18 Marketing Tools for Small Businesses
It’s hard to argue with the fact that tools do help run things more smoothly. And as a digital business — tools are all about streamlining the business operations. This post is going to focus on marketing tools for small businesses, such as yours.
We’re mostly going to look at either free or affordable tools, but if we see an opportunity to include an invaluable tool — we will do so. Ahrefs, a renowned SEO tool, can be quite expensive — but let us assure you that it is also one of the best tools of its kind. Sometimes, the price does make all the difference.
And as for categories, we’ll be covering social media, website design, search engine optimization, live support systems, email marketing, and content production. In total, a superb list of 18 marketing tools which you can start using today.
Very few channels provide as much flexibility as social media. As a small business owner, you might not have a huge budget for marketing. We get that. So, rather than focusing on expensive tools — here are a few free ones. Mostly, we’re focusing on Instagram and Twitter since they’re so easy to use, and generally provide a solid return on your time investment.
Twitter can seem pretty dull at first. You create an account, follow people, and all you see is a constant news feed of the latest tweets. Even the search function is limited in a sense that you can’t truly keep up with exploring the topics you work with on a daily basis.
So, an alternative to fixing this problem is to use TweetDeck. This is an official application made by Twitter, which greatly enhances your Twitter experience. It’s like having a control platform of all the things you need in one unified dashboard.
TweetDeck can be configured to monitor custom search results, to create groups of people you follow, and to manage incoming Twitter streams. When you create a new Column, it allows you to select from notifications, lists, collections, trends, and much more.
Instagram is yet another highly popular social media platform. Not only is it great for business, but it’s also wonderful for building a strong brand image. However, Instagram is not known for providing a reliable way of scheduling content. Most of the time, you have to do everything manually — which over time can add up to days, weeks and even months of the extra workload.
So, to battle this — Later has created their own Instagram scheduling platform. You can spend less than 30 minutes in your Later account to schedule content for up to a week at a time. There are no bottlenecks either. The platform is simple to use, and the overall user interface is based on a calendar-style approach.
Best of all, you can sync your content from many different external sources. Including your smartphone or desktop computer, or services like Dropbox and Google Drive. Likewise, any content you upload will be saved in Later’s system for easier access next time that you need it.
Stories are hard to miss. Both Instagram and Facebook have put enormous emphasis on letting users tell stories. A story is essentially a small video clip in which you either promote something or simply share. Stories add a little more life to otherwise bland photos, but they can also be made to be fun, interactive, and much more.
And while creating stories is generally quite simple, you might benefit from using a service like Unfold to further improve your Story quality. Unfold is a unique toolkit for iOS and Android which gives you pre-built templates for creating amazing social media stories.
It is completely free with more than 65,000 ratings on the Apple Store alone. In-app purchases are available if you would like to access any of the 90+ premium templates.
An email list is like having a personal and secluded community with your subscribers. You can do everything from run promotions to doing basic announcement communication. But one thing is clear, email marketing can greatly improve your sales numbers. And with the following tools, it will be easy both to collect subscribers but also to communicate with them.
Litmus will supercharge your entire email marketing process. The platform is focused on providing a reliable means for building and managing consistent email campaigns. Litmus goes as far as to ensure that you never send out broken emails or emails that certain devices can’t view.
Litmus scans your emails against 25+ different tests, identifies issues that might keep you from the inbox, and provides actionable advice for how to fix them. Get the peace of mind that comes with knowing if your brand is likely to reach the inbox.
Indeed, Litmus will even check if your emails are being blocked by major email services like Gmail or Yahoo. It’s that good! Each campaign you build will also come with a checklist so that you never send an email that’s not up to par.
How many times have you given up on an email marketing service because it is too expensive? Sure, MailChimp offers a free account for up to 2,000 subscribers. But after that, the prices skyrocket to insane prices that a small business won’t be able to keep up with. As a result, it’s necessary to look for alternatives. And one of the best to do it right now is EmailOctupus.
These guys are using the Amazon SES service to provide extremely competitive pricing for sending emails to large email lists. For example, if you have a list of 25,000 subscribers — it will cost you around $50 per month to maintain this list. Whereas MailChimp might charge you up to $250 for those same numbers. So, the difference is stark.
Within 30 minutes of sending your first campaign, EmailOctopus will provide in-depth data on its performance. With each click and open tracked alongside the bounces and unsubscribes, you’ll be able to monitor the performance of each and every campaign with ease. And this is only one of the many features this great platform provides.
Ask yourself, how many times have you given up on contacting someone because you could not find their email address? Some people are good at hiding their email, and for good reasons. But other times, you’re simply not having the luck you need. And in those cases, we recommend checking out Connect.
