13 Tools That Will Enhance Your Online Marketing Efforts
The key advantage of all small businesses are derived in their competitive edge. If you run a small business, you should be looking for a competitive advantage or strengthening your advantage to get your leg up on the competition.
While there is no way of knowing what the future holds, one thing is for sure: you don’t want to be among the approximately 80% of businesses that fail within 18 months. So you've got to equip yourself with the right tools for internet marketing.
Gone are the days when you could afford to ignore the internet. If you want to achieve success, regardless of your industry, it’s imperative to have a sound online marketing plan in place – a strategy that leverages the power of social media, uses search engine optimization to drive traffic, and makes good use of the media marketing advancements that are out there.
In this post, we outline online marketing tools that you need when starting a business or seeing to run effectively. Each of these tools will help you get that competitive edge.
Hootsuite is a HUGE help with scheduling social media posts. The simple act of making time each day to post on social media is a huge task. Hootsuite is a great tool to schedule your posts out across all of your different platforms and accounts from one place. Most bloggers will schedule to post weekly. Not only does it help stay on top of your posting, but you can also monitor your feeds, comments, and get reports. On top of the convenience and features, it's also really easy to learn and if you have questions there are training videos to watch.
There are many features of Hootsuite that work in your favor as you launch your business, such as those that assist with engagement. For example, you can:
- Identify influencers for your marketing team and leads for your sales team.
- Reply to comments and mentions through the dashboard. There’s no reason to visit each individual platform.
- Take advantage of pre-written responses.
AdEspresso is a great tool to help you organize your social media ads. This program focuses on Facebook Ads, which we all know are great marketing tools but can be intimidating to get started. As a program of Hootsuite, AdEspresso also has many lessons for best practices. The main goal of Adespresso is to create, monitor and analyze your Facebook ads. As you create a variety of ads with little effort, you can also customize your budget and spending with time of day options, audience customization, and automatic optimization. Automatic Optimization is a great tool for those that don’t have time to go in and analyze each of their ads to see how they are performing. AdEspresso continually checks your ads and will pause any that are not performing to standard and will redistribute your money to ads that will most effectively use it. You can look at reports throughout your campaign and at the end to see how your campaign is doing. AdEspresso makes it easy to test different target audiences and get reports on which works better. You can personalize your reports at the end.
Skillshare is a favorite tool for a whole lot of reasons. It is a place for anyone to go and learn about anything from marketing to illustration. It is set up to where you can take their classes and do projects while getting teacher feedback and talking to others in the class. It is a great way to stay in communication with others interested in the same things you are while getting feedback and instruction from trusted professionals.
4. Adobe Spark
Adobe Spark is a fantastic tool for those looking to spice up their images and graphics. It has three apps. Spark Post which helps you create dynamic photos and graphics that can be adapted easily to different social media image dimensions at a click of a button and are shareable across all social media sites. Spark Page makes it easy to create clean and stylish web pages with a responsive layout that move perfectly between computer and phone. Spark Video helps you create powerful videos to engage your viewers. You don’t have to have tons of experience to use Spark, it's designed so it is easy and fast to learn. You can even personalize your designs by importing your own logo and images.
The Email marketing technology is used by more than 80% of B2B and B2C companies. This isn’t something you should wait on. Instead, you should implement an email marketing strategy on day one.
With more than 12 million customers, MailChimp has claimed its spot as one of the top email marketing providers in the world. While there are alternatives, this tool remains one of the best, for many reasons:
- History dating back to 2001, well before most companies began using email marketing.
- Self-service support options, ensuring that you can quickly find answers to all of your questions.
- Free plan for those with less than 2,000 subscribers and those who don’t send more than 12,000 emails per month.
When starting a business, it’s not likely that you will have more than 2,000 subscribers. For this reason, you can get started with MailChimp early on, using the tool for free as you get your feet wet with email marketing.
When it comes to marketing, sales and CRM software, HubSpot has become one of the top players. The company has this to say about its all-in-one marketing software:
From attracting visitors to closing customers, HubSpot brings your entire marketing funnel together.
You know just how important it is for your marketing funnel to be in good working order. With this software, you have access to tools that help with:
- Social Media
- Lead Management
- Landing Pages
- Marketing Automation
There is no stone left unturned, when you rely on HubSpot’s all-in-one marketing software. That’s why it’s a top choice for those who are starting a business.
With everything you need in one place, you don’t have to pull yourself in many different directions. This will help you to achieve greater success in the early days, as you’re sure to have many other tasks on your plate.
For those new to content marketing, Trello might sound like another social network that’s popped up overnight. In fact, it’s a great organization tool that can help you and your online marketing team considerably.
Trello is a tool that helps you to manage projects and stay on the same page as your team -a sound digital marketing practice if you want to save time and frustration.
For example, you can share blog posts on Trello before you publish them. This gives others on your team the opportunity to review the post, weigh in with their thoughts and make changes that could strengthen the piece before it goes live.
