Alternative ways to promote your business

While social media and email campaigns are considered common sense at this point, that doesn’t mean this is where you should draw the line when looking to promote your new business. 

All small business owners face tricky marketing challenges. While social media and email campaigns are common sense at this point, that doesn't mean this is where you draw the line when promoting your new business. Here are a few out-of-the-box ideas that will help get the word out:

Hold contests
Leveraging free marketing tools like Facebook, Instagram and Twitter are effective options for promoting your brand. But there's only so much you can do on your own, especially if you don't want to invest in sponsored advertisements. Focus on encouraging your followers to spread the word. A great way to promote your business is to hold contests that require followers to share a post to enter. 

To do this, post a photo on Instagram of a new product and tell your followers to share the photo and tag your company in the caption. Each person who shares this image exposes your brand to his or her whole following. This is an especially useful tool for businesses involved in niche markets with a large social media presence, like wedding planning, artisan food or drinks, or cosmetics.

Blogging is a great way to become an informative voice in your industry.Blogging is a great way to become an informative voice in your industry.

Start a blog
Blogging on your company's website is another useful way to market your business, especially if you're able to incorporate your company's goods and services into topics that are shareable to the masses. Become an informative voice in your industry, and you'll drive traffic to your company's website, even if people aren't looking to purchase your goods or services immediately. This gives potential customers the impression that you're a trustworthy entity to do business with in the future.

If your content can loosely tie back to your product without seeming too sales-y, you'll also gain more publicity each time a reader shares your blog posts with members of his or her online network, especially if you utilize search engine optimization.

Use your business cards
 Business cards may seem like an old-school method of marketing, but there are plenty of ways to bring them into the 21st century. Of course, you can bring business cards to other storefronts in your neighborhood for promotion. However,  the best way to get people to pay attention is to give your card another purpose. Entrepreneur suggests using your business card as an event ticket, note card or sticker. Add an even bigger impact by having your business card's function coincide with what your company does. Get creative in a variety of ways. For example, if you run a publishing house or bookstore, print your business information on a bookmark. If you own a hair salon, a comb with your contact information would be fun and functional. Do you make custom artisan candles? Make your business card a book of matches!

Networking as a small business owner

Here’s what each new small business owner should know when beginning to expand his or her network.

In today's professional world, networking is a necessity. With the rise of technology, however, people discount the benefits of getting to know and talk to people in their industry. Through building a network of colleagues, you're not only spreading the word about your business, but you're also gaining valuable insight from people who may have experience in a particular field that you should know more about. However, it can be tough to get out there to start networking if you've never done it before. Here's what each new small business owner should know when beginning to expand his or her network:

Get to know other business owners in your community
Many neighborhoods have a very tight-knit business community. If your store is located in an area with many other independent stores, try holding a mixer for other owners in the area. This way, everyone can get to know one another. Each business owner can benefit from meet his or her neighbors as well, because everyone can band together to to publicize the whole community and cross-promote each other's brands. This could consist of simply hanging fliers for each other's stores in your own, or even working on a collaborative product – like a coffee shop and brewery putting out a partnered drink. Locals will respond positively to this as well.

"People like to work with businesses they're connected with."

You'll learn about new opportunities
When you're keeping in touch with other business owners in the area, you're more likely to know of events before they happen and how you can contribute. If you run a small bakery, for example, you might be able to get a tent at an upcoming street fair. If you run a printing press and another business owner's daughter is getting married, she may be interested in getting her wedding stationery from you. You're far more likely to be suggested for opportunities like this from other colleagues as well if you keep in touch with business owners in your community. People are more likely to work with a business to which they're personally connected. You may even get to know people who can provide you with much-needed services in your personal or professional life!

You can ask questions
Though each industry is different, getting to know the ins and outs of your particular community can be very beneficial for any new business owner. You can learn a lot about your neighborhood's spending habits, like what kind of marketing tactics work best and when foot traffic on the block is heaviest. While you should certainly network with the business owners in your community, you should also branch out a bit to talk to people in other areas who own businesses similar to yours. This way, you can gain valuable insight on both sides of the fence – the local aspect of your business and the consumers of what you produce. 

Are you ready to turn your side gig into a career?

Some people are looking to supplement their income, and others are taking the opportunity to pursue their passions because their full-time current position isn’t as fulfilling as they would like it to be. 

