Unlike large companies, small businesses don’t have an in house marketing department, complete with specialists of every variety and a suite of professional tools.
Instead, it’s often up to the business owner and/or a couple of key staff members to juggle marketing activities such as social media, e-newsletters, blogging and design between day-to-day responsibilities.
This creates quite the challenge…
How do you competitively market your business when you’re short on time and resources, have less marketing skills and experience, and nowhere near the same budget?
Unfortunately there’s no simple one-size fits all solution to this challenge but there are a number of tools that can help you be more effective in your marketing efforts.
Here are 6 extremely helpful tools that you may not have heard of.
In an ideal world we’d all be experts in photoshop and able to justify such a hefty price tag for it. Unfortunately, that’s not the world we live in, but at least we have Canva on our side. While it may not be able to provide you with the intricate ins-and-outs of Photoshop, Canva can transform you into a professional-ish designer right before your eyes.
In Canva you’ll find plenty of templates and designs for everything from social media posts and email headers to menus, flyers, and business cards – making it super easy to whip up marketing designs as you need them. You can also upload your own logo and images to quickly make designs your own. When you’re all done, simply download your design and go, without paying a thing.
Google Drive is more than just a great digital storage option for small businesses. You can easily upload and share files with your team or outside contractors, set different access levels to dictate who can edit/view specific files, and even create word, excel and powerpoint types of documents using Google’s own free publishing platforms that lets multiple people work on the same document at once.
If you do use Google’s own platforms to create documents within your drive, you’ll enjoy the benefits of automatic updates and auto-saves. Every time a document is changed, you’ll have a digital record of exactly what change was made and who made it – what’s more you’ll also be able to easily revert back to previous versions if needed.
You’ll understand how great this feature is if you’ve ever experienced the joys of having multiple people use the same Word or Excel documents, with different people making edits on different versions, deleting and saving over things, and struggling to keep track of which version has what you need. Thanks to our old buddy Google Drive, this will never be a problem again!
Facebook Pages Manager
The job of a business owner is very rarely a 9-5 job. You may not be picking up the phone after hours but that won’t stop some customers from trying to reach out via your Facebook page with an urgent enquiry, and if you want to keep them interested you’ll need to respond quickly – no matter what time it is.
This is where Facebook’s Pages Manager app comes in handy – it lets you monitor your account on the move. As a result, you can immediately catch any incoming comments, messages or reviews as they pop up and respond on the go.
You might be thinking, why can’t I just use the usual Facebook app to monitor my Facebook business page? The Facebook Page Manager App is designed specifically for managing business pages, making it super easy to do what you need to do and get out. No more scrolling through your news feed and getting distracted!
While Facebook allows you to draft and schedule posts with ease, Instagram doesn’t. If you want to keep your Instagram page active and build your audience, you just have to remember to post something every couple of days. As a busy business owner with a thousand to-do’s running through your mind, this is no easy feat.
Thankfully there is Schedugram – the only app that allows you to schedule posts directly to Instagram.
Schedugram allows you to upload your photo, add filters, write your caption, input a first comment (commonly used to insert hashtags), tag in relevant accounts, set a date and time, and when that date and time rolls around, it publishes directly to your Instagram account with no action needed from you.
While it isn’t a free service, it’s not too expensive and definitely worth it if you’ve been getting fed up of manually posting your Instagram photos and inputting your hashtags. With Schedugram you can set aside a couple of hours once a month and plan out all your Instagram posts, saving yourself the hassle of having to come up with things regularly.
Another one for helping you dominate Instagram, Display Purposes is a tool that helps you find popular hashtags relevant to your content and your business.
Wondering why you should bother researching hashtags at all? Unfortunately posting pretty pictures is not enough to build your following on this platform. You need to use the right hashtags if you want potential customers to find your content.
All you have to do is enter keywords and it will spit out lists of hashtags. It even provides ratings on relevancy and popularity to help you pick the best ones. If you don’t want to pick hashtags, just set it on Auto, tell it how many you want and it will select the best ones for you. Simply copy and paste and you’re done.
We’ve used plenty of hashtag research tools and this is by far the easiest to use.
Answer The Public
If you’re worried about whether customer can find you on Google or just struggling to come up with blog topics that your customers will love, Answer The People can help.
Answer The Public’s tool is completely free and helps you uncover the questions and topics surrounding a certain keyword. With this information you can easily create blogs that answer all the questions your customers are searching for.
This way, when Google is looking at which websites have the best information regarding the topic, you’re not only more likely to rank, but you’re also more likely to turn visitors into customers because you’ll answer the most important questions they have. That’s a win-win in our books!
There you have it, 6 tools you can use to market your business more effectively. Give them a go and let us know which ones work for you!