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5 Ways to Validate a Business Idea, Right Now

Don't let your day job or lack of capital stop you from finding and testing a business idea. Here's how.
Last year, I embarked upon a personal challenge to validate a business idea in 30 days. To make it even more difficult, it was a random idea chosen by my readers. They asked me to do it without using my existing website, traffic and business connections and without spending more than 20 hours per week on the project. On top of that, I limited myself to spending no more than $500 validating this idea. The experiment was a success.In just two weeks, I built an email list of 565 subscribers without having an actual website. Then, I reached out to a handful of those subscribers and pre-sold 12 copies of a book that didn't even exist yet, all in less than 30 days. I wrote about the experiment in real-time with in-depth weekly updates, successes, failures and lessons learned along the way, right here in my validation challenge. Today, I want to share with you the five most effect…

11 Free Marketing Tools Every Entrepreneur Can Use

Reach your audience effectively without compromising quality.
If you're an entrepreneur just getting started, you know the meaning of a budget. You also probably know that in order to get your business idea off the ground, you have to reach your chosen audience at the right time. To help you do this cheaply, without compromising the quality of your marketing efforts, I've put together a list of the top 10 free marketing tools every entrepreneur should know.
1. Chattypeople
Chatbots have made their mark in the marketing world this year. Despite many still believing that the chatbot is just a customer care tool, others are seeing it as a must-have in their marketing strategies. Chatbot technology has improved significantly in the past decade, allowing marketers to create bots without any coding knowledge. Chattypeople is the perfect tool for those wanting to quickly create a Messenger chatbot. The platform allows entrepreneurs to create a bot that not only works seamlessly with Facebook, but also pushes promotions to customers on demand. With chatbots, you will be able to:
  • Use Facebook Messenger and comments to push customers through your sales funnel
  • Take orders directly from Facebook
  • Gather data about your customers to keep them up-to-date with relevant products

2. MailChimp

Email marketing is an important aspect of any business's marketing strategy. With an email marketing tool such as MailChimp, you will be able to move your audience through your sales funnel more effectively with a higher level of control. MailChimp will allow you to:

  • Build on your marketing strategy by connecting your email campaigns directly to your website
  • Use your purchase data to send more personalized emails to further grow your business
  • Integrate with Facebook to find new subscribers and reconnect with current ones
  • Create a level of automation
  • Gather feedback from MailChimp reports

3. PromoRepublic

PromoRepublic is a free-to-try social media content builder and posting tool. It provides users with more than 100,000 ideas, templates and visuals for stunning Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and LinkedIn posts. All the social media templates are made by a team of professional designers and copywriters. Users can easily customize templates with a built-in graphics editor. With PromoRepublic you get:
  • Library with 100,000 post templates and visuals
  • Calendar of post ideas for every day with holidays, days from history, trending topics and events
  • Drag-and-drop graphics editor to customize stunning templates and create posts from scratch
  • Auto-posting and scheduling to Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn

4. Hotjar

Hotjar is a powerful tool that will help you analyze your website's performance. It tells you everything you need to know about how visitors are spending their time on your website. The tool operates primarily through heat maps that give you insights on the clicks that occur on each page and the parts of a page that are most popular. Some of Hotjar's features include:
  • The recording of cursor movements and placements on various pages
  • A conversion funnel that tells you where most visitors left your website
  • A feedback collection survey tool

5. Buffer

Social media remains one of the most important and powerful parts of any marketing strategy. That said, social media management is a full-time job in itself, and if you are starting your own business, you will most likely not have time to spend your entire week on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, and every other platform now available. Buffer, a social media management tool, will help you save time by allowing you to schedule posts on each platform in advance. The tool automatically publishes your content according to your chosen schedule, and from there, you can analyze its performance from one page.     

6. Canva

You could be sending out killer content, but if it doesn't look the part, you may find it difficult to grab your audience's attention. Unfortunately, hiring a graphic designer for all your design work can be expensive, but with a tool like Canva, you can save money and time. From illustrations, banners and infographics, Canva can help you design virtually anything and with ease. With Canva, you'll have access to:

  • A library of fonts
  • A variety of illustrations, images, and templates
  • A drag and drop system that makes using the tool quick and easy

7. Yoast

Yoast is all about providing you with the tools to fully optimize every aspect of your website. Yoast basically tells you everything you need to know about organic marketing through one Wordpress plugin. Yoast will:
  • Give your page an SEO ranking
  • Help you write meta descriptions
  • Use a traffic light system to tell you what you are missing and what you are doing well
  • Give you a readability score to help your improve your SEO ranking

8. Hello Bar

Hello Bar is a simple tool that will help you convert visitors into customers by easily creating banners that highlight your most important content, products, services and messages to your clients. All you have to do is log in and select a goal. You can choose to:
  • Promote a specific offer or sale
  • Encourage website visitors to call your company
  • Grow your mailing list
  • Expand your social media connections
  • Create a customized goal specifically for your business

9. SumoMe

The SumoMe suite is all about generating a larger audience for your business. With this program, you can:

  • Get more customers on your mailing list
  • Create more effective share buttons
  • Track your traffic through heat maps
You'll also have access to simplified image-sharing tools and the platform's Welcome Mat, which is a tool that will help you create full-screen calls-to-action with clean imagery.

10. Majestic

Majestic is the largest commercially available backlink index with the most in-depth backlink data in the world. Despite having backlinks as its main focus, Majestic also offers:
  • Metrics including the number and quality of backlinks
  • Numerous backlink and domain comparison tools
  • A search engine with ranking factors
  • Multiple backlinking and link-building options
11. Visme
Visme empowers the way you create and communicate visually. It’s easy, intuitive but also powerful. A perfect marriage between key features of a Presentation and design tool. Visme allows you to customize virtually anything, edit, crop or even frame your images, change colors of your icons and much more so you can create engaging Presentations, Infographics, Memes and other forms of visual content
  • Engage your audience with powerful visual stories.
  • Create stunning presentations, infographics and other visual content in minutes.

And finally…

This comprehensive range of tools is being used by industry experts across the world. By implementing the above into your digital marketing strategy, you will be able to automate your marketing efforts and reach your audience effectively without compromising quality, giving you the chance to focus on the operational aspects of your new business venture.
-Marsha Hunt
-Bheemesh Chowdary Kacharagadla

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