6 essential marketing tools for small businesses
When you don’t have the budget to support a dedicated marketing department, you have to find ways to do more with less. A lot of marketing tools for small businesses provide features designed for that purpose. Identifying the right marketing tools for your needs can help you improve your efficiency and reach your unique goals. In this article, we’ll help you understand the value of different types of marketing tools and how they can drive results for your business. We’ll explore the following topics in more detail:
What is a marketing tool?
A marketing tool is a product or resource that helps businesses execute their marketing strategies more efficiently and effectively. Now that much of marketing happens digitally, many marketing tools are technological products that help businesses improve their online marketing efforts specifically.
What to look for in marketing tools for small businesses
Small business operators wear multiple hats at once. This often means that marketing becomes one responsibility among many. With limited time and resources, it’s smart to seek out marketing tools that are low cost and easy to use. Here are some important factors to weigh as you search for tools to help you grow your business:
Automation features. Products that offer automation capabilities give you back time you can spend on other aspects of your operations, without reducing the quality of results. For an operator who’s spread thin, that can be worth a lot.
Cost. Many marketing tools offer a free version with limited features that you can use to get started. Some offer pricing based on how much you use them (for example, the number of users you grant access to or the number of social accounts you monitor). That kind of pricing model can make them more affordable for small businesses. And even among those that are pricier, many offer free trial periods so you can make sure the tool has value for your business before committing.
Intuitive reporting features. When budgets are tight, you want to ensure that every dollar you spend is moving the needle. A tool that provides rich data and clear reporting dashboards helps you optimize your marketing strategies to get the most bang for your buck.
6 types of small business marketing tools to invest in
Businesses use a wide variety of tools to reach their marketing goals. The types of tools that can provide the most value for small businesses in particular fall into the following 6 categories:
1. Website management tools
Websites are arguably the most important online tool for small businesses. Your website is where you provide important operational information and ensure that potential customers can discover your business. Plus, if you offer online ordering (which is smart to consider, if you don’t already), it also serves as a critical sales engine. Creating and managing a website for your small business is much easier if you have the right tools. These can include:
Content management systems and website builders. You no longer have to know how to code to create or update a website. A content management system or website builder makes web design much easier, regardless of your technical expertise.
Landing page tools. These types of tools help you build landing pages that are designed to drive conversions. This could include a page to submit contact information, or a page to complete a purchase. A good small business landing page tool will provide optimized templates proven to encourage customers to take action. They also typically offer A/B testing features to help you evaluate which strategies work best. From there, you can gain data on what your visitors respond to, broken down by copy, layout, call to action (CTA), or something as granular as button color.
Website analytics. Website analytics tools provide important insights into the number of people visiting your website, how they find you, and ways they behave (for example, the amount of time they spend on certain pages and how quickly they leave your site after arriving). This level of insight can uncover important trends and areas where you might need to optimize your user experience.
2. Search engine optimization (SEO) tools
SEO is the marketing tactic focused on improving your organic, or unpaid, discoverability on search engines. This is an important area to invest in, as many people turn to search engines when researching products or businesses. SEO tools provide features that help you create and execute a strategy to improve search engine rankings. SEO tools can:
Suggest specific steps you can take to improve your website’s on-page SEO. For example, these tools might point out places to add internal links on pages that point to other key pages on your site
Provide keyword data so you know which terms to target in your SEO efforts. This information can inform the copy you use on landing pages, or even topics to explore in your content marketing efforts
Help you track rankings for each keyword in one place
Show who your main competitors are for each relevant keyword
Share data on how many other websites link back to yours, which SEO experts call “backlinks”
Provide backlink data on your top competitors, which can inspire you to build new relationships with bloggers, journalists, and contacts at other publishing platforms
3. Online reputation management tools
Word of mouth has always been important to the success of small businesses, and it has become increasingly easier to access as review platforms proliferate. Online reputation management tools can simplify the process of monitoring your reviews and help you stay on top of what people are saying about your business. With these tools, you can:
- Monitor mentions of your brand across various review sites and social media platforms
- Track mentions of your top competitors
- Reply to reviews across different sites in one platform
4. Social media marketing tools
Developing an active presence on multiple social platforms is time consuming. And for your time commitment to pay off, you have to reach the right people with messaging that appeals to them. Social media marketing tools can streamline the process, allowing you to manage your social presence across multiple channels in less time. Social media marketing tools for small businesses fall into 2 main categories:
Social media platforms. For each social media channel you invest in, the platform itself will provide features to help you make the most of it. At the very least, you’ll have access to analytics to understand how your posts are performing. And if you have the budget to support paid ads, you can tap into targeting options to ensure every dollar is going toward reaching an audience you care about.
Social media management tools. Social media management tools let you monitor and post on multiple social media networks from one place. Depending on the tool you choose, you might also have access to insights that can recommend optimal times of day for posting and highlight the types of creative that engage your audience most.
5. Email marketing platforms
Email marketing is an effective method for staying in touch with consumers who have opted in to hearing from your brand. Email marketing platforms can take your communication to the next level with a wide range of valuable features. Some of these include:
- Design tools that help you easily create emails that look visually consistent and professional
- Audience list management and segmentation
- Automation features for longer-term marketing campaigns
- Analytics to help you understand how well your emails perform and identify areas for improvement
6. Third-party delivery platforms
Third-party delivery platforms are a convenient way to add new delivery options for your business or expand those you offer now. Just by joining a third-party delivery platform, you can gain exposure to new potential customers through an online marketplace. In many cases, you can compound this exposure with in-app marketing tools that flex to meet your goals. These tools can include:
- Ad options to boost your visibility and encourage higher order values
- Review-management features that help you engage with customers
- Analytics to track your results on the platform and identify ways to improve
How to market your business with Uber Eats
In addition to offering convenient delivery options, working with Uber Eats gives you access to powerful marketing tools. When you partner with Uber Eats, your business gains:
Visibility on the Uber Eats marketplace. Increase your exposure to local customers who may not find you otherwise.
Insight into your performance. Access clear and intuitive reporting dashboards to better understand your performance on the app and identify room for improvement.
Explore our capabilities in more detail and discover best practices for making Uber Eats work for you with self-guided lessons from Merchant Academy.
Frequently asked questions
- Why are small business marketing tools important?
Small business marketing tools help you do more with less. They help you develop more efficient processes so your efforts on various online marketing channels go further. And most small business marketing tools provide analytics to help you gain insight into which of your efforts produce results, so you can optimize your investment moving forward.
- What marketing tools are most effective for small businesses?
That depends on your business. Some of the most important questions you should consider before deciding which tools to use for your small business include:
- Can I afford this tool?
- Is the cost worth my time and money for the results I’m hoping to achieve?
- Does it require technical expertise?
- Does it have automation capabilities that will improve efficiency?
- Does it offer intuitive reporting to ensure I’m making an impact with every dollar?
Once you’ve started using small business marketing tools, it’s important to pay close attention to marketing analytics. Analyze which tools help you save the most time, and look at how much progress they help you make toward your goals. That’s how you’ll learn which marketing tools are most effective for your small business.
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