9 Powerful Marketing Tools for Small Businesses

As a small business owner, one of the biggest keys to creating a successful marketing strategy is choosing the right digital marketing tools.

While large organizations may be able to afford a “spray and pray” approach to leveraging marketing tools, small business owners with limited budgets have to be a lot choosier when it comes to their marketing efforts and the tools they purchase.

Thankfully, we are here to help you choose the tools that will best fit your small business needs! In this list, we’ll cover nine of the top marketing tools for small businesses and the important factors you need to consider when building a marketing software tech stack for your small business.

1. Best marketing tool for generating QR Codes: QR Code Generator

QR Codes serve as a bridge between physical and digital marketing materials, making it easy to direct customers to your website, landing pages, sign-up forms, or other online resources.

There are an abundance of ways for small businesses to leverage QR Codes in marketing campaigns, such as:

  • An email directing customers to an RSVP page for an event.

  • Putting QR Codes in direct mail advertisements that will send them to your product page.

Best of all, QR Codes also make it easy to track customer interactions such as scans and conversion rates for data that enables A/B testing and continuous improvement of your digital marketing strategy.

With QR Code Generator, you can easily create custom QR Codes, access detailed metrics and insights, and manage all of your codes from a single, user-friendly Dashboard.

By making it easy for anyone to create QR Codes, distribute them, and track their performance, QR Code Generator empowers business owners to unlock the potential of these versatile marketing tools.

To start elevating your marketing efforts with custom QR Codes, sign up for a free trial of QR Code Generator today!

Key features

  • Customize QR Codes with your logo, brand colors, unique patterns, frames, and more

  • Generate QR Codes for both online and physical marketing materials

  • Get real-time engagement metrics via a convenient Dashboard


QR Code Generator offers five pricing packages:

  • 14-day free trial

  • Starter: $9.99/month

  • Advanced: $15.99/month

  • Professional: $46.99/month

  • Enterprise: Custom pricing

2. Best marketing tool for content marketing: Ahrefs

Content marketing is one of the best ways to improve the search ranking of your business website. It is also excellent for educating potential customers and passively promoting your brand.

One essential element of effective content marketing is keyword research. If you would like to improve your website’s search engine optimization (SEO), populating your content with targeted keywords is a necessity.

With Ahrefs, you can perform advanced keyword research to identify ones worth targeting based on criteria such as:

  • Relevance

  • Search volume

  • Competition

This simplifies one of the more time-consuming steps of content creation and makes your pages more discoverable for your target audience.

Key features

  • Site explorer for analyzing backlinks, organic search traffic, and keywords for any website

  • Competitor analysis tools for seeing what keywords they are ranking for

  • Keyword explorer to help you choose the ideal words for your website and blog content


Ahrefs offers four pricing plans:

  • Lite: $99/month

  • Standard: Starting at $199/month

  • Advanced: Starting at $399/month

  • Enterprise: Starting at $999/month

3. Best email marketing tool: Mailchimp

Some may consider email marketing outdated, but the reality is that email marketing campaigns remain as effective as ever. In fact, 56% of companies are actually planning to increase their email marketing budget in 2023.

Mailchimp is an email marketing platform that streamlines the process of creating, launching, and monitoring email campaigns. It includes features such as:

  • Email templates for speeding up the design process.

  • Segmentation tools for delivering personalized content to your subscribers based on their interests and demographics.

  • Advanced reporting/analytics tools for monitoring the results of your campaigns.

This allows small business owners to unlock the potential of email marketing in a way that is streamlined and efficient.

Key features

  • Generative AI tools that help you write compelling email content

  • Email marketing automation tools for automatically launching sequences based on customer behavior

  • Advanced segmentation for managing your subscriber list and personalizing content


Mailchimp offers four pricing plans:

  • Free

  • Essentials: Starts at $13/month

  • Standard: Starts at $20/month

  • Premium: Starts at $350/month

4. Best marketing tool for analytics: Google Analytics

Analyzing your web traffic and the results of your ad campaigns is a vital part of continually optimizing your marketing efforts. Thankfully, Google provides a free-to-use analytics tool that allows you to uncover powerful insights about your website visitors.

Google Analytics provides convenient access to valuable, real-time data regarding traffic sources, visitor behavior, conversions, page views, and more. You can then use this information to improve your business website and marketing campaigns.

Key features

  • Custom reports and dashboards that allow you to focus on the metrics that are most important to your business

  • Real-time visitor tracking

  • Site content analysis to see which pages on your website are performing best


Google Analytics is free to use.

5. Best SMS marketing tool: Bitly

SMS messages have an open rate of 98%, making them almost five times more likely to actually be opened and read than emails. If you want to make use of a marketing channel that is sure to get the attention of your potential customers, it’s hard to beat a number like that!

