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Marketing Tools for Small Businesses

Ty Collins, January 24, 2021

The word marketing encompasses a wide range of strategies, tools and processes meant to bring attention to your business. Formulating a successful marketing strategy helps your small business grow substantially. However, knowing what to tackle first can be tricky. 

Today’s choices of marketing tools for businesses seems endless. Yet in order for your business to flourish, it’s critical to invest in the right tools for you. With such tools in place, you can more easily draw in new customers and engage your existing ones. 

In 2011, there were only around 150 marketing tools available. But 10 years later, that number has grown to 8,000. That’s pretty overwhelming growth. While many options mean many ways to invest, you might need a little help narrowing down the best marketing tools for you and your business. 

The best online marketing tools for small businesses

Below you’ll find 22 business tools recommended by industry experts and reviews alike. They’re listed in alphabetical order, so you can easily understand the options available without feeling overwhelmed. Each tool explored lists its purpose, price and a brief profile of its features and benefits. You’ll also find a link, and in some cases, a sample graphic. Time to dive in!

Marketing a business requires strategy and key marketing tools that help you see results. 

Buffer

Purpose: Automate your social media

Price: $0–$99 per month with additional options upon request

Profile: Buffer is one of the original marketing tools. It is easy to use and great for small companies looking to automate and optimize their social marketing. It includes social share widgets, a scheduler and an analytics tool. Also, it recently added the ability to reply to your audience. This includes building your community on Instagram by engaging with the most important comments faster and helping you gain customer trust. It also lets you collect all inbound messages from your different social media feeds into one location.

Buffer can post to Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn and Pinterest. It can also integrate with other apps including IFTTT, WordPress and Feedly. There is also a helpful marketing library available for free that gives users access to all sorts of social media strategy information.

After the 14-day free trial, you can choose from one of its plans. The free plan offers three social channels and 10 scheduled posts for one user. With the smallest business plan, you’ll pay $99 a month, which is good for 25 social channels, 2,000 scheduled posts per channel and six users. You can add on the ability to analyze your Buffer automation for $35–$50 a month. 

BuzzSumo

Purpose: Analyze what’s trending and see who and what can help build reach

Price: Plans start at $79 a month

Profile: BuzzSumo is an optimal tool for anyone who wants to analyze content, competitors, links or influencers. With it, you can see what’s trending for any topic or domain. This allows you to see what might be about to go viral and act. For example, users can look for influencers in a particular subject, review their materials and share their message. 

You can also get ideas for content, keywords and questions people want answered, or find someone to partner with based on the data. The possibilities are endless. Many claim it’s well worth the money, and that the data is well authenticated. And yes, you can try it out for free for 30 days.

Calendly

Purpose: Scheduling

Price: $0–$8 per month

Profile: With Calendly, you can save time with easy-to-use scheduling software. It helps boost your sales and enhance the quality of your service by quickly and conveniently scheduling your client meetings. Gone are the days of back-and-forth emails and phone calls typically needed to accomplish this. It keeps you connected to your clients so you never miss an opportunity. 

Calendly offers a free plan for very small or new businesses, but at $8 a month, the best plan is very much worth it. This scheduler integrates with all your existing calendars to make your life easier. It automatically creates web conferences, adds meetings to your customer relationship management (CRM), sends reminders to your invitees and even helps you collect payments for any meeting fees. You can also customize your schedule features, from capping the number of meetings per day to creating blocks of off time between meetings or having minimum scheduling notices to prevent last-minute meetings. 

Canva

Purpose: Design software

Price: $0–$12.50 per month with custom pricing available for enterprises

Profile: Canva helps you design marketing content from your phone or computer. Its intuitive software allows you to develop a sleek, professional design for your business without having to be a certified designer. From Facebook covers and ebooks to presentations and graphs, you can design just about anything you put your mind to with Canva. Each project idea includes a template, so you don’t have to work from scratch—there’s even a template for the newest social media out there, like TikTok. 

