Tag Archives: content marketing

Smart Marketing

 

Addressing the Complexity of Consumer Purchases

Many digital marketers will cite specific factors when taking about the buying process of a consumer. Variables such as age, location, gender and even income level come into play. There is no doubt that all of these concerns are very important, but are we missing something? To put it another way, what happens if you have identified all of these factors and your sales are still slumping? Assuming that you have not tried to market the chocolate tea kettle, the chances are high that you might still be failing to appreciate one key factor that is frequently overlooked. Namely, that the decision-making process of consumers can be broken down into three category (1). These are:

• Products that extensively solve a problem.

• Products that provide limited means to solve a problem.

• Everyday purchases (such as food and consumer goods with a limited lifespan).

Let's take a look at how these behaviors can affect the ways that a product is viewed.

 

The Mentality of the Buyer

A student who has just graduated from college is not likely to choose a product or service that extensively solves a problem (such as an expensive vacuum cleaner). Instead, he or she will normally be much more concerned with limited problem-solving products such as the cheapest type of pasta or whether it is better to choose powdered or liquid laundry detergent.

In the same respect, the mother of a newborn baby will tend to be looking for products that extensively solve problems as opposed to cheaper alternatives which may be of lower quality.

Finally, consumer goods such as cereal, socks and other “normal” items are not likely to be extensively analyzed for their ability to solve problems. There is very little thought involved during a purchase.

 

How Does This All Fit Into Digital Marketing?

Although this may appear to be common sense, you might be asking how these observations fit into the world of digital marketing. Even though these theories were written long before the age of the Internet, their principles in terms of buyer behavior are just as relevant. The fact of the matter is that whether a consumer realizes it or not, they are constantly making choices throughout the buying process. These choices are based upon how the product in question is PERCIEVED to help them. So, it makes sense that businesses which promote the problem-solving benefits of a product are more likely to enjoy greater success. To put it another way, consumers simply want to be confident that they are making the best choices possible (2). While this may not be as relevant when referring to buying a pair of socks, this concept is very important when speaking of email automation software or a website design service!

Clear and concise information is the best way to point out the benefits of a certain product. This could be a simple phrase, a mission statement or very literally stating with the item is intended to accomplish. Here are three examples:

1. Burger King: Have it Your Way

2. Johnny Walker: Joy Will Take You Further

3. Coca-Cola: I'd Like to Buy the World a Coke

In each of these phrases, the consumer is not only being told what the product delivers, but they also induce action. In turn, the buying process is simplified to an extent. This targets the very real human relationship between consumer and product.

You might have noticed that some of these strategies (such as the one produced by Coca-Cola) existed decades ago. Still, the principles are just the same in the world of digital marketing. Knowing how a product or service can solve a problem is the key to secure sales within your customer base.

Richard Tipsword
Markethive Developer

Sources:

1. www.researchgate.net/publication/235361430_The_Theory_of_Buyer_Behavior

2. theconsumerfactor.com/en/3-decision-making-processes-purchasing-behavior-of-consumers/

L Basheer (LB) Hasan – TheGoldServants.Com

The Role of Attribution Models in Mass Marketing

 

The Role of Attribution Models in Mass Marketing

We have all heard of terms such as search engine optimization, clickthrough rates, meta tags and mobile-responsive sites. We are aware how these concepts and approaches can affect our marketing campaign. However, attribution modeling is one of those ideas which is unfamiliar (at best) and unknown (at worst). To simplify things, attribution modeling is simply knowing which channel ultimately gets the credit for a conversion if multiple channels are accessed. This can be much more tricky than it initially appears. Let's take a look at some potential shortcomings of attribution modeling before we define the important roles that it plays.

 

Not so Simple…

  • Many experts have pointed out that by its very nature, there can be a few problems with attribution modeling. Some of the most common are (1):
  • Sites which are visited every day may or MAY NOT be related to a conversion.
  • The addition of third-party sites and affiliate advertising further muddles attribution modeling.

Now, let's take a look at the positive roles that attribution modeling plays and how to leverage these roles.

 

The “Mass” in Mass Marketing

First, we need to look at attribution modeling as covering a campaign as opposed to measuring individual channels (2). Here's an example to highlight why this is important:

  • A business has observed that social media channels do not drive conversions as much as static searches. So, it chooses to place more of its focus on SERP rankings. However, sales slide and marketers are left scratching their heads.

The truth of the matter is that this enterprise has forgotten the “mass” in mass marketing. One of the most critical roles that attribution modeling plays is interpreting which COMBINATION of channels drives the most conversions. The big picture will be much easier to see over time. You need to start looking at the relationships of these channels.

 

Funneling the Results

Another important feature of attribution modeling is that it can provide you with the ability to funnel your results into an easy-to-read template. This is important, for it has been shown that up to 60 percent of all conversions occur as the result of an interaction with more than one channel (3). So, which channels are the most appealing to customers? When used correctly, attribution modeling can help you to answer this question.

 

Summing it Up

We can see that attribution modeling can have either a positive or a negative impact on your marketing campaign. This will all revolve around how you leverage such a tool. Part of your success will come down to the software that you employ and how clear the results are presented. Companies such as VisualIQ and Adinton are preferred by many businesses, as they are easy to work with.

It is just as important to appreciate the customer journey between initial contact and conversion. Data such as client preferences, their decision-making processes, and even their concerns are all areas to analyze. What are their expectations? What are their buying triggers? What types of customers prove to be the most loyal and (naturally), which channels relate to this demographic?

Let's always keep in mind that attribution modeling needs to take into account these factors in order to be a worthwhile tool. When used correctly and by appreciating the observations mentioned above, this lesser-known trick can have a massive impact upon your conversion rates and ROI.

