Many small business owners have conflicted feelings about marketing. They know they need to be doing it, but all the different types of marketing and approaches to marketing can make it overwhelming. And then there’s the price. Small business owners are a frugal lot. They have to be. And marketing can be expensive. Marketing mistakes are even more expensive.
The combination of being short on time and on money is tough. But there’s yet another layer to the problem. It’s the classic friction small business owners face between the work of running their business versus the work they went into business to do. Pizza guys want to make pizza – not run AdWords campaigns. Florists want to arrange flowers – not master SEO.
Apps will save you time and money
Fortunately, we live in a world with apps. And many small business owners have figured out that they can save themselves a nice chunk of time by using them. That’s what the Small Business and Entrepreneurship Council discovered when they ran the survey for their report, “Saving Time and Money With Mobile Apps”.
According to that report, “78 percent of these small business owners believe that their company’s use of mobile apps saves time for the owner. On a weekly basis, these small business owners estimate that they save an average of 5.6 hours (a median of 4.0 hours) due to their firm’s use of mobile apps.”
4-5 hours! That’s half a day each week. That’s a huge win for a time-pressed small business owner. To help you free up half a day in your week, we assembled a short list of essential marketing apps for small business owners. These cover all the basic marketing tasks, with one or two added in for marketing outsourcing and marketing project management.
Marketing involves a lot of project management. Trello makes that easier. The feature that really helps with marketing tasks is the checklist you can add to cards.
If you create a checklist for your most common marketing tasks, you can save time and reduce errors. They’re also helpful for managing employees.
Some checklist-friendly tasks might be:
Just last week I met a small business owner who thinks it is more important for her to have a presence on Yelp than it is to have a website. While I don’t agree with that, her assertion shows how critical Yelp is to local businesses. Ignore it at your peril.
Fortunately, having it in app form makes it easy to edit and update your Yelp account. You an also check and respond to reviews, too.
3. Facebook Pages Manager
If you’re a small local business that caters to consumers (rather than businesses) there’s no other platform you should be on more than Facebook. And while thealgorithm changes have made it harder to see a ROI from Facebook, it’s still pretty much essential. Your customers expect you to be there.
This is the official Facebook app. Having it on your phone just might make you more likely to take a photo from your business, or maybe just capture a smile of a customer who just got exactly what they wanted. In other words, if you can make it easier to build a better Facebook page, you’re more likely to get results from it.
Twitter is less important for small local businesses, but it should definitely be part of the mix. And, like all these other apps, you’re far more likely to use it if it’s in your back pocket.
If you’re in B2B, this is the place to be. Whether you want to follow up with a prospect or contribute to a group discussion, this is a nice app to have on hand. Many small B2B businesses get a sizable chunk of client work from LinkedIn. And the more active you are, the more likely you are to see some of that action.
Why add Fiverr to this list? Because it’s a great way to get small, simple marketing tasks done for very affordable prices – like $20-30 for a logo nice enough to actually use. Once you’ve found three or four Fiverr pros who can help you with routine, repeating tasks like
- designing an ebook cover
- converting an epic blog post into a SlideShare
- writing a few product descriptions
- editing a video
then you can outsource that work without worry. Given how short on time most small business owners are, that’s quite a deal.
One of the most frequently used marketing tactics for a local business is a loyalty program. Usually these are fulfilled with business card-sized punch cards. The way they work is every time you go to the sandwich shop, or the nail salon, or the coffee shop, you get your card punched. When your card is all punched up, you get a free sandwich, or free coffee, or you get your nails done for free.
Perka takes that tried and true model and makes it digital. They do seem to still be ironing out some quirks with the app, but this is definitely something to try if your business has a punch card program.
Best part? It’s free.
8. Beam (New app from GetResponse)
With Beam you can create and share engaging promotional posts for any occasion – quickly and easily. Cut through the clutter and reach more people with easy-to-edit videos, animated slideshows, and photo collages. Get notified about trending hashtags and choose from hundreds of post ideas.
Boost your brand presence on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter with posts that get more followers, shares, and sales. Customize a template, publish it on your social profiles, and track your engagement. — No design or marketing experience needed!
Get Beam for your Android or iOS devices.
If you’re doing any pay per click advertising, you’re probably doing it with AdWords. Local businesses often decide to add a little oomph to their website traffic with this channel. Trouble is, it’s pricey. And there are no refunds. I’ve seen small businesses blow an entire year’s worth of marketing budget in one month due to a runaway AdWords account.
Don’t let that be you. Keep close track of your AdWords account by having this app on hand at all times. You can check your daily spend, get campaign suggestions, edit your budget and much more.
10. Google My Business app
I don’t have to tell you how important Google is. If you’re a local business you know. Local businesses that are well-optimized for local searches can clean up, especially if their reviews look good and their Google My Business site is correctly filled out.
The Google My Business app will let you do nearly everything you could do from a desktop. It’s an excellent way to check your profile, stats and any new reviews while you’ve got a minute or two of downtime – like while you’re waiting in line at the post office.
11. The GetResponse app
Of course, you’ve got to have your email marketing planned out, too. If you’re on the go and want to check how the morning’s email promotion did, it’s a few clicks away if you’ve got the GetResponse app installed. You can also see dashboard stats, check how your list is growing. You can also see individual emails in an autoresponder series and thumbnails of past emails.
So go fire up your GetResponse app and have at it. Maybe the stats from your last email have gone up since you last checked them…
Back to you
That covers the essential apps, but it’s not everyone. Did I maybe miss your favorite marketing app? If any of your favorite apps aren’t mentioned here, please, give us a shout out in the comments. Make your contribution to this list.