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Marketing Tools for Small Business

Marketing Tools for Small Business

Marketing tools come in all sorts of sizes and costs, but which marketing tools for small business are the best fit?

These following is a list of tools that we work with regularly, and recommend to our clients.

We’ve selected them because they are either:

  1. Low cost to entry
  2. Make life or your marketing better and more efficient (saves you time)
  3. No or little technical expertise required.

Are there better tools on the market? Most likely, but I’ve selected these tools because they are priced at a point that makes sense for small business with limited resources…until you graduate beyond!

Categories

We've categorised the marketing tools for small business into the research, selling and conversion tools - we think this way to keep the focus on what a small business needs to be doing.

As an explanation for each category:

1. Research & Assessment tools

If you need to create a marketing plan, understand your audience, their digital behaviour, how to best position and sell yourself online – and assess how things are going, these tools will hit the spot. We use these a LOT. We use them to troubleshoot and create unique strategies to fit each of our client’s businesses.

2. Selling tools

This category are the tools that you need to either get the work done (your marketing work that is), automate, or to help you to put your business out there. They range from email and automation platforms to influencer connection platforms.

3. Conversion tools

This category are those tools that are about the final ‘sale’ – so the website and other platforms to help you close the deal!

4. Other tools

A mish-mash of miscellaneous that do time-saving activities for you - I’ve included graphics and image tools here.

Research and Assessment Tools

Google Analytics, Tag Manager and Data Studio

Use for: If you have your analytics set up properly, you will have incredibly rich information to gain insights on your visitors to your website, from which mobile phone they prefer to the pages that they spend the most time on and which channels send the most traffic! With the right setup with goals and tracking in place the ongoing optimisation information and insights are fabulous.

Cost: Free

Time to setup: hours depending on the complexity of your conversion tracking you need!

Downside: And steep learning curve if you’ve never used it before

https://datastudio.google.com/

https://analytics.google.com/analytics/web/#/

 

Facebook Ads Library

Use for: Use for researching content, help understand your audience, market and competitors

Cost: Free

Time to setup: None

Downside: No downside

https://www.facebook.com/ads/library/

 

Facebook Audience Insights and Ads Targeting Dashboard 

Use for: Use for researching your audience Facebook to help you understand how to best target them on Facebook – and your market and competitors

Cost: zippo

Time to setup: < 30 minutes

Downside: Facebook centric view of your audience

https://www.facebook.com/business/insights/tools/audience-insights

 

Buzzsumo

Use for: Use for researching content, and trends to help understand your audience, market and competitors

Cost: 30 day free trial and then US$99 per month

Time to setup: < 1 minute

Downside: No downside on this one except for cost!

https://buzzsumo.com/

 

Google Keyword planner
Use for: Researching keywords and intent for your audience and your ‘product/ service’. It can also provide insights into understanding the search landscape for your industry/ competitors.

Cost: Free

Time to setup: very little

Downside: If you don't have an active ad campaign, then you will get just ranges of volumes which are not very useful.

https://ads.google.com/

 

SEM Rush
Use for: Researching keywords and the organic search market for your product or service, and gain valuable insights on your competitors – from where their traffic comes from and what they are ranking for and inbound links.

Cost: Free trial and $119.95 per month

Time to setup: Very little

Downside: Cost – you may only want to subscribe for a month or two while you are getting your research done.

https://semrush.com

 

Google Optimize
Use for: Use for testing and optimising your landing pages and website content. Easy to set up and provides you with a way to optimise the effectiveness of your content.

Cost: Free

Time to setup: < 60 minutes

Downside: It doesn’t tell you ‘what’ to test – that’s up to you.

https://marketingplatform.google.com/about/optimize/

 

Troubleshooting Guide for the DIY Marketer
Use for: Applying all of the above tools to answer the right questions to work out what’s working, what’s not and how to best optimise your marketing for results!

Cost: Free

Time to setup: < 60 minutes

Downside: It may just leave you with more questions to ask, but is a really good way to start getting serious about your marketing.

https://www.theonlinefix.com/marketing-troubleshooting

Selling tools

Ads platforms
Use for: You can run ads online in just about any of the platforms out there – from Facebook, Pinterest, LinkedIn through to Google and Microsoft. Ads let you get Infront of your audience without having established a ‘connection’ beforehand and can be super effective is done right.

