Every small business owner can relate to the difficulties of growing and exposing their business. This is especially difficult for businesses just starting out. So, how does a fresh, brand-new business get their name out to the masses? The answer is simple, marketing. Everyone knows what marketing is, but knowing and doing are two completely different things. To put simply in layman terms, marketing can be defined as promoting your product or service to your desired consumers. Sounds easy don’t it? Then why do so many businesses have trouble with marketing? They have trouble because they are not utilizing the correct toolset needed to cover every aspect of the marketing process. The marketing world is a big one and it contains many subsets that small business owners often overlook; things such as SEO, social mentions, metrics, and much more. To give you guys a better understanding of marketing for small businesses, we have compiled a list of our favourite marketing tools you can use as starting blocks right now to help you solve the marketing puzzle.
This is probably the most important analytical tool for any business of any size and most have implemented it already; however, if you have not, here are some reasons why you should. Google Analytics gives you a wealth of information regarding the key metrics for your website and business. Just to name a few, you are able to measure past and present data such as impressions, referrals, and conversions. You can even go more in-depth and find out where the traffic for your website is coming from, what devices your visitors are using, and how many are new or returning visitors you are getting. Google Analytics is an extremely complex tool that takes some time to learn, but it is well worth it because the amount of data you receive is crucial in understanding how well your business is doing online.
Social media has made a major impact in the way marketing is done today and now plays an integral part in the way you communicate with your audience. Buffer is an app that allows you to manage all your social media accounts in one convenient location. Not only that, but you can automate and schedule content for an entire week. Simply add content to your queue and let Buffer do the rest. There are many social media management tools on the market, but we like Buffer because it is simple, easy to use, and also offers a free version that is robust enough for small businesses.
Formerly known as SocialBro, Audiense provides you with insights behind your audience on social media. You can setup dashboards for each of your social media accounts and in there you will find metrics like inactive followers, newbie followers, and influential followers. Audiense gives you a more focused look at what type of people your audience consists of and which are the most important people you should be building connections with who can help grow your business. They also provide some cool analytics like “what is the best time to tweet?”
MailChimp is an app that enables businesses to manage their newsletter list, mass distribute e-mails to their list, and create e-mail marketing campaigns. MailChimp is often recognized as the no.1 tool for e-mail marketing and with the amount of features they offer, it’s hard to challenge that claim. The free version allows up to 500 subscribers and 3,000 e-mails per month, but you will not have many of the automated features.
Inspectlet is a very cool app that shows you how visitors interact with your website. Simply input a personalized code to your website and Inspectlet will begin recording sessions. You will be able see how visitors are navigating around your website, what pages they spend the most time on, and what pages they click out on. This gives you a good indication of the consumer behaviour towards your product and often times, you will notice trends that can be both negative and positive; giving you a direction of where you should be making adjustments. The free version only allows 100 recorded sessions per month which is a very small sample size. If you need more data, you should consider going for one of the paid plans.
SumoMe is a great list building and social sharing tool for blogs. If you are using WordPress, all you have to do is install the plugin and you can start implementing things like social share buttons and subscription pop-ups for your blog(s). It also integrates with other apps like MailChimp, so your subscribers will get pushed to any of your MailChimp lists. SumoMe is a very simple and diverse tool for any business.
For any small business owner, it is always good to know what people are saying about your product or service. Social Mention is search platform that tracks and measures what people are saying about you. It goes through hundreds of social media networks and even Google, to filter out every time your business has been mentioned on the internet. It is great for gauging how popular your business is and the sentiment towards it.
BuzzSumo is a great tool for finding the perfect content for your business. All you have to do is enter a topic and BuzzSumo will scour the web for the most popular content relating to that topic, so you can be sure that the content you are posting resonates well with your audience. With BuzzSumo, you can also find key influencers within your market, giving you a good indication of who you need to reach out to if you want to spread the “buzz” for your business to the masses.
Visual marketing is a proven method of getting your content noticed on social media and Pablo helps you edit and create engaging images for you to share. Pablo, a subsidiary of Buffer, lets you edit any of your own images or any of their 50,000+. You can overlay your images with striking and motivational quotes that will catch your audience’s attention. It’s not a very complex image editing tool, but it is effective and completely free.
Now that you have a good list of marketing tools you can integrate into your business, we suggest you go out and try them all and see if they are right for you. Of course these are just a few of the thousands of other marketing tools out there, so we encourage you to explore on your own and continue expanding your marketing toolbox.