Useful stuff

The world is full of useful stuff – but it can be very hard to find if you don’t know its there!

As I find or try tools that could help with your business and marketing, I include them here. Let me know if you find anything worth adding!

You may also like to check out my zero budget marketing blog for marketing ideas. Or if you’re after general creative inspiration, check out my other blog dailyinkling.com.

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Useful networking events

As my first (and longest) foray into business was running a series of networking events (Networx Marketers Meetings) I am passionate about networking. Whilst I no longer run Networx in Melbourne, retiring it after 8 successful years, it still runs in Sydney and Brisbane.

Check out Networx Marketers Meetings in Sydney>> and Brisbane>>

Whilst nothing is (of course!) as great as Networx, there are some other events I can still highly recommend!

Business Chicks>>

The Hive>>

B3000>>

Network Central>>

If you’re not sure what you’re looking for, subscribe to THE FETCH in your city.

There are also many industry associations and Chambers of Commerce that run regular events, along with your local Council. No excuse not to get out there really!

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Useful online stuff

Cheap email marketing tools

I regularly use Mailchimp and in the past have used iContact and Constant Contact. Mail Chimp has a handy “RSS to email” feature that is perfect for those who never seem to have time to create a newsletter AND a blog. I have hunted for Australian versions that are cost effective for smaller businesses, but haven’t had any luck!

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Free or cheap website

Thanks to WordPress, there really is no longer any excuse not to have a website. Your first website – or second – doesn’t need to cost a bomb, particularly if it’s a “brochure” site. It can cost you as little as a few dollars a month in hosting…just like this website that I built myself using WordPress. The only other cost was access to the theme (from Elegant Themes) and my time in setting it up.

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Design & photography

A great designer is so valuable to any business. But if you don’t have the budget to have one on call or staff, you can still create professional looking (and free) designs using Canva.  There are also royalty free – and cost free – image libraries you can access like Pixabay and Unsplash.

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Social media scheduling

If you don’t schedule, you’re unlikely to do it enough! One of the best tools I’ve found is Schedugram, for scheduling Instagram posts…and Instagram is really where it’s at right now in social! Facebook allows you to schedule posts ‘in app’ and Tweet Deck is great for scheduling Twitter.

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Event tools

Running events has become SO much easier than when I used to run Networx, thanks to fabulous tools like Eventbrite. I’ve used this for multiple free events (it’s free for free events) and it’s seamless.

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Database building

Both the email marketing tools above let you build a custom form to collect data, but they’re not very pretty. Whilst you may be able to pay someone to make it prettier, the other option is to use an online forms tool. So now for the tool I love so much I’d marry it if I could – Wufoo. I think this is the coolest marketing and business tool I’ve come across – and so cheap! Why do you need a form tool, I here you ask? Other than database building, you can use it for competition responses, rsvp’s, customer service records. Trust me, you start using this thing, and you keep thinking up more uses for it! Enough raving.

If you want a sales management tool, Salesforce.com is a good bet. I’ve used this for several clients, but like most databases, the information you can get out of it is only as good as what you put in. But it beats running your database in an Excel spreadsheet (you know who you are!).

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Marketing insights

Whilst there’s the standard advertising and industry publications (B and T, Ad News), a lot of the best insight can be gathered from online publications I have found.

Australian sources

Australian Anthill>> Billed as “where ideas and business meet” this site often has great business and marketing advice, for entrepreneurs and employees

Smart Company>> Australian business news, blogs and advice – BRW for the smaller operator.

Mumbrella>> Everything under Australia’s media and marketing umbrella

International

Seth Godin’s blog>> About 70% of what this guy writes is genius. Seriously. I’ve got several of his books but I find the daily bites in his blog are gold.

Springwise>> Business ideas from around the world. Inspiring every time!

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Entrepreneurial Inspiration

The Start Up Daily>> A daily email with one great idea distilled from a different business book every day.

Geekpreneur>>Billed as “make money being a geek” this is an assortment of well written detailed& lengthy blog articles dissecting how many aspects of online business really work.

Video

NYVS>> When I was looking to teach myself a little more about making (online) video, I signed up for New York Video School. Inexpensive, well produced online tutorials on anything and everything video. Lot’s of totally free content too.

Award, Proposal or Grant Writing

Need help with writing an awards proposal, grant / funding proposal or sales proposal? Check out AwardsGrantsProposals.com>>