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Free lunch is served - Apps to boost your business

Community Manager

Free lunch is served - Apps to boost your business

Who says there’s no such thing as a free lunch?

 

Untitled design (32).pngIn fact, when it comes to developing your business, these free apps will achieve more than a meal ever could.

 

Let’s clarify there’s nothing suspicious about the non-existent price. As consultant @Chris_Reed of Restless Communications explains, “Many startups would kick off with the free versions only to find they’re so valuable and they scale so well, that as the company scales, they stick with them.”

 

It’s in the tech companies’ best interests to make freebie versions indispensable – and in yours to squeeze every drop of goodness out of them.

 

Here’s our pick of the most useful free tools for small businesses:

 

Slack  

A brilliant messaging app. Not only does Slack make collaboration easy, it’s searchable and you can highlight ideas for follow up.

Great for: File sharing, teams in multiple locations.

 

Trello

Another collaboration tool, Trello organises projects into boards so you see at a glance what stage everything is at. It’s as satisfying as moving Post-its around a desk – and infinitely more organised.

Great for: Managing projects

 

Airtable

Like Excel, but sharable. You can collaborate on spreadsheets, filling them with everything from images to barcodes. And it’s all updated in real time.

Great for: Crunching numbers and getting organised

 

Evernote

A digital filing cabinet and project management system. It’s one container that can store everything from social to snaps and receipts to ideas, all nicely catalogued.

Great for: People with lots to remember  

 

Hootsuite

Lets you manage social platforms in one place. You can schedule posts in advance and analyse the content that’s working best.

Great for: Taking control of social

 

Followerwonk

This Twitter analytics tool lets you find out more about your followers, identify influencers and find people who share your passions.

Great for: Making contacts

 

Answer The Public

Type in a relevant subject and ‘The Searcher’ creates a lovely chart of clickable areas to explore. Handy and fun to use.

Great for: Generating content ideas

 

MailChimp

Use their templates to create email campaigns to send to subscribers. And they’ll be optimised for all devices too.

Great for: Keeping in touch with customers

 

Survey Monkey

The best way to find out what customers think is to ask them. There’s gold in those email addresses – and one quick survey could change your business.

Great for: Customer feedback

 

Still looking for inspiration?

We asked the VOOM Pioneers community to share the apps they can’t live without.

 

Hana Price, @CasaLola, of Casa Lola Designs says: “I use Wunderlist daily. It's a super easy tool to keep on top of to do lists, and helps unorganised creatives like me deal with projects in a visual way. I also love Planoly. It means you can pre-plan your social media posts, and then receive a diarised record of posts and the level of engagement they received.”

 

Shoned Owens, @tanyawhitebits, of Tanya Whitebits spray tan solutions says: “I mainly use social media apps like Instagram, Facebook and Snapchat for advertising and reaching out.”

 

Max Scotford, @maxscotford, of Bullion Chocolate says: “One of my favourite apps is Canva. It’s essentially a drag and drop editor and allows you to produce a range of graphics. For anyone that doesn't feel comfortable using Adobe Illustrator or who can't afford a designer, this tool is perfect.”

 

So Pioneers, which apps can't you do without?

Comments
Community Team

Great list. I'd also add Mindmeister in there as well for mind-mapping, if that's your thing. And Typeform as well. Very much like surveymonkey, but with a great UI  

Thought Leader

Brilliant list.  Unsplash is great for high resolution photos and if I need icons for media/web then I use Icons DB where you can match the colour with your own branding.  Agree with @maxscotford Canva is one of my favourite apps.

Community Manager

Ooh, so many things to try out!

 

My favourte/most used app is Google Keep - I use it for everything.

It's also pretty good at transcribing  text off of uploaded pictures which is very handy for doing alt text, or getting a translation of a text image posted in a different language.

Thought Leader

Clearing Image Metadata

If using images from manufacturers or images provided by a supplier/wholesaler/distributor, the images should be renamed first plus the image files may contain metadata like what camera was used etc. and metadata can increase the file size.

 

To clear all data, I use a Freeware program called Batch Purifier LITE which only works with JPEG files but there is another version for cleaning additional files and needs to be paid for.

 

For the Freeware version, grab it here.

Batch Purifier

 

Image Optimization

Also when using images online like for products on a store or any other reason, it is wise to compress the files to help with the speed of your website.

 

This can be done with software like Photoshop, which I do use but for speed and to get things done much faster, I use 2 free online tools, one of which will do bulk images.

JPEG Optimizer and my fav for bulk image compression is Kraken Image Optimizer

 

Mail Chimp Advice!

It's been mentioned here that Mail Chimp is used, now I aware how popular it is and I did set up an account but from information and advice given from a tech guru, many claim that their Mail Chimp campaigns are being flagged as Spam and 'possible fraud alerts' and end up in Junk folders so be sure to check out Mail Chimps guide on how to avoid spam filters here...

Mail Chimp - Avoiding Spam Filters

 

Hope these help. Smiley Happy