Tools for a Small Marketing Team with a Bootstrap Budget

Do you have a small marketing team? Does your tight budget have you wondering if that software or tool is really worth $13 a month?

Don’t sweat it; everyone has to start somewhere. You aren’t the first to face a limited budget. The good news: There are a plethora of affordable marketing tools available for an eCommerce business like yours.

If you need solid marketing tools to promote your eCommerce store without breaking the bank, check out some of our favorites. All of these resources are either free or pretty dirt cheap.


Keepin’ It Social

Social media is a main focus for the modern digital marketer, and it’s no passing fad. If you don’t have a social media strategy, well, you might be in some trouble.

The challenge with social media is its pace. Creating an engaging social media presence means moving quickly and always having that that next post ready to go. Keeping your brand visible can be a challenge for even the most skilled marketer. For a small team, tools to help create and schedule posts can be a lifesaver.

  1. Hootsuite is a social media scheduling tool that can hook into all your social media channels. You can schedule posts for tomorrow, next week, or next month. Have a few people creating posts? Team members can submit posts to be reviewed before they are scheduled. Whether your social media is a team effort or a solo one, Hootsuite is a handy tool to streamline your workflow.

    Pricing: You can add up to 3 social profiles on a free account. Premium plans start at $19 a month.
  2. Canva is an online creative studio with a wide variety of features and options, including lots of templates. Use it to create visuals for your social media posts, find free and premium stock photos, add graphics to an email newsletter, you name it. Canva provides dozens of choices at your fingertips. The best part —you don’t have to be a Photoshop genius—or buy a pricey Photoshop license—to use it. They also offer free tutorials, online courses, and other learning resources to buff up your design skills.

    Pricing: Canva has a free plan for up to 10 team members! And if you need more features, premium plans start at $12.95 a month.


Data & Analytics

As a marketer, data should drive your decision-making. Collecting and analyzing the right data lets you refine your marketing strategy and get the most from your marketing budget.Greater visibility into the customer journey from discovery to purchase is one of the main benefits of data-driven marketing. No matter what size your team is, paying attention to your data is essential for success.

  1. Google Analytics Academy
    Nearly all eCommerce pros are already using Google Analytics to track customers on their site. But are you using Google Analytics to its full extent? Are you looking at the right reports? Just having a Google Analytics account isn’t enough; you must also understand what it can do for you. The Google Analytics Academy offers free training and support, from the basics to advanced functions. You can even get certified while you’re at it!
  2. Google Search Console
    The Google Search Console (formerly Google Webmaster Tools) is a great tool to monitor the health of your website. On its face, it may not look like a marketing tool. But if you look a bit deeper, you can find a wealth of information to inform your marketing strategy. Discover what keywords you rank for, see which sites are linking to your content, ornt, make sure your meta titles and descriptions are up to snuff.

    Pricing: Tools, support documentation, online courses, and even a handy SEO Starter Guide—all  totally free
  3. Hotjar
    Imagine you’re looking at your site’s Time on Page statistics in Google Analytics. You notice that the customer spent 16 minutes on the site—but why? Either they found your site really interesting or they couldn’t find what they were looking for. How can you tell which is true? That’s where Hotjar comes in. You can watch customer recordings and see how they spent that 16 minutes. Was the customer growing frustrated while clicking through your site navigation? Or were they successfully browsing your products and completing checkout? This kind of data can be essential to a marketer. Use it to assess your user experience and prioritize improvements.

    Pricing: Hotjar offers a free Personal plan for up to 2,000 pageviews per day. Premium Personal & Business plans for higher traffic start at $29 per month.


Email Marketing

Email is an essential marketing channel; it’s the largest revenue driver for many eCommerce businesses. It simply can’t be ignored or neglected. As your email mailing lists grow, so does the likelihood that you’ll reach a new customer who’s ready to make their first purchase, or a dedicated fan ready for their next purchase. So naturally, finding ways to encourage email signups is crucial.

Because it’s such a powerful way to reach customers, email marketing has the potential for both a huge payoff (good) and a huge financial investment (not so good). For small teams or tight budgets, controlling expense is paramount. Here are some tools that offer many easy-to-use features at a reasonable cost.

