One of the critical factors that determine the success of your startup company is robust marketing of its products and services. Marketing is what will generate the sales which are crucial to ensure the sustainability of the business, especially if your startup company is a bootstrapped one.
While most entrepreneurs are aware of this, many of them are at a loss about which digital marketing tools will enable them to market their products and services effectively.
So here are some of the digital marketing tools that we think are essential for your startup company. Most of these tools are either free to use or offer a free tier which you can use to try out the product before you decide to go for the premium plans.
Just to mention here, we are not mentioning the website and social media pages on Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus, and LinkedIn, since these will be pretty much the first things that you will have to create anyway.
If you want to know more about the websites you can check out our earlier blog posts on why you need to Build a Business Website To Get a Global Reach.
If you want to know more about why you should have it strong social media presence, then read about 12 Reasons Why You Can’t Stay Away From Social Media.
This motto of this free graphic designing tool is to make graphic design simple for everyone, and it lives up to the expectations quite well.
Even if you have never done graphic designing before you will find using Canva a cakewalk. Just use the simple drag and drop interface of Canva to come up with amazing and professional looking designs which you can use in your presentations, website, social media posts and pretty much everywhere else.
Its interface takes only 15 minutes of time to get used to and thereafter you can create professional looking designs at absolutely no cost.
Impressive isn’t it?
Plenty of free and premium images and illustrations are included in Canva, and you can upload your own images too. You need to pay only if you use any of the premium ones.
Canva also has a premium plan which you can subscribe to if you are looking for advanced functionality like magic re-sizing of photos, unlimited storage, and access to more free images.
Get started with Canva for free and build a strong brand for your startup company.
Google My Business is Google’s directory of businesses and you can go for a free listing in this directory to ensure that your startup company gets featured by Google in front of your customers in the best possible way.
You can enter the details about your company which you want your customers to notice, including your company logo, contact details, website address, office locations, photographs, and working hours.
After you register, Google will send you a postcard with a pin number to your business location which you will need to confirm the authenticity of your business. Once this is done Google will approve your business listing and it will go live.
Google Search Console (formerly Google Webmaster Tools) is the must have tool for every entrepreneur, webmaster and SEO manager. It will give you a deep insight into how Google views your website.
Among other useful insights, Google Search Console will tell you the keywords for which your website is ranking in search results. It will also tell you whether Google is able to crawl the website properly, the internal and external links to your site and whether there are any security issues with the website.
To build a strong social media presence, it is important that you have regular interactions with your followers. This can be a very time-consuming job, and as an entrepreneur, you might find it very difficult to spend so much of time on social media.
If that is the case, then you have two options: either you can hire a full-time employee or an agency to drive your social media marketing efforts, or you can use one of the social media engagement tools like HootSuite and Buffer.
To build meaningful and human engagements it is important that you hire a Social Media Marketing Agency. With the deep expertise in social media marketing, they can take your brand image to the next level. However, to start with you can use social media marketing tool. This is a very attractive option in case you are running short of funds since both these tools offer a free plan which you can use at least in the initial days of your startup company.
The social media tools will give you a dashboard which will allow you to integrate all your social media accounts in one place. They will also let you schedule posts so that you don’t have to worry about posting at regular intervals on your own the tool will keep posting automatically on your behalf thereafter. This is an excellent way of attracting new followers and engaging with the existing ones.
These apps will also help you to monitor your brand mentions. This is an exceptional benefit since you will be understanding who is talking about your brand and what is being said about it.
The premium plants of the social media management tools offer many more facilities. You can check out their websites to find out about their pricing plans.
One of the most powerful ways of engaging with your customers is to understand what they required is to ask them directly.
Online Surveys are excellent for this and they allow brands to get customer responses quickly. Many big and small companies have engaged with their customers through general and targeted surveys since a long time, and you can do so too. If you want to get a new product idea or understand customer experiences and expectations, then you can simply conduct an online survey and collect their responses.
