6 Software marketing tools that every small business needs

In a highly connected, global economy, there are various opportunities for small businesses to thrive. In order to reach all your potential customers, you need a comprehensive marketing strategy, supported with practical software solutions.

And there are a lot of different options.

So before we dive in with software recommendations, let’s start with the basics. To market a small business effectively, you need to:

  • manage your social media
  • send compelling emails
  • communicate with your customers
  • build your authority with a blog
  • develop your design skills

Now let’s take a look at which tools to try and why you need them.

1. Email Marketing & Automation

In terms of lead generation and cold hard sales, email marketing and email automation remain unbeatable. Use a tool like MailChimp to manage your strategy. You can build off ready-made design templates to fill out your weekly newsletter or sales blast. And it’s free for lists under 2000 people!

If glossy design is important to you, then you could consider another tool such as Campaign Monitor. But for most small businesses, MailChimp will do just fine.

Focus on the data. MailChimp gives you tools to A/B test your marketing: for example, to find out which one of two email headers works better. Build on this feedback to get more people reading your messages each week.

(We are official Mailchimp agency partners; if you need help with email marketing or any of Mailchimp’s marketing tools, please reach out!)

2. CRM Tools

You need a way to keep track of potential customers. There is a vast range of Customer Relationship Management (CRM) tools out there. But—whisper it!—most of them are essentially the same these days. Top-rated sites are Zoho, Salesforce, and Apptivo.

Which features are most important for your business? Carefully consider your budget. Most CRMs now include customer service, social media tools, and accounting capabilities.

3. Live Chat

Chat is the fastest, best way to gain leads on your website and to provide top-notch customer service. A great tool is tawk.to, which we prefer because it doesn’t require login to Facebook. You can create various agents and shortcuts for those agents to use. Triggers fire when, for instance, a user has been on the site for 30 seconds, prompting them to chat. Chats can lead to creating tickets for followup, and you can even build your own knowledge base for FAQs. Their free tier offers just enough for most small teams.

4. SEO Tracking

When it comes to marketing a small business online, SEO is everything. Put simply: People need to be able to find you online. The key to good search engine optimization is good data. Tools like Moz are designed to help you understand how people find you online and what they’re typing into search engines. If you’re really serious about your SEO strategy, then it’s worth springing for the Pro version. But make sure you take time to get acquainted with the basic tools first!

What about Google Analytics? It’s fine, and for most sites, it’s accurate enough. But is it really accurate? No. We opt for Matomo On-Premise. While they offer a paid cloud-based version, if you install their software on your server directly, it’s free. And if you have a WordPress site, there’s a plugin; you can even monitor your reports directly from your WordPress dashboard. We rant on this in “Why you should stop using Google Analytics.”

5. Graphics Builder

You’ll need a dedicated graphic designer to create your logo, branded social media templates, and email templates. But for ongoing social media graphics, free stock photos, infographics, and even presentations, it’s worth signing up for an easy-access tool like Canva.

Your team—for free—can collaborate on designs, export in various file types and sizes, and access a library of ready-made graphics and text styles.

With these essentials, you’ll be ready to grow and market your small business. But keep an eye on trends as they develop—and be ready to take advantage of new tools when they appear.

6. Social Media Calendaring

Social media is a key part of marketing for small businesses. It’s accessible, it’s cheap, and it reaches your customers where they already are. But you don’t want to waste time on posts that go nowhere or pay for ineffective ads. You’ll need a tool like Hootsuite to schedule posts, manage ads, and track the return on investment.

One of the most useful features of Hootsuite is social media monitoring. As a small business owner, you haven’t got time to follow the latest trends on every social network. But you can search and follow conversations online, based on business keywords or your location.

Management consultant and brand strategist for small teams. Fan of dark tea, thick books, peace, and unity.

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