As a small business owner, you are probably approached by a multitude of vendors trying to sell you their marketing platforms. While some of these programs offer easy implementation, they can be expensive and do not encourage content unique to your business. As a marketing strategy firm, we work with many small businesses to help them set their business goals and develop marketing implementation plans. Sometimes we do the implementation, and other times we advise our clients on how they can do it themselves. Below are the top digital marketing tools we suggest to our “do it yourself” clients, all of which we use too!
All of the websites we build are created on WordPress, a user-friendly yet powerful content management system. There are thousands of customizable templates to choose from, and third-parties are always coming up with helpful functionalities (called plug-ins) to add to your site. While we always use a talented web developer to create all of our websites, the WordPress platform makes it easy for business owners to make updates and to add content and blogs themselves. Also, the cost to develop a WordPress site tends to be much more approachable than having a fully custom site created, and usually serves the purposes of most small businesses.
Once you have a website built, you will want people to visit it! The way to check out where on the web people are finding you (referrals), what key words they are using (organic search), and which pages they are visiting (page views) is to have Google Analytics attached to your website. The program offers a wealth of information on what digital marketing efforts are working, as well as what content is interesting to your target market.
Many small business owners will set aside particular days of the week or month to create their social media content. Your Facebook posts, Tweets, Instagram images etc. can be placed into Hootsuite and scheduled for auto-posting. The convenience of having all of your social media content in one place and scheduled out in advance is fabulous. However, remember that the same exact sentences or content may not be appropriate for each platform. Facebook and Twitter have different tones and vocabulary. So, while you will want to talk about the same theme, you will want to structure your posts differently for each social media outlet. Hootsuite makes that easy to do, and offers analytics so you can monitor which content appealed to your target market. It is also a great place to respond to interactions on your posts.
Creating branded imagery or graphics for your blog and social media is a breeze with Canva, an online image building tool. The program offers standard templates, but you can also have a graphic designer create one for you that can be uploaded to the program. For example, if you want to post weekly quotes that all have a similar look that will be easily recognized by your followers, Canva is a quick, easy and free way to create those images.
Photoshop is a powerful photo editing program, but it is also expensive and has a steep learning curve. For speedy and simple photo editing, we suggest PicMonkey, another free, online program. Just upload your photo and peruse the wide array of editing options the program offers, including skinning your images with your logo. While it does not have the depth of Photoshop, we find that PicMonkey’s functionalities are perfect for our small business clients.
Email marketing is still the most powerful way to reach your clients digitally. If you think about it, there is probably at least one enewsletter that you eagerly open because the company offers something you value. The same can be true of your email marketing too! Most of our clients use MailChimp to send their enewsletters. It is user-friendly and offers important functionalities like anti-spam monitoring, sign up forms, drip-campaigns and auto-sends. We suggest hiring a graphic designer to create a gorgeous template for you initially, which you can upload and then populate for each edition of your enewsletter.
Do you have a favorite marketing tool for your business? Let us know! Also, if you have any questions about the tools we have mentioned, feel free to send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.