Starting your own small business is hard enough, and marketing it to the right audience online is time consuming and often a specialised job in itself.
Fortunately, there are already an incredible amount of resources available to help you, ranging from tools and cloud based services to blogs and training courses that will show you exactly how to help your business succeed online.
Today I have put together 19 useful online resources for marketers that I know will help you:
It’s important for every marketer and small business owner to keep on top of what’s going on in the world of marketing and business, more so now than ever before. We are living in a world that is constantly changing, and what you knew about marketing or other topics like SEO may have been up to date a few months ago, but can easily get turned on its head within a short amount of time.
There are a number of blogs that I follow religiously, some of which I mention here, but there are a few that I highly recommend to both marketers and small business owners:
Marketing Land – the sister site to Search Engine Land, this is a well-respected and extremely authoritative blog, led by Danny Sullivan. Topics covered include social media, SEO, analytics, email, strategy and a number of other important topics.
The KISSmetrics blog – co-founded by Neil Patel, KISSmetrics is geared towards business owners and those working in eCommerce. Topics covered include marketing, testing and analytics.
Clickz – Clickz is a very well regarded marketing site offering expert advice and news covering industry trends. Topics cover everything from marketing to search and social.
Moz – Moz started its life off as SEOmoz, but has since altered its direction to focus on marketing on the whole, particularly inbound marketing. Moz is an incredible resource with a great community.
As businesses continue to turn their focus towards marketing their business online, more and more tools are becoming available to help make the most of certain marketing channels and also make particular tasks easier to manage. Below are a number of tools that can help your business gain more traction and provide data to improve conversions and inform aspects of your marketing campaigns:
Google Analytics – Say what you will about Google, but the fact remains that they offer an extremely powerful analytics package that doesn’t come with an insane price tag attached; having said that, there is a premium version with extended functionality.
Google Webmaster Tools – WMT is essential if you want to get an insight into how your website is doing. You can easily find crawl errors, incoming links, average rankings and even more. WMT is a free tool.
Moz Analytics – While Moz isn’t a free tool (pricing starts at $99 per month), it does include some extremely powerful tools, including access to Followerwonk, Open Site Explorer, Mozbar and the Fresh Web Explorer. The best part, however, is the Analytics package itself. You get access to an intense dashboard that connects with your Google Analytics data and social accounts to provide some incredibly useful data. The tool will also crawl your site and give you recommendations on how you can optimise your pages further, track mentions, links and also your rankings.
Ahrefs – There are a number of tools on the market that help you monitor backlinks to your website. While it’s debatable as to whether Ahrefs really has the largest index of live links, there is an incredible amount of data here and the way that the data is visualised makes using this system very easy. There’s also a few other tools, including a crawler to help you figure out any technical issues with your site.
Crazy Egg – They say that a picture is worth a thousand words, but a Crazy Egg picture is worth A LOT more than that. Crazy Egg’s heat maps show you exactly how users interact with your site, allowing you to optimise your web design to maximise conversions.
Unbounce – Apart from being home to an incredible marketing and conversion rate blog, Unbounce provide an easy-to-use system that allows you to build high converting landing pages without any of the technical problems usually associated. You can also split test your landing pages to improve your conversions.
Content Cloud – When it’s done right, content is a powerful vehicle for generating traffic and leads to your site. Just look at the KISSmetrics blog and how Neil Patel used it in his strategy to grow the site from 0 to 350,000 visitors a month. The blog accounts for over 82% of their overall traffic and 70% of their leads.
The problem is that you need to have some form of editorial calendar as a means of managing your team and planning content ideas.
This has usually been left to Excel or even Google Docs spreadsheets, but they can get messy. Content Cloud is a system that brings it all together into one system and solves all of these issues for you.
Hootsuite – Hootsuite is probably one of the most well-known social media management tools on the planet. You can use it to publish and schedule updates across multiple social networks, including Facebook, Twitter and Google Plus (only pages right now, but that’s the same for all tools), along with a number of other social media networks. You get access to reporting and some other great features.
Nimble – Juggling social, emails, messages and other forms of contact online can be quite tricky, but this agile CRM is able to pull them all together and make things easy for you.
Mail Chimp – Email isn’t dead, it’s still effective and Mail Chimp simply makes setting up a mailing list extremely easy. You can start off on a free account and work your way up to a paid account when you want to expand the functionality.
IFTTT – This tool lets you truly ‘put the internet to work for you’. It does many different things, but essentially it allows you to connect diverse social platforms and other services and create ‘recipes’ which automate particular tasks. For example, you could automatically share Tweets that you have ‘favorited’ to your Facebook account, or create a daily log entry in the correct Evernote notebook each day.
The supported services are extensive and being expanded upon all the time.
Sometimes, just reading a blog about a topic isn’t enough to fully grasp what you need to know; you need to go deeper and get on board with a more intensive course of training.
Econsultancy – Econsultancy is a top marketing resource, with a subscription that allows you access to 500+ reports that are regularly updated. You get access to marketing templates, best practice guides and marketing reports full of insights into the latest trends.
Smart Insights – Smart Insights is founded by marketing expert and author, Dave Chaffey. He is the author of a number of books that are generally required reading materials for those studying Masters degrees in Marketing. You can sign up for a free membership which gives you access to a newsletter and free marketing planning templates.
Expert membership gives you access to more templates, courses, videos, guides, and direct access to marketing experts to answer your questions and more.
Marketing Profs – Another great training resource that gives you access to discussion forums, articles and newsletters when you sign up for free. When you step things up to pro, you get access to seminars, special reports, tools and other helpful resources.
Copyblogger – This free resource gives you access to more than 15 ebooks that will help you get great results out of your online marketing, along with a 20-part course and more. You also have the option to step things up to ‘Authority’, which is a paid programme that brings together teachings from some of the most influential experts online, including Brian Clark, Sonia Simone, Jon Morrow, Darren Rouse, Amy Porterfield and more.
As part of this, you get access to over 60 hours of online marketing, monthly seminars, video guides, forum access, Q & A sessions with the experts and a lot more.
Authority seems to be an evolution of ‘Third Tribe Marketing’, which was a membership course originally founded by Darren Rouse, Brian Clark, Sonia Simone and Chris Brogan. What an evolution it is!
Over to you
The internet is full of useful resources, and it would be near impossible to put all of them together in one blog, but these will at least give you a very good head start.
Which resources do you find make the most difference to your business?