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Marketing Tactics

The Ultimate Marketing Tool Library for Entrepreneurs

A list of marketing tools you’ll want to bookmark.

Casandra Visser

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Marketing-tools

Knowing how to work smarter and faster is going to put you on the fast track to success so having the right tools at your disposal is a major benefit.

The beauty of the 21st century is that there are a myriad of tools available to entrepreneurs, many of which you won’t even have to budget for. Bonus! Get your marketing and sales to pick up speed by widening your marketing arsenal with the below list of online, content and general marketing tools.

Online Marketing Tools

Hootsuite-logo

There are very few businesses that don’t see the opportunity in having an online presence for their business and with the wide variety of marketing tools available to help you implement your strategy it’s easier than ever to spread your branding message online.

Related: Free Sample Marketing Plan Template

Here are some online marketing tools that you might find useful:

  • Hootsuite.  If you have social media accounts then this tool will help you save time by managing your daily, weekly and monthly posts all in one place. Create new posts for any of your social media pages, respond to questions from followers and track when your brand is mentioned. Run reports on your accounts to see which posts are working and what you should rather stop talking about on your platforms. This tool is free but the paid version does offer more advanced options.
  • Google Analytics. This is one of the best free tools available to track the success of your website. By inserting a few lines of code into the HTML of your site you will be able to see who is visiting your site, what content they are reading or products they are interested in and how much time they are spending on your site. Google will also know that they can track and index your website in order to add it to search engine results. This online program can be used free of charge and could be the most valuable online tool that you can invest in.
  • ClicktoTweet. Make it super simple for your website visitors to share your content online. ClicktoTweet allows you to create shareable posts within your website copy that users can simple click on to share it with their Twitter followers. You can use this tool on your website or you can download a WordPress plugin.
  • Google Adwords. This is a paid for tool that will not only help you boost your website traffic stats but your sales too. Ever wondered where the adverts at the top and to the right of your search engine results come from? Well that would be Google Adwords. Basically brands can bid on keywords that they would like to both affiliate with their business and show up in search results for and then Google displays them to potential customers depending on what the business bid as well as the competition around that keyword.
  • Unbounce. So your website is up and running but you just aren’t seeing the results and the sales aren’t rushing in as expected. This has happened to countless of online businesses and most only find out too late that it was their website’s landing page that was causing the loss of sales. Unbounce is a tool that allows you to setup different versions of your website’s landing page to see what works.]
  • Tweroid. If social media is an important part of your strategy then knowing when your followers are online will make it that more effective. This online marketing tool will tell you exactly when your followers are online so that you can post your best content at the right time.
  • Marketing Grader. Want to find out how you are doing with your online marketing? Marketing Grader will do just that. Type in your website address to get a full report on your blogging, social media, SEO, mobile and lead generation efforts so that you know what you need to improve on.
  • WordPress. This online website development platform has become on the easiest ways to build your own website. There are tons of free templates for you to use and it’s simple to setup. If development isn’t one of your strong points then you might want to get some extra help, especially if you want to pay for a more advanced theme.
  • Kuler. If design is not your forte then Kuler is a great tool to use to decide on the colours to use on your website. All colours have different meanings and create certain emotions so make sure that your online marketing is creating the right impression.
  • Crowdbooster. Looking to increase your Facebook page likes? Crowdbooster is the ideal tool for this. This marketing tool will analyse your posts to provide you with the best times to post content on your page as well as what content works best according to the types of followers you have.
  • Rafflecopter. Running competitions on your social media pages is no longer the only option available to you. This tool allows you to create an embed a giveaway anywhere on your website.

Resource: The Complete Guide To Writing A Marketing Plan

Content Marketing Tools

Hubspot-logo

Many marketers have come to realise the benefits of incorporating content marketing into their overall strategy. Customers are drawn to brands that have something extra to offer them and providing interesting and relevant content is a sure fire way to engage with your users and get them coming back to your website.

