Why did I start my own digital marketing side hustle? Partly because I think I'm the best boss I'll ever have, but also because as far as businesses go, this one comes with little to no start up costs. My love for data mining and problem-solving comes in at a close 3rd, but nothing really beats making money while not having to spend your own.
When I decided to start my journey in entrepreneurship I had a bit of money saved up, but it was nothing spectacular. I couldn't just drop a thousand dollars on my own marketing while I waited for clients to come. Though, that would have made things a lot easier. What also made things immeasurably easier (and still continues to do so) are the vast resources aimed directly at helping you automate tasks and collect data.
Without automation, the day-to-day life of a full-service digital marketer probably looks a lot like someone who is spreading themselves too thin. While it is valiant to attempt to do everything yourself, it's easy to let things slip through the cracks if you aren't able to focus on one task at a time. My daily to-do list usually reads something like this
- view emails
- check notifications/mentions
- schedule posts on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram
- Interact with other users
- Create graphics
- Monitor/tweak/create ad campaigns
- Write blog posts
- Reply to emails
- Reach out to potential clients
- Create reports
Now, this is what I have to do daily per client, and it can get overwhelming. But, with the help of plug-ins and software specifically made for digital marketers and SEOs my daily load is completely manageable. If you want to make your life a little bit easier as a solo-preneur (of if you're part of a team or agency) check out the helpful tools below
- Google Trends- perform market research on trending topics in your location. The best part if the visual map that shows you interest by region, which can help you quickly validate your ideas.
- Google Analytics- My first step when setting up any account is to set up or gain access to Analytics. If you want to see where your traffic is coming from, where traffic drops off, which campaigns are performing well- and so much more, use Analytics.
- Google Tag Assist- Quickly check to see if tags are implemented correctly on websites
- Facebook Pixel Helper
- Canva- create graphics for the most popular social media platforms. Canva uses a drag & drop template with a very low learning curve.
- Unsplash- thousands of free high-quality stock photos for use without attribution
Digital Marketing Audience & Competition Research
- SpyFu- For some reason, I don't hear much about this website (hopefully it's not because they club baby seals or something) but I like it. SpyFu offers insight on you and your competition such as keyword rank in SERPS, paid campaign performance, and backlinks. Their free version gives you enough information to get you up and running.
- Ahrefs- A big name in SEO and SEM. Another tool to help you scope out the competition but more in depth than other unpaid, or free-trial services. Their keyword explorer can't be beat.
- Facebook Audience Insights- Do you know how many people use facebook? A LOT. Do you know how much data we give to Facebook without getting anything in return? So much it may make you sick. Facebook Audience Insights let's you get back just a little piece of your marketing soul by giving you incredibly precise data on your target audience. Narrow down fields by household income, purchasing habits, or even life events (like just had a baby!) and target your audience in a way that will best reach them.
- Boomerang- schedule your emails for sometime in the future & your clients never have to know you're really emailing them at 2am. Boomerang is free and integrates with gmail.
- MailChimp- I've used other email automation services such as Constant Contact, but I prefer MailChimp. MailChimp is free for up to 2,000 subscribers and the next higher plan is only $10 a month. Mailchimp lets you send out email blasts with their drag and drop templates.
- Privy- I've recently started using Privy for my clients. Privy lets you created customizable pop-ups for newsletters (or whatever else you need to gain a lead for). It integrates seamlessly into mailchimp to create lists for you.
This is by no means a complete list, they're just the tools I use most often. Are there any I've missed or anything you're currently using that has saved you time?