Over the course of founding and launching Eight Wire, we have needed a lot software tools to handle everything from cloud hosting to analytics. Below is a list of the startup tools we’ve used so far, feel free to comment on any that I’ve missed.
Microsoft Bizspark – Free Windows Azure VMs for three years? And installs of SQL Server, Window 8.1, and Visual Studio? That’s not too good to be true. We can also offer deals to the Bizspark community when we release a private beta. Zapier – Zapier is like the Conductor of web services, so we could get our website forms to push new contacts into Base CRM in a few minutes. And the UI was very intuitive and has given us some inspiration for how to handle our more complicated transfers in Conductor.
ThemeForest – A list of our skills prior to founding Eight Wire would be: .NET development, Business Intelligence life cycle, riding a motorcycle in Asia, and consuming vast quantities of alcohol without ill effect. Website wizardry is not on the list, so we used ThemeForest to get a responsive website that we can just drop our logo and content into and not have to worry about the hacks needed to get the site to render correctly on Internet Explorer. 99Designs – we needed a logo that showed our approach to the No. 8 Wire mentality and would be the focus of our entire brand. Posting a competition on 99designs got us a fantastic logo and we’ve continued to work directly with our awesome designer, Lee. The logistics of paying a designer in Scotland from New Zealand would be a headache, but 99designs make it a simple process which is a nice surprise.
MailChimp – We realised very quickly that we needed something to manage our email marketing the hard way, when people started signing up for demos of Conductor. So, MailChimp came to the rescue by being quick toset up with some very nice email templates. Base CRM – A pet peeve of mine is applications that don’t integrate with mobile, and Base fit the bill perfectly. Simple to use, we’ve been able to move all our leads and contacts into it, but how can I get a MailChimp form to create a new contact in Base CRM? See Zapier…
Google Analytics – Being data nerds, we are obsessively pouring through our site stats to see where our visitors are coming from and how we can tune our site for them. Google also has an academy to teach me about marketing analytics so I can use the tool better. Bonus. Moz – SEO is an arcane art, but Moz helps us tune our site for SEO (which is not taught in Business Intelligence college) and used Google Analytics to give us more information about our visitors than we would get from Google Analytics alone. Hootsuite – Keeping Twitter, Linkedin and Facebook posts working together takes ages, but with Hootsuite, we can manage our posts and also see which ones get clicks and which ones don’t. In a nutshell, Linkedin converts, Facebook doesn’t. Crazy Egg – Want to see heat maps of where users click on your site? Or which parts they scroll through,and which parts they linger on? Crazy Egg gives you scroll maps, heat maps and confetti maps so we can see what visitors interact with, and what they ignore. And how much did this cost? We used GetStartupTools to get ourselves 3 month trial versions of most of the software so we’ve been able to keep costs down before we can go to market. The logos and site themes were paid for, but other than that we have been able to use the software without needing to pay for it simply because we are too small to hit the higher price bands. If there’s anything that we seem to be missing, drop a comment below!