10 brilliant resources that will save your business money

Free and low cost solutions for small businesses, tech savvy entrepreneurs and marketers. These top resources will help you stay connected, stay visible and contribute to your success.

Gone are the days of buying expensive software or downloading freeware, with cloud technology you can access these powerful resources from your browser and run your business from anywhere.

1. Yet Another Mail Merge

This simple add-on for Google Sheets works like a mail merge and lets you send hyper personalised emails to up to 1500 contacts a day for Google App users.

How it works? Simply write your email and save as a draft in Gmail and use this merge tag: <<column header>> to replace your email with content from your Google Spreadsheet. Works best when you have the recipient’s First Name, Email (obviously) and Company Name, you can even add inline images, attachments and links.

As Gmail limit the number of emails you can send per day to 2000 (for Google App users) YAMM has the ability to auto schedule future emails to send after 24hrs when your quota is reset. This means a 6,000 email campaign can be sent over 4 days.

Free plan: 100 recipients each day for 1 month, then 50 recipients.
You can earn more quota (up to 250 emails daily) for free, by inviting other people to use the add-on using their referral program.
Personal ($24 annually): 400 or 1500 recipients, depending on your Google account (400 for Gmail users, 1500 for Google Apps users).
Enterprise ($200 annually): 1500 recipients per email address under your domain with unlimited users.

2. AppInstitute

AppInstitute allows even the least technical minded to make an App using their online App Builder Platform.

Whether you run a small business, an online blog, are looking for a way to encourage loyalty, improve customer services or simply provide easily accessible content, a mobile App is the perfect platform.

Custom App development can cost anywhere from £10K and upwards but as AppInstitute provide a ready made solution, it means you’re not paying for a team of developers to code your App from scratch. It’s just a case of choosing what features will work best for your businesses, adding your logo, colour scheme and images to match your brand.

How it works? Sign up to AppInstitute for free to create your account: No credit card needed, you only start paying when you’re ready to publish.

The App Builder Wizard let’s you quickly set-up your App by using your company’s Facebook Page. It cleverly pulls in images, company information, website links and colour schemes and even help you select the best App functionality. For example, if you’re a Coffee Shop then it’ll select a template that offer customer loyalty enhancing services like a Stamp Card and Coupons.

Support is on hand 24/7 through the online chat service, or browse the in depth knowledge base for a step by step guide on each section of the platform.

Once you Publish, the App can be updated instantly using the App Builder Platform and also offers App Marketing Tools, Analytics, Push Notification Management and CRM.

Starter - £5 monthly: Android Only + Analytics
Premium - £20 monthly: Android & iOS + Analytics + Push Notifications
Pro - £30 monthly: Android & iOS + Analytics + Advanced Push Notifications + CRM
Hire a Pro service also available if prefer someone else built your App for you.

3. Unsplash

When it comes to finding images to use on your blog, newsletter, email, marketing resources, website or social media pages — resources like Unsplash are priceless. They offer free high quality images for you to download and use anywhere. Did I mention it’s completely FREE? You’ll even come across super cute photos that will make you squeal like this.

When you compare this to buying stock images, or using images without the right permission, not only will you save money, but there’s no risk of being fined by someone like Getty images or ShutterStock.

You might also want to check out these other free photo resource websites include:

4. Canva

If you’re not a Photoshop wiz, or even if your are, Canva will save you time with their pre-designed templates. I’ve used this to create flyers, posters, banners, blog header, infographics, social media banners, you name it, you can design it. You don’t need to be a design guru to make an awesome looking graphic for your marketing collateral or pay an agency to design you a flyer. Just use a high res image from one of the free photo resources above, upload it to Canva, add your text and download your awesome resource as a JPEG, PDF or PNG.

The platform is super intuitive and you can move and edit individual layers, resize, re-colour, add new layers and change the transparency. Choose from a range of free templates or pay a dollar to use one of the premium designs.

5. Upwork

If you need a Freelancer to do the job, Upwork offers you the ability to source experienced professionals with any budget. Whether you’re looking for someone to build your WordPress website or animate a 60 second intro video for your product, you can find them on here and save yourself hundred if not thousands of pounds. By avoiding agencies and working directly with freelancers you can cut your costs down, and save time by not having to deal with middle men. I’ve paid $100 for work that would’ve cost up to £2000 if I’d have gone through a professional media agency. Yes you need to be a little more hands on managing your resource, but the effort is worth it.

How it works? Set up your account, post your job and set your budget. You can either invite freelancers to look at your job or post it publicly letting freelancers apply and bid for work. Go through your job applicants and choose the right one for the job by reviewing their portfolio. You can set up payment milestones and create deadlines, paying your freelancer a little each time they complete the work.

6. Strikingly

Definitely my favourite online website builder out there and in my opinion, the easiest to use. Publish your site using basic features for free if you don’t mind having the Strikingly branding on your site, otherwise it’s $20 a month for up to 3 PRO sites.

The platform comes complete with an online store, sign up and contact forms, analytics, simple blog, custom domain name, SEO setting and 3rd party integration so you can hook up to services like Mail Chimp, PayPal, Google Maps, ECWID store or create custom HTML.

One of the coolest things is their App, which not offers analytics on your site, but also lets you view and respond to messages from your contact form.

7. Fiverr

Get pretty much anything for as little as $5 depending on how big your job is. If you need a logo designed, website, voice over, content writer, graphic or more —avoid expensive agencies and go directly to a freelancer. Ok so you often have to pay more than a fiver for things, but probably no more than $20–30 for most jobs. Honestly, I’ve seen companies with logos that look they been designed on Word, and there’s just no excuse for it.

8. MailChimp

Every small business should be using MailChimp to send out newsletters. Completely Free up to 2000 subscribers, with the ability to send up to 12,000 emails a month.

MailChimp integrates into practically everything so you can embed sign up forms in your website, blog and social channels collecting email addresses wherever potential leads may discover you.

Complete with analytics, campaign management and beautiful email templates — emailing like a marketing pro has never been easier.

9. Google Drive

Who needs Microsoft Office when you have Google Drive. Create Word Documents, Spreadsheets, Presentations, Forms, Drawings and more and store them all online so you can access them anywhere, even your smartphone using the Google Drive App.

Use it to share files and collaborate between teams, store data and information without having to worry about storage space on your computer, or not having the latest version.

Sharing settings mean you control who has access to your file, and who can view or edit it.

10. Help a Reporter Out (HARO)

Looking for Free PR? Sign up as a Source for Journalists to send you PR opportunities for their next story. Simply select all the categories you’re able to provide information on and wait for the Journalists to come to you.

A little hit and miss at times, but it takes less than a minute to browse through the email to see if a PR opportunity awaits you. I’d advise setting up Google Alerts for your name and company as journalists might not always remember to let get back to you if they use your pitch.

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