It’s time to take control of your online marketing. You need a plan and you need tools to make it work for you. We’ve gathered some of our favorite tools to provide an online marketing toolkit for your business.These tools break out into five categories: email, CRM, social media, design, email marketing, eCommerce. While there are many other available tools, we like these options for their effectiveness, ease of use, and price point.
Email Marketing: MailChimp or ActiveCampaign
It’s hard to go wrong with either of these services. MailChimp is free for lists up to 2,000 subscribers. ActiveCampaign has a very low monthly fee. Both offer easy means of adding subscribers through embedded forms on your website or social media sites, intuitive interfaces, and even some marketing automation, if that’s your thing. ActiveCampaign also has basic CRM features to help you manage your sales process through one interface.
Social Media: HootSuite or Buffer
If you find yourself struggling to manage your social presence across every social media platform, it’s time to step up to some management tools. HootSuite is the originator in this space, allowing you to plan and post across most social media platforms, and offers a free version to get your started. Buffer does the same thing (including a free account), but offers some additional analysis and graphics tools.
Design: Canva/Adobe Stock
There are other free/paid alternatives out there, but Canva is a really simple and effective tool for creating graphics for blogs, social media, even offline advertising. There are a ton of free graphics and images, or you can purchase images quite affordably. If you need stock photos and graphics, we like Adobe Stock for the huge selection and relatively affordable pricing.
CRM: Agile/Insightly/HubSpot CRM
Picking a CRM is a little more challenging than the other tasks. You need to make it a part of your workflow in order to gain value. There’s also a learning curve and integration. Just starting out, Agile CRM and Insightly are good choices, with Insightly being a bit more user-friendly. Additionally, HubSpot has a free CRM that’s good if you’re just starting out. With all of these, if you need additional functionality, there is a price tag.
Email: Gmail with plugins: Rapportive, Boomerang
Gmail is by far the easiest email tool for business. For $5/month per user, you can have your email anywhere, download it to Outlook, or use it how you desire. What makes Gmail even better are the available plugins. Two that we use are Rapportive and Boomerang. Rapportive digs up contact and business information about your contacts from LinkedIn and shows in a pane next to your message, allowing you to have insight into your correspondence. Boomerang is a handy tool for scheduling emails to be sent at a time/day your prefer, or having mail items reappear on top of your inbox, when you specify.
Ecommerce: Shopify, Wix, BigCommerce, SquareSpace
If you need to sell an item or two online, you can typically add an eCommerce component to your website. However, if your sole focus is online sales, you’ll want to look at the solutions from Shopify, Wix, BigCommerce and SquareSpace. They are all fairly user-friendly, affordable, and provide nice designs for your online store. While similar, they do have differences, so do the trials and make sure your needs are met before you commit.
I hope this helps you get control of your business marketing. If there is some other area in which you need help, reach out and I’ll point you in the right direction. Likewise, if there is a tool you use that we don’t have listed here, let me know!