The wedding industry is made up of ‘solopreneurs’. We know that you’re strapped for time working both in and on your businesses.
We believe running a business should be all about working smarter, not just working harder. So we’ve taken a look at the best software tools that can help make the processes in your business more efficient. What’s more, they’re free!
Trello is a visual project management software that works off a simple task, or card, concept. Once a card or task is through to the next stage you can move it along to the next board to keep track of your progress. This is a great tool if you’ve got a lot to keep track of at once or are working on projects with other members of your team. The free version of Trello gives you unlimited personal boards and cards and 10 boards to share with a team.
Calendly is a calendar tool designed to automatically check your availability and connect you with your clients. You can send couples a personalised Calendly link for them to book in a time with you. The software will automatically connect with your calendar and only allow them to book a time you are actually available. This can help save you time on emails or back and forth trying to find a time that suits everyone. You can connect one calendar to Calendly for free.
Worried about how much you could be spending on software or programs? G2 Track is a free marketing tool designed to keep an eye on what you’re spending on different tools or products. It connects to your accounting or payment systems to tell you which SaaS services you use. These can also be broken down by cost, time and even subscription terms. The free G2 Track plan comes with unlimited spend tracking and monthly spending reports.
Anyone can sign up for a free Gmail address. Google Suite is an online and free alternative to the Microsoft Office suite. Documents, PDFs, slideshow presentations, spreadsheets and more can be used through the Google Suite for free. Even if your email address is connected to your business you can create a secondary email address just for your G Suite access.
HubSpot Marketing Hub / CRM
HubSpot can be used for a range of tools to make your business more efficient no matter how big or small it is. At a basic level, you can utilise their live chat, mobile optimisation, email templates, calling features, deal pipeline and more. The Marketing Hub section of HubSpot is on subscription, but you can access the same features mentioned above with their free CRM.
If you’re looking for a more simple live chat feature then Drift is for you. Drift is a chatbot program that gives your customers a chance to contact you immediately when they go on your website. You can set the chat up, as well as add a welcome message to prompt more conversations in the free version.
You should always be monitoring your website analytics and Google Analytics has a free option that can be useful to any business. Look at valuable insights such as which pages couples are going onto, what pages they’re bouncing off, and which channels they’re coming from. Connected with Google’s Campaign URL Builder you’ll be able to track every link and campaign you run for your business.
Marketing & Social Media
MozBar is an SEO software tool used to help you look at how competitive search terms are. The extension plugs into the Chrome browser to give you instant metrics for any webpage or search term. It’s a great way to see how well your competitors rank for a particular SEO term or phrase. MozBar is free to use but there is also a Pro plan if you want to look at your SEO in more depth.
While we’re on the topic of SEO and keywords, we know it can sometimes be hard to think of new ones. AnswerThePublic will suggest keywords and content ideas based on a keyword or term. Type in the keyword you want to rank for such as “wedding dress Melbourne” and see the questions that couples are asking. This is a great way to get more ideas for blog content related to your brand.
Later is a social media scheduling platform that can be used for Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn and more. It’s a more visual platform than other programs such as Hootsuite and lets you layout your social media posts visually before scheduling. Platforms that allow scheduling will automatically post to the account for you. Other platforms will send you a notification with your content to actually post it. Later can also help you track your social media analytics. Read more of what Later can do here.
LinkTree gives you the opportunity to make more out of a single link. Email signatures or Instagram bios can be tricky in that they only allow you to add one link to your website. LinkTree creates one URL that links into a ‘tree’ of links. No more wondering which section you’ll link to, your couples can choose exactly what they’re interested in.
We know that not everyone has access to an internal graphic designer or a designing program. Canva is an easy-to-use tool that gives you templates for design and allows you to drag and drop images and graphics. There are plenty of free options and sizes to use on the program and you can sign up for free with an email address or Facebook account.
If you want to get in touch with several couples at once a bulk emailing tool can be useful to save you time and effort. Mailchimp is easy to use, has plenty of templates, and can be customised for your own branding. The free version allows you to have up to 2,000 subscribers at once. You’ll also be able to look at analytics such as open rate and click-through rate.
SourceBottle is an Australian service used by the media to find sources for stories and used by companies to help get their name out there. You can sign up to the service for free to receive daily newsletters about what Australian media is looking for at the moment. By selecting what interests you, you’ll receive stories that could be relevant as well as get the opportunity to pitch your business. You can also sign up to be listed as an expert source.
Other useful tech
Page Speed Insights
Another of Google’s free tools, Page Speed Insights is a free and easy way to see how your website speed is performing. You can type in any webpage and receive a ‘speed score’ as well as where your website is having issues and where you could improve. Most customers will close a webpage if it takes more than 3 seconds to load so this is a great tool to make sure your website is performing to its highest ability.
If you’re writing website content or blogs in your browser, Grammarly is a great plugin to keep your spelling and grammar in check. The software is used as a plugin with your browser and can be used across all sites, from writing emails to writing Google Docs.
Another very useful plugin for writing content is Yoast. Yoast is a free plugin tool that can work with sites such as WordPress to tell you how your content ranks for SEO. It can tell you what you’re doing right or what you might need to improve to make sure your page or post is optimised for a specific keyword. Read more about how to use Yoast here.
Finally, with so many different types of software and programs, we know it can be hard keeping track of all of your passwords. LastPass is a secure website designed for storing your passwords for different programs. Rather than keeping everything in an insecure spreadsheet you can keep everything on LastPass for free. You can even segment into the types of tools you’re using.