Welcome to the Local Marketing Tools section, a curated list of tools for local service-based businesses. These are the tools that I use regularly to help small businesses with local marketing. Some I’ve brought over from my past experience in website design and online marketing, while others I only discovered while trying to solve problems for a local business.
The tools on this list are sorted by the category of problem they address. The categories correspond closely to Local Marketing Strategies, so if you’re wondering how these tools could help in your business, head over there.
Disclosure: some of the links below are affiliate links, meaning, at no additional cost to you, I will earn a commission if you click through and make a purchase. This in no way influences my decision to include tools on this page, or my opinions of them. I use each of these tools in my day job as a marketer, and I make sure I would recommend them before I add them to this page or consider becoming an affiliate.
Managing Your Website
This set of local marketing tools will help you build, launch and grow a website that brings you work.
If you’re going to build your own website, WordPress is one of the most powerful and effective tools for the job. Both this website and my plumbing website are built in WordPress, and while they have vastly different goals and styles it works well for both. WordPress allows you to control your own website, which is crucial as a small business. Visit WordPress
Built by the world’s top SEO company. You tell Moz your business NAP (Name, Address, Phone Number) and they’ll syndicate it to the top citation sites, proving to Google that you exist. Citations are one of the most time-consuming parts of SEO, and Moz Local will save yourself hours of work tracking down and manually requesting updates. Visit Moz Local
SEO rank tracking
I discovered this rank tracking tool after looking for an SEO rank tracker for a service plumbing company. I really like it because 1) it’s simple and 2) it’s affordable. Oh, also 3) it tracks everything I need it to: organic ranking, Local Pack ranking, and competitors’ rankings. I’ve seen companies spend thousands of dollars for SEO services from “experts” and never received reporting as robust as Nightwatch. Visit Nightwatch
Heatmaps, visitor recordings and more
Sometimes it can be difficult to understand what customers are doing on your site. Hotjar literally records what your customer does on your website down to mouse movements, so you can see exactly what is stopping people from clicking through and becoming a customer. My favorite part about Hotjar? They have a free plan that will cover the needs of most home service companies. Visit Hotjar
Connecting With Your Customers
Every business is built on relationships. These tools will help you build and maintain those relationships as you grow.
I’m a recent convert to ActiveCampaign after using a competitor for many years. I was won over by their excellent customer service and transparent pricing structure. ActiveCampaign is great if you’re like me and you want to tie in your email marketing with your scheduling software or CRM software. Visit activecampaign.com
Social media scheduling
If you’re in charge of social media for your company (and you probably should be), you know it can be hard to post consistently, day after day. OneUp helps to solve that problem; you line up a queue (or buffer) of pre-written posts, and OneUp will post them for you at the appropriate times. Best of all, you can schedule your most important posts to repeat automatically, saving you time and providing more consistency for your customers and fans. Visit oneupapp.io
Drift makes it easier for customers to start a conversation directly on your website via a live chat bubble. It’s quick to install, and while it’s not going to revolutionize your business, you may find it makes communication easier. Visit drift.com
Organizing Your Business
Disorganization is the mortal enemy of the small business owner. Stay in command with these local marketing tools.
G Suite (formerly Google Apps)
Email management and online storage
You probably set up G Suite to have company email addresses, but it provides so much more than that. I write most blog posts and articles in Google Docs, and Google Sheets works well for most spreadsheets.
One of the most common and frustrating problems I’ve seen for small businesses is losing access to their online services – whether it be a website, email, domains, the list goes on. LastPass helps to prevent this problem by storing all of your passwords securely in one place. You can access it on your computer or your phone, and you won’t lose your credentials to hackers or a fried hard drive. Just make sure you don’t lose your master password. Tattoo that thing on your left buttock or something.
When you’re running with a small team, there’s not just one person sitting by a phone waiting for it to ring. When you’re smallk, with just a few key employees, it’s most convenient to ring to multiple cell phones so that there’s a backup plan if the owner can’t take the call. Talkroute solves this problem perfectly. We’ve set up “business hours” to select when to ring and when to go straight to voicemail, and a custom ring order to send calls to multiple team members.
Scheduling and customer relationship management
If you’re running a home service company, Housecall Pro will keep your team connected and on the same page. Along with scheduling, invoicing and estimating, Housecall Pro helps with with remarketing and customer service.
Designing Your Marketing
Keep your company looking good with these graphic design and marketing tools.
Agency marketers and professional graphic designers can use their Adobe products; I’ve found Canva to be more than adequate for most of my needs. This online graphic design app is easy to learn and provides a big library of free and low-priced templates.
I’m a snob when it comes to printed material – I want all of our business cards, flyers and folders to feel ritzy. While other online print shops left something to be desired, MOO exceeds my expectations.
Who doesn’t like inside information? The James Bonds and Jason Bournes of local marketing tools.
This is probably the flashiest tool I use. SpyFu is one of those online tools that you would see in a sci-fi movie; it lets you spy on your competitor’s web traffic, see how much they’re spending on Google AdWords, find out what keywords they’re ranking for… it’s super cool, and super useful.
Checks for backlinks
One of the important ranking factors for your website is the number of other websites that link to you. These are called backlinks, and the great thing about them is that they’re all fair game. Using this backlink checker, you can find out where your competitors got their backlinks and find places to get your own.
Built by Moz, the giant of the SEO world, the MozBar gives you quick access to website stats like Domain Authority, Page Authority, external links, and pageload time. Install it in your browser and you’ll have an instant look into the ranking factors for your competitor’s website.
Similar to the MozBar, but drawn from different data sources. In addition to a global rank, external links, and pageload speed, the Alexa Toolbar also points out similar websites for additional research.
Ever wondered what was used to build a website? BuiltWith will show you the frameworks, tracking and analytics, plugins, reputation software, hosting, and a whole lot more. This tool is fantastic if you’re building your own website and want to figure out what someone else is using.
Do you know of some local marketing tools that should make this list? Let me know!