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Published on March 17th, 2009 | by Janine Popick

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FREE & Low Cost Tools We Found (And Use) To Help Your Business

I’m taking a break from writing about email marketing to tell you about some very cool online tools you might try to put to work for your business. We know that you like online tools that are easy to use and affordable, so we took that into account when we made these fantastic recommendations, plus we use a lot of these tools for our business.

Vontoo Express – Outbound Voice Messaging

Vontoo HomepageYou may have received a short voicemail from VerticalResponse when you signed up to use our service. We welcome you, we tell you how to get started and ask if you’d like to talk to someone immediately. That’s what we use Vontoo for.

How does it work? You basically upload the phone numbers of your customers that told you it was ok to call them, just like you upload your email addresses into VerticalResponse. You record your voicemail message and launch your campaign.

Vontoo express will give you stats back as to how many people picked up, how many transferred and how many messages were left. They also provide an “unsubscribe” feature for those who don’t want to hear from you in this manner anymore.

Why do you think you’d need this for your business?

  • Get people into your store or restaurant with a coupon code
  • Give a discount on your services (limo service, rug cleaning, teeth whitening)
  • Community sports teams and clubs
  • Small to mid-size churches
  • Event or webinar reminders the day before
  • Appointment reminders

COST: $15 for 100 minutes…yep pay as you go! First 25 calls are FREE.

Email Center Pro – Get Control of Your Customer Service Emails

Email Center ProThis service is a must-have for any small business communicating with their customers through email, and that’s pretty much all of them.

Here is a simple example of why it’s great.

Let’s say you send out an email marketing campaign and you input the email addresswhere people will reply to you as info@yourcompany.com. Then you get a flurry of customers responding asking questions or making comments. Do you forward that email to the people in your business responsible for answering it? Then what happened? You have no idea who answered these replies or more importantly “if” they were even answered. The folks at Palo Alto Software had the same problem so they developed Email Center Pro. This service rocks.

You log in to one simple-to-learn interface and you can access all of your company’s mailboxes. You can assign emails to people and track if they’re being answered and how effectively.  Email Center Pro helps you provide consistent and timely responses to customer emails. Check out the video.

COST: FREE for 2 users, $19/month for 5 users (VerticalResponse customers get an additional 10% discount!)

Shorten Your Long URLs with Tr.im, Bit.ly and TinyURL

tr.imTry out these free web services that provide short aliases for redirection of super long URLs.

Why would you need this tool?

  • If you are using a text-only email that has a very long URL, you’ll want to avoid your link breaking when you have line breaks. You want your link to work!
  • Twitter only allows for 140 character tweets, so you’d want to redirect a URL that pushes your tweet over the limit.

TinyURL doesn’t provide tracking however Tr.im and Bit.ly provide tracking on number of times your link was clicked and offers a few other very cool reporting features.

COST: FREE

Pando – Transfer HUGE Files for Free

PandoI had to send a large logo file to a friend of mine at Selling Power magazine and I had to do it fast. I was having lots of trouble because the file was so big he couldn’t receive it. I think his email limit may have been set too low for this file. I needed to make a deadline that day so putting it on a DVD wasn’t an option. So my friend Gerhardt told me about Pando, a free P2P software that makes downloading, streaming and sharing large media files fast & easy.

It worked and I’m hooked.

Cost: FREE for 1GB files or $24.95/year for 3GB files

There you have it. Our round up of services we use to make our lives easier here at VerticalResponse. Hope they make your life easier too.

© 2009 – 2013, Janine Popick. All rights reserved.

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About the Author

is a contributing author for VerticalResponse.



6 Responses to FREE & Low Cost Tools We Found (And Use) To Help Your Business

  1. wmv player says:

    Unfortunaly I hould support Jason, you didn’t mention Demandbase Stream. It’s very populart now and widespread. But I like your post very much! Thank you a lot for it!

  2. Zuzanna says:

    E-mail Center Pro is something I’ve been waiting for so long! I’m switching from Tiny.URL to tr.im thanks to your advice. Also, just yesterday I started using Nozbe, another so useful tool for someone who loves doing few projects at the same time like me.

  3. Jen Ohs says:

    Great tools – thanks for the info. Please don’t forget google analytics – they rule the world of online visitor reporting for FREE. No business should be without it.

  4. n says:

    Thanks for pointing out Email Center Pro, i’ve been looking for something like this for ages!

  5. Jason Stewart says:

    Janine, I’m really sad you didn’t mention Demandbase Stream! It’s our free tool that acts like a news ticker moving across your desktop, only instead of news it shows you the businesses that are visiting your website in real time…and did I mention it’s free? Anyway, always enjoy the blog, Janine, and really liked the interview you did with KRON TV!

  6. Rahil Pirani says:

    Awesome tools! Thanks!

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