Knowing how to work smarter and faster is going to put you on the fast track to success so having the right tools at your disposal is a major benefit.
The beauty of the 21st century is that there are a myriad of tools available to entrepreneurs, many of which you won’t even have to budget for. Bonus! Get your marketing and sales to pick up speed by widening your marketing arsenal with the below list of online, content and general marketing tools.
Online Marketing Tools
There are very few businesses that don’t see the opportunity in having an online presence for their business and with the wide variety of marketing tools available to help you implement your strategy it’s easier than ever to spread your branding message online.
Related: Free Sample Marketing Plan Template
Here are some online marketing tools that you might find useful:
- Hootsuite. If you have social media accounts then this tool will help you save time by managing your daily, weekly and monthly posts all in one place. Create new posts for any of your social media pages, respond to questions from followers and track when your brand is mentioned. Run reports on your accounts to see which posts are working and what you should rather stop talking about on your platforms. This tool is free but the paid version does offer more advanced options.
- Google Analytics. This is one of the best free tools available to track the success of your website. By inserting a few lines of code into the HTML of your site you will be able to see who is visiting your site, what content they are reading or products they are interested in and how much time they are spending on your site. Google will also know that they can track and index your website in order to add it to search engine results. This online program can be used free of charge and could be the most valuable online tool that you can invest in.
- ClicktoTweet. Make it super simple for your website visitors to share your content online. ClicktoTweet allows you to create shareable posts within your website copy that users can simple click on to share it with their Twitter followers. You can use this tool on your website or you can download a WordPress plugin.
- Google Adwords. This is a paid for tool that will not only help you boost your website traffic stats but your sales too. Ever wondered where the adverts at the top and to the right of your search engine results come from? Well that would be Google Adwords. Basically brands can bid on keywords that they would like to both affiliate with their business and show up in search results for and then Google displays them to potential customers depending on what the business bid as well as the competition around that keyword.
- Unbounce. So your website is up and running but you just aren’t seeing the results and the sales aren’t rushing in as expected. This has happened to countless of online businesses and most only find out too late that it was their website’s landing page that was causing the loss of sales. Unbounce is a tool that allows you to setup different versions of your website’s landing page to see what works.]
- Tweroid. If social media is an important part of your strategy then knowing when your followers are online will make it that more effective. This online marketing tool will tell you exactly when your followers are online so that you can post your best content at the right time.
- Marketing Grader. Want to find out how you are doing with your online marketing? Marketing Grader will do just that. Type in your website address to get a full report on your blogging, social media, SEO, mobile and lead generation efforts so that you know what you need to improve on.
- WordPress. This online website development platform has become on the easiest ways to build your own website. There are tons of free templates for you to use and it’s simple to setup. If development isn’t one of your strong points then you might want to get some extra help, especially if you want to pay for a more advanced theme.
- Kuler. If design is not your forte then Kuler is a great tool to use to decide on the colours to use on your website. All colours have different meanings and create certain emotions so make sure that your online marketing is creating the right impression.
- Crowdbooster. Looking to increase your Facebook page likes? Crowdbooster is the ideal tool for this. This marketing tool will analyse your posts to provide you with the best times to post content on your page as well as what content works best according to the types of followers you have.
- Rafflecopter. Running competitions on your social media pages is no longer the only option available to you. This tool allows you to create an embed a giveaway anywhere on your website.
Content Marketing Tools
Many marketers have come to realise the benefits of incorporating content marketing into their overall strategy. Customers are drawn to brands that have something extra to offer them and providing interesting and relevant content is a sure fire way to engage with your users and get them coming back to your website.
Below are some hot content marketing tools that can assist you in creating a valuable experience for your readers.
- Trend Spotter. This tool assists organisations in spotting trends and topics that they can capitalise on way before they are being talked about. You can take advantage of their trial version first to see if it’s a tool you want to invest in on a monthly basis.
- HubSpot Stock Images. Jazz up your online content with this offer of 160 free business stock images. Simply fill in a short form to gain access to royalty free images for your marketing material. Some other sites that you can use for free stock images are freerange, stock.xchng and Wikimedia Commons.
- Haiku Deck. This content marketing tool gives you the chance to go beyond PowerPoint and create killer presentations. Haiku gives you the option to use their web platform or download their iPad app.