The Connect app will help you find the email address of someone in less than a few seconds. You can install it for Gmail or Outlook and start using it right away. Contacts can be looked up on individual basis through name and surname, but Connect also supports searching for emails from a specific domain name.
So, if you know where a specific person works, this will improve your chances of finding their correct email address. It’s an extremely effective app and one that we can’t recommend enough for small business people.
Website Design & Development
If you can’t decide on a platform to use for your website, let us help you. We’re big fans of WordPress here, and we believe it is the best platform for both personal needs but also serious business requirements. Fortune 500 companies are well-known for relying on WordPress, so you know you’re in good hands.
If you can’t decide on which platform to use for your website, then look no further than WordPress. It is the most complete CMS platform in the world, and will cost you next to zero to upkeep and maintain properly.
WordPress offers things like free themes, free plugins, and access to one of the largest developer communities in the world. With WordPress, you can start a simple website or you can create an entire structure around your business. Many small business owners are using WordPress to sell their products, courses, learning materials, and any kind of services.
And the best part is, you can learn how to use WordPress in less than a day. This is also largely the reason why it’s so popular. Whereas a custom development agency might charge you thousands of dollars for a functional system — WordPress can do the same thing for free in most cases.
One of the things you’re going to need when working with WordPress is a website theme. The way it works in WordPress is simple. A theme can be used to kickstart an entire category of a specific website.
For example, there are themes for marketing agencies, for eLearning businesses, and for creative needs alike. All you have to do is find a matching style to your business purpose.
And seeing as how we are theme developers ourselves, we recommend you first take a look at the StylemixThemes collection. Our themes cover a broad range of categories and purposes. Including simpler things like blogging, all the way up to creative agencies, cryptocurrencies, and more!
Furthermore, we provide extremely flexible management options. So, you can always apply custom designs and make design changes that feel good for your business.
Alright. So, you have your platform and you have a reliable site to choose a theme from. But, what if you get stuck with the design process? How do you deal with creating a web design that conveys the image of your brand?
Certainly, hiring an external designer might be expensive, and learning UI/UX design from scratch might prove to take a lot of time. In cases like this, the best alternative is to explore sites that list design inspiration. One such site is H69 — which displays a large collection of landing page designs from every business category imaginable.
By seeing and recognizing common trends, you can also apply similar design techniques to your own website designs. And believe us, modern design tools in WordPress makes this process extremely easy.
Content plays a critical role in your marketing success. And keep in mind that content comes in many different forms, too. For this section, we’re highlighting tools that will help you both produce content, but also find the most popular topics and ideas across the entirety of the web.
StoryChief is an extremely potent content marketing solution for small business teams. It does everything from helping you manage your website, social media content, newsletters, and much more. Teams can use StoryChief to collaborate together on stories, refine those stories, and then have them published across the web in seconds.
And yes, StoryChief will monitor the performance of your stories among other metrics. A single story you write can be instantly published on Medium, Blogger, WordPress, MailChimp, Messenger Services, and many other content channels.
The content you write with this platform can also be scheduled for publishing at a specific date. So, in many ways, it also works as a content calendar solution. In short, if you have been planning to start a content strategy for your business — this tool will give you all the freedom to get this process moving forward smoothly.
While Ubersuggest is often regarded as a SEO tool, it definitely plays a massive role in content production. It does so by giving you an understand of all the keywords that other websites are ranking well for. Once you have this keyword information, you can better prepare future content ideas for your blog and other content marketing efforts.
Neil Patel has been super dedicated in constantly updating this tool with modern features, too. The latest update lets you type in your domain and that of your competition. As a result, you’ll be able to quickly recognize potentially lost keyword opportunities.
Ubersuggest also does reporting on the number of social shares a page has. And monitors things like the average CPC for specific keywords. This lets you choose keywords that are selling well within advertising platforms.
If you want to create content that gets seen by millions of people, you first have to understand what such content looks like. Thankfully, BuzzSumo makes this extremely easy. Just enter a specific topic or a keyword, and the platform will output a list of the most popular posts for those said phrases.
The popularity of content is based on social media shares, either individually or combined altogether. E.g. For some topics, you might only want to look up Twitter numbers, or Facebook only. Also, BuzzSumo gives you insight into the latest content trends, and potential areas in which you could capitalize with your own unique ideas.
And last but not least, BuzzSumo provides exceptional tools for finding influencers in a specific field. The Influencer Research tools help you quickly find people who are extremely influential in any given area. BuzzSumo measures both expertise and social reach for each individual influencer. As a result, you can pick only those that resonate with your needs at any given time.
