Friday, May 22, 2020

Website Planning in 4 Steps and 20 Minutes

Save yourself a lot of time and headache: before you dive into building your new website, think through a high-level website plan.

This planning process doesn’t need to be complicated or time intensive. It’s more or less about taking the time to answer some important questions that will help ensure you build your website with the right foundation to accomplish your goals.

For example, creating a website to sell products is very different than creating a website for your personal brand. Thinking through what you’ll need to accomplish one or the other is essential to building a successful website. (If you don’t make the right choices now, you may have to tear down everything you’ve built and start over from square one.)

In fact, this planning process is as much about deciding what you do not need for your website, as it is to figure out what you do need. Less is definitely more here. Don’t fall into the trap of adding a bunch of stuff to your website just because it seems like something you should or because it’s what other websites do. I recommend using MindMeister or some other mind-mapping tool to drive this process.

The purpose of this guide is to prepare you to create your website.

In order to best illustrate the process, I’ll walk you through how I did it for one of my undeveloped websites, SelfTeach.com. This is a content-driven website, so there is a heavy emphasis on written content.

If you take a look at my initial plan here, you’ll see it isn’t very extensive. It doesn’t need to be! This was just a quick brainstorm of what I think I’ll need for the website. It took me 20 minutes to think through.

Remember, you do not need to get this perfect. The point here is not to develop a perfect plan, but rather to equip yourself to get started building your website. Once you get into the weeds, the plan will evolve with you.

Determine What Content You’ll Need for Your Site

You need to have a good idea of what kinds of content you will create — but, of course, it isn’t realistic to think you’ll have your content created before you build the website. The website will have to come first.

Again, you don’t need to have a full list of all the content you’ll need forever. Instead, I recommend coming up with 1–2 content ideas for each type of content you want on your site. This will give you a good sense of what your content will look like, which will influence which WordPress theme you’ll use.

Some common content types:

  • Blog posts or articles
  • Guides / How to articles
  • Reviews
  • Interviews
  • Curated content
  • Infographics
  • Videos
  • Inspirational content
  • Updates
  • Case studies
  • Q&A
  • Podcasts
  • Product pages
  • Utility content (e.g. privacy policy)
  • About content

For SelfTeach.com, these are the content types and ideas that I need to plan for when creating the website:

When all is said and done, the website will have thousands of pages. However, the design that I choose for this website really just needs to be able to handle what’s in this mind map. If I make sure I have these content types covered, the rest of the pages will be covered because they are simply more of the same types I’ve already planned out.

Consider the Other Assets You’ll Need

There will be a number of assets outside of your core content you’ll want to consider from the start.

Here is an example of what this might look like:

The biggest ones here are your brand assets and social media accounts.

Your brand assets don’t need to be anything spectacular. I put together a quick guide on how to develop your first brand identity.

A list of assets you might need to think about

The point of this list is to inspire ideas. You might not need any of the things on it, or only a few of them. Some of them might come later. It’s up to you to decide what you’ll need now, and what you’ll need to prepare for when it’s time.

  • Logo
  • Brand colors
  • Brand fonts
  • Iconography
  • Photography
  • Illustrations
  • Podcasts
  • Customer testimonials
  • Customer reviews
  • eBooks / White papers
  • Videos
  • About content

Nail Down Your Must-Have Website Features

Features are probably the most important part of your website foundation. You really want to nail this. In order to do that, you’ll need to think through what you want to build.

In many cases you can get the features you need from your WordPress theme. You can also get features from WordPress plugins.

Generally speaking, you want to have the fewest WordPress plugins possible, and you don’t want to rely too heavily on theme features either. Too many WordPress Plugins will slow your website down and lead to higher security risks. Too many features built into your WordPress theme, and you’ll rely too heavily on that theme making it hard to move to a new theme down the road.

The goal is to find the perfect balance of theme features and plugin features.

But first, you’ll need to determine which features are required to accomplish your website goals. The list of potential features is endless. Here are some I outlined for SelfTeach.com:

Here are some common features you might consider:

  • Breadcrumb navigation
  • Featured content widget
  • Popular content widget
  • Email opt-in form
  • Podcast feed
  • Survey forms
  • Social media links / logos
  • Comment system
  • SEO settings
  • Site search
  • Social media share (to share individual pages)
  • Sitemap creation
  • Automatic website backup
  • Contact forms

To get more ideas, check out 25 Most Useful WordPress Widgets for Your Site from WPBeginner and Website Features Checklist from MarTech.

Get Inspiration on the Look and Feel

Knowing everything that you need to have on the website will help determine which WordPress theme to choose and which plugins to install. You’ll also want to factor in the look and feel.

You’ll need a theme that supports the features you need and has the look and feel you are going for. They’re both important. Taking the time to figure out what you do and do not like will make the process of selecting a theme much smoother.

Resources for finding inspiration

Best Website Gallery — Curated web design by David Hellmann. This is a great place to start to see some high quality designs. Pick out what you like, and use that to attempt to  match it with your WordPress theme.

50+ Best WordPress Themes by codeinwp — Here is one of the many lists of best WordPress themes. It’s not time to pick a theme yet, but you can use this list for inspiration, focusing specifically on the look and feel.

Webdesign Inspiration — Similar to Best Website Gallery, this is a gallery of website designs you can use for inspiration.

In Sum

You don’t need a detailed plan. This process should take you less than an hour. It can be done on a scrap piece of paper with your phone browser for research. It’s just enough planning to get your mind prepared to create a website with a strong foundation to build on.

https://www.quicksprout.com/plan-new-website/

Thursday, May 21, 2020

Best Time and Attendance Systems

Time and attendance systems lets you track employee hours and manage pay—which is crucial for every business.

The best time and attendance systems are simple to implement and manage. Your employees will always be compensated appropriately for their work while eliminating bottlenecks in payroll.

In fact, it’s common for the best time and attendance software to integrate popular online payroll services.

If your current system is inaccurate or outdated, you could be costing your business tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars each year.

So if you need an updated time system, you’ve come to the right place.

No matter what type of business you have or what industry you’re in, this guide will help you find the best time tracking and attendance system for your company.

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The 6 Best Time and Attendance Systems of 2020

There are a ton of different time and attendance trackers out there. Some are good, while others are not so great. But these six systems stand out above the rest:

  • TSheets — Best time and attendance system for remote workers and QuickBooks integration.
  • TimeClock Plus — Best for large businesses and secured access control.
  • Stratustime — Best cloud-based time and attendance software for small businesses.
  • Kronos — Workforce ready product suites for small to mid-sized businesses.
  • uAttend — Best time and attendance system for very small businesses.
  • iSolved Time — Best time and attendance system for growing businesses.

I’ll give you an in-depth review of each option below. We’ll discuss the top features, benefits, costs, and other considerations to give you the information needed to make a decision.

Best Time and Attendance Systems Reviews

TSheets (Best for remote workers and QuickBooks integration)

• Plans start at $28/month
• Time tracking on any device
• Employee scheduling
• QuickBooks integration
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TSheets ranked high on our list of the best employee scheduling software. So it’s no surprise to see them at the top of this guide.

As a QuickBooks company, TSheets is a name many of you might be familiar with if you’re currently using another QuickBooks product.

With TSheets, your employees can clock-in from anywhere using the mobile timesheet app. The app will track time even if Wifi and cell service is unavailable.

You can leverage geofencing technology to draw a virtual radius around your business or job site. This feature will ensure that employees are actually where they’re supposed to be while on the clock.

As I’ve already alluded to, the employee scheduling features are exceptional as well. This is an added bonus that comes standard with your time and attendance system.

