Editor’s Note: This article was originally published by Web Marketing Today. Practical Ecommerce acquired Web Marketing Today in 2012. In 2016, we merged the two sites, leaving Practical Ecommerce as the successor.
This article presents 14 software platforms and apps that help niche market businesses improve their marketing, heighten customer experience, and manage assets more efficiently. They focus on the following industries: hotel, medical, real estate, financial services, photography, publishing, human resources, HVAC, and contracting.
This cloud-based platform is an all-in-one reservation and accommodation management system designed for use by small, independent hotels, inns, or bed and breakfasts. It enables you to take reservations directly from your website or Facebook page, manage room inventories, adjust pricing, produce instant invoices, and connect to leading booking sites worldwide.
Support is available for multi-language translations, 80 different currencies, and multiple time zones.
Cost: Pricing starts at $49.00 per month for the “Essential” package and $99.00 per month for the “All In One” package, which contains more features.
Touting itself as an advocacy platform for hotels, Flip.to helps hotels be social in a more natural way by encouraging guest interaction, from booking through to post-stay, using storytelling and image sharing. Hotels that employ this service reported higher bookings, increased revenue, and greater customer engagement. It includes business, leisure, resort, limited service, and luxury hotels.
Cost: Contact the vendor for pricing.
Create a custom app for your hotel with this drag and drop app builder. Once built, you can edit content and add features as needed. The app can include hotel information, local activities, a photo gallery, GPS-enabled routing back to the hotel, direct online booking engine, and built-in feedback system.
Cost: A free trial is available. Contact the vendor for pricing.
Virtual Practice helps medical practices gain a competitive marketing advantage by offering additional services, such as patient follow-up care and virtual office hours. Other features include video consultations, answering patient questions, appointment reminders, remote patient monitoring, and acceptance of online payments.
Cost: Free. Paid specialist plans are available.
5. 3D4 Medical
3D4 Medical offers a series of reference and patient education apps for use by physicians, dentists, physical therapists, and other medical-related professions. Seven apps are available for body systems and body regions, three for patient education, and two for health and fitness.
Cost: $50 or less. Free apps include dental patient education, and high-resolution images and animations developed using 3D software.
Available for iOS.
Glide helps businesses that need to communicate with their clients visually, for added value, combine the benefits of video calling and text messaging. Video streaming starts in less than one second, can be up to five minutes in length, and allows for immediate or delayed responses.
CamScanner is a document management app that allows Realtors, attorneys, and financial services to scan and digitize documents using a mobile phone. Users can manage and comment on documents, share with collaborators, and sync and edit documents across multiple devices.
Cost: The basic version is free. A premium version costs $4.99 per month or $49.99 per year.
Available on iOS, Android, and Windows Phone 8.
8. Release Lackey
Release Lackey was developed for photographers, talent agencies, event managers, and any business that needs a release form signed. It creates a PDF based on a built-in customizable template, user-supplied information, and a signature, which is captured by signing a mobile device touch-screen with a finger or stylus.
The app allows a reference photo and four supplemental images to associate with the signature. It also supports guardian and witness signatures. The final PDF can be emailed and printed.
- Model release;
- Media recording release;
- Property photographic release;
- Photographic copyright release;
- Simple liability release;
- Non-disclosure agreement;
- Promissory note.
The app is only available for Android devices at this time.
DocuSign is an electronic signature solution that makes signing or obtaining signatures simple and legal.
Upload a Word document or PDF, add the names and emails of the signers, indicate the location for the signatures, and send. Real-time tracking is available, and you can send reminders, store signed documents, and create templates, to streamline the process.
DocuSign supports a multitude of industries and departments, including Realtors, contractors, human resources, and financial services. It is available for use in 188 countries.
Cost: Commercial plans start at $10.00 per month per user with additional plans based on features needed. Special pricing is available for Realtors.
DocuSign is available on iOS, Android, and Windows devices.
10. Spark Hire
Spark Hire is a video interviewing platform and mobile app that lets employers and HR personnel streamline the job interview and hiring process.
- Interview templates that candidates can answer on their own time;
- Conduct real-time interviews that can be recorded and saved for later reference;
- Present candidates via landing pages, for sharing and collaboration;
- Job announcements through social media;
- Rejection reporting;
- Interview analytics.
Cost: $49.00 per month for one job, $209.00 per month for 5 jobs, and $499.00 per month for unlimited jobs.
Available on iOS and Android.
Though not technically an app, Jobvite is a mobile-friendly tool for human resource recruiters and placement specialists.
It includes an applicant tracking system, recruiting customer relationship manager, and social recruiting software that sends job invitations via social media outlets, such as Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter, as well as email. You must join Jobvite to use the tool.
Cost: Pricing starts at $500.00 per month.
FastPencil is a web-based app that provides an online workflow system allowing authors to write, collaborate, publish, and sell print books and ebooks. Upon publishing, a marketing toolkit automatically generates, which includes a custom URL and “BookBuy” widget.
Cost: $9.99 to $299.00 with other options available.
13. HVAC Marketing Toolbox
Service Roundtable, a private contractor group, developed this marketing toolbox to help HVAC contractors market and grow their business.
With the mobile app, heating and air conditioning specialists can access 100 promotional tools, ideas, and best practices. Each marketing tip includes an illustration or sample from another HVAC vendor. Access to editable files presented in the toolbox is available by joining Service Roundtable.
Cost: Free. Premium subscriptions run $50.00 per month.
Available for iOS and Android.
This app is a customer satisfaction survey created for the HVAC industry. It comes with basic questions already entered regarding customer satisfaction with the company, the technician, and products. Users can customize the app to include questions specifically tailored to their business.
Cost: $13.00 to $31.00 per month, based on the number of submissions. A 30-day free trial is also available.
The app is designed for use with iOS, Blackberry, PlayBook, Windows Mobile, and desktop devices.