How can young Internet startups take on giant companies with way more resources?

Answer: by experimenting with growth with the rigor of a scientist.

These tools will help with every facet of your business, from advertising to customer service to landing page optimization, by giving you control over all variables and the data you need to optimize each perfectly.

1. AdEspresso

Don't end up like the guy who blew $600,000 on worthless Facebook spots. AdEspresso will help you pick your Facebook ad campaign’s look and feel, show you how to use Facebook's sometimes-overwhelming platform, and analyze the results according to impressions, clicks, conversions and a few other key metrics.

This isn't traditional advertising where you have to drop hundreds of thousands to get started: you can go for just $100 a month at first and test the waters.

2. Close.io

The team at Elastic started out running an on-demand sales team, and they worked with over 200 different startups and technology companies before they realized that their internal software was way more valuable than the team they were running off of it.

Now the whole team works exclusively on Close.io, their automated inside sales tool that requires no data entry and offers nifty features like in-app VoIP calling.

3. ProfitWell

The proactive, optimistic, hacker mentality can sometimes lead to blindspots. The recent implosion of Zirtual, for instance, was brought about by a basic ignorance of how to calculate financial metrics, resulting in this instant classic from founder Maren Donovan: "The numbers were just completely f***ed."

ProfitWell found that 2 out of 5 SaaS companies with >$10M ARR were miscalculating their own MRR too. Don't f*** your numbers: let the specialists take care of it.

4. SumoMe

When founder Noah Kagan was building AppSumo, he learned a variety of techniques, from scroll boxes to sticky widgets to heat maps, that he used to build his 1,000,000+ strong email list. With SumoMe, he's turned those techniques into products and made them available for everyone else to use.

One startup, Fedora, had a 70% increase in conversions for their webinar after five days of testing out the SumoMe tool Welcome Mat--not too shabby.

5. Customer.io

Everyone wants more free time. But when we get it, what do we do? Same old stuff, usually. It's the same way with customers: businesses spend a ton of energy converting them, and often fall short when it comes to retaining them.

There is no growth without retention. You need to email your customers right after they sign up, two days later, four days later, etc. Customer.io will help you design your drip campaigns, win back customers you're about to lose, and personalize your messaging at scale.

6. Unbounce

HubSpot estimates that only 56% of clickthroughs to B2B company sites are directed to landing pages because the other marketers don't know how to set landing pages up or they have too much other work to do.

Unbounce lets you craft a landing page and A/B test different possibilities with a drag-and-drop editor, so no knowledge of HTML or I.T support needed. Andrew Miller, co-founder of Workshop Digital, says that he used Unbounce to test his conversion rate from 5% to 20% without driving any additional traffic.

7. Buffer

Facebook is siphoning traffic from YouTube with video at unheard-of rates right now: possibly because posting video directly to the site enables autoplay, which triggers a burst of curiosity for users absently scrolling their news feeds. The organic reach rates are pretty crazy--8.71% to 3.73% for photos.

Buffer offers the ability to queue up Facebook videos for posting, and given these numbers, it's not an opportunity I would pass up right now.

8. JustReachOut.io

Great marketing is about storytelling, and when you think about it, who is better at telling your story than you? That's why getting press coverage is too important a task to leave to people that don't really understand your business.

Founder Dmitry Dragilev is a PR pro who wants you to never have to use a PR firm ever again. JustReachOut is his project: it allows you to identify the reporters you should be contacting, gives you an email template to tweak, and then sends your pitch to a support team that will help you fine-tune it.

9. Colibri.io

Once you've used JustReachOut.io to get great placement for your content marketing, the next step is reaching out and commenting on sites like Quora, Twitter and Hacker News where you are mentioned: you are doing a serious disservice to your content if you don't do this.

If you can demonstrate that you add value to sites like these, your posts will be taken a lot more seriously. Colibri.io provides you with the most important places and articles to comment on rather than forcing you to spend all your time browsing or setting up finicky and long RSS feeds.

10. LeadzGen

Say Joe Schmo from ABC Inc. visits your website. LeadzGen can tell you that Joe spent 14 minute browsing around, demonstrating that his intention to buy is probably hot. It can tell you that he logged on from Marietta, GA, that his phone number is (404) 555-1010, and what specific pages he visited on your site. All the info you need to either close a deal or reach out to a prospective buyer. Sweet.

Of course, there are lots more tools out there that could be useful for growing your startup. What are some that you use? Let me know in the comments.

Published on: Sep 24, 2015