For those of you who want a more traditional time clock system, where your staff and clock in and clock out on the same device, you can use the TSheets Clock Kiosk. The kiosk works on any tablet or computer with a connection to the Internet.

Each employee will be assigned a unique four-digit PIN. The system also has a biometric facial recognition tool to prevent the “buddy punching” system.

Here’s a quick comparison of the two plans and pricing options for TSheets:

Premium — $20 base fee + $8 per user per month

  • Time tracking on any device
  • Mobile app with GPS capability
  • Payroll and invoicing
  • QuickBooks integration
  • Employee scheduling
  • Real-time reporting
  • Time clock kiosk (including facial recognition)

Elite — $40 base fee + $10 per user per month

  • All Premium features
  • Timesheet signatures
  • Geofencing
  • Project activity feed and estimates
  • Track project progress

Both plans are available for a 14-day trial for any business that wants to test them out.

I’d recommend TSheets to any business that wants to a time and attendance system to simplify their payroll process. TSheets integrates seamlessly with QuickBooks, Gusto, Square, Expensify, Xero, and other popular solutions.

TimeClock Plus (Best for large businesses and secured access control)

• Customized pricing
• Wide range of time clocks
• Fully customizable
• Top of the line equipment
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As the name implies, TimeClock Plus specializes in time clocks. The company uses top of the line hardware to eliminate old fashioned and outdated equipment.

Depending on your business type, TimeClock Plus has a wide range of time clocks for you to consider:

  • Barcode clocks — Employees scan their badges to clock in and out
  • Biometric clocks — Fingerprint scanners and hand scanners
  • Magnetic swipe clocks — Can be used with pre-existing magstripe cards
  • PIN entry clocks — Employees clock in and out using their unique PINs
  • Proximity clocks — To ensure maximum speed and efficiency
  • Web clock — For online time keeping

In addition to using advanced equipment for tracking time and attendance, TimeClock Plus doubles as a security feature. You’ll have the option to configure select equipment with your door locks to prevent unauthorized access to buildings, rooms, or any other entrance with a locked door.

This type of system is best for larger organizations with complex security needs. Most small business owners won’t need employees to scan a fingerprint to enter rooms throughout the building.

TimeClock Plus systems are fully customizable.

It has built-in absence management tools and integrates with your employee scheduling software as well. Alternatively, you can use the TimeClock Plus workforce scheduling system if you don’t have one already.

TimeClock Plus has more than 30 years of experience providing services to businesses. They provide top of the line equipment for every time and attendance system.

While these time clocks might sound complex, TimeClock Plus makes the process easy for you.

You’ll have a consultation with an advisor to find the best solution for your business. They’ll set up the system for you and even train your supervisors and employees on how to use it.

As a fully-customized solution, there are no prices available online. Although you can expect to pay top dollar for advanced equipment like biometrics that syncs with your security system.

Stratustime (Best cloud-based system for small businesses)

• Starts at $4/mo per employee
• Access on any device
• Works with 60+ payroll systems
• Cloud-based and easy to use
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Stratustime is a cloud-based time and attendance software from Nettime Solutions. It’s a simple yet intuitive way for employees to clock in, clock out, and request time off.

Your staff will find it easy to use, and your managers and payroll staff will get the same benefits behind the scenes.

Stratustime is flexible. This means that it can grow with your business as you scale and add new employees. It also integrates with 60+ payroll systems to ensure a streamlined process through each HR component.

As a cloud-based system, it can be accessed on any device. From smartphones to a computer in the office, Stratustime is available 24/7.

Some of the top features of Stratustime by Nettime Solutions include:

  • Ability to clock in or clock out from anywhere
  • Intuitive schedule views
  • Hour tracking
  • PTO accruals
  • Time off requests
  • Sick time
  • Simple manager approvals
  • Employee scheduling tools
  • Time forecasting
  • Alerts
  • Geofencing
  • ACA compliance

While the exact prices and plans aren’t available on the website, Stratustime is very affordable. This is another reason why it’s a top choice for small businesses.

Monthly rates start as low as $4 per employee. There are no long term contracts, so you can cancel at any time if you’re unhappy (which probably won’t happen).

Using a cloud-based software like Stratustime means you won’t have any complicated equipment installations or troubleshooting problems. The software lives in the cloud, so it can be up and running in minutes.

Existing businesses using Stratustime have nothing but good things to say about the software. For smaller organizations with one location, multiple locations, and remote employees, Stratustime is an excellent choice for your time and attendance system.

Kronos (Best for small to mid-sized businesses)

• Industry-specific solutions
• Safe, secure, and reliable
• Automation tools
• Real-time data & visibility reports
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Kronos has one of the most extensive time and attendance systems on the market today for small and medium-sized businesses. They provide industry-specific solutions for a wide range of business needs.

In addition to time and attendance systems, Kronos has workforce management tools, employee scheduling software, absence management, labor activities, and analytics tools.

Common industries that use Kronos for time and attendance management include:

  • Health care
  • Retail
  • Manufacturing
  • Higher education
  • State and government
  • Contract services
  • Banking
  • Police and corrections
  • Distribution

What makes Kronos unique is the way that they provide business solutions. They have several different product suites to accommodate the needs of your organization.

Here’s a quick overview of each solution:

Workforce Dimensions Time Keeping

  • Track and manage employee time and attendance
  • Separate tools for hourly and salaried employees
  • Real-time data and visibility reports
  • Automation tools to eliminate manual admin processes

Workforce Ready Time Keeping

  • Flexible pay rules to track and manage labor costs
  • Manager and employee self-service tools
  • Multiple collection options (including Kronos time clock, web, and mobile app)
  • Enforce attendance policy with tracking tools

Workforce Dimensions Data Collection

  • Use data to power your management
  • Data collection using handheld devices, phone access, badge and biometrics
  • Devices for multiple environments and universal device manager
  • Streamlined data flow

Workforce Ready Data Collection

  • Kronos InTouch time clock (slim and modern time clock hardware)
  • Clock in and out with finger, proximity, or badge swipe
  • Web entry clock in and out
  • Mobile app for remote workers with geographic punch restrictions

As you can see, there’s a product suite for basically anything you can imagine in this space. Some are more complex than others. It all depends on what your business is looking for.

Regardless of the solution you choose, Kronos systems are safe, secure, modern, and reliable. Contact their sales team to request a quote and schedule a consultation.

uAttend (Best for very small businesses)

• Powerful, reliable, & affordable
• Web and mobile app access
• Multiple time clock options
• Connected to the cloud
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uAttend is a simple way to track time and attendance at your business. It’s a powerful, reliable, and affordable alternative to traditional time clocks.

The modern hardware from uAttend is connected to the cloud.

In addition to the equipment provided by uAttend, you’ll also have web access and mobile app access to the system. This is an ideal feature for your remote workforce. You can even set up geofencing functionality to restrict punches to designated locations.

The web dashboard is the perfect way for managers to see everything at a glance. You’ll be able to see who’s working, who missed a punch, and dozens of other reports.

Since this solution is web-based, you won’t have to download any software, and it can be accessed from anywhere. Even if you’re away from the office you’ll know exactly what’s going on with your staff at all times.

Here’s a quick overview of some of the popular time clocks and hardware offered by uAttend:

  • RFID Card LAN Time Clock — $119
  • Fingerprint LAN Time Clock — $149
  • Touch Tablet Wifi Time Clock — $179
  • RFID Card Wifi Time Clock — $219
  • Fingerprint Wifi Time Clock — $249
  • Facial Recognition LAN Time Clock — $259

Depending on your needs, you can get a time clock for somewhere in the $120 to $260 range. This is extremely affordable, even for very small businesses.

