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10 Must-Have Digital Marketing Tools For Your Small Online Business

Updated: Nov 10, 2021

Running a small online business is no easy task and with the vast number of digital marketing tools available, you may be finding it difficult to select the tools best suited for an online small business like yours.



A man working on his laptop
Image Credit: Unsplash


Our team has gone through the trouble of curating a list of must-have digital marketing tools for your online small business. For a more tailored experience, we’ve gone even further to categorize these awesome tools by strategy. So, whether you’re looking for a great email marketing tool or an easy-to-use graphic design tool you will find the right tool for your online small business on our list.



Before we delve into these digital marketing tools let’s go over why exactly you need them as an online small business owner.


Why use digital marketing tools?


Digital marketing tools are a great way to level the playing field as an online business owner. As a solopreneur or small business owner you might have limited resources and budget but with affordable, and in some cases free tools you can bridge the gap between you and your competitors.


You can also monitor what your audience is saying about your brand, and stay ahead of trends in your industry.


Here are some of the benefits of using digital marketing tools:


1. High ROI


The results of a 2001 - 2021 Pew Research survey show that 93% of US adults use the internet. This was not the case 20 years ago when only 55% of US adults were using the internet. The implication of this data for your online small business is that with the right digital marketing tools you can get your brand seen by more people than you could reach 20 years ago. Wider reach could mean higher conversion rates (more sales) and a high return on investments for your business.


2. Saves Money


Being a small business owner you’re always looking for ways to save money. We also understand that you may be working with a tight budget. Instead of outsourcing your digital marketing agencies, you can utilize digital marketing tools that’ll save you money.


3. Saves Time


Digital marketing is only one aspect of your small business which means that it should not be taking up most of your time. With the right digital marketing tools, you can say goodbye to spending hours on your digital marketing strategy.


4. An Avenue to Connect With Your Buyer Persona


With these tools, you can identify your ideal customer and connect with them one on one. Sending newsletters and direct messages to potential customers is a lot more personal than putting paid ads. Digital marketing tools also allow you to connect with your ideal customer by providing valuable content for them (inbound marketing) and you’re likely to retain these customers for years.


5. Social Monitoring and Listening


Digital marketing tools will allow you to see what people are saying about your brand, respond promptly to negative feedback about your brand and monitor your competitors. A vast number of digital marketing tools will give you insights about trends in your niche, as well as negative and positive feedback about your competitors.


With this information, you can predict and stay ahead of trends in your industry.





Tools based on digital marketing strategy


Choosing the perfect tool for your online small business highly depends on your digital marketing strategy. For example, if your strategy involves utilizing email marketing to generate leads you are going to have to find tools that will help you create a mailing list and send out personalized newsletters to your audience.



Here are the top 10 must-have digital marketing tools by strategy:



Content Creation Tools

Your businesses’ content plays a huge role in your digital marketing strategy so you will need tools that simplify the content creation process for you. This category covers tools that will help you create insightful infographics for your audience, and also simplify the video and photo editing process for you.



Canva is a design tool for creating compelling graphics for your online small business. This is especially great for people who are not graphic design experts because there are thousands of templates to choose from and over 10,000 stock images on Canva. With Canva, you can create a brand kit with your logo, fonts, and brand colors.

Canva also hosts a bunch of tutorials on how to use their site. The best part is that it is free; however, you can access more features with Canva Pro.


2. Lightroom


This photo editing tool from Adobe allows you to edit your business images from any device. With a tight budget, you may not be able to pay for photo editing services but with Adobe Lightroom you pay only $9.12 per month. You also have hundreds of presets (filters) made by professionals to choose from.


These presets will save you time and help you maintain a brand tone on your social sites. You can also sign up for a 7-day trial.


3. InShot


InShot is a free video editing mobile app for your business. Note that there’s a paid version that gives you access to more features. This app is great for you if you’re on a tight budget and not a skilled video editor. InShot will help you create compelling videos to market your products and services.



Social Media Marketing Tools


Social media platforms have evolved beyond a means to just communicate with friends and family. Social Media sites are now a great place to connect with your ideal customers, market your products/services, generate leads, and provide customer support for your consumers.


Any business not taking advantage of social media is going to lag. Just think of the marketing opportunities that exist for your small business on platforms like Instagram. You can optimize your profile so that your ideal customers can find you.


You can run paid ads, engage with your customers via their amazing video features such as lives, IGTV & reels.


Instagram also has a great shop feature that allows you to create a product catalog with prices and product descriptions as well as add your products to their wishlists.


