April 28, 2016
Growth  |  5 min read

5 Free Small Business Apps You will Need in 2016

by Clare Kirlin

Free tools to help you run a better business? Yes, please! 

Whether you find yourself pulling double duty as a designer, copywriter, salesperson, or strategist, these tools make it easier. They’ll save you hundreds of hours and thousands of dollars. And they’re available for a grand sum of… drumroll… $0 apiece.

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 1. Sales: Research your prospects with Crystal

Account required: Yes (free, with some paid features)

Useful for: Anyone who needs to connect with prospects

Type in someone’s name for a quick, in-depth analysis of publicly available information such as social media profiles. Crystal will estimate the accuracy of its analysis, which predicts behavior and motivations. You’ll get advice on how to communicate effectively with that person, and you can even access free email templates for actions like requesting a sales meeting.

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 2. Marketing: Get professional advice from MarketingProfs

Account required: Yes (free)

Useful for: Anyone seeking input from marketing professionals

The MarketingProfs Know-How Exchange lets you crowd-source answers to your most common questions about advertising, SEO, customer service, websites, and other topics of interest to small business. You can also respond to other users’ questions to help your peers and position yourself as an expert in the community.

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3. Writing: Analyze your text with Expresso

Account required: No

Useful for: Anyone who wants to write better copy 

Expresso is super simple to use. Just copy and paste your text for a quick analysis; the software will highlight common pitfalls like weak verbs, passive voice, and overused words. Hover over the highlighted text to view suggestions intended to improve the quality of your writing. Expresso promises to make your writing “more readable, precise, and engaging.”

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4. Research: Save the best resources with Pocket

Account required: Yes (free)

Useful for: Anyone who’s short on time

Ever see an interesting headline and think “I should read that sometime!” then promptly forget about it? Pocket lets you save the videos, articles, pages, and more so you can come back and view them later (even if you’re offline). When you’re ready to consume the content, log in to view a Pinterest-like board of your favorite stuff. 

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5. Design: Create beautiful graphics with Canva

Account required: Yes (free, with some paid features)

Useful for: Anyone who needs to create graphics

Churn out social media posts, ads, e-books, and other marketing materials in a snap. Canva offers millions of images, fonts, and templates (many free, some paid). You don’t need any design skills to use it—just drag and drop to create beautiful, professional-looking designs in minutes.  

In small business, every minute counts. Make the most of yours with these killer free apps.

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Clare is the associate copy director at Infusionsoft, where she works to craft meaningful messaging for a worldwide audience of small business superheroes. Her 10-year marketing career has deep roots in content strategy, with an emphasis on B2B technology. Outside the office, Clare can usually be found indulging her passion for language as a creative writer, prolific reader, and inexorable chatterbox. She is a proud parent of one daughter and self-nominated captain of Team Oxford Comma. Connect with Clare on Twitter @clarekirlin.

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