Live Chat & Online Assistants
Never lose a potential customer again! Here are the top three live chat & online assistant tools. Connect with your customers in real-time, or configure an intelligent robot to do all the talking for you while you’re away. These tools are bound to change your perspective on online support.
Do you need a modern and an intelligent online assistant for your project? Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning are huge industries right now, helping brands like yours to minimize the required effort of smooth support management. And Articbot is definitely one of the more advanced assistants to get the job done.
Articbot is based on ASCORE (Articbot Semantic Core engine) developed by us. It is a composition of various techniques such as natural language processing, machine learning, AI etc. It allows exploring the content in user’s context deeper than traditional text matching. Ascore is written in c# language. Ascore is a bot framework for articbot. written in c#.
In other words, Articbot will use the queries submitted by your users to continuously learn about their needs. And in the end, produce highly-targeted answers that remove the need for a real person to sit and monitor support queries.
The platform can understand and reply to support queries in more than 100+ languages. Making it amongst the most bilingual tools on the market. Further, it supports multiple-question queries and deep questions.
Thousands of customers will leave your site unless they can get a straightforward answer to their support question. Back in the day, most of this was done on an email/phone basis. Customers had to write out long emails and hope for a swift reply. And in some cases, they would need to call the support center if a number was provided.
These days though, most businesses are comfortable with using a live chat software. A live chat is a simply system implemented in your website to ensure that customers can reach out to you quickly and effectively.
As a business owner, you can assign people who will watch over the live chat system and keep the responses flowing on a regular basis. Software like ProProfs will even specify how long a user should expect to wait. This is all calculated based on recent activity that an administrator has had with the support platform.
Acquire is yet another wonderful choice for implementing live chat software. It is most renowned for its complex yet easy to use back-end interface. In many ways, Acquire’s system is designed to work as a full-fledged support system for your entire digital business.
Each new chat window is saved as an individual support “connection”. Whenever customers start a new session, you’ll automatically be able to see the entire chat history. This means that you’ll spend a lot less time trying to understand customers’ problem should they contact you again.
Now, the big one with Acquire is that it implements a full-on “screen sharing” system. Essentially, you and your customer can share screens (you helping them) in a single click of a button. Of course, there are precautions like registration and such. But, overall, if you provide technical services, then using Acquire’s screen sharing features will greatly reduce the time takes to help a customer resolve that technical issue.
Search Engine Optimization
Take your SEO game to the next level with these interesting apps and tools. Guaranteed to give you ample amount of keyword suggestions among other useful resources. If you’re new to SEO, check out our special WordPress SEO Guide. It will take you from zero to pro in less than an hour!
Although Ahrefs is one of the most expensive SEO tools on the market. It certainly is one of the, if not the best tools you’ll ever find. The company has invested enormous resources in developing tools that will blow your mind!
The Content Discovery tool monitors the entire web for latest trends. As a result, you can look up trends for the last hour, day, week, or month. Such detailed data gives you a thorough insight into what is trending in your industry. You can then use this data to produce highly targeted content to your audience.
Likewise, Ahrefs has some of the best keyword research tools on the market. Their tools include things like sorting out results based on specific criteria. For example, only show keywords for which there are “Google Snippets” available. This way, you can target the same keywords and try to outrank the competition for highly potent keywords.
I’d recommend to take them up on their “7 days for $7” trial offer. In those 7 days, you’ll realize just how crazy this software is for SEO purposes. Without it, your SEO game will suffer greatly and you might miss out on backlink opportunities and so forth.
Finding really good keywords isn’t an easy task. A lot of modern keyword research tools tend to be overly saturated. There’s only so far you can go with mundane two-word keywords these days.
Keyworddit is a unique tool which can fetch data from a specific sub-reddit and display the most popular keywords used within that sub-reddit. There are more than 150,000 Reddit communities. So, the potential for finding highly targeted keywords is extremely high.
You can go on Reddit and look up specific communities. Then, add those communities to the Keyworddit tool to see the most popular keywords.
Keywords Everywhere is a very popular browser extension which reports keyword analysis on 16 unique sites. Those sites include Google Search, Amazon, YouTube, Etsy, Bing, eBay, and many others.
So, whenever you look something up on the said sites — you’ll also get additional keyword results from the Keywords Everywhere extension. The additional results are generally displayed somewhere on the sidebar of the original search query.
By using this tool, you’ll better how certain things are performing on many different websites. And with this data, you can better prepare your own content for best SEO results.
As you can see, there’s no shortage for variety of exceptional marketing tools. As a small business, you need every little boost of help that you can get. And with these tools, we believe that you’re going to be getting results in as little as few days.
And, maybe, some of the suggestions in this roundup will give you new ideas on how to look at things. There’s so much diversity in the type of tools that creators are making. Use them to your advantage and watch your business grow!