Below are some hot content marketing tools that can assist you in creating a valuable experience for your readers.

  • Trend Spotter. This tool assists organisations in spotting trends and topics that they can capitalise on way before they are being talked about. You can take advantage of their trial version first to see if it’s a tool you want to invest in on a monthly basis.
  • HubSpot Stock Images. Jazz up your online content with this offer of 160 free business stock images. Simply fill in a short form to gain access to royalty free images for your marketing material. Some other sites that you can use for free stock images are freerange, stock.xchng and Wikimedia Commons.
  • Haiku Deck. This content marketing tool gives you the chance to go beyond PowerPoint and create killer presentations. Haiku gives you the option to use their web platform or download their iPad app.
  • Infogram. The way users engage with content is changing and visual elements are becoming very important making a tool such as Infogram so useful. This content marketing tool is free and allows you to create vibrant infographics and charts to use on your site or in your marketing material.
  • PressBooks. This online platform offers a simple and effective solution to creating ebooks for your business. Choose from a variety of customisable templates and export it to your PC. You can even use one of their partners to distribute the ebook for you.
  • Free Content Calendar Template. A good content strategy requires planning so having an editorial calendar will ensure that you always have fresh and exciting content on your website. Download a free calendar template by Jamie Griffiths of Manifesto here.
  • Meme Generator. Meme’s have taken over a large part of the online space and people love them so why not get in on the action. This content marketing tool allows you to add a fun twist to your content by creating your very own memes for free.

Resource: 4 Digital Marketing Trends to Pay Attention to Right Now

General Marketing Tools

Evernote-logo

When it comes to marketing you should never stop searching for new opportunities to stand out as a brand. It’s when you stop being innovative and growing that your business and especially sales slows down.

Give your customers a reason to keep coming back and make them proud to be associated with your brands. The below tools can help you along the way:

  • Evernote. Had a light bulb moment or saw something that you could use in your own business? Jot it down before you forget! By downloading the Evernote app you can write down and find your notes quickly and easily. There are free and paid for versions of this app.
  • Free Marketing Plan Template. Get your ducks in a row and know exactly how you are going to achieve your marketing and sales goals. Download Entrepreneur’s free marketing plan template to gain insights into your market, decide on your goals and develop an effective marketing strategy. Click Here.
  • LogoMaker. Choose from thousands of icons and design a logo that’s unique to your business. The low resolution versions of your logo are free but you will need to pay for the high resolution files. A logo is critical as a business so get it done at the start.
  • Target Market Worksheet. Build a demographic, geographic and psychographic picture of your target market by answering the questions in this worksheet. Click Here.
  • Mail Chimp. Personalise messages to your customers by creating an email marketing campaign and Mail Chimp is one of the easiest platforms to use for this. Their Entrepreneur plan allows you to send up to 12 000 emails to 2 000 subscribers without having to pay anything for it. Their templates are eye-catching and responsive so your mobile users won’t feel left out.
  • MindNode. A great brainstorming session can last hours but can generate some profitable ideas so it’s important to make notes of as much as possible. MindNode maps out your ideas from start to finish and allows you to store your session for reference later on.
  • blogtalkradio. Ever wanted your own radio station? Well here’s your chance. When you sign up on the blogtalkradio site, all you need is a phone and a browser to get chatting with your listeners. There’s also the option of taking it up a notch with their paid packages.
  • SurveyMonkey. Get the answers to important research questions by using this popular marketing tool. Choose a template to build a survey that’s unique to your business. Distribute the link to your marketing list, get your answers and take action accordingly. Simple as that.

How to Use Marketing Tools in Your Strategy

Once you have completed your marketing plan and strategy you’re going to have a good idea of where your brand is going and what you need to do to get it there.

The marketing tools that you decide to use should fit in with the implementation of your strategy and the goals that you have set out for your business. The great thing about knowing where to turn for marketing tools is that if something isn’t working you can change it and take a new direction.

