Small businesses often struggle to compete against larger companies in their industries. The right marketing techniques help level the playing field.

Unfortunately, you may not have the budget for a skilled marketing agency. If you want to remain competitive, consider using the following 10 best online tools for small business marketing.

1. Google My Business

Every small business should take the time to verify and update its Google My Business (GMB) listing. Your GMB listing includes basic business details, such as your address, phone number, and website. It is also a powerful tool for helping to drive organic traffic to your website.

When Google detects local intent, Google uses GMB listings in Google Maps search results and search results for regular Google searches.

Managing your GMB account allows you to view and respond to customer reviews. Maintaining your online reputation helps improve your overall SEO score.

2. Google Analytics

Google Analytics is the most used analytics platform for small businesses and entrepreneurs. It has a user-friendly dashboard that displays all your key metrics. You can also integrate your marketing goals to keep better track of your return on investment.

Before launching your next marketing campaign, make sure that you add the Google Analytics tracking code to your website. This allows Google to track metrics on your website, including bounce rates, referral sources, and visitor behavior.

Use the data available on Google Analytics to fine-tune your marketing efforts. If you are not getting the traffic you want, the insight on Google Analytics may help you find the problem.

3. MailChimp

Email marketing remains the most cost-effective type of online marketing, and MailChimp is one of the most affordable options. MailChimp is an email marketing platform with over 12 million customers. You can set up and manage simple or complex email marketing campaigns, helping to bring visitors back to your website.

MailChimp has multiple plans, including a free one for those with less than 2000 email subscribers. When you first start marketing, you are unlikely to surpass 2000 subscribers, which allows you to use the free plan to start marketing your products and services.

4. HubSpot

HubSpot is a comprehensive marketing platform that combines email marketing and advanced customer relationship management (CRM) solutions.

Compared to expensive CRM platforms like SalesForce, HubSpot provides an affordable way to manage client contact info. You can also use it as a replacement for MailChimp when you exceed the requirements of the free plan.

Along with email marketing and CRM tools, HubSpot includes a suite of marketing tools. You can use it to improve the SEO of your blog posts and web pages. It also has tools for creating landing pages, lead magnets, and more.

5. HootSuite

Social media is an important part of most marketing strategies. HootSuite makes it easier to manage your social media posts.

With HootSuite, you can schedule social media posts on popular platforms like Facebook and Twitter. This eliminates the need to generate a new post daily to maintain your posting schedule.

Scheduling the posts also makes it easier to coordinate with marketing campaigns. For example, you may want to time the release of a post on Facebook with a special offer on your website.

6. BuzzSumo

BuzzSumo helps you understand more about your customers and competition. You can find out what posts people are reading in your industry and what types of content resonate most with your target audience.

Marketers frequently use BuzzSumo to discover trending topics and find subjects for blog posts. By choosing popular topics, your blog posts and marketing content may receive more views.

7. Canva

Adding images or infographics to your blog posts and web pages helps to break up the content, making it easier to scan. Unfortunately, stock images are often costly.

Canva provides a simple solution for generating high-quality graphics and infographics for your website’s marketing material. Canva has a free option to test it out before upgrading to a paid plan.

With the paid plan, you can create teams and gain access to additional images and editing options. Using a drag-and-drop interface, anyone can create beautiful graphics to make more visually appealing content.

8. Local Finder Website SEO AUDIT

Local Finder provides a free SEO tool for identifying issues that may hurt your overall search rankings.

After entering your website URL, Local Finder LLC will crawl your website and find broken links, redirects, duplicate content, and other issues that Google tends to penalize sites for. When the scan is complete, you will have a list of recommended fixes for boosting your SEO score.

Check your website HERE

9. Survey Monkey

Marketing campaigns require user research. You should understand your target audience to better tailor your marketing content to their needs. Surveys provide one of the easiest solutions for gaining more insight directly from your customers.

Survey Monkey is a platform for creating and analyzing user surveys. You can create simple or complex surveys and embed them on your website or in emails. Along with surveys, Survey Monkey helps you generate user testimonials and reviews.

10. Trello

The last tool on this list is a productivity and collaboration tool. Trello works on any device, allowing employees to easily share ideas and collaborate. You can link to any online documents from the Trello dashboard, create to-do lists, and manage complex projects.