When it comes to bringing in an income, it's no surprise that a large portion of millennials aren't just relying on their 9-5 jobs. According to a recent study from CareerBuilder, though 29 percent of surveyed workers in general have a second job outside of their full-time position, 39 percent of people aged 18-24 do, and 44 percent of 25-34 year olds do. From childcare to blogging, bartending to tutoring, there are a variety of reasons that people work more than one job.

Some people are looking to supplement their income, and others are taking the opportunity to pursue their passions because their full-time current position isn't as fulfilling as they would like it to be. If you work a second job and fall into the latter category, you may have wondered when it's appropriate to turn your side gig into your full-time job. Here's what you should consider:

Can your freelance gig sustain you financially?Can your freelance gig sustain you financially?

Your finances

Do you rely on your side gig to make the bills, or do you use it as supplemental income? If you were to lose your full-time job right now, would your second job bring in enough cash to keep you from dipping into your savings? If you live with a spouse or a partner, is his or her income enough to supplement what you may be lacking in the beginning? These are important things to take into consideration, especially if your side job isn't as lucrative as your full-time job is at the moment. If you aren't making enough money on your second gig right now, think about what it would take in order to bolster that income. If you had more time to dedicate to it – say, 40 extra hours a week – would you have enough work to make up that income gap? Think about what changes you can make in your spending habits to make this as smooth of a transition as possible.

Your time

Are you able to count your spare hours each week on one hand? If you find that every evening you come home from work and dive head-first into your second job, you run the risk of burning out. It's crucial that you really love what you plan on making your new career, or you may begin resenting it when it becomes your primary source of income. Everyone needs some time to decompress, and if you don't have enough time to do that between your two jobs, it might be time to focus on just one – let it be the one you're most passionate about.

On the other hand, your time commitment might be what's prompting you to make a career out of your side gig. If you're considering children and don't want to pay for daycare, it might be beneficial to be able to make your own hours. When you make your own schedule, you will also be more reliable to your clients.

The ABCs of Business Cards

Here is everything you need to know about business cards and how you can make them work for you.

Ordering business cards is simple enough, but you don't want just any piece of paper. As a small business owner, your goals include standing out from the crowd, spreading your company's name and impressing potential clients and partners. Choosing the right custom business card can help. Here is everything you need to know about business card prints and how to make them work for you:

Include Plenty of Information

The perfect business card balances necessary information and simplicity. After all, you want your acquaintances to be able to find your phone number or email without having to search. With that in mind, pair your cards down to a few pieces of information, including:

  • The company's name.
  • Your full name.
  • Your title.
  • Your work phone number.
  • Your work email.
  • Your company's website.
  • Your company's address.

This list combines employee and company information in one card. Most business card templates inherently include fields for this info, so it's difficult to go wrong when ordering your prints.

Two business cards propped up against a wall. Colorful and graphic.Include important information on your business card, along with personal flair.

Design and Layout

While business cards' main function is to give recipients a way to get in touch with your company, they can also draw attention and create a lasting impression. In fact, the design is often just as important as the words you incorporate into it. Here are a few design tips to keep in mind when creating your cards:

Include Your Logo
You created your company logo with care to ensure it reflected your goals, brand image and mission statement. With so much packed into one graphic, it certainly speaks volumes. Include it in your business cards to keep your company front and center.

Consider Images
Photo business cards present you with the opportunity to showcase your company's work. Whether you have a new product or want to share a project you've just finished, you can do so with your business cards. However, make sure you use professional photography – a featured image on the back of your card should be beautiful. Headshots are another use for photo cards. They help the recipient put a name to a face long after your networking event is over.

Don't Forget the Back
The backside of your business card is valuable real estate, so make the most of it. From featuring a company logo to including product photos, there's a lot you can add. Even QR codes have been popular for businesses to print.

Keep it Simple
To reiterate an earlier point, err on the side of simplicity when printing your cards. A beautiful design won't feel cluttered or overwhelming. 

When to Use Them

"Keep a couple of business cards in your wallet at all times."

While you should keep a couple of business cards in your wallet at all times, here are a few occasions that require you to bring a stack:

Business Travel
Regardless of location, if you're traveling for work, you might be faced with an opportunity to give away a card. Pack a few in your carry-on in case you spark a conversation mid-flight.

