When launching a start-up, one has to wear many hats – researcher, developer, salesperson, admin assistant etc. Among the most important of these hats, is ‘marketer’. After all, there’s not much use having a great product if no one has heard of it, right?
But effective marketing is a juggling act in itself. Like launching a start-up, it involves having a good handle on the big-picture stuff – the strategy and creative – as well as on the nitty-gritty details. But just where are you supposed to find the time to do all this?
Luckily, there are heaps of affordable, if not free, tools that will save time and make marketing tasks a breeze, giving you space to focus on the important things.
Here are six of the essential marketing tools that just about every start-up needs in its arsenal.
1. Google Analytics
As a start-up, your website is one of your most important assets, and in order to get the most out of this valuable asset, you need data and lots of it. This is why Google Analytics is an absolute must-have.
Google Analytics shows you how many users are visiting your website, a little bit about who they are for example, their geographic location, where they came from (e.g. via a search engine or social media platform), and how they are interacting with your site - how long they stay, which pages they looking are looking at, which links they’re clicking, which pages they exit from.
All this can be used to improve your website, by giving the customers more of what they want and less of what they don’t want.
Not to mention it’s free to use and super easy to install onto your website.
If you want even more insight into how effective and engaging your website is, then Hotjar might be just the thing. Hotjar allows you to collect more qualitative data about how users are behaving on your site (as opposed to quantitative data, like that provided by Google Analytics).
With Hotjar, you can view visitor recordings, to literally see exactly how visitors behave during a visit; you can view heatmaps by device (desktop, tablet and mobile) and you can also track your sales funnel, to see where visitors are dropping off. You can even flat out ask your visitors about their experience on your site and how you can improve with user polls and surveys.
Hotjar is just as easy to install as Google Analytics, and it has a free plan that is limited to 2000 page views per day, so you can try it out at no cost.
According to HubSpot’s State of Inbound 2017 report, email is still the best method of communication for business purposes, with 86% respondents saying they preferred it. Email marketing, therefore, still plays a huge role in any marketing strategy, which is why any start-up worth its salt must have an email marketing tool.
Of the tools that are available, MailChimp is a strong but low-cost option. With features like email automation, A/B testing and segmentation, it allows to you craft slick, targeted email campaigns with ease.
And if your subscriber list is under 2000, and you expect to send less than 12,000 emails a month (which will be most start-ups), then you can set up an account for free. So, when you consider it’s so low-risk, there’s really no reason not to sign up.
Any good digital marketing strategy is going to include social media. Whether it’s Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter or Instagram, odds are your ideal customers are ‘living’ on one (or several) of these platforms, so if you want to reach them, you need to be on those platforms too.
But managing several social media platforms can be hard work – unless, of course, you have content publishing platform like Buffer, which allows you to effortlessly publish, schedule and share content to social networks, leaving you time to focus on the important things. Its user-friendly interface makes it simple to use, and it also has a free tier so you can test it out for yourself.
IFTTT (If This Then That) is a cool platform that allows you to automate just about any online task, by creating ‘applets’. You could, for example, use an applet that archives every Tweet you post to a Google Drive spreadsheet, or you could keep your Twitter and Facebook profiles in sync. (Check out IFTTT’s 21 applets for marketers for other great ideas.) IFTTT also works seamlessly with Buffer, allowing you to get even more usability out of the platform.
By automating workflows and daily tasks, you save yourself time and energy, which you can then put back into your business to make it really flourish.
If you want a one-stop inbound marketing shop, then HubSpot is for you.
HubSpot offers tools for all stages of the buyer journey – attract, convert, close and delight – all in a single platform. This means tools for SEO, your blog, your website, your social, ads, CTAs, landing pages, email nurturing and lead scoring, sales deals and event tracking – and that’s not even an exhaustive list. By gaining a holistic view of the buyer journey, you can gain more insight and tailor each step more precisely, so that nurturing customers to conversion becomes automatic and seamless.
However, in order to get the full benefit out of such a powerful tool, you need time and training in the tool, as well as in inbound marketing. It’s probably a worthwhile investment, though, considering what a key role inbound marketing plays in any marketing strategy (some have even called it ‘downright essential’).
Just for fun
Let’s not forget, launching a start-up has a lighter side too! So here are a few more tools – just for fun:
Hemingway editor: Learn to write like the master himself, with concise, adverb-free copy. Great for copywriting websites and brochures.
Portent’s Content Idea Generator: Need some ideas for your blog? This will get the creative juices flowing.
Good Email Copy: Want some inspiration for your next email marketing campaign? This will show you how the likes of Pinterest, Basecamp and Evernote do it.
Now you know how to get your marketing under control – but what good is marketing if you can’t get your start-up off the ground? For a comprehensive step-by-step guide that shows you how to take your idea and make it a reality, check out our free ebook How to launch a start-up. Download it now!