6 Tools Every Small Business Marketing Manager Should Use

Nik Nelson

Nik Nelson

Founder & CEO, OpenBox Strategies

Plenty of SMBs hire recent marketing and comms grads and give them broad titles like “Digital Marketing Manager,” tasked with ethereal demands like “doing social media” and managing a website. For those firms still struggling to keep up on digital, there’s often desperation to get everything right all at once, and the Internet, where everything is democratized and plenty of resources are free (after all, it doesn’t cost anything to create a Facebook page), becomes this new hire’s domain.

The broadly undefined “digital marketing manager”

From creating blogs and articles to designing infographics to shooting videos and placing Google ads, legacy management structures see this broadly as “internet stuff,” and assignments are usually precluded with the dubious phrase, “Can’t you just…?” It’s as if, because the completed project isn’t tangible, able to be held in the supervisor’s hands, a digital marketing professional flicks a magic wand and materializes creative assets effortlessly. The truth is, even writing 140-character social media posts takes time, careful thought, and a cohesive strategy.

digital marketing manager tools and resources

Digital marketing professionals feeling this pain should know they’re not alone, and can use a variety of tools to make their jobs easier, create great creative assets, and get the most out of often limited budgets and resources.

  1. $5 Fixes
    There are tons of freelance networks where the work is done quickly and affordably. A favorite at OpenBox is Fiverr, which can handle everything from graphic design to copywriting, and even execution of high-level digital projects. Even if the company hasn’t allocated a budget, they can certainly swing $5 a few times a month to save you hours of time.
  2. Automation
    Every great website works to capture visitor information before they leave. The Gold Standard is an email address, so you can continue to talk to those people even after they leave and stay top of mind. When committing to a multi-week e-mail campaign may feel overwhelming, setting up a triggered waterfall email might be just the ticket. Be sure you’re using an email deployment system that allows automation. Then, write a series of emails, sent on a schedule you determine, with predetermined content. It’s the Showtime Roaster of digital marketing: set it and forget it.
  3. Reporting
    When demands on your time are high, be sure you’re allocating your hours as effectively as possible. Look at engagement goals and real metrics, and if certain platforms aren’t delivering the return you desire, either double down to get it where it needs to be or decide to abandon it. Just like a website is useless if no one’s visiting it, a social media campaign is pointless if no one is seeing your posts. Use reporting to validate what’s working, what isn’t, and be prepared to use hard numbers to present your case to supervisors.
  4. Start small
    Sometimes the pros really put tremendous resources into the latest and greatest trend. Not only do they have a podcast, with professional microphones and well-produced music beds, but they’re also capturing it on video and distributing it to social channels (a perfect example of repurposing content, by the way). Don’t let this discourage you from getting started. Begin with a USB mic and a Handycam to validate the idea, and once it takes off, use that foundation to argue for a larger budget. Even if production quality isn’t Spielbergesque, as long as the content is great, people will watch and listen.
  5. Write and report about what you know
    When you’re an authority on a topic, the writing comes effortlessly. In the interest of limiting barriers to getting started, focus on your own strengths. The rest will follow. And if you’re new to a business and its trade, ask to spend some time in the field to get first-hand experience — and then write about all the things you learned as your first post. Once you adopt a journalistic mindset to content production, you’re well on your way.
  6. Use a great CMS
    Be sure your website Content Management System is flexible and scalable, as well as intuitive for you and those on your team. If it’s too cumbersome to quickly create new landing pages, post and optimize content, and embed multimedia, you’re wasting valuable time. A website infrastructure that is easily manageable should be the company’s first investment.