If you run a small business, you’re no stranger to the do-it-yourself concept. It’s likely you’re hands-on in nearly all aspects of your business. Digital Marketing is an often under-utilized DIY aspect of promoting your business, but it shouldn’t be! There are more user-friendly marketing tools out there than ever that allow you to expand your company outreach in strategic, creative, and often free ways. The following is our favorite top seven tools we recommend to all our fellow business owners and clients.
If a professional graphic designer is not in your budget, Canva is your answer. Canva is a graphic design platform that allows you to create graphics for all aspects of your business including social media graphics, presentations, posters, book covers, and business cards. It integrates millions of images, fonts, templates, and illustrations. It helps take a lot of the guesswork out of many commonly used graphics. If you’ve ever tried to post a company graphic to Instagram and realized that it’s sized incorrectly, you know what we’re referring to. Canva has you covered though with pre-sized templates for posts across all social media platforms. The templates, graphics, and images are clean, modern, and will make anyone look like a design pro.
Cost: Canva a freemium business. That means that there is a free version and a pro version which has more design options and more features. Pro is $9.95 per month when paid annually or $12.95 paid monthly.
If you need help coordinating and posting your social media posts across multiple platforms, Buffer will help you streamline your efforts allowing you to have a clear, consistent voice across all of social media. Buffer is designed to manage your social accounts, by allowing you to schedule posts to Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Instagram Stories, Pinterest, and LinkedIn. Scheduling them ahead of time allows you to really plan out your social media strategy in advance and eliminates the stress of having to remember to post and knowing which time of day is most optimal for that specific platform. The other helpful feature they provide is insight into your social media analytics so that you can see how your posts are performing and who you are reaching. And, you can track performance and create reports for LinkedIn, Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter — all from one intuitive analytics dashboard.
Buffer also hosts an informative podcast called The Science of Social Media which covers all different topics to help your social media stand out from the rest. Previous Topics include “A Crash Course in Custom Audiences for Your Social Media Ads” and “Marie Kondo-ing Your LinkedIn: The LinkedIn Audit Blueprint to Help Your Profile Shine”.
Cost: Buffer has three packages with different benefits ranging $15-99/month.
3. Google Analytics
Google Analytics is a free web analytics service that tracks and reports website traffic. Google Analytics allows you to better understand your customers and their online habits by giving you the tools you need to analyze data for your business all in one platform. This is invaluable information which allows you to see what’s working and what’s not with your website, content, products, etc. Google Analytics allows you to process and share this data with a user-friendly interface and also allows you to send and share reports. It even has a section on how fast and well each page of your website loads and what you can do to fix it, if performance is less than optimal.
Cost: The standard version of Google Analytics is free.
One easy (and free) way to promote your business is by reaching out to your loyal customers for testimonials or reviews. Depending on your type of business, having customer testimonials on your website is an excellent way to personalize and humanize your company. The testimonials shouldn’t stop at your website though. You should already be monitoring and frequently checking your reviews on Google and other industry-related sites, such as Yelp. Reviews help your business communicate trustworthiness and authority and they are one of the key make-or-break factors in a business’ success. They even help your rank in online search results helping you to be found more easily online. In addition to having positive reviews, it is also important to have multiple reviews--as many as possible. Having many positive reviews and testimonials online not only helps strengthen your company’s credibility, but it’s really like allowing your customers to do the marketing work for you.
5. Eyedropper Tool
There are many versions of an eyedropper tool out there--some web-based like ColorCombos, some are browser extensions like ColorPicker for Chrome, and some even come already installed on your computer. If you’re a Mac user, you can use the Digital Color Meter which comes pre-installed and is super easy to use. An eyedropper tool allows you to sample a color from a website and gives you the color code for it. This has many uses, but specifically it can help you check to make sure everything on your website, social media posts, online graphics, etc. are in your company branded colors. Sticking with a clear brand color pallet is not only a great way for your content to look better overall, but also clearly conveys an increased professionalism to your company.
Sharing videos online and on your website has never been more impactful. The average user spends 88% more time on websites with video than those without video. However, creating online videos is time consuming and, if you outsource it, can be expensive. Promo is a cloud-based video creation service that allows you easily to create videos from stock videos, stock photos, video clips, and music. Besides promotional videos, Promo can also create ads for Facebook, Instagram, and other social media platforms as well as explainer videos and intro/outro videos. The videos you can create on Promo are engaging, easy-to-make, and totally professional-looking.
Cost: Plans start at $39/month
Now that we’ve established the importance of using video, we want to stress the importance of closed captions. Did you know 85% of Facebook users watch videos without sound? 85%! Further, over 28 million Americans are either deaf or hard-of-hearing and even for those who are not hearing impaired, many choose to watch videos with the sound off out of convenience or for practical purposes. Captions will also help ensure the user watches your video in its entirety--the video completion rate of no captions vs. captions is 66% vs. 91%. Whether they’re used out of necessity or out of convenience, captions help improve comprehension of video content and they result in 15% more sharing, 17% better reactions, and 26% more call-to-action click-throughs. Captions also improve SEO (Search Engine Optimization) via dwell time which increases your search engine rankings.
We know that creating closed captions can be time-consuming. That’s where Rev comes in. Rev will do a near-perfect transcription of your video. You simply upload your files and they will caption your video content. They have captioners working 24 hours a day 7 days a week to ensure that your video gets turned around right away.
Cost: $1.25/video minute