Richard Tipsword
Markethive Developer

 

Sources:

  1. https://moz.com/blog/marketing-analytics-attribution-modeling
  2. https://moz.com/blog/the-importance-of-marketing-analytics
  3. http://www.cpcstrategy.com/blog/2015/10/attribution-modeling/

L Basheer (LB) Hasan – TheGoldServants.Com

Why Personalized Emails Are King

 

Why Personalized Emails Are King This Year

2016 seems to be the year of SEO personalization. Whether we refer to organic content, long-tail keywords or user interaction, the world of online marketing has certainly become challenging. It is, therefore, a bit ironic that one of the most traditional areas of engagement is still not being addressed. We are referring here to user-centered email campaigns. Were you aware that an incredible 70 percent of companies have still not picked up on this trend (1)? So why has such a strategy become useful and what advantages does it offer when compared to “cookie cutter” emails?

 

Conversion Rates

This is the most obvious benefit of such an approach. An email targeted to a specific individual is much more likely to build a firm psychological “bond” over time. This will cause them to become interested in what it is that you are offering as opposed to sending the document immediately into the trash. Here are two examples to illustrate this point:

  • “Dear sir/madam, please find enclosed the latest offers that may suit your needs.”
  • “Hey John! It's been a while and I hope that you are well. We found a few offers that might be just what you are looking for!”

Which one would you be more likely to respond to? So doing away with the generic is the first step to increase conversion rates and build brand loyalty.

 

The Proof is in the Profit

To reinforce our last point, we should refer to a 2013 study that was commissioned by Experian. They found that personalized emails were able to generate a revenue that was six times higher than random messages (2). What is even more interesting to note, is that according to this very same study, it seems that only the travel industry has taken advantage of these benefits. Only 6 percent of companies which offer consumer-based products and services currently adopt the personal approach. Imagine what you could be missing out on!

 

Avoiding the Spam Folder

Many email algorithms such as Yahoo! Mail and Google have advanced safeguards against spam. This has become very tricky for an email that lands within this folder will continue to do so time and time again. Furthermore, how often do you check your spam box to filter out any emails that may have been placed there by mistake? Generic emails are now a waste of time, for the chances are high that they will not ever be seen. Personalized alternatives vastly increase the chances that the document finds itself within the inbox. So the customer or prospect is much more likely to read what it is that you may be offering.

 

Vendor Reliability

This is simply a fancy way of observing that Google will now take into account how your email is categorized when ranking your website (3). This should actually come as no great surprise, for their algorithms are becoming more advanced on an annual basis. Spammy signals can therefore dramatically lower your rankings and have a knock-on effect in terms of your marketing campaign. It is better to avoid this trap before you become a victim of it.

Whether you are concerned about your SERP status or you simply hope to establish a better connection with your user base, personalized emails can no longer be taken for granted. Thankfully there are many automated programs which will allow you to address the reader without having to spend an inordinate amount of time doing so. This is another example of how the Internet is becoming a truly one-on-one experience.

Richard Tipsword
Markethive Developer

Sources:

  1. http://marketingland.com/study-70-brands-personalizing-emails-missing-higher-transaction-rates-revenue-73241
  2. http://press.experian.com/United-States/Press-Release/experian-marketing-services-study-finds-personalized-emails-generate-six.aspx
  3. https://searchenginewatch.com/sew/opinion/2421290/your-email-marketing-may-impact-your-rankings

L Basheer (LB) Hasan – TheGoldServants.Com

The Power of the Outbound Link

Modern Marketing: The Power of the Outbound Link

Determining the correct SEO and marketing strategies can be a bit difficult in this day and age. One of the most common “gray” areas centers around the use of outbound links. There are arguments both for and against their use and unfortunately, these strategies have often been associated with negative effects (1). This is much more of a myth than a reality. The fact of the matter is that outbound links have ALWAYS been used to boost SERP rankings and enhance SEO techniques. So why should marketers always employ these handy tools within their sites and what are some of the most profound benefits that they have to offer?

 

Added (and Scalable) Value

Even if you spend years developing a powerful website which offers turnkey solutions within your niche market, the simple fact is that you cannot be everything for everyone at the same time. To put it simply, some users will still not find what it is that they may be looking for. Quality outbound links can help to bridge this informational gap. Leveraging the power and sheer breadth of the online community will help to provide a better personal experience to the visitor. In other words, sites which offer relevant links to similar websites will be perceived better by the visitor. In turn, they can be prone to associate your portal with a higher level of quality. Let's also remember that tracking clickthrough rates and similar metrics is much easier if you include outbound links within your content.

 

Agreeable to Algorithms

We have all heard how Google is changing its ranking methods. Over time, these overlords have become much more discriminating in terms of how a website is perceived and as their algorithms become smarter, targeted keywords and a clean layout are no longer enough. Quality outbound links provide two major benefits (2):

 

  • They help Google to further understand the content of the page.

  • Quality links build a solid reputation and therefore, the page itself scores higher.

 

Low-quality sites tend to include spam-filled links and unsurprisingly, these portals will suffer in terms of exposure. It is likely that the algorithmic demands from Google will become even more stringent into the foreseeable future.

 

Linking Out and Linking In?

Whether or not we realize it, we are all part of a greater online community. One of the mistakes that can be made is to assume that outbound links offer a one-off effect and that this effect ends once the user navigates to the page in question. However, websites which provide reputable links to other portals also tend to enjoy a greater number of inbound links. This arises from the fact that third-party sites and content managers will appreciate that you are “spreading the word”. They are more likely to return the favor and feature your product or service on their page. This is perhaps where the term “link” came from; we are all parts of an ever-increasing virtual marketing chain.

 

Further Engagement

Finally, we need to appreciate that outbound links create opportunities for other professionals (such as bloggers, forum members, and social media experts) to visit and interact with your site. This can help to add a sense of reputability and once again, such engagement will further boost your rankings.

Of course, the term “quality” has been used in this article multiple times. It is only through transparent and trustworthy link-building techniques that you will enjoy such benefits. Much like any other marketing strategy, you get out what you initially put in!

