Regardless of the size of your business, from solopreneur to multiple employee organization, there is a minimum software (Software as a Service) requirement for all organizations. All organizations should have the following types of software:
- Social media
- Accounting software
- Email software
According to Visual.ly, 83% of customers consider a seamless website experience on all devices to be very important. There are a variety of website software tools on the market, so how do you choose which one is right for you? You have to assess which one will cater to your needs and abilities. If you don't know coding, for example, you may want to choose a user-friendly interface with drag-and-drop functionality. The first thing you need to determine what you want to do with your website and your goals for it. For example, do you want to sell products or services from your website? Do you want to capture leads from your website?
When you choose a website software tool, evaluate them to make sure that your website will be able to offer the following:
- Google analytics. - Your website should have Google analytics because you will learn about your users through Google analytics. This data will help you tailor your marketing efforts.
- Compelling content. - Content is the way your website will get traffic and improve SEO, as well as lead to conversions. Choose a website software that will allow you to easily create content that is optimized for search engines.
- Design showcasing a clear purpose. - Does the design afford you the opportunity to make your organization's purpose clear? Can the "what you do" and "what you want the visitor to do" be easily communicated and apparent?
- A simple website address. - Make sure that your website address is easy to understand and remember.
- Strong and professional branding. - Evaluate whether the website software will allow you to easily showcase your branding.
- Simple navigation and user experience. - The website software you choose should offer website templates that have an easy-to-use and understandable navigation menu and user experience.
- Strong calls to action (CTA). - If you are looking to generate leads from your website, you must have strategically placed CTAs throughout your website.
- A great mobile experience. - Approximately half of all website traffic comes from mobile. Therefore, choose a website software that allows you to create a website optimized for mobile.
- Relay reviews. - People make decisions on whom to give their business to based on reviews, so evaluate software tools on whether they make it easy to showcase glowing reviews of your organization.
CRM stands for Customer Relationship Management. Gone are the days of managing all of your customer or client data in excel spreadsheets. Now, you can use a CRM to keep a record of all of your interactions, data, and notes about your leads, prospects, and customers or clients. A CRM serves as a single source of truth, where all data is central and accessible to all people within your organization. By utilizing a CRM you can reduce paperwork, speed up communication, and improve client satisfaction. When choosing a CRM, you should choose a CRM that will integrate with all of your software tools. There are even FREE CRMs you can use, like HubSpot. For nonprofits, the first 10 subscriptions with Salesforce are FREE as part of their Power of US Program.
Want to know more about CRMs? Check out this blog: "What is a CRM?"
Small businesses benefit from using accounting software because it helps them track accounts receivable and accounts payable, have a clear understanding of their profitability, and be prepared for tax season. For small businesses, there are a variety of out-of-the-box softwares that can use. When evaluating accounting software, make sure that the accounting software you choose can easily integrate with your other software, like the CRM you are using. Did you know that there is even FREE accounting software, like Wave?
As a small business, you cannot underestimate the impact of email marketing. Email marketing is one of the most cost-effective marketing strategies for small businesses. According to the Direct Marketing Association, email marketing on average sees a 4,300% return on investment (ROI) for business in the U.S. An effective email marketing tool should provide the following:
- Highly engaging newsletters with drag-and-drop features
- Bulk email functionality
- Personalization and targeted capabilities
- Ability to manage and segment your contact lists
- Ability to track the performance of your marketing email campaigns
- Low risk that your email campaigns do not end up in the spam filter
When considering email software be careful. Unless you are willing to give up your privacy to Google, consider other offerings like Microsoft. Google reads that goes through its servers whether it is a free Gmail account or your company on Google. Don't believe me? Try this:
- Create a free personal free email account on Google.
- After you have your Gmail account opt-in to a totally out-of-the-norm website for email content.
- Then do nothing with the email account for a week, including no outbound email or sharing of the email address with anyone.
- Now open chrome and the ads you will see are based on the out-of-the-norm website.
- Now HOST a company on Google and observe the same.
Google provided ad words for money that the sites used and paid for. How were the ad words compiled? Google read your email after you subscribed! Do the same thing with Microsoft, and you will get a completely different result.
When choosing software tools, ideally choose tools that will integrate together providing you with one source of truth, so that you can read and analyze the data of your organization.
I leave you with this Sataya Nadella quote:
"Everything is going to be connected to cloud [software] and data... All of this will be mediated by software." Get Your FREE Business Review