Edited. Original publish date: 5/16/2018
If you're running a small to mid-sized business, then odds are you don't have the biggest marketing budget to work with. But that doesn't mean you can't have a great marketing stack. Believe it or not, you can put together an incredibly effective marketing stack without spending thousands of dollars every month on expensive software, analytics tools, and more. If you use the right combination of tools, you can create a super effective revenue stack to bolster your marketing campaigns for less than $50 a month combined. Here's our recommended stack.
Google Analytics (Free)
Google Analytics is the go-to analytics tool for many companies, including those that have large marketing budgets. It's a tool that allows you to track and measure your website visitor data. For example, you can find out what online marketing efforts are driving the most traffic, what pages aren't performing well, how visitors are behaving on your site, and all kinds of other useful insight. This data is generated automatically, allowing you to view reports at any time. Essentially, Google Analytics can provide you with in-depth information about who your audience is and how your website is performing (and where it needs work).
HubSpot CRM (Free)
While the HubSpot CRM is free, it can be upgraded for minimal fees to include more features to oil your customer service, lead gen, and sales pipeline engine. But the free version is hands-down the best out there and will change your sales game forever. CRM software is important because it allows you to collect, monitor, and analyze all of your customer interactions from one central platform, which is vital to the success of both your marketing and sales teams. The HubSpot CRM gives you all of the sophisticated capabilities that you need to organize, track and nurture your leads and past customers on an intuitive platform. They even update their CRM so that it stays integrated with each new trend and tool that comes out of our digitally evolving landscape.
Google Search Console (Free)
If anyone understands how to rank for Google's search engine, it's Google. Their free Search Console tool (formerly known as Google Webmaster) provides insights on how Google's search engine interacts with your website, thereby you to identify issues with your site's structure that you can fix to help improve your SEO (search engine optimization). For example, you can remove content you don't want to be shown in search and submit content for crawling. You can also identify what queries have led your site to appear in search results and identify what websites are linking to your pages. When it comes down to it, you'll want to use the Search Console tool to help strengthen your SEO efforts.
MailChimp (Starting at $10/Month)
When it comes to your email marketing strategy, few other tools will benefit your efforts like MailChimp. Although they have several pricing tiers available (their Pro version being very expensive albite packed with features), their Grow version will likely have everything you need. This includes being able to handle an unlimited amount of emails per month and the ability to create email campaigns and landing pages. However, you'll have to pay more if you have more than 500 subscribers (their scale goes up by $5 for every additional 500 subscribers).
MailChimp also offers a number of other extremely helpful features, including marketing automation, order notifications, welcome emails, date-based automation, segmentation and tagging, basic reports, A/B testing, and more. There's a free version available as well that, while somewhat limited, still comes with many features that small businesses will certainly be able to take advantage of.
When it comes to analytics tools, Mixpanel is one you should consider adding to your arsenal as well. Mixpanel helps create reports based on the data you've collected and tracked that can then be used to determine if you're on track to meet your marketing goals. You can also use Mixpanel to score your leads, thereby helping make the work your sales team much more effective.
Like many of these other tools, there are several versions available. The free version is perfectly adequate for smaller to mid-sized businesses. The free version allows you to monitor and measure various KPIs, including clicks, movement, and site retention. The data is available in real time on a dashboard, making it easy to use. Mixpanel offers plenty of customization as well. The free version provides 5m data points per month for up to five projects.
Content is a big part of your online marketing strategy--at least it should be. Creating content can be a challenge, especially when it comes to organizing your content and making it look visually appealing. One of the most helpful content creation tools out there is Canva, and it's available in a feature-heavy free version. The free version provides access to over 8,000 templates, over one GB storage for photos and assets, and the ability to upload your own images. You'll save a ton of time creating content for your website due to Canva's many templates and the ability to save your brand logo, colors, and fonts.
The paid version is, however, worth taking a look at. Starting at $12.95 per month for each team member, the paid version offers additional features that include access to 400,000 free photos, illustrations, and templates, the ability to upload custom fonts, the ability to set color palettes for your brand, the ability to export designs as animated GIFs, and more.
Posing on social media at the right times on the right days is a time-consuming task. It's why you'll want to use an automation tool that allows you to set up an automated publishing schedule ahead of time. Hootsuite is the perfect tool for doing this. Their free version allows you to manage three social profiles at a time. You'll be able to set up scheduling for upwards of 30 messages in advance using the free version. This means that you can schedule all of your messages on Social Media at the beginning of every week and then not have to worry about it, which means you can focus your time on more important marketing tasks.
MentionMapp is an analytics tool specifically made to track engagement on Twitter. If you have a Twitter presence (which you probably should), paying for MentionMapp is well worth it. MentionMap essentially allows you to track how users are interacting with your Twitter account as well as monitor the general conversation concerning your brand in the Twitterverse.
A free version is available, but it's severely limited. The Adventurer version allows you to explore profiles, people, and hashtags using 300 searches a month, save upwards of 90 profiles and hashtags in maps, save upwards of 50 tweets, and download saved maps into PNG files and tweets into PDF files.
Icon Square ($29/month)
Icon Square is a full-fledged analytics tool for Instagram and Facebook, which are two social platforms that marketers leverage to a great degree. The Pro version costs $29 a month and allows you to manage up to three social profiles and will let you monitor countless metrics, including engagement, reach, profile activity, page performance, tags and mentions, conversations, and more. The Pro version allows two team members, which means that you will have to pay extra for additional team members to use it.
Trello is a task management system that your team can employ to help improve communication and efficiency. It's essentially a board on which you can add lists filled with cards that can be moved around and shared, thereby making it easy to organize projects and assign tasks. A free version is available that allows the use of unlimited boards, lists, cards, members, checklists, and attachments, and will allow you to attach files upwards of 10MB from Dropbox, Google Drive, and more. More advanced versions available at a cost offer more integrations with platforms like MailChimp and Salesforce.
Implementing these marketing tools to build your revenue stack will greatly benefit your online marketing and sales efforts in countless ways, allowing you to build an online presence and meet your unique marketing and sales goals. Not to mention that the use of these tools costs less than $50 a month combined!
You'll see that free tools can be a little less user friendly and a little more difficult to piece together (that's where Zapier or IFTTT come in). However, almost all the data you can collect from a big, fancy marketing and sales stack is available in this free stack, it just might take some time and effort.
To be fair, some of these tools can be confusing at first. Having the right tools is definitely a plus, but knowing how to use them is where you can differentiate yourself, your team and your business. So save your hard earned dollars for Doritos Locos Tacos, turn your company up a notch, and dig in.