Richard Tipsword
Markethive Developer

Sources:

 

  1. https://moz.com/blog/5-reasons-you-should-link-out-to-others-from-your-website

  2. http://www.shoutmeloud.com/seo-benefits-and-tips-for-outbound-links.html

L Basheer (LB) Hasan – TheGoldServants.Com

Why Videos are Outperforming Pictures in Regards to Online Marketing

Why Videos are Outperforming Pictures in Regards to Online Marketing

video marketing,inbound marketing,markethive,tipsword,tipco,blogging

Videos have always been a high-demand medium for those who are looking to promote their product or service through online channels such as YouTube. However, you may have noticed the growing trend of embedding videos within a website. The same holds true for social media platforms such as Facebook. Why are videos taking the world of digital marketing by storm and what can we expect to see in the months ahead?

 

Information and Entertainment

It could be argued that the days of static SEO-rich text are fading away. Still, we all know that quality content can ultimately make the difference between a sale and a missed opportunity. Videos are set to bridge the gap between success and a lack thereof. A recent study by Cisco highlighted that videos are slated to account for no less than 69% of all consumer traffic by 2017 (1). The fact of the matter is that we live in a visually oriented society. Failing to capitalize on this trend could have negative consequences upon your business plan.

The Smartphone Influence

Another factor that is impossible to deny is the fact that we all use our smartphones on a daily basis. From downloading the latest games to watching a streaming broadcast, the days of 4G are now upon us. Very few consumers are willing to enlarge a block of text and read it from beginning to end in order to get a handle on what is being offered. Videos can accommodate this need in a fraction of the time. Any small business that fails to take advantage of this opportunity could soon find itself playing a game of catch-up for years into the future.

The Reach

Content marketing can be a tricky arena. It is difficult to understand what an audience may want and if static text or info graphics are boring, there is no doubt that your sales will suffer as a result. These concerns can be (partially) addressed through the use of video. For example, were you aware that YouTube receives more than 1 billion visitors each month (2)? In the same respect, the average consumer within the United States views at least one video each week. The fact of the matter is that videos can provide access to a massive pool of potential buyers.

The Personal Touch

We should never forget that videos enable us to connect with an audience in ways that would simply be impossible through a static website. Let's imagine that customer has a complaint about a product that they recently purchased. As opposed to sending a lengthy (and formal) email or simply replying to a post, imagine the impact that a personalized video response would have upon the future buying decisions. Additionally, other clients are likely to be very impressed with your ability to go “above and beyond” the norm.

Brand Uniformity

Another great aspect of videos is that they can be embedded across multiple sites. So, you could very well provide an outbound link to your Facebook page, a specific blog or even to YouTube itself. Not only is this a great way to increase your brand recognition, but Google looks favorably upon these actions.

Videos are without a doubt here to stay. Although well-written text and flashy graphics are always good ideas, we can't deny the fact that consumers want to be entertained, engaged and informed. Videos are the best ways to promote your product in a way that is appealing to your growing audience.

Richard Tipsword
MarketHive Developer

Sources:
1. http://www.cisco.com/en/US/solutions/collateral/ns341/ns525/ns537/ns705/ns827/white_paper_c11-481360_ns827_Networking_Solutions_White_Paper.html
 

2. http://www.youtube.com/yt/press/en-GB/statistics.html

L Basheer (LB) Hasan – TheGoldServants.Com

Twitter Made Easy

Twitter Made Easy

Making a success of any business today would be better served if the internet was used. The internet being the far reaching tool that it is, helps to create the desired revenue for the successful business venture. The internet, specifically the social media tools have over time proven to be the most successful. Learn about Twitter here.

Twitter Basics

Tools like twitter can effective create the attention that is necessary in getting the information about the business to the wider audience. This is done with virtually no cost involved.

The planned site must is attractive enough to be the cause of the twitter exercise thus ensuring the desired amount of traffic to the site. Providing material that is worth discussion or viewing with the intention of dispersing information is very important as this is what will cause the interest to stay.

As the twitter platform is comparatively personal. Ensuring the exchanges have some form of follow ups is beneficial to the host. If the users are made to feel special, then it is almost guaranteed that the host site will garner the desired traffic which will eventually be converted to revenue.

Spending some time to personally address issues or comments will encourage the user to stay loyal as they perceive their participation to be well received and valued.
Being consistent, as in a daily basis also is another element to consider at it allows feedback and comments to be shared from a more current standpoint.
Building a rapport with the users is always a good idea as both parties will eventually attest to benefit from the exchanges. Building the list of customers, prospects, potential buyers all depends on whether the material being discussed is of high interest value.
Having a great product or service is of no value if it is not made known to the masses.

 
 Know The Difference Between Posting And Spamming

Spamming is perhaps the most annoying application that most internet users are weary of. Basically the spam element involved the sending of material in a continuous and abundant manner causing the recipient to be overwhelmed with unwanted material.

This will basically cause a lot of problems when the inbox becomes jammed with all the unwanted solicitations.

Therefore one needs to be careful to ensure the material posted is designed and posted in a way to does not cause it to fall into the spam category.

Most spasms target individual users who use the direct email messaging platform regularly. These email listing are more often than not “stolen” from other more legitimate sources with the intention of using the said list to post the material categorized as spam.

The two main types of spam but both are an equally unwelcomed solicitation.

Postings however are very different in its original design and intention aspect. Though having the same desired reach of the target audience, the posting element is used to create visibility on the internet but with the distinct difference of wanting to create an interaction.

The message is replied to in the form of email, internet forums and use net. The benefits of posting may include being able to harness direct visitors to the site, branding position, promotion of the site and its material of services or products, creating external links and many more positive contributions.

