The ultimate list: 75 best tools for skyrocketing business growth in 2016

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By Rob Wormley

If you want to be an effective business owner in 2016, you can’t manage everything on your own. In order to scale the progress you’ve already made, or simply experience real growth for the first time, you have to be willing to delegate responsibilities, standardize processes, and use the right tools.

The problem is, there are a lot of tools out there to choose from. Knowing where to start or which tool to try is not always easy.

This collection of tools can help you narrow your search results and quickly find the right tools for your business—the ones that are really going to help move the needle and take your business to a whole new level.

The tools are separated into eight different categories:

  • Marketing
  • Conversion & Lead Generation
  • Business Management
  • Project Management & Communication
  • Customer Service & Retention
  • Outsourcing
  • HR, Employee Engagement & Appreciation
  • Social Media Marketing

 

As you go through this list, think about your business goals for this year, what your plan is for achieving those goals, and whether you think any of the tools listed could help you get you to where you want to go.

 

Here are the 70+ tools you should be using in 2016 to grow your business:

 

Marketing

  1. Curated – Curated is a tool that allows you to quickly find and save content to share with your email list in the form of a beautifully simple weekly email digest. It’s a great tool for providing extra value to your audience. Pricing: Starts at $25/month

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2. Referral Saasquatch – Referral Saasquatch is a great tool that can be used to build and manage customer referral programs for your business. Referral tools like this one make it incredibly easy to incentivize and encourage more word-of-mouth advertising of your business. Pricing: Starts at $99/month

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3. Content Marketer – Content Marketer is the best tool on the market for promoting content, building links, and connecting with influencers. It’s the tool you want to use when you’re ready to take your content marketing efforts to the next level and start seeing more ROI from your efforts. Pricing: $19/month

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4. Quuu – Quuu provides you with hand curated content to increase your social media activity. After selecting a few categories that represent the type of topics you’re interested in, Quuu automatically sends hand curated content to your Buffer account. Pricing: Starts at $0/month

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5. Canva – Canva is one of the easiest tools out there for creating compelling, original images for social media and blogging. The tool offers a wide variety of backgrounds, icons, and fonts to fit the needs and dimensions of any platform you’re using to connect with prospects. Pricing: FREE

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6. Campaign Monitor – Campaign Monitor is one of the top email marketing platforms on the market. The drag-and-drop email builder allows you to create a customized email campaign in a matter of minutes. It also offers a lot in terms of personalization, segmentation, and A/B testing. Pricing: Starts at $9/month

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7. Buzzsumo – Buzzsumo is the top tool for performing content marketing research. The tool makes it easy to evaluate the performance of any blog post, website, or competitor. It’s a great tool to use when you’re ready to start investing in advanced content promotion and outreach. Pricing: Starts at $99/month

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8. Death to the Stock Photo – Death to the Stock Photo is a site that offers fresh, inexpensive, and non-cheesy stock photos that can be used in a wide variety of marketing campaigns. You can sign up to receive new photos each month, or you can go premium and get access to all photos at once. Pricing: $15/month

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9. SEMrush – SEMrush is a top tool for performing advanced advertising, keyword, baclink, and competitor research. The tool provides powerful analytics reports that can give you valuable insight and help you decide where to take your strategy next. Pricing: Starts at $69.95/month

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10. Sticker Mule – Sticker Mule is a tool that can be used to create and order custom stickers and graphics for your startup. The tool is relatively inexpensive and provides fast delivery and free shipping. Pricing: Varies depending on quantities

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Conversion & Lead Generation

 

11. SumoMe – SumoMe offers a suite of tools that can be used to drive conversions and engagement on your website. Examples include the Welcome Mat, the Scroll Box, the Smart Bar, and others—all of which can be added to your site and customized to fit the look and feel of your brand in a matter of minutes. Pricing: Starts at $10/month

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12. Optimizely – Optimizely is one of the top tools for easily and quickly building and running A/B tests on your website. A/B testing is an important tactic when it comes to influencing more engagement and conversions, and with Optimizely, you can test everything from color, copy, button placement, entire landing pages, personalization, and more. Pricing: Varies

