Digital Marketing & Software Solutions

Tools & Resources

This is a shortlist of the most basic digital marketing tools and software solutions that should be utilized by businesses of every sector. Please note that this is simply a reference guide that we have created based on our experience in servicing the small businesses of Huron County with the Digital Main Street program. We encourage you to do your own research on suitable online tools for your business while considering the contents of this list.

Digital Adertising

Facebook ads

Facebook advertising is an important way to connect with your audience on the world’s largest social network. Create and run campaigns using simple self-serve tools, and track their performance with easy-to-read reports. More than two billion people use Facebook every month—so no matter what kind of audience you want to reach, you’ll find them here

How To Get Started:

Learn more about Facebook Ads

Create an Advertisement with Facebook for Business

 

Instagram Advertising

Instagram advertising is a method of paying to post sponsored content on the Instagram platform to reach a larger and more targeted audience. Since Instagram is such a visual platform, text ads are not a thing here. Rather you need an image, set of images, or video (which can be accompanied by text) to reach your audience with Instagram ads.

How To Get Started:

Build Your Business on Instagram

 

Google Ads

Google Ads is an online advertising platform developed by Google, where advertisers bid to display brief advertisements, service offerings, product listings, or videos to web users. Google is where most people search for what to do, where to go, and what to buy. Your ad can appear on Google at the very moment someone is looking for products or services like yours.

How To Get Started:

Grow Your Business with Google Ads

Web Analytic Tools

Google Analytics

Google Analytics is one of the most popular digital analytics software. It is Google’s free web analytics service that allows you to analyze in-depth detail about the visitors on your website, such as the details of what people do when they visit your website, how long they stay, and what all pages do they visit on your website.

How To Get Started:

Get Started with Analytics

Google My Business

Google My Business is a free and easy-to-use tool for businesses and organizations to manage their online presence across Google, including Search and Maps. To help customers find your business, and to tell them your story, you can verify your business and edit your business information.

 How To Get Started:

About Google My Business

Read & Reply to Review

Social Media Platforms

Facebook Business Page

A Facebook business page serves to help people learn about your business in terms of what you do, how you can be contacted, and where you’re located. Your Facebook page will have a menu on the left side that allows your customers to view information such as an about page, photos and videos, events, reviews, and posts. Online is the first place people look when learning more about a business, and having a Facebook page gives you a chance to put all of the most informative and credibility-growing information in one concentrated area.

How To Get Started:

Create a Facebook Page in a Few Easy Steps

 

Instagram Business Account

An Instagram Business Account allows you to give people more information about your products, service or business. With an Instagram Business Account, you get real-time metrics on how your stories and promoted posts perform throughout the day. Get insights into your followers and how they interact with your posts and stories.

Applicable to: Retail Trade, Restaurants, Professional Services, Accommodations, Arts, Entertainment and Recreation

How To Get Started:

Click here to start your Instagram Business Account

 

Twitter

Twitter connects you and your business with what’s happening in the world every day. Learn the latest, real-time trends, and invest in social listening. It’s also a great way to get a read on your brand’s public reputation. By expanding your message on Twitter, you can connect and engage with new fans, network with partners, and identify influencers.

Applicable to: Retail Trade, Professional Services, Arts, Entertainment and Recreation

How To Get Started:

Click here to set up your Twitter account

 

Pinterest

Pinterest offers businesses a fairly unique proposition. Like other social media networks, it’s a place to connect with friends and influencers. But as a visual search engine and “productivity tool for planning your dreams,” it’s also a lot more than that. Pinners come to the platform for inspiration—or “Pinspiration.” They’re planning their weddings, dream vacations, and holiday dinners. And because of that, they’re not only receptive to brand content—they find it helpful.

Applicable to: Retail Trade, Professional Services, Accommodations, Arts, Entertainment and Recreation

How To Get Started:

Click here to set up your Pinterest page

 

LinkedIn

A LinkedIn Page acts as the voice of your organization on LinkedIn. It helps members learn more about your business or school, brand, products and services, and job opportunities.

