The cloud is now at the forefront of business computing, and the rise of the SaaS model is driving down the cost of business software. Gone are the days when companies used bulky proprietary software to handle their business. Online business apps are generally easier to set up and they store your data remotely, so can be accessed from anywhere. There are now online business apps for all areas of company management, including CRM, accounting, project management, and help desk.
The great thing about cloud apps is that they are tailor-made to cater businesses of any size, and can be scaled very easily. Some of the applications listed below feature freemium subscription model, so you only pay for the features you end up using.
We have curated some of the best online business apps out there and grouped them under relevant sub categories. Find out how these cloud applications can help boost your business!
Providing great customer service can make all the difference in creating a brand that people trust. There are plenty of examples of great customer service out there, from the supermarket who took advice about their bread from a three-year-old, to the LEGO employee who delighted a seven-year-old boy who lost a minifigure by writing a cool personalized letter.
As a company, your support system is the first step to delighting your customers, or at the very least, solving problems they have with your products. If you’ve ever tried using plain old email for customer support, you’ll know how quickly it can get out of control. A far better solution is to use one of the many support and help desk apps around. That’s why we’ve compiled a list of ten customer support apps to browse and consider:
The notion that social media is the next big thing in sales seems to have fallen flat on its face. Virtually every study conducted has shown that Facebook and Twitter campaigns only increase brand awareness. As far as driving traffic to your website and converting visitors into customers, email is still king.
A recent study of companies that used a dedicated email marketing client, good newsletter content and personalisation for each reader reported open rates of over 30%, with similar click-through rates – leading to above average conversions. This kicks Facebook’s ass.
Now, the guys behind the industry favourite ‘Mail Chimp’ have been working hard on a new product. It’s called Mandrill and solves many of the nagging issues of traditional email marketing. They claim it trumps the competition by a long-shot. Let’s take a look.
Of all the major forms of digital communication, email is, perhaps, the most flexible. Yet, for the website owner, it still can’t be relied on, in its purest form, as the sole method of communication. Visitors still like the reassuring guidance of specified text fields, and in some cases, pre-defined options can make for a better user experience, not to mention more streamlined correspondence.
It is for this reason that form builders are as popular now as they’ve ever been. Veteran Wufoo has held the top spot for many years, thanks to its drag-and-drop design suite and elegant output. Other platforms — Gravity Forms (WordPress only), for example — carve out their own market share by providing special features, such as payments and multiple-input guards.
However, one new form-building service, named Formbakery, wants to keep things simple. It, too, offers drag-and-drop design, as well as a form-by-form price. But can it match up to the long-established giants of form creation?
Email’s still the main way most of us privately communicate and collaborate online. That’s why your business’ email service is crucially important. You can manage your own local Exchange server, but then you risk downtime if anything breaks locally. And both Google Apps and Microsoft’s hosted Exchange can get expensive, and have their own differences you’ll have to work around.
Or, you could get an hosted email service that’s just $2/user/month and is fully standard compliant with IMAP, CardDAV, CalDAV, vCard, and even ActiveSync push: Atmail Cloud. It works with all the apps your team already uses, and has a beautifully designed web app that your team will actually want to use. It’s easy to manage, lets your team share contacts and calendars across accounts, and supports SPF and DKIM checks to keep your email secure.
Atmail lets you import your emails and more from your other services, so moving over won’t be a hassle. It’s the same power of Atmail that you can run on your own servers — a great option if your team can’t move to the cloud — but with the simplicity of a hosted service that’ll take zero work to maintain. We loved Atmail Cloud when we reviewed it earlier this year — it’s easily one of the nicest Google Apps and Exchange alternates for your business today.
Move Your Business Email to Atmail
If you’ve wanted to move your business to a new email service, one that looks great and has all the features your team needs, look no further than Atmail Cloud. For just $2/user/month, you can get the email, calendar, and contacts sync you need for your whole team.
Email’s the original online communications tool, but it hasn’t aged as gracefully as it counterpart HTML in browsers. There’s so many different email clients and oddities in email rendering — not to mention the fact that email should be mobile first these days, with over 40% of messages opened on a mobile device — it’s terribly difficult to make a rich email message that looks great everywhere.
On the web, you could hand-code a responsive site, or you could just use a framework like Bootstrap or Foundation as the base for your site so you can focus on your design and forget about the complexities of making it work great everywhere. And now, you can do the same thing for HTML emails with ZURB’s new Ink responsive email framework.
Not too long ago, I had this sudden realization that I really wanted to get out of Google’s products. I never dipped my feet too far into them, unlike some people, but the services I did use every day — Gmail, Reader, and Blogger —were either changing too much for my own liking or simply going extinct. After Reader’s demise, I switched to Feed Wrangler and didn’t look back. I moved my Blogger to Squarespace, and I’m in love.
Over the past couple weeks, I’ve been taking a much more significant challenge and moving all my email to FastMail. Before upgrading, I considered every other possible option. I read countless blogs and opinion pieces on what mail service to use, and none of them felt as up-to-date as they should be. It’s with that in mind that I wanted to take a closer look at the service.
Ever get frustrated finding emails from your team, or have trouble tracking down that receipt your colleague should have already filed for your business expenses? You don’t need a new app, you just need a new way to make your email more powerful. That’s exactly what SquadMail offers.
SquadMail can best be described as “Dropbox for email”, since it lets you share synchronized Gmail labels (or any IMAP email folder) with others. Instead of constantly CCing your entire team on every email, you can simply assign a shared label to it and it’ll show up in just the right place in your collaborators’ inboxes. If your team changes, you can simply add a new person to a label and they’ll have access to all the old emails.
Additionally, each label gets its own email address so that you can send emails straight to a group of people, or set up special inboxes in your email client for receiving newsletters, social network notifications or to sign up for web apps. Last but not least, SquadMail lets you synchronize Gmail labels and email folders with your Dropbox account. The service automatically extracts all the attachments from a certain label and puts them in the same folder on your Dropbox. Since the labels have their own email address this also makes it possible to email files straight to a folder on your Dropbox.
You don’t need to download or install anything to use SquadMail and it works with every email client, be it Gmail, Outlook, Apple Mail or Thunderbird. SquadMail also doesn’t store any emails, and the entire synchronization is done with a secure SSL encryption.
Start Using SquadMail Today!
There’s no reason to use CC with your team anymore. Instead, signup for a free SquadMail account today and see how much simpler life can be with shared email folders! You can sync up to 3 email folders or labels for free, and then purchase additional synced folders for $2/month and share them with as many collaborators as you want. You couldn’t ask for a simpler or cheaper way to get your team working together right in the place you’re already working the most: your inbox.
We love Gmail here at AppStorm, but truth be told, there are a few things we wish were different. How about letting us attach files directly from Dropbox? Wouldn’t it be cool if my inbox was sorted by files, size and other filters? Is there any way that my unruly inbox can be tamed? And why can I not simply schedule an email to be sent later?
Don’t worry. There’s an app (or extension) for that! Here’s the very best apps to sort your inbox, manage your contacts, compose emails, and so much more. These tools are mostly designed to make the Gmail.com interface work better, but you’ll find great apps that’ll help you even if you use Gmail from other apps.
So here’s to Inbox Zero!