There are a number of different companies offering digital marketing software online, but not all them will give you the results you need. To get success with a company, you need to ask a few questions before signing on. The following article offers a few questions to ask when considering your next digital marketing software purchase.
Free and Paid Digital Marketing Tools for Small Businesses in 2021
These digital marketing tools can help you to get the biggest bang for your buck and ensure your precious time is invested wisely: automating repetitive tasks, collecting data for you to analyze and optimize your campaigns, and helping you to organize and plan your marketing activities, and more.
If you’re ready to go the DIY marketing route, these tools are a must for reaching the right audiences for your brand, creating relevant content for your audience, and nurturing leads to buy.
No matter how large or small your business is, email marketing should definitely 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 under paid 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 a fundamental of online marketing and it’s important to get right. Not only should you make sure your site is structured properly and optimized for mobile, 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.
If you’re running multiple campaigns across numerous marketing channels, not only is it a huge challenge to manage them all, but you also have to figure out exactly what’s working and where to make improvements.
HubSpot is an all-in-one marketing software solution that enables you to bring all your different marketing channels together, and optimize for more traffic, a higher conversion rate, and better ROI.
The tool includes optimized templates that are ideal for creating landing pages along with other features like live chat and user action events which ramp up your engagement and convert more visitors into customers.
Other features of HubSpot include:
- Content optimization tools
- Optimized landing pages
- Email templates
- Marketing automation
- Lead management
- Social media management
The full version of HubSpot has a hefty price tag but small businesses on lower budgets can get started with their free or basic package.
HubSpot has also made the switch from an inbound marketing tool to a complete CRM platform, now offering free and paid sales hubs, customer service hubs, and content management (on top of the free/paid marketing hub).
However, the complete content management platform is only available in paid versions.
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 possibly need.
And Canva’s free templates (and entire freemium version) are actually useful too!
Use photos already featured on the site, upload and polish up your own 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.
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.
Small Business Tools for Analytics
Chances are you’ve heard of Google Analytics. It allows you to capture and analyze data on your web traffic and visitors. When used effectively, you can greatly increase your site’s user experience and increase conversion rates.
The KISSmetrics platform is perfect for SaaS businesses, allowing you to find out where your prospects are coming from, and map their journey on your website from prospect to customer. KISSmetrics gives you the important data you need to optimize your marketing channels, attract more customers, and get them to convert once they reach your website.
CrazyEgg’s heat-mapping capabilities will give you insight into what visitors are doing on your website. It tells you where they’re scrolling, clicking, and more importantly, what they’re not clicking. With CrazyEgg, you can optimize your landing pages to make sure you keep visitors engaged and help them down the sales funnel.
Hotjar is an all-in-one analytics and heatmap tool that integrates with tons of tools like WordPress, Instapage, and Unbounce. Hotjar’s setup is incredibly easy AND you can record web visits to see where your customers are clicking and focusing on your website.
Intercom is a customer messaging platform that allows you to see where your customers are getting tripped up and to send them targeted messages to solve their problems. The tool gives insight into areas of improvement on both your website and within your platform if you’re a Saas company. By automating customer service and triggering live chat, you can keep customers engaged and prevent costly churn.
Pendo acts as an extension of your product so that you can capture all user behavior, gather feedback, and provide contextual help to your users. It provides robust reporting on-page and feature usage to help you improve your product.
GoodData is a business intelligence and data visualization tool. It’s more suited for enterprise businesses, but it’s an incredibly powerful tool that can benefit any business. Rather than using your limited resources to build and maintain BI infrastructure, GoodData lets you focus on turning your information into insight across your business.
ChartMogul is another fantastic business intelligence tool. The platform integrates with many other tools you’re probably using (Zapier, Zendesk, Slack, etc) so you can calculate your key metrics in real time. Say goodbye to Excel spreadsheets!
Small Business Tools for Content Marketing
According to their website, WordPress powers 27% of the internet. And there’s a reason for it. WordPress is the easiest content management system out there (in our humble opinion) and is super reasonably priced. It’s free for personal use, but the best package for small businesses starts at $8.25/month.
