It can be overwhelming to launch digital marketing initiatives and keep up with the latest platforms. To help, we’ve compiled 10 of the resources we use the most for both our clients and in-house for ourselves. Whether you’re starting from scratch or rounding out a more established tech stack, these foundational resources can elevate your brand’s presence and enhance your marketing efforts.
A website still serves as a primary hub for prospective customers to learn about your business, even with the rise in social search and e-commerce. The scale of your site will depend on many factors, falling anywhere from a simple one-page landing page to a robust site with hundreds of pages. (Most small businesses’ sites are between 5-20 pages.)
There are many website platforms on the market. Our favorites are Wix and WordPress. Wix is generally easier to navigate for less experienced users and offers a one-stop solution for most of your site’s needs. WordPress is highly customizable and powerful though tends to require more technical expertise, especially with regard to initial configuration and ongoing maintenance.
* Check out our checklist for new and established websites.
Social media is critical for reaching and engaging with shoppers. There are numerous platforms, and your business certainly doesn’t need to be active on each one. Start with one (or a few) of the popular platforms you can realistically manage and ultimately choose the platforms that your target audiences use.
For most businesses, Facebook and Instagram are still the core platforms to utilize. LinkedIn is also a great option, especially if your target audience includes white-collar professionals. TikTok has experienced exponential growth in recent years and can be impactful in reaching younger audiences. Other popular platforms include YouTube, Twitter, Snapchat, Pinterest, and Reddit.
* Discover our social media best practices.
Canva has become the go-to for quick and easy design work, including social media graphics, posters, presentations, and more. While there is a paid plan available with premium elements and capabilities, most businesses will find more than adequate use for the free plan.
Google Business Profile
A Google Business Profile (or Google Maps) listing is imperative, especially for local businesses with a physical location. A free listing provides high visibility in Google search results and helps customers easily find information about your business, including your address, phone number, and operating hours.
Other search engines and map platforms, including those of Bing and Apple, offer similar listings so consider claiming profiles on those platforms as well. Once you’ve claimed these listings, keep them well-maintained including any needed updates to your business’s hours and contact information.
* Learn more about Google Business Profiles.
Google Analytics is a free platform that provides insights into your website’s visitors and their behavior while on-site. Once added to your website, you’ll be able to answer where your visitors are arriving from – both in terms of their sources (search, ads, social media, etc.) and their geographic locations. You can also set up custom events to track important events on your website such as purchases, form submissions, and phone calls in order to measure ROI on your marketing efforts.
* Check out our guide to website analytics.
Email remains a top marketing channel for most businesses, helping to maintain engagement with shoppers and drive conversions. Before researching platforms, first determine the initial purpose(s) for email campaigns specific to your business. Do you want to keep general customers apprised of new products or upcoming events? Are you seeking to start a drip campaign to automatically progress new prospects through their buying cycle?
Begin to develop your subscriber list. An overall list typically starts with existing customers and leads though you should strive to continue to grow subscribers through your other marketing channels. Your list should also be as complete and up-to-date as possible prior to uploading to your chosen platform (including removal of typos, broken email addresses, etc.)
* Explore email marketing tips.
Search Console is another of Google’s free resources that you can integrate with your website. Via the dashboard, you can submit your website and its sitemap to Google. Once configured, Search Console helps to measure your site’s performance in search results including which searches are bringing visitors to your site. The platform also helps to identify key issues which could be impacting your site, including mobile usability.
Google Tag Manager is a free and highly powerful tool for adding pieces of code to your site from one dashboard. After adding its one script directly to your website, you’re able to then add and manage additional pieces of code through that lone script rather than adding them individually and directly to your site. Many sites run their Google Analytics configuration, custom events, custom HTML, and more all through a Tag Manager container. Its Tag Assistant tool is a powerful resource (especially in troubleshooting) to identify when individual events are occurring and their associated properties.
Ad managers for top platforms such as Google Ads and Meta Ads are highly powerful for reaching prospective customers. Granular targeting capabilities help to generate the highest return on your ad spend. The platforms have also become more helpful in automatically suggesting certain elements such as ad messaging.
A caveat is that while these platforms make it relatively easy to launch advertising, use caution if you are not familiar with digital advertising. Without proper setup and management, campaigns can be irrelevant to their intended purpose and wasteful of valuable marketing funds.
No contemporary list would be complete without mention of AI resources. Chat GPT has become one of the most popular AI tools and is incredibly powerful for a wide spectrum of purposes. When provided with proper prompts and resource aids, these platforms can handle requests ranging from simple time-consuming tasks to generating content for your website. Caution is again advised with these platforms as their output requires human review and can be inferior or incorrect when compared to what a human expert might be able to generate.
These powerful platforms can provide a solid foundation for online marketing efforts and elevate your brand’s presence over competitors. However, they’re often only as powerful as the effort and maintenance provided to them. Revisit your presence and data insights often to ensure you’re making the most of opportunities to enhance your brand and better serve prospective customers.