With Trello, everything related to your online marketing strategy can be shared in the same place. It only takes a few minutes to set up a board. Even better, you can quickly invite your entire staff, all of whom can jump in on the action without delay.
Google Analytics is one of the top free tools from Google, Analytics should be part of your digital marketing strategy from the very start. It only takes a couple of minutes to add the Analytics code to your website, giving you the ability to track every action by every visitor.
This is considered by many to be nothing more than a traffic tool, but it can actually have a big impact on your marketing strategy, if you know what you’re doing.
Take, for example, the ability to see where your traffic comes from:
Maybe you realize that a particular social media campaign is driving tons of traffic to your website. With this data, you can adjust your future strategy, in an attempt to capture the same results.
Or, maybe you find that a particular set of keywords is doing wonders for your organic traffic. Again, you can turn your attention to these keywords, ensuring that you keep these in mind as you create content down the road.
Google Analytics isn’t one of those tools that you should ignore. Installing this early on is a key decision, in regards to your online marketing strategy. The data you can collect and review is extremely valuable.
Do you plan on spending a lot of time on social media marketing?
While this is a great way to engage your audience and send traffic to your website, it’ll only work in your favor if you have a solid plan in place. Tools, such as Followerwonk, are designed to help you improve your social media marketing strategy, such as by digging into your Twitter analytics data.
This tool makes this list for two reasons: it’s easy to use and it’s extremely effective.
Followerwonk breaks down its service into three distinct categories:
- Find – use the tool to search Twitter bios and compare accounts.
- Analyze – breakdown your follower list by bio, location, who they follow and many other criteria.
- Optimize – match your strategy to follower gains and losses, to understand what type of content performs best.
The only downside of Followerwonk is that it can’t be used with other social media platforms, such as Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn. However, if you have big plans for Twitter, this is a tool that you should use often.
Even though you may not use it on a daily basis, it can come in handy from time to time. After all, it’s imperative that you understand your audience.
If WordPress is your content management system (CMS) of choice, you shouldn’t hesitate to install the All in One SEO Pack plugin. A big part of your online marketing strategy should be based around search engine optimization (SEO) and this tool will ensure that you always make good decisions regarding your content and its appeal to search engines.
Some of the top features of the plugin include:
- XML Sitemap support.
- Advanced Canonical URLs.
- Automatic generation of META tags.
- Compatible with most other plugins.
- Automatically notifies major search engines, including Google and Bing, of any site changes.
Even though all of these features are exciting, it’s something else that has made it one of the most popular WordPress plugins of all time: its ease of use.
You don’t have to make many decisions in order to get started. And, if you’re ever confused as to what you should be doing, there is help to be had. All you have to do is click the “?” symbol and you’re provided with more information and advice.
The All in One SEO Pack plugin has more than one million active installs. You won’t have to look far to find competitors, but there’s a reason why so many people use this tool. Not only is it free and simple, but it’s results can’t be denied. It will definitely help your website, from an SEO perspective, which is something all new businesses are interested in.
BuzzSumo is a big deal for people who need to learn more about their market. When you start a business, it’s safe to say that you know a thing or two about your industry and primary competitors. But, once you dig around even more, you’ll find that there is additional data that you can use to your advantage.
If you want to better understand your competition or if you want to learn what type of content performs best with search engines and your audience, you don’t need any other tool by your side.
Additionally, there is high level data associated with each result:
This information can come in handy at many times, such as when you are creating content for your blog.
Why guess as to what is performing best in your niche? You can use BuzzSumo to answer this question with 100% accuracy.
With this search, you see that the top result has approximately 20k social shares. You now know what to strive for, if you want to achieve the same level of success.
Crazy Egg can be very useful in answering the question of what’s working and what’s not about your website?
There are two keys here:
- You can use Crazy Egg to make website changes that generate better results.
- You don’t need much, if any, IT help to get started.
When you’re new to your business, you don’t want to spend countless hours dealing with IT issues. Unfortunately, this often happens when it comes to split testing.
Crazy Egg is packed with features, such as:
- Heatmaps and mouse recording
- Analysis and reporting
- Platforms and integrations
- Targeting and personalization
- Research and user feedback
How to use email Marketing Tools Correctly
Email marketing still remains one of the strongest selling approaches that produces results.
Some online shops are of the opinion that email marketing tools mean too much effort and too little profit. Both can easily be refuted. Newsletter marketing is one of the most effective marketing methods currently in use. It has an undisputed ROI (Return on Investment) of up to 3800%. That is up to 38€ profit per invested Euro!
In addition, the number of emails sent last year rose to 771 billion. This is an increase of almost 150 billion compared with the previous year.
With the right email marketing tool, the effort involved in creating a campaign is minimal. Many applications offer a series of ready-made templates, with which the creation of individual newsletters is done in a few clicks.
In the following we look at 6 tips for the correct use of such an email marketing tool.
1. Create form
Before you get the idea to send newsletters, you have to build up a proper contact list. What is the best way to do this? In fact, there are several ways and the most creative solutions are often the most effective! Sweepstakes, discounts, freebies (e.g. whitepapers, ebooks etc.) were in the past a solid method to quickly build up a reasonable contact list.
