Full-Width Version (true/false)

false

Monday, March 5, 2018

Essential Cloud Services for Small Businesses (Mostly Free)

 Leverage the Cloud

At 2 Create360, we love Cloud based services and how they can be leveraged to create efficiencies for SMB's. Here are some of our favourites.



MailChimp Email Marketing

MailChimp free for a limited amount of campaigns$10.00 at Mailchimp is the most popular and most capable email marketing service regardless of your price level or technological savvy. It offers a rich, free plan; tons of third-party integration (much of which is available at the lowest price levels), and it's got many email templates that help you fire off emails at a rapid clip. You can even take advantage of a decent amount of email analytics to let you know whether or not your messages are falling flat.

Agiloft Contract Management

AgiloftFree at Agiloft offers nearly unlimited customizations that bend and twist to how your company typically handles its contract management. There's a free option that's capable of supporting companies with less than five contract administrators. If you need to go bigger, then you'll have to upgrade to the enterprise edition (which is a bit pricier). Either way, you're working with the best contract management solution on the market, one that's limitless in its potential to automate and simplify how you create, manage, and store your contracts.

Zenefits Z2

Human resources (HR) software and management system ZenefitsFree at YourPeople, Inc offers excellent benefits administration, integration with most of the industry's popular payroll tools, and its own regionally-based payroll tool. It offers a sleek UI and benefits marketplace designed to look like an e-commerce portal, both of which encourage users to take advantage of the tool rather than run away from it (as with other HR tools).

Hootsuite

If you're more interested in managing your social campaigns than you are in measuring them, then try HootsuiteFree at Hootsuite. This tool scales as you grow by letting you pay for extras (rather than bundling everything into one price package). Hootsuite offers the most comprehensive package of listening, publishing, and third-party integration options for businesses of all sizes.

Spiceworks Network Monitor

Managing your technology infrastructure shouldn't be a task exclusive to large enterprises. If you need to understand how your apps, servers, and websites are performing, then Spiceworks Network MonitorFree at Spiceworks offers incredible network monitoring at no cost. It obviously doesn't have the complexity and extensibility of paid tools, but it's serviceable enough to oversee your network processes and alert you to issues before they become disasters.

Microsoft Power BI

Microsoft Power BIFree at Microsoft takes business intelligence—what is normally a very complex and very expensive task—and turns it into something even a tech novice can accomplish. It's a free tool that lets you drag, drop, customize, and analyze data, up to 1 GB. If you need more storage, then you can upgrade for just $10 per month to increase your data tenfold. This will also give you access to custom content packs and the ability to interact with other Microsoft Office 365$6.99 at Microsoft users.

Freshdesk

FreshdeskFree at Freshdesk is simple to use, with an advanced feature set, at an affordable price. Freshdesk excels is in its ticket management, which allows helpdesk tickets to be assigned to individual agents depending upon what work is required. The system itself can do a good job of automatically performing certain tasks based upon what an incoming ticket requires, which means those commonly asked questions can have useful replies automatically generated and delivered by the system.
Freshservice
FreshserviceFree at Freshservice isn't the most well-known helpdesk software but it's an ideal tool for small businesses that don't need all of the bells and whistles of better-known tools. What is most appealing about FreshService (especially for SMBs) is that it offers a free plan that's good enough to help you get started. No, this isn't a free trial; it's an actual free service that requires no payment whatsoever. With that, you'll gain access to online help and tutorial videos that will show you how to get started and optimize your service operation.

HubSpot

If you're looking to turn your email and CRM practices into long-lasting customer engagements, thentool. HubSpot is easy to use, scales as you grow, and, though not inexpensive, is nevertheless affordable at every experience level. Additionally, HubSpot lets you add basic CRM and sales tools to your marketing automation software at no extra cost. This is a wonderful feature for startups and small companies that are just getting their operations off the ground.

Zapier

If your small business isn't very tech-savvy, then you'll love , FREE for 5 Zaps or $15.00 at Zapier. This tool is designed to connect disparate apps to let you run automations (or "Zaps") without having to write any code. Although there is a free tier available for very small businesses and freelancers, the company's Work account connects more than 750 apps and lets you run multi-step automations across three or more different tools. So, if you use three or more of the tools in Zapier's roster, then you'll be able to push and pull data from one to the other to build automated processes. For example, when your marketing automation tool's lead form generates a contact, a Zap will push the contact's data into your CRM tool. A second Zap will add the contact's social media credentials to a social listening tool, and a third Zap will push a chat message to a salesperson asking him or her to reach out via Twitter.

IFTTT

Similar to Zapier, IFTTTFree at iTunes Store connects 400 apps and services without requiring you to know how to code. IFTTT stands for "if this, then that," which is how the company's "Applets" help you automate actions across software (similar to the scenario I detailed earlier). IFTTT is as capable and as easy to use as Zapier, but it has about 350 fewer tools to connect than Zapier. So, when you're deciding between these two automation powerhouses, make sure you run down their rosters to determine which one contains more of your favorite apps.
x

0 comments: