You own a business, plan on bootstrapping your own small business marketing efforts, and don't want to get deep in the weeds? No problem. It’s easier than ever for small business owners to take their marketing into their own hands.
This list of 2018's top resources is here for you. (They’re also extremely helpful for consultants looking to help their small business clients.)
The Best Small Business Marketing Blogs
1. Duct Tape Marketing
This blog is all about keeping information simple, actionable, and easy to understand. It's aimed squarely at business owners.
2. Small Business Trends
The marketing section of this blog is jam-packed with plenty of ideas to help you get your small business seen.
3. Thrive Hive
If you're looking for a blog which will give you some basics without drowning you in detail, Thrive Hive's blog is a good place to start. The posts are actionable and aimed squarely at beginners.
4. The Vertical Response Blog
You'll find both blog posts and webinars here, along with plenty of easy-to-implement tips and tricks.
5. Trends and Insights from American Express
Head to the marketing section of this site to find high-quality contributions from journalists that take no more than 3 to 5 minutes to read.
The Best Small Business Marketing Articles
Some truly useful posts end up on other blogs and websites too. Here are a few of my favorites.
How to Learn Digital Marketing for Free: 2018 Updated Guide - I love this resource-rich post. I especially love how it breaks down every element of digital marketing, explains it, and points you towards a comprehensive list of everything you'll need to hit the ground running with it. Whether you're a small business owner or consultant, you can use this roundup to cover the basics since they speak to beginners. You don't need to be an expert to benefit from analytics, email or social media marketing for your small biz!
10 Ultimate DIY Marketing Tools for Startups - Pretty much as advertised on the tin, but the author did a good job of offering a tool solution for just about every digital marketing activity you'd need to engage in. The appeal for many of these tools are that they're free and affordable for small businesses.
12 Online Marketing Courses that Will Pay Off - Prefer to take a structured class? There are thousands to choose from, but Ahrefs has vetted some of the most useful ones, complete with descriptions and screenshots.
22 Low-Budget Marketing Ideas for Small Business - Most small businesses don't have vast marketing budgets, so I love this (updated for 2018) list which gives you a lot of free or low-cost options and ideas to choose from.
2018 Content Marketing Toolkit: Tips, Templates, and Checklists - If you are currently just kind of publishing content randomly to your blog, or aren't publishing content at all, this is the post you'll want to read. It gives you a step-by-step guide and plenty of tools for creating a bona fide, profitable content marketing strategy.
How to Create Facebook Content Fans Love to Share - If you've got absolutely no idea what to post on your Facebook page this is the post for you. Facebook has become an incredibly effective channel for small business owners to get their digital marketing campaigns going. It's got tons of ideas on how you can get started.
The Ultimate Small Business Guide to Digital Marketing ROI - 45% of SMBs don't measure the ROI of their digital marketing efforts. Don't be one of them. Get this step-by-step guide to make sure you know the value of all the time and effort you're putting in.
The Best Small Business Marketing Tools
There are literally hundreds of thousands of digital marketing tools out there. Many are aimed at digital marketing professionals who are really deep in the weeds with this stuff.
So, "best" is relative. We always recommend that you check out software review sites like G2 Crowd or Capterra and do your own due diligence.
Below you'll find an easy, affordable list of tools that will help you get started as you bootstrap your marketing platform. Obviously, I recommend Grade.us for your review management needs. 😉
Google My Business - If you really are starting with no marketing budget, i.e., you don't even have a domain and a website yet, setting up your GMB listing is essential. You can even get your own free Google website set up for nothing.
Buffer App - I featured it on my social media resource article, but I like it so much I'm going to talk about it here, too. Because it's super easy, super intuitive, and makes scheduling your social media posts a snap.
BuzzSumo - Helps to solve the problem of "what sort of content should I create?" You'll be able to see the most-shared content for any keyword. Great source of inspiration.
Ubersuggest - A very nice (and free) keyword research tool by Neil Patel. It has an ability to help you find keywords it'll be easier to rank for, which is extremely helpful.
Rankhacker - A powerful tool that will analyze your competition, then help you build a content marketing strategy meant to outmaneuver them.
Moz Local - I covered this one in my local SEO resources post, but this is another one worth mentioning here, too. Check all your directory listings in a single spot so you can optimize for local search results.
MailChimp - This autoresponder and mail service provider is a great tool for setting up your email campaigns. It's easy to use and you can integrate it with Wordpress in a matter of seconds.
The Top Small Business Marketing Experts
Follow these folks to keep improving your marketing game.
Neil Patel - He's probably one of the most quoted digital marketing experts. Pick out any 10 digital marketing articles and my highly unscientific count says he's probably going to be mentioned in at least three of them, if not more. He's all about teaching people how to grow their businesses.
Jay Baer - President of Convince and Convert, and the author of several digital marketing books aimed squarely at business owners. His recommendations are easy to follow and implement.
Gary Vaynerchuk - Gary was a guy with his own small business. He sold wine. He unlocked a killer content marketing formula (or, as he calls it, got rich by giving lots of free advice). Now he's the CEO of Vayner Media and Vayner Sports. He still gives lots of killer free advice, only now lots of it is aimed at entrepreneurs and small business owners.
Heidi Cohen - Author of the Actionable Marketing Guide. Her twitter feed is jam-packed with even more actionable tips on the subject of content and social media marketing.
Anita Campbell - Digital marketing isn't voodoo. But a lot of people do make it sound close. Anita Campbell isn't one of them. Straightforward, easy to understand, with lots of actionable tips to share.
Brian Moran - The host of The Small Business Edge, a podcast dedicated to helping small-to-midsize businesses succeed. Follow his twitter feed to stay on top of the latest episodes.
The Best Small Business Marketing Whitepapers, Webinars, Ebooks, and Other Longform Resources
Look to these resources when you're ready to take your marketing game to the next level.
The One-Page Guide to Effective Local SEO - If you'd like to handle your digital marketing by literally running down a list then this is a great place to start. Each list item points you to even more resources where you can learn about each step.
The Small Business Guide to Social Media Marketing - A lot of business owners flounder and do a lot of social media guesswork. This book helps you convert all that guesswork into a winning social strategy.
Triple Your Sales Through Digital Marketing - This on-demand webinar uses real examples from other small businesses who are successfully using digital marketing to grow their revenue.
How to Maintain Messaging Consistency Across Multiple Marketing Channels - This hour-long webinar brings some industry hard-hitters together to tackle this incredibly important topic. Watch this before you solidify any strategies!
How to Grow Your Business With Digital Marketing Analytics - Analytics can be extremely intimidating if you've never interacted with them before. This webinar will help you get a grasp on them.
Did I miss any resources, tools, or experts that you love? Let us know in the comments below!