We call it “soft tech.” These are all programs that are already created that you subscribe to or purchase. They do something specific for you. And sometimes they are complicated and annoying. But we still have to do them.
Soft Tech for your Business
When we deal with websites, we often encounter many peripheral “fixes” that go along with your website. I call it “soft tech.” These are usually programs you purchase or already have access to, that enhance your ability to sell, and your customer’s ability to interact with you on the web.
Some examples are:
- A professional email address
- Google Workspace email is a great option. I mean the pro version. It’s about $7.00 a month per user. But you as an individual can. have many email addresses that come to your box. This is great if you run a small business with employees. As the owner you can lock someone out of an email account and take thier leads, so you don’t lose work when a person leaves the company. Very useful! It also comes stocked with a certain amount of google drive space that you also maintain control over as the employer. Highly recomend!
- Email marketing software
- My favorite is Birdsend.co – this one is super simple. You paste in your word document and it looks good. It’s limited on pictures, but you can add one at the top and the bottom! Birdsend.co (Yes this is an afiliate link, but I use it.) It doesn’t have a lot of design fuction, but it does the trick with less trouble than the others.
- Ok there are a lot of these. A LOT. Over time they are all expanding thier services as they chase market share, and many have become very complicate. Most of them are no fun to use.
- Forms – many kinds of forms. Marketing forms, download lead magent forms, and contact collection forms. Almost all of the tools do this.
- CRM – Customer Resource Management This is a family of programs that can include project management or the lead process for potential clients.
- I use 17hats.com. This company is supposed to replace a person (but not you, you still have to work!). It’s pretty cool. You can put customer contact forms on your website and then send them off on a customer campaign that leads them to buying. 17hats.com. This also has a pro calendar booking software within it, so you don’t have to have another! You can store quotes and contracts and send them to clients right after they decide to buy and then send thebill. This is all from the same program!
- Calendar booking software – you can get it fro
- Calendly.com. This is a sweet little booking software that is available on the web. Basically you choose what dates you are available for appointments and then put a link on the web and it will book the appointment, send reminders and add it to your calendar. They have a pro version too, in case you want to take payments for appointments!
- 17hats.com This is part of 17 hats too. It has all the functionality of Calendly.com and is part of your subscription to that program.
- Shopping cart programs
- Shopify.com. I’ve used it and it’s pretty user friendly. It will also help you keep track of inventory and has the payment programs built in! Highly recommend! If you site is essentially a store you can just use this software since you are going to be paying for it. But if you need to publish blogs or use other essential website functionality, then you can get a plugin to put it in your website. You still pay but it does integrate well. No free version, although there is a trial.
- Ecwid.com. It’s pretty sweet and sdoesn’t require all the set up of some others. A little more user friendly too. You can go a long way with the free version, and if you decide to upgrade it can figure out your shipping costs as well.
- Woocommerce.com. This was the standard for many years on a wordpress site. It’s a little clunky and every single function requires you to buy and place a new plugin. I avoid it now-days. You cannot just have a subscription and set up a store. This is an addon to a wordpress website.
Hubspot.com has a fre program that has several of these funtionalities. They are awesome but if you get a lot of leads they can get pricey fast. If you are just starting out they really rock though.
As technology advances there are always more and new soft tech options. Many of those listed above can be combined into one program, depending on the software you choose. My caution is not to fall into “shiny object syndrome”. Yes, some software does everything but wash the dishes, but will you really take advantage of all the features available? Most of us will not.
When selecting these programs, you should always consider whether the software is user-friendly and the cost. Some are high, and some are free. It’s also a good idea to talk to your web pro to find out the programs he/she recommends. That pro will recommend programs that fit YOUR needs.
I try to select soft tech programs that are free and limited in scope, or that expand when your need expands.
Talk next time