If you’re managing a small business, odds are, you’re going it alone. I don’t mean you’re isolated or cut off. That isn’t a dig at your interpersonal skills. What I mean is, you’re probably a one-person marketing department. After all, that’s why you’re here: to hone your chops.
At first glance, this makes a lot of sense. No one knows your business like you do, and consultants — especially top-tier consultants — demand retainers to the tune of several thousands of dollars per month, which you simply can’t afford.
The problem is that marketing for startups and other SMBs isn’t just a matter of skill. It’s also a matter of tools. Saying, “I’ll do it myself” often also means giving up access to the marketing tools that agencies and enterprises use all the time.
Sadly, for all the effort you pour into to content and creativity, you run the risk of ending up outgunned by the “big dogs” who can afford those higher price tags. Most of the enterprise-quality technology that will take your marketing activity to the next level is also enterprise-priced.
Fortunately, however, the world of web apps has been opening up considerably in recent years. Today’s tech companies are also more adept at implementing APIs and integrations, so tools are made to play well together, increasing their value. As marketing tools have saturated the realm of the enterprise, the companies behind them are forced to shift focus towards the “long tail,” so they can maintain growth. What’s more, competition is now fierce, which means that providers can’t get away with slapping hefty price tags on their products like they used to.
It all adds up to a situation that’s more favorable towards independent businesses than ever before. There are now plenty of marketing tools with downright amazing capabilities that are perfect for SMBs. The nine tools discussed below will give you enterprise-grade technology at affordable prices.
1. GetResponse’s Marketing Automation
Automated email marketing is a crucial tool that ecommerce businesses of all sizes need to be utilizing. It allows you to distribute extremely relevant messages to your audience members at the exact moments in which they’re most receptive.
GetResponse offers a suite of powerful automation tools, and you can set up workflows using an easy drag-and-drop interface.
GetResponse’s “pro” plan, which starts at $49 per month, supports abandoned cart reminders, on-site activity tracking, smart audience segmentation, easy list imports, A/B testing and even a full-featured landing page builder.
In addition, all GetResponse users have free access to a huge trove of stock photos, dozens of professional email templates and a ton of free educational content to help get you started.
2. AdRoll’s Retargeting
Retargeting provides a huge boost for both lead nurturing and customer retention, and AdRoll just might be the best (and most affordable) retargeting tool for SMB marketers.
As AdRoll states on its site, only 2% of shoppers will typically convert on their first visit to your pages, which is why retargeting is so powerful. Retargeting allows you to display your messaging to these people when they visit other websites and platforms, keeping your brand top of mind and, hopefully, luring them back to your site to eventually convert.
AdRoll makes it easy to utilize retargeting so you can show your ads to specific users on different sites all across the web. You can target a general audience of your website visitors, or you can use specific group segmentation to display highly targeted messages to certain individuals, like those who abandoned their carts without purchasing or customers on a specific CRM list.
AdRoll offers a variety of retargeting options that will allow you to increase conversions no matter where your prospect is in the digital sales funnel. You may spend a bit more per click than you would booking your own retargeting ads on Facebook or Google AdWords, for example, but with AdRoll, you can serve ads to individuals that take into account which of your ads they’ve already seen on various platforms. And with a recommended starting per-campaign budget of $25, it’s still plenty affordable.
3. Leadfeeder’s Site Tracking
Who are these people who keep checking out your content but have yet to place an order? Leadfeeder utilizes the information from your Google Analytics account to provide you with valuable intelligence regarding your anonymous website visitors.
This powerful tool can show you which companies the anonymous visitors likely work for, and it keeps complete logs of the pages each visitor loads, along with the amount of time spent on each page. You can even integrate Leadfeeder with your CRM, allowing you to easily use the tracking data as part of your manual and automated lead nurture processes.
Leadfeeder makes sure to only show you real companies and relevant associated information (including LinkedIn contacts of yours that are connected to these companies), with spammers and ISPs automatically filtered out. By doing this, they give you definitive leads that you can reach out to directly.
You can use feed filters to reveal B2B leads based on qualifications like location, web pages visited, industry and more. The system also applies tags to different leads, which you can use to quickly access “new,” “hot,” or “cold” leads, or those interested in specific products. This can streamline your lead generation and follow-up, helping you identify big potential clients, saving you time and earning you more money. It’s a lot of value for $59 per month.
4. Rebot.me’s Chatbots
Chatbots are amazing selling tools that can handle customer service issues and actually sell to customers, with zero human interaction required. They can reduce the burden on your human resources, giving them more time to focus on tasks where they’re needed.
The best chatbots are capable of accessing user-specific data for optimized responses, and they can collect valuable information about what your audience wants to know.
Rebot.me’s chatbot creation tool is extremely simple to set up, and it’s 100% free. This creator lets you enter in multiple questions and answers that your chatbot will recognize and be able to send back. These can, of course, include messages that help increase conversions by providing information on products.
You can perform quality assurance testing from within the builder app, which makes it easy to make improvements on the fly. Once your bot is ready for deployment, you simply embed it on your site by pasting a snippet of code.
