Top Tools To Make Your Marketing Easier

 
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Amy

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What tools do you need when it comes to making the most of your marketing? There are some really great tools and platforms out there that make some aspects of your marketing so much easier for you.

Here are my marketing tool must haves (I use all of them myself) for anyone wanting to boost their business. 

*Definitely have to have

1 - Email Marketing System*

The main one that always comes up because it is free for 2,000 subscribers is Mailchimp. This is a good platform to start with and has some great integrations with other apps and tools, but actually I am finding Mailerlite pips it to the post. This is a newer system and it is giving Mailchimp a run for their money. Therefore Mailerlite will be the one I am recommending. This is also free (to 1,000 subscribers), much easier to use and with much better function on separating your list into groups, automation and landing pages. Also when you do have to pay for your subscribers Mailerlite is way much cheaper as Mailchimp's paid prices become very expensive. 

Why do I need it?
The reason an email marketing system is needed rather than just using your normal emails is that you can keep everyone together, email everyone together and you can see what they are up to. How many people are opening your email, how many are clicking and what they are clicking on. Very useful for any business. This is a complete must have which is why it is number 1 on my list. If you don't read any further and only implement this one point, you will be making a hugely positive impact on your business. 

2 - CRM (Customer Relationship Management)

I use Hubspot and it is great at tracking your communications at status of your contacts from lead to customer. Plus is it free and you can connect it with your gmail account.

Why do I need it?
A CRM is a great tool if you are dealing with customers coming to you in a service based business or product based business when you have direct communications with each potential customer. You can get all their details together and see where they are at in terms of your sales journey (from initial contact to buyer). Plus you get to keep all correspondence in one place which is great to looking back at what was said without having to search through all your emails - and also great if there is more than one of you working in the business too.

3 - Social Media Scheduler*

Later is great for all of your social media platforms. Planoly is also good, but it only for Instagram - both free, but have paid for pro accounts. The good thing about both of these is that you can see what your Instagram feed looks like, and if if doesn’t look, quite what you were hoping for, you can move them around using the feature of looking seeing it as your phone.

Why Do I need it?
These platforms are great at getting you organised and saving time. Using a social media scheduler means you can spend a day or morning or afternoon batch planning all your social media posts or the week/month and then once it is done, it is done! This is extremely helpful tool to see the overview of everything you are doing that month, and it can be a lot more strategic rather than every day trying to think of something and it becomes a lot more random. I also find once you are in the ‘zone’ it is far easier to come up with 30 posts, than trying to think of 30 posts, once each day. The reason I have put this one as a must have is purely on time saving. Having a social media scheduler or doing them manually each day won't make or break your business - but it will loose you time, time that could be spent elsewhere. 

4 - Website Analytics 1*

Google Analytics - You may well have an option of tracking your website visitors on your website platform, but the addition of Google Analytics is great. It is a free product from Google.

Why do I need it?
Google Analytics allows you to see how many people are going on your website, how long they are staying, what pages are most popular, and most importantly, how they are getting to your website in the first place. This is a must for any business.

5 - Website Analytics 2 

Hotjar - Alongside Google Analytics this is a great tool to have - this allows you see  how someone views your page - do they look left to right? Do they even scroll down to the information at the bottom of your homepage, what do they click on. Both using heatmaps and recordings. This is free for a basic account.

Why do I need this?
This is a fascinating stalker tool (although of course you don’t know who you are stalking) if you are finding out that very important bit of information you have at the bottom of your homepage is never even looked at  - you can move it to the top!

6 - SEO Analyser*

Website Grader is a great, simple one to use - you can see how your website is performing in terms of SEO. This app takes into account your metadata (the words behind the scenes describing your pages) the words on your pages, particularly headings, the speed, the mobile friendliness and security of your site.

Why do I need this?
It is good to see how you are performing as this makes a difference to how Google (and other search platforms) find you. If you can see you are performing badly in an area it tells you, in plain English not confusing techy speak, using the traffic light sequence so you can see what areas you can improve on, which will in turn helps your ratings on Google. 