Conventions and Trade Shows
Even if you don't have a booth, bring business cards to conventions. The whole point of these events is to meet others in the industry, so they're perfect opportunities to make connections.

Business Meetings
Talking to a client? Meeting with a vendor? Bring your cards. They might already be familiar with your company, but existing partners and customers can help spread the word about you. Give them a few cards to hand out to others who might be looking for services like the ones you provide.

When to Update Them

It's time to refresh your business cards when the information is no longer relevant. That could include any of these scenarios:

  • Your company moved locations.
  • You have a new title.
  • Your business rebranded.
  • You have a new email/social media account/phone number.
  • You launched a new product and want to feature it with a photo card.

Social Media Management Tools for Small Businesses

These social media management tools allow you to work on marketing when you want and still get the results you’re after. 

With so many social media platforms available, choosing the right ones for your business and managing all of the accounts takes time. What's more, for your accounts to be effective at driving traffic and interest, you have to know when to post and what kinds of content to share. Sound like a lot to handle? Fortunately, you don't have to do it alone, even if your small business doesn't have dedicated social-media team. These social media management tools allow you to work on marketing when you want and still get the results you're after:

Illustration of a man surrounded by social media icons with text: "For your accounts to be effective at driving traffic and interest, you have to know when to post and what kinds of content to share."Social media can be a strong part of your marketing strategy, especially with these online tools at your disposal.

SproutSocial

SproutSocial aggregates your small business's social media activity into one easy-to-understand management platform. This tool lets you post, plan, track and analyze to better utilize social media.

No matter what platforms your company is on, you want to get your name out there and build an active community. With everything else your small business has to take care of, streamlining the social side of your marketing efforts ensures you spend time on achieving your next goals, not signing in to post.

You can also use Sprout to put out content during high-traffic times when your followers are most likely to see it. Don't let your content go to waste.

Price
Prices range from $59 to $500 a month depending on the size of your business, what features you want and how many users you'll have.

Feedly

Social-media marketing isn't just about promoting your own company. Users are more likely to trust and follow your pages if you share third-party content, like industry news. Keep track of all of your favorite sources and share relevant content on your social channels by using Feedly, an RSS aggregator that makes building your social media presence easier.

Feedly also lets you keep tabs on what others are saying about your company. The tool will send you alerts when your company is mentioned on social media, allowing you to stay up to date on your own growing reputation. Further integrate your social media with the rest of your business by using Feedly in conjunction with other tools.

Price
Feedly Basic is free, but for more advanced tools or users, you can purchase Pro for $5.41 or Team for $18 a month.

ManageFlitter

"Social media requires a serious time commitment."

A time-saver for both individuals and businesses, ManageFlitter makes running a Twitter account a breeze. From allowing you to perform bulk actions to getting you connected with other users, ManageFlitter helps companies make the most of social media. Businesses can also track analytics. To get the best results in your numbers, use this tool to schedule posts during times and days when your audience is most engaged.

Other helpful features this tool offers include alerts when other users mention set keywords and the ability to see who unfollowed you.

Price
ManageFlitter ranges from free (for limited tools) to $49 a month for companies.

Commun.it

Part of running a successful business is maintaining an engaged community, which is why social media is so important. However, you have to be active for your community to thrive. Commun.it helps you do that by allowing you to respond to tweets, identify users who interact with you the most, find others to follow and more. This tool is all about creating strong online relationships that'll help your business grow.

Commun.it is available on major social media sites, including Twitter and Facebook, with Instagram and Pinterest versions to be released soon.

Between the in-depth reporting, user information and scheduling capabilities, Commun.it will save you time and evolve your company's social media presence.

Price
You can create a free account, or choose from a variety of plans geared toward businesses. The top tier runs $139 per month and allows up to 18 users.

Buffer

Social media is a must for most businesses, but it also requires a serious time commitment. Buffer allows you to schedule, publish and analyze all of your social media posts, helping you stay on schedule and make the most of your social channels.

Additionally, Buffer allows users to coordinate with their teams to stay on top of their cohesive social-media strategy. Use the analytics reporting to make smarter marketing decisions and reach your target market.

