Are you a small business owner or thinking about starting one? You are not alone. According to the Small Business Administration, more than half of the US adult population is self-employed. This means there are millions of entrepreneurs who are responsible for paying their salary, buying equipment, managing their time, and providing services that people need every day. Then there are thousands of small businesses that vary in size and location.
For small businesses, having a digital marketing strategy is essential to long-term success. When it comes to social media marketing, most small businesses are not aware of the number of free tools available to them for effectively marketing their business. This post highlights the best free digital marketing tools for small businesses.
Top digital marketing tools for small business
There are different tools for each aspect of digital marketing. So, in this guide, you will get the best marketing tools for the following key digital marketing strategies in 2020:
Website analytics tools
Digital marketing tools for web analytics include Google Analytics, Kissmetrics, Woopra, Adobe Analytics.
Google Analytics is one of the most popular (if not the most popular) analytics tools which every digital marketer must get hold of to analyze his market and make predictions against the next move.
The Google Analytics platform provides useful information about your users, their location, and nationality.
It can also help you as a digital marketer to know which of your marketing channels generate the most leads, conversions, sales, or downloads.
With that, you will know what to optimize and target the most profitable market (audience).
Google Analytics is a free tool, so you don’t need to pay Google for the product. You will be able to use it as far as you have a Google account.
Kissmetrics is another website analytics tool that can help you increase conversions across your entire site.
This online platform helps you understand who your visitors are by tracking them and monitoring their entire conversion journey.
With such knowledge, you will be able to design your conversion process to generate more sales and revenue.
Kissmetrics is however a handy tool for every digital marketer who must understand what their competitors are doing to satisfy their customers.
Woopra is a special site analytics tool designed for e-commerce sites.
With Woopra in your tools kit, you will be able to know through the reports, the points your visitors dropped off and which traffic sources are yielding better results.
So, if you must know why visitors abandon what they have put in the cart, and at what point they do this, using the Woopra platform is suggestive.
Woopra has Core and Pro pricing packages.
The Core package is free while the Pro costs approximately $1000 per month. You will enjoy better services on the Pro version.
You could check it out through the link above.
For companies who want to make data-driven decisions, based on deep reports from trusted site analytics, the Adobe Analytics tool is a good direction to turn.
This analytics tool arms digital marketers with 360-degree customer analysis and predictive intelligence that helps digital marketers observe and respond to customers’ (visitors’) actions in real-time.
The Adobe Analytics feature the following insights:
- Ad hoc analysis which enables you to customize data and extrapolate results;
- Flow analysis which helps you understand the actions of your visitors better; and
- Advanced segmentation which helps you understand the key characteristics of the segments that are driving your company’s key performance indicators.
Email Marketing Tools
Some of the best digital marketing tools for email marketing are Mailchimp, Emma, and Getresponse, ConstantContact, Aweber, Infusionsoft, etc.
Social media, today, plays one of the most vital roles in digital marketing.
Due to the concentration of its users, it creates a significant amount of opportunities for marketers on the internet.
Given this, you need tools like WYNG, Sprout Social, Nanigans, and so on, to use social media for marketing.
The tools work in a way you can create and share content across different social media platforms and engage people simultaneously.
Sprout Social is a social media management and engagement platform that functions as a brand advocate for many businesses on the internet. This is one of the top digital marketing tools to grow your small business online.
With this tool, you will be able to establish your small business on social platforms as a transparent, trustworthy, and user-friendly brand.
Of course, with the ever-changing environment, social media has become a powerful tool in influencing the decisions and perceptions of customers.
You can start with the free trial of Sprout Social or go ahead and purchase the paid package which starts from $99 per month.
MobileMonkey is a chatbot platform that is great for boosting your productivity while using social media or SMS messaging to chat with customers.
You don’t have to be holding your phone all the time, anticipating customers to initiate a chat so you don’t miss a sale. With this chatbot, you can automate your interactions with your customers.
Search engine optimization (SEO) tools
SEO is another digital marketing strategy to grow your small business online. The strategy won’t be exciting without some great tools like SEMRush, Moz, Ahref, Yoast, RankMath, Seobility, etc.
SEMRush is one of the top digital marketing tools you can use to carry out effective SEO marketing and increase your organic traffic and rankings on search engines like Google, Bing, Yahoo, and Yandex.
With this tool, you can get insights into your competitor’s strategies in link building and advertising. You can also track both your competitors’ paid and organic searches.
SEMRush will help you in building backlinks and getting the most competitive and profitable keywords.
SEMRush has three pricing plans designed to cater to the needs of customers under different categories and business targets.
