8 Awesome Online Marketing Tools for Small Business

So you launched your new website (which looks great by the way), but what do you hear? Your inbox dinging with messages from prospective customers?

Nope. Crickets.

You figured that all you had to do was get your site up and running, maybe send out a few emails and then the leads would just start pouring in. Right?


According to Internet Live Stats, there are currently over one billion websites in cyberspace.  This fact alone should tell you that the simple existence of a website isn’t enough to market your business.

Embracing the different channels of online marketing is a necessity in order to draw people to your site and develop new customers.

But what exactly is online marketing, what free and affordable tools are available, and who has the time to figure it all out?

Online Marketing – Break it Down

According to the Search Engine Journal, online marketing “is the process of promoting a brand, products or services over the Internet”.

Since that definition sounds a bit generic, I’d like to break it down a bit further. There are several types of online marketing, which can be categorized as follows:

  • SEO (Search Engine Optimization) – the process of increasing your site’s organic search engine traffic
  • SEM (Search Engine Marketing) or PPC (Pay-Per-Click) – paid search engine advertising for your site
  • Inbound or Content Marketing – blogging or creating useful content in order to bring visitors to your site
  • Email Marketing – sending content, offers or other useful information via email to your subscriber list
  • Social Media Marketing – providing content on social media outlets in order to gain more visibility and followers
  • Affiliate Marketing – promoting other businesses’ products or services in exchange for a commission

Now that you have a better idea of the types of online marketing, you may be feeling a bit overwhelmed. After all, there is a lot to learn and not all of us are marketing gurus.

Not to fret.

I’ve put together a short and handy list of the best online marketing tools to help you maximize your small business marketing efforts – with minimal effort.

Must-Have Marketing Tools

1. MailChimp


What It Is: Email marketing tool

What It Does: Allows you to set up professional, mobile-friendly email templates through a drag and drop interface, then send out to your subscriber list.

Why You Need It:

  • Create great looking emails without knowing how to code.
  • Manage your email lists simply and securely.
  • Create custom sign-up forms for your site which sync up with your MailChimp subscriber list.
  • Get detailed analytics on your campaigns, including open rate and details on each subscriber. This will allow you to pinpoint the content areas your subscriber base is most interested in.
  • Basic package is free for up to 2,000 subscribers.


2. Hootsuite


What It Is: Social media management tool

What It Does: Allows you to create and schedule posts for up to three social media profiles – all at once and all from one location.

Why You Need It:

  • Saves you loads of time promoting your content.
  • Makes planning your future content promotion a breeze.
  • View past posts from all your profiles on one screen by creating streams.
  • Free for up to 3 social media profiles; paid subscriptions available if you want to add more profiles and perks.


3. Feedly


What It Is: Content curation tool

What It Does:  Gives you a feed of recent articles based on the sources and topics of your choosing.

Why You Need It:

  • Get relevant and up-to-date information to stay current on the latest trends in your industry.
  • Find content to share on social media, which will get you more followers and better site visibility.
  • Use these news feeds as content fodder for your own blog.


4. Canva


What It Is: Image creation tool

What It Does: Enables you to create awesome looking infographics, headers and images for use on your website or social media profiles.

Why You Need It:

  • You’ll need great graphics to go along with the content you’re promoting.
  • No design skills or software necessary! Canva supplies the layouts on their site, you just drag, drop and tweak to your liking.
  • You can import your own logos or images for a custom result.
  • Most designs are free, however there are premium options available for a reasonable cost.


5. Google AdWords

Google AdWords

What It Is: PPC (Pay-Per-Click) / SEM tool

What It Does: Sets up paid advertising spots on Google SERP (Search Engine Results Pages).

Why You Need It:

  • Get more targeted visitors on your site which could result in more business for you.
  • Specify the keywords you want to focus on (but note that some cost more per click than others).
  • You only pay when people actually click on your ad, not just when they view it.
  • You’re in control of how much you want to spend, so there’s no risk of breaking your budget.


6. Google Keyword Planner

Google Keyword Planner

What It Is: SEO tool
(Note: you’ll need to sign up for a Google AdWords account.)

What It Does: Provides search volume of specific keywords.

Why You Need It:

  • Find out average monthly Google searches for your target keywords.
  • Get ideas on keyword variations to plan your SEO strategy and content headlines for your blog.
  • If you plan on using AdWords, this tool will help you plan your campaigns.


7. Keyword Tool (keywordtool.io)

Keyword Tool

What It Is: SEO tool

What It Does: Provides you with keyword variations that people are typing into Google, YouTube, Bing, Amazon and the App Store.

Why You Need It:

  • Get long-tail keywords for your topics, which you can use for blog or page titles.
  • You can export the data into a CSV file – no need to retype anything!
  • Great alternative to Google Keyword Planner.
  • Basic tool is free, but if you upgrade to one of the pro plans, you can also get search volume, cost per click and competition data.


8. Google Analytics


What It Is: SEO tool

What It Does: Provides comprehensive usage reports for your website.

Why You Need It:

  • It’s a free and super-robust tool that arms you with an outstanding amount of data, such as number of users, page views, time spent on site, top referring social networks, top landing pages and much, much more.
  • Get ideas on how you can better optimize your site’s pages.
  • Set up custom reports that show how your content is performing.
  • Have your reports emailed to you so there’s no need to keep logging into your account.

To Sum It Up

Of course, there are many more tools available than the ones listed here, but these are the ones that’ll give you the most bang for your buck.

Are there any tools that you feel should have made the short list instead? Let us know!

Laura Swords | SwordsNet Designs
Written by: Laura Swords
Laura Swords is the founder of SwordsNet Designs, which provides web and graphic design solutions for small to mid-sized businesses. With over 20 years of corporate experience in both the IT and marketing arenas, she possesses the unique combination of technical and creative skills.

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