics.
One of the benefits of Kissmetrics is that it also has email automation. That means that Kissmetrics can interpret data from your site and send out customized emails. That’s compared to using Google Analytics and then crafting an email for your email service to send out. The only downside is that Kissmetrics is much more expensive than Google Analytics.
This analytical tool uses computer learning for advanced behavioral analytics, combining the best of Kissmetrics and Google Analytics.
Mixpanel can also analyze content inside and outside of your website like Kissmetrics can in order to give you a more complete picture than Google Analytics.
The only downside is that Mixpanel doesn’t have the integrated email automation that Kissmetrics does.
Mixpanel also has a free version that lets access limited versions of most of Mixpanel’s tools. When you’re ready, there are also more expensive versions with even more capabilities.
SEO tools for startups
This tool allows you to track how well your site and your content ranks in the metrics that make it easy for people to find on search engines like Google and Bing.
By analyzing your content, SEMrush helps you to generate search engine optimized content. SEM also helps you to keep your content optimized through tools that protect, generate, and secure links.
Moz is an SEO tool similar in many ways to SEMrush.
The key differences are that Moz offers a range of free tools without a subscription. Moz also has a large collection of information to help you learn about SEO for yourself.
UserTesting.com allows you to user test different aspects of your site to learn what your users or potential users like or dislike about your site and why.
UserTest.com promises quick turnarounds so that you can avoid long beta periods. The site also provides tools so that you can share the results of user testing with other members of your organization. This keeps everyone on the same page for the greatest possible product.
Startups are always expensive processes. Hopefully, this article has helped to direct you towards some free tools that you can use to get the most out of your idea in the earliest phases so that you can build your business quickly.