Growth & Marketing

October 25, 2020

July 16, 2020

Our favorite low-code tools to build an MVP for startups

Table of contents

Are you thinking about testing a new business idea? Thanks to no-code and low-code tools, it is increasingly easy to build a high-quality MVP in no time, to start acquiring users, leads and clients, and to check if your business vision fits in the market.

Now you can launch your product with minimum costs of time and money, but also without coding skills. Let's take a look at the tools that will allow you to achieve it.

A handy toolkit, also for code newbies

Some of these tools let you use code to further extend or customize their functionalities, but coding knowledge is not needed to achieve a great product with them, since all of them have really advanced visual editors. Let's take a look at the different categories:

  • To build a website
  • To create landing pages
  • To send transactional emails
  • To make email marketing
  • To include payments and subscription plans
  • To manage users information
  • To build your own databases
  • To automate tasks and link services

If you also need to add forms with custom business logic to sign up or authenticate users in your MVP, you can complete this toolkit with Arengu, a powerful drag-and-drop editor that integrates third-party services with ease, but let's take a look at the toolkit ;)

To build a website

1. Webflow

A responsive web design tool that will allow you to build custom blogs, portfolios, eCommerce stores, and any other kind of website, with an easy-to-use visual editor. You can see thousands of real examples taking a look at #MadeInWebflow on social networks.

Why do we like it?

  • Complete design freedom. You can start building and designing your website from scratch, without the need to choose a template and make changes on it, so you can build it exactly how you want it.
  • On-page & drag-and-drop edition. The drag and drop editor allows you to make changes directly on the page, without the need to use a dashboard, plugin or page editor with a preview that has to be refreshed after changes.
  • Clean and good code quality. The code generated by its editor is clean and it respects current web browsers standards. You don't have to worry about dealing with messy code, whether or not using its HTML and CSS editor.

2. WordPress

The most famous open source CMS, with dozens of free, customizable and mobile-ready designs and themes, with thousands of plugins. It's easy to install and update, and it also offers free hosting, support, official events and a huge online community.

Why do we like it?

  • Content first & easy to scale. It is really easy to create, publish and update content, and to add as many pages as you need. You can build anything from a simple one or two-page site to a site with hundreds of sections.
  • Edition roles for team working. You can choose from six different roles with different access permissions and capabilities: Author, Admin, Editor, Contributor, and Subscriber, so it makes it very easy to manage everything.
  • Thousands of plugins & free hosting. There are a lot of free plugins with which you can increase the functionalities of your website. They are really easy to install and manage, and your website's hosting is also free!

To create landing pages

1. Instapage

A landing page platform that allows you to easily build landing pages for online marketing and promotion campaigns. It includes a visual editor and 500+ customizable templates, but also A/B testing, multiple campaign management tools and their own help center.

Why do we like it?

  • Easy and real-time collaboration. It makes it really easy to collaborate when designing landing pages, and people can comment over the design as you can do with InVision or Figma, to make sure that everybody is aligned.
  • Reusable content & responsive design tools. You can save entire blocks to reuse in other pages, and completely edit the mobile version of your page, grouping multiple widgets together to ensure that they stay together.
  • Really detailed analytics. It offers in-dashboard analytics and the possibility to connect it to your third-party analytics services, making it easy to add their scripts, and you can even get more advanced options, like heatmaps.

2. Leadpages

A landing page builder with dozens of templates, that also allows you to build pop-ups, alert bars and so on with a drag-and-drop editor, with an own build analytics and A/B testing system. It is also easy to integrate with other tools.

Why do we like it?

  • Notifications bars & popups. It allows you to create them by using the same drag and drop editor, but also to trigger popups via user action or timing, and you can also use them on your landing pages or any other one.
  • Great widgets selection. It currently offers 18 different widgets to add multimedia content, but also icons, calendars, social media options and a checkout widget that will make your life easier if you have an eCommerce.
  • Tons of integrations. You can connect it to many email marketing services, webinar tools, payment gateways, CRM... and it is also easy to publish your landing pages to your own website via HTML or a WordPress plugin.

3. Landingi

A landing page builder and marketing platform, with 200+ editable templates. It also allows you to create pop-ups, A/B tests and marketing funnels, using a drag & drop editor, and it also includes leads management and image optimization.

Why do we like it?

  • Newer, but competent and updated. A very similar tool to the previous ones, but with a very competitive price, that is also constantly being updated and improved. Its support service will not disappoint you either.
  • Templates tailored for goals and industries. No matter what plan you choose, you have access to every available template, but you can also import your own file, or create your landing page from scratch.
  • Widgets, testing tools and stock images. Choose from a big variety of widgets, and SEO and testing tools, but also third-party apps integrations and thousands of royalty-free stock images to use anywhere.