Projects and lists are organized into boards. With one glance, you can get a complete overview of pending tasks for different projects. Project managers can quickly delegate tasks, request progress updates, and view submitted work.

Trello has a free plan and a paid business plan. The free plan allows you to create up to 10 team boards and includes simple task automation features. With the paid business plan, you can create unlimited boards and add unlimited users.

These are just 10 of the most used tools for small business marketing. If these tools do not meet your specific small business needs, dozens of others are at your disposal.

Business Online Strategy
How to Define Your Niche Market

How to Define Your Niche Market

Finding a profitable niche market can help you focus your marketing on specific demographics. Unfortunately, many business owners fail to properly define their niches.

Defining your niche allows you to address the needs of your potential customers. It helps you build more successful marketing campaigns that boost conversion rates and sales.

What Is a Niche Market?

A niche market is a subset of a larger industry. Each niche market has unique needs or preferences that separates it from a broad, generalized market.

For example, website development is a general market. Website development for nonprofits is a niche market. Compared to the average business, nonprofits have distinct needs.

Marketing to a niche is often easier than trying to appeal to a broad audience. With targeted marketing campaigns, you can zero in on the distinct requirements of your niche customer base.

  1. Choose an Industry to Serve

The first step in defining your niche market is to identify the industry that you serve. No matter if you work in real estate or fashion, you should have a good understanding of how the overall industry operates. This allows you to identify:

  • Your biggest competitors
  • The size of the overall market
  • The variety of niche markets within the industry
  • The problems that customers face

You need to define the general problems that customers in your industry face and how you can solve them. This helps you analyze the distinct needs and wants of customers in your niche market compared to the broader market.

  1. Define Your Specialization

Your specialization is what sets you apart from the competition. It allows you to dig deeper into a niche market to address the specific needs of a smaller group of people.

For example, “Dallas Law Firm” covers a broad market. Customers likely have a wide variety of concerns and preferences. By choosing a subset of this market, such as “Dallas Family Law Firm,” you can better serve a select group.

  1. Create a Detailed Buyer Persona

A buyer persona defines your target audience. This is who you plan to market your products or services to.

A typical buyer persona is a short biography of your ideal customer. It should include the buyer’s age, income, career, education, geographical location, interests, and hobbies. These details help humanize your target customer.

  1. Define Your Competitive Advantage

Create a list of the problems that your buyer persona may encounter when searching for products or services in your niche. Go through the list and identify the ways that your business is uniquely equipped to deal with the problems.

You should also take a closer look at your competition. Determine how their products or services address the same problems. Pay attention to the strengths and weaknesses of your competition. If you cannot directly compete against their strengths, try to focus on their weaknesses.

Make a shortlist of the advantages of your products or services based on this research. Use this as your unique value proposition when generating marketing material.

Keep in mind that you do not need to focus on one niche market. As your business grows, you may expand your marketing to cover other niches. However, it is important to build each marketing campaign around one niche.

Business Online Strategy

How to Use TikTok for Small Business Marketing

How to Use TikTok for Small Business Marketing

TikTok is one of the latest social media platforms to take off. However, before using it to promote your business, you should learn more about TikTok and its demographics. Social media marketing is only successful if users enjoy your content.

Use the following guide to make the most out of your TikTok marketing efforts:

  1. Make Sure That Your Target Audience Uses TikTok

The first step is to ensure your potential customers use the new social media platform. TikTok has over 500 million monthly active users. 60 million of those users are in the United States.

TikTok has also released stats on the demographics of its users. About 60% of the US audience is female. 60% are aged 16 to 24. 80% are between the ages of 16 and 30.

TikTok is incredibly popular among Generation Z and younger millennials. If you try to market to older adults, you may want to stick with Facebook or Twitter. However, Generation Z includes today’s trendsetters. Marketing to a younger generation may help you promote your brand to a larger audience.

  1. Learn How TikTok Works

To create effective marketing campaigns, you need to understand how TikTok works. TikTok is a video-sharing social media platform.

Users share short video clips lasting between three and fifteen seconds. You may also create looping videos that last between three and sixty seconds.

Most user-uploaded content includes videos of people lip-synching to their favorite songs. However, as the platform’s user base has grown, the variety of video content has increased. People share everything from dance videos to funny video clips.

