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The technology that supports a small business in its start-up phase can truly make or break the future of the company. Luckily, there are a lot of free and inexpensive tools to help guide business owners in the creation of their company. This Thoughtful Thursday, Velvet Cartel is re-vamping a previously published Technology Tuesday article to make sure our readers have easy access to the most updated versions of our favorite apps for tracking your demographics and successfully marketing to them.

1. Esri

Esri is a geographic information system (GIS) mapping company. With Esri, you are able to gain a better view of the world around you through carefully, lawfully prepared demographics.

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"At Esri, we believe that geography is at the heart of a more resilient and sustainable future. Governments, industry leaders, academics, and nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) trust us to connect them with the analytic knowledge they need to make these critical decisions that shape the planet." -Esri President, Jack Dangermond

While Esri is not technically free, they offer month long trials for a lot of their software. After the trial is over, you are free to keep the data you've collected. This product is great for tracking demographics such as age, annual income, purchasing and media habits all over the world. It can not be stated how helpful this is for laying the groundwork in your company. Knowing who is around you is the first step in building clientele, establishing boundaries, goals and ultimately making realistic projections for the future growth of your business. If you only try one of these applications, we urge you to try Esri.

2. CardFlick

card-flickNow that you've identified your target audience, you can begin marketing. CardFlick is a mobile app designed to make designing easy. In the app, you can design your own "Flickable" (sharable) business card using assets from your photo gallery and supplement the design with the in-app editors. Never again will you have to kick yourself for being without business cards (or kick yourself for ordering 25o business cards with a typo). The app is great for those who might want to change up their look from time-to-time. And it's FREE!

3. Hootsuite

hootsuite_interagtionHootsuite is a social media manager built on the idea of streamlining selling, customer support, marketing and media management. Basically, you just plug in all of your social media accounts and edit them all from one site- with only one password to remember! Hootsuite also dabbles in tracking and generates reports based on the success of your media strategies. The continuity that this application provides makes for a very professional-looking company from every angle. Hootsuite offers a free version for personal use that limits the number of accounts you can manage. For business use, you can kick off your membership with a month long free trial and only $9.99 after that.

 

4. Apptivo

apptivoApptivo, a lead tracking app, is a great product for what it costs. A free version of the app includes online support, basic contact sharing and integration with Google Apps and more than 40 included business apps. That's a pretty sweet deal! The Premium version is only $10 a month and allows access to all mobile apps. Apptivo also has advanced content sharing, plugins, and application programming interface (API) access to sync up with your website. Lead tracking apps are not only great for small businesses that want to know how to catch the attention of potential clients, but they can also help you assess the best way to approach prospects and follow through with the sale. A good lead tracking app will help you find long-lasting customers so you can grow your business. This app might not be as advanced as others like it on the market, but the basic interface is super user-friendly and provides exactly what it claims to.

5. Iconosquare

snapshots-iconoIconosquare, previously Statigram, measures Instagram. These tools may not seem important to everyone, but any business that wants a strong online presence should be 'Gramming. Very simply, Iconosquare provides analytics and metrics (in a way that isn't boring) and reports on the most successful time of day to post your content.

 

 

We hope you've found this article helpful! Share your experiences with these apps below! For more Thoughtful Thursday articles from Velvet Cartel, click HERE.

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