Faced with the daily pressures of running a small business, marketing can often get pushed to the back of the queue. Updating social media profiles and pursuing abandoned ecommerce baskets may seem unimportant compared to chasing unpaid invoices or reordering stock, yet effective marketing is crucial for companies of any size to flourish and expand.
Fortunately, there are plenty of ways to reduce the burden of organizing your business’s marketing activities.
These are some of the best marketing tools available today:
- Social media content planners. The value of regularly updated social media accounts has grown in recent years, with consumers now treating Twitter as a primary communication channel, and looking for companies on Facebook even before Google or Bing. You can pre-load software packages like Buffer or Hootsuite with a series of updates, ready to be distributed at specified times. It is always vital to check social media accounts every day so you can respond quickly to enquiries or complaints.
- Customer surveys. It’s impossible to know how brands or customer service levels are perceived by the public without asking them, and packages like SurveyMonkey make it easy to harvest consumer information and insights. This is one of the best marketing tools in its field, thanks to its simplicity and the customizable surveys it can send out. The results can be easily analyzed, highlighting key successes – and failures.
- Email marketing. This strand of marketing has been damaged by ongoing associations with spam, yet a well-designed email marketing campaign will attract audiences you’d otherwise never reach. Despite its name, MailChimp is a sophisticated series of ecommerce integrations capable of delivering everything from targeted campaigns to notifications of stock levels via personalized customer emails. Messages can also be targeted at specific demographics, using advanced analytics tools.
- Internal communications. If you’ve ever found yourself scrabbling around in the midst of a project trying to locate an important email or file, then Slack’s value will need no further explanation. This portal combines all the documentation and correspondence relating to specific projects into one place, recording everything from file updates to IM threads between colleagues. It’s one of the best marketing tools for eliminating data silos; Trello and Evernote offer more specialized accumulation tools.
- Website analytics. Having a website is all well and good, but it’s crucial to understand which pages are attracting attention or losing traffic. Where are visitors coming from, how long do they spend on the site and what are their demographics? Platforms like Google Analytics, Chartbeat and MixPanel provide surprisingly detailed information on these factors and plenty more besides. In terms of SEO refinement, Moz Pro and Open Site Explorer are among the best marketing tools available.
- Blogging. It may seem as if the whole world is a blogger nowadays, but the importance of uploading regular content is hard to overstate when it comes to building brand awareness and outperforming rivals in search engine results. While Blogger is the market leader for personal accounts, businesses also often choose platforms like Medium and Ghost. From conventional blogs to email newsletters, these services provide a leg-up in terms of finding audiences and conveying key messages.