If you are a small business owner, you are probably very busy. However, you may be spending a lot of time in the day-to-day admin tasks that won’t help your business grow, while neglecting those important things that will make a difference in your bottom line... like marketing.
If you are not marketing your offerings in a strategic way, you are probably not generating enough leads, sales and revenue to keep your business profitable, let alone growing.
There are a number of tools out there (some free) to help you automate chunks of your work, save time, and be more strategic in your marketing approach, which in turn will get you more money.
Today I’m sharing with you my 10 favorite tools to help you accomplish exactly that.
1- Social Media Scheduler
The biggest time-sucker of all – social media! Yep, I can see you nodding!
Don’t get me wrong I love social media. In fact I love it too much. So much so that it’s a necessity to automate my social media marketing by creating a bunch of social posts in one go and scheduling them.
Scheduling tools will help you save tons of time and improve your social media results. There are heaps of them out there to choose from. My favourite is SmarterQueue. I use it for Facebook and Twitter.
SmarterQueue allows you to recycle your evergreen content automatically, which is a time saver! It also finds content from your favourite social media feeds and websites and share it.
For Instagram, however, I prefer to use Later because it allows you to preview your posts and refine your feed before posting, creating a beautiful and consistent aesthetic.
Do you find difficult to create content for social media? Grab my content planner and calendar here.
2- E-mail Automation
If email marketing isn’t an integral part of your marketing yet, I urge you to get started with this asap.
Email sequences can be a very powerful way to convert your leads into customers, and best of all, they can be automated. This means that you write your email sequence once, set it all up, and let it do the work for you.
If you are just starting out with email marketing Mail Chimp can be a good solution. It’s cheap and does the job.
Currently I use Mail Chimp but I’m planning to move to Active Campaign soon as my business grows and I need more advanced features.
3- Blog Topic Generator
We live in the content era. There is no way around it.
- To rank higher on Google you need to create content.
- To position yourself as an expert in your field you need to publish content.
- To have something relevant to post on social media you need content.
- To have something to share via email you need… you guessed… content!!!
I could go on for hours, so let’s just agree that we need to create high quality content to attract our ideal clients. Yes? Yes!
But coming up with regular topics for blogs is a big problem for most people.
Here’s a tool I use to help me come up with content topics: Hubspot Blog Ideas Generator.
You just need to fill in the fields with terms that you would like to write about and it will give you a list of blog titles in a matter of seconds. Cool ha!
It’s not perfect, but it will get your creative juices flowing.
If you feel lost when it comes to content creation, grab my free content planner here. It will help you plan content in a strategic and effective way.
4- Graphic Design
Talking about content, what about visual content!
Visual content has gained incredible emphasis in recent years due to platforms such as Pinterest and Instagram.
Can you really afford to neglect these platforms?
Images should also be used on your website, blogs, and emails. Many people will only skim through your content and images can really help them connect with you.
To produce beautiful, branded images for a number of platforms I use Canva.
You can save lots of time by creating social media templates in Canva. So when you need new graphics for your social media posts you only have to change the background image and write the copy. Easy!
5- Stock Images
To produce high quality graphics and visual content you need high quality images.
I love and use Haute Stock (previously known as Haute Chocolate). Their images are feminine and elegant, perfect for my audience.
Check their terms and conditions before using their images. In some cases you may need to acknowledge the photographer or the source. They are pretty much free for you to use, and you can find amazing images without paying a cent.
6- Landing Pages
You may be wondering: why exactly do I need landing pages if I already have a website?
Landing pages are great for a number of reasons:
- To offer your free opt-in gifts without distractions.
- To sell specific products or services.
- To get people registering for your webinars.
- To up-sell.
- For special promotions.
- For sales funnels.
I use LeadPages for all my freebies. Lead Pages is easy to use, and you can build your own landing pages with no training or by watching their tutorials.
They also offer built-in payments and checkouts, leadboxes pop-ups and more. They have their own analytics and A/B testing capabilities, so you can assess the success rate of your landing pages and optimize for best performance.
Video is a great resource for your marketing.
Google loves videos, social media loves videos, and most importantly people love videos.
According to Invisia, 55% of people watch videos online every day.
Plus, video helps you save lots of time. It’s much faster to record a video than to write a blog. So, if you are time poor video is a good alternative to writing.
Want to plan am ideal mix of visual, written and filmed content? Use my content planner. Grab it, it’s yours.
8- Assessing and Measuring
My friend, you need to know your numbers. Google Analytics is a free tool that will tell you where your traffic is coming from, which pages they are landing on, which pages are the most visited, how long people stay on your website, where they are clicking and where they are leaving from.
You can’t improve your marketing results without knowing what’s working and what’s not.
Sometimes people want to generate more traffic to their website, but what they really need is to improve their website for conversions.
The thing is, if you don’t know what’s working and what’s not, all you are doing is guessing. How can you improve your marketing?
9- Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
If your clients aren’t finding you on Google, but are finding your competitors instead… do I really need to tell you how much money you are leaving on the table? Loads!!
Whether you have a brick and mortar shop or an online business, you can benefit tremendously from SEO.
Competing with giant brands is hard, but it doesn’t have to be so complex, you can start by optimizing your website to improve your local ranking, for example.
Many people will search before buying, and most people will prefer to shop locally.
I use Google Search Console, which is a free tool that you can use to monitor and maintain your site’s presence in Google Search results. It also helps you understand how Google view your website and optimize its performance.
If you can’t be bothered to learn SEO and optimize your own website, find a reputable company to do it for you. Preferably ask people you know for a referral and check their testimonials.
10- Invoicing Software
Your sales are doing well and you are busy growing your business. Are you going to issue your invoices one by one manually? I hope not.
Honestly, there is nothing more tedious for me than dealing with invoices, bookkeeping and the like.
Thankfully I don’t have to. Invoicing software like QuickBooks Online makes it easy to send beautiful, customised invoices.
You can create custom invoices that reflect your brand with your logo and accent colours. Besides, you can send invoices on-the-go using the mobile app, and schedule recurring invoices. What a time saver!
There you have it! My top 10 favorite tools to save time and improve your marketing results.