Cost: How long is a piece of string – really this depends on your business, audience, the platform etc

Time to setup: Really does depend…

Downside: It’s a very easy way to throw good money after bad. You can spend a lot and not see any results if you are not strategic and careful about how you go about things.

Get in touch with us to discuss which might be the right platform and strategy for an ads program for you.

https://www.theonlinefix.com/ads-management

 

Brandstory Hero’s Journey
Use for: A great tool to help you articulate how to best talk about yourself – positioning and the words you used to grab someone’s attention are super important and this tool makes it easy.

Cost: free

Time to setup: < 60 minutes

Downside: A starting point – but not the endpoint

https://www.mystorybrand.com/

 

Hubspot’s Persona tool
Use for: Another guided tool asking you the right questions to help build your audience profile to help you nail your marketing – but this is just the start. Use all the tools in the research section to build out the profile even further.

Cost: 30 day free trial and then US$99 per month

Time to setup: < 60 minutes

Downside: A starting point – but not the endpoint

https://www.hubspot.com/make-my-persona

 

SocialChamp
Use for: Scheduling multiple social accounts with image, or video posts in your feed and stories. You can also organize incoming messages, track analytics and generate reports. Connects with all the main social platforms.

Cost: Free for up to 3 social profiles and unlimited number of scheduled posts

Time to setup: < 60 minutes

Downside: No grid view for Instagram.

https://socialchamp.io/

 

Meta Business Suite
Use for: Meta has a free scheduling tool that works for both Facebook and Instagram with basic functionality. It’s a centre to see all of your content published and scheduled content.

Cost: Free

Time to setup: < 15 minutes

Downside: Interface is a little hard and varies across both Instagram and Facebook but good once you get used to it.

https://business.facebook.com/creatorstudio/home

 

Planoly
Use for: Scheduling your social media – best for when Instagram is your primary social channel. Can also post to Facebook and Pinterest. A great tool to preplan the entire grid and your stories, curate content from other accounts, and have saved libraries of hashtags. This is a real time saving tool.

Cost: Free for 30 uploads per month and only posting to Instagram, $7 US for entry level plan.

Time to setup: < 15 minutes

Downside: The Paid version is where the real time saving comes in.

https://www.planoly.com/referral/theonlinefix

 

Collabosaurus

Use for: Finding and connecting with an influencer that is open to collaborating with you. They also provide support around pitching and legal documents.

Cost: Free to try and then they charge once you want to make a connection.

Time to setup: < 30 minutes

Downside: It’s all in the art of picking a good match to collaborate with.

https://www.collabosaurus.com/

 

The Right Fit

Use for: Finding and connecting with influencer similar to Collabosaurus

Cost: cost of connection will depend on the influencer you choose to work with.

Time to setup: < 30 minutes

Downside: Just because they post doesn’t mean you’ll get traction, so select carefully for relevance and follow them for a while beforehand to check how much engagement they get.

https://theright.fit/

 

Mailerlite

Use for: Email campaigns, forms, automated sequences, landing pages.

Cost: Free up to 1000 emails and 12,000 emails per month

Time to setup: < 60 minutes but the work is in getting your templates/ emails out there door!

Downside: If you have a large list to import this will be an issue as the platform has strong spam policies and will restrict your \'send\' limit till you build up a quality score on deliverability.

https://mailerlite.com/

 

Sendpulse

Use for: Capturing and sending emails as well as website notifications and text and setting up automations and cross channel interactions. This tool also has a basic CRM which may be useful if you have a business with ‘deal’ type of sales.

Cost: Free up to 500 subscribers

Time to setup: < 60 minutes

Downside: A learning curve and low subscriber fee for free😊

https://sendpulse.com/

 

Reviews on my website
Use for: Display reviews from Google, Facebook and other platforms on your website

Cost: Free for basics and latest five reviews

Time to setup: < 30 minutes

Downside: If you have negative reviews, these can’t be filtered out unless you pay for it.😊 But be careful in doing so as it may backfire on you…

https://reviewsonmywebsite.com/

Conversion tools

You can book me

Use for: Great for taking online appointments and bookings. Great time saver to save the to-ing and fro-ing via email or phone calls to find a time that suits.