The platform includes basic video editing features. Before uploading a video, you can add background music or adjust the speed of the video. You also have a few filters to play with.

After uploading a video, other users can react to your short clip with their own video clips. The reactions appear in a small window that you can move around the screen.

TikTok also allows you to add hashtags to your shared videos. Hashtags help people discover content and provide a useful marketing strategy, which you will learn how to use later in this guide.

  1. Generate Fun and Creative Content

As with most types of marketing, you need to generate quality content for TikTok marketing. The content should not be promotional. Focus on creating authentic content that the typical TikTok user may enjoy.

Most of the videos uploaded on the platform are funny or creative. However, you do not need to try to create the next funny viral video. Many small businesses upload video demonstrations of their products. The key is to keep the content light-hearted.

For example, you could film a demonstration of your product and add an unexpected song for background music. Choose something that highlights a feature of your product comically or the lyrics of the song.

  1. Curate Content From Other TikTok Users

You do not need to generate all the content that you share. A common marketing strategy for any social media platform is to curate relevant content from other users.

User-generated content (UGC) provides a content stream of videos for you to share with followers. It can also help you pick up followers who find shared content entertaining.

If possible, look for videos related to your products or services. Unfortunately, small businesses are less likely to find UGC that showcase their specific offerings.

Another option is finding relevant videos you think your followers may enjoy. Search for hashtags and trending topics that you connect to your products or services indirectly.

  1. Advertise Your Content on TikTok

Paid advertising is usually one of the fastest ways to reach a large audience. TikTok gives businesses four different ways to advertise on the social platform:

  • Native ads
  • Brand takeovers
  • Sponsored hashtag challenges
  • Branded filters

Native ads appear between user-generated content. Users can skip or scroll through the ads but it still provides a way to connect with potential customers. The videos need to last between nine and fifteen seconds.

You can include links to landing pages or app downloads in the video. After releasing the ad, TikTok provides metrics such as the click-through rate, number of clicks, impressions, and play duration.

Brand takeovers cost more compared to native ads but generate more exposure. The ads appear at the top of the user feeds before other videos load.

The videos are exclusive to different business categories. Only one video can appear in the slot for a specific category each day.

Sponsored hashtags challenges work differently compared to video ads. With this option, you promote a hashtag and create a page for the challenge. Users upload videos or comment on other videos. However, a custom banner promoting your brand remains visible.

Branded lenses are the fourth advertising option. Businesses can create filters that users can add to their videos. This is useful for wearable products. You could create a filter with a shirt, hat, or other marketing material.

The filter is available in 2D or 3D and lasts for ten days. TikTok also plans to create an augmented reality (AR) version of branded lenses, making this advertisement option more interactive.

  1. Work with TikTok Influencers to Increase Exposure

TikTok is a growing platform and already has influencers with massive followings. TikTok even makes it easy to discover influencers in your niche market.

With the TikTok Creator Marketplace, you can search for the top-trending users and videos. You can also view insights on audience demographics and growth trends to optimize your TikTok marketing campaign.

  1. Monitor Your Results and Tweak Your Efforts

Using Google Analytics or other analytical software, you can monitor referral traffic from TikTok. Pay attention to the traffic you receive from TikTok, conversion rates, and other important metrics.

As you analyze your progress, look for ways to improve your marketing efforts. You may need to post content more frequently or increase your advertising spending.

With these steps, you should build a stronger presence on TikTok.

Marketing Tips for Small Businesses During the COVID-19 Crisis

Marketing Tips for Small Businesses During the COVID-19 Crisis

The COVID-19 crisis has affected almost everyone, including small businesses. Many businesses have closed their doors, laid-off employees, or go bankrupt. Those that remain open will likely deal with reduced sales and other obstacles.

Here are a few marketing tips for small businesses during these challenging times.

Highlight the Ways That You Are Helping

If you watch TV, you have likely seen endless commercials showcasing businesses’ efforts to stop the spread of coronavirus. This includes allowing employees to work from home, donating time or money to hospitals and front-line workers, and eliminating late fees for existing customers.

Use this opportunity to highlight the steps you are taking to protect your staff and customers. Make sure that the marketing material you create remains authentic. If the video or social media post is too promotional, it may backfire.

