Marketing a small business product or service can be hard work at each step along the way. The first challenge here is the budget – most businesses of this size are bootstrapped and the average marketing automation tool is priced well over the budget that such businesses can afford. Another big challenge here is the learning curve required. Enterprise marketing tools require a significant level of integration and customization in order to work well and small businesses simply do not have the resources nor the expertise to get going. In this article, we will take a look at some tools that are built with the small business marketer in mind and how they can be useful to reach out to customers.


An average business has at least three different marketing channels. This includes email, cold calls, SMS marketing and even fliers. Hubbion is an all-in-one marketing channel that lets businesses reach out to customers over multiple channels like SMS, voice, email, fax and even post. The best thing about this service is that it is pay-as-you-go. What this means is that there are no expensive monthly subscriptions to pay for. The average SMS campaign starts at ¢3 per message while email messages start at ¢2.3. Hubbion also lets you pick your own dedicated phone number or shortcode and voice messages through the platform start at ¢4 per call.


HootSuite requires no introduction among online marketers. This is a tool that lets marketers manage multiple social media profiles at one place and also lets them schedule posts. If you are tight on budget, HootSuite has a free plan that lets users handle up to three profiles. Anything above that requires a paid subscription that is quite affordable as well. Small business marketers who do not need many frills and are happy posting on Facebook, Twitter and perhaps Instagram could make do with just the free plan.


Designing an online banner or a flier to distribute locally does not have to be expensive. With Canva, it is now possible to create high quality banners and fliers for little to no cost. All the image editing features on Canva is free to use and they only charge a nominal dollar or two for premium images used in your projects. Canva is also easy to learn which makes it apt for small business marketers without Photoshop skills.


Word of mouth referrals continue to be the most effective forms of marketing. A recent study showed that nearly 84% of global consumers rely on references from friends and family while making purchases. But while there are a lot of referral marketing tools for online businesses, there are not many for offline small businesses. ReferralRock is a tool that comes with offline tracking tools that let businesses track and reward customers who are not online and yet help spread the word about the business. The only bummer here is that this does not come cheap and the lowest priced plan is at $125/month. If this is not something you can afford, you could launch your own referral program by letting your customers use their mobile numbers as referral codes.


If you are a local business, then you might have inevitably received a call from the likes of Yext that help your business manage your business listings across a plethora of listing sites from one place. The only trouble here is that Yext can be quite pricey and not just that, they are known to remove your listings when your subscription ends. For a bootstrapped business, this can be an expensive deal. But if you are absolutely in need of a listings management tool, check out alternatives like Synup that do almost the same thing for far less cost. At $25 per month per location (that’s $300 per year), Synup can do things that can cost as much as $1000 on Yext. If you have multiple locations, the savings on Synup can add up quite fast.