Small businesses look for effective ways to be productive and efficient while minimizing spend. With the right marketing software for small business, you can improve your marketing presence and minimize the resources and time required to do it. However, it’s easy to get overwhelmed by all the choices available. That’s why we’ve put together this brief guide to help you select the right solutions for your business.
Selecting Marketing Software for Small Business
Start With a Content or Inbound Marketing Plan
When it comes down to selecting the right marketing technology, it’s important to have an idea of what the technology needs to support. Know what that means? You should have a documented content/inbound marketing strategy in place. Creating the plan It doesn’t have to be as daunting as it sounds — even for a small business. I won’t cover these steps here, but I have provided some additional reading below:
[plsc_toggle title=”Articles on Content Marketing Strategy for Small Businesses” state=”closed” color=”orange” radius=”semiround”]
Identify the Things You Need In Order to Execute and Measure Your Plan
Once you’ve got your inbound marketing/content marketing plan set, it is question and answer time. Before you start researching which software is right for you, answer these fundamental questions:
- What are you trying to accomplish through marketing technology?
- How do you currently/plan to perform this action?
- What do you expect to happen (or not happen) if you do/don’t use technology?
- How much are you willing to spend to make this happen?
Take the time to think about the answers to these questions. If you want to grow your email list and improve your email marketing, you may not need to waste time looking at sophisticated marketing automation software. (Not that marketing automation wouldn’t be excellent, but it may be overkill for your business right now.)
If you need lead nurturing technology, define what that lead nurturing entails — a simple auto responder email? Something more sophisticated that sets off emails or social media messages based on prospect on-site actions or email opens? That will make the difference between choosing email marketing software and a marketing automation platform.
You get the picture. Put together your specs so you can limit your research efforts to focus on what you really want/need.
Think About Your Marketing Software for Small Business Options
I like to break down my marketing technology needs into these broad categories. If you’re doing online marketing, you need to consider each of these categories. But don’t worry — not every category requires additional spend. (There are free tools, built-in features on social media platforms, etc.). And, in some cases, you can find one tool to cover more than one need. For example, a great marketing automation solution such as Lead Liaison (we use that!) can help you with some types of content creation (email, landing pages, surveys), distribution (social posts, emails), engagement (lead nurturing), and measurement and analysis.
- Research — tools to help you research and gather information on keywords, competitors, influencers, customers, etc.
- Planning — planning tools may vary depending on the type of planning you are doing. If you are planning a campaign or event, you may want project management software. If you want to manage your content calendar, you may prefer editorial calendar software.
- Creation — solutions to help you create written, visual, interactive, and other types of content.
- Distribution — options for distributing content to your audience. This may include email, RSS feeds, social media posting, etc.
- Promotion — platforms that help you promote your message through paid programs, employee advocates, influencers, etc.
- Engagement — solutions for listening to and communicating with your audience.
- Measurement/Analysis — tools to help you measure and understand the success of your online marketing.
Once you’re ready to start researching solutions that fit your needs, there are several ways to get started. Your first step is likely going to involve querying your favorite search engine and poking around some vendor sites. Before you sign up for a free trial or request a demo, check out a few of the sites below to see how others review the technology vendors you’re considering.
Ready to Find the Right Solutions?
Have you begun looking for marketing solutions to support your 2017 goals? What obstacles have you run into? What is your favorite marketing software for small business? Share your thoughts in the comments below!