While designing, you can add your own images or choose from a library of free and paid images. You can also upload your own fonts if you want more options than the ones Canva offers. The paid version allows for teams to work together on projects and for brands to create a brand board with all their fonts, colors and images in one place, ready for design. 

When you’ve finished your design, you can download it to your device and use it instantly. Canva offers many format options to make sure your downloaded file retains its professional appearance wherever you feature it. It’s one of the best drag-and-drop content-creation options around, with the free version a viable option.

Convert

Purpose: A/B testing tool

Price: Starting at $699 per month

Profile: With Convert’s free 15-day trial, you can try out all the fantastic features of this A/B testing tool. This way, you can see what’s really working and what’s bringing you the most growth. There are several training add-ons and advanced developer options. It boasts zero privacy worries, better support and fast testing. Convert stays up to date on the privacy and compliance ships happening in the market so you don’t have to. 

Convert claims 99.99% uptime, you don’t need to know code to use it and you get unlimited projects and even a free onboarding consultation. It also integrates with over 90 other tools, like Google Analytics, WordPress and Hotjar, to ensure you get the most out of its service. According to many, the user experience is great, and the performance is high-end, so you’ll get your money’s worth.

Crazy Egg

Purpose: Data collection tool

Price: $24–$249 per month

Profile: With Crazy Egg, you can utilize its wide range of tools to gain insights into your customers through testing. There are click reports, heat maps, user session recording, A/B testing, scroll maps and more. From these tools, you’ll learn how your customers use your site, from how long they stay on a page to how they move through your site. You’ll also be able to determine the loss of conversion so that you can improve your user experience. With Crazy Egg, you learn which tools work and which don’t. 

Consider trying the free trial before you commit. That way you can decide which tier is best for your business. Most businesses find the PLUS plan for $99 the best option, where priority support becomes available. 

Followerwonk

Purpose: Twitter analytics expansion

Price: $0–$79 per month

Profile: If you spend the most time marketing to people on Twitter, Followerwonk is a great fit. It helps you find relevant accounts to target, figure out your followers’ demographics so that you can deliver the best content and overall mines your analytics to help you develop a better marketing strategy. Grow your brand and optimize your Twitter profile when you search bios, compare users, analyze data and track and sort followers. 

It also helps you identify and engage brand influencers in your specific niche, visualize your data and share reports easily. You’ll learn when to tweet, if you’re gaining or losing followers and who they are, and when your followers are active. It even allows you to follow or unfollow from the app. Followerwonk helps Twitter users dig deeper into their accounts to get the most out of it. It offers a free plan and a free trial for users to see how it all works. 

Google Analytics

Purpose: Track and analyze customer data

Price: $0–$150,000 per year

Profile: Google Analytics is one of the most recognized analytics tools available. While it has a steep learning curve, the benefits seem worth it. Once you get used to it, you’ll find it simple to use, powerful and customizable. 

This tool focuses on your audience. It helps you determine your audience, see how they found your website, know what they did while they were there and understand what made them leave. Knowing this information can help you fine-tune your business’s website marketing efforts to increase site traffic and enjoy the benefits that come with it. 

Most businesses opt for Google’s free service, but Analytics 360 exists for those businesses that really want to dig deep. 

Hootsuite

Purpose: Social media scheduler

Price: $29–$599+ per month

Profile: Hootsuite allows you to plan and schedule your social media posts so that you can reach any time zone and platform without much effort. With Hootsuite, you can schedule posts, monitor trends and engage with your audiences. One of the best things about Hootsuite is its side-by-side feeds dashboard design. Everything is located in one dashboard so you can see and do everything in one place. 

Hootsuite also allows you to identify key influencers and hashtags, which helps boost your social media even more. It integrates with over 150 apps and has an extensive list of social network integrations. With Hootsuite, you also have training and certification options to help set you above your competition. Try it out by using their 30-day free trial.

Hotjar

Purpose: Analyze customer experience

Price: $0 and up depending on traffic and data collection needs

Profile: Hotjar’s many features help you understand your website visitors’ thoughts and actions. You can choose to do session replays, perform analytics, conduct on-site polls or surveys and more. Combined with Google Analytics, it enables a more powerful look at what people do on your website. 

