Small Business Marketing Software: In today’s digital age, small business marketing software has become an indispensable tool for companies looking to boost their online presence, streamline their marketing efforts, and enhance overall efficiency.
This comprehensive guide delves deep into the world of marketing software tailored specifically for small businesses, providing you with actionable insights and recommendations to elevate your marketing strategies.
Identifying the Right Marketing Software for Your Business
Choosing the right marketing software is pivotal for the success of your small business. The software should not only meet your current needs but also scale with your business as it grows. Look for platforms that offer a robust set of features, including email marketing, social media management, customer relationship management (CRM), and analytics.
Email Marketing Solutions
Email marketing remains one of the most effective channels for reaching and engaging with your audience. A top-notch small business marketing software will offer advanced email marketing features like automated campaigns, personalized emails, and detailed analytics to track open rates, click-through rates, and conversions. These capabilities enable you to create targeted campaigns that resonate with your audience and drive results.
Social Media Management Tools
Social media is a critical component of any marketing strategy. The right marketing software will provide comprehensive tools to manage all your social media accounts in one place, schedule posts in advance, monitor engagement, and analyze your social media performance. This not only saves time but also allows you to craft a cohesive social media strategy that builds brand awareness and engages with your audience effectively.
An integrated CRM system is essential for managing your interactions with current and potential customers. It helps you track customer interactions, sales, and feedback, providing valuable insights into customer behavior and preferences. This data is crucial for personalizing marketing efforts and building strong, lasting relationships with your customers.
Analytics and Reporting
Data-driven decision-making is key to the success of your marketing efforts. The ideal marketing software for small businesses will offer comprehensive analytics and reporting tools, allowing you to measure the effectiveness of your campaigns and identify areas for improvement. Look for software that provides detailed reports on website traffic, campaign performance, and customer engagement metrics.
26 Small Business Marketing Software & Tools You Need
When I founded TopicRanker.com, I had no time or budget to buy fancy software. I had to get SEO and lead gen marketing going fast to build up my MRR so I could pay the API costs.
What I found is that using the right tool appropriately allowed me to level the playing field and compete with the heavyweights in my industry. In other words, the right marketing tools put my business’ growth on steroids.
To find the best option within each category of marketing tools, I tested 10 different softwares and narrowed them down to the top 4-5.
- In this guide, I am going to share with you the best-rated marketing tools which I found:
- bring instant value for small businesses
- are easy to set up
- are cheap or inexpensive
- have amazing customer service
Top Small Business Marketing Tools
- Semrush – Best all-in-one SEO and paid media tool suite
- Mailchimp – Best email marketing automation platform
- HubSpot – Best CRM platform designed to scale
- Slack – Best for project management and team communication
- CoSchedule – Best for social media post scheduling
- Google Analytics – Best for tracking website analytics
- WordPress – Best content marketing platform
Top Small Business Marketing Software Overviews
Below is the list of top-rated 26 marketing tools to check out in 2024, including a breakdown of features, pricing info, and the pros and cons of each.
As you read through this guide, remember that it focuses on marketing tools specifically for small businesses. What might be a “pro” for a multinational corporation is actually an expensive “con” for a small business.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) Tools
SEO tools help you rank high on Google’s organic search results. We tested 17 different SEO tools for every type of task: from keyword research to content optimization. Here are the top ones for each task:
- Semrush – Website Research: traffic, backlinks, top performing pages
- TopicRanker – Keyword Research & Content Optimization
- ContentHarmony – Content Outline and Brief Generator
- MarketMuse – Content Optimization
When it comes to checking any statistics or SEO data about any website on the web Semrush is the platform you want to be using. Their offering allows you to find any data on any public facing website be it: number of backlinks, their overall traffic over time, top performing pages, which keywords they rank for, which backlinks they recently acquired or lost.
Price: $108.33/month, paid annually
- Ideal for small-medium businesses.
- UX quirks, like list management, take some getting used to.
TopicRanker shows you keywords you can rank for based on problems & weaknesses in the search results. Brian Dean founder of Backlinko described TopicRanker as “the future of keyword research” after he signed up and gave it a spin.
Instead of focusing on “keyword search volume” or “keyword difficulty” TopicRanker focuses on specific problems and weaknesses in search results.