Posting also provides maximum visibility online. The classified ad site can be used without being feared as being categorized as spam and with this comes the advantage of being marketed effectively.
The hopeful result here is that through the posting even the uninterested viewer may be convinced enough to make the transition into making a more positive commitment.

 Be Clear On What You Are Promoting

Getting noticed on the online business arena is only possible if viewers are clear on what they are viewing. Put up ambiguous posting will not help to ensure the target audience nor will it ensure a successful presence on the internet.

 Some Tips

Here are some points to consider in ensuring the posting is clear and understood:

• Deciding and designing the material to be posted must follow one theme. When the material posted does not correspond with promotional tone then it can be rather confusing. Therefore the theme should be decided even before the actual designing of the posting is started.

• Understanding what the desired end goal is, contributes to the actual tools and formats that will eventually be utilized. When the goal is clearly identified, then the best suited tools available for internet marketing can be identified for its corresponding contributions.

• Besides the posting content it is also important to provide information on the actual supporting freebies, promotional gimmicks, possible back links, and any other content that would function as an advantage to the viewer visiting the site.

• The posting should also be very clear in the actual visual presentation style so that the viewer will immediately be able to identify with the content without having to resort to various clicks and long winded reading material.

Besides doing all the above using the right platform to get the posting to the target audience is also something that should be given serious consideration.

Newsletter promotion, blog digest, using the social media network, websites, and other forms of making things personal will all help to gain the attention of the target audience effectively.
The promotional plan and promotional strategies should comfortably merge into the same theme. This should in turn have the overall focus of the main achievement being sought.

Communicate With Others To Convey Professionalism

There are several different aspects that are usually addressed in the quest to stay professionally based with online dealings. The individual has the advantage if professionalism is extended and perceived to exist.

Perhaps the first area that professionalism should ideally cover is the area of etiquette. The universally accepted common elements would include having the semblance of being polite, being able to address each situation with a level of sincerity, working towards creating satisfies customers and many more.

Taking the time and effort to consider the subscriber list or group as a whole and addressing them as if each one was an individual concern and special would allow the positive basis of the relationship to be built.

Making a positive impact is also another way of portraying professionalism. When the other party is assured that the concerns will be addressed and then ensuring the follow up procedures are followed will create the level of professionalism that few can refute.  

Using email addresses that are appropriate and professional sounding is also necessary if one want to be taken seriously in the business arena. Simple but often overlooked is the need to ensure all content is accurately written and factual.

Using a suitable descriptive subject line is also a way to showing professionalism and avoids being identified or classified as spammers who also have casual addressing choices. Being specific, clear, reasonable and to the point is also showing professionalism as most people do not have the time or inclination to entertain unsolicited interruptions.

The items included in the signature should be of a professional design and content. Unnecessary information should not be included as it would not be deemed necessary.

Ensure all communications is done professionally and with only information sought exchanged. Keep all exchanges short, accurate and to the point.

 Learn How To Participate With The Community

Using twitter to enhance presence and positioning within the social platform is one of the reasons it was become a much sought after tool. This tool allows the desired traffic to be directed to the site through the twitter exchanges which act indirectly as a good advertising tool.

 Check In

The following are some of the recommendations that should be utilized in the quest to participate effectively:

• Making use of the hashtag symbol (#) followed be the name of abbreviation will allow for the sharing of posts between the viewers of a certain group and also follow the twitters connected to the same or similar hashtags. This particular norm has managed to successfully and effectively create the twitter chat that is both exciting and informative.

• For the more experienced twitter dabblers using the twitter chat tool while ensuring the twitter station is well tuned to filter out all unnecessary and annoying noises is important. As there is often a lot of static and other background noises the actual quality of the exchange is more often than not compromised thus the need to intentionally focus on this elimination.

• Upon identification of the hashtag for the desired community or group and the corresponding twitter char tool that is most workable, logging in should be the next step taken. Sometimes timing and dates do play a role, as the particular group chat may only be scheduled to fit a preordained pattern. Also remembering to include the hashtags in one’s own tweets is important so that the comments and question posted can be viewed by other too. In this medium it is also possible to include and also popular to see the expertise of a moderator helping to guide the elements of the discussion to ensure all stay focused on the subject at hand and also some sort of decorum is adhered to.

 Learn How To Make The Most Of Your Account And Profile

There are several effective ways to maximize the use of the twitter tool to enhance the account and profile of a site. The more exposure the site is able to attract the better the prospects of increased revenue earned.

Tips

The following are just some recommendations on how to go about achieving this ideal scenario:

• Perhaps the foremost point to make would be to effectively use the twitter tool to find and add newer contacts to an already existing list. The literal concept here is follow and be followed. Using emails as another follow up tool will encourage the viewer to pursue the initial contact.

• Letting the viewing audience know that there is a twitter page where your antics can be followed is part of the social networking engine. Using the other tools on the social networking platform to announce this is quite effective.

• Adding the twitter information to the email signature is also another way to allow and encourage viewers to follow the postings.

• Blogging about the twitter page being featured is also encouraged. Reminding all viewers of the regular intervals of posting through the blogging tool will create the excitement to encourage them to keep tabs on the latest information being dispensed.

• The twitter widget is also another additional beneficial element to make use of as this allows the other viewers to be aware of the frequency of the twitting exercise. The twitter widget should be added to the site of blog.  

• Listing on the twitter directories is another way to explore the possibilities of getting noticed. These directories are very effective in getting the site noticed by those seeking similar information.

• Ensuring the twitter page is attractive and attention grabbing will create the interest in wanting to follow the page. Use eye catching background and color schemes, avatars and bio information.

Avoid Over Promoting

Over promoting is a very dangerous category to fall into as this may eventually cause the viewing audience to turn elsewhere for the information they seek thus severely damaging the twitter page’s chances of making a success of whatever is being featured. Therefore it is necessary to check that this negative element does not appear and cause the damaging effects.
Be Cautious

Twitters have a “language” of their own and understanding and using it is both necessary and beneficial if the individual hosting a twitter site wants to be taken seriously in this arena.