Cost: Free version but more advanced features like automations and reminders starts at US$10 per month

Time to setup: <60 minutes

Downside: If you are using it a lot then you will likely want to start paying to make it a better experience for your clients.

https://app.youcanbook.me/

Apptoto 

Use for: Managing your calendar with your clients. Sends meeting reminders as both text and email, and on what ever tailored schedule you setup. Has inbuilt reporting on no shows and tracking overall meeting performance. Also provides you with a front facing calendar for your clients to make meetings directly with as well as rescheduling. Saves you a lot of time with the \'reply with Yes to keep your booking\' feature.

Cost: $29 for three calendars.

Time to setup: <60 minutes

Strong consideration: Powerful amount of tailoring, particularly if you rely on clients turning up for income. Integrates with both Google and Office / MS.

Downside: Cost but I argue I made it back in the first month with the reduced no shows.

https://apptoto.com/

 

CRM Hubspot
Use for: Capturing and fostering leads and servicing clients. It’s a CRM that you can connect up your forms, email, messenger to so you can see all your contacts in place and develop ‘sales’ conversions.

Cost: Free for CRM

Time to setup: Set aside a day! And it’s a step learning curve if you have not worked with a CRM before.

Downside: It doesn’t take long before things like automation and sending emails etc start to be limiting in the free version. The next step is costly at $60 per month for the ‘entry’ level sales module.

https://www.hubspot.com/

GiftUp.

Use for: If you are a service-oriented business and want to be able make your offer available to your audience in the Instagram/ Facebook environment, then giftup will help you do it as a gift card.

Cost: Zero fee to use, but commission paid on any sales

Time to setup: <15 minutes (based on 1-2 products)

Downside: As you scale and sell more you will likely want a more cost-efficient platform but great to start with as you test and build your sales.

https://giftup.app/

Websites
This is a vexing topic because every business has a different need when it comes to a website. So rather than a list of tools, here is a short table of criteria to help guide you to the right solution.

WordPress

  • Most common
  • Will need a developer
  • Easy to customise
  • Can get expensive
  • Great SEO potential but only if you have good developer and you put the time into good keyword research, content optimised for these AND building in bound links.

Shopify 

  • Great for online retail
  • Great support
  • May need some developer help
  • Can be used as just a check out e.g. from FB/ Instagram
  • Great SEO out of the box, but as above you will need to pay attention to good keyword research, content optimised for these AND building in bound links.

Squarespace

  • Easy DIY
  • Good if you have limited budget and no tech skills
  • No need for custom build
  • Good SEO out of the box, good keyword research, content optimised for these AND building in bound links.

A word on SEO. It’s a common belief that wordpress is a good pick for search oriented digital marketing strategies. It’s true. But I have seen more under-ranking wordpress sites than Squarespace or Shopify. The key point here is that SEO for wordpress requires the skills of a good developer who will set your site up properly. Then you need to focus on your keywords, content, links etc etc. SEO is not just about the technicals😊.

Other tools

Zapier

Use for: I love this tool. It helps to connect many of the above to work together passing information and triggering actions automatically.

Cost: Free for three zaps.

Time to setup: <30 minutes for your first zap

Downside: Not all tools / apps are available but there are a great many that are there ready to make your life easy.

https://zapier.com/

 

Canva

Use for: Creation images for your marketing

Cost: Free Time to setup: <1 minute with small learning curve

Downside: Some handy features are paid eg. Resizing.

https://canva.com

 

Easel.ly

Use for: Creating complex info graphics.

Cost: Free version but more advanced features like automations and reminders starts at US$15 per month

Time to setup: <5 minutes with small learning curve

Downside: The better templates are available in the paid version.

https://www.easel.ly/

 

Animoto

Use for: Creating simple videos

Cost: Free

Time to setup: <5 minutes with small learning curve

Downside: Branding on the free version

https://animoto.com/

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