There's no lack of online social media and marketing tools to help you grow your small business. On the contrary, the choices seem endless. Those tools generate a veritable ton of valuable business data, but accessing it all and making actionable sense out of it isn’t easy for time-and-resource-strapped small businesses. Enter Dasheroo, a free online service that lets you access your business data from one central location.
Based in Austin, Texas, Dasheroo is the brainchild of co-founders John Hingley, James Ryan, Josh Feinberg, and Alf Brand—all veterans of online email and social media marketing company, Vertical Response. That brainchild was born out of necessity. While at VR, Hingley, a self-described "metrics-driven marketer," noticed that his marketing team spent a lot of time hustling before their weekly meeting.
"People were rushing around cutting-and-pasting charts and graphs and annotating stuff. It was a time suck," said Hingley. "We spent too much time creating reports, rather than understanding and acting on them."
Hingley also wondered why he had to wait a week to look at critical business data. "Why can’t the data just be updated so I can access it and look at it whenever I want? I started looking around for an app to do that, and I didn’t find one that I liked," he said. "I love start-ups, and I saw an opportunity that I’m passionate about, so I started Dasheroo."
What Does Dasheroo Do?
Think about all the various apps you use to run your business: Facebook, Google AdWords, Twitter, Constant Contact, Salesforce, to name but a few. Now think about the time you spend opening tabs and logging in to get the scoop on your business. Hingley contends that it can be overwhelming for many small businesses.
"It’s just too much, and small businesses won’t take the time to look if the data isn't easy to access," said Hingley. "They won’t look at it, and they won’t understand how their marketing impacts their business."
Dashero's cloud-based service is designed to take all of that information, all those metrics, update it continuously, and keep the data in one place. The idea is that everyone in your organization can view the same data, work from it, comment, chat, collaborate, and share right from within the app. Hingley says this helps everyone better understand the data, which results in better decision-making and real action.
Dasheroo contains what Hingley calls "Insights" (one, for example, might be how many Likes your business receives on Facebook) and is highly customizable. "You can have as many dashboards as you want, and you can organize your Insights however you like," he said. "Some folks like to put all of their social accounts in one dashboard and call it 'Social,' put all their paid media in another, and put the Google Analytics in yet a third." Multiple dashboards let your department heads—think marketing, sales, and social media for starters—focus on their specific area.
Hingley, who says that they run their business using Dasheroo dashboards, prefers to mash Insights together to increase the chance of seeing correlations. "Let’s say you want to compare Insights between a Vertical Response and a MailChimp email campaign that you sent," he said. "Or a Facebook post that spiked traffic and maybe helped drive sales in Shopify."
While social media focus is a big part of Dasheroo, the company plans to go beyond social media metrics. "We decided to start with a very compelling social media focus, but it's not all social media," noted Hingley. "We already have integration with SalesForce. We also have SurveyMonkey, Google Ad Words, Google Analytics. We’ve got the three top email service providers for small business—Vertical Response, MailChimp, and Constant Contact."
Currently the Dasheroo App Insight Library offers Insights for 15 apps with more to come. Coming soon to the library; EventBrite, Zendesk, Desk.com, Freshbooks, and Quickbooks. "We'll have a holistic solution for the entire business, no matter what function," said Hingley.
The company promises that even small business owners who are less than tech-savvy can benefit from using Dasheroo. Even if those business owners who don't know which metrics they should track. "It's super easy for people to add an Insight, even if they’re not technically savvy. We even offer pre-built dashboards with curated Insights for the folks that might not know exactly what they should be watching," said Hingley.
Dasheroo is available for what's called freemium pricing. That means that roughly 95 percent of the people who use it get to do so for free, forever. The free version includes unlimited users, a 30-day data view, four dashboards, 12 data Insights, dashboard templates, sharing and commenting, plus presentation mode.
Hingley estimates that most businesses won't need more features than the free version offers. The rest likely require and—Hingley hopes—are willing to pay about $25 a month for more Insights, more advanced features, and a 365-day data-view period (handy for tracking seasonal trends). Another group—marketing agencies—want even more advanced features, such as the ability to keep individual accounts and clients separate, single sign-on, and brand labeling. That group can contact Dasheroo for pricing.
Anyone who signs up for Dasheroo by June 15 will receive the $25 per month mid-level plan for free—for 20 years. "I truly believe that every business in the world needs a business dashboard," said Hingley. And now, it seems, every business can afford one.
Lauren Simonds is the managing editor of SmallBusinessComputing.com. Follow her on Twitter.
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