There is a need to ensure the various new terms used as posting material which does not adhere to this will eventually get the site discredited or ignored. Choosing an unsuitable name is also to be avoided as this will cause the professionalism element to be severely discredited and not taken seriously.

Getting into a bragging mode with the intention of promoting something is a thinly disguised attempt to get noticed. When done often enough it will cause the exact opposite effects instead, as those originally viewing the site will end up being exasperated and bored.

Bad choice of timing is also another element to avoid as it may seem that the tweets are being run too frequently and even if the viewing was missed initially.

The unsolicited frequency of the tweeting exercise will eventually cause annoyance as viewers may no longer be interested in the same information being posted.

More often than not this self promoting material can get redundant even if what is being promoted is useful and relevant in the host’s perspective.

Repetitive information will become stale. Sometimes when there is too much promoting done, the basic need to address certain issues are overlooked or ignored. This will frustrate the participating viewer as the concerns fail to be addressed effectively.

Follow And Use Relevant Tweets
In order to gain beneficial leverage in the online business platform various advantages elements should be sourced and utilized as often as possible. Following and using relevant tweets does have its benefits and it should be worth taking the time and explore this further. Below are some of the reasons why following and using relevant tweets can be useful and beneficial:
Be Relevant

Making use of the hashtags will allow the relevant searches to be more efficient and convenient. It increases the chances of the tweets being viewed by those interested in the particular area being featured. However using multiple hashtags should be avoided as it will only be categorized as spam.

Using twitter to check what the competitors are doing in terms of new launches, promotions, products, services and a variety of other progressive exercises is definitely a wise move to make. This information will help to enhance one’s own endeavors and bring about more compatible percentages of increased success.  

Tweets should also be carefully analyzed for its popularity and responsive presence. Tweaking the information posted or ideas exchanged in order o attract attention is necessary in order to stay relevant.

In order to do this one must first understand the abbreviations commonly used by the twitting participants. This is the only way one will be able to follow and understand the contents of the tweet.
 
Wrapping Up

And finally…Keeping track of the hottest and most relevant topics being discussed or featured by twitter participants is important in the quest to stay informed of the market sentiments. This is most important when there are business projections and planning to be explored. Understanding the top trends or interest of the viewing participants will give the individual an idea of what will work and what wont for that particular period in time.

Richard Tipsword
MarketHive Developer

L Basheer (LB) Hasan – TheGoldServants.Com

Free Tools for Your Online Business

 

Free Tools for Your Online Business

inbound marketing, blog, content marketing, richard tipsword

 

As a business owner, you want the best for your business but sometimes the budget can get in the way. Never fear, because today there are countless online tools, apps and solutions that you can use to run your online business. Let's not waste any time going into the free tools for your online business. There are over 100 free tools in the list and I saved the best for last so be sure and go through the entire list or start with the last.

 

1) Get an EIN — Even if you aren't going to have employees, it's important to set yourself up so that you don't have your identity stolen. If you're in the USA you can easily get an EIN right now in just a couple of minutes, completely free. This is the number that you'll give, instead of your social security number, to affiliate programs, clients, or anytime someone wants a federal ID number.

 

2) Score.org –– This is an excellent source of information for anyone who wants to start any type of business. You can get so many guides for free such as a business plan start up, financial templates, marketing plans and even a competitive analysis planning template.

 

3) Free Legal Forms — Everyone needs legal forms from contracts to other legal documents. Here you can create many of the legal forms you need (free).

 

4) Disclosure Policy Generator — You will need a disclosure on your website or blog if you are going to sell anything. This disclosure generator is completely free.

 

5) Terms of Use Generator — You may also need a terms of service or terms of use on your website, this is a free generator to use if you're in the USA.

 

6) Quick MBA — Need to learn something real fast about a business topic in any subject from accounting to strategy then Quick MBA is a great website to seek accurate information.

 

7) Khanacademy.org — Want to learn almost anything from experts? You can do it at Khan Academy. This is great if you're a computer programmer and want to brush up on your skills without having to pay to do it.

 

8) Google Learn — If you want to learn how to grow your business online, you can learn how to do it the free way with Learn with Google Beta. You can learn about marketing your business online as well as managing your business online.

 

9) Free Online Marketing Courses — Several colleges actually offer free online courses in marketing. You don't get credit, but you can use this in your business to make it better. Check out the free learning tools at UC Berkeley.

 

10) Enloop.com — You can create one business plan in a PDF version completely free using this software. If you want to get more in-depth you'll need to upgrade but for most people the free version will suffice.

 

11) Google Mail — Everyone knows about Gmail.com and if you don't use it, you should. You can do a lot more with it than you think. For instance, you can check other email accounts, and send as other email accounts, using your Gmail.com account to collect them. All free, of course.

 

12) Google Documents — Found inside Google Drive, you can upload, save, alter, and collaborate on many different types of documents. This is a great way to work with an entire team and ensure everyone has the most recent version.

 

13) Google Forms — A fabulous way to collect information and have it all entered right into a handy downloadable excel file. Google Forms can be emailed, embedded into websites and more. They are automatically saved to your Google Drive upon completion. This can be found inside your Google Drive.

 

14) Google Calendar — Underrated and unappreciated the Google Calendar is amazing. You can have more than one in an account, share them, collaborate, invite others, and more with your Google Calendars. You can even set them up to sync with your mobile device, send you reminder emails and you can get a popup reminder so you never miss an appointment.

 

15) Google Drive — This is where you can save documents, backups, and files. Everyone has some free space for each Google account created. It's unlikely you'll ever use all your free space so you may as well use what you've been given. If you are currently signed into Google, the link will take you to your Google Drive.

