Using Multi-Purpose Small Business Tool Providers to Save Time and Money



multi-purpose business toolsInvesting in small biz tools that deliver multiple marketing or productivity services can help your business cost-effectively accomplish more in less time

Multi-purpose tools – or “dual-purpose” services – can be a great investment because they can deliver more than one service or function for your small business. From productivity tools that save you time and money by helping you multi-task, to marketing tools that accomplish several goals and objectives within your marketing efforts, multiple use tools with integrated service platforms are invaluable for time-strapped small biz owners operating on a tight budget.

Tools that offer more than one purpose can also be more effective for small businesses because they are able to work together well, leveraging integrated functionality. This minimizing in-house integrations and ensures you can accomplish multiple business functions without worrying about data transfers or technical assistance.

Benefits of Multi-Purpose Marketing and Productivity Tools

A great example of multiple use tools are e-mail marketing programs. Most e-mail marketing programs will help you manage e-mail marketing campaigns well… but many are now allowing you to manage your social media activity. When you launch an e-mail newsletter, for example, you can update your status on Facebook or twitter or even LinkedIn very easily at the same time by connecting your social media networks to the e-mail marketing program.

Many e-mail marketing programs also have social media dashboards you can use to schedule status updates for your accounts on sites like Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn. You can actively manage the activity through social media dashboard to see your total reach (impressions), your click through rate and other traffic stats.

E-mail marketing programs also tend to leverage other integrated marketing tasks like surveys, list building tools, contact management and even direct mail postcard mailings.

Other multi-purpose tools offer integrated services that can be tapped into as needed. For example, web-based meeting and collaboration software gives you the ability to create an online meeting with your staff or freelancers to collaborate on projects, but you can also use the meeting software tools for conducting a webinar with your customers and prospects.

Leveraging services or programs that offer multiple functions enables you to easily expand your marketing efforts or productivity initiatives without having to identify another tool or service that meets your needs. It can also be more cost-effective to leverage more than one tool from the save vendor or provider.

Other time and money saving benefits of tapping into multi-purpose tools include:

Single login id and password. With so many online accounts, we all have way too many login id and passwords to remember. One multi-purpose account that lets you accomplish multiple functions eliminates the need for yet another id and password, and saves time by not having to log into more than one account.

Service provider familiarity. It can be time-consuming to research new service or tool providers for each use. Expanding your services with an existing, trusted provider that you are already familiar with can be a big time-saver.

Improved performance. Tools that offer multiple functions may open your eyes to new services for marketing or productivity that you didn’t even realize you needed. You may sign up for one use and then discover that the service can allow you to do much more. These bonus features can greatly improve your performance when you tap into them.

Packaged pricing. Many providers that offer bonus tools or services give you these services as free “value-add” functionality… saving your business money. In other cases, signing up for multiple services with the same vendor or provider can often entitle you to discounted rates or bundled pricing packages.

OUR PICKS

Here are some of the multi-purpose tools we recommend for small businesses:

iContact – With iContact you get access to easy-to-use email marketing tools and a free social media dashboard tool that allows you to schedule and track social media posts. Free 30 Day Trial of iContact

Constant Contact – Industry-leading email marketing provider Constant Contact now offers SaveLocal – a local deals program that integrates with email marketing to tap into your contact database for special pricing deals. Free 60 Day Trial of Constant Contact

Shoeboxed – Save valuable time by streamlining your paperwork with Shoeboxed. This productivity tool combines the tasks of bookkeeping management and contact database growth with an easy-to-use digitization process. Free 30 Day Trial of Shoeboxed

GoToMeeting / GoToWebinar – With webconferencing services from GoToMeeting and GoToWebinar you can make virtual meetings easy… whether it be for your internal staff for online collaboration, or for a webinar sales presentation to customers. You can also use built-in VoIP phone conferencing at no extra charge. Free 30 Day Trial of GoToMeeting or GoToWebinar





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With over 20 years of integrated marketing experience, Diane is author of the award-winning book PR Tools to Toot Your Own Horn. Diane also serves as the marketing director for SureShade, a growing small business that has become the new standard for shade on boats, and runs Marine Marketing Tools, a site that bridges her passion for boating and small business marketing.