6 - URL shortener/tracker

Linktree or Bitly are the best. These are url shorteners with a bonus of being able to track your links. Linktree is great because this is made for Instagram and it allows you to ‘break’ the one url rule on Instagram but having the ability to add more than one link to the same url. Fantastic! 

Why do I need this?
Sometimes your url is just too long and you want it shortened, this is why platforms like this started to come into existence - this is still handy, especially on places such as Twitter with a certain number of characters. But the main reason to use a product such as these is the trackability. You can put different links in different places to see how they are performing and how many people are clicking on them. 

7 - Image Editor

Pixlr is a great tool for resizing and cropping images, you can do some more whizzy things on it too if you are used to photoshop. 

Why do I need this?
I don't know about you but I am constantly having to resize or crop images. Most of the time is is because they are just way too large and you either can't upload them to where ever you want them, or it is because you don't want to slow down your website. A lot of apps/platforms have image editors built in now, which is great, but you sometimes still need a tool to make you images smaller before you upload them.

8 - Image Compressor*

I use Tinypng. This is different to  resizing an image  (which I have only found out relatively recently!). To make sure your website is performing at its best you don't want to slow it down with huge files. Compressing images keeps the quality but it just makes them small so they upload really quickly on your website. It is actually better to compress a high res image so the quality is at its best. 
If you are looking to download larger files (over 5MB) then Website Planet is a good one, although I found it to be a little buggy sometimes.  Alternatively if you are going to be compressing images a lot then Tinypng has a 'Go Pro' option which is only $25 a year. 

Why do I need this? 
This is important if you want to improve your SEO (so Google ranks you higher) as page loading speed is a factor Google takes into account. A slow loading site will make visitors more likely to leave your website because no one likes to wait! Compress all your images before you upload your images to your website. 

9 - Graphic Design Tool

Canva - hands down the best one out there - and free! Create fantastic graphic designs for your website, social media accounts, leaflets and business cards - basically everything and everywhere you need!

Why do I need this?
Don’t know the first thing about photoshop? No worries! Canva is a simplified app which allows you to create any type of graphic without the need for a designer. This is a really easy to use tool, and I personally use it almost everyday. It saves you time and money (It is free!), and also gives you the flexibility to be able to change stuff at the drop of a hat - which is a godsend for those in small businesses.

10 - Graphic Designer for Instagram 

Word Swag - ever see the beautifully designed quotes that are seen on Instagram? This is probably where they have been made. This app is on your phone and it allows you to add text onto your images really quickly and easily. Don't have your own image, no worries, there are set backgrounds as well as the set fonts, so you can’t really go wrong. You can create beautiful graphics in seconds.

Why do I need this? 
This app is great if you are a bit rubbish at creating really beautiful graphics. The fonts are already chosen for you (you get a choice of around 20-30 different fonts) and also the style in which they are executed. All you need to do is add the text and pick and choose what font you like the best. Great graphics in literally a few seconds - although it can be addictive to play with for a lot longer than that!

11 - Video Editor for Instagram 

If you are a fan of Instagram Stories, then you will know that you videos have a limited time allowance. Storycutter or Storysplit gets around this by segmenting your video for you in the correct bite sized chunks that will fit into Instagram Stories so it seems as one continuous video.

Why do I need this?
If you are keen to do videos on Instagram stories, but are a bit scared of doing them Live, or you want to be able to keep them in your highlights (at writing Instagram does not allow you to save your lives) then this app is for you!

12 - Fun Video Creator for Instagram 

See those funny moving pictures on Instagram, you know the ones, people jumping up and down or cheersing their glasses? These are Boomerang Videos (Boomerang for iPhone, Boomerang for Android). You create these by an app you can download onto your phone. 

Why do I need this?
If you want to spice up your feed, or want to try video but are a bit too scared to do a ‘real’ video. Then Boomerang is great. They are proven to increase engagement as they are entertaining and quick!

