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Three must-have tools for SMBs

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In many ways, developing a marketing strategy in the digital age is more complicated than traditional methods. On the bright side, digital marketers will never have to devise advertising campaigns from scratch again.

 

If you're a small business owner, there are more effective, yet affordable tools at your disposal than at any point in history. Do you want to know which channels your customers frequent? Certain applications can provide this information. Are you in need of a free website to promote your message? There are plenty of those out there, too.

 

At times, selecting the right programs to use can feel like finding Waldo. If you're struggling to decide, here are three tools that, above all else, you simply need to use.

 

No. 1: Google Analytics 

Regardless of where your marketing journey begins, I can't emphasize enough the importance of research. If you want to succeed in the digital world, you need to know your customers better than they know themselves.

 

Google Analytics enables you to do that.

 

You can find out exactly who your audience is, what the major trends are and what channels they use to land on your website.

 

You can also use Google Analytics for many other functions, such as identifying terms and phrases for your SEO strategies, and measuring traffic and leakage from your website. All of these capabilities give you guidance on exactly how to go about developing your marketing campaigns.

 

No. 2: LinkedIn

More than anything else, I've been pounding home the importance of social networking sites, mostly because of their versatility. You can use 'em for marketing, to grow your business, for customer service and more.

 

Most of the talk has centered around Facebook and Twitter, but LinkedIn will be just as prominent going forward. A recent survey revealed that 29 percent of SMBs use LinkedIn, nearly triple the amount from a year ago, making it the second most frequently used social networking site. 

 

LinkedIn offers you an effective marketing tool, both to current and prospective customers. That's because it gives you access not just to your own network, but to untapped markets as well. In addition, it can double up as an "About" page by providing interested consumers with important information related to your company.

 

No. 3: Slideshare

​One of the biggest differences between traditional and modern-day marketing is how interactive the latter method is. You want to find a way to engage your customers as best you can.

 

At the same time, the internet has made shoppers far less patient than they've been in the past. If you can't get the message across to them within seconds, they'll have moved on already. And they're certainly not taking the time to read paragraphs about your product.

 

Slideshare is an easy-to-use photo-and video-sharing website that is compatible with just about any blog. Slideshows are great for drawing traffic because 1) they are interactive, therefore engaging the customer, and 2) they are extremely visual.