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Essential Online Marketing Tools for Small Business

by Jos Davies
Last Updated 26 July, 2021
A smartphone with the display "online marketing" , a laptop, and glasses on a desk

Online marketing can be incredibly daunting for anyone, let alone small businesses. On the other hand, you really can’t ignore its potential and ability to increase your business’s success.

Thankfully, there are several excellent online marketing tools that can make promoting your business online much more straightforward. 

When you’re first starting out, you probably don’t have much of a marketing budget. You may be wary of tools that have expensive monthly membership fees or not-so-small hidden costs, but this isn’t always the case.  

There are several budget-friendly online marketing tools for small businesses. So, as a small business owner looking to market your products/services effectively, there are a variety of tools you could explore – depending on your needs.

There’s so much you can achieve with the right tools at your fingertips. If you’re ready to amplify your marketing efforts, check out the premium and free online marketing tools for small businesses below.

Tools For Creating Marketing Images 

Whether you want to create beautiful images for your products or your Facebook page, these tools can help. They will allow you to edit the background of a picture, adjust the brightness and contrast of the image, or even add text. 

Here are some of the best tools we’ve found to help with your marketing images:

UENI Social Media Image Creator

UENI's social media generator

Catchy, high-quality graphic designs capture people’s attention on social media. Unfortunately, it can be a headache creating top-notch images consistently – many brands even hire a professional graphic designer or branding expert to handle this task. But you can still create attractive social media graphics without spending a dime.

The UENI Social Media Image Creator is a free and simple online tool that anyone can use to create stunning social media graphics – with only a few clicks.

Things you can do with UENI.Social:

  • Create images for Facebook and Instagram
  • Style your designs based on your product/service category
  • Pick from a collection of fonts and further beautify your graphics

Cost: Anyone can create unlimited graphics for free using UENI Social Media Image Creator.
Alternatives: Snappa and Crello

Watch this space: UENI.Social is a new product, and we’re going to be working on it to make improvements. If you try it out and something isn’t to your liking, let us know through the tool! We’ll take your feedback on board as we continue refining this tool to make it even more useful for small businesses.

Canva

Screenshot of the Canva homepage

Canva is an easy to use web-based image creation tool that offers many customisable templates. You can create posters, presentations, banners, flyers, or other marketing materials. Its beauty lies in the interface, which allows you to create unique and personalised content quite quickly.

Canva makes it easy for non-graphic designers to create stunning images for their blogs, social media pages, and marketing emails. With Canva, small business owners can easily create stylish PDFs, ad banners, infographics, logos, blog images, and other visuals they need to market their products.

With Canva, you can: 

  • Create stunning designs by picking from a library 50,000+ templates
  • Produce numerous types of graphics (infographics, e-books, social media graphics, etc.)
  • Choose from a comprehensive library of stock photos, fonts, and icons

Cost: Canva has a limited free plan. You can unlock the premium features for £87.48/approximately US$120 per year.
Alternatives: PicMonkey and BeFunky

PhotoRoom Studio

An example product photo from Photo Room

Only available to Mac and iOS users, PhotoRoom Studio is an excellent tool for creating images, but it particularly shines with product photography – it’s effortless to get rid of the background for a photo, which can allow your Product Photography to pop. We’ve talked about PhotoRoom before, but it’s worth mentioning again because it really is that nice.

Fotor

Fotor Screenshot

We recommend PhotoRoom for Apple users, but what about Android and PC? For that, we have to suggest looking into Fotor. Like Canva, it’s browser-based photo editing. Where Canva allows you to get things done fast, Fotor will enable you to edit nearly everything about an image. If you absolutely want to get your image pixel-perfect, Fotor is a great option.

Pixlr X

Pixlr X Screenshot

One last option for in-depth editing is Pixlr X (the company an even more advanced version of their webabb called Pixlr E). Pixlr X offers a bevvy of cutting tools and filters that can be of real benefit to a seasoned image editor.

Why do images matter? Research shows people remember 10% of the things they hear, 80% of the things they see or do, and 20% of what they have read. In other words, you’ll want to focus on using the best images when promoting your business. 

Ideally, you should never upload an image to a social media platform or your website before using an editing tool to improve it. By editing your images, you’ll make sure your business as a whole won’t look unprofessional. 