Price
Small companies can purchase a subscription to Buffer for $10 a month. However, for more users and features, check out the Business and Enterprise plans, which cost $99-$399 and $898 a month, respectively.

From scheduling posts to watching industry news to tracking analytics, these tools help you make the most of social media. Use them to grow your marketing strategy and drive new business to your company, not to mention build a loyal following of existing customers.

Graphic Design Software for Small Businesses and Startups

From posting to social media to enriching your marketing content, graphics are essential elements for every business. These online tools will help you create visual content.

You might not have the resources to have a graphic designer on staff, but that doesn't mean your image needs disappear. From posting to social media to enriching your marketing content, graphics are essential elements for every business – after all, people are drawn to well-made images. Fortunately, you don't have to hire a designer right now. Save your money and instead start by using these affordable graphic design software solutions:

Illustration of hand using computer mouse and a monitor with a pencil on it, with text: "From posting to social media to enriching your marketing content, graphics are essential elements for every business."Well-designed images can enhance your company's online presence.

Pablo by Buffer: Free

Increasingly, social media is a visual environment, which means users are more likely to engage with image-based content. With this tool, you can create fun and appealing social graphics in under 30 seconds! Choose from stock photos or your own images, and then add your own text or logo.

This simple tool can help you elevate your social media-marketing strategy so you can increase follows and user interaction.

Price
Pablo is free to use.

Canva: Free

Canva is a free graphic design tool that lets you upload your own images and assets or use the ones provided to create custom and contemporary graphics that enhance your social media, web design and content marketing. Millions of images, thousands of layouts and hundreds of fonts will all be at your creative disposal.

Layout templates allow you to create targeted graphics best suited for specific platforms. For example, you can create tall images for Pinterest or square ones for Instagram.

Once you're done, simply pay for any upgrades you use and download the file onto your computer to implement however your company sees fit.

Price
Canva lets you create a free profile and grants access to an array of free elements, but you will pay extra for certain, monetized assets.

Squarespace Logo

"Social media has become a visual environment."

Another product from Squarespace, this logo designer allows businesses to create their brand image. It's best for doing what the name implies: designing logos. You can select icons, type text and use the editor to move elements into positions you like. Squarespace Logo also lets you see how the image will appear on business cards and T-shirts before you finalize it.

Price
This tool is free for Squarespace customers. Non-customers pay $10 per image.

PicMonkey

This simple tool was designed for individuals who do not have a background in graphics, making it ideal for budding businesses. With PicMonkey, you can edit photos, create custom graphics and more with just a few clicks.

Add filters, clean up blemishes, insert text and texture, and bring it all together with a theme. The easy-to-use editor lets you enhance your marketing and social media assets at little to no cost.

Price
PicMonkey is free for basic tools, but costs $3.33 per month for one year of the Royale package. Or, pay $4.99 per month for the Royale package without required one-year contract.

Freebbble

With Freebbble, you can find thousands of free design resources made by Dribble users. Browse by background, template, illustration, mock-up and many other design elements to find what you need to take your website from "ho-hum" to "wow!"

You'll find tons of designs, from social media icons to labels to packaging to app skins. Use these beautiful resources to help your business stand out visually, whether you're creating labels or building a new website.

Freebbble is ideal for users who plan to do some of their own design work but want to take the hassle and time out of creating individual assets. Simply plug Freebbble features into your own designs.

Price
Freeb​bble costs $10 to $25 depending on the package you purchase and how long you want access. Some items cost extra while others are available free of charge.

Pixlr

Make your images even cooler with this free photo editor. With more than 2 million combinations of free effects, overlays and filters, you can ensure no one will ignore your photos. Plus, once edited, you can load photos directly to a number of social networks, including Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. 

Pixlr will feel familiar to Photoshop users, as it features tools like the lasso, stamp and gradient creator. As such, Pixlr gives you more control over your image creation than many other free online software options.

Pixlr is available both on both mobile and desktop, allowing you to create marketing materials wherever you are.

Price
Pixlr comes in a range of prices, from free to $14.99 a month, depending on which version and what tools you want for your business.

With appealing logos, social-media images and website graphics, you can create a brand that's polished and trusted. These tools help you establish visual elements with ease, saving you both time and money. 

Collaboration and project management tools for small business teams

Brainstorming with team members who might be working from home or sending files to everyone at once can be easy with the right tools. Here are apps to get you started.