The most important thing to keep in mind however is that your strategy is what’s going to make or break your business, not the tools that you use, so try not to place too much emphasis on having a tool for everything. They are only there to assist you and make the process a little easier.

Related: Mega Marketing Trends You Need to Know About

Casandra Visser is a Digital Marketing & Content Strategist and writes for Entrepreneur Media SA.

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Marketing Tactics

4 Ways To Implement Strategic Marketing Without Breaking The Bank

Marketing your start-up is all about the right strategies, not how much money you spend. You need to build your reputation from the ground up. Here’s how you can get started.

Mongezi Mtati

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Strategic marketing

Building a fledgling business is as much about increasing your client base as it is about building a positive reputation around the business and its expertise. Many experts and seasoned entrepreneurs argue that clients buy from people they trust and building that trust hinges on various parameters.

Take Steve Jobs, Wendy Luhabe, Richard Branson and many other leading business minds whose brands are built on years of credibility and trust. The truth is that equal attention needs to be given to great products and building trust within your client base.

Here are five skills that we’ve used to build our reputation at WordStart.

1Sharpen your writing skills for media and general communication

Create media coverage. Write on a company platform (like a blog) or for established media outlets. This will position you and your business in ways that get people to listen and share your knowledge.

Having your name next to an article on a respected platform can lead to useful connections with relevant contacts. A series of media features and industry commentary also help to position your business and team as experts in your field.

2Share industry trends

People will generally do research in and around an industry to find insights and trends, sometimes before they buy anything in that industry — and even afterwards. When I search for information on photography, Canon appears more than any other brand and they tend to set the scene on which device to buy.

Imagine your business is construction and that homeowners endorse your skills as a home improvement specialist. Packaging your knowledge into industry trends is also a great way to use your own lessons about the industry as you grow and it also helps you to connect with potential customers. Useful information with your name on it can increase your sales and client base.

3Edit. Edit. Edit

back-space

Something that cannot be stressed enough is that your writing in client documents can tarnish your brand. Many businesses tend to overlook the importance of grammar in their documents.

It can be difficult to reread and rewrite documents that you use in the business, but that is precisely what can lead to the loss of new and existing business.

Pay attention to how your business uses language and edit that work. When in doubt, read it again and be sure that nothing was missed. 

4Practice public speaking and search for opportunities

After you have written for various publications, you increase the likelihood of being invited to speak at conferences and seminars, which means that people put a face and voice to the written expertise. In some instances, the speaking engagements can be paid for by conference organisers which can be an additional revenue stream.

Public speaking, especially industry-related speaking, will increase the likelihood of selling more products or services and this will separate you from the competition. By increasing the trust customers have in you, you can improve the likelihood of them buying from you.

Once a business is positioned as a team of experts with the ability to speak for their industry, opportunities open up for that business to create unique content. Industry leaders who are able to help the public to connect the dots through the information they share are regularly on guest lists.

Is there anything you can share that your industry peers and the public may find eye-opening? There may be a conference organiser looking for you.

5Educate the market and build a client base

One of the advantages of being part of an industry is that you have inside information that the general public does not have. This presents an opportunity for you and your business to become a self-nominated industry mouthpiece.

When an individual and business share news about an industry, they can create a new client base because the public associates them with that information.

One of the best cases in South Africa is Discovery’s Vitality rewards programme, where you earn points for being healthy. This does not mean that Momentum, Bonitas, Sanlam, Sizwe and other players do not have similar or even better offerings. Vitality is more visible and more vocal about the fact that leading a healthier life can get you rewards.


A great reputation may lead to positive word-of-mouth for your business and increased sales over a longer period than a single marketing message.

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Marketing Tactics

Cut The Bull That Comes With Women Saudi Drivers

If there is an opportunity to increase sales and dominate a market, hell they are going in, briefing their agencies to start the marketing and… well, cue the thoughtlessness.

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women-drivers

Women belong in the kitchen, right? Wrong! Now they can drive in Saudi, and you know what that means? They can fetch the groceries too!

