by Brittany McSorley
There’s an app for everything. I don’t even have a joke for that—it’s just the way things are. If you’re a small business owner, you likely rely on a handful of online tools to keep things running smoothly, but you may be missing out on opportunities to boost your marketing strategy using apps. Get ahead of the curve with some of the best apps for small business marketers:
Marketing is all about giving the people what they want, but pinpointing just what that is can be tricky. SurveyMonkey allows you to create surveys for your customers so you can gather anonymous feedback about your products or services. This is a priceless tool, because people will tell you the truth, no matter how painful, if they know their name won’t be attached to the sentiment. SurveyMonkey: Helping People Hurt Your Feelings, Possibly, Since 1999.
You know how paper is kind of out? With the exception of books, precious books, going paperless is pretty much always a good idea, and many industries are adapting to that shift. Enter Inigo, an app that lets you design and share digital business cards. Self-promotion has never been easier. And who wants to carry around piles of tiny promotional rectangles anyway? Legend has it you can even use Inigo to share a business card with someone simply by tapping your phone against theirs, but I’m hesitant to believe that. Sounds like dark magic.
Some people don’t need the anonymity provided by SurveyMonkey to crush your spirit with their feedback. These people walk among us, waiting like hungry lions for a chance to open up TripAdvisor and exorcise some childhood trauma with a two-star review that clocks in at 750 words.
Podium helps you collect and manage online reviews of your business, so you can keep all the fussy people of the world happy (as much as that’s possible . . . which it’s not). Keeping up with your online presence helps you track down more leads, ensure repeat customers, and stay on potential customers’ radar.
Are you sending out marketing emails whenever the mood strikes from YourBusiness@gmail.com, CC-ing dozens of people by typing in their addresses one at a time? Probably not, but you may be making email marketing harder than it needs to be if you aren’t using MailChimp, a platform that will automate all of your e-marketing efforts so you can spend more time replying to Donna’s latest negative Yelp essay. Enough, Donna! Get some fresh air!
Custom URLs are something you may not have encountered or thought to investigate, but you should. If you’ve ever linked to your website or a blog entry and thought the URL looked long and chaotic, Bitly is here to soothe your worries. The platform allows you to shorten unwieldy links, and even customize them to boost your branding online. And the app’s tracking tools will keep you updated on how many clicks your links are getting, allowing you to further customize your efforts for the highest possible conversion.
If you’re like me, the term “graphic design” causes an internal panic the likes of which you haven’t experienced since your mother almost didn’t let you go to prom in 2008 . . . or something. Creating visuals for marketing can be daunting if you aren’t naturally inclined toward artistic endeavors. Canva simplifies the graphic design process with lots of helpful tools, so even design novices can create professional-looking images for their marketing efforts. (Don’t worry; I went to prom and had a lovely time.)
Clover is a platform offering a variety of business payments software, but I want to focus on just one of many cool features: digital punch cards. You know my stance on promotional rectangles, and fortunately, the buy-ten-get-one-free punch cards of yore have gone digital. Now you can use loyalty rewards to encourage repeat customers without handing them a tiny slip of paper they’re likely to lose track of long before they earn their free coffee.
(Note: Clover the business platform is not to be confused with Clover the dating app. Please don’t make your romantic prospects use punch cards for any reason.)
Things are always “trending” now, and that can be overwhelming. But keeping up with the trends of the day (or the hour, more realistically) can do wonders for your marketing. That’s why I start every public interaction I have with a hot take on whatever Trump just did, even though people are often in a hurry and do not like it.
BuzzSumo helps you find content that will work best in your marketing. When you’re planning social media posts, run a quick search using BuzzSumo to discover what everyone is talking or reading about online at the moment, identify influencers, or find content to share. Altering your marketing to sync up with what’s trending can make a big difference.
Instagram is a treasure trove of curated content (the industry-specific content you share with your followers to demonstrate your expertise and engagement with current trends), but sharing posts on this platform used to be challenging. Repost for Instagram is a tool that eliminates this problem, allowing you to share a post you loved with just a few clicks.
Is your business the kind that exchanges good and services for currency? Then you’re in luck! Shopify is an e-commerce marketplace that has a tool for every possible buying-or-selling scenario. Shopify is not technically an app itself; it offers apps—a lot of them. Explore the platform to see if your online store could benefit from one or more of Shopify’s tools.
Did reading about Canva earlier make you nervous all over again about the time you almost fell down in the science hallway in front of the first boy you ever loved . . . or something? Don’t worry! You don’t need to go full graphic design to make a big marketing impact. For a simple text-over-photos tool that offers much more if you need it, check out Over. It’s easier than you think to create images that are beautiful and professional.
All photos via respective websites.