Small businesses have been hit hard with the shutdowns and market disruptions due to COVID-19. As a business owner in Connecticut, I’m here to support others as we work together to make it through these challenging times. Serving as a graphic designer with a heavy emphasis on website design, I am a marketing expert supporting the local community and beyond.
That’s why I’ve put together these free marketing tools your business should be using to bring in leads and new business. If I can assist you in spreading the word about all that your small business has to offer, please reach out to me.
1. Check your website design’s mobile-friendliness
Google’s search engine algorithms heavily favor mobile-friendly websites. Because of this, they offer a free tool that analyzes your website and informs you about areas you need to improve. As a website designer, I like how this tool gives you a good starting place to know what to do next with your website. Plus, no one wants to turn away mobile traffic in today’s world where mobile visitors outweigh laptop and desktop visitors. https://search.google.com/test/mobile-friendly
2. Get on Google My Business (or update your listing)
Google My Business is great for SEO, especially local SEO. Getting setup or taking some time to improve your listing can mean you show up more often in results, especially when people are nearby your business. Regardless of your business strategy, Google My Business is a free way to earn added exposure. It also allows you to collect customer reviews (more on that in the next section). https://www.google.com/intl/en_us/business/
3. Ask customers for Google reviews
When people go searching for information related to your business, what are they finding? Are there other customers talking about what they enjoy about your products and services? Reviews help a potential customer learn more about you and what your products and services are really like. Plus, reviews make for great social media content for your business and callout boxes on your website. Now is a great time to email your current customers and ask for a Google review (and it can help you rank above your competitors on Google business results).
4. Setup Google Analytics on your website
Knowing who your website visitors are and why they are on your website can greatly affect your marketing strategy. And you can identify issues in your digital marketing strategy before they have serious effects thanks to analytics. For example, if traffic from organic search goes down suddenly, you’ll know something is amiss with your SEO strategy. Or if you’re suddenly getting more traffic from social media, you can evaluate why and do more of that as part of your strategy. https://analytics.google.com/analytics
5. Integrate Google Search Console into your analytics
Learn even more about your website visitors when you integrate Google Search Console into your Google Analytics account. Adding Google Search Console can give you more in-depth data than just Google Analytics. And when used appropriately, this tool can help you hone your SEO strategy even more thanks to insights on keywords your visitors use to get to your website. Plus, you can upload your sitemap to make sure Google is always using up-to-date information about your website when indexing. https://search.google.com/search-console/about
6. Learn more about your SEO with SEMRush (free version)
While Google Search Console is a fantastic tool, it only gives you so much insight into your SEO strategy. A free account with SEMRush allows you to track your performance over time related to 10 keywords. Learn about any glaring issues your website has and look for gaps, such as missing meta descriptions. https://www.semrush.com/
7. Explore relevant Facebook and LinkedIn Groups
Social media is a great tool for growing your business. And yet, you might feel like you aren’t growing your pages without advertising. Groups on Facebook and LinkedIn can help you expand your reach and grow your following organically. Just be sure that you abide by all group guidelines for promotions or you might get kicked out. This can be a time-consuming practice as you might have to view many posts to find ones relevant to your business. Choose your groups strategically and use them as a way to showcase your expertise through lead magnets or blog posts when appropriate.
8. Use MailChimp email newsletter sign-up forms to generate leads
Email marketing is a powerful tool to get people interested in your business. Some website visitors might not be ready just yet to make a purchase or reach out for more information. In these cases, a simple email newsletter sign-up can be a happy medium between leaving your website forever and staying in contact passively. MailChimp’s service is free for limited features for up to 2,000 contacts. You can send out a monthly newsletter to stay top-of-mind with your customers and give them a way to keep learning about you to make a purchasing decision. https://mailchimp.com
9.Manage up to 3 social media accounts with Hootsuite
When you’re on social media, you should be spending that time interacting not posting. Schedule your posts in advance using a tool like Hootsuite. You can manage up to three social media accounts and 30 scheduled messages at a time using a free account. And that limit on social media profiles might force you to be strategic in which platforms you choose to be active on. Not every social media platform is right for every business. https://hootsuite.com
10. Create basic graphic design using Canva
Canva provides graphic design templates that you can adapt to meet your marketing needs. Just remember that everything you put out with your business name or logo on it is a representation of your business. Use Canva strategically and work with a good graphic designer on important marketing materials, such as lead magnets, fliers and other pieces intended to convert prospects into customers.
Wieting Design is a Connecticut graphic design and website design agency offering a broad range of services to help local businesses grow. We’ve provided this list of free marketing tools as a service to our community but if we can be of assistance to your business, contact us.