Marketers wear a lot of hats. Often understaffed and under-resourced, the best marketers have a virtual utility belt of tools ready to save them time and amplify their impact.
Here we’ve collected some of our favourites. Almost all of them offer some basic free functionality, but we’d also recommend paying for the subscriptions if you can stretch for it. None of them totally replace specialists, but if you’re tight on time or resources, they can do a good basic approximation.
We’ve used all of these at some point, so can vouch for their usefulness. We’re also not being sponsored to promote these – we’re just big fans!
Upgrade Your Graphics
Not everyone has constant access to a graphic designer, or design skills themselves. Photoshop can be intimidating! But we know that marketing messages accompanied by visuals which are tailored to your brand will perform better.
Canva is an online graphic design platform, designed from the ground up for marketers with little-to-no design experience. Whether you’re creating images for social posts, emails, or more – Canva likely has templates in the size you need. With a range of customisable image libraries and the ability to upload your own company branding, you’ll be putting out brand-focussed imagery in minutes.
Word of warning – Canva is fine for quick social posts, but it’s no replacement for a proper graphic designer. Customers will begin to notice if you go overboard and use it for everything.
Extra tip: Need some photographs to go with that? Use Unsplash for great, royalty free images. You’ll have to sift through some which are a little generic, but it’s worth it at that £0 price point.
Work smarter, not harder – that’s what we say. Make your one man marketing team capable of working like a 5 man social media squad with some smart marketing automation.
At SLG we use CoSchedule, a marketing automation system which lets us bring together all of our social feeds, blog posts, and email campaigns in one calendar dashboard. From there you can schedule campaigns which use any combination of these channels to go out together in a co-ordinated campaign.
Now here’s the clever bit – you can add that to a reschedule queue to post it again; CoSchedule will even spot gaps in your calendar to run it again so your feed never goes quiet. So just write everything once, kick back, and relax as you generate content all day long without having to do a thing.
Up Your SEO Game
SEO (search engine optimisation) can seem like a dark art, performed only by specialists who magically produce upgraded search engine rankings every month. And while it certainly is a skill, anyone can make some basic but effective changes to their rankings.
You may well have heard of Yoast, it is after all the web’s most popular SEO plugin. Simply apply Yoast to your WordPress CMS, and it will provide you suggestions on how to improve the SEO performance.
If you’re writing new copy for the page, it will check it falls in line with SEO best practice. Are you using run on sentences, or not repeating your keyword enough? Take the mystery out of SEO, and let Yoast guide you to success.
Running A Simple Search Campaign
Now, getting your site high up on the search ranking purely through SEO can take time. If you need fast results, you can use Google Ads to get you top of the page.
It may sound obvious, but clients are constantly amazed what a difference it makes being top of the page with an ad vs being 3rd or 4th on the page organically. If search ads didn’t work, there wouldn’t be an enormous industry built on them.
Creating a simple branded campaign is relatively straightforward, and cheaper than you may think. Use keywords that are extremely well-tailored to your offering and Google will reward you with a low cost per click. A modest budget can go a long way here.
Yes, it’s pay to play, but if you want some easy wins – it’s a good place to start. Managing lots of campaigns or campaign types will take someone with a bit more experience, but you can get started on your digital ads journey on your own.
Get Alerts For When You’re Mentioned
This one is a trick as old as the internet itself. So old in fact, that many people don’t actually know about it!
Set up Google Alerts for your product and company name, and Google will email you every time someone mentions you online. This way, you can keep your ear to the ground on the conversation around your brand, celebrate any good coverage, or get ahead of any less flattering pieces.
Take this to the next level by adding alerts for competitors so you know what’s going on in their world.
These 5 key tools should help marketers to get ahead of their work load but, for when you really want to make a difference, find out what SLG can do for you by getting in touch.