By Joseph Brady
Digital marketing has levelled the playing field for small businesses to compete with larger businesses for the same audience’s attention. With so many digital marketing channels like email marketing, SEO, social media etc.to concentrate on, it is essential that you invest in tools that will help you simplify digital marketing. Or do you have to invest at all? There are a lot of free tools available online that can help you out. Let’s look at some of the best free tools that your small business should be using.
This is Google’s free software that gives valuable insights about what’s happening on your website. You can use Google Analytics to its fullest potential by pairing it with another free tool – Google Search Console. This tool helps you identify any problems on your website and optimize it for traffic. Some of the data points that Google Analytics makes available include:
-The number of site visitors by day, week, month, year or any period of your choice
-The source from which they come to your website. (Referrals from other websites, organic search, paid Ads, social media or direct)
-The demographics, behavior and interests of users.
All these are vital information that will help you optimize your website for the best user experience. They can also come in handy while creating marketing campaigns. For example, if your website is getting a lot of searches for a particular keyword, write a blog optimized for that keyword. This will increase traffic and also improve engagement on your small business’ website.
Out of all the digital marketing channels, Email marketing generates the highest ROI. This is why email marketing should be a constant in your marketing strategy regardless of the size of business. MailChimp is the go-to tool for small businesses because it has a free plan which can be used to reach out to 2000 contacts and has other functionalities to simplify email marketing. It allows you to capture emails, manage the list, send out emails automatically or schedule them and also analyze campaign performance.
Seventy-three percent of Ameiricans use social media. So, it is only logical that businesses maintain their presence on social media to interact with their target audience. Whether it is purely for marketing or just to socialize, social media marketing will take up a lot of time and can even affect efficiency. Hootsuite is the best tool out there that can help small businesses tackle these problems.
It lets you manage all your social media channels in a single platform. Schedule posts in advance so that you don’t have to wake up in the middle of the night and do it manually. It also has a host of reporting tools to measure which channels are the most effective and use this data to calculate ROI. You can also track it if anyone has mentioned your brand on social media and manage responses, all in one place.
A business’s content strategy should always revolve around target audience. The business owners should know what type of content their audience like and interact with online. Finding this out requires extensive research. You can manually find this out using google search and social media, but that will eat up hours of your time. Buzzsumo enables you to find out the most trending pieces of content in under a few seconds. All you have to do is enter the keyword and search. Analyze the search result to find out what is appealing about them and get content ideas. You can even search your own domain to see which of your content is performing well and who’s linking to and sharing it.
Pictures speak a thousand words, and it is always recommended to supplement your written content with relevant and eye-catchy visuals. Use quote graphics, visualize data using graphs and infographics. You don’t necessarily have to hire a graphic designer to do this. In fact, you can do this all by yourself using Canva. It allows you to help create original and visually stunning content using templates within a few minutes. You can use images that are already on their site or upload images of your choice or even create one. The drag-and-drop feature makes it easy for anyone without any graphic design experience to create stunning visual content.
Customer Relationship Management (CRM) is needed to manage the relationship with your customers. Track everything about your customers and prospects from process tracking to searchable data storage using HubSpot CRM. While other CRM software lets you do the basics like manage business contacts and sales leads, HubSpot CRM gives free access to some core CRM features including:
-Drag and drop communicator
The tool has an easy to use UI and gives a walk-through to familiarize first-timers with it. Users can also import and export contacts into custom databases and thereby minimizing time and effort spent keeping the list updated.
Choosing the right digital marketing tools for your small business depends on your small business marketing strategy. To get a complete grip on all your digital marketing channels, you will have to use multiple tools; even get the paid versions if required.
Joseph Brady is vice president of Digital Marketing for Reliant Funding, a provider of short-term working capital to small and mid-sized businesses nationwide. He has more than 14 years of experience in B2B digital marketing, optimization, and operations, with a focus on the financial services market.