Having an online presence is key to promoting your small business or practice, but keeping content fresh and updated can be intimidating. Fret not, a little goes a long way.
There are so many tools out there it can be overwhelming to decide which to use. My suggestion is to keep it simple and stick to the basics. I've summarized some of the most useful marketing tools below that won't leave you feeling more confused. Many of these tools offer free base versions or at least 30-day trials, too.
TOP TOOLS FOR THE NON-MARKETER
- Canva - This is a great tool for those who want to create nice looking designs (Facebook cover photos, business cards, Instagram posts, and more) but don't have design chops. There are many free, ready-to-use templates and you can create your own to keep a consistent look and feel for future posts. Plus it will automatically resize posts for you so you can use them across a variety of channels. I easily created this blog header and social shares using Canva. For the best free images, check this blog post.
- Mailchimp - Mailchimp makes it very easy to create beautiful emails. Even if you don't plan to send email blasts, you can use Mailchimp to create the design and then copy/paste into the body of your email. They now offer marketing automation as well.
- Grammarly - This is a great tool that links directly to your Chrome browser and proofreads/spellchecks your emails.
- Boomerang for Gmail - Boomerang for Gmail is a tool that allows you to schedule emails or have emails come back to you so you remember to follow up on them. It's free for up to 10 uses per month and is a Chrome extension for seamless email integration.
- Squarespace - If you plan on updating your own personal website, I recommend Squarespace as it's easy to use and update once you get the hang of it. Plus their customer service is great.
- Google Shortener - I track all links through Google Shortener so that I can see how much engagement each post gets. This helps me determine future content plans and posting times.
- Hootsuite / Buffer - These are great options for scheduling posts to multiple platforms. I typically use Hootsuite for Twitter and Instagram but schedule natively within Facebook. I don't like to mess with the tricky algorithms on Facebook and Instagram, and since Instagram doesn't push posts automatically, you can pre-plan your posts and then are sent a reminder to publish it. Hootsuite recently limited the number of free posts you can do monthly in an account, so just something to keep in mind if you plan to schedule a lot. Plus, you can only manage three channels for free within Hootsuite.
- Images - Marketing is all about having great images to share. Check out my post about where to get the best free stock photos.
- Google Docs and accounts. I manage multiple client accounts at once so I often toggle between accounts to save time on logins. You need to use Chrome to take advantage of this feature. To add accounts, simply click your name in the top right corner of your browser, click the gear icon and then choose "manage people". Add your various accounts and then easily toggle between them without logging in and out each time.
- Slack - this one goes without saying. It's the best way to cut down on emails and keep communication flowing when working remotely or on multiple projects or teams.
- Google Alerts - This is a great passive way to have content come to you. Simply schedule the keywords you'd like to focus on and the frequency with which you'd like to receive them and voila! An email comes to your inbox with content for you to read and share.
What are your favourite tools?