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Top 8 apps for small business marketing

Whether you’re a marketer for a growing business (like myself) or running the entire operation, marketing a small business is a challenge. How do you cut through the noise? How do you make sure the marketing you’re doing is resonating with your potential customers and that you’re not just chucking money away?

These are questions we ask ourselves every day at Bright, too. The good news is that there’s plenty of useful SaaS businesses which can form an integral part of your marketing plan. These help with all aspects of promoting your business, from organising branded assets, to automating workflows and unearthing nuggets of insight into potential customers.

Here’s our list of 8 essential marketing tools for growing brands:

1. Buffer

Buffer

A whopping 50% of the world’s population are on social media and 54% use it to research products before purchasing. The bottom line? If you want to sell your products and build your brand, social media is important.

Managing your brand’s social presence takes time, effort and creativity. That’s why many marketers use social media management applications, like Buffer.

Using Buffer, you can run your presence across social media platforms through a single application. can collaborate on social media posts with your team, schedule posts across networks ahead of time and then analyse their effectiveness.

They’re also working on some cool new features, like comment sentiment, which flags positive or negative comments on your posts along with questions you might need to answer.

 

2. HotJar

HotJar

If you’re in the SaaS industry like us here at Bright, lead forms are your bread and butter. These are pages dotted around our website which allow potential new customers to take out a free trial or book a call with our customer success team.

If you’re interested in how you can improve your site pages, or what visitors are actually doing when they come to your website, then HotJar is the application for you. Its heatmaps plot how visitors pilot their mouse cursor around your page and it can often show really interesting behaviours.

For example, we’ve found that when visitors come to our forms, they’re often clicking on the displayed product logo to try and go back to their previous page. However, this logo isn’t hyperlinked to anything, potentially resulting in a frustrated visitor. So that’s something we’re going to fix as soon as possible.


3. Dash

Dash

Your brand is one of the most important assets you own. You’ve undoubtedly spent a lot of care creating a brand identity, shooting beautiful photos of your products, and creating eye-catching graphics for your marketing campaign. And then you have to sift through zip files, file-sharing links, a labyrinth of folders and email attachments to find them, right?

If so, Dash is here for you. We might be biased, but we reckon Dash (one of our own products), is the perfect digital asset management (DAM) tool for web retailers and small businesses. Simply upload your photos, videos and graphics and Dash’s AI will automatically tag them and make them searchable for you.

It’s designed to streamline your processes - for instance, you can give your photographer access so they can upload their images straight after a shoot ready for your approval. You can work on images collaboratively with your team and then, using our social and ecommerce integrations, send them out to your customers.


4. Google Analytics

This will come as no surprise, but Google Analytics is an essential tool for any digital marketer. The amount of information it contains can be overwhelming – from website visit data, to audience demographics, content performance and load times, and goals and ecommerce attribution.

It’s easy to fall down the data rabbit hole, so if you’re finding yourself overwhelmed, take a step back and plan what you need to track.

If you’re running a campaign, you may just want to analyse visits and conversions from your campaign landing page. If you’re launching a new content strategy, you’ll want to track the growth in organic search referrals over time. You could also use it to better define your target market and ideal customer. Don’t feel like you have to report on everything.


5. Canva

Canva

Cast your mind back. There was a time when, if you wanted to create a simple graphic to accompany your blog post, you’d either have to pay a designer or try to navigate an expensive piece of design software yourself.

Thanks to Canva, those days are no more. Using its extensive library of stock images and templates, it allows you to easily create and collaborate on graphics for your campaigns, social media feeds or blog posts. It’s a tool we use a lot at Bright, to create graphics for our blog, social posts and newsletters and our very own Vic and Emma from the Bright Marketing team have become quite the Canva pros - check out their top Canva tips!


6. SEMRush

SEMRush

If content is king then SEO is… important? (We tried).

SEO (or rather ‘search engine optimisation’) can be a bit of a dark art, but it’s basically to do with how far up your web pages rank in search engine results. Why’s that important? Well, on average the top 3 search results get around 40% of all clicks.

You can improve your search rankings using a combination of methods like generating internal and external backlinks, improving load times, commissioning relevant content to match desired search keywords, and more.

To help our own efforts on this front, we use SEMRush. It’s full of insights about how we’re performing, and we’re able to keep an eye on what the competition is up to. For any small business marketer looking to grow their organic traffic and create engaging content people will actually be searching for, tools like SEMRush are a must.


7. SurveyMonkey

We can’t overstate how important customer feedback is. In the Dash team at Bright, we use customer feedback to plan and prioritise new features to our product and to improve our marketing messaging.

As long as you make sure not to spam your customers with survey requests, you can use tools like SurveyMonkey to get invaluable feedback on everything from product reviews to customer support experiences. Budgets can be tight when marketing a growing business, but SurveyMonkey operates on a freemium model so you’ll be able to get access to some features without extra costs.


8. HubSpot

HubSpot

And last, but certainly not least, you’ll want to look at getting an end-to-end marketing application like HubSpot.

For small business marketing, one way to improve efficiencies is to use a single platform to run a multitude of tasks. HubSpot is great for that and it'll help with your campaign project management. Using it, you’ll be able to manage your website content, run your email marketing and automation, and keep track of sales leads. It powers the marketing we do here at Bright, and we’d be pretty lost without it!


Dash is the perfect digital asset management solution for small teams and growing brands. Try it yourself with a free, no-strings 14-day trial.

Barney Cox
Written by Barney Cox

Barney is the product marketing manager for Dash, Bright’s Digital Asset Management (DAM) solution for growing brands. When he’s not getting the word out about Dash, you’ll most likely find him with his nose in a book – or dreaming up what’s for dinner.