Our Favorite Marketing Tools for Small Businesses

At WR Digital Marketing, we are dedicated to being as tool-agnostic as possible.

If we’re not familiar with a tool and the learning curve is too steep, we’ll refer you elsewhere. But most tools are easy for our team to quickly learn because, well, that’s what we do for a living!

Asking small businesses to move their efforts around just because we prefer one tool over another doesn’t make sense. And we firmly believe the best tool is the tool that will actually be used. If you’re already comfortable somewhere, we’ll meet you there.

We also do not take advantage of any affiliate programs, accept commission fees, or earn referral fees for recommending marketing tools. And we never will.

We believe that if we have the incentive to push one tool over another, that runs counter to our mission to support small businesses. We’d rather be a reliable source for the pros and cons of what’s available on the market today.

The same goes for referring businesses or individuals. We only recommend companies and people we believe in. Because we know good recommendations make us more valuable to the small businesses we support!

All that being said… we do have our favorites!

You will need to enlist the help of a professional to get your website set up if you plan to use WordPress. It’s not a DIY platform. That’s the bad news.

Here’s why we like it for small businesses anyway.

Your website is a crucial hub for your marketing — online and offline — so you should invest in having a professional create it. And if you ask them to use Elementor builder with WordPress, it will still be easy to make basic changes to your website yourself going forward. You won’t need to pay a developer every time you need to add a blog post or make a text change. 

Just as importantly, WordPress websites will grow with your business. You won’t run into any situation where you need to move to a new platform because your website doesn’t have the functionality you need. Instead, you can just install one of the countless plugins available. This is decidedly not the case with DIY options.

Plus, you’ll have access to robust analytics through Google and whatever other tool you want to use, instead of being handcuffed by the limited analytics of platforms like SquareSpace.

We like MailerLite because it is a robust, easy-to-use tool with a low price.

Unlike MailChimp, MailerLite offers all the essential features you need — like scheduling campaigns and organizing your audience — in their free plan. And for just $9/mo, you can unlock even more useful features, like auto-resend, which can help get more people to open your emails without requiring extra time or money.

Most importantly, MailerLite boasts a strong reputation in email deliverability. That means messages are more likely to reach your recipients’ inbox — instead of getting weeded out by spam filters.

Most small businesses don’t need a full-blown CRM. What they really need is an easy way to remember to follow up with contacts. 

With HubSpot and Salesforce, people get excited about all the bells and whistles, but in the end, they simply don’t have the time to learn how to use them. So they get the tool set up… and then it sits unused.

Monday, on the other hand, is totally customizable. That means it can be as simple as you need it. You can delete fields and functionality you don’t need — and add it back later if you want. It’s basically a more sophisticated version of a spreadsheet, so it’s super easy to learn and use on a day-to-day basis.

We’ve already written in a previous blog post about why we think Calendly is the best, but here’s a quick overview:

  • You can create different meeting schedules to share with different clients.
  • You can block out days/times in general, as well as specific dates.
  • You can add buffer zones.
  • You can link it to other calendar apps.

We know that there are a lot of complicated feelings about AI in general and ChatGPT specifically. But here’s how we look at it: this technology isn’t just going to go away. So the best thing you can do for yourself and your business is learn how to use it.

We look at ChatGPT like a calculator. A tool that you can use to take shortcuts in some areas… but isn’t particularly useful in others.

How should you use ChatGPT?

  • As a Search Engine
  • To Generate Ideas
  • To Write “Bad” First Drafts
  • To Improve Tone / Readability

What you don’t want to do is rely on ChatGPT as your content creator, and there are a number of reasons for this.

Compared to a human writer, it lacks:

  • Originality
  • Experience
  • Expertise
  • First-hand knowledge

Literally everything ChatGPT creates is recycled content — because that’s all it can do. Beyond that, utilizing AI-generated content as your final draft may come with a whole host of copyright issues.

Bottom line? It can’t — and shouldn’t — replace human content creators.

You can create QR codes for free straight from Google Chrome.

So why do we recommend QR Code Generator over that?

Simple. Google’s free offering doesn’t let you know how many people scanned — one of the most vital pieces of knowledge related to using QR codes.

QR Code Generator allows you to do that and more.

What we love most about Canva is how it allows us to empower our clients to create more professional design work on their own — with a little bit of professional help to get started.

What do I mean by that? 

Canva allows us to set up a “brand kit” for each client that includes specific brand colors and fonts to help them be consistent. We can even create templates and share them. 

In this way, it allows clients to handle smaller, simpler design projects without us — while still have a professional and consistent look for the materials they create. 

Have a tool you’re already familiar with and like? It may not be worth making a switch. Changing tools means taking the time to transfer data from the old tool and set up the new tool, plus you may now have a learning curve for yourself and your team.