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13. LeadChat – LeadChat (shameless plug) is a tool that you can use to insert sales staff right into your website. The tool makes it incredibly easy to add their ready-to-go live chat agents to your site who can chat with visitors and convert them to customers. Sound interesting? Ask for a trial now. Pricing: Starts at $99/month

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14. Import.io – Import.io is a tool that allows you to scrape the web for relevant information about products, businesses, and competitors. The tool automates the data collection process and presents it in an easily digestible manner for business owners looking to quickly identify and take advantage of gaps in their market or industry. Pricing: Varies

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15. Datanyze – Datanyze is a sales intelligence tool that allows you to uncover, research, and reach the right prospects. Alerts tell you which websites have started or stopped using a particular provider’s tool, Research helps you understand your prospects better, and their predictive modeling helps you determine which leads are worth pursuing first. Pricing: Request a demo to find out

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16. LeadPages – LeadPages is one of the top tools available for building customized landing pages on your site. The tool offers hundreds of templates that can be used to drive conversions and nurture prospects. Pricing: Starts at $25/month

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17. ConvertKit – ConvertKit is a tool that can be used to nurture leads down your sales funnel. The tool allows you to easily make customized opt-in forms that can be placed in content and around your site. You can also design landing pages, create drip campaigns, and send important one-off emails to your subscribers. Pricing: Starts at $29/month

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18. Crazy Egg – Crazy Egg is another tool that can be used to gain more insight into the actions and experiences people have when they land on your website. With this tool, you can analyze where people are clicking, how far down they’re reading, and where people are coming from when they land on your site. Pricing: Starts at $9/month

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19. Drip – Drip is a tool that you can use to create simple drip email courses. You can use the tool to easily repurpose your best blog content into a compelling email course that educates, nurtures, and converts your website visitors. Pricing: Starts at $49/month

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20. FullStory – FullStory is an amazing tool that allows you to actually record, replay, and analyze the experience people have when they land on your website. It’s a great tool to use for improving customer support, making decisions about development or product updates, and empathizing with users. Pricing: Starts at $199/month

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Business Management

 

21. Recurly – Recurly is a tool that automates recurring billing for subscription-based businesses and products. The tool is incredibly easy to set up and seamlessly integrates and connects with your existing merchant accounts and website. Pricing: Starts at $99/month

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22. Xero – Xero is a beautifully designed online accounting tool. An alternative to QuickBooks, this tool can help you manage invoices and quotes, inventory, purchase orders, bills and expenses, employee payment, and more. Pricing: Starts at $6.30/month

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23. Chartio – Chart.io is a cloud-based business intelligence tool. It’s a tool that you can use to quickly organize, visualize, and analyze complex data related to your products and business. It’s a great tool for any business looking to become more data-driven in 2016. Pricing: Sign up to get pricing information

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24. TradeGecko – TradeGecko is an inventory management tool for business owners looking to automate painful and repetitive tasks. The tool can help streamline order management, stock levels, tracking at multiple warehouse locations, multi-channel sales, and more. Pricing: Starts at $39/month

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25. Segment – Segment is an incredibly convenient tool that allows you to collect customer data with one API and send it to hundreds of tools for analytics, marketing, and data warehousing. Pricing: Starts at $39/month

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26. Google Analytics – Google Analytics is an essential tool for any business owner looking to gain a better understanding about website visitors. With Google Analytics, you can track metrics, set up goals and events, and find ways to optimize your website in order to boost conversions, engagement, and repeat traffic. Pricing: Starts at $0/month

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27. UpCounsel – UpCounsel is a tool that offers on-demand legal help for business owners who don’t necessarily have the funds to keep a full-time lawyer on retainer, but need legal assistance from time to time. The tool can help with agreements, trademarks, patents, labor and employment, and more. Pricing: Varies depending on work

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28. Toggl – Toggl is a time-tracking tool aimed at helping business owners boost daily productivity. The tool streamlines time-tracking and makes it incredibly easy to identify where time is going and how to become more productive throughout the day. Pricing: Starts at $0/month