For example, TopicRanker robots identified a keyword to write a new article for on falconriver.co – the term it’s recommending to create new content for is: ‘empire flippers alternative’.
Topic Ranker’s algorithm believes this is the best opportunity keyword for Falcon River, due to these specific SERP issues (each icon below refers to a specific SERP weakness):
❓—> missing keywords in the meta title
🔢—> low word count for primary result
—> poor readability
⏳—> page loads very slowly
🕜—> page is outdated
And here is the full report of the complete Google search result for this term with those weaknesses highlighted so you can create something much better which addresses these weaknesses.
Price: Starts at $7.50/month, paid annually
- Contrary to most keyword tools out there, focuses on problems on Google Search Results to recommend keywords you should target
- Identifies which keywords you already rank for on Google and what to do to improve them
- Suggests keywords you should create new content for in near term and rank easily
- Customer support very responsive
- New company, has only been around a year
- Need to have a content person or a writer to implement the suggestions from the software
Content Harmony is “da bomb” when it comes to creating content briefs on the fly! It’s a simple tool which uses data and AI to create amazing looking content briefs for your writers to use for article writing.
After you setup your account and create a project you simply enter a keyword and the AI generates a keyword report for you to review to make sure this is the topics and subtopics you want to cover
Once you approve the keyword report the tool creates the content brief in seconds:
The writer can use this content brief to write the article.
The tool also helps the writer grade their articles after they’re done writing it, here is what that looks like:
Price: Trial starts at $10 for 10 content workflow credits, then it’s $42 per month for 5 content workflow credits when paid annually
- Very easy to setup, take less then a minute
- Customer service is incredible
- Limited integrations and no API
MarketMuse is a content optimization tool which uses AI and machine learning to help you optimize and improve your content so that you can outrank your competition on Google.
Price: Standard plan starts at $149/month, with a free plan available
Simple to use – you input your article URL and the keyword you are targeting for ranking – the tool will tell you:
- which topics your competition has in their articles
- how you score on topical depth for your keyword
- which topics you need to add to your article to outrank your competition
- If you do not have an article written yet the tool will just ask you for a keyword and generate a content brief with questions you should answer and topics to address when writing the brand new piece of content
- Takes some time to get used to when you first start using it.
Email Marketing Automation Tools
Mailchimp is a great platform for getting started with email marketing for small business, whether you need a simple digital marketing tool or advanced solution.
Price: Based on the size of your email list(s). The Essentials plan starts at $13/month for 500 contacts or fewer. The more contacts you have and the more sends you require per month, the more your plan will be. A limited free plan is available if you have under 500 contacts.
- Easy to use.
- Great email templates
- The Freemium version is excellent.
- Limited marketing automation features.
As the name suggests, Campaign Monitor is more than an email marketing platform.
It’s an email marketing campaign management hub.
Price: $9-149/month. Advanced features and unlimited sends become available at the “Unlimited” $29/month price point.
- Advanced integrations and campaign management features.
- Design flexibility.
Convertkit is an email marketing software designed for professional bloggers and content creators.
Price: $25/month, paid annually, for 1,000 subscribers.
- Includes a landing page editor.
- Expensive, especially if you’re starting out. It can take a long time to reach 1,000 subscribers.
- Limited design and templates.
ActiveCampaign integrates lead management and marketing automation tools to enhance the customer experience.
Price: The Lite plan starts at $29/month
- Robust toolset with wide-spread functionality.
- Complex automation features can be difficult for beginners.
Constant Contact’s streamlined marketing solution focuses on simplicity and efficiency in email and SMS marketing.
Price: Starts at $12/month based on the number of contacts
- User-friendly interface.
- Real-time metrics.
- Limited marketing automation tools.
Honorable Mention: Saleshandy
Saleshandy is a powerful cold email outreach software that helps organizations automate and optimize their cold email outreach. With features like mail merge, email tracking, templates, and automation, it streamlines the sales process and helps you book more meetings, on an automated process.
Honorable Mention: MailTracker
MailTracker is a nifty little tool to track exactly when your emails are opened. You’ll receive an alerts when someone is reading your emails or viewed a preview of an email.
CRM Tools For SMBs
HubSpot built their brand around inbound marketing and lead generation software (e.g. attracting potential customers by creating valuable content and experiences tailored to them), which is probably the most effective digital marketing strategy for small businesses.
