Marketing entails utilizing tactics that position your brand as the go-to for consumers seeking to satisfy a need within a specified market niche. A business may have the most original product or service, but it will likely fail if it does not market. According to one report, 14% of businesses fail due to poor marketing.
Marketing has evolved from ATL (above the line) and word-of-mouth techniques to online marketing tools. However, given the many marketing tools available, which are worth including in your marketing budget? Below is an overview of the marketing tools every small business needs to succeed.
Content Creation Tools
Content is the driving force behind online marketing, so small businesses must leverage content to connect with their audiences and grow. According to a consumer survey report, 84% of consumers share content about brands and causes they care about. They also share content to feel helpful, define themselves, and grow relationships.
Small businesses seeking to grow must utilize content-creation tools to generate helpful and sharable content. Marketing content ranges from blogs to audio and audio-visual content.
Here are must-have content creation tools for small businesses to facilitate topic research, track consumer interests, and create content templates.
SEMRush is among the top content creation tools, helping small businesses to create content that sets them above the competition. The diverse software as a service platform has numerous tools that facilitate content creation. Such tools include content calendar templates to create editorial calendar tips.
SEMRush also has topic research tools that help generate exceptional topic ideas to drive traffic to your website. And it connects small business owners to professional copywriters offering blog writing services to generate top-notch content for their market niches.
Once the content is published, the platform monitors marketing trends to help small businesses avoid utilizing obsolete content strategies. It also offers content-auditing and post-auditing tools to ensure small businesses reap maximum benefits from their content strategy.
Small businesses can start using SEM rush on a free subscription and switch to a higher subscription after testing and finding value in the marketing metrics and KPIs in the premium SEMRush.
Content in the marketing context extends to include graphics, and copy with accompanying graphics performs significantly better than plain text. However, graphic design is a specialized skill that not all small business owners possess. Fortunately, small business owners can use graphic design and editing tools like Canva to create simple graphics to accompany copy.
Email Marketing Tools
Small businesses often have a tight budget, meaning every cent has to count and deliver a significant return on investment (ROI). Although ROI is a bit of a guessing game, the consensus among digital marketers and webmasters is that you can never go wrong by investing in email marketing. Statistics on the top email marketing data from 2023, show that businesses generate $42 for every $1 spent on email marketing strategies.
Email marketing allows a small business to establish direct contact with consumers and segment the consumers according to market demographics. Therefore, below are the most efficient email marketing tools every small business should use for lead generation and customer retention efforts.
MailChimp is the best tool for running a robust email marketing campaign for the following reasons. First, MailChimp has a user-friendly interface, allowing even small business owners with limited technical competence to create and run a successful email marketing campaign.
Second, besides an intuitive interface, MailChimp also doubles as an analytics tool, helping small business marketers monitor how consumers interact with different emails and generate user-friendly content.
Third, the email marketing platform includes a free basic plan. Therefore, you can channel the funds for email marketing towards other marketing strategies.
2. Constant Contact
Constant Contact is a comprehensive email marketing service allowing small business owners to monitor contact, email lists, templates, email marketing editorial calendars, and more from one platform. The platform is famous for its ease of use and features over 400 email templates to suit diverse audiences.
This tool is among the most affordable email marketing tools, with a basic subscription starting from as low as USD5 per month. Its versatile platform with outstanding integrated features that allow marketers to link it with various social media and e-commerce platforms.
Lastly, Constant Contact offers unparalleled customer support, ideal for small business owners new to digital marketing. You can contact the platform’s customer support team via live chat, email, community support, or phone.
SendinBlue is a user-friendly email marketing platform with drag-and-drop features that make creating and executing an email marketing campaign easy. Its drag-and-drop feature makes SendinBlue rank highly for ease of use, a helpful feature for small business owners venturing into the complex email marketing world.
Besides drag-and-drop email marketing, the platform has automation tools, including user segmentation, to facilitate analytics and customer retargeting campaigns. Although SendinBlue has a free plan, you can subscribe to the platform’s premium brand and receive upgrades from as low as USD25 per month.
The upgrades included in the SendinBlue premium package include unlimited contacts, bulk emails, a landing page builder, sales CRM, and Facebook Ads manager integration. Moreover, You can include an SMS add-on to complement your email marketing.
Social Media Management Tools
There are over 4.59 billion active social media users across diverse social media platforms. And, about 82% of shoppers use social media platforms to complete purchases. Therefore, social media platforms are exceptional channels that small businesses can harness to generate high-quality leads and even close sales.
However, while social media platforms seem like all fun and games for users, social media marketing campaigns are no joke. Access to social media management tools makes managing brand pages easier for small businesses.
Here are some of the top social media management tools that small business owners can use to grow their online following.
Hootsuite is arguably the most popular social media management platform, serving fortune 500 and small businesses alike. The platform offers a centralized location whereby a social media manager can schedule and post content. They can also monitor a centralized inbox, run paid social media campaigns, monitor the ROI for each campaign, and monitor user demographics.
