When starting a startup, you invest effort and resources in coming up with a great product to offer. During this process, you may not have the funding to use access the tools you need. Most times your team also ends up being fairly distributed, managing time differences and responsibilities not tied to office hours, which leads to poor communication, collaboration, and organization.
Fortunately, there are free or low-cost alternatives that will allow you to organize customer relationship and team collaboration, without incurring high costs and best of all, without withdrawing from your funding. These tools can help you at least while your startup or business grows enough to cover these bills. In Toky, we use some of these alternatives and wanted to share them with you.
For communication and collaboration
With a distributed team in Mexico, Paraguay, Brazil and Colombia, a tool for good internal communication is more than necessary.
Slack is our main collaboration platform; there we communicate, either using channels for certain themes or speak directly with the team. It is a very good option to share files and request a timely feedback. A free Slack account for your startup will perfectly fit the needs of direct collaboration.
Toky provides an excellent way to communicate with customers as well as team members. With Toky we handle all customer support calls and inquiries. It's also great for those conversations where it's better to talk than write. The Business Plan is not free but is quite economical for teams, starts at 12US$ per month also comes with all the other benefits of the platform.
In Trello, we create boards by subjects and structured in several states. So for example, we have a board about Improvements divided into states like ideas, approved, rejected, planned and completed. Within each list we put ideas and comments for each one of them; is a good way to keep the valuable suggestions made by the team or by our users.
In Google Drive, we store files of different types; from graphics to documents that we create together. It is a good way to keep all those files used commonly and recurrently in one place. This help us avoid confusion about who has the latest version of any required file.
Whether you're a small startup with few customers or large with thousands of active users per day, you need to have organized the information about all of them and it's important to start defining the way you interact with them from the beginning.
HubSpot offers a comprehensive platform where you can store and organize your customers. In this free tool, you can register contact information for each customer or lead with notes or additional information; in this way any team member can have detailed information about a user or customer before talking to him. You can create tasks and use our extension Toky Click to Call to call directly those contacts who need it.
When you start to build your customer base is important to keep frequent contact with them. One of the most effective ways to achieve this is having a way to send customized emails and newsletters and here Mailchimp works perfectly. With a free account, you could create a list up to 2,000 subscribers; a goog quantity to start. In addition to sending massive, well-designed customized emails; you'll know who opened them and if clicked on links sent.
To avoid problems in sending emails, your sender email in MailChimp should not be free (@gmail.com, @hotmail.com etc.) since DMARC policies can prevent your campaigns to be received by some servers mail. Learn more
With Zoho mail, you can have up to 25 email accounts for free just by having your domain. An account with your own domain not only help you improve your branding with your customers but for many services is more valuable an email with a private domain than a free account. Look at the case we mentioned before in Mailchimp with DMARC policies for example.
Site monitoring and SEO
Whether your value proposition is based on a service like Toky, if you have an online store or if you have a website to show your business to the world, it is important to monitor traffic and if is possible, analyze the behavior of visitors on your site; in this way, you can find potential improvements to help you convert more visitors into customers or generate recurrence visits.
Google Analytics y Google Webmaster Tools
These tools are perhaps the first to be added to a website because they are one of the best ways to not only for traffic monitoring and visitors behavior, but you can also check the status of crawling of your site by Google which is vital for your SEO.
SpyFu is an excellent tool to analyze your website from the perspective of SEO and keywords as it lets you know not only the words that your visitors use to find your site in the search engines, but also helps you detect competitors, because it also shows you what other sites are competing with yours for the same keywords. This helps you a lot to define strategies and optimize your website for organic traffic, which comes from search engines.
In Toky we want you to improve customers communication with your business or startup, visit our site to learn more www.toky.co