To send transactional emails

1. SendGrid

A transactional and email marketing email platform that allows you to send emails without having to maintain email servers, with dynamic templates. It is cloud-based, easy to scale, and it also has market leading deliverability, and customizable analytics in real time.

Why do we like it?

  • Detailed email analytics & live support. It includes everything from basics of clicks and opens to looking at which browsers and mailbox providers your customers use, and also 24/7 live support to help you with any issue.
  • Easy integrations & deliverability rates. It is really easy to integrate it with any third-party service with an API, and they have a good reputation for having really good deliverability rates.
  • Compatible with Microsoft Office Suite. SendGrid provides this system integration that will guarantee a great performance of your templates and designs on this platform. Perfect for corporate emails.

2. MailJet

A transactional and email marketing software that enables you to build, send, and monitor email marketing campaigns at scale. It works with a drag-and-drop editor, that allows real-time collaboration, and editable responsive and editable email templates.

Why do we like it?

  • Complete email delivery tracking. From open and click tracking, in addition to real-time analytics, this service allows you to track and report the full cycle of what happens to your emails after they’re sent.
  • Good newsletter support too. In addition to offering a WYSIWYG editor to create newsletters, as both of them do, it also offers custom headers, scheduled releases, and the possibility to segment lists with your CRM.
  • Mobile access to edition. While your phone might not be the ideal device to design your next newsletter on, it might be nice to have it on hand while you’re away from the office. Mailjet offers this both for iPhone and Android.

To make email marketing

1. MailChimp

An email-based marketing platform that helps you create multichannel campaigns with a drag-and-drop editor, editable templates and real-time analytics. It also includes data-based and behavior-based automations, triggering custom actions with other services.

Why do we like it?

  • Templates & flexible edition. A really big amount of templates, and also a really easy learning curve on designing for any device. Its editor is very flexible, intuitive and easy to use, coding skills aren't needed at all.
  • Quality reports & analytics. A really complete and understandable data visualization panel, that allows you to know everything that happens with your newsletters at a glance, in addition to free testing tools.
  • Great pricing & free plan. If you have less than 50,000 subscribers, MailChimp offers a series of more than affordable plans for those who are just starting out, and it's free if you have less than 2,000.

2. Active Campaign

An advanced marketing platform to obtain customers and manage relations with the existing contacts throughout the sales process. It includes email marketing, marketing automation and CRM solutions, to create complete marketing funnels.

Why do we like it?

  • Focus on the completion of goals and sales. It includes a customer relationship management dashboard that organizes your customers data, allowing you to set campaign goals, and track aggregated data from clients.
  • Advanced list management. It allows you to segment contacts via tags or custom fields that can even be added or removed via automations, offering also lead scoring, to assign scores based on actions taken by subscribers.
  • Marketing automation. Combine any number of triggers, actions and conditions to build custom and sophisticated workflows for sending emails, scoring leads, segmenting and tagging data, and so on.

To include payments and subscription plans

1. Stripe

A payment gateway service that offers a big variety of possibilities including custom one-charge payments, donations, subscription plans, transaction fees... but also ease of setup, many cards and payment methods accepted, and great support. Simply our favorite!

Why do we like it?

  • Developer first & live support. Stripe handles PCI compliance for its merchants, which means no fees or additional work on your side, and it truly has set the bar about building APIs and documentation.
  • Customer billing portal. A new product which enables your customers to update payment methods, manage subscriptions, and view their payment history, that will save you a lot of development time.
  • Easy management of payment plans. Stripe has recently and completely reformulated its payment and subscription plans management, making it even easier to set up and integrate them into your forms.

To manage users information

1. HubSpot

A CRM software that works as a full platform of marketing, sales and customer service. It provides tools for social media marketing and customer support, content management, web analytics, landing pages, and search engine optimization.

Why do we like it?

  • Marketing & testing tools. In addition to the sales dashboard, it includes tools to carry out your marketing strategy: goal settings and reporting, email tracking, integration and scheduling, and even testing functionalities.
  • Dynamic integration ecosystem. It offers an open API configuration to facilitate integrations with a wide range of third-party applications like, SugarCRM, NetSuite, Microsoft Dynamics CRM and others.
  • Permanently free. The HubSpot CRM is free with unlimited users for any size of business and no time limit, so this is a great option to try it if you are starting but you also have big plans for the future.

