5 tools that every small business & Affiliate need to have

I was thinking a lot over the past year about the tools that I have used to help not only keep myself in order, but also to be able to organize and grow.  After thinking about then dozens of things that I rely on everyday, I came up with my top 5 list with 1 tool from each facet of business.  Without these 5 tools, I think I would fall apart or not have been able to function and compete.  I do have to let you know that I am not currently using one of them, but that’s only because I’m being lazy and need to re-sign up…I let my subscription cancel.  Anyways, here are 5 tools that every small business, SEO, Affiliate, Blogger and everyone else should use in order to succeed.  Most of them are great for large businesses as well.  (On a quick side note, some of these are my Affiliate links).

  • Accounting
  • Marketing
  • Loyalty
  • Organization
  • Reputation Management

Accounting

For my accounting tool I have to say that Outright is above and beyond the best accounting software.  Not only is outright 100% web based, but you can categorize everything for taxes, export it and keep clean and clear records for everything you need.  It helps me with my estimated quarterly taxes, who I owe what to, who I need to bill and everything else in between.  The best part about outright is that it is dirt cheap to use and they have  great support.  I highly recommend this and it actually came as a recommendation from an Affiliate friend to me.

Marketing

For my marketing pick I have to go with Raven Tools.  I am currently not using Raven Tools but I am going to sign up again once I have time to restart and set it up.  Raven tools is technically an SEO tool and management system; however it also works to help me keep track of my guest posts, who I owe posts to and helps me to manage and monitor competing sites.  I love the partnerships that Raven Tools has created because it gives you a ton of insight into your competition and helps you to scan forums and other sites that are related to the topics you want to optimize for and even keep track of their contact info so that you can remember to submit guest posts, etc…  Raven Tools is an extremely affordable SEO tool that every small business needs to at least try.  They even give you a 30 day free trial without needing a coupon code.  Click the banner in the ads section and you’ll be able to try Raven Tools for free and see why so many SEOs and marketers are falling in love with Raven Tools.

Loyalty

For customer loyalty I have to say that Aweber is my choice.  I still think they have the absolute worst Affiliate Management on earth, but their email tool is incredible.  Not only is it easy to use, but it is easy to set up, you don’t have to know anything about coding or programming and they provide you with hundreds of templates and options.  Aweber can be used for newsletters, email blasts and comes with everything you’ll need for solid email marketing like auto responders, light boxes, metrics and double opt in options.  I don’t know where I would be right now if I didn’t give in and give Aweber a try.  Aweber is dirt cheap, amazingly powerful and 100% worth it.  I highly recommend you use them. The reason this is my loyalty pick is that Aweber helps me to keep my readers coming back to my sites.

Organization

Pipeline deals is a dream come true when it comes to CRM systems and databases.  Not only is it affordable, but they offer amazing support, an easy to use interface and a great system for tagging your contacts.  I actually used to work in the same office that they worked in so I know them personally and absolutely recommend them.  I am also just starting to use their service again and have sent multiple people to them over the years.  Pipeline Deals is in my opinion one of the best customer management and contact management system out there.  I highly recommend them and they have a 30 day free trial you can use as well.

Reputation Management

For my reputation management tool I could only think of Knowem.com.  Although you should not rely on Knowem to automatically pop you into the top ten spots in the search engines for your brands and trademarks, you should use it as a starting point to claim all of your brands and trademarks across hundreds of social media and networking sites.  I absolutely love this service and highly recommend that everyone use it.  For under $200 you can have them register you on a ton of social sites and reserve your trademarks and brands so that you don’t have to spend a week just filling out forms.  I personally think a week of my time is worth more than $100 to $200 which is why I love Knowem for reputation management.  Let them create the profiles for you to register and protect your brands and trademarks so that you can focus on growing your own business or working on your clients.

The 5 tools above are tools that every small business, Affiliate and Blogger should be using.  Not only will they help to make your life easier, but they will be able to help grow your business if you use them correctly.  The Accounting software helps you keep your books in order.  The SEO tool helps you keep track of where you are ranking, where you are in executing your SEO plan and helps you research how to beat out your competition.  The email tool will help you keep in contact with your readers and customers each month. The organization tool and reputation management tool will help you keep your contacts in an easy to search and find database, as well as save you time from not having to do data entry work.  These 5 tools help me keep my head above water and I highly recommend them to everyone.

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