  1. MailChimp is a multi-faceted marketing automation tool. You can use it to send emails, manage mailing lists, create ads and landing pages, and more. The MailChimp team is constantly innovating, adding more functionality—and more value—to their tools. Another bonus: MailChimp also integrates smoothly with a wide variety of eCommerce platforms and third-party services. It can save you and your team from costly technical headaches and hassles.

    Pricing: MailChimp’s free plan lets you send up to 12,000 emails per month to up to 2,000 subscribers. Premium plans start at $10 a month. Additional features like email automations and workflows are always free.
  2. Privy is a website pop-up tool. It hooks into your email service provider and adds subscribers directly to your mailing lists. Privy’s standout features: It’s extremelyuser-friendlyy; you don’t have to be a developer to get it to work! It also lets you customize campaigns. Run multiple campaigns or just one; it’s completely up to you.

    Pricing: Privy’s free plan offers unlimited campaigns and signups, plus a host of other handy features. Add even more functionality with a premium plan, starting at $24 per month.


Team Collaboration

For small teams, collaboration is key to success. But digital marketing moves and changes quickly; keeping everyone on the same page is a challenge. Effective communication empowers your team to work efficiently and adapt on the fly. These are some of our favorite tools to foster clear communication and support collaboration.

  1. Slack is a communication platform for teams of all sizes. It’s become a favorite in the tech industry, so it has a ton of useful apps that add functionality or connect to tools you’re already using. Communicate in real time and work on solutions together. Share files and videos, host team calls or Google Hangouts, and streamline workflows. The endless possibilities make Slack a no-brainer for many teams.

    Pricing: The free plan is perfect for small teams. Monthly premium plans start at about $7 per user.
  2. CloudApp is a handy tool for taking screenshots and short screen recordings. Have an issue that’s hard to explain? A picture says a thousand words! Send a quick screenshot to a teammate and find your solutions faster.
    CloudApp is a handy tool for taking screenshots and short screen recordings. Have an issue that’s hard to explain? A picture says a thousand words! Send a quick screenshot to a teammate and find your solutions faster.

    Pricing:Premium plans start at $8 a month, but CloudApp’s free forever plan offers more than enough for a small team.


Content Marketing

You’ve heard the phrase “Content is king,” but it really should be “High-quality content is king.” Creating valuable content is one of the largest challenges facing small marketing teams today. Quality content is rapidly becoming the most important marketing tool, but producing it is time-consuming and labor-intensive.

Can a small team really compete against companies with unlimited budgets who can churn out a blog post every day? We say you can, by being creative and thoughtful about the content you produce. And of course, by finding tools that minimize your financial investment and maximize your brand’s reach.

  1. WordPress has been around forever, but it continues to be one of the top blogging tools available. WordPress is easy to use and integrates well with many sites. It offers a ton of predesigned templates, but has enough flexibility to let you customize your blog with plugins and tweaks.

    Pricing: Getting started is free, and premium plans begin at $4 a month.
  2. Medium is a newer face in the blogging world. This blogging platform lets you post your content in one of Medium’s topics like Tech or Wellness. Create publications, article series, custom homepages, and feature navigations to make your Medium channel your own. Link back to your site to drive traffic and sell your products. The platform’s high viewership can get your content seen and expand your content marketing reach. Bonus: Medium offers a WordPress plugin that makes crossposting simple and easy.

    Pricing: Medium offers a premium membership plan for readers, but creating and publishing content is always free.
  3. Content Idea Generator. Is writer’s block killing your productivity? Have no fear; the Content Idea Generator is here. Its mad libs style may seem silly at first, but the off-the-wall suggestions are meant to stimulate your imagination and get your creative juices flowing.

    Pricing: Free
  4. Hemingway App. Even the wiliest word wizard needs a second pair of eyes to double-check their writing. But on a small, busy team, you may not have an editor handy to check all those commas before publishing. The Hemingway App is a text editor that helps you polish your prose. The app will highlight problems and suggest ways to improve readability. Its grade scores are especially handy. Shoot for Grade 8 or lower for most digital content; highly technical writing can go a bit higher.

    Pricing: Free


Wrapping Up

Digital marketing is a challenge, especially for small teams on tight budgets. But don’t let that stop you from diving in and trying new things . Find the tools and strategies that work for you. Find your niche and run with it. There is a place out there for every eCommerce business—just find your tools and get to work.

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