In addition to the time clocks, you can purchase RFID cards and key fobs from uAttend as well.

All of the time clocks come with a monthly subscription based on the number of employees you have. The clocks won’t work without a subscription. All of the prices are transparent.

  • 1-9 employees — $20 per month
  • 10-19 employees — $34 per month
  • 20-49 employees — $59 per month
  • 50-99 employees — $94 per month
  • 100+ employees — $119 per month

While uAttend does have plans to accommodate larger organizations, I’d definitely recommend it to those of you who have a smaller operation. It’s an ideal solution for businesses that fall within those first two tiers of up to 19 employees. Beyond that, I’d look elsewhere.

iSolved Time (Best for growing businesses)

iSolved Time

• All-in-one solution
• Extremely flexible options
• Cloud-based system
• Employee scheduling tools
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iSolved Time is another all-in-one solution for time and attendance. It’s a simple way for managers, supervisors, business owners, and employees to manage time tracking.

More than 45,000 businesses and 3+ million employees use iSolved Time for tracking time and attendance in the workplace.

The solutions available from this provider are extremely flexible. They offer physical time clocks, a mobile app for time tracking, employee self-service tools, and a combination of these offerings.

Setting up your new system from iSolved Time is quick and easy. You’ll also have access to a wide range of training options, so you know the ins and outs of the solution.

Like many other choices on our list, iSolved Time is a cloud-based system. You’ll have the option to add physical time clocks on-site, but you can access information from anywhere with an Internet connection 24/7.

Here are some of the top features and benefits of the iSolved Time software:

  • Geofencing capability
  • Employee scheduling tools
  • Ability to accommodate remote employees, multiple worksites and locations
  • Time management tools
  • Choice of time collection methods (virtual clock, physical, mobile app)
  • Sophisticated HR integration

I like iSolved Time because they have the features and capabilities to accommodate any business size. That’s why it’s a top solution for those of you with growing businesses.

As your company scales and you continue to add new employees to your team or multiple locations, iSolved Time has the capacity to grow with you.

How to Choose the Best Time and Attendance System For Your Business

Now that you’ve had a chance to review the best time and attendance systems on the market, it’s time to choose one for your business.

How do you know which one is right for you? Follow our methodology to narrow down your options. I’ll describe the features that you need to look out for while you’re browsing.

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Hardware

The very first thing you need to do is determine if you want physical hardware associated with your time and attendance system.

For those of you who are already using punch cards, a modern time clock is a viable replacement. I’d recommend this for businesses where the majority of employees work on-site at the same location. Punching in and out as they enter and exit makes the most sense.

For those of you with smaller teams or lots of remote or mobile workers, hardware won’t be necessary. You can find a time tracking system with a mobile app for managing everything on the go. There are also web-based solutions that don’t require hardware either.

Punch Method

The punch method will obviously depend on if you’re using hardware or not. But there are still variations with or without physical equipment.

For example, mobile app punching can be managed using geofencing technology. Your staff will only be able to clock in if they enter the designed location for a job site.

When it comes to in-person clock-ins and outs, there are time clocks that work with PINs, RFID cards, fingerprints, hand prints, facial recognition, and more.

A small coffee shop probably won’t need facial recognition or other biometrics as the punch method, but a sophisticated business with advanced security needs would benefit from this feature.

Integrations

Your new time and attendance system should do more than just track time. It should integrate with other tools that you’re using to minimize manual administrative tasks.

Look for a solution that integrates with your employee scheduling software or payroll system. Some of the options on our list have these features built-in.

Business Size

A startup team of four and mid-market companies with 200 employees will not have the same time and attendance needs. It’s important to find a solution that works well for the size of your organization.

Lots must be taken into consideration here. Some systems charge you based on the size of your staff. You could even incur additional costs for things like key FOBs and ID cards.

If you currently have a smaller business now, make sure you choose a system that can scale with you as your business grows. That way, you won’t have to switch systems as you hire additional employees or open up new locations.

Conclusion

What’s the best time and attendance system on the market? There are six that stand out above the rest.

  • TSheets — Best time and attendance system for remote workers and QuickBooks integration.
  • TimeClock Plus — Best for large businesses and secured access control.
  • Stratustime — Best cloud-based time and attendance software for small businesses.
  • Kronos — Workforce ready product suites for small to mid-sized businesses.
  • uAttend — Best time and attendance system for very small businesses.
  • iSolved Time — Best time and attendance system for growing businesses.

The best option for you will vary based on your needs and the factors I’ve discussed in this guide. But I’m confident that you can find a solution with the criteria above.

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https://www.quicksprout.com/best-time-attendance-systems/

Best Employee Monitoring Software

A good employee monitoring software helps keep your employees on-task and focused on their work.

And, for the most part, you can trust you employees to do that themselves. But there is always the possibility and temptation to be unproductive on company time. Whether it’s browsing Facebook, shopping online, or playing games, employee monitoring software can help you manage this behavior.

Perhaps more importantly, employee monitoring software can enhance your security system as well.

Your staff could be visiting unsafe websites or failing to apply appropriate safety protocols. A disgruntled employee could intentionally do something malicious as well.

Some monitoring software focuses on security, while other options specialize in time tracking and productivity management. It all depends on what you’re looking for.

What is Employee Monitoring Software?

An employee monitoring software is a platform that tracks your employees’ work on their computers. From tracking their Internet usage (websites visited, time spent on pages, etc), to their emails, to keylogging (recording the keys they type on their keyboard), an employee monitoring software allows you to monitor their usage across a wide range of activities.

Keep in mind, this isn’t so you can be a Big Brother-type micro-manager. Rather, it’s to help ensure your company avoids any security risks and boost employee workflow.

It’s easy to let it get out of hand though. Luckily, the 9 employee monitoring software that we recommend below will help you strike a good balance to help your employees, while ensuring that your business is getting the most out of their investment.

The 9 Best Employee Monitoring Software of 2020

There are a lot of different monitoring software out there. But these are the top nine best employee monitoring tools out there right now:

I’ll give you an in-depth review of each one below. We’ll cover the features, benefits, prices, and other considerations to help you find the right one for your needs.

Best Employee Monitoring Software Reviews

SentryPC

• Cloud control
• Block social media usage
• Real-time activity
• Instant alerts
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SentryPC has a diverse range of monitoring software. In addition to businesses, they offer solutions for schools, homes, and families.

For businesses, SentryPC will show you exactly how your employees are using computers and Internet access at work. You can use this tool to block social media usage, news websites, games, messenger apps, and more.

The benefits of SentryPC can be segmented into three main categories—activity monitoring, time management, and content filtering.

Top features of this software include:

  • Cloud control
  • Real-time activity
  • Visual charts
  • Compatible with Windows and Mac
  • User management
  • Instant alerts
  • Free updates

Compared to some of the other options on the market today, SentryPC is also extremely easy to use. You don’t need an IT team or anything like that to get started, which is why it’s such a popular choice for small to mid-sized businesses.

Here’s an overview of the pricing:

  • Basic Plan — $59.95 per year (single license)
  • Business 50 — $995 per year (50 licenses)
  • Business 100 — $1,595 per year (100 licenses)
  • Business 250 — $2,995 per year (250 licenses)
  • Business 500 — $3,995 per year (500 licenses)
  • Business 1,000 — $4,995 per year (1,000 licenses)

As you can see, the cost per license decreases based on the size of your team. There’s a plan for small businesses, large organizations, and everything in between.

