By Melinda Emerson

I’m big on finding technology tools that can help me do more in my small business. There are some great tools out there that many people are using. This is a list of some tools you may not have heard of yet. Let’s hear it for making our running a business a little bit easier!

Here are my picks for the top 11 technology tools that will make 2017 a blowout year.

1. E-Com Labels

If you are a FedEx customer, you can create custom shipping labels with their e-Com Label Solution to enhance your shipping experience.  Each label is a full color 6-panel, fold-out brochure that you can use to communicate various messages to your customers. It’s a great opportunity to build your brand and encourage them to buy again. Users can leverage the labels to allow customers to personalize gifts with photos or messages, provide user instructions, highlight customer rewards, coupons, cross sells, recommend additional products based on ordering habits, and streamline returns. Labels are just $0.20, and you must place a minimum order of 1000 labels per design. But since you must put on a shipping label anyway, why not turn your label into a marketing and branding opportunity? The e-Com Label is fully supported seamlessly by ShipStation.

Pricing: $0.20 each/$200.00 for minimum order + design fee (if needed)

2. MeetMe

Don’t you hate sending emails back and forth with a contact, trying to come up with a mutually agreeable time to set up a meeting or conference call? I certainly do. MeetMe puts that effort to an end. Your contacts can view your calendar, and choose a time that works for them, reducing that back and forth communication.

Pricing: Free!

3. Sprout Social

When it comes to social media and content marketing tool, Sprout Social is my top pick. It provides a platform for small businesses to manage and track social media engagement, publishing, and analytics across all social platforms including your website.

Pricing: Monthly services start at $99, but they do offer a 30-day free trial.

4. ShipStation

If you have an e-commerce business, your shipping and fulfillment issues are solved with ShipStation. The software integrates with the most popular shopping carts and marketplaces and allows you to print shipping labels in bulk through automation. It helps manage everything from inventory to fulfilling orders to following up with customer service emails. ShipStation streamlines the order fulfillment process and saves you a ton of time, and you can manage orders from your smartphone. Best of all? The solutions make it easy to ship your e-commerce orders with the carrier of your choosing, and if you use more than one carrier, it also shows you which option will cost less!

Pricing: Monthly service starts at $9.

5. Windsor Circle

If you’re in ecommerce, you know the frustrations of trying to get customers to buy again. Windsor Circle provides predictive lifecycle marketing to help you understand how you can develop customers into loyal, profitable ones. By examining sales data, this software can predict how customers will act in the future and apply that knowledge into personalized marketing efforts, giving you a leg up on the competition.

Pricing:  Available upon request

6. Slack

Sometimes texting, email, or even Google Hangouts doesn’t cut it for inter-office communication. Slack is hip communication software that lets you organize chats into channels, upload and share files, or search your message archive. It’s also got great phone apps that let you stay in touch with your team on the go.

Pricing: Plans start out free, then $8 a month

7. Google SmartLock

Google wants to be everything to your business, including its password saver. Google SmartLock saves your passwords on Chrome and on Android devices, so you don’t have to memorize a thing. Given that other services charge for this, it’s a real value add because it costs nothing.

Pricing: Free!

8. FreshDesk

Look like you’ve got an entire customer service team at the ready to help customers with FreshDesk. This customer support software helps you streamline responses to customer service questions and issues, process returns, and track communication. Use template responses to cut down on the communication time you spend with a customer.

Pricing: Starts free, then $16 a month

9. GetResponse

Email marketing is still a crucial component of your marketing strategy, but not all email marketing platforms are created equal. Automation is the secret to driving new leads to your funnel, and GetResponse delivers them to your doorstep. Set up emails to be delivered when a specific action or time period has occurred, and customize the offers you send your subscribers to increase your ROI this year.

Pricing: Packages start at $15 a month

10. Funnel Scripts

Writing sales copy is a very hard part in every business, yet it is one of the MOST important parts because it decides if you will or won’t sell your products and services. If writing sales emails, headlines and web copy are a challenge for you, Funnel Scripts could be the answer. Funnel Scripts is a copywriting software by ClickFunnels that helps you get your sales letters, scripts and webinar slides done in a flash without hiring an expensive copywriter! What I love about it:  It’s very affordable and even if you don’t know much about copywriting you could still be successful selling online because Funnel Scripts does much of the work for you.

Pricing: Annual fee $247.00

11. AdRoll

If digital advertising is on your strategy list for this year, bone up on retargeting. This form of advertising takes data from cookies on your site to then display relevant ads to potential customers around the web. AdRoll has a huge ad exchange network, meaning that if you work with them to place your digital retargeting ad, it will be seen on top-tier sites like social media networks and news platforms.

Pricing: Starts at about $100 a month

By the time this post goes live, there will be dozens more tech tools that I could have added to this list. Keep your eye out for software and apps that people are buzzing about, because those are the ones that will help you grow your business rapidly.

Use technology tools to streamline the sales process, manage inventory and fulfillment, to managing social media, or keeping track of daily operations to take your business to new heights (with less headache). Just know that you will need to invest the time and energy into learning how to fully use each tool to its maximum benefit, otherwise you won’t reap the rewards they offer.

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