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29. Zirtual – Zirtual is a tool that can be used to find U.S. based virtual assistants. The tool now falls under the Startups.co umbrella, and is a great resource to take advantage as you continue to scale your business in 2016. Pricing: Starts at $398/month

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30. HelloSign – HelloSign is a tool that can be used to send and receive legally binding electronic signatures for business purposes. It integrates with familiar apps like Gmail, Google Drive, Evernote, Dropbox, and more. Pricing: Starts at $0/month

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Project Management & Communication

 

31. Trello – Trello is a fantastic project management tool that can really bring your projects to life. The tool creates a visual representation of your projects in the form of cards that can be moved from column to column as a project progresses. It’s a great tool to use for managing freelancers. Pricing: Starts at $0/month

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32. Basecamp – Basecamp is another tool that can be used to manage projects. It’s different than Trello in that it’s less visual-focused and more centered around team collaboration. The tool just launched a brand new version, which can be explored here. Pricing: Starts at $29/month

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33. Asana – Asana is a project management tool that works well for teams that are moving a lot of projects through the door at a given time. It’s one of the most flexible and customizable project management tool available. Pricing: Starts at $0/month

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34. Evernote – Evernote is a great tool for managing personal projects and to-do lists. It’s a cloud-based tool that can be accessed from the mobile, web, or desktop. It’s a particularly useful tool to use when you want to pull in various types of media (photos, screenshots, notes, etc.). It does also offer the ability to collaborate with others. Pricing: Starts at $0/month

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35. Slack – Slack is one of the most popular real-time messaging apps available today. It’s incredibly well-designed, and easy to implement across multiple teams. The tool can also be used to manage specific projects by setting up different channels within a chat group. It’s a great option if you have or plan to grow a remote team. Pricing: Starts at $0/month

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36. Google Apps For Work – Google Apps For Work offers professional email, online storage, shared calendars, video meetings and more. It’s also a great alternative to the Microsoft Office suite—it has a word processor, a presentation tool, a spreadsheets tool, and a form builder. Pricing: Starts at $5/user/month

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37. Wrike – Wrike is a versatile project management tool that can be used by marketing teams, product development teams, department heads, and more. With the tool you can easily create tasks, mention team members, collaborate in real-time, and seamlessly integrate with your other tools. Pricing: Starts at $0/month

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38. Projects by GrowthHackers – Projects is still a bit of a mystery, but early previews make it appear to be an incredibly user-friendly project management tool. To try this tool, you’ll need to request early access to join their beta program.

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39. Join.Me – Join.Me is a simple tool that can be used to host video and audio conferences, share your screen, record meetings, and more. It’s a great tool to use when you need to quickly pull up a presentation or reference your screen while on a group call. Pricing: Starts at $0/month

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40. Dropbox – Dropbox is one of the top cloud-based file storage tools on the market. It’s a convenient way to store and share important documents with team members, customers, investors, and anyone else involved in the growth and success of your business. Pricing: Starts at $0/month

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Customer Service & Retention

 

41. SatisMeter – SatisMeter is a tool that helps you gather customer feedback through NPS surveys. Net Promoter Score surveys are an incredibly effective way to gauge how loyal and happy your customers really are. The tool can be installed onto any website or app in less than 10 minutes. Pricing: Starts at $0/month

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42. Intercom – Intercom allows you to easily communicate with your customers through targeted in-app and email messages, triggered by time or behavior. The tool can be used to collect customer feedback, chat with customers in real-time, create marketing lifecycle email campaigns, and provide support. Pricing: Starts at $49/month

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43. Packs By Startup Threads – Packs By Startup Threads offers a convenient way to create and send customized swag packages to your customers. The tool is incredibly easy to use. All you have to do is build your pack, order a reserve amount to store at the Startup Threads warehouse, and use their API or dashboard to send out to customers in an effort to boost loyalty and retention. Pricing: Varies

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44. MailLift – MailLift is a handy tool for sending handwritten thank you cards to customers. Handwritten thank you cards are a great way to boost customer happiness, but as your business continues to grow, it’s important to take advantage of tools like MailLift that can help you automate time-consuming tasks, while still keeping things personal. Pricing: Varies