Price: Varies. See HubSpot’s plans. The “Starter” plan is $18/month when paid annually.
- Outstanding integrations.
- Includes resources to help you learn how to use a CRM/marketing hub.
- Add-ons add up. Full functionality is expensive.
Price: $14-52 per user/month when billed annually.
- One-stop-shop for many small businesses.
- Includes email marketing automation and communication tools.
- Features are limited at the lower price levels.
Less Annoying CRM
Less Annoying CRM lives up to its name by focusing on the main features that matter to small businesses.
Price: $15 per user per month, plus tax. No annoying pricing tiers.
- Easy to use.
- Good price.
- Reporting features are basic at best.
OnePageCRM is a unique combination of a productivity tool and a contact management system. It is used by SMBs in almost 80 countries around the world.
Price: $9.95-19.95 per user per month, billed annually.
- Action Stream and other unique features
- Simplicity (ideal for small and medium-sized businesses)
- Straightforward and affordable pricing (incl. a 21-day free trial)
- No free trial
Project Management Tools
Slack is a simple chat platform is all the project management software most small businesses need. Slack delivers that better than anyone.
Price: Smaller businesses can utilize the $7.25 per user per month plan, billed annually, or even the free plan that’s available. $12.50 per person/month for larger enterprises looking for advanced tools.
- Simple and easy to use.
- Widely adopted thanks to the work-from-home revolution.
- Constant notifications can be distracting but turning them off completely defeats the purpose of instant messaging. You may need to experiment to find the best way to use Slack for your team.
Trello is a brainstorming and project management platform built around kanban boards. This is a helpful tool for increasing team productivity and staying aligned and on track with your digital marketing plan.
Price: Free for small teams, or $5-10 per user per month for larger teams. Enterprise plans are also available.
- Enables remote brainstorming.
- A good choice for visual thinkers.
- Lacks important integrations, like billing.
Asana is a well-designed platform for keeping your team on track.
Price: Free – $24.99 per user/month, billed annually.
- The free version is enough for many small businesses.
- You probably don’t need most of Asana’s features.
Social Media Tools
CoSchedule is a simple social media platform with social media post scheduling as the main feature and WordPress integration. A lot of nifty advanced features are available as well for SM pros.
Price: Free to $15/month for Social Calendars. Content Calendars and Social Suites available as well at custom pricing.
- Perfect for bloggers who want to schedule content across social channels.
- Most small businesses don’t need advanced content calendars.
Hootsuite is a one-and-done social media online marketing tool with a post-scheduling tool and analytics and monitoring features.
Price: Annual billing rates are 1 User for $99/month, 3 Users for $249/month.
- Informs scheduling with insights and analytics.
- Hootsuite is good at a few things but not great at any one thing. You may still opt for the simplicity of Buffer even though Hootsuite has a scheduling feature.
Want to Tweet 24/7 from your social media account without having to be on Twitter at all times? Buffer is a great social media marketing tool for that, it makes that possible across all your social channels via scheduled posts.
Price: Free for one user/3 channels. The Essentials plan starts at $5 per connected account, with more expensive Team and Agency plans available as well.
- Browser integrations make it easy to share content you find online.
Honorable Mention: Sprout Social
SproutSocial is a pricey (but worth it) social media management tool, purpose-built for businesses.
Google Analytics is the best analytics tool out there, and it also happens to be free. With GA, you can do just about everything, like identify user behavior and engagement, view traffic sources, track your keyword rankings, and so much more. This is a must-have in every marketer’s toolkit.
- The best tool of its kind. Period.
- Your data is only as good as your ability to interpret it. In other words, this is not a tool for analytics noobs.
As mentioned above, the secret to getting the most out of data is interpreting it. BuzzSumo lets you run a search to quickly discover content ideas, uncover data insights, and identify passionate influencers on social media.
This digital marketing tool adds insights to raw numbers to help you unlock content opportunities and generate ideas.
Price: $159-999+/month, paid annually
- Includes competitive insights (to help you spy on the competition).
- Helps you identify influencers in your space.
- Expensive for small businesses.
Kissmetrics helps you analyze the customer journey from the time a visitor arrives on your page to the time they convert. Instead of using old school link tracking software to track your link building efforts this tool enables you to identify prospects and nurture leads—a powerful marketing tool in the right hands.