13 -  Filter tool for Instagram Images

A Colour Story is great. This is a photo editing tool for adding beautiful filters on your phone.

Why do I need this?
If you are one for filters, or want to make your images much more on brand, have a similar look and feel, then a filter may be a good option for you. Don’t use the filters on Instagram, as they can some out a bit naff, but the ones on acolourstory are really lovely, and they have much more editing control too to, so you can correct the horizon lines, improve the lighting etc which can make your images look really professional

14 - Camera Equipment

Nope you don't need anything fancy, but a bendy Tripod is really handy!  Need to take photos or videos of yourself for your business, and the selfie with the stretched out arm is not cutting it anymore, or you are continually trying to balance your phone precariously on books or cushions to get the perfect shot?

Why do I need this?
Like most things on this list - it is to make things easier, and to save you time. Rather than faffing around trying to get your phone or camera to balance on something, the tripod does the hard work for you. A tripod is so much easier and allows you to stage a photo, or video from anywhere - including hung round a tree branch. You can also get tripods that come with a remote control too so you can wait until you are in the shot before taking the photo rather than needing to run back and get in place in 10 seconds. Tripods are around £10 so won’t break the bank either.

15 - Website Builder

Squarespace - This is a website builder using some fantastic templates. There are a few out there, but this is definitely the one I recommend as it not only looks great, but has great back end functionality too (so does all the correct techy stuff you want from a website too, without having to worry about it!)

Why do I need this?
If you are after a new website and want to create one yourself, this is a fab platform. Even if you do want a designer to do the main design work for you, this platform allows you to have complete control over any edits going forward (in a simple way, no trying to work out where to edit bits of ode!) so no need to keep asking a designer to do something every time you want to change some text or add a new product! I could go on about Squarespace for hours, but in a nutshell, it is a great platform, which includes e-commerce and a blog, so you don’t need to add any additional apps or plugins. It is a lot simpler to build that Wordpress an has a lot more security and less likely to have bugs (as it is controlled centrally by Squarespace) also no need to remember update anything either as Squarespace does this too. Squarespace charges between £10-£25 a month (depending on what package you go for) for the hosting. 

16 - Writing tool*

Hemingway app is by far my new favourite app. This app checks your copy and picks out sentences that can be improved. Kinda like a spell check, but way better! It looks for complex sentence, long sentences, passive sentences and highlights them. It also grades your writing on readability. You can then go through and amend to make your writing short and punchy.

Why do I need this?
This is a great writing tool to help you write better copy. It makes sure your copy is to the point, and not waffly, which will make it much easier for people to read, understand and enjoy.

17 - Content planner*

Trello or Asana are fantastic tools for content creation. From the ideas phase to the scheduling, these apps have got you covered. The both work in exactly the same way. Create a board for your content. Have a column for your content ideas. Then create columns for all your channels. When an idea is firmed up move it to the relevant column and schedule. Both have mobile apps which is great for when an idea pops into your head when you are out and about.

Why do I need this?
These apps are so helpful as they keep all your content ideas in one place. No more ideas in various notebooks or scribbled on random piece of papers. No doubling up on ideas. No going through content planning groundhog day because you can’t find you list from the last time you did a brainstorm. Plus with being able to add content and see on a calendar when everything it set to go out, it means everything in in one place ready to copy, paste and go on the right day.

18 - App connector/ automator

Zapier is a fantastic tool to help connect all your various apps together so that you can create an automated working system.

Why do I need this?
This is so handy if you want to use various apps but connect them together. For instance you want the names and emails your website collects to be added straight into your email marketing system. You can get quite advanced with this and create complex working systems that are all completely automated.

 
Amy Caiger Marketing Specialist

 

About Me

I'm a Brand and Marketing Specialist with over 12 years experience. My mission is to help small biz owners create awesome brands that stand out from their competitors and connect with their audience.  

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