Free Online Business Tools for Entrepreneurs [Part 2]
Following on from Part 1 of our Online tools for Business series, we want to look at some more tools that can help make your life that little bit easier. This time, we’re looking at tools for Marketing, Learning and Outsourcing.
Let’s dive in.
Your marketing plan covers how you position your brand, communicate the value of your offering, attract potential customers and ultimately convert them to paying customers. Marketing is everything (especially for a new business trying to establish itself in the marketplace (sometimes against strong, better-established competition)! Getting it right can determine whether your business will soar or fall flat.
Digital has made marketing easier. Gone are the days when you needed to spend a small fortune to get the word out about your business via TV adverts and billboards. Today, with next to zero initial [monetary] investment, you can start promoting your business online, by yourself.
Let’s look at some of the tools that could help you achieve this.
Where is the first place you go when you’re looking for the answer to a question? Google. Where do most people start their search for products and services? Google. Then, add to that the fact that there are approximately 108.5 million internet users in Nigeria. Need we say more?
As a business owner, Google My Business (aka GMB) ought to be the Genesis of your digital marketing efforts because it gives you everything you need to make your initial mark online. With GMB, you can list your business, add your location to Google Maps (so that people in your locality can find you), get reviews, post updates, add products and services for sale, etc.
If you’re a business owner and you don’t have a Google My Business listing, fix it now.
First of all, if you’re still wondering why you need a website in 2019, you should check out this article by Moz. The infographic below also shows the benefits of having a website.
So, why WordPress? It’s FREE, it’s easily scalable, it has a massive plugin library (meaning you can build pretty much anything with WordPress) and it’s very simple to use. This may be why a lot of big brands (including Sony Music, Beyonce, Tech Crunch, Microsoft, Usain Bolt and Time Inc.) have opted for WordPress websites.
With WordPress, you can build your website by yourself. Granted, it may take some time and practice to get it to look like a professional website. If you have neither, you can reach out to us and we’ll be happy to help you build a professional business website.
The thing with digital marketing is that it involves a lot of graphics, especially if you want to do it right. Thanks to Canva, you can create all the graphics you need without spending money on a graphics designer. And guess what, IT IS FREE. Simply create your account and you can start creating Instagram posts, Facebook posts, brochures, flyers, posters and more. Canva will even give you default dimensions – it’s brilliant. You should really check it out.
PS: There are some other great graphics tools that are really great. One we particularly like is Pablo by Buffer. It’s great for creating quick images with quotes that you can post and generate engagement.
Email marketing is one of the most effective digital marketing tools. It is a great way to build a customer base and connect with them. Then, when you have that connection, you can begin to better understand your customers’ problems and go about solving them.
To this end, Mailchimp offers a great tool for you to start your email marketing campaigns. With a FREE package that lets you have up to 2,000 customers and send about 10,000 emails per month, you have all you need to start building your email list, supplying your customers with helpful information, getting feedback and creating useful solutions.
Mailchimp also integrates easily with your website. So, you can collect your visitors’ email addresses directly on your website and start building your mailing list from there. It’s great. You really should check it out.
As a business owner, you probably don’t have all the time in the world to create posts for your social media platforms. You’re busy with many other things. At the same time, paying someone ONLY to manage your social media doesn’t seem wise when you’re trying to keep your overheads down. Cue Hootsuite ?.
Hootsuite is a social media management tool that helps you manage several social networks in one place. With it, you can schedule content and post across all your social media accounts with one click. So, look at it this way: instead of waking up every day, thinking about what you’re going to post on social media, you can devote 2 hours on any given day (it doesn’t even have to be a weekday – say Sunday afternoon, when you’re not so busy), put together all your posts for the week and schedule them accordingly. And that’s most of your social media work done – don’t forget you still need to engage with your followers. Try Hootsuite, if you haven’t already.
PS: You should probably check out Buffer too.
First of all, you are what you know. And in the world of rising competition with new entrepreneurs/businesses springing up, what you know will determine how much you get paid, and consequently, whether your business will survive or not.
As an entrepreneur, you cannot rest on your laurels. Learning and personal development are key to your long-term success. The good news is, now you can learn A LOT, for FREE (or as little as $20)! With so many e-learning platforms on the web, you have no excuse for getting left behind. Do a personal learning audit from time to time and ask yourself these questions:
- What skills do you need to effectively run your business?
- How many of those skills do you have (check to see if they’re up to date)?
- Where is your industry going?
- Do you have the skills required to stay relevant in your industry?
There are many more questions to ask, but these can serve as your foundation. And now that you know your skills gap, you can set about filling it. Below are some places where you can find great resources to do that.
edX is a non-profit online course provider offering university-level courses in a broad range of disciplines. A collaboration between MIT, Harvard and a host of other top universities, you can rest assured that the quality of the material on offer is top-notch. Also, if you’d like to have your learning certified, there is a small fee and you will get a certificate showing you’ve completed said edX course.
Other great learning platforms include:
For tech-based learning, check out:
There are many more. All you need to do is google “online learning” and you’ll be inundated with information.
Also, with some of these, you can build up to degree-awarding programs.
As an entrepreneur or small business owner, you probably juggle a lot of the roles in your organisation: you’re the accountant, quality control manager, content creator, secretary… everything. However, sometimes there are tasks where you need a professional. Not like you couldn’t do it yourself, but it might not look as good as a professional’s work. Plus, it would take longer. For those tasks, you have freelancers. Below, we’ve listed a few places where you can find quality freelancers for your project(s).
You’ve probably already heard of this one. Fiverr is a great platform where you can get your work done for as little as $5.00 (NGN,1800). Whether you’re looking for someone to help with logo design, illustration, voice-over or anything else, check out Fiverr. You may be pleasantly surprised.
Upwork offers you access to professional freelancers that can help you scale your business. For anything from administrative support to accounting to mobile development, you can check out Upwork.
PS: If you run a business that offers professional services, why don’t you consider getting listed on these platforms. They could offer you other means of promoting your services and bringing in new business. You should check them out.
We hope the information we’ve supplied you here today has been useful. Are there things you think we should’ve added? Let us know. Are there specific problems you would like us to help you solve? Please, tell us. Otherwise, back to work ?.
God bless your hustle.