Applicable to: Retail Trade, Professional Services, Accommodations, Arts, Entertainment and Recreation

How To Get Started:

Click here to set up your LinkedIn page

 

TikTok

TikTok for Business is where you can unleash your brand’s creative side. A fully immersive no judgment world where there’s an audience for every voice. No matter how big or small your business, no matter what you’re making or selling, your brand can be heard using the TikTok platform.

Applicable to: Retail Trade, Professional Services, Accommodations, Arts, Entertainment and Recreation

How To Get Started:

Click here to set up your TikTok page

Website Platforms

Basic Website

Your website is the backbone of your business, supporting all of your digital marketing efforts. The importance of a website for marketing extends to every aspect of your digital marketing strategy. As the backbone of your online presence, every type of communication, piece of content, or advertisement that you put online will drive the consumer back to your website. As such, it’s important that your website gives consumers a clear idea of what your brand is about and what types of products or services you offer.

Popular Website Building Platforms

  • Wix
  • Weebly
  • WordPress
  • Squarespace
  • Shopify

How To Get Started:

Create your own Wix website

Create your own Weebly website

Create your own WordPress website

Create your own Squarespace website

Create your own Shopify website

 

E-Commerce Website

Online shopping is growing fast in Canada and that means e-commerce is quickly becoming a necessity for Canadian retailers. From startups to small businesses right through to huge brands, there are a huge number of companies that can benefit from their own e-commerce website, where they can sell their own products or services. In today’s competitive and convenience focused society, no longer do consumers want to venture to the high street in order to buy items, instead, consumers want to shop from their own homes, making e-commerce a flexible solution for both businesses and buyers.

Applicable to: Retail Trade, Wholesale trade

Popular Website Building Platforms

  • Shopify
  • Square
  • Big Commerce
  • Wix
  • WooCommerce

How To Get Started:

Create your own Shopify e-commerce website.

Tips for Setting Up Shopify.

Create your own Square e-commerce website

Create your own BigCommerce e-commerce website

Create your own Wix e-commerce website

Create your own WooCommerce website

 

Website Domain Name

Simply put, a domain name is the name of a website. It’s what comes after “@” in an email address, or after “www.” in a web address. If someone asks how to find you online, what you tell them is usually your domain name. Anyone can purchase a domain name by going to a domain host or registrar, finding a name no one else is using, and paying an annual fee to own it.

Popular Domain Hosting Platforms

–     GoDaddy

–     Cira

How to Get Started:

Find Your Perfect Domain Name with GoDaddy

Find Your Own Canadian Domain Name with Cira

Design Software

Canva

Canva is a graphic design platform, used to create social media graphics, presentations, posters, documents, and other visual content. The app already includes templates for users to use. The platform is free to use and offers paid subscriptions like Canva Pro and Canva for Enterprise for additional functionality.

Applicable to: Retail Trade, Professional Services, Accommodations, Arts, Entertainment and Recreation

How To Get Started:

Click here to sign up and start creating your posts.

 

Affinity

Affinity is best in class for creating concept art, print projects, logos, icons, UI designs, mock-ups, and more, our powerful design app is already the choice of thousands of professional illustrators, web designers, and game developers who love its silky-smooth combination of vector and raster design tools.

Applicable to: Retail Trade, Professional Services, Arts, Entertainment and Recreation

How To Get Started:

Click here to sign up to Affinity.

 

PicMonkey

PicMonkey is an online photo editing and design service that can be accessed from a web browser, or through a mobile app.

Applicable to: Arts, Entertainment, and Recreation

How To Get Started:

Click here to set up your PicMonkey Account.

 

Pixabay (Stock Photography)

Pixabay is a vibrant community of creatives, sharing copyright-free images, videos, and music. All contents are released under the Pixabay License, which makes them safe to use without asking for permission or giving credit to the artist – even for commercial purposes.

Applicable to: Retail Trade, Professional Services, Accommodations, Arts, Entertainment and Recreation

How To Get Started:

Click here to join.

 

Unsplash (Stock Photography)

Unsplash grants you an irrevocable, nonexclusive, worldwide copyright license to download, copy, modify, distribute, perform, and use photos from Unsplash for free, including for commercial purposes, without permission from or attributing the photographer or Unsplash.

