Lantern Marketing is now part of Guide MKTG.  🎉  Read about the acquisition here.

11 Insanely Effective Marketing Tools for Small Businesses

As a small business owner, do you ever feel trapped between your never-ending to-do list and your suffocatingly small budget? You know you don’t have time to do it all on your own but hiring help isn’t always financially doable. If so, let me introduce you to these 11 insanely effective marketing tools for small businesses. These tools will maximize your marketing efforts and lighten your workload without draining your budget.

11 Digital Marketing Tools That Work

These digital marketing tools can help even the most cash-strapped small business owner pull off a successful marketing campaign.

1 Tool to Help You Manage Your Team

If you are out of the solopreneur stage, you may find yourself doing more project management than actual business management. This is one business tool that we honestly couldn’t live without.


At Guide MKTG, Asana is an essential part of our everyday life. We use this project management tool to help us keep track of all of our marketing activities, collaborate with contractors, and as our customer relationship management so that no one falls through the cracks.

Asana gives us access to everyone’s calendars, direct messaging, and keeps all of our tasks and projects in one place. It streamlines our processes and helps us stay organized.

There is a free version available for small businesses that are just dipping their toes into the project management side of running a small business and want to try it out.

3 Tools to Stay Connected with Your Audience

A huge part of running a business is building relationships. Unfortunately, relationships take time- the very thing you don’t have enough of. That’s where email marketing swoops in and saves the day.

Email marketing allows you to build relationships with potential and existing customers without having to reach out to each person individually. Studies show that email marketing is 40 times more effective than social media and has an ROI of $39 for every dollar spent.

Using email marketing is almost like adding a member to your sales team. To sweeten the deal, email marketing can work 24/7, meaning you can build relationships with potential customers in your sleep.

To add the power of email marketing to your digital marketing strategy, you need a quality email marketing platform. Here are a few of our favorite email marketing tools:


This is our go-to email marketing platform. It is a robust, easy-to-learn program that includes all the tools you need to set up automated email marketing campaigns. The tagging features are very intuitive, allowing you to customize your emails to where recipients are at on the buyer’s journey.

Small businesses can also sell their products or services directly through the platform, making it an email marketing software that could potentially pay for itself. Convertkit currently offers a 14-day free trial and a free plan for up to 300 subscribers.


If you’re working with a small budget and only need basic email capabilities, MailChimp may be a good fit for you. Their free plan allows you to send up to 1,000 emails a month. As your business and needs grow, you can select more advanced plans to grow with you.


If you want an email marketing program that does more than just email, Active Campaign may be the solution for you. Within this platform, you can not only send automated emails and segment your subscribers, but you can also track leads, send text messages to clients and set up filters to help you automate pieces of your sales process.

It is more of a customer relationship management program than just an email marketing tool. With increased functionality comes increased cost but for small businesses who deal with a lot of scheduling and appointments, it may be worth the higher price point.

Bonus Tips:

-If you’re not quite sure how sending emails is going to make you money, read this post about how nurture emails boost sales.

-If you have no idea what to write about in emails to clients, use this system to brainstorm a year’s worth of email marketing ideas in an hour or less.

And, if you hate writing, so everything about using email marketing in your small business makes you cringe, scroll to the end of this post for the ultimate solution.

4 Tools that Make Writing Easier

No matter what industry you are in, running a small business requires a heck of a lot of writing. From emails to ads, words are what lead people to your business and compel them to take action.

If writing isn’t your thing, here are a few tools for small businesses that can help even the most reluctant writer get past the blank page.

Open AI

Although there are tons of AI tools out there, Open AI, also known as Chat GPT, is likely the most well-known because it is free and very easy to use. All you have to do is type a prompt in the chat box and AI creates a starting point for your content marketing copy.

AI is a valuable marketing tool for small businesses because it helps you get past the blank page and start generating ideas. However, we do not recommend taking the AI-generated response and using it as is. AI is a tool, not the easy button for all your content needs.

AI generates mediocre content that is often full of bias and false information. Not only that, publishing copy straight from an AI generator could put you at legal risk.

After generating content with AI, at the very least you’ll want to edit it to ensure the content sounds like you, using your tone and voice. You will also want to fact-check any AI-generated facts.

