You may have heard the cliché that business is a contact sport where grit and determination separates the winners from the losers. And it is, but it’s also a thinking man’s game. The strategies and tools you use will help you stay ahead of your competition.
Let’s say you have the best product in the world. You know there’s a market for it and it serves your customer’s needs much better than anything else out there – you blow the competition out of the water 10 times out of 10.
First of all, congratulations. But you won’t be able to build a successful business without paying customers. To do that, you need to be able to reach prospects and communicate why your product or service is better and what they gain from working with you over one of your competitors. In other words, you need the right tools and marketing strategies for business growth.
Here are 10 (mostly free) marketing tools for business growth that every small business owner should use:
1. Google Analytics
You have a website that you’re using to communicate your marketing message, reach prospects and/or sell products. But how do you know where they’re coming from or whether the optimisations you make are moving the needle?
Google Analytics helps you learn more about your customers by tracking where your visitors are coming from, what they’re doing on your website (i.e. pages visited or time spent) and ultimately, helps you figure out what messages are the most effective at compelling visitors to take a particular action.
If you want to grow your business with digital marketing, SEO should be something that is top of mind.
When you search for something on Google, how often do you search past the first page? Probably not very often. And you’re not alone – according to Search Engine People, the first position generates around 33% of the clicks with the next getting 15% and the 3rd getting just 9% and the drop-off gets steeper and steeper after that (here’s a chart for the data junkies out there).
SEMrush helps you develop a winning SEO marketing strategy by helping you with keyword research, SEO audits of your website, identifies backlink opportunities and tracks the keyword strategies used by your competition. Check out our list of free SEO tools you can start using right now.
When it comes to SEO, one of the things search engines look at is how many other websites are referencing your content and how authoritative those websites are. Since these websites have influence over your ranking, let’s call them “influencers”.
PitchBox makes it easy for you to find influential bloggers or publishers in your niche with their search and filter function and makes it easy for you to reach out to them via personalised automated email sequences. If the influencers like your content and are willing to showcase it on their sites, your SEO ranking will go up.
4. Answer the Public
If you want to rank high on search engines, it’s important to create high quality content around what people are searching. But how do you know what people are looking for and how do you come up with topics week after week?
Answer the Public works by generating a tree of potential blog topics based on the keyword you’re targeting and real search queries and trending topics related to your keyword.
Today, in the UK 67% of the entire population are on social media so the customers you’re trying to reach are probably there too.
Social media marketing is a great way to reach new customers and build loyalty with your existing customers. Hootsuite helps you do this by helping you manage all of your social media accounts in 1 place. You can easily create an editorial calendar, schedule and approve posts, track social media engagement and ROI, and helps you track what people are saying about your brand online.
6. Act! CRM
Once you’ve got a steady stream of visitors to your website, it’s time to get their contact information, build a relationship with them (we call this nurturing) and gently nudge them towards a sale.
While there are a lot of fancy tools out there like AI-enabled chatbots, one of the most powerful marketing tools for business growth is still email marketing because of the tremendous ROI. According to CampaignMonitor, you can expect to make $44 back for every $1 you spend on email.
Act! CRM is a comprehensive sales and marketing platform that combines CRM and emarketing, providing everything you and your team need to successfully run and grow your business. Act! CRM allows you to set up simple ad-hoc email blasts or drip marketing campaigns for one-off or single path communications as needed.
7. Hello Bar
Once you have visitors, how do you get them to take action? Hello Bar makes it easy to design and add Calls to Action (CTA) buttons to your website through pop-ups, sliders, and even exit intent pop-ups to deliver your offer in a timely and engaging way. Best of all, it’s free for most users (visit their home page and input your URL to get started).
Marketing teams can use Hello Bar to increase your landing page’s conversion rate by offering coupon codes, asking them to like your social media page or to collect emails for your newsletter.
Whether you’re creating ads, social media posts or email blasts, you’ll need eye-catching graphics that capture people’s attention.
Canva is a free tool for creating logos and designs. They have beautiful professional-grade templates for almost anything you can imagine from posters to email banners to Facebook ads.
9. Survey Monkey
In order to develop marketing strategies for business growth, you need to understand your customers. Collecting feedback allows you to improve your offering and find out who your customers are and what they care about so you can better craft marketing messages in future.
Survey Monkey or TypeForm are two great tools to easily create beautiful forms and surveys (that people actually want to complete) and analyse the results. You can even generate presentation-ready charts and graphs automatically.
We already talked about how important it is to understand your customers. Hotjar, takes this concept further using heat maps to see what people are clicking on and how far they’re scrolling, collect user feedback via pop-up surveys and even run live recordings of user sessions to gain insight into user behaviour.
The likes of Nintendo and Microsoft use this tool to help them improve their product, marketing funnels and user experience but it’s not just a tool for large corporations. They have a free tier which is good enough for most small businesses.
To succeed in business, you need a sound strategy for growing your business through digital marketing that covers SEO, social media marketing, email marketing, and landing page optimisation. The marketing tools suggested above will hopefully make your life easier as you execute on your business growth strategy.