Applicable to: Retail Trade, Professional Services, Accommodations, Arts, Entertainment and Recreation

How To Get Started:
Click here to join.

Productivity Software

Hootsuite

Hootsuite is a social media management platform that covers almost every aspect of a social media manager’s role. With just one platform users are able to do the simple stuff like curate cool content and schedule posts all the way up to managing team members and measuring ROI.

Applicable to: Restaurants, Retail Trade, Professional Services, Health Care, Social Assistance, Accommodations, Arts, Entertainment and Recreation

How To Get Started:

Click to start your free trial.

 

Later

Later is the social media management app for people who think visually (and don’t have complex corporate needs). It requires you to focus on your visual media first, adding text, links, and hashtags later.

Applicable to: Retail Trade, Professional Services, Accommodations, Arts, Entertainment and Recreation

How To Get Started:

Click here to create your account.

Booking & Ordering Systems

Restaurant Online Ordering System

With the growing number of people using the internet to primarily check restaurant information and look up details about ordering food, a restaurant online ordering system is more important than ever before.

Applicable to: Restaurants

Popular Online Appointment Booking Software

  • Sociavore
  • Wix Online Ordering
  • Square Online Ordering
  • Shopify Online Ordering

How To Get Started:

Getting started with Sociavore Online Ordering

Set up online ordering with Wix

Set up your online store with Square for Restaurants

Set up online ordering for your Shopify website

 

Online Appointment Booking System

Web-based applications allow individuals to conveniently and securely book their appointments and reservations online through any Web-connected device. Real-time online appointment scheduling is a solution to the frustrations that both the clients and businesses face.

Applicable to: Professional Services (e.g. dentist, salon, accounting firm)

Popular Online Appointment Booking Software

  • Square Appointments
  • Calendly
  • Acuity

How To Get Started:

Sign up for Square Appointments

Sign up for Calendly

How to start using Acuity Scheduling

Online Hotel Reservation Booking System

Hotel management systems can streamline processes, reduce costs, increase revenue, improve the customer experience and provide you with a competitive advantage.

Applicable to: Accommodations (Hotels, short-term rentals)

Popular Online Hotel Reservation Booking Software

  • Hotello
  • Cloudbeds
  • Innroad

How To Get Started:

Take a Tour and Request a Live Demo of Hotello

Request a Free Consultation and Live Demo of Cloudbeds

Request a Free Demo of innRoad

Shipping Carriers

Canada Post

The largest domestic shipping company in terms of volume, Canada Post offers international delivery to over 190 countries. They ships domestic and international at a competitive rate. Through The Canada Post Solutions for Small Business, they offer discounts on shipping, direct mail advertising, and integration with a number of e-commerce partners. Perfect for small packages, domestic shipments, and delivery to remote areas.

How To Get Started:

Learn more about Canada Posts Solutions for Small Business

 

Canpar Express

Canpar Express is a Canadian transport company based in Montreal and Quebec. They fulfill shipping needs in Canada and the U.S and offer a number of solutions for small businesses. Parcel Pickup, e-commerce integration, discounts, and convenient pickup/ dropoff locations make Canpar a solid option for shipping domestically, and within the U.S.

How To Get Started:

Get started shipping with Canpar

 

FedEx

Offering delivery options as fast as overnight, FedEx is one of the shipping leaders in Canada. Like many others, they offer discounts for businesses as well as domestic and international shipping. Have your parcel picked up, or drop it off at one of their drop-off locations-whichever is more convenient for you. Great for express delivery and if you ship huge monthly volumes.

How To Get Started:

Get started with FedEx

 

Purolator

A Canadian company, Purolator was founded in 1960 and is now owned by Canada Post. They offer both regular, and next-day delivery and have a Business Rewards Program that can save your business money on shipping costs. They also offer a number of e-commerce solutions and customer support is available 7 days a week.

