We’re living in a golden age of marketing. Gone are the days of throwing valuable advertising dollars at the wall and hoping something will stick. Instead, the rise of data and technology has allowed marketers to optimize their spend and reach the desired audience more effectively than ever before. With so many digital marketing tools available to entrepreneurs, it’s had the side effect of creating a paradox of choice. What’s the most effective way to cut through the noise and identify the tools that work best for your business?
Here at Small Business BC, we share the same marketing challenges of any small business. Through our efforts, we’ve come to depend on several digital marketing tools to enhance our efforts and ensure we’re effectively reaching our province’s small business community. To provide inspiration for your digital marketing campaign, we’ve listed the tools we use below.
Digital Marketing Tools for Small Business
Website and Content Marketing
Want to know how many people are visiting your business website? Google Analytics displays this data in real time, providing instant feedback for your marketing efforts. It allows you to measure the effectiveness of individual campaigns and gauge the performance of individual pages on your site. The Acquisition section of Google Analytics is of particular interest to marketers. This tool is devoted to showing you how visitors landed on your website. It highlights your organic Google search results, your social media referrals and any email newsletters customers interacted with. Check out our article to find out how to install Google Analytics on your website.
The content you write for your site will need to be of value to your potential clients as well as Google’s search algorithm. Yoast is a powerful WordPress plug-in that’s free to use and offers an SEO health check for the web pages you’ve created. Feedback is displayed simply, through the use of green, orange and red lights. The more green lights you see, the more SEO-friendly the page is. We love Yoast’s real-time feedback, as it lets us optimize each page for SEO as it’s created. Yoast is also available in a premium package that offers the functionality to optimize for several keywords on one page.
Moz is a powerful SEO toolset that will help you climb the Google ranking for your chosen keyword. Using Moz, you can audit your whole site and identify any issues, such as broken links, that are hampering your digital marketing efforts. You can also see where you rank in real time, see what other websites are linking to you, and do research on potential keywords that will help you get noticed. While Moz is a paid service, it offers a free one-month trial that can be used to audit your site. It also produces reports full of easy fixes you can make around your site.
Even if you don’t plan on purchasing the service, we recommend using this free trial to discover any issues that might be impacting your Google ranking. Interested in building backlinks to your site? If you’re a locally based entrepreneur or writer, you can share your expertise with the small business community and Write for Small Business BC.
Looking to do a spot of keyword research before your next blog post? Keyword Finder is an awesome resource to validate your brainstorming efforts. It displays the search trend over time for your chosen keyword, the search volume, and level of competition you’ll face if you hope to rank. One of the most helpful features of this software is the list of synonyms it provides for your keyword. This is invaluable for highlighting different long-tail keywords to sprinkle throughout your copy. The site also lists the top performing websites locally/nationally for each keyword you input. It’s a one-stop shop for keyword research. Want to keep things a little simpler? Install the free Chrome plugin Keywords Everywhere to see keyword data served directly in your browser.
Familiar with the concept of A/B Testing? Google Optimize allows users to experiment with different calls to action on their website, for a defined period, to see which one is more effective with their audience. This easy to use tool allows for a variety of tests with results displayed through Google Analytics. It’s a fast and effective way to A/B test in a live environment, without worrying about any messy coding changes.
As Google’s search ranking continues to place more emphasis on technical performance, it’s important to ensure your site is performing well under the hood. Google Lighthouse is a free, open-source tool to assess your site’s health. It’s useful for auditing performance, accessibility, and how well your site performs on mobile. Lighthouse produces easy to understand reports pointing out exactly where improvements can be made.
Keeping track of all your data analytics can be a chore. Databox is designed to simplify the process, bringing multiple data sources into one streamlined and visually-appealing dashboard. Databox aggregates data from sources as diverse as Google Analytics, Facebook, Instagram, Salesforce and MailChimp, displaying it all in a customizable dashboard. Set it up to display your key performance indicators and you won’t have to wade through several dashboards to see your KPIs each day.
Social Media Marketing
By now, you’ve likely got your business set up across the social media channels your customers use. Hootsuite is the gold standard for social media management, allowing you to manage all your channels in one convenient place. One of our favourite features is the ability to schedule posts months into the future, making it easy to build out a robust social media content calendar far in advance. Hootsuite’s reporting suite is also convenient and robust, with customizable, easy-to-create reports displaying feedback on your social media marketing. Here’s some further tips on how to use social media to grow your business.
Nothing catches the eye on social media more effectively than beautiful graphic design. Unfortunately, most of us aren’t graphic designers! In just a few minutes, novice users can leverage Canva’s robust and easy-to-use feature set to create stunning social media graphics that jump off the screen. The basics are easy to grasp, with Canva offering templates for all the main social media networks. The software is easy to pick up and surprisingly simple to master. With Canva, you’ll take your social media marketing efforts to the next level, at no extra cost.
When it comes to sharing your content on social media, long URLs take up valuable real estate that’s better devoted to your call to action. To solve this problem, we use a URL shortening app called Bitly. Start by creating an account and deciding on a quick and simple format for your shortlinks. We settled on sbbc.co as our basic Bitly URL. You can then assign a snappy one-word extension for each individual page you want to share. Look at the URL for this page above. We’ve used Bitly to shorten it to sbbc.co/digitaltips. Click it and try it out!