By Danni Eickenhorst
Here at Centerco, we are lucky to have an amazing entrepreneurial economy. I help the attorney down the hall with IT and he fixes my traffic tickets. I give marketing advice to the gal downstairs and she shares her professional advice with me. Throughout my last year here, as the resident marketer, I’ve dispensed a ton of marketing advice to my fellow resident entrepreneurs. Along the way, I’ve realized that there are some incredible tools all small business owners (with some degree of computer literacy) can master. I challenge you to take them on in 2015 and to watch your business grow.
I recommend Canva to folks several times a week. This site has saved me innumerable hours and made my work look exponentially better. As a small business owner, I have to be a Jack-of-all-trades, but still want to feel like a master of some. After years and years of hours invested in Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator for even the smallest of designs, finding Canva was a miracle. This drag-and-drop tool makes graphic design a breeze. With pre-made layouts and a library of more than 1,000,000 stock photos, you can craft Facebook timeline covers, infographics, Powerpoint presentations and more – with a clean, professional look. Most projects you make will be free – if you choose to use a stock photo, you may pay a dollar. I’ve seen both elementary schoolers and tech-leery seniors design gorgeous projects in mere minutes.
This free tool allows you to market with every email. The free version easily plugs into your Chrome browser and works with most mainstream email platforms – including Gmail, Yahoo and AOL. The tool allows for consistent branding across all company emails, and allows for easy promotion of upcoming events, product launches and promotions with a few clicks of a mouse. The paid version starts at $4 per month, and offers more social media interaction.
Yoast SEO Plugin
If you utilize WordPress for your company website, download this plugin. Google’s ever-changing algorithms can be hard to follow, and as a small business owner, studying Search Engine Optimization may not be your first priority. This plugin allows you to optimize every page and post of your site with ease. It guides you through some basic principles and once you do your best, it grades your optimization with a green light (good), yellow light (you can do better) or a red light (try again!). I use this plugin religiously for clients that want some level of help with their marketing – but who choose to manage their website day-to-day. It gives me the satisfaction of knowing that their SEO needs are being addressed, and it saves them time and money daily by eliminating the need for a professional SEO on staff.
This browser plugin connects email and social media with your email platform. The plugin allows for one-click connection and scans your email interactions to cross-populate your email and social media contacts into your marketing customer relationship manager tools and Mailchimp email marketing. Rather than copying, pasting, creating duplicate contacts and removing those duplicates, save time by installing this tool, which offers a 2-week free trial, to sync Mailchimp, Google Drive, Salesforce, Pipedrive and more.
This site makes it possible to find gorgeous free stock imagery. Finding compelling imagery can be time consuming and expensive, if you’re considering royalties and copyright use. Stock photos are delivered to your inbox weekly, are high definition and free for use.
Danni Eickenhorst is the President & Senior Strategist for Blank Page Marketing, a St. Louis-based digital marketing agency, based at Centerco. She is a board member of Social Media Club and specializes in empowering small businesses and non-profits to excel at social and digital media.