Short List Of The Best Tools for Small Business Marketing

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Despite the media’s love of the “Great Resignation” following the 2020 pandemic, there’s more to the story. The media outlets continue to tell stories of workers leaving their employers behind backwards.

We’re in the middle of a small business renaissance. To all those new businesses out there, here’s a handy list of tools you’re going to need to capture your market share.

According to the Committee on Small Business, Americans launched 4.3 million independent businesses in 2020, a 24% increase from 2019 and the highest number in 15 years.

Small Business Venture Boom Continues

In 2021, 5.4 million applications were submitted to start new businesses, a record number. According to a report by npr.org, this surpassed the previous record of 4.4 million applications from 2020.

During 2021, over 2 million applications were filed for start-up businesses likely to hire employees. This is a 41 percent increase over the comparable period in 2019 (including applications from no-employers, the number of business applications rose by 58 percent).

Small business startups run on lean budgets. Few launch with much experience in marketing and sales. However, the internet has plenty of tools and free training available to entrepreneurs if they know where to look.

Small Business Marketing and Sales Tools (Mostly Free) Are Available

The good news is that there are plenty of cost-effective and easy marketing ideas for small businesses. These strategies will help you reach potential customers, whether you’re just starting out or have been in business for years. Check out these online tools and training for small businesses.

Harvard Business School has free online courses for business. They supply free e-books and interactive lessons. Check the site for more information at https://online.hbs.edu/free-online-business-courses/

The site offers courses on the following subjects:

· Business Strategy

· Accounting and Finance

· Entrepreneurship

· Business Essentials

· Leadership

· Data and Analytics

Start with a Business Plan in Order to Hit Your Goals

Whether sketching out a plan on a napkin or a complex spreadsheet, setting out marketing goals at least once a year is a winning tactic. The importance of business plans cannot be overstated.

Hubspot.com offers business templates and free training in online marketing and sales. They provide a variety of templates, from startup to strategic planning. Here’s a brief list of their offering.

· Agendas & Schedules

· Branding & Communication

· Business Plans

· CRM

· Dashboards

· Invoices & Receipts

· Management

· Project Management

· Proposals, Estimates & Quotes

The templates come in several convenient formats. This allows readers to choose their favorite format for convenience and ease of access across platforms.

· Excel

· Google Docs

· Google Sheets

· Google Slides

· PDF

· PowerPoint

· MS Word

Social Media Marketing apps for Small Businesses

Marketing helps to identify the target audience and opens a direct connection to them through online and offline communication. Marketing is increasingly reliant on apps, regardless of the platform.

Most business marketing apps provide rich, detailed information, insights into important trends. Many offer customer feedback and real-time connection. Most apps are free or inexpensive. Here’s a top 10 list of must-have business apps for startups.

Premium Rewards App

Clover

Customers can use this app to keep track of how many items they need to buy to get free items. Clover lets you keep track of a customer’s purchase when they check into one of your locations.

Customer Engagement Information

AnswerThePublic

The site uses autocomplete data from search engines like Google to create a list of every phrase and question people have been asking.

Competitive Analysis Asset

SpyFu

Using the SpyFu software, you will learn your competitors’ top search marketing secrets. See all the places a domain has appeared on Google when you search for it.

Social Media Monitoring

Hootsuite

Manage your social media profiles using the Hootsuite platform. Dashboards for Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, and YouTube are integrated into the system’s user interface.

Graphics for Content Marketing

Canva

This software allows you to create presentations, posters, documents, graphics for social media, and other visual content. Users have access to a template library.

Sales Funnel and Email Marketing Service

GetResponse

You can use the GetResponse platform to generate content, drive website traffic, and boost sales. Create email marketing channels and lead generation systems.

Customer Support System

Zendesk Support Suite

Offer customers an easy-to-use and scalable customer support platform.

Training and Collaboration Hub

Trainual

Platform for onboarding, doing SOPs, documenting processes, and managing learning for individuals and teams.

Web Analytics Tool

Google Analytics

A web analytics service from Google that tracks and reports website traffic, currently included in the Google Marketing Platform.

Content Marketing Platform

Semrush

This tool allows users to research keywords and measure metrics, such as search volume and cost per click. Google and Bing search engines are also used to gather information about online keywords.

Online Advertising to Capture the Target Audience’s Attention

In terms of online advertising, display ads are what may come to mind. Banners and pop-ups are visual ads that appear on web pages. Such ads are targeted by ad blockers. You can display visual ads on both Google’s and Facebook’s sites and on other people’s sites.

With Google Ads, advertisers can place Google Ads at the top of search engine results pages (SERPs) with free search engines like Google. Internet search advertising accounts for most online advertising.

Advertisers can target a specific audience using social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn, based on information the platform knows about the user, such as age, location, interests, and whether the user has interacted with the advertiser before.

Here are the most effective online advertising solutions to consider:

Facebook Ads

Facebook Ads is a great way to connect with potential customers. Target ads by location, age, gender, interests, and more. Set a budget that fits your needs, and track the results to see how well they’re performing.

Google Ads

Create ads that appear when people search for terms related to your business. Advertise to specific audiences, like people who live in a particular area or have already visited your website.

Instagram Ads

Instagram is the second largest social media site in the world, and it has a daily audience of about 300 million people. Advertise your business or product on this popular platform.

YouTube Ads
Advertisers can place ads in videos, and then receive money based on the number of views that the ad receives.

Bing Advertising

Bing Ads works similarly to Google AdWords, with the exception that Bing Ads allows you to place your ads on both the Bing and Yahoo! search engines.

Facebook, Google, YouTube and Bing work on an auction system. The rate you pay will depend on the keywords you select. The advertiser sets up a daily limit or set budget. If your daily limit is low, your ads may not appear very often. You may be outbid by more experienced advertisers.

Other social media platforms, like Twitter, Reddit and LinkedIn, have similar advertising programs.

In contrast to other forms of marketing, social media marketing connects you with your target market instantly. The system can provide feedback and insight into the people you want to reach with your message. It is an easy way to increase brand awareness.

Mobile Marketing Finally Takes Off

It has been known for at least four decades that mobile marketing is an ever-growing segment of advertising. A report estimates that the mobile market has surpassed $7 billion. Advertisers have direct targeting, instant response rates, higher click rates than desktop ads.

Consumers increasingly access the internet through mobile devices, and mobile marketers recognize how crucial it is to reach them.

Conclusion:

There is a small business renaissance underway. Studies show that small businesses in the US handle more than half of all private sector jobs. The small business sector creates over 60 percent of new jobs. Small businesses generate two out of three dollars in export revenue.

Starting a small business has never been easier, thanks to the abundance of online resources. And organizations like SCORE can provide mentorship and education on to run a successful business.

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Dennis Francis

Retired content marketing consultant. Author, artist, husband, father and owner of ContentMarketingMagic.co. Still helping small business owners daily.