Content curation can be incredibly time-consuming when building a social presence. That’s where Feedly comes in to help you search, organize and share relevant content. Feedly also integrates with several project management tools such as Slack and Trello.
Can’t afford to hire a copy editor to review your blogs before you post them? Grammarly can save you from embarrassing errors. Use it in combination with your spell checker, and you’ll be pleasantly surprised by how many typos you avoid. If you spring for the premium version, Grammarly also offers a plagiarism checker.
Content headlines are crucial. They determine whether or not readers click on your content. On top of their cohesive content marketing calendar, CoSchedule’s Headline Analyzer tool will give your headlines numeric scores AND suggestions to make them stronger.
BuzzSumo is an excellent tool to help you uncover the trending topics and content that performs across various social media the best. You can also identify influencers (and spy on your competition if that’s what you’re into).
Not only does Contently allow you to schedule and optimize content, but the platform also offers freelance writers to help your business create full-length articles and blog posts. While Contently is really geared toward more enterprise customers, you can’t make a ‘best of’ list without mentioning the platform.
ClearVoice is a content creation and management platform. The collaboration tool gives you access to freelance writers and editors to create professional content. ClearVoice most likely isn’t the right choice for small businesses just starting out (they require an annual subscription), but it’s a great one to keep in mind when you’re ready to step up your content marketing game.
Video marketing is all the hype this year and is an important piece of the content marketing puzzle. Wistia is our absolute favorite video tool. Like many social and content tools, Wistia offers analytics, automation, and a place to host your videos. We love using Wistia to see which videos are performing the best on our site. The call-to-action features is also clutch for sending traffic to your site no matter where your Wistia video is posted on the web.
Small Business Tools for Lead Capture
Their simple lead capture forms are an easy way to serve up irresistible resources to your audience, growing your list. OptinMonster allows you to A/B test your forms to see what’s working and what isn’t so you’ll understand why your visitors are staying and going.
Unbounce is an easy-to-use landing page builder. They have beautiful pre-designed templates that will allow you to get your pages up and running without the help of code or professional web design. Plans start at $49/month, and Unbounce offers a free 30-day trial.
LeadPages offers pre-designed landing page templates, pop-up forms, and the ability to send SMS opt-in codes. They boast tons of easy integrations and their Pro Plan starts at $48/month.
Sumo (formerly SumoMe) has an array of helpful lead capture tools, including sophisticated opt-in forms, easy integrations with just about any content management system, Google Analytics integrations, and heatmaps. Pricing depends on your website visits but starts with a free package (best for those just getting started).
Instapage is another helpful landing page builder. The platform offers PPC compatibility, many integrations,s, and helpful A/B testing capabilities. The basic package starts at $29/month (paid annually).
HelloBar adds a non-intrusive lead capture bar to your website so you can turn website visitors into email subscribers into customers. The tool allows you to promote your social content and easily A/B test your messaging.
Qualaroo allows you to optimize your site by providing targeted website surveys to capture customer insight. With Qualaroo you can target questions to visitors anywhere on your website, in your product, or in your conversion funnel. Their startup package starts at $199/month billed annually.
LiveChat does just what the name says. This simple tool allows you to get engage customers on your website, capture visitor information and provide more personalized, immediate customer service. The LiveChat starter package starts at $19/month. This is a great way to capture prospects from your website who might otherwise bounce.
At the end of the day, it’s not the tools that make the difference. It’s your ability to execute your ideas that will help you succeed in your business. And when it comes to sales and marketing automation, nothing beats a professional approach. Sales and Marketing Management Software is a powerful, flexible, and affordable sales and marketing software platform designed to help small to medium-sized companies succeed in today’s digital economy.
To survive in today’s competitive digital marketing landscape, you need to be intuitive, social media-savvy, and persistent.
Most importantly, you need to be a jack of all trades. Apart from knowing all the digital marketing tips and tricks, you must learn and use a wide range of digital marketing tools to save time and make your work more efficient.
Whether you’re analyzing off-page backlinks or developing a content marketing strategy, these tools will help you not only focus on the aspects of your job that really matter, but also maintain your sanity.