Since AI pulls information from the internet, it tends to make up or share false statistics. To avoid adding even more fake news to the internet, do your due diligence and make sure your content is accurate before you hit publish.

At the end of the day, AI is a tool to help you write but you can’t rely on AI to do all the work for you.

CoSchedule Headline Studio

Digital marketers know that headlines are the most important piece of anything you create. If you don’t have a catchy headline or subject line, people won’t click. No clicks= no conversions.

Writing catchy headlines takes work. In fact, we spend more time agonizing over headlines than anything else we write. Thankfully, this digital marketing tool can help take some of the mystery out of great headlines.

In CoSchedule’s Headline Studio, you type in a headline and then get a color-coated score. The better the headline, the higher the score. In the free version, you can see an analysis of what you could do to improve your headline. The paid version offers ideas to help make your headline better, like a word bank and AI-generated options.


Let’s be honest, very few of us enjoyed learning grammar rules and analyzing sentences in high school. In case you blocked out those terribly dull classes, Grammarly exists to remind you of all those dreaded grammar rules. It will catch any spelling and basic grammar errors and give you recommendations to write clearly and concisely.

Hemmingway App

The Hemmingway App is kind of like Grammarly on steroids. This app covers the basics and then goes a step above, highlighting passive voice and hard-to-read sentences.

Another perk of using the Hemmingway App is that you can easily export your text as a Word document, PDF, or HTML for a webpage or blog post. The app will take care of the formatting for you.

3 Tools That Help You Design Like a Pro

You know that phrase, “Don’t judge a book by its cover”? It’s a nice idea but it isn’t a realistic goal to strive for.

Our brains are wired to judge books by their cover. Your business only has about 5 seconds to make a great first impression before a potential customer will walk out the door or click away from your website.

That means you NEED quality design if you want your small business to succeed. Professional-looking design helps you create a memorable brand, reach customers, and gain more time to communicate your message effectively. If you aren’t a professional designer, these marketing tools can help you create the eye-catching designs you need.


Canva is an amazing digital marketing tool for those without any design experience. The program is incredibly user-friendly and offers a huge library of customizable templates for all your small business needs. The free version gives you access to the majority of the design tools but you will have to pay for some of the images.

In the premium plan, you have access to the full image library. You can also save your branding colors and fonts so that they are easy to access. More recently Canva developed the option to create and publish a one-page webpage within their platform.

Adobe Creative Cloud

Adobe Creative Cloud includes advanced digital marketing tools like Photoshop and Adobe Stock for your design needs. Although some of the Adobe programs are harder to learn than Canva, they offer more robust options housed between the different apps.

Envato Elements

If you are in search of royalty-free images, fonts, and music, Envato Elements is the solution for you. This monthly subscription gives you access to more than 14 million creative assets so that you can stand out from the crowd without breaking the budget.

With these marketing tools for small businesses, you will finally have the support you need to create effective marketing campaigns on a small budget.

However, there is one problem that these small business marketing tools can’t completely solve: lack of time.

Although these digital marketing tools are great, you’ll still have to set aside valuable hours to create your content marketing materials.

The Ultimate Marketing Tool for Small Business Owners

If you’d rather spend those hours working on the parts of your business you enjoy, contact Guide MKTG today. We’re like the Swiss Army Knife of all things marketing.

We will write your content, design your website, and help you clarify your business messaging so that you can reach customers using marketing strategies that work. Up your content marketing game with Guide MKTG as your marketing guide.


Recent Articles

Mastering the Inbox: 9 Effective Email Copywriting Tips

Crafting emails that get opened and compel your target audience to take action requires skill, strategy, and a touch of creativity. For marketers, knowing how to write email marketing campaigns that get results is not an asset—it's a necessity. These nine effective...

The Ultimate Guide to Balancing Creativity vs Clarity in Marketing

There's an age-old debate nestled at the core of every marketing campaign: creativity vs clarity. Which one matters more? Argue all you want but I'm convinced it's not actually an either/or argument. Creativity and clarity aren't at odds with each other, they are an...

Would you like free marketing tips to help you grow your business?

You May Also Like…

Frustrated with Marketing?

Strategic marketing takes more that an inactive social account, set-it-and-forget-it Google ads, and messy messaging. Sign up for our weekly marketing tips to take your marketing to the next level.


Sign me up!