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45. Zendesk – Zendesk is a web-based customer support platform. The tool allows you to accept and manage support tickets from a variety of channels—web, email, social, chat, or phone. It also provides the ability to create and manage a Help Center for your website. Pricing: Starts at $5/agent/month

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46. UserVoice – UserVoice is a tool that allows you to collect and prioritize feedback from customers, partners, and teams that can influence future updates to your products. The tool makes it easy to collect feedback right in your app (web or mobile), from your website via a private forum, and in real-time chat. Pricing: Starts at $499/month

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47. GoToMeeting – GoToMeeting is a top tool for coordinating and hosting webinars. It’s a great tool to use when you’re ready to start educating prospects and customers about product benefits, protips, and other topics that can help them use your product successfully. Pricing: Starts at $24/month

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48. Snagit – Snagit is a tool that allows you to easily create screen captures and videos that can be used to create tutorials for customers. It’s another great tool to use when you’re ready to start spending more time and resources on educating your customers. Pricing: Starts at $49.95

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49. TypeForm – TypeForm allows you to create visually-compelling survey forms. The tool makes it incredibly easy to design custom forms to use for social media contests, customer feedback, hiring, and more. Pricing: Starts at $0/month

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50. Customer.io – Customer.io is another tool that you can use to send targeted messages to users and customers. The tool allows you to leverage user behavior data in order to send more effective messages. With the tool, you can A/B test, build campaigns, track conversions, segment messages for specific audiences and traffic, and more. Pricing: Starts at $100/month

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Outsourcing

 

51. Upwork – Upwork is a tool that you can use to find freelancers to help you grow your business. This site can connect you with developers, creatives, customer service agents, virtual assistants, and other consultants. Pricing: Varies

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52. Scripted – Scripted is a tool that you can use to scale your content creation efforts. It’s a tool that can connect you with on-demand writers to help you produce content for blog posts, landing pages, white papers, social media updates, product descriptions, and more. Pricing: Varies

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53. Fiverr – Fiverr is comprised of an incredibly vast network of freelancers who can help you complete almost any task, no matter the size. Categories on the site include graphics, marketing, writing, video and animation, video and audio, and more. Pricing: Starts at $5, then varies depending on project scope

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54. 99designs – 99designs is a site that primarily focuses on helping connect designers with business owners looking for help creating brand-specific collateral (logos, brand identity, t-shirts, etc.). Pricing: Starts at $299/month

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55. Toptal – Toptal is a site that connect business owners with the top 3% freelance software developers and designers. Pricing: Varies

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56. PeoplePerHour – PeoplePerHour is a site that connects you with freelancers who can help with design, development, content, and promotion. It’s a great tool to leverage when you need help fast. Pricing: Varies

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57. WriterAccess – WriterAccess is another tool that you can use to find freelance writers. Pricing varies, but can be as low as two cents/word for content. 

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58. Guru – Guru is a site that can connect you with admin support freelancers, engineering and architecture freelancers, legal freelancers, and more. Pricing: Varies

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59. Gun.io – Gun.io is a tool that you can use to connect with and hire the best freelance developers in the world. The site offers a unique concierge service that matches you with a representative who can help you find the right person for the job. It’s a good site to go to when you’re looking for help building apps for mobile and desktop, when you need help scripting, building a UX strategy, and more. Pricing: Varies

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60. Gigster – Gigster is a site you can go to when you need to hire an entire freelance development team. Pricing: Varies 

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HR, Employee Engagement & Appreciation

 

61. TinyPulse – TinyPulse is an employee retention tool that allows you to create surveys for your team to anonymously answer each week. It’s a great way to sync up with your employees and make sure they’re getting everything they need in order to be successful in their roles. Pricing: Starts at $5/user/month

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62. AnyPerk – AnyPerk is a convenient tool that allows you to show appreciation and offer rewards to employees who go above and beyond in their roles. The tool offers a wide variety of perks that employees can choose from based on their interests—such as travel discounts, gym membership deals, restaurant coupons, subscription services, and more . Pricing: request a demo

