Five of the best digital marketing tools for small business

6 min read
Stefano Maruzzi

The internet is kicking open doors, making it much easier for small businesses to compete with the big boys on an equal footing. And the huge range of digital marketing tools, both free and paid-for, mean that with a bit of nous, and a lot of hard work, your business can punch well above its weight online.

1. Google Analytics

Measure your website data, learn about your customers

As free digital marketing tools go, Google Analytics is easily one of the most popular, and most powerful for gathering and analysing data. Google isn’t saying, but on the tool’s tenth anniversary (albeit two years ago) it was estimated that somewhere between 30-50 million websites around the world were using it.

It can take a little bit of getting to grips with, but offers a wealth of information about your website’s users and traffic. You can see how many people have been to your site, which pages they’ve viewed and how long they’ve lingered. You can also see where they’ve come from, which channel provides the most leads or sales and even perform A/B testing.

It’s easy enough to get set up – just tap in your website’s details and it’ll start tracking straight away. Once it starts collecting data, it’s up to you how deep you want to go but the more you look into it, the more you’ll benefit.

2. Hootsuite

Manage your social media feeds

There are plenty of brand and social media managers available but it’s actually quite hard to beat Hootsuite. This powerful marketing tool allows you to manage your activity on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram, Google+ and more, all in one place.

Once you’ve set up the social media channels you want to use, there’s no need for additional log-ins. You can view your various feeds next to each other on a single dashboard, and watch the updates in real time. You can schedule your posts throughout the day (or night, if that’s your bag), and track engagement with your audience. It makes it easy to send the same content out to each of your channels, or make tweaks so your posts are unique to each channel.

The dashboard is convenient, but the really clever bit is the analytics section which tells you how your campaigns are progressing.

It does this in terms of numbers, but there’s also a handy tool that lets you delve into community management too. You can see how many of the comments you receive are broadly positive, negative or neutral, then do a deeper dive into the data.

3. LinkedIn

Grow your network, make connections

It’s not a digital marketing tool per say, but if you’re not on the business networking site already, you certainly should be. And if you are – are you making the best use of it?

With LinkedIn there’s always a temptation to push your products and services. But actually, it’s most useful for networking, sharing, building relationships and your reputation – the sales tend to come from people becoming aware of you, and then learning to trust you.

First off, make sure your profile is fully complete and up to date – that goes for both your personal profile and your business profile, and anyone in your company who is supporting your social marketing efforts. Create posts just for LinkedIn and make sure you share them with your network. If you don’t have the time or inclination to create your own posts, be sure to share with others.

Ask for recommendations regularly, but never reach out with an invite to a new connection without a personalised note – it just looks fake and sloppy.

Join groups where you can contribute by sharing insights and answering questions. Identify influencers in your area. Follow them, share their content and interact with them – this will all help to build your profile and establish expertise.

4. GoDaddy Email Marketing

Manage email campaigns

Social media is a powerful tool for reaching out to customers, but good old email is still reckoned by many marketers to be much more effective for sales.

With our Email Marketing tool, you can build up mailing lists and schedule regular or one-off mailouts. Upload your mailing list directly and add to it as you go, or choose to integrate it with your website via the new GoDaddy Website Builder to create a seamless and continued marketing channel linked to your website. You can choose from a range of mobile-friendly templates and include clickable buttons for better responses.

Analytics will also tell you how your emails are performing – who’s opened them, who’s clicked through and who’s shared.

We’ve also included an opt-out message to make it easy to manage contacts who choose not to receive your missives, not matter how fascinating and useful they are. The email marketing tool will also clean your lists for you, automatically deleting anyone who doesn’t want to receive your emails – handy if you don’t want to get labelled a spammer.

5. Google Keyword Planner

Plan your SEO, PPC and Content

Finding the right keywords for search engine optimisation (SEO) is a must for getting your website found, and it’s essential for any pay-per-click (PPC) ad campaign. They’re what Google and other search engines rely on to point people to the sites they want, and they’re also what trigger your PPC ads to show up next to relevant searches.

This free Google AdWords tool lets you search for keyword and ad group ideas, see how well individual keywords have performed recently, predict how a list of keywords might perform and even create a new keyword list by joining several lists of keywords together.

You can see how many times your word is searched, as well as whether the competition is ‘high’, ‘medium’ or ‘low’ and the suggested bid for that keyword. These keywords are also great for creating content such as blogs or articles that will boost your website’s organic association with these keywords and positively influence your rankings.

It’s a good place to start, and if you want to get deeper with SEO, you can try a more advanced, paid-for SEO service like GoDaddy SEO.