The Best Marketing Tools and Software for Small Business Owners
If you’re not marketing your small business, you’re likely missing out on more business, no matter how great your services may be. Marketing shares your business with consumers and, ultimately, can convert them into a customer. In this guide, Optimum shares some of the best marketing and analytics services and software you can use for your small business.
A key first step is to determine what tool to use to analyze your performance. Analytics can help identify any patterns in your data, making it easier to learn and optimize your marketing. Marketing analytics include metrics such as conversions, demographics, and how users interact with your website. Analytics are essential as they use data to report on your business performance.
Google Analytics is the most widely used analytics tool and is free and relatively easy to set up. Google offers resources online that feature step-by-step guidance on the setup process.
Google Analytics has a full suite of analytics available featuring metrics that pertain specifically to your business goals. Their easy-to-digest reports on the following metrics:
- The number of visitors to your site.
- How visitors land on your site.
- The keywords people are using on Google to find your site.
- The demographics and interests of your users.
- How long users spend on your site.
Big changes are in motion. Google is in the process of sunsetting its current Analytics tool, Universal Analytics, in Summer 2023. If you’re setting up Analytics for the first time, it’s best to opt for their newest software, Google Analytics 4, to ensure you’re up-to-date.
As a key Google Analytics competitor, Adobe Analytics is not a free tool, but it can provide deeper insights into your data than Google. One of the key differences is that Adobe helps you to integrate data from almost all channels, including web, mobile, video, social, and app. It also allows you to analyze this data in real-time and provides reporting, visualizations, and customer data analysis, making it easy to discover actionable insights. Because of the cost implications and additional reporting, Adobe Analytics may be better suited for larger organizations than small businesses.
Email marketing is communicating with your database through emails. There are more than four billion people using email on a daily basis worldwide. This amount is expected to more than double by 2025. Emails are a relatively easy way to market your small business.
Mailchimp is the most popular email marketing tool, with more than 14 million active users (Emailtooltester). It allows businesses to:
- Capture people’s email addresses
- Manage their email database
- Plan, send, and schedule emails
- Analyze performance – including user engagement
If you opt for a paid plan, then you receive access to digital marketing tools, such as:
- Segmentation and personalization
- Landing page builders
- Form builders
- Audience insights
- CRM tools
- Predictive insights
Constant Contact is another email marketing tool that BusinessNewsDaily named the best marketing tool for small businesses. Constant Contact charges based on the number of addresses in your database and boasts an array of helpful features. As well as making it easy to send branded emails, Constant Contact also allows you to:
- Create, send, and track emails
- Write with an easy-to-use editor and hundreds of predesigned email templates
- Automatically send emails to welcome new subscribers, remind shoppers about items left in their cart, and even offer a birthday discount
- Upload contact lists from Excel, Outlook, and Salesforce
- Ability to add new contacts in person, on your website, through social media, and more
- Track results in real-time, and see how many people opened, clicked, and shared your emails
- Test email subject lines
According to Smart Insights, 4.70 billion people worldwide now use social media, with the average user spending 2 hours and 29 minutes online daily. Therefore, it definitely makes sense to incorporate social media into your business marketing strategy. Here are two great tools that can help you with this.
Hootsuite is a free (depending on your plan!) social media management tool that makes it easy to schedule posts across all of the different platforms you use. TikTok, Instagram, and Facebook are just three of the available channels. Hootsuite allows you to schedule your posts in advance so you can plan days, weeks, or even months ahead. As well as preparing your social media posts, the tool also has advanced reporting tools — so you can see which social campaigns are the most effective for your business and which provide the best return on investment, or ROI.
Sprout Social is also a social media management platform. TechCo states that it’s the best social media management tool for customer service, as it’s the only platform to provide automated responses to incoming communications. This means that your customers or social media followers won’t be waiting for your reply. The tool allows businesses of all sizes to manage their social media accounts, drive conversions, and derive actionable insights that drive actual business results. Sprout Social makes it easy for users to:
- Plan and publish social content
- Scale social monitoring and engagement with a unified social inbox
- Report and analyze social data to drive strategic decision-making
- Uncover trends and extract actionable insights from social conversations to inform marketing strategy
Graphic Design & Content Marketing
Having on-brand, professional-looking marketing materials is vital to any small business. Forbes states that branding represents your business’s identity, so it’s crucial to have quality content that reflects your organization. In the past, graphic design software has only been available to experienced designers, who fork out thousands for the tools. However, a new tool is making it easy for anyone to create aesthetically-pleasing designs.
Canva is a graphic design tool that makes creating visual content for your business simple. The tool offers an array of free templates across different mediums, including posters, business cards, and infographics. Most of these templates are fully customizable, allowing you to make unique, on-brand collateral. Canva offers features typically only available in more advanced graphic design software, like Adobe Photoshop, Indesign, and Illustrator. It makes it easy for anyone to design visual content; better yet, it’s a free tool! Some of its most useful features include:
- Magic resizing — so you can convert a template into the size you need. For example, an Instagram story to an Instagram post
- Background remover tool
- Drag and drop tool that makes using photos in your designs easy
- Photo editing — blur photos, add text, create collages, etc.
- A free library of stock images, icons, and fonts
SEO, or search engine optimization, is the process of improving your website to increase organic visibility for specific search queries (LivePlan). It’s a great cost-effective way to increase business visibility and drive traffic to your website, so it’s something that all small businesses should consider. Below are two of the most helpful SEO tools available.
Ahrefs is a suite of SEO tools and resources, including an advanced backlink analysis tool. The suite also comprises tools for link building, website audits, competitor research, rank tracking, and a keyword research tool that can be used for different search engines. If you’re keen to really get into the SEO weeds, then you’ll be pleasantly surprised that the suite also provides:
- Keyword ranking alerts
- SERP (search engine results page) history
- Data on clicks
- Estimates on total search traffic
Google Search Console
Like Analytics, Google Search Console (GSC) is an advantageous, free marketing tool from Google. GSC can aid users in monitoring, maintaining, and troubleshooting your website’s presence in Google’s search results. Google offers a range of resources online to help you get started and correctly use the platform. The software also allows users to see:
- What pages and keywords your website ranks for
- The number of clicks and impressions your website gets from the search results, and the average click-through rate and average position
- Enhancement opportunities like speed, Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP), and rich results
- Sitemap submission
A good marketing plan can enhance your business strategy, and, luckily, there are many easy-to-use, affordable tools readily available on the Internet. If you’re not sure where to start, most tools offer a free trial period, so you can try the software out and see if it works for your business before you commit.
Looking for more small business marketing tips? We have lots of resources and ideas. Take a look at our hub, filled with small tips for small businesses.