Price: $25.99/month for 10,000 events with a subscription plan, or $0.0025/event with no subscription.
- Designed to give you insights that will help you get the most out of all your marketing tools.
- Goes beyond just a regular click tracking software, allows you to group your audience to buckets according which actions they have taken and where they are in the conversion funnel
- Example: If you are running an ad campaign in facebook or a ppc ad you can create a funnel and view:
- everyone who clicked on the ad into first bucket
- of those in first bucket everyone who visited your landing page into second bucket
- of those in second bucket everyone who bought into third bucket
- Not very useful if you’re starting out and don’t have a lot of leads yet.
- If you already know who your customers are (like if you run a small-town bakery), a lot of browsing data is meaningless to you.
- It’s a tracking tool so you do need to install an additional tracking pixel on your website
Content Marketing Tools
WordPress is a blank canvass for building any kind of site you want. If you’re looking to write a search engine optimized blog, WordPress is the way to go. Fun fact: 40% of websites on the internet are built with WordPress.
Price: Varies depending on domain availability and whether or not you build your own site.
- Better for SEO than other platforms like Squarespace.
- Not easy for novice users.
- Shopify is better for ecommerce shops.
Brafton Content Marketing Platform
Brafton Content Marketing Platform makes it easy to plan, publish, produce and measure content marketing performance. Features include content calendars, end-to-end project management, in-app messaging, simple campaign setup, reporting and analytics, and a searchable content library.
Price: Plans vary, and you’ll need to contact Brafton for details.
- Content marketing workflows ready on day
- Intuitive functionality.
- Simple, and centralized, collaboration.
- It’s niche, meaning it won’t provide much value for workflows unrelated to content marketing and digital marketing. Project management is one of the strongest features of the platform.
- Google integrations.
- Compatible with other word processing software and file formats.
Cons:Offline functionality is limited.
Canva is a drag-and-drop design studio for folks who can’t afford professional graphic design.
Price: Free plan available, or $119.99 annually for Canva Pro.
- Easy for beginners with no design background.
- Finished designs can feel generic (because they are).
Main Types of Marketing Tools & What They Do
Now that we’ve covered the top digital marketing tools in several important categories, let’s take a closer look at what these categories mean and what you can do with each type of marketing tool.
Type 1: Email Marketing Tools for SMB
Email tools help you design and send targeted marketing emails and follow-ups, and then monitor the results of your campaigns so you can improve open and conversion rates over time.
Why is email marketing such a big deal?
Did you know that email has an ROI of $42 for every $1 you spend?! This makes it by far the best use of digital marketing dollars for most businesses.
It’s also the easiest way to reach customers online:
- 99% of consumers check their email daily.
- 73% of millennials say email is their preferred way to interact with brands.
The most exciting thing about email is also the most obvious:
It allows you to address customers directly at scale.
And as if that isn’t cool enough, email is basically a self-publishing platform that you own. You can use emails to build relationships with your customers, market something to them or ask for business in an email.
Type 2: CRM Marketing Tools for SMBs
CRM stands for “customer relationship management.” A CRM platform is a bundle of tools that helps you and your marketing/sales teams perform a range of tasks, from lead generation to lead scoring; to lead-nurturing to email drip campaigns.
A good CRM will integrate with your other marketing tools and act as a nerve center for all things marketing.
Maximizing Your Marketing Budget with Affordable Solutions
Budget constraints are a common challenge for small businesses. Fortunately, there are several affordable marketing software options available that offer a wide range of features without breaking the bank. These solutions provide small businesses with the tools they need to compete with larger companies, all while staying within budget.
Implementing Your Marketing Software for Maximum Impact
Once you have selected the right marketing software for your small business, it’s important to implement it effectively. This involves training your team on how to use the software, integrating it with your existing systems, and continuously monitoring and optimizing your marketing campaigns for the best results.
In conclusion, selecting and utilizing the right small business marketing software is crucial for the success of your marketing efforts. By choosing a platform that offers email marketing, social media management, CRM integration, and robust analytics, you can streamline your marketing processes, engage with your audience more effectively, and drive significant business growth.
Remember, the key to maximizing the benefits of your marketing software lies in choosing the right platform, implementing it effectively, and continuously optimizing your marketing strategies based on data-driven insights.