Bet the Feminists clicked on this article looking to wage a social media war. No need. The afore mentioned thinking is exactly how the quick acting social media teams of major car manufacturers are acting after King Salman announced the lift on banning women drivers in the kingdom.

Whether we think it’s progressive is not the debate here right now. I personally think its great that such a country who has long ‘protected’ its women from the horrors on the road now believes that women are capable of taking care of themselves out there. The issue? Let’s take one step back and mention one South African social brand so you can see where I am heading. Take Bic Pens with their infamous 2015 #HappyWomensDay post reading, “Look like a Girl, Act like a Lady, Think like a Man, Work like a Boss”. 

bic-campaign-on-womens-day

What does a Pen in South Africa and a Car in Saudi Araba have in common you ask? All their CEO’s have a twig and two berries (66% of those car manufacturers who ‘praised’ Saudi Women drivers on social, are white men) and they didn’t get there without some form of business knowledge.

Related: 10 Laws Of Social Media Marketing

If there is an opportunity to increase sales and dominate a market, hell they are going in, briefing their agencies to start the marketing and… well, cue the thoughtlessness.

Thinking before Tweeting 

There is nothing like a good tactical on Social Media. Every brand wants to be Oreos during the super bowl when the lights went out. Every Marketing Manager wants to be the one to get his or her clever execution out first because time is of the essence.

Did the car manufacturers do great tactical work? Absolutely!

Did the car manufacturers think about the role they didn’t play in the fight for the cause? Absolutely NOT! They just saw another opportunity to capitalise on ‘to be relevant’.

This ever-connected digital world we live in comes with an opportunity for brands to build deep relationships with their customers. Sure relevance is key, but do (straight, white, male) brands have a place in that conversation now that the hard work is done (by strong Saudi Women)? Was fighting for women’s rights to drive in Saudi ever part of their Brand DNA before the last week of September 2017? Nope, they just see an increase in sales come June 2018.

Common amongst those tactical auto brands’ values were customer service promises, the comfort of people in cars, and sustainability. Only one vouched for the respect for diversity, while another strived for integrity, vowing to keep its doors open to men and women alike. While I can understand that a Trans National Corporation needed to respect culture and politicophere of Saudi to be able to operate there, was there not an opportunity to lead the charge and help the 10- year fight for equality on the Kingdom’s roads? Would their auto brands need to advertise after being part of the battle after that?

The irony is that The Women to Drive Movement started with a 2007 YouTube video. Did none of these brands have an ORM tool that picked this up? I wonder if any evaluated the risks vs the returns had they supported the movement.

Sullivan Principles Anyone?

Back in 1977, The Sullivan Principles was a part of the world’s Corporate Social Responsibility as brands applied pressure on apartheid, South Africa. The corporate protest came with the thought that if business divested in SA, apartheid would eventually be cash-strapped and collapse. At the time General Motors was the biggest employer of Black South Africans and eventually was the first to pull out.

In 1999 the new Global Sullivan Principles was unveiled by UN Secretary General Kofi Annan and the preamble reads:

“The objectives of the Global Sullivan Principles are to support economic, social and political justice by companies where they do business; to support human rights and to encourage equal opportunity at all levels of employment, including racial and gender diversity on decision making committees and boards; to train and advance disadvantaged workers for technical, supervisory and management opportunities; and to assist with greater tolerance and understanding among peoples; thereby, helping to improve the quality of life for communities, workers and children with dignity and equality.”

Related: Direct Marketing: Go Where Your Customers Are

The first part of the new Sullivan Principles reads:

(We) “express our support for universal human rights and, particularly, those of our employees, the communities within which we operate, and parties with whom we do business.”

If brands actually invested in the people and their lives first, the customers will follow. Do this and there would be no need to be super tactical when it comes to the celebrations of the marginalised. We need brands to value ethical and corporate social responsibility they have in the markets they operate in. We have seen that the likes of General Motors can have an impact on a country, especially in South Africa (let’s drop the fact that they have divested again for the purposes of this).

