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BizReport : Internet Marketing 101 : June 08, 2017

Expert IDs most-needed start-up tools

Computers, ergonomic chairs and equipment, funding. These are things all businesses need in 2017, but they aren't the only things. JotForm's Aytekin Tank identifies 5 must-haves for every start-up.

by Kristina Knight

1. Website Hosting and Providers

"Whether you're opening a store or building a mobile app, a website is one of the best ways to let people know what you can offer the world. Many website hosts and providers will offer templates so you can get started very quickly even if you've previously never built a website," said Aytekin Tank, CEO & Founder, JotForm. "Most will also help you with purchasing and registering a domain so you don't have to worry about that aspect. If this seems like an unnecessary cost as you're starting your business, you have the option of creating a business page on Yelp for the time being. This way, at least some basic information about your business can be found online."
Yelp: Free
Weebly: Free - $49/month
Squarespace: $12/month - $18/month

2. SEM and SEO

"If you've taken the steps to create a website for your business, your next task is to help your future customers find it. Search engine marketing (SEM) is a great way to get your feet wet with advertising for your business, and it's completely up to you how big or small of a budget fits your business needs," said Tank. "If you're not quite ready to invest money into SEM, you can still make use of Google Adwords by using their Keyword Planner tool to work on your search engine optimization (SEO). You have free access to the Keyword Planner simply by creating a Google Adwords account. This is a great way to figure out the search volume for different keywords and phrases so that can you go back to your website and adjust your content to fit what people are searching for on Google."

Google Adwords: However much you choose to spend

3. Collecting feedback

"As a small business owner, one of your most valuable resources will be your customers. You can send out surveys or informal polls to get firsthand information about what they want. Use your newfound knowledge to develop new products or improve your existing ones. You can also learn a lot from others who have gone through similar experiences in building a new business," said Tank. "They can share all of their experiences with you, including what they've learned. But what if you don't personally know anybody who has started a business similar to yours? That's where online forums come in. Places like Quora and Reddit are incredibly helpful because you can ask any question and solicit advice from people all over the world. While every piece of advice may not be relevant to your business, the more feedback you get, the more data you'll have when it's time to make your own decisions."
JotForm: Free - $99/month
Quora: Free
Reddit: Free

4. Email marketing

"While email marketing tools aren't cheap, it's an area worth investing in because the benefits will grow over time. Whether you use email marketing to stay connected with your current customers via newsletters and updates or to attract new ones by offering discounts, the end result can make huge a huge difference. These products usually offer tiered pricing as well so you can increase your spending as your customer base grows," said Tank.
MailChimp: Free - $199/month
Constant Contact: $20/month - $45/month

5. Outsourcing

"Sometimes hiring can be a big obstacle because you don't necessarily have the funds to take on the cost of full-time salaries. This is where outsourcing comes in. Outsourcing your smaller tasks is a convenient way to get the help you need without needing to hire a full-time employee. You can tap into this resource only when it's needed or when you have the money to do so," said Tank. "Outsourcing will also give you the flexibility to set the cost because you'll be reaching a larger group of people who may be looking for additional work. However, you should also research average project costs to ensure you attract qualified people. Otherwise, you run the risk of getting unusable results."

Fiverr: $5+ per job
Elance: Varies depending on the type of job
Upwork: Varies depending on the type of job

Tags: internet marketing 101, JotForm, small business tips, SMB tips, startup tips

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