Note: note of these endorsements are sponsored and there are no affiliate links. I just wanna share!
I’m by no means the biggest or most savvy businesswoman, but I love finding handy tools, and running Lilac & Moss I’ve come across some great ones. I’ve listed some of my favorites below, in no particular order–check ’em out!
Mailchimp is a really flexible email marketing solution, and their free plan is the best: you can have up to 2,000 subscribers and send up to 12,000 emails per month for free. Some features are only for paid accounts, such as including product recommendations or social profile information on subscribers, but the bulk of them are free (you can see the entire list here). As a free user, you can have multiple lists, segment those lists, have access to a wide range of templates that you can customize, or build your own templates, track opens and clicks, and integrate with Facebook, Etsy, and more. 👍
» ShippingEasy and ShipStation
If you have less than 50 orders per month, ShippingEasy offers you a free plan option. You get the basics: if your product is on multiple websites (i.e. WooCommerce and Etsy, like mine is) you’re able to see all your orders in one place, print cohesive branded packing slips, print shipping labels, and send shipping confirmation emails, plus some handy tools like splitting orders.
If you have more orders or are otherwise going for a paid plan, I prefer ShipStation, which gives you all of the above, plus a more user-friendly interface, IMO; you can quickly see what someone ordered on the same screen as your list of waiting-to-be-shipped orders, sort them however you like, tag them, combine or split orders, and assign them to a certain person if you have more than one user.
ShipStation also gives you an insights dashboard with data such as how much you collected from customers for shipping costs and how much you actually spent. It also keeps a list of all your customers as well as all their orders, and on certain paid plan levels you can customize your shipping email and packing slip templates to your heart’s content by editing the raw HTML. Plans start at just $25/mo!
Do away with WooCommerce’s default receipts and use Receiptful to send them! They are beautiful, clean, and customizable (not just the fields–want them to generate and include a coupon? can do!). With the free account, you can send as many receipts as you want. If you choose to upgrade to a paid account, you’ll also be able to send those without the Receiptful credit at the bottom, as well as send abandoned cart and follow up emails (i.e. a reminder to your customer to review their purchase).
There are paid social monitoring options that will do things such as alert you whenever your brand is mentioned, but if you don’t want to pay for that, SocialMention will serve you just fine. You can search for your brand name and SocialMention will give you the results across the internet, plus some quick insights like sentiment (how much is positive, neutral, or negative), top keywords associated with it, and the top sources.
Confession: I hate the finance/expense tracking part of business. Doesn’t everyone? WaveApps was the best 100% free option I found and made it a little easier. You can connect your PayPal and bank account for it to automatically pull information, and then categorize the transactions into detailed categories of sales or expenses. You can also either connect to ShoeBoxed or upload expense receipts directly to Wave. On the main page, you get a snapshot of your business finances, like expenses vs. income.
Think of it like Mint for exclusively your business! Wave also lets you run specific reports and send invoices.
I love The Hungry JPEG. If you’re designing your own graphics, this is an invaluable resource. They have a freebies section where you can always get some great fonts and icons, and they also have a changing weekly freebie that’s a great deal (earlier this year, I got a pack of 25 premium fonts for free). One of the special things about them though is their $1 section, where you can get packs of vectors, fonts, backgrounds, themed photos, and more for a dollar.
Of course there are more, but I can’t give away all my secrets! 😉 Got any of your own to share?