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Updated: Nov 23, 2015
When you’ve got vendors to pay, inventory to purchase, or slow accounts receivables, there’s not always enough cash flow leftover to invest in marketing — even if you know it could really help expand your business.
If this sounds familiar, then a business term loan could be the right way to help you cover your costs and grow your business at the same time. To make a small marketing budget go a long way, consider using these easy-to-use tools to take your brand awareness efforts to the next level — at price points that won’t make you flinch.
Hootsuite is one of the most popular social media management tools for small businesses like yours. Since it can connect with more than 35 social network platforms, you can use it to meet your customers wherever they prefer to spend their time online.
One of the best things about Hootsuite is that you can use one account to manage several profiles. If you have a social media presence on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, and other sites, you can manage them all from one place. This helps keep your marketing campaigns as simple as possible — which is a big deal when you’ve got a million other responsibilities on your plate!
Hootsuite also offers analytics tools that will empower you to measure the effectiveness of cross-platform social media campaigns. A free Hootsuite account offers some basic features, but a Pro account is definitely worth your consideration. Benefits of a Pro account include the ability to link up to 50 social profiles, schedule dozens of messages at once, and access to enhanced analytics. Not bad for $10 a month!
Social media gets a lot of attention these days, but email campaigns are also an effective way to connect with your customers in a regular, personal way. With email marketing, you can target specific types of customers, improve your business’s brand awareness, and keep fans updated on your latest products and services. With the right service provider, you can even measure the effectiveness of your campaigns to make them better the next time around.
MailChimp’s user-friendly dashboard makes it easy to reach your customers’ inboxes. Your account comes with advanced analytics to track the number of emails opened and links clicked, a send time optimization tool to help you decide when to send emails, and audience segmentation tools to help you target the right people. You can also choose from plenty of templates that will make your emails and newsletters look professional without having to hire a graphic designer!
You can email up to 2,000 people through MailChimp’s Forever Free account, but the pricing is quite reasonable if you have a larger e-list. The total amount you pay depends on how many subscribers you have and emails you send each month, but most small businesses spend between $40 and $220 per month. A Pro account includes more dynamic features that will let you compare different versions of your emails to decide which is best, discover deeper customer insights, and track email deliveries in real time. Instead of just hoping your email campaigns are successful, MailChimp gives you objective data so you know what’s working…and what’s not.
Search engine optimization (SEO) is a process that can help you bring more traffic to your website by ranking it higher in organic search results. By choosing the right keywords or increasing the number of times other websites link to yours, you can improve your SEO score and make it easier for prospective customers to find you online.
There are several tools designed to make SEO easier. A good option is Raven Media, which offers a basic account for just $99 per month. You can even try a 30-day free trial to help you decide if it’s the right option for your business.
A Raven membership gives you access to strong research tools that will show you how well different keywords perform across websites in your category. Raven will also evaluate your pages to show you areas that need some attention. Making small improvements in your SEO health is one of the most cost-effective ways to rank higher in search results than other businesses like yours — and get ahead of your competition.
With a reasonable investment in your social media presence, email marketing, and SEO, you could grab the attention of prospective customers and convert them into long-term, loyal fans of your small business.
Interested in more cost-effective for your small business? The Funding Circle Small Business Toolbox is full of free and low cost options that will help your business with everything from project management to invoicing.
Paige Smith is a Content Marketing Writer and Senior Contributing Writer at Funding Circle. She has a bachelor's degree in English Literature from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, and specializes in writing about the intersection of business, finance, and tech. Paige has written for a number of B2B industry leaders, including fintech companies, small business lenders, and business credit resource sites.