Do you need to engage with a market survey company to conduct these surveys? The answer is no. You can do it all by yourself. All you need to have is a list of email ids of people whom you want to survey and access to a survey tool.
Google Forms and SurveyMonkey are two of the most popular survey tools that are available today. Google forms are available is completely free to use, and SurveyMonkey offers various pricing plans including one free tier which allows you to post 10 questions and collect 100 responses per survey.
To create a survey, you will need to sign up and create your survey form. Thereafter, you can send out emails to the people whom you want to survey.
After the respondents fill up the forms you will be able to see their answers and analyse the responses with the data analytics tools that are provided.
Even today, in the crowd of digital marketing strategies, email marketing stands tall. It is one of the easiest ways of engaging in one-to-one conversations with your customers and it also offers the highest return on investment on your marketing spends.
Email marketing is the king of the marketing kingdom with a 4400% ROI and $44 for every $1 spent.
Impressive isn’t it?
To send out emails to your customers you will need to sign up for an email marketing software.
While there are many good email marketing software available out there if you are looking for a cost-effective one you can look at MailChimp. It offers a forever free plan for new businesses when you can send out 12000 emails per month, and have a maximum of 2000 subscribers.
The MailChimp interface is easy to learn and loads of WordPress plugins are available for MailChimp which will make your job of collecting email addresses from the visitors to your site easier.
If you are looking for freemium and premium alternatives then Aweber, Getresponse, Constant Contact are some of the names to look out for.
A CRM tool will help you to make your sales process streamlined.
It is a specialised software which allows you to manage your leads and the entire sales cycle. You can store the details of every lead that you are following up with, record every interaction with each of them, send out emails to them, and get alerts about the next follow-up schedule.
HubSpot CRM is one of the most powerful CRM tools that are available at present. It allows you to store unlimited data and have unlimited interactions with your customers at absolutely zero cost.
You can sign up for a free HubSpot CRM account and get full control over the sales process in your organisation. You can create an unlimited number of users too, so all the sales persons in your organisation can get their own accounts without having to share a common account among themselves.
Data is what drives every digital marketing effort and you need to get regular doses of useful inside regarding your performance. For this, you need a data analytics tool.
The best tool that is available for everyone is Google Analytics. It is pretty much the industry standard now, and no digital marketer can do without using it almost every day.
As soon as you integrate Google Analytics with your website, you will start getting critical information about your site like traffic volumes, the sources from where traffic is coming, how your visitors are interacting with your website, how your paid ad campaigns are performing, and loads of other useful information.
The tool is completely free to use and all you need to do to get started is to create an account and verify your website with Google. Thereafter you will have to place a small tracking code on your website and you are good to go.
Google Analytics is one tool that you need to integrate with your website on the day the site goes live. Without data showing in from your website, all your digital marketing efforts will be like shooting in the dark.
I see Google Analytics as a report card. It helps me to measure the progress of the digital marketing efforts over time. It is the first tool that I use when I need to optimise a digital marketing campaign or start with a new one.
So these are the basic digital marketing tools that you will need for your startup company to start with. Apart from these, there are several advanced level tools which professional digital marketing experts use regularly. Once your venture starts to grow, and you have the funds for serious digital marketing campaigns, hire a digital marketing agency to boost your efforts, and get the best returns from your marketing spends.
If these sound complicated, or you want to know more about how you can scale up the digital marketing efforts for your startup company, then you can get in touch with us and we will help you out.
Is there any tool that you feel should have been there on this list but I have not covered? Feel free to comment here so that the other readers get to know and benefit from it.
Anirban is the CEO of Inovaticus Marketing Solutions. He is a passionate Digital Marketer with a keen interest in technology, finance, and movies. He is an MBA in Finance and is certified in Digital Marketing from Digital Marketing Institute, Ireland. He is also a certified in Inbound Marketing by Hubspot, Google AdWords and Bing Ads by Microsoft.