As a business owner, you only have so many hours in a day. You know that marketing is vital to growing your business and getting your brand out there, but how do you add this in on top of all the other tasks? Most small businesses can’t afford to hire a full-time marketing person to handle tasks, which means that the work falls to the manager, an administrative assistant, or workers who are already doing other tasks.
Fortunately, there are some marketing tools that can help your service business with marketing. Since these tools at least have a free level, you can start with a zero budget and work your way up from there.
Mallory Wilkerson is an Account Coordinator at William Mills Agency, the nation’s foremost public relations and marketing firm for the financial industry. Wilkerson talked about how, according to Buffer, tweets with images receive 150% more retweets than tweets without images.
“A great way for service professionals to increase social media engagement is by creating bespoke graphics. My favorite free tool for this is Canva, a graphic creation tool that provides an easy way for people with little knowledge of design or the Adobe Suite to create high quality, professional graphics for social media, email blasts, business cards and more.”
One way that Wilkerson uses Canva is to create a quick turnaround social media graphic on Twitter or LinkedIn. She points to their plethora of templates that allow her to create a unique deliverable quickly every time.
Speaking of Buffer, this is an excellent tool to help you schedule social media posts. Because you can schedule them out ahead of time, you can work on your social media posts in your free time.
Buffer's free plan allows you to have one social account per platform and one team member working on scheduling posts. You can schedule 10 posts out. There are additional plans you can upgrade to as your business and social media presence grows.
3. Chimp Mail
According to DemandGen, 53% of professional marketers state that personalized communication that is ongoing with an existing customer base (i.e. emails) creates significant impact on overall revenue for a company.
ChimpMail allows you to get started with email marketing for free. They provide a number of templates you can use to send out your campaigns, and you can personalize them with the person’s first name, for example.
The free account allows you to have up to 2,000 subscribers and send up to 12,000 emails per month. If you outgrow that, upgraded accounts are still fairly reasonable. You get a lot of tools with this free platform, including the ability to track open rates and share your emails on social media.
You can throw up all kinds of blog posts, share content on social media, and send out emails, but if you don’t do it with purpose, it will be far less effective. SumoMe is a tool that allows you to track analytics and see how content is performing for your business. With the free version, you’ll gain access to all of the apps. If you want to conduct A/B testing through SumoMe, you'll have to upgrade to the Pro package, which runs $20/month.
An email with a single call to action (CTA) increases clicks 371%, according to Wordstream, and sales by 1617%. With results like that, you can see the importance of adding a CTA button to every piece of digital marketing material you send out.
Sniply allows you to create CTAs on the fly and add them to emails and other marketing mediums, even social media. The tool offers a free trial for 14 days, so you can try it out and if you like it, you can begin using it for $29/month.
IFTTT stands for If This, Then That. It is a simple (and free) tool that allows you to write recipes to save yourself time from a marketing standpoint. For example, you can set up a recipe so that each time you post to Instagram, it is shared on your company’s Facebook page. You can also save things that are posted to a system such as DropBox.
There are many different ways to use IFTTT effectively as a marketer. The recipes are already written, although you can tweak any of them, so spend some time browsing through them and find which ones work best for you and your business. You can swap them around, add and subtract recipes at any time, too.
Empire.kred is a great place to begin interacting with other business owners and to share one another’s content. If you want to gain follows on social media, get people to visit a blog post, or attract new subscribers to your list, this is a great place to start. It is essentially free to use, although you will want to complete missions so that you can gain enough shares to run your own missions.
You can also buy shares, but this is typically not necessary for light usage.
One way to build your social media presence is by locating influencers and connecting with them. FollowerWonk allows you to find influencers in your niche quickly, saving you time and effort.
With the free account, you can connect one account and get data on social authority ranking and see followers and their locations. With the upgraded packages, you gain additional capabilities for additional accounts and information on when to optimize posts and see which tweets are most engaging users.
These eight tools are a good place to start if you want to step up your marketing game. There are dozens of other tools that are either free or have free trial available as well. Over time, you’ll be able to see which ones make the most sense for your company and use them accordingly. Remember that marketing is something that you have to build consistently over time to be successful.
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