These plans include the:
- Pro – $99.95 per month
- Guru – $199.95 per month
- Business – $399.95 per month
You can access the following across the above-listed plans:
- Site Audit
- On Page SEO Checker
- Social Media Poster
- PPC Keyword tool
- Organic search
- Social Media Tracker
Moz is one of the tools that can help you boost your website visibility on search engines. Moz promises smarter handling of SEO marketing issues and it offers two packages:
- Moz Pro and
- Moz Local.
The Moz Pro will give you help in keyword research, link building, site audits, and page optimization insights.
On the other hand, Moz Local will help your business improve its SEO listing.
You can start with the free month offer of the Moz Pro or with the Moz Local and then for better performance on search engines.
Yoast is a popular WordPress plugin used for search engine optimization. Yoast is a free tool but the premium package of Yoast offers more packages to work with.
With Yoast, you can add extra SEO data to your blog posts.
These data help you to rank better on search engines and therefore generate an organic audience.
Website testing tools
Website testing tools provide you with a proper understanding of what your audience and website visitors experience on your site. This will make you know where and how to direct your optimization actions.
The tools include Hotjar, visual web optimizer (VWO), and Oracle Maxymiser, etc.
Hotjar is one of the website testing digital marketing tools that can help you understand the behavior of your website visitors, providing you with interesting metrics obtained from the scroll maps, heat maps, click maps of your visitors.
Hotjar can help you work better with the insights and data you obtain from web analytics like Google Analytics.
The pricing plan of Hotjar services depends on the number of audiences you want to track their record on your website.
This means you can choose your plan based on the average number of visitors you get per month.
Visual website optimizer (VWO)
The user experience delivered by your landing pages or websites goes a long way to determine your possibility of getting positive leads or sales.
However, you must keep that under notice for your websites by using VWO.
The tool helps you to easily discover insights and test ideas to help you improve engagement on your business site.
With the Visual Website Optimizer, you can play with different elements like images and headlines on your web pages, to generate multiple versions of your visitors to land.
The pricing of VWO differs across different packages offered by the company.
The VWO Testing costs $199 per month while the VWO Insight costs $169 per month. You can visit the website for further updates.
The Oracle Maxymiser tool helps you make decisions based on data, allowing you to rather take actions by guessing.
This is one of the most powerful tools to lay your hands on as a digital marketer in 2020.
This software makes it easy to carry out both simple A/B and complex multivariate tests, through its self-serve interface, robust insight, and advanced personalization tools and recommendations.
Oracle Maxymiser has the following capabilities:
- Analytics and insights
- Commerce marketing
- Email marketing
- Email campaign testing
- Mobile Marketing
- Programme orchestration
Google Analytics is completely free software that provides valuable insights into who is visiting your website and how they engage with it.
It’s best paired with Google Search Console – another free digital marketing tool that helps you to identify any problems on your site and optimize it for traffic.
Some of the data points that Google Analytics makes available to you include:
- The number of visitors to your site by day, week, month, or any time period you choose
- Where these visitors are coming from – referrals from other website, organic search, ads, social, or direct
- The keywords people are using in Google to find your site
- The demographics and interests of your users
- How long each user spends on your site and which pages they visit
All this information is interesting, but it’s also vital knowledge that can help you to optimize your website and marketing campaigns (while keeping your SEO efforts low cost).
For example, you might notice through Search Console or Analytics that you’re getting a lot of traffic from a keyword that you lack content covering. Write a blog post optimized for that keyword and watch your traffic and engagement levels rocket.
Getting loads of visitors from Facebook but none from Twitter? Maybe this is a sign you should concentrate your marketing efforts on your main channel.
It’s all about the insights – not just the analytics.
No matter how large or small your business is, email marketing should be a part of your overall strategy.
When a customer signs up to your mailing list, they’re inviting you straight into their inbox. That’s why email marketing on average offers a higher ROI than any other marketing activity.
To get started with email marketing, you need a service that will enable you to capture emails, manage your lists, send out emails automatically or on a schedule, and analyze engagement.
Mailchimp is an ideal choice if you’re just starting out or if you are running a small business. Mailchimp’s basic service is free until your list hits 2,000 subscribers. It offers the main functionality you need without making managing your email marketing too complex.
Plus, Mailchimp now offers a slew of features and digital marketing tools (some underpaid plans):
- Segmentation and personalization
- Landing page builders
- Form builders
- Audience insights
- CRM tools
- Predictive insights
There’s no question. You must maintain a presence on social media to remain competitive in the marketplace. You also probably already know that social media can be a huge time sink, even if you’re using it purely for marketing purposes rather than endlessly scrolling.
Luckily, you have digital marketing tools available to cut down on this time inefficiency, like Hootsuite.
Hootsuite provides a central management platform for all your social media channels and allows you to schedule posts in advance so you can get all your social media content for the coming weeks or months ready in one session.
You also get advanced reporting tools to see which of your social media campaigns are working most effectively and use this data to calculate ROI.
