As a Marketing Consultant, I’ve learnt that no two projects or clients’ needs are the same. I’ve also learnt that time is precious, and whether I’m tasked with creating a logo for someone, executing an email marketing campaign, or developing a detailed strategy and marketing plan, I find myself coming back to the same handy, easy-to-use and free tools to help me along the way. So make sure to add these websites to your bookmarks, as hopefully they will help to save your small business invaluable time (and money) too...
1) Look like a design pro with ‘Canva’
Let’s face it, we live in a visual world. Consumers these days expect companies to look professional, and brands to look beautiful. Luckily, both of these are easy to achieve with Canva. From simply resizing images to creating stunning flyers, social media graphics, website banners and more, Canva’s simple drag-and-drop builder means that it is intuitive and extremely easy-to-use. Plus it has tons of free fonts, illustrations, templates and images too, quite simply making both marketing, and graphic design tasks a breeze.
2) Stay on top of your market with ‘Google Trends’
Now we’ve all been there and had a light bulb moment for a product or service that is going to change the world. But in our excitement and haste it is imperative to check that that is in fact the case, and, well, people really do need it. That’s where Google Trends comes in, and it’s a real gem. Google Trends allows you to compare different search terms that real-life users have searched for over time. So you can type in your idea, and get a clear of idea of just how many people have searched for it, where these people live, and how that phrase or term has ‘trended’ over time.
So the next time you think you have a great idea for the ‘next big thing’, and you’re adamant that millions of people need it… give Google Trends a check first. It’s the quickest and cheapest “why has no-one thought of this yet?” research tool out there.
3) Make sure you’re not losing customers with ‘Google Page Speed Insights’
I don’t have shares in Google I promise, but this is another great tool that you need to check out. Most small businesses have a website these days (if you don’t, you’re really missing a trick…), but did you know that for every 1 second your website page takes to load (yes 1 second) you lose up to 7% of potential conversions from your website? Now this is huge, and a mistake that as small businesses, we simply cannot afford to make. Google Page Speed Insights lets you check how quickly your own website pages are loading on both desktop and mobile devices, and not only that, it also gives you a bunch of handy tips for how to best optimise your pages too. So your website can spend less time loading, and more time selling.
4) Bring your email campaigns to life with ‘MailChimp’
Email marketing is imperative to the success of many small businesses. The impact of your loyal customer base cannot be underestimated, and email marketing is one great, free way to stay in touch with them. E-mail provides an intimate interaction between you and your customers, and tools like MailChimp can do so whilst offering you everything you need to control and effectively nurture your leads. MailChimp is not only free, but it is also easy for newbies to learn with a drag and drop builder to create the perfect template(s) for your business needs. Plus you can simply upload your existing customer database to send emails to directly, easily see who has opened and clicked links within your emails, and importantly you can send email campaigns out from your mobile, so you can still drive sales whilst sipping cocktails on your summer holidays...
5) Get invaluable customer research through ‘SurveyMonkey’
Have you ever thought about just how valuable your customers might be to you? Not just financially, but in that they know you and your products, and they’re not afraid to say what they do and don’t like what you can offer them! Surveys are a great way to collect consumer information, engage customers, uncover trends and secure tangible insights on your business. One of the real benefits of SurveyMonkey is that it is incredibly simple, in just a few minutes, you can design, create and publish your own business survey. And the results are where you really win; learn what your customers like, what they don’t, and which product or service you just have to launch next.
If you have any tools that make a real difference to your business, then let us know in the comments box below so that we can make sure we check it out. Also if you would like any further information or 1-2-1 training on the above tools, then do get in touch (firstname.lastname@example.org), I’d love to help.