- Infogram. The way users engage with content is changing and visual elements are becoming very important making a tool such as Infogram so useful. This content marketing tool is free and allows you to create vibrant infographics and charts to use on your site or in your marketing material.
- PressBooks. This online platform offers a simple and effective solution to creating ebooks for your business. Choose from a variety of customisable templates and export it to your PC. You can even use one of their partners to distribute the ebook for you.
- Free Content Calendar Template. A good content strategy requires planning so having an editorial calendar will ensure that you always have fresh and exciting content on your website. Download a free calendar template by Jamie Griffiths of Manifesto here.
- Meme Generator. Meme’s have taken over a large part of the online space and people love them so why not get in on the action. This content marketing tool allows you to add a fun twist to your content by creating your very own memes for free.
General Marketing Tools
When it comes to marketing you should never stop searching for new opportunities to stand out as a brand. It’s when you stop being innovative and growing that your business and especially sales slows down.
Give your customers a reason to keep coming back and make them proud to be associated with your brands. The below tools can help you along the way:
- Evernote. Had a light bulb moment or saw something that you could use in your own business? Jot it down before you forget! By downloading the Evernote app you can write down and find your notes quickly and easily. There are free and paid for versions of this app.
- Free Marketing Plan Template. Get your ducks in a row and know exactly how you are going to achieve your marketing and sales goals. Download Entrepreneur’s free marketing plan template to gain insights into your market, decide on your goals and develop an effective marketing strategy. Click Here.
- LogoMaker. Choose from thousands of icons and design a logo that’s unique to your business. The low resolution versions of your logo are free but you will need to pay for the high resolution files. A logo is critical as a business so get it done at the start.
- Target Market Worksheet. Build a demographic, geographic and psychographic picture of your target market by answering the questions in this worksheet. Click Here.
- Mail Chimp. Personalise messages to your customers by creating an email marketing campaign and Mail Chimp is one of the easiest platforms to use for this. Their Entrepreneur plan allows you to send up to 12 000 emails to 2 000 subscribers without having to pay anything for it. Their templates are eye-catching and responsive so your mobile users won’t feel left out.
- MindNode. A great brainstorming session can last hours but can generate some profitable ideas so it’s important to make notes of as much as possible. MindNode maps out your ideas from start to finish and allows you to store your session for reference later on.
- blogtalkradio. Ever wanted your own radio station? Well here’s your chance. When you sign up on the blogtalkradio site, all you need is a phone and a browser to get chatting with your listeners. There’s also the option of taking it up a notch with their paid packages.
- SurveyMonkey. Get the answers to important research questions by using this popular marketing tool. Choose a template to build a survey that’s unique to your business. Distribute the link to your marketing list, get your answers and take action accordingly. Simple as that.
How to Use Marketing Tools in Your Strategy
Once you have completed your marketing plan and strategy you’re going to have a good idea of where your brand is going and what you need to do to get it there.
The marketing tools that you decide to use should fit in with the implementation of your strategy and the goals that you have set out for your business. The great thing about knowing where to turn for marketing tools is that if something isn’t working you can change it and take a new direction.
The most important thing to keep in mind however is that your strategy is what’s going to make or break your business, not the tools that you use, so try not to place too much emphasis on having a tool for everything. They are only there to assist you and make the process a little easier.
Top Marketing Trends For 2019
When you reflect on marketing trends that have taken centre stage in 2018, what stands out?
Maybe it’s the proliferation of Instagram stories or influencer marketing? Or the fact that video content has become even shorter and simpler with the rise of GIFs.
The real question is how have you incorporated these trends in to your marketing strategy, and what should you focus on in 2019? Here are six up and coming trends that you don’t want to miss:
1. Say hello to the social CEO
Customers want ‘real’ brand stories and to know what drives them. Leaders who are successful on social media show their companies’ human side and give their brands’ credibility and personality. This builds loyalty and, in some cases, an emotional connection that goes beyond the product or service.
Customers who feel this connection may even go on to become brand ambassadors.
Tip: Share stories that demonstrate your leadership style as well as company culture.
2. Initiate conversations
While 2018 brought the chatbots, the trend for 2019 is really using these bots to gather information about consumers by engaging with them on a personal level and steering them towards a sale. Bots are being trained to be authentic and sound more like people than the robots they are.
