Digital Marketing Tools For Your Small Business

As a small business, your employees may be juggling a lot of “hats” at once. Your salesperson may also be in charge of marketing, customer service, along with some administrative tasks! It can be easy to forget marketing when you’re concerned with immediate results for your bottom line.

But marketing is integral to the overall success of your business. It builds customer loyalty, which leads to higher retention rates and referrals. This is different from sales, because you’ve already convinced them to “buy in” to your product – now you want to “buy in” to your company’s brand.

The digital marketing process can be streamlined by the use of online tools that don’t have to break the bank. Some of them on this list are even FREE! Here are some digital marketing tools for your small business:

  1. Social Media Management Platforms

When you’re a brand dedicated to creating a consistent social media presence, you know posting around the same time every day is helpful. But if you do this in real-time, it’s going to interrupt your focus on other tasks. This is where social media management tools come in.

Hootsuite is a great starter for entrepreneurs. The free plan allows you to control 3 different social media profiles from universal dashboard. You can schedule posts ahead of time to run across the different platforms. This allows you  a lot of flexibility – you could schedule all your posts for a week in one day! Another option is Buffer – while the free plan is limited, the cheapest plan has a lot of features.

  1. Online Photo Editors

Photoshop is expensive. And the truth is, if you are only wanting to make simple edits and graphics, you probably don’t need it! There are lots of free alternatives out there that you can use within your browser.

A good option for beginners is Canva. It has canvasses that are sized for optimal viewing on Facebook, Twitter, instagram, etc. so that you don’t have to worry about making something that won’t fit. The program also has free templates, fonts, and graphic elements. There are some free stock photos, and a large library of photos that are only $1.

  1. Analytic Tools

If you have website, you SHOULD be using Google Analytics. It will help you get a better insight into to which pages are performing well, your ROI from promotions, read time, bounce, rate, etc. Did you know you can create a custom dashboard within Google Analytics? This allows you to focus on which pieces of data are the most relevant to you.

  1. Blog Managers

Content marketing is a great way to create value for a potential consumer. One of the most common forms of content marketing is blogging. No matter what industry you’re in – if you are an expert in it, you can offer insight to readers.

But if you don’t know a lot about design or Web development, it might seem like an overwhelming task. One of the staples in the blog hosting industry is WordPress. It offers free templates so you can stop worrying about design and focus on design. It also has paid self-hosting options and more advanced templates. If you are an avid Google user and prefer to streamline your systems as much as possible – you might consider Blogger.

You can’t market well without spending both time and money. But there’s a difference between throwing lots of money at “fancy and flashy” marketing trends, and investing in smart marketing tools that will propel your business forward. If you’re a new business, don’t be afraid to try out a variety of options and find what works best for you!

Best Social Media Practices For Your Franchise

Social media has transformed the way we do business. For example – word of mouth referrals have always been powerful. But it’s faster and easier to do so now when you can instantly post an opinion about a brand to your Facebook feed. And customers don’t make a referral decision based solely on experiences in brick and mortar stores. In fact 71% of customers are likely to recommend a company after having a positive experience on social media.

 

And this is only one of the MANY ways that social media has revolutionized sales and business. Whether your business is about to launch a profile, or want to improve on your current one – a great starting point is to study best practices. There’s no reason to reinvent the wheel! Here are some social media best practices for your franchise:

  1. Choose The Right Social Network

Logically you’re going to reach the most people by being on EVERY social media site, right? Well maybe…but it’s more complicated than that. But content is not universal. Narrowing your focus gives you more time to curate posts that will be successful on THAT PLATFORM specifically. Just look at the differences between Twitter and Instagram. Instagram is an image-driven platform, while Twitter is focused on what’s relevant RIGHT NOW and communicating short, easy to digest messages.

If you are unsure which social network to focus on, just look at your franchise’s specific demographics. You want to be where they are.

  1. Take Part in “Social Listening”

Being interactive on social media isn’t just about posting content. It’s also about consuming content to better understand your customer. Listen when users tweet about your brand and point out issues. Instead of ignoring it as someone just ranting on the internet, ask yourself if there is some merit behind their criticism- especially if it’s a complain that you keep seeing again and again. You also have a chance to directly respond and ask follow-up questions, making them feeling heard and possibly even swaying their opinion

  1. Focus on Engaging

Of course you want more customers from being active on social media. But when that’s your number one focus – consumers can tell. They’re already being sold to by countless internet ads. If they’ve come to your social media page, they want to find some insight about your brand. They’re looking at the value you can offer them and how you treat customers. Social media is NOT the same as a sales call. 

  1. Be Consistent

Brands often choose one person to run their social media because this encourages consistency. Social media is the face of your brand. Let’s say your demographic is “hip and trendy.” So you post something with emojis and cheat speak to try to reach your consumer. But your NEXT post is long-winded, all text, with 4+ syllable words. See how this would confuse a user? You want to find a voice consumers can easily recognize.

  1. Humanize Your Brand

Social media is your chance to be stand out and form a relationship with your consumer. By responding to questions and complaints, you aren’t just a faceless company selling to the masses. Instead you’re creating personal experiences that build trust and credibility. It’s not just about responding – if you copy the same message over and over to every comment, you’re not truly interacting. But if you take the time to individually reply to feedback, your customers WILL take notice.

 

Success on social media is all about utilizing your magic formula. What does your franchise offer that no other brand does? Once you’ve answered that, you can figure out how to communicate it through content. Create a good social media experience, and you’ll attract loyal customers who refer you time and time again.

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