Unfortunately, many small business owners do not have such a large or flexible budget set aside for marketing purposes that a much larger company may have. However, there still exists the same need for building email lists, creating and sharing content across social media, and also building and growing the company brand recognition online.
Lack of manpower can seriously slow your progress in these areas and even with the best time-management practices in place, you can still find yourself floundering. Luckily, there are a lot of tools that can help you cope with time-consuming tasks, and many of them have free versions that are quite sufficient for small business needs.
Let’s take a look at some of the most popular and useful free tools that would suit a time-pressed small business owner.
- Being active on social media is a must for most small businesses. Platforms like Facebook and LinkedIn are usually the first place that anyone will look to check you out and find out more information about you and your company or others like you within the same sector. For a B2C business having a Facebook presence is probably the most important step to take first. If you are a B2B company, then LinkedIn is the obvious choice. When you deal directly with other companies, having a strong LinkedIn profile is a must if you want to be taken seriously by your peers. The great thing about social media is that it is free to join and use.
- Track your analytics with free tools such as Google Analytics or SEMrush to keep an eye on your brand visibility and traffic. These are great tools for giving you insight into what is working – or not. Also, SEMrush is also a handy tool for spying on your competition too!
- Build your email list using MailChimp. Many email list management tools come at a price, but MailChimp offer a ‘forever free’ plan that will allow you to build a list of 2,000 subscribers before you need to upgrade to a larger capacity plan. The free plan allows you to send 12,000 emails per month, so this should be more than enough to suit the needs of most small businesses.
- Hootsuite has been around for a while now and is widely used and trusted by many small business owners. This is a great tool for managing your activity across many social media platforms. This saves you a lot of time having to post on so many different places, which can be very time-consuming! You can use Hootsuite to connect your social media accounts to one simple to use dashboard and use this to schedule, publish and monitor your activity. You can pull off very useful reports here too that can help you plan your marketing campaigns.
- Did you know that YouTube is the second-largest search engine in the world? It’s true! Most people are visual learners so they would rather watch a short video about a business or company that have to wade through large blocks of text on a website. YouTube is also a godsend to those small business owners who are not so good at sitting down and writing blog content. If you are blessed with the gift of the gab or have an engaging personality, then shooting a short video can be a much more appealing way of keeping your followers up to date with all your latest news.
There are many more useful tools out there to make use of, but these listed above have proven to be very useful for a lot of small business owners with limited time, staff and resources available. Why not try them out for yourself! They don’t cost anything so you have nothing to lose.