How To Get Started:

Learn more about using Purolator with your small business

 

UPS

UPS is one of the world’s largest delivery companies, offering shipping locally and internationally. They offer good rates on international shipping, although their domestic pricing tends to be higher than other companies. They excel at shipping large packages and providing fast service. They have been operating in Canada since 1975 and offer a number of small business solutions & services, including discounts, UPS Access Point locations for dropping off packages, and UPS Ambassadors offering help and advice to ensure your shipping experience goes smoothly. Great for large package delivery and international shipping.

How To Get Started:

Get started with UPS

 

Shipping Options for Small Business

A list of pros and cons for the various shipping options available for small businesses. 

Click here.

 

Shipping and Fulfillment Guide

Covers some of the basics of shipping your products and help demystify this complicated topic. They discuss setting your shipping strategy, product packaging, using popular carriers, tracking and insurance, and reducing your shipping costs.

How To Get Started:

Click here to view the blog.

 

Online Training Courses

Digital Marketing Institute

Browse their range of digital marketing courses which are designed and validated by the digital industry. They have courses to suit all needs and experience levels. All are delivered in bite-sized, innovative, and interactive learning formats. Free Membership included.

How To Get Started:

Click here to view the online training course list.

 

LinkedIn Learning

LinkedIn Learning is an online educational platform that helps you discover and develop business, technology-related, and creative skills through expert-led course videos. With more than 5,000 courses and personalized recommendations, you can discover, complete, and track courses related to your field and interests. You can also choose to add these courses and related skills to your LinkedIn profile once you’ve completed them.

How To Get Started:

Click here to view the online training course list.

 

Grow with Google

Grow with Google offers free training and tools to help you grow your skills, career, or business in Canada. Explore our various programs.

How To Get Started:

Click here to view the online training course list.

Business Blogs

Growing your Small Business with Social Media

Wants some tips on ways you can use your social media to grow your business? Read this blog that gives you ideas on how you can use social media to boost your sales.

How To Get Started:

Click here to view the blog.

 

Why does your Small Business need a website?

If your business has gotten this far without a website, you might be wondering: do I need a website for my business? What’s the point if my business is already successful without one? Read this blog that lists reasons why it is important for businesses to have their own websites.

How To Get Started:

Click here to view the blog.

 

Software Comparisons

Picking software to run your business is not a decision you make lightly. Use these head-to-head tool comparisons to find the best features and setup for your needs.

How To Get Started:

Click here to view the blog.

 

Shipping and Fulfillment Guide

Covers some of the basics of shipping your products and help demystify this complicated topic. They discuss setting your shipping strategy, product packaging, using popular carriers, tracking and insurance, and reducing your shipping costs.

How To Get Started:

Click here to view the blog.

 

Online Webinars

Digital Main Street

These Zoom-based webinar sessions are hosted by digital marketing experts that cover a variety of relevant topics, such as social media management, online advertising on a budget, and building a website.

How To Get Started:

Click here to view the available webinars.

 

Economic Development Webinars

Huron County Economic Development also frequently hosts digital marketing workshops, as well as other relevant business development topics.

How To Get Started:

Click here to view the available webinars.

 

Small Business Centres Ontario Webinars

Huron County Economic Development is part of the Small Business Centres Ontario (SBCO) or the Ontario Small Business COVID-19 Recovery Network. Whether you are wanting to start a business, grow, reimagine or recover, SBCO can support you with a variety of business development webinars.

How To Get Started:

Click here to view the available webinars.

Social Media Shops

Facebook Shop
Customizable collections showcase your featured products. A single shop experience works on both Facebook and Instagram. Design features and creative tools help you bring your brand to life.

Click here to see if a Facebook Shop would work for your business

Click here to set up your Facebook Shop

Click here for Tips on Selling Remotely Using Facebook

 

Instagram Shop
Instagram Shopping is a set of features across Instagram that let people shop your photos and videos no matter where they are in the app.

Click here to see if an Instagram Shop would work for your business

Click here to set up your Instagram Shop

How Can We Help?

Huron County is always excited to support new and innovative ideas and businesses.
We’re here to help!

Find Us

57 Napier Street,
Goderich, ON N7A 1W2
Canada

Phone

+1 (519) 524-8394 ext.6