Did you know that there are approximately one million registered small businesses across Canada? With a number like this, small businesses and solopreneurs everywhere are looking for new and creative ways to get ahead of their competition in today’s ever-changing business climate. So how exactly do you do this?


First of all, it’s 2020! And it goes without saying that having a sound online marketing strategy is a sure way of maintaining your company’s competitive edge in today’s digital era. Harnessing the power of social media and driving traffic to your website using search engine optimization is only but a snippet of the tools small businesses can use to stay ahead of the game. In this article, we’ll highlight the best marketing tools all small business owners should use that will give you the biggest bang for your buck. These can help by automating repetitive tasks such as collecting and analyzing customer data, optimizing your campaigns or even just simply organizing your marketing activities. 


So, whether you have an in-house marketing department, are able to outsource to a marketing agency like us, or simply want to go it alone, these tools will give you the boost you’re after!


1. Google’s suite of goodies

In order to help you skyrocket your marketing Google has set up a number of free or cheap marketing tools that are sure to get your business off the ground. 


a) Google Search Console – This tool lets you see your website the way Google actually does when it’s deciding where to rank your site in search results. With this tool, you’re able to troubleshoot and identify any problems you may be having with crawls, links or tags, and in turn, optimize your website. Keyword positioning and impressions from Google’s perspective are also apart of this handy-dandy tool – it enables you to see which words are most profitable, most searched, and in what order. 


b) Google Analytics – Want to know what visitors to your website are up to? Well, this tool lets you know just that, on top of providing additional information on demographics and user interests, where your visitors came from (be it social media, organic searches, ads or directly),  the keywords they used to get to your site, how long they spent on your website, and what time of day they came, and on what device. Reports using the above can be generated to your liking using a selected time period. 


c) Google Keyword Planner – Are you looking for smarter and more competitive keywords to use in your campaigns? Another handy tool we rave about is the Keyword Planner which provides industry-specific and relevant historical data on search terms, how often they’ve been used and the cost per click. By providing profitable keywords, this tool helps you drive traffic to your website by helping you create clickable content to include in your articles. It can also help you decide which keywords would benefit from your spend in an advertising campaign. 


d) Google My Business – Managing your online presence across Google Search and Maps has been made easier with this free and easy-to-use tool. In short, it helps customers find you so long as you’ve updated your business page pertinent contact information. Google has been making regular updates to this platform which performs almost like a micro-site. By adding business info, photos, opening hours, articles etc you can create a comprehensive profile of your business directly on the search results page. The tool also features some handy analytics so you can watch your clicks and phone calls grow. 


2. Soulpepper’s Review Plus Tool

What is the digital era’s version of word of mouth? Online reviews! With over 88% of people trusting online reviews and checking out your business online before actually engaging with you, small businesses need to prioritize positive review generation. The top 3 local Google search results have an average of 472% more reviews than listings 4 to 6. Thus, the more reviews you have, the more likely you’ll show up in the top local search results. So how do you get these 5-star reviews? Our Review Plus Tool allows you to solicit reviews from your customers by sending out our trusted email template, as well as pre-screen and manage the responses you’ll get before they are posted on any platform. Reach out to us for more review generation tips and tricks so you never have to fake a review, or go without. PS, Google can tell when you fake your reviews!

3. Email marketing and so much more with Mailchimp and Infusionsoft

Whether you’re new to the game or are already running your small empire, email marketing should most definitely be a part of your overall strategy. On average, email marketing produces a higher ROI than any other marketing activity you can create. here are many other software tools available out there but we’ll focus on two of the best that we recommend here at Soulpepper. 


a) Mailchimp – The most well-known email marketing platform is Mailchimp which allows you to capture and manage your mailing lists and automatically send out or schedule your previously designed email marketing campaigns. The good thing about Mailchimp is its very easy to use and is free for small businesses with a mailing list of up to 2,000. Once you surpass this number, tiered pricing for the service kicks in. If, however, you’re looking for something more robust, our next top automation pick should be considered.



b) Infusionsoft/Keap – As a small business, you undoubtedly wear a lot of hats; Infusionsoft does the same. Infusionsoft is a powerful tool that multiplies your sales and marketing efforts all while saving you time. We love their Campaign Manager feature that allows you to create rule-based automations for your prospect and customer outreach – as well as internal processes. Apart from email marketing, Infusionsoft takes over your client contact and management; and once you know the lay of the land, you can track your leads sources and analyze customer data and behaviour for better targeting going forward. If you don’t need all the bells and whistles, Keap is Infusionsoft’s little brother which is a similar but lighter-touch, easier to use alternative. 


4. Content marketing

Buzzmo – Content creation that’s sure to appeal to your desired audience across social media platforms has been made easier with Buzzmo. This content search engine helps you uncover trending topics and keywords you can use in your blogs and newsletters that your customers will engage with. So no more random stabs in the dark when it comes to deciding what to write about. We’re data-driven, so along with every other tool we’ve discussed, it’s important that you can also track which content piece is performing the best and who is sharing it.


5. Social media scheduling and Hootsuite 

Hootsuite – Keeping on top of your social media activity can be a real time-suck for small business – especially if you’re doing it all yourself. With this affordable online marketing tool, you can plan and pre-schedule your social media posts and reach a wider audience whenever you like in a 24-hour cycle. You can also monitor your brand mentions across platforms with real deal analytics if you select an upgraded package for your enterprise.



6. Website & Advertising Creative

Canva – Having high-quality articles or quirky social media posts is not enough to grab your reader’s attention in 2020. As a small business, engagement and conversion rates are important to you, and relying on text-heavy content across advertising platforms is not the way you want to go. Enter Canva! This awesome tool helps you create original and visually appealing content that’s sure to get your audience dialled in on the message you’re putting out. And no you don’t have to be a seasoned graphic designer to use this tool. If you’re not yet ready to design your own content, ready-made templates and professional images are at your disposal.


This goes without saying, but as a small business owner, you need to be a jack of all trades. In order to save time and make your job simpler, you need to be armed with the right digital marketing tools and an agency like Soulpepper where we have your best interests at heart. We ensure that your business will be able to survive in today’s digital marketing landscape where being data-savvy and intuitive is of utmost importance. If you need help with any aspect of your digital marketing and don’t have the time for these do-it-yourself options, reach out and see how Soulpepper can help take your small business to the next level.


– Team Soulpepper