The number of small businesses in the world continues to grow everyday. In the US alone, there are about 31.7 million small businesses in existence. With a number like that, it is very important for business owners to have a competitive edge to be able to market a business on a wider scale. Especially these days, it’s more important now more than ever before to transition small businesses to a digital environment. Fortunately, there are hundreds of apps and tools available online to help with the digital transformation of small businesses.

In this post, we will be discussing several marketing tools that can support your small business in many vital areas of marketing such as content marketing, email marketing and also enhancing your online presence.

1. WordPress.com

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Kicking things off, the first thing we are talking about is your website. If you are looking for a free way to put together a website, then WordPress.com just might be for you. This is the most ideal option if you are going to start blogging or will be doing a lot of content marketing. What’s great about WordPress.com is you’re building your site and using the best content management platform out there which is wordpress.

There is, however, a difference between WordPress.com and WordPress.org. Most websites actually use WordPress.org which uses the wordpress software. However this costs money once you put it on your server. WordPress.com, on the other hand, gives you the same benefits for free. So what’s great is as you get a marketing budget in the future, you’ll be able to upgrade and you’re not going to have to change websites in the future. You can easily start with the software that you want to be using as you grow and scale.

2. Mailchimp

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One of the most important online activities for your small business is to engage in email marketing. Building an email list for each audience or market that you service, as well as delivering content via email is powerful for establishing a strong and loyal following. One of the most important tools for email marketing is Mailchimp.

Mailchimp offers a free plan, is easy to use and allows you to build an email list and launch email campaigns as well as having other important marketing features. Mailchimp is an all-around tool for any type of small business wanting to get started with email marketing.

In detail, what’s great about Mailchimp is you have the ability to get up to two thousand subscribers for free using their platform. And even if you wind up paying in the future, Mailchimp really does a good job with automations, lists segmentation, tagging and it has great integration with ecommerce platforms as well.

Additionally, one of the most important reasons for engaging in email marketing and building an email list is that if your business shuts down unexpectedly for any reason, then you still have your email list of all your customers or followers and you can remain engaging and communicate with your audience with updates and changes.

3. Hubspot

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Hubspot is a free, all-in-one customer relationship management software that allows you to build up your client base and manage your customers and marketing campaigns. You can also engage in your own email marketing through Hubspot or integrate this with Mailchimp depending on the tool that best works for you.

With Hubspot you will be able to increase leads, improve and accelerate your sales, simplify your processes and even help with building a powerful website.

Hubspot is an easy to use tool that allows you to interact with potential clients and customers. It is a great option for both customer relationship management activities and marketing activities.

4. Buffer

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Managing your social media profiles can be quite a big job. And while there are a lot of different paid options out there, when it comes to scheduling your posts on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and Instagram, Buffer has you covered.

The free plan of Buffer allows you to schedule somewhere between ten to fifteen posts ahead of time so you can schedule pretty much a week’s worth of social posts out. And you can also connect up to three social profiles using the free plan.

Buffer is considered as one the best free social media management software out there because it actually connects to Instagram. Most of the other ones don’t.

Aside from its scheduling capabilities, Buffer also offers analytics and engagement tools as part of their paid plans. If you have a marketing budget set aside, this would also be a great add-on since it allows you to measure your social media performance and respond to comments faster thus improving your customer engagement.

5. Usenet

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Among the marketing tools listed here, Usenet is probably the lesser-known one. It may even be considered as an unconventional tool that can help grow a small business. However, with the number of small businesses in the world today, unconventional can be a really good thing. It can give you that edge you need to promote your business to a wider market and expand your customer base.

But what is Usenet exactly and how can it help small businesses?

Usenet is a worldwide discussion group that started back in the early 80’s. It was created to promote open and unrestricted discussions between users within the network. While it is regarded as one of the oldest networks, even predating the Internet, it continues to be an unrestricted worldwide forum for information exchange and has increased in popularity even as new advancements continue to shape the worldwide web.

Usenet allows you to have access to newsgroups which is an active online discussion forum. Each newsgroup contains discussions on specific topics. Users can also post or reply on specific topics they are interested in. For example, a user can reply to a post on a discussion about marketing, business, food etc.

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With Usenet, you can promote your business on discussion groups where it may seem fitting and even get to explore market discussions, business competitions and marketing advantages.

While there is a bit of a learning curve involved with understanding and using Usenet, you can reap major benefits from exploring this platform. And with a lot of reliable sources on the best ways you can use Usenet, this worldwide discussion group might just be what you need to gain a competitive edge.

Conclusion

That being said, having a good and solid online presence can definitely take your small business to the next level. Your online presence, whether it is through email outreach, website development, social media activity or online marketing, can make or break your business so it is very important to choose what tools would give you growth and help improve your sales. Having a solid online marketing plan and unconventional approaches can take your small business to a possibly globally-competitive brand.