Running a small business isn't easy. With only a handful of employees, everyone has to double up on tasks and anything that no one else gets around to falls on you. You often feel like you need five pairs of hands and three heads, in order to keep track of all of the tasks that land on your desk.
Tech comes to the rescue. It can’t give you those extra hands and heads (yet), but it can take over some of the most time-consuming tasks so that you can focus on the issues that only you can deal with.
Marketing is just one of many areas of running a business that can suck up huge amounts of your time, so it's vital to delegate as much as possible to marketing tools and apps. Here are five types of marketing tools that your business needs so that you can spend your time making decisions and growing your bottom line.
Email newsletters still remain one of the most effective marketing tools, earning an average of $38 for every $1 that you spend on them. But you also don't have time to compose email newsletters from scratch every week or month or to track when to send each one.
Email marketing automation tools are there to take on that task for you. The best ones, like Vcita and GetResponse, have easy to use, drag-and-drop templates to speed up the process of creating a great-looking email. They also allow you to schedule emails to be sent at specific intervals and/or on specific dates, and help you to build a drip campaign, which is a series of emails that are sent in a particular order, starting from when a contact subscribes to your list, has a birthday, or makes an order.
Really advanced email marketing tools support powerful personalization and segmentation so that you can send emails that are customized to be relevant to each and every recipient. Finally, every good email marketing platform provides strong analytics, so you can track the bounce rate, open rate, and click-through rate of every email, keep what works, and improve what isn't working.
Organic search is a key way that new customers discover your business website, so it’s really important for your site to rank high in their search engine results. There are two challenges, though; one is to work out what search query (also called keywords) your potential customers would use, and the other is to push your site up the search rankings for that query.
That means that you’re likely to need more than one SEO tool for your small business. Some SEO tools like SquareSpace help you find the right keywords, while others such as fiverr automate SEO audits to check that there are no broken links on your site because those drag down your SEO. There are also tools like SEMrush that provide instant Google indexing, allowing you to see exactly where your site ranks right away.
There are some tools that can do more than one task, but none that can cover everything successfully.
We all live on social media nowadays, so every business that wants to succeed needs to have a strong social media presence.
Social media marketing tools like Hootsuite and Sprout Social help you keep control over multiple social media platforms and channels. They can help you schedule posts to be sent automatically at the right time, track mentions of your business, and look for social media trends that you can tap in to. Social media management tools also offer social media analytics so that you can follow which posts, tweets, and images get the most engagement and response, and fine-tune your social media content and posting schedule. Some tools help you keep tabs on the competition, as well.
Every business needs a professional-looking website, but you might not be able to shell out for a web designer to create the site for you. Fortunately, website design tools can help you create a suitable business website at a much lower cost than a designer.
Website design platforms like Wix or Wordpress have easy drag-and-drop interfaces so that you can add the elements you want, plenty of templates and themes to help you create a consistent brand image, and a range of fonts, images, and effects to enhance the appearance of your site.
What’s more, websites are never static. The right website design tool simplifies the process of adding new landing pages or changing existing ones; adding or tweaking widgets and sidebars; changing banners; and improving on lead magnet forms.
Running a successful business means keeping track of every potential, current, and previous customer. It’s difficult to do this without a good customer relationship management (CRM) system, like Hubspot or Zoho.
These tools help you gather and organize all of the relevant details about every lead and customer, from their email address to their favorite color, so you can create marketing campaigns that are more personal and analyze what is and is not working for every lead. They coordinate calls, emails, social media interactions, and appointments to create a coherent picture of your entire marketing and sales funnel.
CRM tools enable you to nurture customer loyalty in order to increase overall customer lifetime value.
You can’t do everything necessary to make your business a success by yourself, but the right marketing tools form an impressive and effective extra set of employees. By delegating tasks like email and social media marketing, website design, SEO optimization, and customer relationship management to automated tools and apps, you’ll improve your revenue and free up your own time for vital decision-making and business-related tasks that only you can carry out.