5 Must-have small business marketing tools

As a small business, gathering a large audience can seem like a daunting task. With limited time and resources, you need tools that will allow you to get the most out of your marketing efforts. Here are five great marketing tools that can help your small business create a strong marketing presence.

Website – You know you not only need a website, but a company landing page that is clean and inviting, one that appeals to your visitors. The purpose of a website can vary but the need for a strong presence doesn’t. A restaurant looking to promote their new catering service will be looking to show off their menu, food and event photography, customer testimonials, and to provide contact information to set up an event. Whereas a yoga studio would want their website to provide class information, class sign-ups, and promotional videos. Don’t just create a website because you know you need one – decide how your website will help your organization’s mission and then plan out how it can help meet that mission. Even if you have little to no coding knowledge, there are blog building services that you can use to easily create a simple, user-friendly website.

Our recommendation: WordPress – WordPress is flexible enough for the first time user to start publishing, and it still allows the experienced web-designer to create beautiful, intricate websites. With a large variety of plugins ranging from optimizing your site for mobile viewers to social sharing, you’ll be able to have a website ready to promote your small business.
Analytics – After you’ve created your website, it’s important to gather data on its use. Most visited pages, traffic source, time on site, and audience are all important factors to the effectiveness of your website. Take all of this information and make adjustments to create the best experience for your visitors. Do A/B testing to find the most powerful imagery, captivating messaging, and easy site flow. After some tweaks here and there ,you should see an increase in signups, purchases, or any other objectives you have for your site.

Our recommendation: Google Analytics – Google — who else would you go to but the search engine that has become a verb. This free tool provides the information you need to see who your audience is, where they are coming from, what content is popular, and how your visitors interact with the site. With an easy to navigate dashboard, deep analytics, and graphs to help visualize success over time, Google Analytics will help you get and maintain website traffic.
Google Analytics
Email marketing – Email marketing is a great way to keep in touch with your customers. They want to know what is going on with your business that will benefit them. For example, a boutique handbag shop can get return visits from customers by sharing sale information and updates on new and exciting products coming into the store. Another advantage of email marketing is being able to segment your audience and create more personalized emails. A sports center can segment their participants by sports and promote upcoming league sign-up information and events that are relevant to them.

Our recommendation: Emma – Known for its beautiful emails, Emma allows you to easily create emails your customers will want to look at. Features like split testing subject lines and other analytics tools allow you to make sure you get the most out of your email marketing campaigns. Auto repliers can save you time and engage your audience after signing up for your newsletter or service.
Brand Asset Management – Branding is one of the most important aspects of any business. Whether you’re a mom-and-pop pharmacy that’s been around for 70 years or a flower shop about to open, your brand conveys who and what your business is. Your logo, imagery, fonts, and colors all are visual representations of your brand. Poor quality or inconsistent use of these assets reflects that same poor quality and inconsistency on your business. These aren’t values customers are looking for in any business. A brand asset management tool puts all of your brand assets in one place to be managed, distributed, repurposed, and analyzed. No more distorted logos used in flyers, no more outdated product imagery in presentations, no more variances of your brand colors used between banners and your website. A brand asset management system also allows you to save time searching for all of your logos, images, documents, and brand guidelines.

Our recommendation: Smartimage – Smartimage is a simple yet powerful tool that specializes in handling TIFF, EPS & AI files – the file types design and band professionals use. Smartimage allows you to download original files as well as auto-generated file sizes and common file conversions. Collections of your files can be custom-branded to match your organization’s color palette.
Social Media Management – Social media provides another valuable way to interact with your current customers and to connect with potential customers. Simply having an account on various social networks doesn’t count for having a social media presence. You need to be constantly active and engaging. Listening and responding to customers, sharing quality content that is informative and entertaining, and promoting your brand are all important aspects of a social media presence. Depending on your business and brand, the right amount of engagement can vary, but know that a social presence is time consuming. With Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Google+ to name just a few, how do you have time for anything else? A social media management tool saves you time monitoring, posting, and engaging on your social sites. Instead of going to each site individually to share the announcement of adding Birthday Cake Surprise ice cream to your menu, use your social media management tool to share it to all sites. Then monitor your social media management to see how your audience is reacting to the news.

Our recommendation: Hootsuite – HootSuite puts all of your social networks into one manageable dashboard. Invite members of your team to help manage one or more of your accounts. Check out how your content is doing by viewing in depth analytics.

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