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5 Unique Marketing Tools to Grow Your Small Business

These days, it seems there’s a tool for just about every task in an e-commerce marketer’s day-to-day. Just take a look at Scott Brinker’s famous Marketing Technology Supergraphic. There are literally thousands of tools out there—close to 7,000 in the supergraphic alone, and that’s not even all of them!

Let’s just say, there isn’t much of a scarcity problem in the marketing technology landscape. The bigger problem for small businesses is a lack of awareness of what tools are out there (mixed with a dash of decision paralysis).

That’s where this article comes in.

Disclaimer: This piece won’t provide a comprehensive what-to-buy-when analysis of all the tech tools we consider invaluable for small e-commerce marketers. (If you’d like something like this, give us a shout at marketing@getmatcha.com!)

Instead, our goal is to highlight a few of our favorite tools for resource-strapped marketers. For each tool, we’ll share why we think it’s cool, what makes it unique, and how it can help small e-commerce businesses grow.

5 marketing tools to add to your e-commerce arsenal

1. Airtable

Spreadsheet meets database meets powerful collaboration tool

How They Describe Themselves
“Organize anything, with anyone, from anywhere. Our native mobile and desktop apps make it easy to edit, comment, and collaborate in real time—changes are instantly synced across everyone’s devices.”

Why We Think It’s Cool
Frankly, I don’t know where we’d be without Airtable. It’s the organizational foundation that underpins pretty much all of Matcha’s cross-team collaboration and processes. With it, we’re able to transparently track the progress of multiple ongoing projects simultaneously.

For example, Matcha manages the content strategies of hundreds of small businesses. With our Content Services Tracker base in Airtable, our team has visibility into the entire content strategy lifecycle for each of our customers. This means we can see every stage of content production—from ideation and first draft to publication and distribution.

It’s this type of transparent step-by-step workflow that’s made Airtable an invaluable tool for us at Matcha. Not only can everyone see exactly what’s being done and when, but each team member also has a very clear understanding of their individual tasks and duties, so nothing slips through the cracks.

How It Helps Small Marketing Teams
Airtable basically combines the efficiency and accountability of an assembly line with the intricate organization of a beehive—all in one tool that’s delightfully easy to use.

With the ability to set up multiple bases—“a collection of related tables, often reflecting a single project, process, or workflow that you collaborate on with your team”—small teams are able to organize and keep track of every aspect of their brand’s operation.

You can even use Airtable as your customer database, or set up automated workflows using Zapier.

In short, Airtable works for small marketing teams because it’s malleable. The bases, the personal views, the naming conventions and tagging systems—all of it!—can be modified for your team’s workflow.

Pricing
Airtable is quite affordable. There’s a free version, which gives users core features like unlimited bases, multiple views, and so on. By upgrading to a paid plan (just $10 to $24 per month), you’ll get more revision history, and more advanced stylings and features.

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2. FullStory

Understand and optimize the user experience on your website and online store

How They Describe Themselves
“FullStory captures more customer data than any other digital intelligence platform and makes it easy to solve problems, find answers, and optimize your customer’s experience. More than the sum of its clicks, FullStory replays your customer’s journey—like a DVR for your website—so you can search, see, and understand your user experience.”

Why We Think It’s Cool
Full disclosure: Our head of product, Giovanni Hobbins, actually joined Matcha from FullStory, so we’re constantly getting an earful about how great the product is. Even without the bias, though, there are plenty of reasons we’d write home about the platform.

Here are a few.

  • It has a beautiful user interface, and it’s easy to use.
  • It allows you to understand exactly what people are doing on your website and why they might take certain actions, click certain things, go to certain pages, etc.
  • This makes it easy to identify areas where you can improve the user experience.
  • It plays nice with others. FullStory integrates with a bajillion different tools that you’re already using, like Shopify, Optimizely, and Google Analytics.

How It Helps Small Marketing Teams
FullStory helps marketers do two things really well.

  1. Visualize your website data and conversion funnel. FullStory surfaces the data that matters most. You can see heatmaps of your website activity, pages that need attention, and where your visitors are coming from. Plus, you can track your conversion funnel (see the video above) and get valuable insights into where and why people might fall off in the buying process.
  2. Read your customers’ minds. Maybe not literally, but close enough. Oftentimes, cart abandonment is a result of easily fixable issues around user experience. With Session Replay, FullStory essentially allows marketers to read their customers’ minds to dive into the heart of where things might be going wrong, so that they can provide a better brand experience.

Pricing
The free option is suitable for many small e-commerce brands just starting out, and it offers 1K sessions per month. The next tier, Professional, includes 25K sessions per month and starts at $199 per month.

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3. Yotpo

Turn strangers into customers, and customers into brand advocates

How They Describe Themselves
“With the most advanced solutions for user-generated content marketing, referrals, and loyalty programs, Yotpo helps brands accelerate growth by enabling advocacy and maximizing customer lifetime value. With Yotpo, brands can effectively leverage social proof to increase trust and sales, cultivate loyal customer advocates, and make better business decisions based on customer feedback.”

Why We Think It’s Cool
Scaling user-generated content (UGC) can be difficult. Quality control is sometimes tough to manage, and the people creating this content typically aren’t professional creatives using brand books or being paid for their work. Instead, they’re brand advocates who possess more enthusiasm than technical skill.