Time Doctor

• Free 14-day trial
• Productivity alerts &ampl metrics
• No long-term contracts
• Integrates with other tools
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More than 83,000 companies trust Time Doctor for employee monitoring. It’s used by big brands like Allstate, Verizon, Home Depot, and Survey Monkey.

Time Doctor integrates with other tools and software that you’re already using. Some of the top integrations include Salesforce, Trello, Slack, Asana, Teamwork, Basecamp, and Freshdesk.

As the name implies, Time Doctor specializes in time tracking to enhance employee productivity.

Your staff will get pop-up alerts when they are unproductive or visit websites that are unrelated to work. Each employee will get a daily report on their productivity metrics so they can make adjustments on their own.

Supervisors and managers will also be able to tell which employees are the most productive and which ones are slacking off.

Top features available from Time Doctor include:

  • Chat monitoring
  • Screenshots
  • Time tracking
  • Web and app usage
  • Off-track reminders
  • Webcam shots
  • Break tracking
  • Attendance tracking
  • Time tracking for clients and projects

You’ll have the ability to customize certain features for specific employees based on their position.

Pricing starts at $12 per month per user. The price per user is discounted based on the size of your team. No long-term contracts are required, and you can cancel at any time. You can try Time Doctor for free with a 14-day trial.

Veriato

• Starts at $12.50/mo per device
• cloud-based software
• Records and tracks
• Customize productivity reports
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Veriato ranks high on our list of employee monitoring tools because it has everything and anything you could ask for in this space.

They offer cloud-based employee monitoring software that records and tracks the following activity like:

  • Screenshots
  • Website interaction
  • Email
  • File movement
  • App usage
  • Instant messages and chats
  • Network access
  • Keylogger
  • Uploads and downloads
  • Social media usage
  • Printer tracking
  • USB devices
  • Web searches

It’s easy for you to customize productivity reports. You can even set up real-time alerts for when an employee tries to visit a restricted website or download a flagged program.

Any business can use Veriato. You don’t need to have an IT infrastructure in place for it to work.

In addition to the standard employee monitoring software, Veriato has other tools for security. You can get employee investigation software. This can be used to document activity for something like a nondisclosure or non-compete violations.

Corporate data theft, misconduct, and compliance violations can all be caught and recorded using this software. You can silently deploy it on both Mac and Windows devices without anyone’s knowledge.

Veriato offers AI-driven threat detection as well. The software will automatically watch all employee activity and analyze those actions using big data and AI.

Security teams will automatically be alerted if a potential threat is detected.

Pricing for employee monitoring from Veriato starts at $12.50 per device per month. You can test it out first with a free trial.

ActivTrak

• Free forever plan
• Upgrade for $7.20/mo/user
• Measure employee productivity
• Improve inefficient workflows
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ActivTrak is a cloud-native employee monitoring tool that specializes in measuring employee productivity.

The software analyzes all workplace activity from each employee. You’ll get reports that will help you identify your hardest-working staff, as well as workers who are unproductive. ActivTrak will show you each employee’s level of engagement. The software will alert you if an employee is at risk of becoming disengaged.

ActivTrak is an excellent way to improve any inefficient workflows.

You can see the steps that employees go through to complete tasks in real-time. It allows you to set benchmark times for certain tasks as well.

Some of the top features and benefits of ActivTrak include:

  • Website blocking
  • Real-time monitoring
  • Video playback
  • Screenshot flagging
  • Risk scoring
  • USB tracking
  • Activity alarms
  • Screen playback options
  • Remote installation

All of this can be managed with the easy-to-use dashboard. ActivTrak’s pricing is transparent and affordable.

They offer a free forever plan that’s available for up to three users. It includes all of the software’s core features.

For those of you who have larger teams and want access to advanced features, you’ll pay just $7.20 per user per month. All contracts are billed on an annual basis.

Hubstaff

• 14-day free trial
• Manage a remote workforce
• GPS & time tracking
• Detailed reports
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Hubstaff is an ideal choice for those of you who are managing a remote workforce. Keeping your staff engaged and on-task when they aren’t in the office can be a challenge, but this software helps hold them accountable.

Some of the top features of Hubstaff employee monitoring include:

  • Time tracking
  • Geofencing
  • Online timesheets
  • GPS tracking
  • Productivity measurement
  • Detailed reports

It’s commonly used in industries like cleaning, construction, consulting, real estate, health care, agency, professional services, and freelance.

Hubstaff integrates with popular tools like Asana, Trello, Zoho, Insightly, Liquid Planner, Basecamp, and other software that you’re already using.

With Hubstaff, you can track URL and app activity. The software lets you monitor work in progress with optional screenshots. You’ll be able to view employee activity levels based on keyboard and mouse usage on each device.

Hubstaff has a mobile app that allows you to track usage on the go. You’ll have access to detailed reports and real-time activity from the palm of your hand.

The geofencing and GPS monitoring help you get a deeper understanding of when your team arrives or leaves a remote location. This holds them accountable and eliminates the need for manual time-punching.

Hubstaff has four different plans:

  • Free — $0 forever (for 1 user)
  • Basic — $7 per month per user
  • Premium — $10 per month per user
  • Enterprise — $20 per month per user

All of the paid plans are available for a 14-day free trial. You can get two months free if you sign up for an annual contract instead of a month-to-month plan.

InterGuard

• Monitor employee productivity
• Website blocking & filtering
• Session recordings
• Insider threat protection
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InterGuard is a top employee monitoring solution for businesses that want to beef up security. The top features can be segmented into four major categories:

Monitor Employee Productivity

  • Real-time computer activity
  • Productivity measurement
  • Measure idle time
  • Manage remote workers

Insider Threat Protection

  • Prevent data loss
  • Restrict access to high-risk websites, attachments, USBs, and programs
  • Alerts for suspicious activity
  • Remote incident response

Website Blocking and Filtering

  • Cloud control
  • Detailed search activity and reports
  • Advanced blocking
  • Role-based and group policies

Investigations and Compliance

  • Internal investigations
  • HIPAA, PCI, CIPA, etc. regulations
  • Session recordings
  • Screenshots

For those of you who give employees access to sensitive data, InterGuard will be a top solution for you to consider. The software is designed to not only prevent suspicious or fraudulent activity but also actively respond to threatening situations.

InterGuard has exfiltration management. So you can block or report any sensitive data from being sent via email and web forms. This works both on or off network, which is ideal for remote staff. All of the policies can be customized.

The software also has a feature for remote file deletion. If a laptop containing sensitive files is stolen, you can remotely delete any files or folders.

InterGuard has endpoint lockdown, which allows you to take complete control of a user’s computer or laptop during a potential breach. You can delete files, retrieve files, and lockdown the endpoint.

Pricing starts at $9 per month per user with an annual contract for the cloud-hosted version of InterGuard. To install the software in your data center, you’ll need to get a quote for an enterprise solution.

Teramind

• 7-day free trial
• User activity monitoring
• Insider threat prevention
• Data loss prevention
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Tamarind is a top employee monitoring solution for large organizations and enterprises. More than 2,000 businesses trust Tamarind for employee monitoring, insider threat detection, and data loss prevention.

Common industries that can benefit from this software include technology, healthcare, retail, manufacturing, energy, finance, legal, and government.

Here’s an overview of Teramind’s best features and capabilities:

  • User behavior analytics
  • Employee monitoring
  • Insider threat prevention
  • Data loss prevention
  • User activity monitoring
  • Audit and compliance

Tamarind has specific solutions for things like remote employee monitoring and vendor access management. You can give vendors restricted access to network use and view all activity.

