Online marketing is arguably one of the most effective ways to market a small business since it involves relatively low overhead, and much of it can be self-taught and done in house. But since the online marketing world is constantly evolving, it can be difficult to stay up to date with new ways of running SEO, Social Media, PPC, and Analytics. Often – especially with SEO and Social Media – changes in various online platforms can drastically impact results, so staying educated about what’s new in the industry is vital to success.
Luckily, there are several tools out there to help small businesses with online marketing. By discovering great tools for each segment of online marketing, small businesses can quickly maximize the impact of their efforts and avoid complications due to outdated processes.
SEO/Inbound Marketing Tools
Google Keyword Planner (Free) – The Google Keyword Planner is simply the old Google Keyword Tool repurposed to support Google’s evolving mission of promoting natural language optimization and keyword phrases that match the way people talk in the real world. Planning keywords is a great first step to SEO and should be an ongoing process in any small business’ online marketing plan.
Google Webmaster Tool (Free) – The Google Webmaster Tool is a way to manage your website’s link profiles and to scan for possible viruses and Google penalties. The Webmaster tool is very simple to use and is essential for any website.
XML Sitemap Validator (Free) – After you optimize your website with keyword phrases, good quality inbound links, SEO code elements, and more, you should submit an XML sitemap to Google in order to have your rank updated. The XML Sitemap Validator makes it very easy to create and submit your sitemap, and to check for any errors.
Moz SEO Toolbar (Free) – The Moz SEO Toolbar is a toolbar plugin for Chrome and Firefox, and will display individual SEO elements on your website. It even has a SERP tool to display elements in Google search results, and it offers a lot of real-world insight into your website’s SEO performance. The most valuable benefit, however, it the ability to scope out how your competitors are optimizing their websites.
Hubspot (Paid) – Hubspot is an all-in-one inbound marketing software platform that has many tools and features that work seamlessly together (and with other applications). Hubspot is a paid service, but the benefits are well worth the price. The best features are arguably landing page tools, call-to-action tools, marketing automation, SEO & Social Media integration, and analytics.
Hootsuite (Free and Paid options) – Hootsuite is a popular social media dashboard that help manage posting across numerous platforms and accounts. It also supports bulk status uploading for scheduling large amounts of posts over a period of time, image uploading, cross team accounts, and custom dashboard streams. The free version is pretty great, but the paid version is cheap and even better!
Adobe Social (Paid) – If you’re spending any time running Social Media Marketing for your small business, you need to be collecting analytics data to prove the success of your campaigns. Adobe Social is an analytics platform for social media and has tools that far surpasses Facebook’s built in analytics. It can help you figure out what’s working or not working, and how you can improve your community building efforts.
Google Analytics Premium (Paid) – Google Analytics is the standard for web analytics reporting. Google recently launched a paid premium version that has even more advanced analytics tools that are perfect for small businesses. Some of the new features include data-driven attribution modeling (to find out how users interface with your website), cross platform integration with other powerful tools, and actionable insights that gives you more than just raw numbers.
Fruition’s Google Penalty Checker (Free) – Fruition’s Google Penalty Checker Tool works with Google Analytics to tell you how any given Google algorithm update is affecting your website, whether positively or negatively. And it tells you the likelihood that your site is being affected, what the update does, and how to fix your website to avoid a Google penalty. Since small businesses generally don’t stay up to date on Google updates, this free tool is the perfect way to monitor changes to how Google evaluates websites and to get actionable ways to improve your SEO.
Bizible (Paid) – Bizible is an extremely powerful analytics plugin that connects Google AdWords and Salesforce. Its main benefit is connecting PPC, SEO, and Social Media data to sales numbers in Salesforce that assigns hard financial data to online marketing – thus providing actual ROI. If you use Salesforce, Bizible is a must have because you can track a user’s journey from initial ad impression, through which keywords they used, how they moved through your website, when they contacted you, and how much money they spent. This is the best way to boost your PPC and SEO campaigns to use real financial data to determine the effectiveness of your ads and keywords.
Every small business, regardless of the industry, should be using online marketing as a primary source of promotion. Since managing online marketing without a big marketing department can be tricky, these top 10 online marketing tools for small businesses are your best bet to stay current with new trends and to help you manage your online marketing efforts.