Most of the businesses we work with don't have the time to think about a marketing plan, which is part of the reason they leave it up to us - the other reason is we are really good at it! But if you just starting out and want to build a successful brand on a shoestring budget, there are a few marketing resources we would recommend to get you started!
It can be hard knowing where to start when it comes to promoting your business. There are so many tools, tips and advice circulating the internet – it can be quite daunting! As your business grows you might choose to spend more money on marketing, but when you are starting out, it really doesn’t have to be expensive.
There are plenty of low-cost and even free high-quality marketing tools that can help you plan, streamline, and execute your marketing with great results! We have put together some of our favourite tools, along with a few FREE resources that we have created… and we will continue to update this page with hints and tips when we get time, so do keep coming back!
It’s true what they say – content is king! If you can create truly engaging, unique content for your audience, you will reap the rewards. This is easier said than done, especially when you are running a business. The more unique content you can create the better, but there is nothing wrong with having a good content calendar to give you ideas and inspiration! We have put together a list of key dates throughout the year and we are working to generate some FREE graphics that you can use in case you don’t have the time or resources to do this for yourself.
Social Scheduling Tool
Having a good scheduling tool can save time, as you can pre-schedule your content across all platforms in one place. It also helps you plan ahead and get smart. There are lots of scheduling tools available – the best one to choose depends on which platforms you use. If you only post on Facebook and/or Instagram, the Meta Business Suite has a great FREE scheduling tool. If are looking to develop SEO to help extend the organic reach of your website, one of the best platforms you can post to is Google (Google Profile). The best scheduling tool we have found – that isn’t buggy and posts across all platforms, including Google – is Loomly. It is a paid subscription (currently $25 – about £20 p/month), which allows you to post across up to 10 different social accounts. If you plan to post across multiple platforms this would be our recommendation.
Create Professional Graphics
Creating professional looking graphics to accompany your social posts, or to use on your website, is essential and will help you stand out. Thankfully there is a fantastic tool that can help… and it has a FREE basic option, which still generates great results. Canva has thousands of free templates that you can customise with your logo and your own text. You can also choose from their impressive library of stock images, add stock graphics or even create something yourself from scratch using your own images. If you can afford it, we would recommend the pro account. At less than £10 per month (if you pay a year in advance) it is definitely worth it as you can resize all of your designs at the click of a button to use across all social channels. Plus it opens up lots more fantastic stock imagery, video content and graphics!
If your business is starting to take off at some point you will probably need a website. We would recommend that you have a professional (like us) build something for you, but if you really want to do it yourself here are a few useful resources.
Shopify is great if you are looking to sell a product. It is probably the easiest option as it has lots of templates and the set up is relatively straight forward. It costs about £25 per month and there is the option of a free trial, which is great!
If you are familiar with WordPress and feel confident hosting a website yourself, Elementor is a fantastic tool to help you build your website. No coding experience is needed to build a great looking website and it works well for e-commerce too. If you are building a WordPress site you will need a host. We recommend HostPapa because of their amazing 24/7 support.
Google Business Profile
If you want your business to be found in google search results make sure you have a google business profile (formerly known as Google My Business)! This is one simple and FREE step lots of start up businesses miss out on. If you want people to find your website organically (meaning it isn’t just a landing page people go to when you give them a business card – and you aren’t paying for the traffic), then we strongly recommend you post updates and pictures regularly to your Google Profile. You can do this at the same time as your social schedule – see above (Loomly).
What’s the point in investing lots of time in marketing your business if you don’t know how successful your marketing activities are? Google Analytics can help you measure the success of your marketing… and it is FREE! If you are a complete novice it might be a bit tricky to install, but your web developer should be able to help (if not give us a buzz). You can see how many people have visited your site, which pages they are interested in, how long they spend on each page… and so much more. There are lots of other (paid) tools that connect to Google Analytics and give you a report, but if you just want the basics there is no need to invest in anything else. Everything you need to know is there – you just have to know how to read and interpret it (it’s not as hard as you may think).
If you’ve done everything above, you might want to start thinking about SEO (Search Engine Optimisation). This means people finding your website when they search google for something related to what you provide. It’s actually harder than a lot of people realise and there is no quick fix. You need a technically sound website, which will be down to your web developer. But you also need lots of good, keyword rich content throughout your website. One resource that can help if you have a WordPress or Shopify site, is Yoast. It is a FREE plugin you can add to your website that tells you how to improve your SEO. We have to stress that this is fairly basic and if you really want to enhance your SEO you probably want to employ the services of a professional company (like us), but if you are just getting going it is a great tool.
YouTube is an amazing resource with millions of FREE tutorials. There are free tutorials for everything we have mentioned on this page! If you have the time, some technical ability and are creative, information and guidance about all the basics you need to create a successful brand is available on YouTube! Look for recent videos as digital tools and platforms tend to update regularly. Also look for channels directly linked to the tools e.g. Loomly, Canva and Elementor all have their own YouTube channels with lots of great resources. Read the comments – see if other people have found the tutorial useful.