Sharing files, communicating with your co-workers, checking on progress or just telling jokes to make the day a little brighter: These are all parts of the modern office. Brainstorming with team members who might be working from home or sending files to everyone at once can be easy with the right tools. From project management to collaboration, creating a seamless team dynamic can help get the job done well. Here are apps to get you started:

Illustration of co-workers talking with text: "Sharing files, communicating with your co-workers, checking on progress or just telling jokes: These are all parts of the modern office."Project-management tools can help small businesses stay organized and collaborate effectively.

Germ.io: Free

Move through the brainstorming to realization phase seamlessly with germ.io. The software allows teams to log ideas and thoughts, break them down into next steps, act and reflect – all with a sophisticated and appealing UI. No matter what you're workshopping, be it a business plan or product, germ.io will take you through the process in a way that leads to better, more achievable outcomes.

This tool comes with templates for a number of project types so you don't have to brainstorm without support. Germ.io is also ideal for task management and project planning.

Price
Germ.io is free to use.

Witkit

Need a place to safely store files and collaborate with peers? Witkit is designed with communication, brainstorming, storage and management in mind. The platform offers end-to-end encryption so you never have to worry about the safety of your company's confidential information.

With access available on multiple platforms, including mobile and web, your team can stay connected, whether they're on the go or in the office.

Price
Witkit offers a free trial, but for more in-depth pricing and packages designed for your business, contact the company.

Producteev: Free

Comprehensive project management allows your team to stay on top of deadlines, communicate updates and ideas, and know what's happening across the company. Producteev

"Comprehensive project management allows your team to stay on top of deadlines"

​ makes project management a breeze, with shared to-do lists, intuitive labeling and assigning systems, and messaging. You can even set deadlines, add subtasks and have different employees follow projects they're working on. Sort through all of your tasks using different filters, such as late or upcoming deadlines.

Producteev provides control across numerous platforms, including iOS, Android and desktop.

Price
Producteev offers a free account with unlimited users, projects and tasks. It has all of the features that make the tool a must-have for project management. However, for customization and personalized, 24-hour support, companies can purchase the Pro subscription for $99 a month.

Slack

This team-centric messaging tool allows you to connect with everyone in your company. Users can instantly message each other individually or reach out to everyone involved in a project. Channels for specific assignments or teams connect users, giving them space to plan and brainstorm.

The tool can be accessed online or via mobile devices, and users can set alerts so they never miss important information. Just turn on Slack notifications so you can see what your colleagues are up to even when your app or browser isn't open.

Slack also allows you to connect with other online tools you already use, such as Twitter, Dropbox, Google Drive and Mailchimp, among others. And it's not just about chatting at the office; Slack allows you to share files, whether they're design documents or images. Simply drag and drop them into the conversation.

Price
Slack's free version has limited storage and capabilities, so if your company needs a little extra, check out the paid subscriptions. These range in price from $6.67 per user per month to $32 per user per month.

Project management and collaboration tools save your team time and energy. Try one (or all) of these apps to get the ideation train rolling.

Tools for Developing Your Skills as a Small Business Owner

Here are a few more tools designed to help you develop the skills you need to better your company.

From accounting to graphic design to social media to marketing, you have a lot to do as a small-business owner. We've covered a range of online tools and software options for tackling those different aspects of running a company. Now, let's go over how to continue developing your skills. After all, your small business will grow, and your abilities should expand with it. Here are a few more tools designed to help you develop the skills you need to better your company:

Illustration of a woman in front of a shop with text: "Your small business will grow, and your abilities should expand with it."Your skills are an asset to your business.

Freebie Supply: Free

The tagline "+400 Awesome Free Things To Build Your Business" doesn't lie. On Freebie Supply, you can find just about anything to help you code, manage, learn, market and more. Find new skills and resources that'll help you create the company you've always dreamed of.

This site lists online resources by topic, allowing you to find the tool best suited for your needs. If you're not sure where to start when building your business arsenal, Freebie Supply gives you some options. 

Price
As the name implies, Freebie Supply is free to use.

SCORE

SCORE offers new and experienced business owners the chance to find and connect with mentors, browse its library of research or even attend an online workshop. If you're looking for an informational and educational source that goes deep into the topics you care about, then SCORE is a great place to start.