Apart from Instagram, there are loads of other platforms to choose from like LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, and so on.


Of all the numerous benefits of Social Media marketing tools, the major one is Social Media listening and monitoring. What’s that anyway? If you’re a small business owner chances are you may not be familiar with this term.


Social media monitoring & listening is simply just following trends, conversations in your industry. It also involves paying attention to what people are saying about your brand, your products, and services online, as well as what they are saying about your competitors.


The awesome digital marketing tools in this category will help your online small business stay ahead of trends, bridge the gap between you and your competitors, and engage with your online community (customers and potential customers).




Talk Walker is a conversational intelligence platform that helps your brand grow. There are endless opportunities with this platform. Talk Walker allows you to see what people are saying about your brand online and this way you can manage your brand reputation.


You can also measure the results of your social media campaigns against that of your competitors. There’s a free demo so you can test out the platform.




Google alerts is a completely free digital marketing tool that allows you to create various alerts for keywords related to your brand, industry, niche, and competitors.


All you need is a Google account to access this feature and you’ll get updates on your keywords sent directly to your email. With Google Alerts you can keep up with trends in your industry and monitor exactly what people are saying about your brand and your competitors.




This is a mobile app that shows your Instagram analytics as well as your competitors. With Not Just Analytics you can see your top-performing posts and engagement rates. This tool has a free and paid version.


If you’ve been struggling with the in-app Instagram insights, Not Just Analytics is a great way to understand how people are engaging with your content, what kind of content they prefer and so much more.



SEO Tools


Search engine optimization is a digital marketing strategy that positions you in front of your target customer and increases the traffic on your businesses’ website or blog and eventually converts to sales.


With a good SEO strategy in place, you can get your brand seen by more people in your target market.


Search engine optimization is vast and can even appear complex when you are just starting; however, some tools will simplify the SEO process for you and your business will be ranking high on google’s search engine in no time.



7. Ubersuggest


This is one of the most popular keyword search tools in the digital marketing industry. It’s relatively easy to use and you can search up to 3 keywords a day for FREE and you get an unlimited amount of searches when you subscribe to the paid version and if you’re not sure you can try the 7-day FREE Trial now!! It’s a great way to find what keywords your audience is searching for and use that to optimize your websites and blog posts.



8. Semrush


This is another great keyword tool that does all the auditing for you. No need to spend money on outsourcing this task to a digital marketing agency. All you need to do is sign up and get a free trial for 7 days. Semrush allows you to see what keywords your competitors are using as well as to detect any SEO issues on your site.


Semrush is a bit more pricey than other tools; however, it will still cost you less than hiring an SEO expert or outsourcing to an agency. There is a PRO plan available for you to have access to more features.



Email Marketing Tools


According to HubSpot, 73% of millennials prefer communications from businesses to come from email. The implication is that your business is likely to grow if you utilize email marketing. Email marketing is a great way to engage with your audience.


A great email marketing tool will help you retain customers and gain new customers. To win with email marketing, you must select the right tools.



9. MailChimp


MailChimp is an automated marketing tool that helps you engage with your audience via email. With MailChimp you can create audience categories, personalized newsletters for each customer category, and email templates that reflect your brand's identity.


It is up to you to choose the plans that best suit your business and budget.


10. Flodesk


Flodesk is an email marketing service provider quite similar to MailChimp that helps you create mailing lists with responsive forms and templates that help your business stand out.





Choosing the best digital marketing tools for your small online business


Even after listing out, 10-must have tools by strategy. We know that you may still feel stuck. Choosing the right tools for your online small business is simple once you have identified and outlined your business goals/objectives. Knowing your business goals helps you identify the best digital marketing tools for your online business.


As a small business owner you have to ask yourself this before choosing tools; what do I want to achieve with these tools? Once you have answered that question you can now sift through our list and select the tools that align with your business goals.


Also consider your digital marketing budget: How much can you afford to invest in digital marketing tools? This will help you select the best digital marketing tools for your business.


Utilizing digital marketing tools can save you time and money. These tools can also help you connect with your ideal client, monitor your brand’s reputation and your competitors.


However, you must consider your marketing strategy, business goals, and budget to choose the right tools and scale up your small online business.



About The Author


Daniella Haastrup graduated with a degree in Mass Communication and currently works as a Social Media Manager. Her expertise lies in social media marketing and content marketing / copywriting. When she’s not working towards representing a brand on social media you’ll find her buried in a book or listening to show tunes. You can contact her via LinkedIn or Twitter.


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