Both cloud and on-premise solutions are available. But enterprises will likely lean toward the on-premise software.

The pricing for both cloud and on-premise software is:

  • Starter — $60 per month per endpoint
  • UAM — $125 per month per endpoint
  • DLP — $150 per month per endpoint

There is a minimum of five endpoints for a cloud plan and a minimum of ten for on-site plans. Cloud plans are available for a 7-day free trial. Businesses interested in an on-premise plan can get a 14-day free trial.

Get two months free with any plan if you commit to an annual contract.

StaffCop

• Real-time monitoring
• Block actions & access
• Performance monitoring
• Data loss prevention
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StaffCop is another option to accommodate businesses of all different shapes and sizes. The standard plan monitors up to 100 computers in the same network, and the enterprise plan monitors up to 25,000 computers.

Some of the top features for StaffCop Standard include:

  • Screenshot recording
  • Keystroke logging
  • Social network monitoring
  • Encoded traffic monitoring
  • Instant message and chat monitoring
  • Search keyword tracking
  • File and folder monitoring
  • Email monitoring
  • Skype tracking
  • Website monitoring

You can block actions and access to specific websites, applications, or devices (like USB storage).

StaffCop provides real-time monitoring, performance monitoring, and data loss prevention. It’s also designed to help increase employee motivation in the workplace.

As an all-in-one solution for monitoring and security, StaffCop is a top solution for small business owners. Here’s a look at some of the prices that fall in the small business range:

  • 1 computer — $43
  • 2-20 computers — $39 per computer
  • 21-50 computers — $36 per computer
  • 51-100 computers — $34 per computer

StaffCop software is offered as a license. So you won’t pay a monthly or annual rate.

Any updates within the first year of buying the software is free. The software will continue to work after one year, but you’ll need to pay if you want the latest updates.

Work Examiner

• 30-day free trial
• Cloud-based software
• Website tracking
• Real-time screen capture
Get Started for Free

Work Examiner has employee monitoring solutions for on-site staff as well as your remote workforce. Although the cloud-based software is issued by a third-party provider—Controlio.

I found this a bit strange, so I’d stick with the on-premise software. For those of you interested in monitoring remote employees, use Hubstaff (reviewed earlier).

With Work Examiner, you’ll benefit from the following top features:

  • Website tracking
  • Real-time screen capture
  • Recorded screen capture
  • Web filtering
  • PC tracking
  • Email monitoring and data leak prevention
  • Keylogging
  • Instant message monitoring

One of my favorite features of Work Examiner is the current activity monitor. From a single dashboard, you can see what everyone is doing at a given moment. You’ll know what applications they are using and see their current active window.

If a computer is not active, you’ll know exactly how long that user has been away from the screen.

Similar to StaffCop, Work Examiner is also a license based on the number of devices you want to monitor. You can try Work Examiner free for 30 days, which is the best free trial that I’ve seen in this industry. 30 days is more than enough time to determine if you’re happy with how it works, so it’s definitely worth trying out.

How to Choose the Best Employee Monitoring Software For Your Business

How can you find the best employee monitoring software for your company? There are several different factors that should influence your decision.

This is our methodology. You can use it to narrow down your options.

Business Size

How many employees or devices do you need to monitor? Some software is made for teams of just five or ten, while other software is best for businesses with hundreds or thousands of employees.

The location of your staff is important as well. Certain software is cloud-based, while other is on-premises. You’ll need a cloud solution to monitor remote workers.

Pricing Structure

Each company offers software in a different way. Some charge you a monthly or annual subscription fee. Others license the software.

A license is typically good for one year. You might even get free updates within that year. After the year is up, you’ll need to pay for any new updates.

Licenses could be more appealing for small businesses that just want to pay a one-time fee. Just know that you won’t have the latest versions if you don’t pay to update your software. But it will continue to work.

Features

The features are the most important part of an employee monitoring solution. This really comes down to why you want employee monitoring software in the first place.

Do you just want to restrict certain websites and applications for computers on your network? Or do you want to track and record what your employees are doing online?

Are you looking for employee monitoring that boosts productivity? Or do you need software that specializes in security?

These are the types of questions that you need to ask yourself. Some software offers an all-in-one solution, but that won’t be necessary if you’re just interested in one feature set.

Ease of Use

Not every business has an IT team or internal security department. Small business owners will likely be managing employee monitoring software on their own.

You’ll need to make sure that the software is easy to use and deploy. Otherwise, it defeats the purpose that you’re looking for.

Most solutions offer a free trial or even a free forever plan with a limited number of devices. I’d recommend trying a demo or trial for any software before you buy.

Conclusion

What’s the best employee monitoring software? It depends on what you’re looking for. Here’s a quick recap of the solutions we reviewed in this guide:

From small businesses to enterprises and everything in between, there’s an employee monitoring solution for everyone on this list.

https://www.quicksprout.com/best-employee-monitoring-software/

Wednesday, May 20, 2020

Best Invoice Factoring Companies

Unpaid invoices are part of running a business. It’s a frustrating and unfortunate reality for small business owners everywhere.

You rely on those receivables to pay your bills, purchase inventory, and fund all of the other operational costs of running a business. If your business has unpaid invoices and you’re low on cash, invoice factoring will be a top solution for you to consider.

What is invoice factoring?

Invoice factoring happens when your business sells qualifying unpaid invoices to a factor for upfront cash. You’ll typically receive anywhere from 70% to 95% of the value while paying a factoring fee until the invoice is paid.

Note: It’s not the same as a traditional business loan or business credit line.

If you’re interested in getting instant cash for your unpaid receivables, this guide will help you find the best invoice factoring company for your business.

Compare Quotes From The Best Invoice Factoring Companies

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The 7 Best Invoice Factoring Companies of 2020

Invoice factoring can be a confusing topic to most small business owners. And with so many different companies to choose from, finding the best option for your organization can feel a bit overwhelming.

Fortunately, I’ve already done all of the research for you. I’ll give you an in-depth review of each company as we continue through this guide. This will help you find the best choice for your needs.

Best Invoice Factoring Companies Reviews

BlueVine

• Factoring lines up to $5 million
• Easy and flexible
• No long-term contract
• Apply quickly online
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BlueVine has delivered more than $2 billion in funds to 20,000+ customers. This is one of the most well-known and reputable online business lenders on the market today.

They offer business lines of credit, business term loans, and of course—invoice factoring.

BlueVine has factoring lines of up to $5 million. Factoring rates start at just 0.25% per week. The approval process is fast. For businesses that need cash right away, you can get approved in just 24 hours.

I like BlueVine because the funding process is easy and flexible. You’ll have the opportunity to get higher credit limits based on the strength of your customers. BlueVine’s fees are transparent, so you always know exactly how much the factoring will cost you. Instead of collecting recurring payments, they charge a weekly fee that’s due when the invoice gets paid.

You’ll have full control over what invoices get sold—only fund what you need without committing to a long-term contract.

Here’s how the process works:

It takes less than ten minutes to apply online. You provide a few basic details about your business, then the application approval process takes up to 24 hours.

Once approved, simply submit any unpaid invoices by syncing your accounting software or uploading them to your BlueVine dashboard.

BlueVine pays 85-90% of the cash instantly. You’ll get the rest of the money, less the BlueVine fee, once the invoice gets paid.

