• Roumena Kratchunova

7 free marketing tools to help SMB's hurting from coronavirus

The Coronavirus is impacting us on a global scale. No longer is it a virus from a faraway land. Now that it has hit home – physically and mentally – and we are becoming more conscious of the gravity of the situation and have to do what we can to protect and prepare ourselves – not just our health but also our businesses.


What can we actually agree on during this Coronavirus fiasco?


Many people don't feel that the governments are handling the situation appropriately – some say it's blown out of proportion, others say that they're not doing enough. Instead of focusing our energy on being divided, arguing, and wasting energy that we should be using toward something productive – shouldn't we come together and support one another in any way that we can? "Help our neighbor?" Treat others the way we would like to be treated? Get back to the basics? What we can all agree on – there will be a massive ripple effect, starting with our local communities and in turn, impacting the global economy.

Some industries are going to see an increase in demand; others will hit rock bottom. If you own a small to medium-sized business, there are many questions up in the air – will my business survive? Is it true that this recession going to be worse than the last? How can my business stay afloat? Avoid debt? Will the government help me?

Unfortunately, I don't have the answers. But what I do know is that now, more than ever, marketing will play an essential role in which businesses survive and which don't. Communicating your business's differentiator is critical in times like these.

Has Coronavirus Harmed your business?


If your business didn't cut the "essential business" requirement and you have had to close shop... now is the perfect time to take advantage and reevaluate your business goals and strategy.

We see a need to "go digital" more than ever before. The ones that take have taken the initiative already have a clear advantage over their competition.

I want to play my role in helping small businesses out by giving you some free tools you can use to market your business. Here are some of my favorites to help you "go digital" that we use here at rök. I hope they help give you a competitive edge and help you during these insane and historical times.


7 Free tools to help your business during Coronavirus chaos

1. Ubersuggest - if you have a blog or write any website content (and you absolutely SHOULD), this is a fantastic tool that helps you get insights into your website's SEO. The tool comes from a reliable source, Neil Patel, whom I call the God of SEO. Praise be to ye.


How it works – enter your website domain and see what keywords your website ranks for and on which page of search engine results. The tool identifies many factors: problems you have on your site that are lowering your SEO rank (how to fix them), ideas on different content topics you can write about that will help increase your SEO score, and much more. It even tells you the level of difficulty around particular subjects so you can determine if they are worth your time. There's nothing worse than writing about something you think is interesting, and in turn, nobody searches. A good rule of thumb is to choose keywords that have medium to high volume and a medium/low level of difficulty.


2. Hubspot CRM - if you are collecting email submissions, work with multiple clients or companies, you need this tool, or at least some kind of customer relationship management software (CRM.) Although this won't help you directly with marketing or "going digital" for your clients, this will help keep you sane and organized. You'll spend less time digging through emails or files and be able to find everything you need in one place. This tool has always been free for the basic version, but right now, they are offering some free add ons.


3. Google Meet - for free video conferencing. No limitations on time, and now they have the "grid view" we all want. Just create a meeting in calendar.google.com, click add conferencing, invite people by email, and voila – virtual meetings or happy hours are now a go.


4. Mailchimp - if you're not collecting emails or offering incentives to people to give you their email address – you're doing it all wrong. Email marketing is essential. Collecting email addresses, sending frequent, informative, and helpful content (without overselling) is a great way to nurture your potential customers. When someone comes to your website, they're not ready to buy/signup/commit right away. But they might be willing to give you their email. Why not use that to your advantage? It's "free" marketing (it merely takes some time) and is incredibly effective.


5. Later.com - don't let your social media go dead even though the business is down. It's vital to communicate with your audience during these times. Keep them updated on how the situation has impacted you and remind them that you will be there when all of this is over. Keep your business top of mind so that when things improve, they think of you first! Many people don't find time to keep up with their social media. Luckily, you can use Later or Buffer to schedule your posts for the month. Shoot for 2-4 updates a week across the board.


6. Canva.com - this is my favorite tool (I'm a designer trapped in the body of a marketer... a real designer's nightmare.) Here you can choose from thousands of templates to design pretty much anything you can imagine – logos, business cards, Facebook covers, Instagram posts, and much more.


7. Google My Business - there are SO many businesses that are underutilizing this tool. Claim your business on Google NOW! Claiming your business on Google, completing your profile (verifying your address, listing hours, phone number, enabling messaging, adding photos) – all of this gives you SERIOUS brownie points with Google search. If Google ever offers any tools, take advantage of them. The more you do, the more they will "like" you and rank your website. Insider tips - post on Google Business as you do on your other social media channels and always always always respond to reviews, negative or positive.


There are many more that I could list, but these are what I consider the essentials. If you're interested in learning more about online marketing, I would start with:

A Beginner's Guide to SEO - MOZ

Free courses on inbound marketing - Hubspot

Anything Neil Patel writes about marketing

How to write an About us page - YES it's important, it's usually the most viewed page on your website - Kopywriting Kourse (all of his content is great)

Check out the free courses Google offers in Google Digital Garage

Please reach out to me directly - (email Roumena at rokdigitalmarketing.com) if you have any questions about any specific channels, platforms, tools, or readings. I'm here to help in any way that I can (yes, my advice is free.)


A sanity check during the Coronavirus epidemic



Which one are you?


All jokes aside, let's do what we can to stay healthy and sane during these groundbreaking moments. Stay informed, stay calm, be rational, buy only what you need, support your local businesses if at all possible, and remember that if we support each other we can get through this.


Most importantly, be grateful for what you have. Many of us might be dealing with very difficult situations, but we have to keep our heads up! We must remember that there is always someone worse off. If we have our health, have food, shelter, and people who care for us, we're much better off than many people.

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