So, you need practical marketing tools and apps that can make up for your lack of a marketing department and streamline as many of your marketing tasks as possible.
Now, you encounter the next challenge: how do you choose the right marketing tools for your business? There are so many options out there, with all of them addressing different marketing needs, and all of them promising great results. You have to narrow things down somehow, and picking one out of a hat blindfolded isn't a very rational way to make a decision.
Instead of holding a lottery, consider these six issues to help you choose the best marketing tools for your small business.
You need to keep an eye on your bottom line, and that means that the price of a tool is always going to be significant. First of all, most marketing tools offer a free version for businesses with fewer than a certain amount of contacts or with just one or two users. This gives you the chance to master the software and establish yourself on the platform without paying for your onboarding period.
But it is also important to look beyond the free version. Check when you'll need to upgrade to a paid tier, and how many tiers there are. Pay attention to the features on offer for each tier. Some marketing tools have huge price differences between the tiers, which could leave you paying for more functionality than you really need.
Comparing prices isn’t always easy; email automation platforms, for example, tend to charge both per user and per thousand contacts, so you’ll need to juggle two variables to get a final price.
Although it would be really nice to find one single tool that can handle all of your marketing needs, it’s not so likely. Marketing tools tend to focus on just one or two types of tasks, like email marketing, social media marketing, SEO, etc.
However, there are tools that promote themselves as all-in-one marketing platforms. They could include CRM, landing pages, lead management, SEO, and maybe even more. These all-in-one tools never offer quite as many features for each task as you'll get from a dedicated one-task tool, but you might find that it's good enough for your purposes.
Even if your all-in-one marketing solution isn’t quite all-in-one, if it can handle a few marketing tasks, and you just need to add an extra email marketing platform or social media management tool, that still reduces the number of subscriptions you have to pay, and stops you from having to constantly switch between marketing tools.
Analytics are vital for a successful marketing campaign. Without analytics, you won’t know whether your tactics are succeeding or if you’re wasting your time and need to try something different, so every marketing tool needs plenty of analytics.
For email marketing, that means open rates and click-through rates; for social media management, you need engagement data; in a CRM, you want to measure interactions, engagement, and more. Your marketing tool should also be able to produce customizable reports and visualizations to help you understand the metrics and acquire actionable insights.
4. Ease of Use
It doesn’t matter how multi-functional and powerful your marketing tool is; if you can’t understand how to use it, it might just as well not exist. Many business owners get carried away by the most advanced, cutting-edge marketing tool with all the bells and whistles, but then it turns out to be so confusing and complicated that everyone just avoids using it entirely.
Before you commit to a marketing tool, hop on to the trial or demo version (if there’s no trial or demo version, choose a different tool). Make sure that it’s intuitive, easy to use, and comes with how-to guides, onboarding videos, and other resources to help you master it quickly.
No matter how easy the tool is to use, it’s inevitable that at some point you’ll hit a wall and you’ll have to reach out for help. When that happens, you want to know that someone will be there to respond. Find out what kind of customer support there is for your chosen tools, including how you can access it (i.e., by phone, live chat, email only), and when human agents are available.
You’re not going to be using marketing tools in a vacuum. They’ll be just one part of your business toolbox, so it’s important to look for tools that can play well together. You’ll get much more out of an email marketing tool that integrates directly with your CRM and CMS system, for example. Check that the tools you’re considering can integrate easily with your existing apps and infrastructure.
The Best Marketing Tool for Your Business is the One that Fits Your Needs
Considering the price, ease of use, customer support, versatility, analytics, and integrations that come with each tool is vital for picking the best option, but there’s also one more thing that you need to consider. Each business is different, so once you’ve found the best marketing tools for small business, stop to evaluate what your business really needs right now, and how much growth you anticipate in the near future. This will help you to make a data-driven decision about the marketing tool that’s best for your business.