These are the minimum qualifications to get started with invoice factoring from BlueVine:

  • Must be in business for at least 3+ months
  • Your business generates $10,000 in monthly revenue
  • You have a B2B company (invoices from traditional consumers aren’t eligible)
  • Personal FICO score of 530+

You’ll also need to provide BlueVine some basic details about your invoices and show three months of recent bank statements.

altLINE

• Serving businesses 80+ years
• Direct source of funding
• Federally regulated bank
• 100% transparent
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altLINE has been serving businesses for over 80 years. During that time, they’ve provided $424 million in funded invoices.

Unlike other invoice factoring companies on the market, altLINE is a direct source of funding. It’s a division of the Southern Bank Company. Since altLINE is not a middleman, they don’t need to charge additional borrowing costs like third-party providers. Business owners can benefit from these savings.

In addition to invoice factoring, altLINE offers accounts receivable financing. While the two terms are often used interchangeably in the world of small business lending, they are not the same.

Invoice factoring offers great flexibility for business owners. Accounts receivable financing has stricter guidelines related to the credit profile. With that said, AR financing will usually provide businesses with preferred financing terms.

altLINE will deliver up to 90% of qualified unpaid invoices for factoring. Common industries for invoice factoring with altLINE include:

  • Distribution
  • Consulting
  • Food and beverage
  • Janitorial services
  • Professional services
  • Facility services
  • Textile and apparel
  • Wholesale
  • Oil and gas
  • Staffing
  • Manufacturing

As a federally regulated bank, altLINE is 100% transparent about their fees and term structures. Factoring rates start at just 0.50%. You’ll also benefit from a fast approval process without an application fee.

In addition to invoice factoring and accounts receivable financing, altLINE also has asset-based lending for businesses. This is another way to borrow money against your receivables.

Triumph Business Capital

• Member of Triumph Bancorp
• Wide range of services
• Easy to use web portal
• Direct access to support
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The domain name for Triumph Business Capital is invoicefactoring.com. With a name like that, you better be a top invoice factoring company—and that’s exactly what they are.

Triumph Business Capital is a member of Triumph Bancorp, which is financial services organization that’s publicly traded. In addition to invoice factoring, they offer a wide range of other business and financial services like:

  • Asset management
  • Commuting banking
  • Asset-based lending
  • Equipment financing
  • Insurance

This company has helped 7,000+ small and mid-sized businesses with working capital needs. They offer invoice factoring services for the following industries:

  • Trucking
  • Staffing
  • Oil and gas
  • Government contractors
  • Freight brokers

I like Triumph Business Capital because of their easy to use web portal. The dashboard and process is a simple way to manage your funding. You can always stay up to date with your account and information, no matter where you are.

You’ll also have direct access to support from the Triumph Business Capital team.

Breakout Capital

• Unique invoice factoring service
• Customized solutions
• Easy approval process
• Great option for startups
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Breakout Capital has a unique invoice factoring service that they call “FactorAdvantage.” It’s a customized solution for businesses that don’t meet qualifications from other lenders and factoring companies.

FactorAdvantage is somewhat of a combination between invoice factoring and a small business loan. Here are some of the top advantages of this service:

  • Fund receivables before invoices are ready to factor
  • Increase your over-advance maximum amounts
  • Access to short-term bridge loans
  • Remove merchant cash advance programs or liens
  • Forecast cash flow with AI technology

Breakout Capital is a great option for startups because they don’t have a strict approval process.

  • No minimum FICO score
  • No minimum monthly revenue requirement
  • No minimum time in business

With all of that said, Breakout Capital’s invoice factoring rates are a bit higher than some of the other companies we’ve reviewed. Invoice factoring starts at 1.25% per month.

For startups that want to borrow up to $500,000 using unpaid invoices, Breakout Capital is a top company for you to consider. FactorAdvantage is unlike any other product I’ve seen on the market today.

TCI Business Capital

• Fast approvals
• Simple onboarding
• Month-to-month terms
• Same-day funding
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TCI Capital has been serving businesses for more than 20 years. They offer monthly funding lines from $50,000 to $10 million with invoice factoring.

B2B organizations that use TCI Capital for invoice factoring typically fall into one of the following categories:

  • Staffing
  • Telecom and wireless
  • Heavy construction
  • Renewable energy
  • Government contractors
  • Utility and pipeline contractors
  • Trucking and freight
  • Manufacturing
  • Environmental services
  • Oilfield services

TCI Capital adds a personal touch to their invoice factoring services. They encourage you to talk to a representative that will help you find the best solution for your current situation and needs. TCI Capital also ensures that the solution works well for your customers.

Like most companies, TCI Capital’s factoring fees are based on volume. So it’s a better option for those of you with higher volumes if you want access to preferred rates and fees.

The TCI Capital website has an awesome tool to help you calculate your factoring costs. Choose your desired advance rate of 70%, 80%, or 90%, and enter your average monthly sales.

Select your customer payment terms (net 30, 60, 90, or 120), and the tool will automatically calculate your fees.

For example, let’s say you average $10,000 per month with net 60 terms on your invoices. If you want 90% of cash in advance, the factoring fee is $200.

With TCI Capital, you’ll get fast approvals, simple onboarding, and month-to-month terms. They offer high advances and same-day funding to provide you with reliable cash flow.

Riviera Finance

• Guaranteed 24-hour funding
• Credit management services
• Online account dashboard
• Funding on demand
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Riviera Finance has been providing financial services to businesses since 1969. With more than 50 years of experience, this company is a top solution for invoice factoring.

I’d recommend Riviera Finance to businesses that need cash fast. They offer some of the quickest turnaround rates in the industry, with guaranteed 24-hour funding.

Riviera Finance is a non-recourse invoice factoring service. They also offer credit services and receivables management in addition to financing, all within the umbrella of invoice factoring.

Depending on your business type, industry, and clients, Riviera Finance will fund up to 95% of qualified invoices. You’ll have complete flexibility for funding on-demand.

Arguably the biggest standout of Riviera Finance is its credit management services. They guarantee the credit on all of your factored invoices. If an invoice is unpaid, Riviera Finance becomes the credit manager and assumes the risk.

As a result, no debt it created on your end, and the company protects you from bad debt on all of the invoices that they factor.

Riviera Finance has an exceptional receivable management system as well. They handle to the following tasks:

  • Maintain an efficient process with your clients
  • Automated invoice uploads
  • Mailing and processing for all invoices
  • Processing and posting of invoice payments
  • Real-time alerts related to returns, disputes, or payment issues
  • Check the status of outstanding invoices
  • Custom management reports

You’ll benefit from instant access 24/7 to all of your account receivable information through an online account dashboard.

Paragon Financial

• Non-recourse invoice factoring
• Purchase order financing
• In business 25+ years
• Great option for startups
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Paragon Financial is another non-recourse invoice factoring company. So you can get funded without assuming the liability for unpaid invoices.

This institution is a bit smaller compared to some of the other companies on our list. They’ve been around for more than 25 years but only worked with 2,200+ businesses. With that said, they’ve funded more than $2 billion during that time.

It’s a great option for startups, entrepreneurs, and businesses with tax issues. They typically work with lots of government contractors.

To qualify for invoice factoring with Paragon Financial, you’ll need a minimum of $30,000 in monthly sales. This is a bit higher compared to other options that we’ve reviewed.

However, your personal credit won’t impact any approvals. Since Paragon assumes the risk, they make decisions based on the credit of your clients.

In addition to invoice factoring, Paragon Financial also offers purchase order financing and working capital for government contracting.

How to Choose the Best Invoice Factoring Company For Your Business

Invoice factoring can be complicated. It’s important that you find the right invoice factoring company to meet the needs of your business. All businesses are different, so you want to find a factoring company specific to your goals.