Hotjar is easy to install with a simple script and not too costly, depending on your business needs. If you’re tracking conversion, it’s one of the best tools out there. Customers report that even less tech-savvy people can use it too. 

HubSpot

Purpose: All-in-one growth software

Price: $0–$3,200 per month

Profile: HubSpot is an advantageous tool whether you decide to use one of its free services or opt for more with its paid ones. It is an all-in-one inbound marketing tool that helps boost your marketing, sales and customer service by using features like lead capture forms, kickback emails, analytics reports, scheduling tools, live chat and free CRM. It even grades your website for you and shows you where you can improve. 

HubSpot also allows you to integrate with over 300 other platforms, making it even more powerful. While some users may be overwhelmed by its many features, it is one of the most comprehensive softwares out there. 

Mailchimp

Purpose: Email marketing tool

Price: $0–$199 a month

Profile: Mailchimp is one of the most popular email marketing tools available today. It offers several key features for its users, making it a great option for experienced and novice email marketers alike. However, Mailchimp doesn’t just automate your emails; it helps you create entire campaigns with a simple tool that enables you to design everything. It offers a large number of integrations and tracks website traffic as well. Its advanced reporting and analytics features allow you to learn what’s working and what isn’t, and who sees your emails. 

Mailchimp does customer service well too, providing a variety of helpful tips and tools that allow you to get the most out of its platform. It’s an excellent tool for small companies, and many start with the free version. 

Moosend

Purpose: Email marketing tool

Price: $0–$8+ per month

Profile: Moosend is another powerful email marketing automation tool with a wide range of features. It offers email templates with an easy drag-and-drop editor that even the most novice user can manipulate. You can create subscription forms and landing forms, choose from multiple tracking and automation options and use the reporting and analytics features to help make your decisions. Moosend offers over 80 integrations to make your business run smoother. Try it out for free and then decide if a paid plan is more suitable for you.

Optimizely

Purpose: Optimization testing tool

Purpose: Custom 

Profile: Optimizely works similarly to Convert in that it runs A/B testing for your site, but it also runs multivariate tests and does conversion rate optimization to help boost conversions and revenue. While some users say the platform is a bit difficult to use, it remains one of the best options out there. 

Optimizely can be customized to each specific test and now includes a workflow and knowledge management solution that allows you to document and share the insights you gather. However, its custom pricing adds up fast, so this option seems better for bigger businesses or smaller ones with higher cash flow. 

Pepipost

Purpose: Cloud-based email delivery service

Price: $25–$445 per month

Profile: If you need a fast email delivery service with average delivery times of less than five seconds, then consider investing in Pepipost. It’s cloud-based and allows you to send important emails, newsletters, notifications and updates in record time. 

Pepipost allows for easy integration via SMTP, API or ready-made plugins, so it works well for just about anyone. You can manage multiple domains from one dashboard, and it has an AI-optimized back end that helps you identify the users most likely to engage, the best time to send, and the optimum send rate so as to not overwhelm the servers. It’s basically smart mail. Try a free trial or pay a one-time fee to enjoy the free version of the platform.

Proof

Purpose: Social proof software

Price: $24–$299+ per month

Profile: If your company boasts many visitors or you want to encourage more action on your site, you want to invest in a service like Proof. It displays your social proof, such as visitors to your site or downloads of an ebook featured on your site, directly on your webpage in a way that stands out and attracts customers. Likewise, it includes a service that helps you craft personalized websites for each visitor that comes to your site. It’s easy to get started and integrate Proof’s marketing features into your business strategy. Try the free trial to see if it’s a good match for you.

Screaming Frog

Purpose: Website crawler

Price: $0 or $203.81 (current GBP to USD) per year

Profile: If you’re concerned about SEO, Screaming Frog helps you identify any issues. Whether you’re looking for broken links, duplicate content, redirects or metadata, it’s a robust SEO tool that helps you with the technical aspects of your website so that it can be well optimized and function at its best. 