 

16) Google Sites — Need to create a fast website to share with others? Look no further than Google Sites to help you with your endeavor. Pick from a variety of templates, or start with a blank one. Follow the steps given and you'll have your site up before you know it.

 

17) Google + Hangouts — There is a lot to learn about Google Hangouts, you can do them privately, on air, and a multitude of ways that boggle the mind. You can use them in so many ways for your business that there isn't room in this report to list them. Check it out for yourself.

 

18) Google Analytics — They say that nothing is ever done until the paperwork is done. In online business, nothing is done without reviewing the metrics. The best way to do so is still free.

 

19) Google Sketch Up — If you need 3D modeling for any reason then Google Sketch Up is for your business. There is a free version which is awesome, as well as a pro version that's way less expensive than other like 3D modeling programs.

 

20) Google Alerts — Everyone needs to monitor their online reputation and one way to do so is with Google Alerts. You can also use it to monitor any topic, name, person, place, or event being discussed across the Internet.

 

21) Dropbox.com — If you need offsite storage solutions, and you really do, then Dropbox should be one of the first ones you try, especially since it's free. What's more is that you get more space for each person you invite to use the service.

 

22) OpenOffice.org — This free productivity suite is an excellent way to get any word-processing type activities completed without having to buy an expensive program.

 

23) Apptivo.com — You can get started with this online project management system using the free version which allows for unlimited users, up to 40 standard apps, still has online support, and the ability to send invoices even with a mobile app. It also integrates with Google Apps. When you have more income you can upgrade relatively inexpensively.

 

24) Freshbooks.com — This is an online invoicing and time tracking software, it is not really an accounting tool, but you can use it in conjunction with other tools and as long as you have less than 3 clients this one is free.

 

25) Nutcache.com — Invoicing and time management is now fun and free. This free service works in many languages, is safe and secure, and is definitely free. If you are one of the first ones to sign up for this time tracking and invoicing service you will never pay.

 

26) Wave Accounting — This amazing accounting suite offers everything you need to keep track of your income 100% free. It's also super easy to use. It offers invoicing and more. All free.

 

27) Expensify.com — If you need to create expense reports in your line of work, this couldn't be more simple and useful. Keep track of expenses and receipts in an organized manner. This software integrates with other solutions.

 

28) PayPal.com — It's free to get started with PayPal and you only pay a percentage of income as you receive it. This is a great way to accept payment for services or products that you sell.

 

29) Square Up — This is a mobile payment processing app that you use on your smart phone. It's free to get started as you only pay a percentage of sales. If you want to sell online, or in a store, or anywhere Square works.

 

30) Appointlet.com — You can use this appointment manager free for an unlimited number of monthly appointments and 1 service. You won't be able to brand yet, but you can get started organizing your meetings and calendar. It works with Google Calendar.

 

31) Doodle.com — A group scheduling app that enables you to send a group invite that allows everyone to collaborate on when the meeting will take place. This helps avoid the back and forth emails that can get everyone confused.

 

32) Survey Monkey — Want to ask your customers questions and get organized answers that are easy to collect, interpret and use? Then Survey Monkey is a great solution. You can use a limited version for free with up to 10 questions and 100 responses.

 

33) Evernote — This software works with all your devices to keep track of everything you want to keep track of it, be it notes for a project, recipes for dinner, a grocery list, whatever it is, you can organize all your files and find them easily and remember everything.

 

34) Boomerang — Want to write an email now but send it later? You can do that with Boomerang for Gmail.com. It gives you a "send later" button in your Gmail and you can tell it when to send an email. The basic plan is free and there are upgrades available.

 

35) Trello.com – Trello is a great way to remember ideas, collect supplies, and get your thought process in order. Organizing anything you want to do is easy with Trello. You can track all your to-dos in one place, and they have a mobile version.

 

36) Mural.ly — Need a vision board to help you brainstorm so you can visually see what you need to do? For a basic plan costing nothing you can get this drag and drop collaboration board today. For people who work better with a visual plan this is a great way to be more productive.

 

37) Cooapp.com –– If you need help keeping your team on the same page then this app can work for you. It keeps track of the work stream, separates out "water cooler" talk, and even has built in time tracking, agenda management and more.

 

38) ProjectLibre.org — This open source project management application and software touts itself a replacement for Microsoft Project and it's completely free. You can choose to use the cloud-based version and have professionals install it for you and set it up for a price, but if you understand the technical aspects you can use this free.

 

39) DropTask.com — You can use it free for some of the features to help manage your daily to-do list better.

 

40) KeePass.info — Can't remember passwords? Neither can anyone else. With KeePass, you only need to remember one password. Yes, it's free too. Amazing and very useful for someone who has many different passwords they're trying to remember.

 

41) Quackit.com — Need a little help with HTML so you can tinker with the code on your website or blog? This site can help you with everything from creating linkable button images to tables.

 

42) Rapportive.com — Works with Gmail so that you can see who you are talking to at all times. It shows their latest Tweets, gives you links to their social media accounts, and allows you to remember and get to know your connections better by putting it all in one spot inside your email.

 

43) Tweepz.com — Want to see who is Tweeting on any topic, location or skill set? Try using Tweepz. You can get inspiration if you're lacking sufficient information about any topic. It’s also a great way to find movers and shakers to follow on Twitter.

 

44) Social Mention — Use this tool to find out who is mentioning you on the social media. You can follow the buzz about any topic which can also help you come up with content for your niche.

 

45) Tweet Alarm — Want to be notified when someone tweets about you, your niche, or a special interest? Well, right now you can do that for free with Tweet Alarm. This can save you a lot of time using Twitter for researching topics.

 

46) Pin Alerts — Like Tweet Alarm this is a way to be notified when someone pins something from your website. It's a great way to keep track of whether your Pinterest marketing is working.

 

47) Mention — Want to find out how many times you're mentioned throughout all social media? You can sign up as one user with one account and get up to 100 mentions per month for free.