You can filter your resource search by the stage your business is in, allowing you to quickly find relevant information. Topics range from data security to increasing web traffic and more. Take a look to find the information that best fits your industry.

Price
Pricing depends on what services you use. Many tools are free, while some workshops and lessons carry a cost.

Khan Academy: Free

" Keep expanding your abilities to further your company's growth."

Who has time to go back to school to learn important skills while they're running a business? If you want to keep expanding your abilities to further your company, you can. Khan Academy is one of the most well-known sources of massive open online courses (MOOC). This nonprofit offers free classes on a variety of subjects, all of which you can access anytime, anywhere you have internet connection. And with videos covering the basics of finance, computer science and entrepreneurship, Khan Academy is an essential tool for any small-business owner's arsenal. 

What's more, you don't have to do any homework. Just watch the videos in your spare time and take what you've learned back to your company.

Price
Khan Academy is completely free to use.

edX

Another MOOC platform, edX is composed of courses created and taught by top universities, including Harvard, Berkley and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. With a wide range of subjects, you can find plenty of information to further your knowledge of essential business skills. 

Additionally, edX allows you to earn university credit, so your time spent learning with this site will count toward your courses if you ever want to go back to a brick-and-mortar college. Some courses on edX are self-paced, which means you can run your company, then watch videos in your spare time. Others, however, follow a set schedule. Make sure to check the courses you're interested in to ensure they fit into your life.

Price
Courses are free to audit. However, adding and accreditation to your course costs $49.

With so many free resources, ranging from surface-level information to in-depth courses, you can continue learning and growing as you manage your own company. The effort you put into education is sure to show results in your business down the line.

Tools, Software and Resources for Business Startups

Check out these affordable and easy-to-use tools for keeping track of everything your budding enterprise needs.

Starting a company requires you check off countless boxes, so staying organized and on top of your to-do list is a must. Fortunately, you don't have to scramble. Check out these affordable and easy-to-use tools for keeping track of everything your budding enterprise needs – your future self will thank you.

Hand checking off boxes on a to-do list with text: "Starting a company requires you check off countless boxes, so staying organized and on top of your to-do list is a must."Check out these tools geared toward small businesses and startups

Shake

No matter what type of business you're starting, your company will need to create and fill out contracts. For instance, do you need a non-disclosure agreement fast? An employment contract drawn up in five minutes? Shake is an app for legally binding contracts, including employment, NDAs, renting or lending, buying or selling, and more. All you have to do to create a legal document is answer a series of questions, read the agreement, sign and send.

With free templates and access on multiple platforms (including your phone, tablet or computer), getting contracts through quickly has never been easier. 

Price
Shake is free for personal use, but a Pro subscription is $10 a month. Additionally. companies can contact Shake to get a customized estimate based on their individual needs.

Pitcherific

Getting others to believe in your business plan may seem daunting, but it's a huge part of growing a startup. If you need help honing your pitch, check out Pitcherific. This online tool lets you select a template, write a pitch, and practice it within your time and audience framework. You can choose from a variety of templates, from elevator speech to investor pitch, letting you hone your draft to your situational needs.

Once you're satisfied, you can print a copy to have on hand during the actual presentation. This resource is a huge time-saver for startups, but it retains its usefulness as your company matures.

Price
Individuals pay $54.99 a year for access. Companies should contact Pitcherific for an estimate based on their needs.

Startup Stash: Free

With hundreds of videos and a curated directory on everything startup-related, Startup Stash is a great place to look if you, well, don't know where to begin. This library of resources can be invaluable for any budding business and topics range from finance to CRM. No matter what you need to learn or simply brush up on, use Startup Stash to get your information.

The lessons come from all over the internet, from sources like Google, Twitter and Wikipedia.

Price
Startup Stash's service is free to use.

Squarespace Logo

Your logo says a lot about who you are as a business, so it's an important asset to perfect. However, when you're just starting out, you might need a little help visualizing the final graphic. Squarespace Logo, a product developed by Squarespace, helps businesses establish a brand image. The website features design tools such as icons and text editors that help you realize your logo. 

What's more, Squarespace Logo is simple, allowing you to only use a few elements. This ensures your final design is clear and concise. Graphic design trends are on the straightforward side, and this tool keeps you up to date. 