The social media management platform is compatible with Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, YouTube, Linkedin, and Tumblr. Second, it offers a free plan that includes posting up to 30 posts across three social profiles. The free plan also includes a free 30-day trial for higher paid plans. Hootsuite’s paid plans start from USD49 per month and include posting across ten different profiles, unlimited posts and scheduling, and access to in-depth page analytics.
Buffer is among the most trusted social media management platforms. The platform’s unique value lies in its intuitive interface that makes running social media business pages easy for newbies.
Unlike Hootsuite, which is created to accommodate one social media manager, Buffer accommodates team collaboration. Therefore, the platform is ideal for small businesses with a lean team and those crossing over from a small business into a medium enterprise.
Buffer facilitates publishing across different social media platforms. It also offers comprehensive analytics to help a business make data-driven decisions.
The platform also features a landing page builder, helping the social media manager to build a quick landing page for specific social media campaigns. Lastly, it features an AI assistant that handles the mundane aspects of social media, including instant replies, follower engagement, and next-generation technology to create social post captions.
3. Sprout Social
Sprout Social is compatible with various social media platforms, including Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Linkedin, YouTube, Pinterest, and Reddit. However, it is among the pricier social media management tools and does not include a free plan or a 30-day free trial.
Nonetheless, a basic Sprout Social subscription earns you unlimited posting and scheduling. Moreover, the platform offers unique value tools like an image editor, allowing you to create all your posts from a central point.
It also features a send-time optimization function to help you post at the optimum time for your brand’s posts to receive maximum traction. Sprout Social also hosts analytics features to help monitor social media campaigns and taggable messages to improve user experience. However, depending on your subscription plan, the platform only accommodates up to ten accounts.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) Tools
Online marketing channels like social media platforms and websites allow small businesses to venture beyond their geographical parameters and attract new clients. However, digital marketing is a double-edged sword because, while it creates exposure, it also creates stiff competition for online presence.
According to a consumer report, online consumers have an eight-second attention span. Therefore, as a small business digital marketer, you have only eight seconds to attract and retain a consumer’s attention.
You cannot attract attention online if your online content resources are unavailable. That is where search engine optimization (SEO) comes in.
SEO entails employing tactics that digital marketers employ to improve a website’s ranking on search engine results. Search engine bots crawl through websites and website pages and rank the web pages according to relevance to search engine queries.
Therefore, small businesses should consider using SEO tools as cheat sheets to rank better on search engine pages. Below are the top SEO tools to help small businesses establish their authority online.
1. Google Search Console
Google Search Console is a free SEO tool that conducts an SEO audit on your website and generates a report identifying the areas requiring improvement. All you need to do is open a Gmail account and attach it to your website to activate your Google Search Console.
The Google-based SEO tool can help you identify on-page and off-page SEO errors on your small business’ website. It can also help you identify your website’s ranking for specific keywords, the number of clicks per keyword, and traffic sources to your website.
2. Google Analytics
Google Analytics is another free analytics tool that monitors content and consumer behavior along the purchasing pipeline. While Google Search Console measures the technical SEO elements, Google Analytics monitors website performance, allowing a small business to follow website performance and make data-driven marketing decisions. Combining Google Analytics and Google Search Console creates a formidable analytics tool for every small business owner.
Ahrefs site explorer is a powerful SEO tool that offers multiple analytics features, including keyword research, backlink analysis, and content optimization gaps. However, the platform is especially popular for its backlink analytics capacity.
Backlinks are links from other websites linking back to your website, helping establish your website establish authority. However, broken and low-quality links compromise your website and may cause it to rank poorly. Therefore, consider using Ahref to execute your small business website’s linking strategy while reaping other SEO benefits.
4. Screaming Frog
An SEO audit is the first step toward streamlining your brand’s website performance, and Screaming Frog is the perfect tool for SEO conducting SEO audits. The SEO tool flags SEO-related problems, including duplicate content, broken links, redirects, error status cords, redirects, and metadata.
Screaming Frog’s user-friendliness is among the platform’s key features that draw small business owners. Also, the platform targets technical SEO elements and offers insights on improving technical SEO elements with minimum technical know-how.
Customer Relationship Management (CRM) Tools
CRM tools or platforms function as databases, collecting consumer information. The consumer information on CRM platforms includes their behavior along the purchase pipeline.
Moreover, some CRM systems perform mundane marketing tasks, including consumer engagement. So, below are the top CRM tools or CRM Software all small businesses should include in their marketing strategies.
1. Zoho CRM
Zoho facilitates easy onboarding, allowing you to transfer consumer data from other sources into the CRM without a glitch. Second, Zoho CRM integrates with other tools, including Google Workspace and Microsoft 365, helping to facilitate seamless data aggregation.
Third, the platform features multiple customization features, allowing you to segment your customizers and track the metrics that best suit your business model. Also, Zoho has a user-friendly interface, ideal for small business owners who have yet to encounter a CRM platform.
Marketing a startup or small enterprise is challenging, given the competitive atmosphere businesses face today. However, any small business can rise up to the challenge with the right marketing tools. Therefore, consider adding the marketing tools above to your digital marketing toolkit to nurture and grow your small business.