You can also track mentions of your brand and manage responses, all in one dashboard.
Hootsuite also offers tools for promoting your social media posts through the platform now as well.
Your content strategy shouldn’t consist of wild stabs in the dark as you cover topics you think your audience will engage with.
That’s why 60% of B2B brands with the most successful content marketing have a documented strategy. Meanwhile, only 21% of the brands with the least successful content say they have a documented strategy.
To be successful in content marketing, you need to do your research properly, and this is why BuzzSumo is one of my favorite content marketing tools.
BuzzSumo shows content that is trending across social media based on searched topics. Following your search, you can analyze the results that are returned to see what’s so appealing about them and to get ideas of subjects to write about.
But BuzzSumo is moving beyond just basic content research and viral posts. Today, BuzzSumo offers tons of digital marketing tools like:
- Keyword research
- Influencer search
- Topic-based social media feeds
- Content analysis
- Crisis management
- Brand monitoring tools
SEO is fundamental to online marketing and it’s important to get right. Not only should you make sure your site is structured properly and optimized for mobile, but the content you produce must also contain relevant keywords that you have a good chance of ranking for in search results.
You need a special digital marketing tool to find those relevant keywords and start your search. You have several options available from the free Google Keyword Planner, to more complex suites of tools like SECockpit.
The more advanced digital marketing tools get quite expensive, with monthly subscription fees starting at $100 or more. However, options like KWFinder offer affordable, accurate, and useful insights at a perfect price point for small businesses.
Just put in a seed keyword and the tool will come back with hundreds of suggestions, search volume data, trends, and a ranking difficulty score for each word or phrase.
Mangools, the brand behind KWFinder, offers plans for individual tools or its full suite which includes a backlink tool, website analysis, SERP watchers, and more inside each one – along with a nice browser extension.
You need visuals to keep your audience engaged.
For example, you could use quality photos to keep your readers interested, come up with motivating quote graphics, visualize complex data with colorful graphs, and create highly engaging infographics.
Now, what if I told you that there is an awesome tool that will help you create original, visually appealing content in just a few minutes? Of course, I’m talking about Canva!
Canva keeps evolving, offering more graphic design tools and templates all the time: social media, infographics, marketing posters, business cards, eBooks, and anything else you could need.
And Canva’s free templates (and entire freemium version) are useful too!
Use photos already featured on the site, upload and polish up your images, or even create brand new ones.
Most importantly, you don’t need to have any graphic design experience to create high-quality graphics. With its easy-to-use drag and drop features, Canva arms you with a wide range of photo editing options, color palettes, font combinations, effects, and custom image sizes.
While old-school SEO was all about building backlinks, modern SEO practices are focused on understanding the search intent of keywords you can rank for, and building relevant and organic backlinks from authority sites.
With quality links leading to your content, search engines will know how authoritative and trustworthy your website is. That’s why off-page backlink analysis is the backbone of your digital marketing strategy.
Now, even with a plethora of amazing tools, Ahrefs is the only one for many digital marketers.
With Ahrefs, you can do competitive analysis and see the keywords your competitors rank for in organic search results, find the best keywords ideas, access your backlink data instantly, find content relevant to your niche, keep track of your desktop and mobile keyword rankings, and get alerted whenever one of your competitors gets or loses a backlink.
Ahrefs has improved much over the years, now offering comprehensive tools for:
- Website analysis and backlink profiles
- Keyword research
- Website auditing for keyword gaps and performance issues
- Rank tracking to follow your performance over time
- Content explorer to stay on top of your niche
In the world of digital marketing tools, the success of any project hinges on the ease of communication between teams. That’s why you should invest in easy-to-use software that provides your team with uninterrupted interaction and data sharing.
One of the most popular team collaboration platforms is Slack. This sweet tool has won the hearts of many digital marketers thanks to its simple data sharing and easy message search options.
Most importantly, Slack can integrate with all major project management, office management, sales, productivity, design, and developer tools, making it easier for you to stay on top of every aspect of your digital marketing campaign.
What use are all the hours you spend researching keywords and topics worth if you don’t properly optimize your content? Even the best of us forget things once in a while.
Yoast is one of the best digital marketing tools for optimizing content for SEO because they offer an awesome free version. Yoast will tell you where to place your keyword, how to improve readability, and perhaps most importantly, let you know what you’re doing wrong so you can improve.
With the paid versions, you can add related keywords, search for semantic keywords within the plugin, get instant internal link suggestions, insights, and more.
Try the free version of Yoast for a while to familiarize yourself with the features and audit your site’s content. When you’re comfortable, upgrade to the paid version to boost your content even further.
More often than not, small business owners are doing everything they can to put out as many fires as possible. Because it’s difficult to concentrate on experimenting with marketing tools when you have to deal with things like payroll, invoicing, marketing, and client services.