2. Pipedrive

A CRM software and pipeline management solution that allows businesses to plan their sales activities and monitor deals. It streamlines every action involved in converting a potential deal into a sale, helping teams manage intricate or lengthy sales processes.

Why do we like it?

  • Sales team first. It focuses on building and organizing sales leads, tracking processes, and following up on the most critical deals, seeking to improve and coordinate the management of the sales pipeline.
  • Really easy-to-track processes. Its main window is centered on the pipeline management functions, with an organized visual structure that makes it easy for everyone to comprehend the processes and their status.
  • Pay per user pricing. Choose between three different service plans (Silver, Gold or Platinum) according to the functionalities you need, and pay only for the users you need. It will save you a lot of time coordinating sales teams.

To build your own databases

1. Airtable

A powerful database with the appearance of a spreadsheet, that allows you to organize anything. It's visually appealing and easy to use, but also potent enough to be used as CRM, and for task management, project planning, and tracking inventory.

Why do we like it?

  • A powerful database. The spreadsheets and databases you create with it can be as complex or simple as you need them to be. It's spreadsheets multiplied by one hundred, with far more sophisticated features.
  • Visually pleasing & easier to navigate. If Excel and Google Sheets shine when it comes to data calculations, Airtable shines when it comes to data organization, storage, grouping, and retrieval. Perfect to organize it all.
  • Really adaptive & flexible. It offers so many different options in terms of how information can be categorized and organized, so it can be used by teams or individuals doing virtually any kind of project or data storage.

2. Retool

A drag-and-drop editor to build internal tools and connect them to your databases. Based on the idea that almost all internal tools are made up of very similar components, it provides building blocks for easy creation, saving a lot of development time on this.

Why do we like it?

  • Solid pre-built components. It provides a wide range of building blocks and common customizable components, that include GitHub PR Dashboard, Charts, Customer Support Tools, and Firebase Admin Panel.
  • Strong integrations. It allows you to connect your app to databases such as mongoDB, MySQL, Sheets, Excel and Athena, as well as APIs like Twilio, Slack, Salesforce, GraphQL, Github and more.
  • Data security. It manages user authentication, authorization, and audit logs, and it also allows you to block network connections by hosting Retool on-premise, behind your own VPN, and in your own virtual private cloud.

To automate tasks and link services

1. Integromat

An integration platform that enables you to connect apps and automate workflows using a visual builder. It allows you to automate processes that you currently handle manually, linking your favorite apps, services and devices, but also to transfer and transform data.

Why do we like it?

  • An easy-to-use interface. You can do almost everything with fewer than 5 clicks, and the steps to set up an automation workflow (scenarios) are displayed in a very visual way, making them even easier to configure.
  • Tons of integrations. It supports most of the popular apps and services, and through its HTTP/SOAP and JSON modules, it also allows you to connect to almost any web service, turning it into a really powerful tool.
  • Attractive pricing. You can start from free and then grow, depending on the number of automations and processes you need to run. It is a really good option for beginners and small businesses.

2. Zapier

An integration platform to connect apps and automate workflows, using Zaps: events in your apps that kick off custom workflows, automating tasks in the background. They are triggered to move info between your web apps, so you can focus on more important work.

Why do we like it?

  • Granularity & customization. Automations can be really in depth as it provides any level of granularity. You can select the specific fields on the trigger service and place it on the action service to include in automation, and custom fields and static texts are also available.
  • Native integrations & extensive history. It provides also some various pre-made integrations to avoid users to perform complicated installations, and a task history to easily check which of them were executed successfully or not, but also to make them easily replicable.
  • Flexible pricing. You can start with a free version of this software, and then upgrade by choosing one of the quote-based plans that are designed to fit different types of budgets and feature requirements.

So what's next?

As you surely already know, coming up with an idea is only halfway down the road. A good analysis of what products already exist in the market, and the tools with which you can start to build, are essential to turn that idea into something bigger.

Launching an MVP will help you validate hypotheses, know your future clients, solve doubts, find new ideas and start a path that, we hope, will grow over time. These tools will help you in the early stages, and they will save you a lot of time, and also headaches.

You are free in your choice! Depending on your business idea, you can use different types of tools or try a combination of them to get an even better result.

If you are not a developer, we recommend that you take a look at this Innovate post on how to build a product without coding skills. You will learn, step by step, how to create a good proof of concept without investing a huge amount of money.

Do you want to use Arengu to build your MVP? Sign up free or book a demo with our team to level up your user authentication experience. We will love to receive your feedback!

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