These days, knowing how your site performs is critical to helping it work at its best and rank higher on Google and other search engines. The free version of Screaming Frog suits many businesspeople, and you can renew a license yearly with discounts for multiple licensing needs. 

SendX

Purpose: Email marketing platform

Price: $7.49+ per month

Profile: Email marketing platform SendX allows you to access all its features and send unlimited emails for a flat fee per subscriber count. Their base rate covers up to 1,000 subscribers. The WYSIWYG email editor helps those who don’t know HTML and includes pre-built templates and customization options. List building is easy with SendX’s pop-up forms, inline forms and landing pages that integrate with any website. The available reports help you identify what’s working, and you can target your emails to different audiences based on need. 

Slack

Purpose: Collaborative communication tool

Price: $0–$12.50 per month

Profile: Slack works best for small teams that need to communicate frequently. It works via channels that can be separated by topic to help conversations stay relevant. Slack also helps teams bond via shared interests, and you can use it to collect information you want to refer to later. Slack works for networking and sharing content too, and has many advanced features. It also offers several integration options with other platforms to enhance your planning and collaborative experience.

Sniply

Purpose: Link generator and tracker

Price: $29–$299 per month

Profile: Sniply lets you create unique links to your content so that you can track and analyze traffic sources. With its added analytics, Sniply also tracks link visitors, bounce rate, conversions and other relevant data. Perhaps its most essential feature is that it allows you to include a custom message on any piece of content, which means you can have a call-to-action tied to every link. Need to remind people to sign up for your newsletter while directing them to your latest blog post? Use a Sniply link and you’re on your way, all while being able to keep track of what you’ve done.

Survey Anyplace

Purpose: Survey builder

Price: $33–$50+ per month

Profile: With Survey Anyplace, you create your own personalized surveys that meet your specific brand needs. Users access these surveys via any device, whether smartphone, tablet, or computer, and you can make them as visual as you need to catch your users’ attention better. You can add designs, logos, video and more to make your survey accessible and entertaining. Any survey you create helps you collect accurate data and gain better insights, and enables you to serve your customers in a more meaningful way. Getting started is easy. The free trial lets you test the service to see how it differs from other survey tools and benefits your marketing strategy. 

Trello

Purpose: Content planner / project management tool

Price: $0–$17.50+ per month

Profile: Trello helps business owners brainstorm, plan and schedule their content. It allows you to collaborate and share ideas with your team or keep yourself organized, even on a personal level. With Trello, you can create boards based on specific needs. These boards house notecards, which can cover things like campaigns or other subjects, and allow you to track notes, instructions, project statuses, assignments and more. 

With Trello, you can even assign cards to specific team members or make others in charge of entire boards. While you’re attempting to stay organized, you’ll be able to see your complete plan from start to finish.

Narrowing down your options

Marketing tools help you gain valuable insight into web traffic trends, search engine optimization and more.

Being the owner of a small business means you likely can’t afford all of these tools, nor would you want to buy all of them if you could, since many duplicate services. However, investing in some can lead to big results. Decide what works best for your business and what you’ll ultimately benefit the most from and then invest based on your marketing budget. 

Whether you focus on SEO, lead capture, email automation or analytics, these marketing tools for small businesses can help you create a long-term strategy that works. Start with one or two, and see where they take you. Remember you can always add on more in the future.

The word marketing encompasses a wide range of strategies, tools and processes meant to bring attention to your business. Formulating a successful marketing strategy helps your small business grow substantially. However, knowing what to tackle first can be tricky. 

Today’s choices of marketing tools seem endless. Yet in order for your business to flourish, it’s critical to invest in the right tools for you. With such tools in place, you can more easily draw in new customers and engage your existing ones. 

In 2011, there were only around 150 marketing tools available. But 10 years later, that number has grown to 8,000. That’s pretty overwhelming growth. While many options mean many ways to invest, you might need a little help narrowing down the best marketing tools for you and your business. 

Ty Collins biography
Ty Collins

Ty is the head of digital acquisition and content at Calendly.

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