Tools For Email And SMS Marketing

Man checking an email on a laptop as well as his mobile phone

Beyond having a website and using social media, you should consider using email and SMS marketing too. These marketing options are a great way to reach out to your existing customers and anyone else who has subscribed to your mailing list. Sending regular texts and emails can help ensure they don’t forget about your business.

Many SMS and email marketing tools tend to be free if you have less than a certain amount of subscribers; this is usually around 2000, which is perfect for small businesses. These tools will help you easily send bulk text messages and create aesthetically pleasing emails. Always beneficial if you’re a busy business owner. 

There are a few affordable or free tools for small businesses to use for this type of marketing, including: 

Email: MailChimp

Businesses receive an ROI of £42 for every £1 spent on email marketing. Thanks to Mailchimp, you can also do email marketing for your business and see positive ROI in no time.

MailChimp is an email campaign tool that allows you to store your customers’ data in one place and send them your latest offers or news.

It helps you manage your newsletters, update your contact lists, and even analyse your campaigns’ return rate with detailed reports.

Mailchimp is a great match for small businesses on a slim budget since it allows users to have a list of up to 2,000 subscribers for free.

These are some things you can do with Mailchimp:

  • Get real-time reports of the performance of your email campaigns
  • Use the drag-and-drop email builder to create beautiful emails
  • Set up email automation and transactional email campaigns

Cost: Mailchimp comes with a limited free plan. You can unlock the tool’s premium features for £7.28/US$10.00 per month.
Alternatives: ConvertKit, MailerLite, and Sender

SMS: EZ Texting 

For text message (or SMS) marketing, EZ Texting stands out for its ease of use – contact management is a breeze, and the comprehensive tutorial means that you’ll be able to start using it effectively right away. 

How to integrate UENI with Email marketing

One of the advantages of a UENI website is that it’s effortless to create a custom domain and a custom email address – you don’t have to waste time setting up a DNS or connecting your domain manually – which means that you can get your email marketing efforts underway much faster.

If you’ve already got a UENI website, you can easily export your existing customers

Tools For Writing Blog Posts 

When working on a marketing strategy, many business owners will overlook writing blog posts, but they are much more beneficial than people realise. Blogs play a huge role in increasing your organic website traffic, and they can also be really helpful when it comes to raising brand awareness. 

Writing a blog isn’t something that comes naturally to everyone, but there are some business tools that can help in this regard; 

Grammarly

Grammarly Demo Document

Pieces you use in your marketing need to be readable and error-free. From the text on your social media ads to blog posts, everything you publish needs to be clear enough for your target audience to understand. Thankfully, Grammarly can help to polish your writing.

Grammarly is billed as a “writing assistant”, but what elevates it beyond a normal spell-checker are the integrations – you can use it inside Google Docs, Gmail, WordPress, more or less every online browser window, and more. Beyond grammar checks, it will suggest changes to your writing based on your intended delivery and make sure that you’re not overusing words.

What you can do with Grammarly:

  • Scan text to detect and fix grammatical and spelling errors
  • Improve the structure of your sentences, enhance vocabulary, and fix punctuation errors
  • Run plagiarism checks on your text

Cost: Grammarly premium starts at £8.75/US$12 per month. However, you can get a free Grammarly account with limited features. 
Alternatives:ProWritingAid and Hemingway Editor

Nothing’s going to replace a trained editor, but Grammarly does a great job of trying.

HubSpot Blog Topic Generator 

Not sure what to blog about? Don’t worry – it happens to all of us. There are a number of brainstorming tools out there that can help you get your creative juices flowing. HubSpot’s Blog Topic Generator will take nouns that you suggest and turn them into titles, which can help you focus on the topic more easily.

Also consider: AnswerThePublic to discover what people are asking about specific terms, UberSuggest for a general overview of search engine traffic.

MindMeister

Mindmeiser Screenshot

When it comes to creating a blog post, getting your thoughts in order is critical. One good way to organise your structure is to create a mind map – you can use this to organise your paragraphs, keep themes in mind, or make sure you’re hitting all of the points you want to.

What makes MindMeister stand out are their templates (of which there are many, all great) along with a clean, easy to use interface.