Done wrong or half-heartedly, UGC can range anywhere from slightly awkward (no one’s offering any customer feedback) to seriously detrimental (people are offering negative feedback or painting your brand in a bad light).

Done well, UGC can be one of the most powerful marketing tactics out there. It’s a testament to your brand’s ability to build a loyal tribe. Yotpo helps brands do it right.

How It Helps Small Marketing Teams
Yotpo is great for lean teams because it allows brands to:

  • Showcase customer reviews—which is basically free marketing.
  • Leverage the power of peer-to-peer trust. People trust recommendations from their friends and family infinitely more than they trust brands, so you can use Yotpo to put this social proof front and center.
  • Create loyalty and reward programs to retain current customers and get new ones.

Pricing
Yotpo allows you to create a free account and upgrade as you go, with paid plans starting at $29 a month.

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4. Vyper

Contests, giveaways, and rewards programs

How They Describe Themselves
“Build viral campaigns that grow your email list, social following, and online revenue.”

Why We Think It’s Cool
Who doesn’t love games? Vyper uses gamification—think giveaways, sweepstakes, referral programs—to make potential customers more engaged and excited about your brand.

How it Helps Small Marketing Teams
Giveaways, contests, and referral campaigns are great (and inexpensive!) ways to grab user attention and rapidly grow your following. If you’ve never exchanged your email address for the chance to win an all-expenses-paid-for trip, then hats off to you! You’re probably in the minority.

Vyper allows marketers to gamify their funnel. Whether that’s helping a new brand launch a giveaway program to quickly attract new customers or helping an established brand communicate with an already-engaged audience to refer new people, there are a number of ways Vyper can help build an engaged audience, increase customer lifetime value, and drive revenue.

Pricing
The cost to get started with Vyper is far from prohibitive. Every plan is free to try out until you’re ready to launch your first campaign. From there, prices start at $34 a month.

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5. Bulk.ly  

Set-it-and-forget-it social media

How They Describe Themselves
“Bulkly is a social media automation tool that allows you to spend less time managing updates and more time engaging with your audience. It’s built with a minimal feature set that makes it easy for anyone to create truly ongoing social media updates within a few minutes. Once set up you never have to check it, reload it, or do any sort of management.”

Why We Think It’s Cool
You probably already know about Buffer. It’s a social media scheduling tool that allows you to automate your distribution across a variety of social platforms (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and so on). Its more obscure cousin, which you might not know about, is Bulkly—a tool that helps you easily and automatically fill your Buffer queue and keep it full of content.

How It Helps Small Marketing Teams
You don’t have hours each day to manually schedule social media posts—but consumers expect you to be active on social media. Bulkly does it for you.

With the “Recycle Posts” and “Shuffle Posts” features, there’s no need to constantly upload and re-upload the same content to your social media queue week in and week out. With Bulkly, you just need to set the frequency with which posts will be shuffled and shared, and you can set your social distribution calendar on autopilot indefinitely.

Word of caution: You need enough posts in your content library to not seem spammy. Nobody wants to see the same article shared every single day. And licensed content is a great way to quickly and inexpensively fill out your library.

Pricing
The Pro plan costs $12 per month and is perfect for entrepreneurs and small businesses that post a few times a day.

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Matcha logo

One to grow on: Matcha

Done-for-you content marketing

How We Describe Ourselves
“Matcha is a turnkey content solution that helps resource-strapped marketers to sustainably acquire, engage, and retain more customers. Combining software and services, Matcha is a holistic solution to the challenges of content production, distribution, and measurement.”

Why We Think We’re Cool
There are a lot of companies out there doing great work to solve the content marketing problem. But there aren’t a lot that: a) are serving small and medium-sized businesses to help them punch above their weight, or b) have access to a library of thousands of licensable articles that can be immediately published with the click of a button. We’re cool because we can save you countless hours on content production and distribution.

How We Help Small Marketing Teams
There are stats upon stats upon stats out there that prove content marketing is one of the most effective and efficient ways to build brand awareness and increase the number of potential customers in your funnel.

The question for small e-commerce marketers isn’t “Should I invest in content marketing?” It’s “How much content do I need, what types, and how can I effectively distribute it to the audiences I care about?”

Matcha helps lean teams answer these questions. Combining software and services, we offer a holistic solution to the challenges of content production, distribution, and measurement. And to top it off, our software also allows marketers to understand exactly how content influences revenue and affects your brand’s bottom line.

Pricing
We offer a variety of pricing options, depending on your brand’s needs. If you’re just starting out with content marketing, the Core Plan is for you; it’s $400 per month and provides access to 2 licensed articles and professionally-managed social media promotion. It’s a great introductory package for marketers hoping to drive new website visitors and build brand awareness.

The Advanced Plan is $1,200 per month and offers 5 licensed articles, plus 3 custom articles, which helps marketers create more branded content experiences to engage with potential customers. Finally, the Pro option is $2,400 per month and provides access to 12 licensed articles per month, plus 6 custom articles per year. The Pro option is great for slightly bigger brands who need always-on storytelling that’s personalized to a variety of different audience segments.

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There are seemingly infinite marketing tools out there, but you don’t have to max out your budget to build your tech stack. All the tools in this article are affordable for small businesses, and they have the potential to power serious growth for your company.

Want to learn how Matcha can work for you—or just talk tech in general? Give us a shout.

Feature image provided by Todd Quackenbush

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