Invest More in Your Marketing and Advertising

You have less competition as more businesses scale back on marketing or advertising. Use this time to invest more in your marketing campaigns and paid advertisements. With less competition, you should experience higher click-through rates, providing a greater return on your marketing spending.

You should also reassess your marketing budget. For example, you may need to hold off on marketing that involves physical aspects, such as promoting an upcoming trade show or event. Focus on online marketing channels such as social media, email marketing, and search engines.

Consider Changing Your Delivery Methods

If you have physical products or operate in a physical location, customers may appreciate delivery options that limit exposure to the public. This may include dropping off items at customers’ homes or offering curbside pickup.

For service-based businesses, consider setting up virtual appointments. For example, you can complete a virtual meeting to discuss SEO services and other consulting work.

Offer to Forego Late Fees or Penalties

Many of your customers may be struggling financially right now. During the COVID-19 crisis, you can pause late fees and other penalties.

While you may miss out on a few dollars from frequently late customers, you can generate more goodwill with your existing customers. This should lead to greater brand loyalty when the threat of coronavirus passes.

Find Out Where Your Customers Go Online

Your marketing efforts may not provide the desired results if you fail to connect with your customer base.

Find out which marketing channels your customers use most. In most cases, the answer is Facebook. However, if you have a younger-skewing customer base, you may also need to market your products or services on Instagram or TikTok.

Create Special Offers and Discounts

Another way to ease the financial burden on your customers is to offer discounts or special promotions. Entice customers to continue shopping by offering them discounts on popular products or services. You may even discount services to your existing customers to encourage ongoing support.

Use these tips throughout the coronavirus pandemic to boost your ROI. Just remember to reassess your marketing campaigns when the threat of the virus passes.




Are you struggling due to the coronavirus? If you are worried about keeping your small business open during the pandemic, use some of the following online resources:

Small Business Administration Loan Options

The Small Business Administration (SBA) is processing loan applications for the COVID-19 relief package signed into law on March 27, 2020. The relief package provides affordable loans to struggling businesses.

While the funds for the loan program were used up within the first few weeks, several major businesses have returned their loans, opening additional funds for small businesses.

The SBA also offers a Paycheck Protection Program and other relief options. If you currently have a lot of business debt or expenses, one of the SBA programs may suit your financial needs.

CDC Guidance for Small Businesses

The Center for Disease Control (CDC) has issued numerous guidelines and recommendations to help stop the spread of coronavirus. The CDC has compiled its recommendations for small businesses and employers, making it easier for you to protect your workers and customers.

The available guidance includes recommended steps for preparing for a COVID-19 outbreak in the workplace. You can also learn how to reduce transmission among employees, such as by encouraging sick employees to stay home.

Check back regularly for the latest updates to the CDC recommendations as the CDC frequently compiles the newest information on coronavirus.

US Chamber of Commerce Coronavirus Response Toolkit

The Coronavirus Response Toolkit from the US Chamber of Commerce includes various resources for businesses during the pandemic.

Most of the website resources are graphics you can print and display in your workplace. This includes signs showcasing the symptoms of COVID-19 and displays encouraging people to practice social distancing.

Along with graphics, you can find recommendations for small businesses. The site includes a preparedness checklist, which includes prioritizing critical operations and suggestions for establishing teleworking policies.

US Department of Labor Coronavirus Resources

The US Department of Labor has comprehensive online resources for business owners. The information covers workplace safety, unemployment insurance flexibilities, and support for dislocated workers.

The information on the website offers guidance for keeping your business operating during the coronavirus pandemic and resources for ensuring that your staff receives adequate compensation and insurance.

Internal Revenue Service

If your employees take paid or unpaid time off during the COVID-19 crisis, your tax liabilities may change. This can be a confusing time for determining tax requirements for small businesses. Luckily, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has added helpful FAQs and other online resources.

Using IRS resources, you can learn which tax relief options are available. For example, you may qualify for the employee retention credit, a refundable tax credit against various employment taxes. This tax credit helps limit your liability for employment taxes and may ease your financial burden.

Along with these resources, additional online tools and programs continue to help small business owners. Watch for assistance programs and resources geared toward your industry or region.