 

48) HootSuite.com — Keep your social media better organized and measure the results of your efforts from one dashboard. Many people use HootSuite with great success and you can start out free.

 

49) SocialMention.com — Go to the website and simply type in your keywords, name, Twitter handle, a hashtag or other words into the window, then choose where you want to search. Click search and you're in the know about the trends and buzz of the day.

 

50) Tregia.com — Want to know what another website is doing to get so many visitors and be so successful. You can use this free tool to analyze any website that you want to. It's not cheating, it's smart business to check out your competition. You can also use it to get tips to make your own website better.

 

51) Nutshellmail.com — It's important to monitor the buzz about your business and your competition, now you can do it in your email. Nutshellmail, sends you an email on the schedule you check that visually shows you the activity in your social media accounts.

 

52) Populr — You can open a free account and publish unlimited pages, collaborations and more. Create one page sites, sales pages, point up to three domains to it, and more quickly and it can all be done for free.

 

53) Streak.com — This is a great app that lets you organize your emails inside your Gmail.com so you can keep track of potential deals better. It also offers email scheduling and more. If you need your inbox more organized so you don't lose out on any deals, then Streak is for you.

 

54) FreeCRM.com — You can use the free version which offers no support, and has banner advertising on it, however you can have five users and 2500 contacts, plus it has good basic features. It's a great way to get started with customer relationship management.

 

55) Zoho CRM — Use a limited account with all the features you need to get started with a great customer relationship management tool. Upgrading isn't hard or expensive and the tool really works.

 

56) Opecrx.org – In every way you can imagine, this powerful free tool can help you manage your customers. It offers a true professional CRM suit with truly limitless possibilities. If you can follow the considerable directions and understand more than the average person about the technical aspects this is a bargain.

 

57) Gravatar.com — This is a great service to sign up for, and it's free. You simply sign up and enter all your email addresses, with corresponding headshots of yourself. When you sign onto blogs that use Gravatar.com you'll always have the right picture of yourself.

 

58) HelloSign.com — Doing business online still requires documents to be signed. Stop worrying about doing it in the mail, and you don't have to pay for an expensive software or service to ensure documents are legally signed. Starting out you can get three signatures a month, and premium versions are available.

 

59) EchoSign.com — This is also free, and works with Adobe documents. You can get everything signed fast, online, on your mobile device, and never have to print out a thing. You can sign up to five contracts per month (free).

 

60) MailChimp.com — Need to send out a newsletter but don't have the funds right now to pay? With Mailchimp.com you can have up to 2000 newsletter subscribers before you have to pay a dime. Some people claim you cannot use MailChimp for affiliate links but the truth is, you can as long as they're not on their substantial blacklist. Upgrades aren't that expensive either.

 

61) HARO – Do you want to be a source, or need a source? You can sign up free with HARO which stands for Help a Reporter Out.

 

62) Skype.com — Even with all the other applications come out, Skype is still a winner when it comes to offering free clear, phone quality one-on-one talking ability over the Internet. You can't beat it.

 

63) Free Conference Call – This free service allows you to arrange group phone meetings fast and easy.

 

64) Youtube.com — You need to set up a business account on YouTube.com so that you can share your videos easily with your audience. It's not only free, but if you play your cards right, it can be an additional moneymaker.

 

65) Linkedin.com — If you don't have a Linkedin.com account yet, you must set one up. The basic version is free and there is no reason why you need the advanced version, ever. You can do anything you need to do with the free Linkedin.com business social networking application.

 

66) Facebook.com — A true marvel when it comes to what you can do with it for free, Facebook is a must have for any start up business owner who wants to get the word out about their business. Starting a page or a group for your business on Facebook is necessary today.

 

67) Twitter.com — The popular micro social media network is free, and will always be free for anyone to sign up and use for business or personal uses.

 

68) Tumblr.com — This micro blogging platform is a very popular way to post multimedia content to the web.

 

69) WordPress.com — A free blogging site run by the popular WordPress. Remember this is different from self-hosted WordPress but it's a good way to start as you can always buy a domain and move it to your own hosting later.

 

70) Blogger.com — This is another tool from Google which enables users to create a blog quickly. They even make it possible for you to earn money through Google AdSense.

 

71) Sociopal.comSign up for free to get your business on Facebook, Twitter and start a blog at the same time. In addition, you can get help with marketing. What could be more simple?

 

72) Jing — This is a great way to share your screen and create instant videos to share with others or better explain a process. You simply sign up free, and download the program, and then start sharing.

 

73) Greenshot –Try this free tool to take screenshots of particular areas on your desktop. For instance you may need to capture the full screen then edit and annotate to highlight and help teach someone a process, Greenshot works easily for this purpose.

 

74) Gimp.org — This free open source graphics software is almost as good as big name versions and it's totally free. People say if you can use Photoshop you can use Gimp for the same actions. It won't hurt to try it, since it's free and you are always going to need graphics for your business.

 

75) Pixlr.com — It's hard to believe this gem is free, but it is. You can edit photos in a number of ways and make them really stand out without understanding complicated graphics software.

 

76) Canva.com — Another, free application that works great to create banners, presentations, and other types of graphics for you to use across the web on your blog or social media. You'll be asking yourself the entire time you're using this, is it really free? Why, yes, yes it is free.

 

77) ChartGizmo.com — This is a free software application that enables you to create awesome charts and diagrams from your data. Plus, even though it's free there is a nice manual to teach you how to use it.

 

78) Creative Docs — You can download this software and use it free to create awesome documents with a kick. It works with Windows and is a free download. You can create polygons, Bezier curves, different styles and more to make your documents, flyers and posters pop.

 

79) Draw.io — This is a software program that allows you to create diagrams and save them to your computer, Dropbox or Google Drive automatically. If you need visual representation of any type of content you can create it easily and intuitively with Draw.io.