Finally, Squarespace Logo includes a preview option, showing you how the graphic will appear on T-shirts and business cards before you ever hit download.

Price
Free for Squarespace customers, Logo is an affordable tool. Don't use Squarespace for your website? Non-customers pay $10 per image.

The Name App: Free

"Your company's name should stand out."

What's in a name? Actually, a lot. Your company's name should stand out, communicate your vision and, perhaps most importantly, show up in a search. The Name App helps startups create the perfect title for their budding businesses by showing you which monikers are available where. Simply type your name into the app, and the site will show you whether it's available on various social media platforms and sites. 

The Name App ensures you come up with a title that you can use as your website and social profiles. After all, consistency across platforms helps your customers and fans find you.

Price
The Name App is free to use and available both online and in app stores.

SumoMe

Building your audience is one of the first things your startup must do to generate business. SumoMe helps you do that. This tool focuses on three main objectives: making it easy to share your content, getting more visitors to sign up for emails and showing you the most popular click spots on your site. The first two give site visitors an easy path to either learn more or spread the word, while the heat map allows you to update your website to better cater to user interaction.

In addition to these three primary tools, SumoMe has a host of features to help you get more traffic to your site. 

Price
The basic SumoMe package is free, but for more tools and bandwidth, your company can pay anywhere from $20 a month and up. You can even design a custom package. 

Looking for solutions to specific needs your company has? Stay tuned for the rest of our series on small-business resources.

Small Business Marketing Tools

Remove marketing from your to-do list by checking out these small business tools.

With limited time and resources, small business owners put on a balancing act in which they take on a variety of roles. If this sounds familiar to you, you're probably used to taking on a little marketing responsibilities now and then. However, getting help means creating more time for you to do other tasks. Remove marketing from your to-do list by checking out these small business tools – many of them are low-cost or even free to use.

123Print

Marketing runs the gamut of online and in print. When it comes to paper goods, you want high-quality products you can customize with your brand's chosen aesthetic. 123Print provides unique greeting and business cards, flyers, door hangers and more, all designed to reach your customers.

Still deciding how you want your company's paper materials to look? 123Print's create-your-own-business-card tool lets you try out new designs before purchasing them. That way, you know exactly what you'll get before you spend a dime of your business's budget. When you find a look you love, you can order products in bulk to save.

Price
Check out 123Print's website to learn about specific pricing for the hundreds of available products. Most start at mere cents per print.

Answer The Public: Free

Need help determining what keywords and/or phrases to target? Answer The Public is a search query data visualization tool that supplies users with lists of questions, prepositions and phrases all based on targeted keywords. Reports break down all of the popular ways your keyword has been used in search engines like Google and Bing, bringing you more insight into customers' minds than most analytics tools.

Use this tool in your content-marketing strategy. Targeting the right users with your language and presenting them with content they care about is more likely to land you with new viewers. Answer The Public ensures you market smarter, not just harder.

Price
Answer The Public is free to use. You can head to the site and create a report at any time or download existing ones.

Typeform

Want to find out what your customers or employees are really thinking and where you can make improvements? How about provide potential clients with a way to sign up for your newsletter? Typeform allows you to customize your online forms to collect the information you need in a beautiful, intuitive manner.

The tool creates any form you could need for any industry, from photography to retail to customer service. If you need information and a simple way to build forms and quizzes that actually help you out, Typeform is the right platform.

Price
Typeform offers a free subscription, although Pro+, which is designed for companies, costs $70 a month.

SpyFu

Keywords are at the crux of online marketing, so knowing which ones to use in your content and how your competitors have utilized them is important. Enter SpyFu: This tools lets you input your competitor's domain name to get a variety of metrics, including organic and paid search, and best- and worst-performing keywords. You can also look up a keyword to see what the search volume and cost per click are and compare how companies in your industry are performing online.

While seeing a bunch of data in one place is certainly helpful, SpyFu takes it a step further. Each metric includes a brief explanation, helping you understand and analyze the data so you can create a more effective strategy. 

Price
SpyFu offers Basic, Professional and Team plans ranging in price from $49 per month to $299 per month depending on your company's needs.

Marketing is a big undertaking, requiring print, search engine optimization and lead generation. These tools target different strategies, letting you create a comprehensive plan to spread your name and bring in more business.