SEMRush SEO Writing Assistant 

When you’re writing blogs, not only can these online marketing tools for small businesses help you to find inspiration and ensure that your blog is grammatically correct, they can help with the SEO side of things too. SemRush’s writing assistant will help you focus on keywords, readability, and fine-tuning your article for SEO success. Plus, you can use it with Google Docs.

If you don’t know much about SEO, we’ve got a few resources for you on our blog – it can work wonders for a business website. 

Buzzsumo

One smart way to grow your business via content marketing is to produce content around trending topics in your industry. Thankfully, BuzzSumo provides businesses with the data they need to crush their content marketing.

What you can do with BuzzSumo:

  • Generate a ton of content ideas with a single click
  • Find influencers across multiple social media platforms
  • Track your business’s media mentions for an opportunity to secure quality backlinks

Cost: There’s a limited BuzzSumo free plan. The premium plan starts at £72.17/US$99 per month.

Alternatives: Social Animal and ContentStudio

Tools To Organise Your Marketing 

There are several free tools for small businesses to help with various aspects of online marketing. Still, there are also generalised tools that can help with organising marketing campaigns and general project management. Essentially, these freemium business tools can help you to keep all things marketing in one place; 

Trello 

Managing a team of professionals can be hectic. But with Trello, you can assign tasks to your team members and manage projects effectively. Trello enables your entire team to get a clear picture of the activities they need to execute at any given time.

At its core, Trello is a kanban-based system way of organising tasks into a visual workflow: you can easily see where any given task or project is from start to finish.

Things you can do with Trello:

  • Create and assign tasks to team members
  • Move tasks across multiple tabs to indicate progress (e.g., move a task from the “in progress” tab to “completed”).
  • Communicate with team members (and share files) in one dashboard

Cost: You can use Trello for free if you have a small team. The premium plan starts at £9.11/US$12.50 per month.
Alternatives: Asana and Wrike

Evernote

Evernote has been around for, well, forever in Internet terms. Since 2004, it’s gained popularity as the note-taking app.

How does this help your online marketing? By allowing you to keep ideas, examples, links, and anything else you can think of easily sorted in one app. See a blog post that you could build off of for your own business? Add it to Evernote. Like a particular Call To Action? Save it in Evernote.

It’s a great way of staying organised without drowning your inbox with links that may not actually make sense to you by the time you open them.

Teamwork

At a certain point, you’ll most likely want to start using some kind of project management software to keep track of your marketing. Teamwork stands out to us because of how easy it is to use – not a given for some of its competitors. This will allow you to easily keep track of deadlines, add milestones, and get your project tracking up and running quickly.

Using these tools will enable you to up your marketing efforts without becoming overwhelmed. They will help you ensure you’re benefiting from everything that online marketing has to offer. Even if you have been in business for many years and are fluent in marketing efforts, these online business tools will still be beneficial to you.

How to choose the perfect online marketing tools for your small business

Struggling to choose the right online marketing tools for your small business? The first step is to consider your budget and needs.

For example, you don’t need to pay an annual fee for a tool you only need for a one-time task. You can get a free alternative instead.

When creating content for your website and social media platforms or trying to promote your business, there are many brilliant tools that you should be taking advantage of. 

At first, having to use additional tools can be quite daunting, but you might be surprised by just how easy they are to use once you start to use them. You don’t have to be a marketing expert to make your business look professional online. 

It’s also a good idea to read online reviews before purchasing a tool. You’ll find reviews of software tools on G2, Trustpilot, and Capterra.

Of course, we can’t say for sure that each of these tools will work for everyone. However, if you look at the options listed above, you should be able to find some that fit your individual business needs. 

Accelerate your business’s growth by building a solid online presence

Executing your marketing processes using software tools is a great start. But you can take things even further by investing in services that can boost your online presence. 

This is where UENI can help your business shine. From setting up (and optimizing) businesses’ GMB listings to creating search-friendly websites, UENI offers a wide range of services to boost businesses’ visibility. 


Are you looking for a done-for-you marketing solution for your small business? Click here to create your UENI account.

Jos Davies
Jos Davies works on Search Marketing & Paid Media for UENI
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