 

80) FlowChart.com — Currently in Beta, so it's free to use to create awesome flow charts. Everyone needs a flowchart occasionally, and this is a great way to create one for your business.

 

81) Tableau Public — Want to visualize your information in a new way? Tableau public allows you to create visual representations of your data for free. Create interactive graphs, and make it easier for your audience to interact with your data.

 

82) Fring.com — Need to have chats with customers, or your team on the go? This is a great way to do it. You get free talk, text and video calls with this mobile application.

 

83) Weebly.com— If you need a website you can get a basic site up and running, fast. Then upgrade later. The website builder is an easy to use drag and drop builder. You sign up free and then choose the focus of your site, a brochure site, a blog or a store. Then, choose a theme and get started. It's simple and fast to get online. Once you start earning money, you can easily upgrade to a site with your own domain for as little as 3 dollars a month.

 

84) WordPress.org — This is a free open source website builder. To use it, you will need to pay for a domain name, as well as hosting. You can get inexpensive hosting through Mom Webs, and they'll actually throw in a free domain name for you and load your first instance of WordPress too.

 

85) Google Publisher Plugin For WordPress — Is a custom plug in created for and by Google to support webmasters using AdSense and other Webmaster Tools. It's still in Beta Release and it's a good time to try it since it's free. Although, it's likely to remain free. It's Google.

 

86) WP-Drafts For Friends — This WordPress plugin allows you to set a time where people can see a preview of your draft posts with a special link even if they're not users of your site. This is a great way to enable people to give you some tips before you publish it to the world, or give special people a sneak peak.

 

87) AGV Antivirus — This is a free antivirus software that you can use to protect your computer from receiving infected files. It works with many web browsers and the free version works fine for most people.

 

88) Microsoft Security Essentials — If you have a Windows based computer then this is a great free antivirus tool for you to use. It works really good, is completely free, and there is no need for other antivirus software when you use it.

 

89) All In One WP Security & Fire Wall — You need to keep your WordPress site safe from intruders and this will do the job.

 

90) Audacity — A free open source, recording software that you can use for editing sound, recording, and podcasting. It works across operating system platforms and works exceptionally well. This is a good choice for any business owner who wants to add podcasting to their content mix.

 

91) Odiogo — This is a great way to put a voice to your blog posts, making every single blog post on your website just like a podcast. Works great with TypePad, Blogger, WordPress and others.

 

92) Sparkol.com Videoscribe — This is a great way to do fast explainer videos. You've seen them, with the hand writing the words. The free version can be used forever, and while it has less to offer than the upgraded paid version, you can get by just fine with the free version for a long time.

 

93) AnyMeeting.com — This is a great program as long as you don't mind a few advertisements. They're not intrusive so it's a good option when you want a full featured online web meeting / webinar application and don't have the money up front.

 

94) Managemeet.com — This is a great tool to use if you need to have business meetings, collaborate with others and want to do it face-to-face without the travel involved. It's free to use as long as you don't plan to save the meeting or charge for attendance.

 

95) MeetingBurner.com — This is a great way to host, record, and participate in a webinar or meeting for 10 people are less, with no ads.

 

96) Zoho Meeting — This is a great meeting software that you can use for 1 on 1 purposes only for up to 1 hour each time for free.

 

97) MoneyPress: Amazon Edition – Would you like to sell Amazon items right off your WordPress site and make a commission? Use this plugin to make it super fast and easy.

 

98) WP e-Commerce — This is a free shopping cart plugin for your WordPress website. It's very easy to install and figure out how to use it to make an attractive store right on your WordPress site and take payments via PayPal.

 

99) 1FreeCart.com — This is a free shopping cart, that also has a free affiliate program application with it. The free version does have ads on it, but you can always upgrade later.

 

100) PayGear.com — This is a full featured shopping cart, with affiliate marketing tools, that you can get free. You are only charged a percentage of sales. You can even upgrade later to a paid plan so that your fees never get too high if your sales should take off.

 

101) MembersGear.com — This is a free membership software package that you can download and use in conjunction with PayGear. You never pay unless you make a sale. They do offer paid upgrades including an inexpensive plugin to help the membership software work with WordPress.

 

102) Cafe Press — Want to sell premiums from your website like T-shirts, hats, mugs and so forth? You can set up your store free with CafePress.com. It even has a built-in option to offer an affiliate program.

 

103) WebStore.com — If you ever wanted to sell on eBay.com but didn't want to pay the high fees you can now sell at Webstore.com and avoid those fees. It's a little "wild-wild-west" but it does work.

 

104) VistaPrint.com — You can get free business cards from VistaPrint. You might wonder how this is helpful when you run an online business, but it is very help. You never know when you'll run into someone that you want to do business with. Having the card will help you break the ice.

 

105) MarketHive — Is a FREE multi-million dollar platform which evolved from Veretekk. It's primary purpose is to empower the average Jane and Joe to lofty heights as entrepreneurs. Markethive not only invites you to become a member of the Entrepreneur Social Network, but to receive Inbound Marketing tools for your agendas and campaigns giving you the Unfair Advantage on the Internet. These tools include: Auto-responders, Blog Caster (publish your blogs to millions of Social Networks), Blog Swipping, Connect your Blogs (Press Releases) to unlimited WordPress blogs, Lead generation, Conference rooms (HEAR THAT?..your own conference room!), Capture pages, Email Capture Plugins, Daily live workshops, WP Subscribe Plugin, Tiny URL, Website Rotator, Lead Page Plugins, Lead Capture Pages

 

As you can see there is a wide variety of free software, education, code, and more that can help with setting up a website, email marketing, affiliate marketing, podcasting, blogging, selling products, hosting webinars, using social media, and anything you need to do for and with your business. When you are starting a business on a shoestring, an Internet business is the best kind to start due to all the free applications and tools that are available. What are you waiting for?

L Basheer (LB) Hasan – TheGoldServants.Com