There are certain factors that you should look for when you’re evaluating an invoice factoring service. This is our methodology for narrowing down your options.

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Recourse

What happens if one of your customers fails to pay an invoice to the factoring company? Depending on the company you choose, you could be responsible for this debt.

Recourse factoring typically offers lower fees. But this comes with higher risk.

Non-recourse invoice factoring means that the factor assumes the liability if the invoice goes unpaid. This is a better option for businesses who can’t risk a client withholding payment.

Flexibility

Some of you may only want to factor one or two invoices. Doing this on-demand is known as “spot factoring.” You’ll have complete control over which invoices are factored and when it happens.

Some invoice factoring companies require “whole ledger factoring.” In this case, you won’t have as much control. Generally speaking, spot factoring is the preferred choice for business owners.

Factoring Fees

Lots of business owners see the short-term benefits of invoice factoring—upfront cash. But they overlook the fees that this will cost.

Some invoice factoring companies lure you in with low factoring fees, but then hit you with additional fees like:

  • Application fee
  • Service fee
  • Renewals
  • Transfers
  • Early termination
  • Origination fee

I’d recommend an invoice factoring company that offers transparent pricing. You should only have to pay the factoring fee, without any of these additional charges or hidden fees.

Funding Time

How soon do you need cash?

For those of you who need funds quickly, look for an invoice factoring company with fast turnaround times. There are companies out there that will fund your business within 24 hours of submitting a qualified invoice.

Conclusion

Invoice factoring is generally reserved for B2B organizations. But there are still plenty of different niches and unique circumstances within that category. This list has an option for everyone.

Compare Quotes From The Best Invoice Factoring Companies

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https://www.quicksprout.com/best-factoring-companies/

Best Direct Mail Services

Direct mail is still a viable marketing strategy. It’s easy to lose sight of this when you’re putting more emphasis on online advertisements, email, and other digital marketing tactics.

But direct mail is an effective and affordable way to drive brand awareness, generate leads, and engage with new customers. It’s an excellent opportunity for both new and established businesses to reach consumers who may not see their digital presence.

In order to have success in this space, you need to find a reliable direct mail service. Direct mail services help you deliver promotional content to consumer and business mailboxes.

A basic direct mail company will print, stamp, and deliver your flyers, postcards, or brochures. Some services take that one step further by providing you with design templates and helping you create a list of viable address.

Use this guide to find the best direct mailing company for your business.

The 8 Best Direct Mail Services of 2020

Even though so many people believe that direct mail is dead, there are still countless direct mail services on the market today. The high number of companies in this space proves that the industry is still alive and thriving.

After extensive research, I’ve narrowed down the best direct mail companies to eight options:

  • PrintingForLess.com — Best direct mail service for EDDM (every door direct mail).
  • PsPrint — Most options for mailable products.
  • Vistaprint — Best for all printing and promotional needs in addition to direct mail.
  • NextDayFlyers — Best direct mail service with next business day printing.
  • Gunderson Direct — Best full-service direct mail marketing agency.
  • PostcardMania — Best for high-volume postcard campaigns.
  • Cactus Mailing — Best direct mail service for brochures.
  • SaasMQL — Best direct mail service for SaaS demand generation.

I’ll give you an in-depth review of the features, benefits, and use cases of each one below.

Best Direct Mail Services Reviews

PrintingForLess (Best for EDDM)

• Full-service mailing house
• Custom free printing samples
• Free templates & resources
• Used by brands like Zappos
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PrintingForLess.com is a well-known and reliable direct mail service. It’s a one-stop-shop for both printing and mailing needs for businesses.

As a full-service mailing house, PFL has mailing lists and every door direct mail services.

It also offers a wide range of tools like free templates and direct mail tips.

Before you start producing and mailing at scale, PFL will give you custom free printing samples. You can choose from different paper types, weights, coatings, binding options, effects, and other products to see which one is the best for your business.

To request a sample, simply fill out a form online, email PFL, or call their customer support team.

Some standouts of the features, sizes, and options available for direct mail via PFL include:

  • Standard mailing
  • EDDM
  • Variable data imprints
  • Custom size and shape mail
  • Custom window sizes and placement
  • Custom envelop flap sizes and shapes
  • Tabbing and inserting
  • Custom ink, coating, and finishes
  • Standard, premium, and specialty paper

More than 200,000 businesses trust PFL for their needs. The service has been used by popular brands like Zappos, 99designs, Constant Contact, British Airways, and more.

PsPrint (Most options for mailable products)

• Wide range of products
• Quick turnaround
• Create a mailing list
• Manage everything online
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PsPrint offers a wide range of products available for direct mail. Unlike other services that just offer postcards or flyers, PsPrint will create and mail:

  • Postcards
  • Brochures
  • Greeting cards
  • Invitations
  • Booklets
  • Catalogs
  • Newsletters

Their services include mailing list processing, CASS certification, inkjet addressing, and postal resorting.

PsPrint offers a quick turnaround as well. Your order can be mailed out in two to five days after the printing job has been completed.

The entire process can be managed online. Just select your product, upload your artwork, and attach your mailing list. PsPrint will even send you an extra prints that weren’t mailed. The “overs” are free if they fit into one box.

For those of you who don’t have a mailing list, PsPrint will help you create one in less than 15 minutes. Just answer some questions related to your target market based on age, income, zip code, and other details.

Vistaprint (Best for all printing and promotional needs)

• Postcard mailing service
• Buy targeted mailing lists
• Promotional products
• Wide range of services
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Vistaprint is arguably the most recognizable name in the world of business printing. This online service offers everything and anything you can imagine for every business type.

Some popular categories include:

  • Promotional products
  • Labels and stickers
  • Bags and Clothing
  • Signage
  • Trade shows
  • Marketing materials
  • Business cards

This platform also offers a postcard mailing service. That means Vistaprint will create and mail these postcards for you. Simply design your card, send them your list of addresses, and Vistaprint will handle the rest. Vistaprint has both standard and oversized postcards.

Don’t have a mailing list? No problem. You can buy a targeted list directly through this platform as well.

I like using Vistaprint because they have so many other products and services. So if you want to get your mailing service from the same provider as your other promotional products and printing needs, you can get it all in one place.

NextDayFlyers (Best for next business day printing)

• Wide range of products
• Rent mailing lists
• Affordable rates
• Fast delivery times
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NextDayFlyers is one of the most popular direct mail services on the market today. They offer a wide range of products at an affordable rate with fast delivery times.

With NextDayFlyers, your company can send:

  • Postcards
  • Brochures
  • Mail rack cards
  • Custom products

NextDayFlyers will store your inventory, verify addresses, presort your products, and send your mail. You can also rent mailing lists for campaigns as well.

Use NextDayFlyers for EDDM (every door direct mail) postcards.

Navigating through this platform is easy. Simply choose the size of your flyer, customize the cardstock, add a gloss or matte coating, and select your quantity. You can create artwork directly on their website or upload your own file.

You’ll see the cost for your direct mail campaign in real-time as you continue to make changes.

As the name implies, NextDayFlyers does offer next business day printing turnaround. Although you will pay a higher price for this premium service. But it’s a great option for time-sensitive offers and campaigns.

Gunderson Direct (Best full-service direct mail marketing agency)

• Full-service marketing agency
• Free consultations
• Fully managed campaigns
• Customized services
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Gunderson Direct is a full-service direct marketing agency.

