Done correctly, social media can play a large part in the success of your small business - attracting, converting and retaining customers in a cost-effective manner. It is one of the key ways businesses are boosting sales via digital marketing.

Unlike traditional advertising, social media allows for two-way engagement between your customers and brand. This means that customers can choose to interact with your business, rather than being bombarded with intrusive ads. 

brooke cagle 195778

What are cloud apps?

Cloud applications (aka cloud apps) are web software applications hosted on powerful servers around the globe. This software is available through any internet connection, so you can reach your data any time you need it, from any country or device.

The term ‘cloud apps’ confuses a lot of people, but chances are you know more about cloud apps than you think. It’s comforting to know that software we use every day, such as Google Analytics and Shopify, are popular examples of cloud apps.

Plus, you don’t need to understand the ins and outs of how cloud technology works to get the most out of it.

Your business can reap huge benefits from cloud app features. You can access the latest software for your industry at a lower cost than ever before. Subscriptions to popular business cloud-based apps also include regular updates and improvements from the developers.

The beauty of cloud apps is that they are always evolving. Businesses using this technology have the advantage of being able to adapt more efficiently to the changing needs of their customers, as apps are always being updated to meet the needs of an agile market.

Why should you use cloud apps in your business?

Cloud apps are, by nature, designed to be cost-effective and simple to implement. This makes them the perfect choice for growth-focused SMEs and startups.

If you’re a business that needs to keep a close eye on money and can’t afford to purchase expensive IT systems and tools (or just don’t want to spend your money there), cloud apps are an ideal solution.

Apps that let you easily monitor your accounting and key business metrics can help you make decisions faster, and prevent you from becoming one of the 90% of small businesses that fail.

The more apps you use (especially if they connect with one another), the better overall picture you will have of how your business is performing. This knowledge can help you make the right choices to keep your business on track.

5 tips for your dashboard9

How should you best use cloud apps in your business?

Implement cloud apps across your entire business to give you valuable insight into areas where you are meeting your goals, and reveal areas that need improving.

  • Sales and marketing

There are many apps designed to help your business with sales and marketing from start to finish. Planning, delivery and measuring your strategy can all be tackled with a range of low-cost or free apps.

Whether your needs are marketing funnels, social media, email campaigns, lead generation or conversions...there are solutions available to suit the needs and budget of your business.

  • Financials and cash flow

Cash flow is always a top priority for any business. Having the right apps to track your income, outgoings and forecasts is crucial. There are financial apps available to suit every business from SMEs to enterprise companies. Preparing invoices, payments and tax calculations are a breeze with the right apps.

  • People and productivity

Apps can help your business track staff hours, sales and output across your team. They are ideal for streamlining communication between team members and increasing productivity without the need for micromanagement.

  • Analytics

Analytics are at the heart of important decision making for most businesses today. It’s crucial that you find apps that help you measure your key performance indicators. This ensures you have the data you need to get the most out of your marketing and budget.

Which cloud apps are the best for your small business?

There are thousands of cloud apps available to serve the needs of every industry, but it can be overwhelming trying to decide which one will be the best and most cost-effective for your business.

Choosing a cheaper app over the one that looks like the right fit isn’t always a smart move. You could end up with substandard results that cost you more time and money further down the track.

It’s important to figure out the exact needs of your business and identify what problems you hope to solve. You can then research specific apps for these issues and avoid budget blowouts on tools that won't get the job done.

Even if the initial cash outlay is more than you planned on spending, the perfect apps will pay for themselves over time and enable business growth.

Marketing Image 5

When you’re trying to decide on the best apps, you should:

  • Focus on the core needs of your business. Don’t get overwhelmed by every shiny, new app on the market.
  • Research the apps that your competitors are using. You can often find helpful reviews and case studies that will give you an idea about whether the apps are performing successfully for other businesses.
  • Sign up for a free trial of any app you’re considering. Trials give you a working insight into the functionality of an app before you take on any plans. This will save you the time and frustration of switching apps if your first choice wasn’t quite right.
  • Check if the apps integrate with your current software. Customisable and flexible apps that connect with each other are valuable tools for streamlining your marketing, finances and workflow, and eliminate the need to purchase standalone software.
  • Confirm that your team is on board with trialling new apps. If nobody else wants to adopt new systems, implementation will be a frustrating (if not pointless) exercise. Ensure your team is fully committed to using new apps before you start out.
startup data dashboard

Cloud apps are incredible resources that can help your business get the most out of its marketing. By providing cost-effective and agile solutions across all areas of your business, apps can help you keep an eye on everything from your marketing to your finances to your employee management.

While these cloud tools can be extremely helpful, choosing the wrong apps for your business can be costly. It’s important that you do your research to find the right apps for your needs. Make sure you take advantage of any free trials that are on offer to ensure that your business gets the most out of cloud technology.

Get started with 9 Spokes for free today. Many of our app partners offer free tools and trials
so you will only pay for the premium apps you choose to connect.