Since the adoption of the GDPR (general data protection regulation) in May 2018, some rules have changed in this regard. Please inform yourself in detail before you consider using one of the methods mentioned above to generate contacts.
If you have won the interest of a potential subscriber, get him to fill out a form with his contact details. There are different types of forms that you can use.
- own page / landing page
- Embed HTML block on the page
Choose the method that makes sense for you - or several! With the right email marketing tool, this creation is done in a few simple steps. You can drag and drop various fields into your form and personalize it in a few simple steps.
2. Import contact list into the email marketing tool
If you have used an all-in-one marketing solution to create your form, it automatically transfers the won contacts to one of your previously selected contact lists.
If you use your own form or an external form, you must insert the collected contacts into your application. This is usually done without much effort by uploading an Excel, csv or txt file. The various columns are automatically recognized and you are asked whether the "tagging" or the assignment of the columns was carried out correctly as a precaution.
Make sure that you only use data that you yourself have received with the consent of the subscriber! At this point again the explicit reference to the observance of the relevant regulations. On the other hand, hefty penalties can be imposed.
Maintain your blacklist, a list of users who have unsubscribed from your newsletter. With a good email marketing tool, this is done automatically via an inserted opt-out link..
Segment what you can do! Good order is also the be-all and end-all in e-mail marketing. With the right segmentation, you can later address selected interest groups and significantly increase the success of your e-mail campaigns.
3. Create campaign
The contact lists have been successfully imported and created. Now it is time to create the first campaign. There are usually two options.
Either you create a normal campaign that you send manually to your contacts after completion. Or you create an automated campaign.
An automated campaign is triggered by various actions. We all know the automated welcome email you receive when you register on any website.
These and follow-up emails can be planned with an automated campaign. From the day of registration you can continue to attract attention with small actions at increasing intervals. This concatenation of emails at certain intervals is called workflow.
Further triggers can be special data, for example the birthday of a customer or the day of registration. You can set the update of the profile as another reason for sending an e-mail.
4. Create newsletter - Email Builder
Create your first newsletter. Professional email marketing tools have usually implemented so-called email builders. In these, you can choose from a range of ready-made responsive templates, the one that suits you best and customize it individually.
Depending on the email marketing tool there can be big differences!
- Make sure to use only images that are license-free. Good providers can score with a license-free image database.
- One of the main objectives must be to constantly improve the opening rate of newsletters. A good start is the personalization of your newsletter. Create an exciting subject and set the recipient's name as a variable. The email marketing tool automatically inserts the name of the contact in the subject when it is sent and demonstrably increases the opening rate!
- A rule of thumb when creating a newsletter is setting the CTA's - two pieces. One button at the beginning and one at the end.
- Keep an eye on the text-frame ratio. We recommend 60:40 or 70:30 in favour of the text. Too many pictures in e-mails can lead to longer loading times for the recipient. In addition, e-mail providers recognize too many images as junk mail or display these images incorrectly or not at all.
- Choose your content consciously. Benefit from special events such as the World Cup or the Olympics. With a little skill and the right action you can use the popularity of the events for your purposes and increase your awareness or your sales significantly. Also seasonal campaigns always have a good response!
- An unsubscribe link is mandatory! Always offer your recipients the option of deleting themselves from the recipient list by clicking on an "opt-out link". It often makes sense to blacklist the person at the same time. Such recipients also provide you with data. After which campaign did the recipient unsubscribe? How long has he/she been on the list?
5. Send newsletter
The contact list is collected, the newsletter is created and personalized, now it will be sent!
Many email providers want to protect their clients from annoying spam mails. Therefore many mass mails are automatically packed into the junk mail folder. As soon as an e-mail ends up in spam and is not necessarily expected, the probability that this email will ever be opened is close to zero.
Some newsletter applications therefore allow an antispam test before sending the newsletter. Send your newsletter by test to colleagues, friends, family and your own e-mail account. This way you can check display errors again and determine whether your newsletter really ends up in the inbox.
In such tests it makes sense to try out several different providers.
When sending your newsletter, please also consider the accessibility of your target group. If you have students as your main target, but only send out newsletters on Saturdays and Sundays. For employees, the regular working time is recommended as the sending time, as most e-mails are retrieved during this period.
If you only want your customers to buy quickly, you should send your newsletter better at the beginning than at the end of the month.
6. Evaluate statistics within the email marketing tool
Try to optimize your newsletter at any time. A good email marketing tool provides you with a series of statistics that allow a detailed analysis of openings, clicks, unsubscriptions, and so on. By analyzing the statistics, you can get geodata, which you can use, for example, to test a regional newsletter.
Recipients with a high opening rate can be more targeted, for subscribers with a lower opening rate you may have to try different tactics.
A tool that helps you understand what your website visitors like and don’t like, so you can maximize your sales and leads, means that you have to give it a try. It’s one of those tools that you don’t know you need, until you use it. Certainly, you'll be happy you gave them a try.