One tool that is a necessity for SMS marketing is Bitly. One of the things you can do with Bitly is create shortened, branded URLs that are ideal for SMS marketing. Your marketing team can then use Bitly to automatically track the performance of these links so that you can take a data-based approach to optimize your SMS campaigns.

Key features

  • Shorten links so they don’t take up valuable character count

  • Create custom domains and link back-halves to show customers the link is from a trusted source

  • Use the API to programmatically generate short branded links at scale


Bitly offers five pricing packages that each include the Bitly URL shortener as well as a QR Code generator and Link-in-bio tools:

  • Free

  • Core: $8/month

  • Growth: $29/month

  • Premium: $199/month

  • Enterprise: Custom pricing

6. Best CRM tool for small businesses: Zoho CRM

Closing the deal with a potential customer tends to require a lot of nurturing. If you want to manage your relationships with your customers and nurture them throughout the sales cycle, using a customer relationship management (CRM) platform such as Zoho CRM is a great option.

With Zoho CRM, you’ll be able to:

  • Organize, segment, and manage the leads you capture.

  • Create automated customer relationship management workflows.

  • Manage sales pipelines.

  • Predict sales and expected close dates.

This lets you create a streamlined (and largely automated) process for nurturing leads and managing customer relationships.

Key features

  • Streamlined and organized contact management

  • Automated CRM workflows

  • Visual representations of sales pipelines


Zoho CRM offers four pricing plans:

  • Standard: $14/user/month

  • Professional: $23/user/month

  • Enterprise: $40/user/month

  • Ultimate: $52/user/month

7. Best design marketing tool: Canva

Eye-catching graphics and professional designs are a big part of what makes marketing materials stand out. However, unless you are a talented graphic designer, creating professional designs as a small business owner will require you to use the right design tool.

With Canva, business owners can create a wide range of eye-catching graphics and designs using their impressive library of templates and simple drag-and-drop commands.

This enables them to design emails, social media posts, flyers, and any number of other marketing materials in a way that is sure to command attention.

Key features

  • Over 100 million templates, stock photos, videos, audio, graphics, and more

  • AI-powered design tools for spurring creativity

  • Collaboration tools


Canva offers three pricing plans:

  • Canva Free

  • Canva Pro: $119.99/year

  • Canva for Teams: $300/year

8. Best project management marketing tool: Jira

Planning, executing, and managing a marketing campaign can amount to a major undertaking. To manage your marketing projects efficiently, it’s helpful to use a high-quality project management tool.

Jira is a platform designed for agile project management, making it a popular choice among IT and software development teams. However, it is also excellent for managing small business marketing projects as well.

Thanks to features such as customizable project workflows, detailed reporting, and rules/triggers for automating repetitive tasks and processes, Jira makes it easy to keep your marketing projects organized and on track.

Key features

  • Customizable reports for tracking project progress

  • Customizable workflows for breaking projects down into bite-size tasks

  • Built-in automation rule templates for automating repetitive tasks


Jira offers four pricing plans:

  • Free

  • Standard: $7.75/user/month

  • Premium: $15.25/user/month

  • Enterprise: Custom pricing 

9. Best social media marketing tool: Buffer

Social media can be a gold mine for small business owners looking to reach new customers. However, creating, scheduling, and publishing social media posts that will actually drive engagement is often easier said than done. This is where Buffer can help.

Key features

  • Dashboard for scheduling and managing posts

  • Detailed analytics on post performance

  • Ability to reply to comments and messages from a unified dashboard

  • AI assistant to help you generate high-quality posts


Buffer offers four pricing plans:

  • Free

  • Essentials: $6/month

  • Team: $12/month

  • Agency: $120/month

Boost your marketing efforts with QR Codes today

Leveraging the right tools can take your small business marketing efforts to new heights. There are plenty of powerful options to help you reach new customers and grow your business.

One way you can improve your small business marketing campaigns is with QR Codes. With QR Code Generator, you can create custom QR Codes for use in digital or print marketing materials, manage them from a user-friendly Dashboard, and measure engagement for valuable insights into customer behavior.

Sign up for a free trial of QR Code Generator PRO today to see how QR Codes can revolutionize your small business marketing!

Trupti Desai

Trupti Desai is Bitly’s Senior Director of Growth Marketing. She has over 10 years of experience working in B2B and B2C marketing roles spanning the UK and the US. A key part of the marketing strategy at Bitly, Trupti elevates global teams with her expertise and insights and was notably a speaker at the Digital Marketing World Forum. You can connect with Trupti on LinkedIn.

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