Bottom line is advertising, marketing and brands have the power to shape the world years before a few people can go at it alone. Yes, businesses need to make money, but see the bigger returns when you are a part of something. The returns will be greater than the PR value you got on that meaningless, thoughtless, and unearned tweet. I promise you.

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Marketing Tactics

4 Unique Marketing Ideas For SMEs On A Budget

There are a plethora of unique marketing ideas that have been proven to be effective and require only a modest initial investment.

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marketing-techniques-and-budgets

When it comes to marketing, some business owners have to work on a shoestring budget. In fact, deciding which marketing or advertising strategies will yield the greatest results for the least amount of capital is one of the toughest challenges facing small to medium enterprises.

Thankfully, there are a plethora of unique marketing ideas that have been proven to be effective and require only a modest initial investment.

1Generate online buzz through digital PR

Building a relationship with the press is a great way to get the word out. Try finding blogs, newspapers, tabloids, magazines, and webzines that are relevant to your business and offer them an exclusive press release. Most news outlets will list a telephone number you can call or email address you can write for press inquiries.

If you’re a locally-oriented business, try reaching out to smaller publications like community newspapers or newsletters.

Remember to be courteous and not too pushy with the editors and reporters you come in contact with. It’s their choice whether they want to cover the story or not. The goal is to build a working relationship with them, and an overly aggressive or hostile attitude can jeopardize any chance of positive coverage in the future.

Journalists will take an objective approach to covering your press release, so don’t expect coverage to always be glowing. Still, it’s an incredibly effective way to start spreading word-of-mouth about your business. Articles like these help generate buzz about new startups, and people are more inclined to read them because they aren’t paid adverts.

2Email marketing

Email marketing

Email marketing is “a type of direct digital marketing that uses electronic mail (also called email or e-mail) as the marketing communication delivery method.” It’s also one of the most effective, yet under-utilised marketing tools you can utilise on a tight budget.

The trick to successful email marketing is garnering a large roster of subscribers. This can be accomplished a number of ways. The most successful, by far, is by offering potential subscribers a free resource. Just what this resource is depends on your business, but it should be something a consumer would find highly valuable.

When it comes to email marketing software, there are quite a few options are your disposal. MailChimp is free to start with, but puts a price-tag on premium features. ReachMail is also free for up to 5 000 subscribers and 15 000 emails per month.

Related: Beginners Guide To Digital Marketing In South Africa (PART 5)

3Offer promotional vouchers and special deals

Offering coupons, vouchers, special deals, and one-time offers is a great way to attract new customers. It’s doubly beneficial because these new customers are more likely to be loyal to your business in the future.

While printing vouchers in a local paper works best for small, brick-and-mortar enterprises, don’t under-estimate the value of online promotions. Voucher Bin example of a website that connects consumers with businesses and brands offering special promotions.

4Social media influencer marketing

Whether your monthly budget is $1000 or $1,000,000, a good long-term marketing strategy should always be oriented around building beneficial relationships. The term influencer marketing refers to doing just that.

Related: Beginners Guide To Digital Marketing In South Africa (PART 4)

Though the concept has been with us for a long time, only recently has social media brought it to the forefront of modern marketing strategies.

“Influencer marketing can be loosely defined as a form of marketing that identifies and targets individuals with influence over potential buyers,” writes Kyle Wong in Forbes magazine.

“In the past, brands may have focused on popular bloggers and celebrities but today there is a new wave of ‘everyday’ consumers that can have just as large an impact.”

Try finding individuals who are influential on social media (look at their number of followers and post interactions) and offer he or she a few perks for mentioning your brand, product, or business. Try to target your efforts at people who would have a legitimate, enthusiastic interest in what your organization does.

Remember, you’re trying to build a long-term relationship with these individuals, so always approach respectfully and through the appropriate channels.

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