Though we work and help small businesses, we ourselves are a small business and have to find ways to cut down on the time spent on marketing as well look for tools to help our clients. This is not our typical article, but I find that I like to find articles on products and services, as it cuts down the search time for us looking for similar tools to use in our business or with our clients. As we find new tools to use, we will write additional articles and report on our findings.
Tawk.To - Chat For Your Website
If you have a website and have products and services where having the ability to chat to a service or sales rep would add value to your customer and your business, Tawk.to might be the perfect solution for you. It is entirely open source at this time and all that is required is that you add a snippet ofcode to your website. If you have a content management system where you can add code to each page in the footer or header, you will most likely be able to do this yourself, otherwise your web development company can add this for you.
Tawk.To allows you to customize the chat window for your website as well as how you interact with the visitors. If you are logged on, you are able to see when the visitor lands on your website and what pages they are visiting while they are there. You can choose to interact with them directly or remain passive and allow them to contact you if they are interested in finding out more about your products and services. They also provide a dashboard with a few analytics of the traffic as well as the chat conversations that you have with prospects and clients.
WebEngage - Web Engagement Tool
I trialed Qualaroo last year and really liked the tool, but found their pricing ridiculous for what they provide for their intro package. For $63.00 a month you receive limited features. I liked the idea of having the surveys on the website, so I started searching for competitive tools and recently found WebEngage which is a company out of India. The tool is comprehensive and for $49.00 a month you not only have the ability to develop surveys, but it allows you to create notifications in different places on your website, which you can use for marketing promotions and as well provides the Feedback Tab on the side. I have been trialing the free version for a little over a month as had a couple hiccups to start, but things are moving smoothly now.
You are able to add a survey to your site each month. You can offer full anonymity or you are able to ask for the visitor to enter their email. Our first survey askedabout the type of services that visitors were looking for when they visited our site, and the survey this month focuses on the pain points of visitors in their business. We gave them the option to enter their email, if they wanted and actually have gotten 2 clients from those that did. We were fine if they didn't as we were looking for the survey information.
The tool is configurable and allows you to determine who and when the survey is shown For example, our clients are only in Canada, so we only showed the survey to those with Canadian IP addresses and only after they were on our site for 30 seconds. There are analytics with the tool that not only provides aggregate data, but individual responses and tracks where (city) the response came from if provided anonymously.
Just as with Tawk.to, there is a little snippet of code that you need to add to your website. Once the code is there, you never have to change it. All of the changes or additions to the configuration are done within the WebEngage environment.
Canva - Graphic Tool
We actually own Photoshop, which is a great product by Adobe, but is expensive and not easy to use for those who are just looking to create occasional graphics for blog articles, social media, or even print. I came across Canva a few months back and decided to try it. It is an online product that allows you to create graphics by dragging and dropping text, pictures, and objects in place. Their current model is free unless you are using their pictures and text which are very reasonable at $1.00 each. This is a very cost effective tool for those who only need to create that graphic occasionally for their business without having to pay for a graphic designer.
Here are a few graphics I created with Canva or our business and it only took a few minutes. I tend to use photos from Fotolia or Canstockphoto that I purchase in blocks, but the photos on Canva are nice as well if you do not buy photos on a regular basis.
GoAnimate - Animated Videos
I was looking for a video tool to create marketing and sales videos a couple years back. I originally found PowToon which I used last year and would again for creating a few marketing videos. I came across an article on GoAnimate and how it compared to other online video tools and thought I would give it a try.
I was hooked almost immediately. Though PowToon was easy to create scenes, I found the graphics very limited unless you purchased an Agency subscription which I ended up doing with another business owner. It was fairly easy to use but had heard from others integrating voice clips into the individual scenes was difficult.
I started using GoAnimate and found not only did they have more sophisticated tools for video and animation built in, they also supported text to speech. As many people do, I do not like the sound of my own voice, but I wanted to create a video without going through the hassle of finding a voice online to record the voice. There are times that I know I will want to use professionals, but I also want the option of text to speech. You have a choice of 20+ voices and if you know enough about text to speech you can manipulate the speed and inflection so that it sounds more natural. At $299.00 a year, you have access to full functionality of the product for your own business. If you want commercial rights, or do not want their logo on the bottom, you can upgrade to the next package for $599.00 a year which is still reasonable for a small business.
Here is our first attempt using GoAnimate and their text to speech option. It isn't the best but was a good test of not having to do the audio files.
We hope you find this post helpful in helping you determine if you could use these marketing and sales tools in your business. As we continue to find tools that cost effective and easy to use for small businesses, we will provide our feedback using the tools either in our business or implementing in a client.
RK Fischer & Associates