For 16+ years, this organization has been driving leads for big brands like PayPal, ZipRecruiter, Postmates, AAA, Adobe, Wells Fargo, and Dish Network. They even work with some of the best business loan companies like Lending Club.

The experts at Gunderson Direct have everything you need to know to get the most out of your direct mail campaigns.

Here’s how the process works.

You’ll start with a consultation with the Gunderson Direct team. Based on your needs, they’ll help you create a mailing list using their own database as well as external resources.

Gunderson Direct will manage your entire direct mail campaign from start to finish. They take a creative approach to direct mail and provide detailed reports and analytics for each campaign. These reports will show KPIs, benchmarks, and detail new opportunities for improving performance and ROI.

All of Gunderson Direct’s services are customized. So you’ll have to contact their team to request a quote and get more information about your direct mailing needs.

PostcardMania (Best for high-volume postcard campaigns)

• Direct, EDDM, & bulk mailing
• Postcard printing & design
• 80+ different industries served
• Trusted by 90,000+ businesses
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More than 90,000 businesses trust PostcardMania for printing and mailing. It’s a top option for high-volume postcard direct mail because of its low prices and bulk discounts.

PostcardMania offers the following services:

  • Postcard printing
  • Postcard design
  • Direct mailing
  • Bulk mailing
  • Mailing lists
  • Every door direct mail (EDDM)

I like PostcardMania because the platform has an extensive resource of designs for businesses in nearly every category. Here’s a sample of the roughly 80 different industries served by PostcardMania:

  • Attorneys
  • Car dealerships
  • Dry cleaning
  • Landscaping
  • Massage therapy
  • Optometry
  • Roofing
  • Restaurants
  • Retail
  • Jewelry
  • Interior design
  • Furniture

The list goes on and on.

PostcardMania has a unique service called Everywhere Small Business. As the name implies, this is a multi-channel marketing effort that includes direct mail. In addition to mail, you’ll also benefit from mail tracking, targeted Facebook follow-up advertisements, Instagram ads, Google follow-ups, and call tracking.

PostcardMania targets the same people who are receiving your promotions in the mail across digital advertising channels. It brings multiple campaigns together for lead generation and brand awareness.

Pricing for high-volume standard-sized postcards starts at just $0.05 per piece. You likely won’t find a better bulk rate in the industry.

Cactus Mailing (Best for brochures)

• Direct mail and call tracking
• Simple and straightforward
• Targeted mailing lists
• Trusted by over 17,000 businesses
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Cactus Mailing is a simple and straightforward direct mail service that’s ideal for small businesses. Some of their top success stories include a 700% return on investment for one business and $150,000+ in new revenue for another.

Overall, Cactus Mailing has helped more than 17,000 businesses increase sales, promote brand awareness, and acquire new customers through direct mail.

Top services include:

  • Direct mail postcards
  • Direct mail brochures
  • Targeted mailing lists
  • Mail piece design
  • Call tracking

Similar to some of the other services on our list, Cactus Mailing also offers “Smart Marketing.” This program includes Google display ads and landing pages in addition to direct mail postcards.

Cactus Mailing has a helpful ROI calculator tool and an extensive design gallery.

Some of the top industries using Cactus Mailing include dentists, restaurants, salons, spas, churches, real estate, retail, fitness, and more.

Another reason to consider Cactus Mailing is because they are always running great specials if you combine more than one service. Contact them today for a quote on your direct mailing needs.

SaasMQL (Best for SaaS demand generation)

• Focused on SaaS businesses
• Send packages to your prospects
• Create leads & opportunities
• Stand out against the competition
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SaasMQL is extremely unique compared to the other direct mail services on our list. I’ll start off right away by saying this company is not for everyone. SaasMQL offers account-based demand generation for SaaS businesses.

If your organization falls into this category, SaasMQL will be a top choice to consider.

In most cases, direct mail isn’t associated with SaaS. But SaasMQL has revolutionized the way that you approach your lead generation strategy. They use direct mail to create leads and opportunities with mid-market and enterprise-level prospects.

Using a direct mail campaign, one of their clients generated more than 50 qualified meetings in less than two months. This generated over $2 million.

How do they do it?

Instead of just sending a flyer or a postcard, SaasMQL sends packages to businesses. This stands out compared to the hundreds of emails, calls, and junk mail these people get on a daily basis. Nobody is going to take a package and just throw it in the garbage.

In addition to direct mail, SaasMQL will help you with other account-based marketing campaigns and analytics. They have everything you need for SaaS demand generation across multiple channels.

How to Choose the Best Direct Mail Service For Your Business

As you can see from this list, each direct mail service is unique. Finding the best one for your business can be difficult if you don’t know what to look for.

This is our methodology for narrowing your choices down. I’ll explain each factor in greater detail below.

Design Options

First impressions are crucial for direct mail campaigns. It’s important that your final product looks sharp and professional when it’s delivered to a mailbox.

Find a direct mail service that helps you create a high-quality design. Some services offer industry-specific templates. Other companies let you choose the quality, size, and finish of your products. Designs should be eye-catching and informative as well.

Mailer Types

Certain direct mail services are limited in what they’ll print and mail for you. Just because a company offers a product for custom printing, it doesn’t mean that it’s available for direct mail.

Common mailer types include:

  • Postcards
  • Flyers
  • Invitations
  • Greeting cards
  • Brochures
  • Newsletters
  • Catalogs
  • Booklets
  • Custom products

For some of you, a postcard will be sufficient. But if you’re looking to send more detailed information about your organization, you might want to consider a brochure or catalog.

Although uncommon, companies like SaasMQL even send packages via direct mail for certain business types.

Mailing Lists

Who are you sending your direct mail campaigns to?

Not every business has a mailing list on hand. For those of you who don’t, you’ll want to find a direct mail service that will help you generate a targeted list. Sometimes this is free and part of the service. Other times you’ll need to pay extra to buy or rent a list.

Turnaround Time

Some direct mail campaigns are more time-sensitive than others.

If customers and prospects are receiving a mailer after a promotion has expired or come to an end, it’s a huge waste of money. Once printing is complete, mailing turnaround time ranges anywhere from next business day to ten business days.

You can usually pay extra to get your mailers out faster. But it’s better to find a direct mail service that works quickly at no additional cost.

Price and Volume

In most cases, price and volume go hand-in-hand for direct mail campaigns. The more you order, the less you pay per piece.

Make sure you use a direct mailing service that offers transparent pricing. Sometimes companies will draw you in with a low per piece cost, but don’t include the costs for print and postage until the end.

Sometimes you can get see the prices online. But lots of direct mail companies offer custom quotes based on your needs.

Additional Services

It’s rare to see a company that only offers direct mail. Lots of the options on our list include additional services for other marketing campaigns and common business needs.

For some of you, it could be more cost-effective to bundle these offerings with one company. Even if you don’t need them today, it’s something to consider for your future plans.

Conclusion

With so many direct mailing services on the market today, these are the top eight that I’d recommend:

  • PrintingForLess.com — Best direct mail service for EDDM (every door direct mail).
  • PsPrint — Most options for mailable products.
  • Vistaprint — Best for all printing and promotional needs in addition to direct mail.
  • NextDayFlyers — Best direct mail service with next business day printing.
  • Gunderson Direct — Best full-service direct mail marketing agency.
  • PostcardMania — Best for high-volume postcard campaigns.
  • Cactus Mailing — Best direct mail service for brochures.
  • SaasMQL — Best direct mail service for SaaS demand generation.

There’s a service provider on here for every business across all industries. From startups to B2B organizations selling software, direct mail is for everyone.

https://www.quicksprout.com/best-direct-mail-services/