Building awareness around your business, brand or products and services is key to demand generation and ultimately increasing sales. The internet has democratized the playing field for businesses of all sizes to expand their reach and awareness globally at a reasonable cost. The following seven tools can help nearly any business reach new customers at little cost, or in some cases, no cost at all.

Buffer – Buffer.com

Building awareness on social media requires consistency. Posting every day on multiple channels, or even multiple times a day, can quickly become unmanageable. Buffer lets you schedule content to go out on your social networks on a regular schedule that you define.

Wordpress – Wordpress.com

The number one thought leadership tool in content marketing is a blog. An active blog gives your website visitors a reason to come back and provides regular content updates for your social media channels, as well. Wordpress is not only the number one software used for websites, but it's also the top blogging platform.

Live Video – Facebook.com/live • Periscope.com

Whether you use Facebook Live, Periscope, Snapchat or Instagram Stories, live and near-live video content can boost your visibility in a big way. Live video is especially engaging, and its authentic nature allows you to build a close connection with your audience. Live video also receives a boost from the Facebook feed algorithm, which gives you more visibility than you would normally receive with a traditional post. Visitors can also subscribe to your broadcasts on Facebook and Periscope, which notifies them every time you go live again in the future. Live video platforms provide a great opportunity for marketers who are looking to build their audience.

Google Business Listing – Google.com/business

If you have a physical place of business where customers come to you, then Google local search should be an important part of your marketing program. Creating a Google business listing for your company allows you to provide frequently requested information to your customers, such as your address, phone number, website and hours of operation. Most importantly, however, it allows you to be found easily! More and more searches are moving to mobile devices, especially local search. Having a Google business listing increases your chances of being discovered, and provides a placeholder on Google maps when customers are searching for a business nearby.

HARO – Helpareporter.com

Help A Reporter Out (HARO) is the best resource available for doing your own public relations work for your business. With an account on HARO, you can register to receive updates from reporters when they are writing a story about your industry. Journalists go to HARO to find sources to interview for their news stories, providing you with a great opportunity to get valuable mentions in the press for free.

Google Adwords – Google.com/adwords

If you want to drive traffic to your website and build awareness quickly, Google Adwords delivers. These pay-per-click ads are not the cheapest way to build awareness for your product, but they could be the fastest. By targeting people who are actively searching for the terms that depict the problem your product solves, you can quickly gain targeted impressions to a relevant audience. The only limits on your potential impressions are the size of the segment and the size of your budget.

Facebook Ads – Facebook.com/business

Like Google Adwords, Facebook Ads allow you to target a specific audience for your message. The difference is that you will reach this audience in a less relevant context than a Google search. Your limits here are the same: budget and segment size. However, your ads will show up in or beside a persons' Facebook feed, which is a much different context than that of a search result. It's likely that you will need multiple social ad impressions to impact awareness for each viewer.

Bonus: Canva – Canva.com

While you are creating awareness material for these content channels, you should be sure to include high-quality images, as well. Canva is a great tool for creating shareable graphics quickly, without the knowledge and training of a graphic designer. This makes it a powerful tool for the marketing manager who doesn't have in-house design support.

Tags: Small Business. Big Influence