Digital Marketing Tools. Pic by Dennis Skley

Top Marketing Tools (to be your own Marketing Agency)

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With a list of the right marketing tools, it's possible to be your own best small business marketer and SEO - without having to hire an expensive digital marketing agency.

In fact, online marketing isn't too difficult to learn so long as you benefit from the valuable insight, contacts, and cost savings the top marketing tools provide.

With fierce competition in almost every online sector, and the massive changes to search in recent years, it is now more important for businesses to become dynamic and responsive. That's why this article highlights some of the more unique and useful tools and services that can boost traffic and conversions leading to increased profits .

1. SEO (with SEMRush)

SEMRush SEO Tools

SEMRush serves over 1 million users and provides competitive insights into 45 million domains and over 120 million search keywords.

SEMRush does something that Google Analytics and Search console don't - provide analytical SEO data on competing websites. It's a vital tool in your armoury if you intend to compete for organic search traffic from Google because it can shed light on what competitors are doing to get new backlinks, who's giving them backlinks and how well they are performing in the search results.

In particular, they have a powerful set of reports and metrics that can help to ensure you understand how well your content competes with the competition, and what they do (or don't do) to capture first page rankings in Google SERPs.

Try it right now, for free.

A great option if you value having a single, unified resource to do all your SEO research in one place.

2. Email Marketing (with AWeber)

AWeber Email Marketing Tools

AWeber facilitates over 100 000 small business email campaigns.

AWeber is an incredibly popular email marketing platform for SMBs because of it's slick, easy-to-use interface and wide range of integrations with 3rd party apps (such as your online store, blog, Facebook page, etc) that make growing a super valuable list relatively painless.

Emailing seems to have taken a bit of a backseat as of late - what with sexier ways to promote with mobile and social undergoing huge growth. But email isn't dead - it's just that there are other options to look at in addition to it.

And, there's a good reason why email marketing with AWeber is more popular than ever... it works!

Make sure you grow your list for an effective and sustainable sales channel in the years to come.

3. Social Media Marketing (with HootSuite)

HootSuite Social Media Marketing Tools

Hootsuite is the world's most widely used social relationship platform with over 15 million users.

Social media has quickly become part of the fabric of online business. Whether you are blogging or selling, the traffic and customers driving your profits can be grown using one or more of the major social networks. To run a social media campaign for business requires tools that help you understand the audience and create better engagement with them.

As you probably know, even the mighty Google has tightly integrated social signals into its results. As a result, businesses need to start building social influence in order to remain competitive online over the medium to long term.

HootSuite helps you to save time and effort by managing all your social media profiles from one convenient location. Plenty of tools and support help you get the most from social.

4. Amazon Marketing (with RT500 Enterprise)

Amazon Marketing Tools

RT500 Enterprise provides accurate, hourly sales and price data for over 5000 entrepreneurs around the world.

Ever wanted to take a peek at the sales figures of your competitors? Offhand, I couldn't think why anyone wouldn't want to. It could tell you not only how much they are selling, but how they are driving those sales.

PoS (Point of Sale) data is available from companies like Nielsen, but this is hugely expensive. For a few dollars a month, RT500 Enterprise will track the sales rank of any product sold on Amazon, anywhere in the world, and generate good sales estimates from that data.

It may not be 100% accurate, but you get far more valuable sales insight and analysis than the tiny price tag would suggest. Here's a sample price chart showing the fluctuations in price for a popular book, entitled "The Lean Startup":

The Lean Startup Amazon Price Chart

Because RT500 is an hourly tracker it is far more accurate than other sites that only grab one or two data points per day.

5. Online PR (with HARO)

Online PR with HARO

HARO connects brands with over 35 000 journalists via more than 50 000 journalist queries each year.

Help A Reporter Out (HARO) is a platform for journalists and other publishers to get expert commentary and insights from industry experts (i.e. you and me).

It's a fantastic way to build backlinks and referrals from high quality blogs and media publishers, as well as establish and grow relationships with influencers in your niche. I would go so far to say that answering queries sent out by journalists should form part of all small business marketing mixes.

Those are my favourite Internet marketing tools. What services and tools do you use? What success have you had? Are there any new tools that should features in this list?

I recently did a one hour consultation with Stephen Conroy, the owner of cong IT in New York.

Stephen had requested a meeting to give him a feel for what he should be doing in order to promote his new business.

We chatted on Skype and at the end of the hour had covered quite a lot of ground. Poor Stephen had his ear bent by me for most of that time.

But it occurred to me that seeing a real-life consultation that deals not only with good practice (predominantly Internet based, in this case), but also shows the other side of the coin - interaction and thoughts from the business owner himself - might be really interesting to everyone else.

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Fortunately the Internet is full of the "right people" just waiting to place an order. But your message has to find them in the right place in the right way.

That's why it pays to think creatively about marketing instead of following the pack and doing the same old "tried and tested" things.

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The first time I started an online business I spent the vast majority of my time actually creating the service.

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Check out this list of ten great hyperlocal marketing strategies, by Carlo Pandian, that can help to drive local consumers to your site.

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This is good news for smaller businesses that are prepared to use social media correctly, because it levels the playing field for those without endless budgets.