I like to look at every business as a small business. Even large companies are made up of smaller pieces and departments that often function like their own small business. In the franchise world, each franchisee runs their branch as a small business with the added tools and resources of the entire company. Every business must have started small, or at least come from another idea that grew into something big. Here are a few apps, websites and tips to get your business off the ground and turn it into something great.
Let’s start with Facebook (www.facebook.com):
- Free to sign up.
- Reach a potentially enormous audience.
- Can be used to setup a main page for your business and then create individual pages for each potential franchise location.
- Over 1 billion active users.
- 78% of those users are using a mobile device, which means your business can use location data to interact with users close to individual franchise locations.
- Easy to use advertising system.
One of my favorites is the growing web application ShortStack (www.shortstack.com):
- Quickly and easily transform your business’s Facebook page into a better promotion tool.
- Free to start, and then once you expand your business and add franchisees you can decide to go with the paid service to manage more than one Facebook page in the same ShortStack account.
- This means you can have one monthly fee to manage ALL of your individual franchise pages and promos, sweepstakes and contests that you will likely want to run.
- Easy to use system and templates for creating contests and apps for your Facebook pages.
Reach millions of users instantly with Twitter (www.twitter.com):
- Completely free to sign up and begin interacting with potential customers
- Instant customer outreach.
Two really great email newsletter marketing web applications:
MailChimp (www.mailchimp.com) provides a multitude of tools and templates. Potentially start reaching out to customers and gathering subscribers within minutes. From their site, “If you have fewer than 2,000 subscribers, you can send up to 12,000 emails per month absolutely free.”
I just discovered Tiny Letter (tinyletter.com). A simple email marketing solution for those that want to send a very simple email and get started right away. Customize your subscribe page to add your own branding.
I hope you find these tools useful for getting started in the online marketing world, or if you’re already doing it, to help you do it better. If you have more free solutions for growing your business drop them in the comments.