5. InsightSquared’s Sales Forecasting
InsightSquared has a few great products, but their forecasting feature is especially useful to SMBs, where marketing and sales teams are known to be extra closely intertwined.
Sales forecasting can allow you to estimate and project your sales performance, both short term and long term, and can enable you to make more informed marketing decisions. It can also help you create realistic sales goals for your marketing team.
InsightSquared’s sales forecasting module provides you with a company-wide forecast and individual employee forecasts, both of which use several different forecasting methods to create well-rounded predictions.
If you know what you’re doing and prefer to build your own forecast, it’s possible to export your CRM data, create complex formulas to take factors like competitor growth and seasonal trends into account, and arrive at some usable figures. But with plans starting at $65 per month, it might make more sense to use InsightSquared instead.
6. Hubspot’s CRM
Hubspot’s free CRM software for small businesses is more versatile and equally powerful as many enterprise CRMs. This tool allows you—and a small sales team—to keep careful track of all of your leads, clients and interactions.
With Hubspot’s CRM, you can store client information (including notes that your sales team can access about any past interactions), view the deals you’ve offered, assign tasks and client interactions to different team members, schedule meetings and more. You’ll also be able to see how much your team is selling, which helps to optimize your marketing efforts.
HubSpot’s CRM product is simpler to navigate than many of its more expensive competitors, and it integrates smoothly with additional platforms. This tool also works on the Zapier platform, so you can push data between the CRM and hundreds of other apps, including Google Spreadsheets, Typeform, Slack, Quickbooks and Asana.
Automatic logging of interactions takes a complete view of your marketing presences, including email opens and clicks, website pages viewed and social media engagement.
7. Searchmetrics’s SEO Tracking
Searchmetrics offers a suite of super-powerful SEO tools to help small businesses ensure maximum visibility on the top search engines. Depending on the type of company you’re operating, you may want to emphasize competitor research, keyword opportunities, building links, optimizing your onsite content experience or local/mobile SEO. With plans starting at $69 per month, Searchmetrics covers it all.
Their Local SEO tool is perfect for SMBs focused on reaching people who search with the intention of finding a relevant local business. Searchmetrics tracks and indexes nearly 500 city-search engine combinations spanning some 14 countries.
Then they have a Global SEO tool, which covers multiple search engines and assesses SEO factors like keyword rankings, backlinks, and more. Searchmetrics can also help you identify markets with keyword sets, and provide information on your competitors.
The Searchmetrics suite makes it easy to accurately track any website’s top keywords, content performance, backlink profile, mobile optimization, and more. You can also set up dynamic dashboards and schedule reports for emailing to various stakeholders on your team.
8. Segment’s Consolidated Metrics
Part of what makes data-driven marketing such a challenge is that there are so many metrics that need to be monitored, and much of this data is stored in silos. Segment created their Consolidated Metrics tools to make consolidating KPIs easier. They do this by allowing easy integration with a ton of platforms, letting you view and manage more from one dashboard – and to push information from one platform to another.
Supported data sources include leading ad platforms, CRMs, email marketing tools, support platforms, payment processors and content management systems. You can easily push metrics from these sources to your favorite solutions for A/B testing, analytics, personalization, messaging and security. You can also integrate the data warehouse of your choice, so you can create comprehensive troves of consolidated information for later processing.
Segment also allows you to set up alerts in case something goes wrong, load your data around your team’s workflow, and pull in historical records of past metrics for comparison.
Having access to end-to-end metrics in the interfaces where they’re most useful to you gives you a better idea of how different parts of your marketing and customer service are impacting each other, making it easier for you to improve your business. Not bad for $100 per month.
9. Unomy’s Lead Nurturing
Want to research and create lists of high-value leads you should be targeting with account-based marketing activities? Unomy’s lead tools will help you find and nurture the best prospects.
Not only will Unomy identify leads for you, they will provide you with valuable lead information that can help you determine how your marketing team and sales reps should proceed. Using this information, you can nurture higher quality leads, increase conversions, build customer trust and improve customer retention rates.
The Unomy Chrome extension lets you view key information on the companies behind websites you visit, on the fly.
The platform also offers an integration with the Salesforce CRM, connecting your sales team to enriched marketing data. This allows you to identify and prioritize high-value clients and sell more, faster. Unomy plans start at $500 per month, which makes it less of an “impulse buy” for SMBs, but considering that it’s essentially an all-in-one, enterprise-grade lead qualification solution, the expenditure could very well be justified in many cases.
The Most Important Takeaway About Spending Money on Marketing Tools:
Never buy a tool without having your marketing strategy created first.
Don’t use tools for the sake of using tools. Make sure the tool is designed to carry out YOUR marketing strategy. Help from bots and software sounds great, but it’s completely useless if you don’t have a defined path that you’re trying to execute. Finally, what a better way to save money than to only purchase tools that are IMPERATIVE to your marketing strategy.
If you want to handle more of your marketing in-house, you don’t need to be spending thousands of dollars every month for technology with complicated interfaces and a ton of features you’ll never actually use.
Enterprise-quality technology doesn’t require enterprise-grade spending, and these tools will give you the resources you need to increase the results and success from all aspects of your marketing activity.
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