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63. Kin – Kin is a tool that allows you to completely streamline your human resources department. The tool makes it incredibly easy to onboard new employees, keep track of important employee information, manage communication with employees, track time off and vacation, coordinate employee performance reviews, and more. Pricing: $5/user/month

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64. 15Five – 15Five is a tool that allows you to keep track of what’s going on at your company week by week. The tool allows you to send customized surveys to employees in order to celebrate wins, identify challenges, and determine what people need in order to keep moving your company forward. Pricing: Starts at $49/month

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65. GlassDoor – GlassDoor is a site that you can use as a tool to recruit top talent. As a company, you can create a presence on the site to attract job seekers, advertise jobs, and promote your company against competitors. Pricing: Request a quote

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66. Zenefits – Zenefits is another tool that you can use to streamline your HR tasks. The tool can be used to manage payroll, benefits, time, talent, compliance, and management. Pricing: Free

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67. Kudos – Kudos is a tool that allows you to give recognition and appreciation to team members in real-time. The tool makes it easy for managers to give praise to peers and for peers to give kudos to peers. It’s a fairly robust platform, and definitely worth checking out if you’re looking for a way to boost employee morale at your company. Pricing: Starts at $2/user/month

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Social Media Marketing

 

68. CoSchedule – CoSchedule is a top tool that marketers use to build editorial calendars, manage social media updates that relate to content, and manage the content creation process. Pricing: Starts at $15/month

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69. Buffer – Buffer is the top tool that marketers use to schedule social media updates. The tool makes it easy to schedule and share updates when your audience is listening in order to boost engagement, grow your following, and get the most out of your social media marketing efforts. Pricing: Starts at $0/month

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70. Gleam – Gleam is a popular tool that allows you to create and manage social media contests and reward campaigns. Examples of the types of contests and campaigns you can create include 1-click entry competitions, refer-a-friend campaigns, coupon offers, and more. Pricing: Starts at $0/month

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71. Grammarly – Grammarly is a tool that you can use to identify and eliminate common spelling and grammar errors in your content. The tool also offers content optimization features aimed at improving your content and your writing abilities. Pricing: Premium plans start at $29.95/month

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72. Flare – Flare is a tool that you can use to create a social media share bar on your website content. Social share bars can boost engagement and brand authority. The tool allows you to track social and engagement analytics in order to determine the effectiveness of your blog content. Pricing: Starts at $0/month

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73. Mention – Mention is one of the best ways to monitor your brand, your name, and the names of the people you work with (executives, coworkers, partners, etc.). The tool helps you keep track of mentions from the web and from social media, making sure you never miss an opportunity to engage with a fan or prospect. Pricing: Starts at $29/month

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74. Narrow – Narrow is a tool that makes it easy to grow your Twitter following. The tool helps optimize and automate the process by working with you to identify the right types of followers you’re looking to connect with on Twitter. All you have to do is enter target keywords, and Narrow does the rest. Pricing: Starts at $9/month

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75. Notifier – Notifier is a tool that you can use to boost traffic and engagement on your site. You can use the tool to scan your latest blog posts in order to automatically find and organize the influencers you know you want to reach out to. Once you scan your post and build your list, all you have to do is compose your social media outreach message template, select the people you want to reach out to, and send or schedule your tweets. Pricing: Starts at $0/month

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Rob Wormley writes for the LeadChat blog, offering advice to businesses on how to turn website traffic into conversions. This article was first published on the LeadChat blog.

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  • StefanBaines

    Very helpful guide, thanks ! I am just learning how to promote my store in the web, never happened to me to do it online 🙂 I prefered visual effects, like outdoor advertisement, direct mail, custom lapel pins ( pinsource.com ), etc.

  • http://www.effortlesshr.com/blog/ Aaron @ Effortless HR Blog

    Super helpful list. Unfortunately, EffortlessHR was not included in the online HR software category, but if anybody reads the comments, we’re easily the most competitive on price and features for small / medium businesses. Hope you can make more of these lists in the future Rob!