For example Facebook Messenger becomes more and more useful for brands as the platform allows customisation of automated messages and the ability to initiate a conversation at the right time.
Tip: You can also integrate this with Facebook shopping and increase conversion rates by enabling the bot to sell products to a consumer through the Facebook platform.
3. Keep it local
Influencer marketing can be short lived or a little superficial. So try to identify and partner with local influencers that are happy to work on long-term campaigns. Also use multiple touch points including podcasts, YouTube and Snapchat as well as Instagram and Facebook.
Tip: Before you reach out to an influencer, follow them and learn a bit about the way they represent brands and engage with their fans to see if they’ll be a good fit.
4. Try Instagram ads
As Facebook ads continue to dominate our feeds, advertisers are looking for a new place to stand out and get noticed. Instagram ads are on the rise, according to the Merkle report that showed that while Facebook ad spend grew 40% year-on-year in the second quarter of 2018, Instagram ad spend jumped 177% in the same time period.
Tip: Do some A/B split testing with different styles of images and calls-to-action.
5. Personalise email communication
Make sure to use automation and personalisation to really make your customers feel that you are listening.
Using hyper-segmentation, you can target very specific parts of your market. This will ensure that they receive personalised emails based on what they have expressed interest in or actions they have taken with regards to your brand.
Tip: Use automated campaigns after a first purchase; to request a review on social platforms; or just thank customers for shopping and remind them to share their purchase online.
Related: Free Sample Marketing Plan Template
6. Post in real time
In an effort to bring offline marketing into the online world, Instagram TV or IGTV allows brands to create a place for consumers to watch live events or brand content in their own time.
In addition, IGTV replaces the need for YouTube in some cases as brands are able to upload 10 or more minutes of footage directly to Instagram for consumers to watch as ‘episodes’.
This will become more prevalent in the years to come as businesses include this in their strategy. IGTV videos are less formal and will typically cost less than a traditional TV advert to create.
Whatever trends come our way, the key is to remain agile and adapt to how customers engage with your brand. And more than ever before, it’s important for all marketing touch points to align and communicate the same message.
4 Young Marketing Influencers You Can Learn From
Whether you’re a CMO or just trying to build your own brand, these influencers can help you reach your goal.
Today, social media is a very crowded and competitive ecosystem – it can be extremely difficult for brands to break through and spread their message to a large number of potential new customers.
Marketing via social media has become a necessity. According to a post by DMA, 45 percent of surveyed marketers are looking to increase brand awareness through social media. The same post stated that spending via social media is expected to increase 18.5 percent in the next five years.
This article was originally posted here on Entrepreneur.com.
The Fifth P Is The Most Crucial
The reasoning is simple. If you don’t know your market, you will never be able to understand how the 4Ps apply to your potential customers.
The four Ps of the Marketing Mix (Product, Price, Promotion, and Place) have defined marketing campaigns, both successful and unsuccessful, for many years since E. Jerome McCarthy came up with the concept in 1960. And while there have been tremendous advances and innovations in marketing, the four Ps (4P) are still first on the list in any marketing course.
In the brand conscious society in which we live today, however, a fifth P has become the cornerstone to all marketing and branding exercises, whether you’re in the business-to-business or business-to-consumer market. The fifth P is People or is also referred to as Personalisation.
The reasoning is simple. If you don’t know your market, you will never be able to understand how the 4Ps apply to your potential customers:
- What products do they want?
- Where should you make them available?
- How to price your products to meet your market’s requirements and budget?
- How and where to promote your product?
The first step in defining your marketing strategy should be should be getting to know your customers. When you know who you are targeting and put people at the centre of the mix, you can more easily decide the optimal strategy that will deliver the most favourable results.
Airbnb has built a valuable brand by making the 5th P a focus of it’s branding activities. They typically target millennials born 1980-2000 and it’s understanding their traits (needs and principles) that has been the key to their success. Let’s look at how this impacts each subsequent P individually.
Spending with a conscience is core to most millennials and they tend to opt for products that allow for transparent traceability throughout the supply chain. Airbnb is not seen as a large corporate ripping off the little guy, but creates a community where everyone contributes and benefits from something seen as open, transparent and disruptive to the status quo. The company has no real assets, but its brand has the visibility of a Coca Cola or Starbucks in the millennial market.
While its market is cost conscious, Airbnb knows they place a higher value on products and services that have been designed and developed in a manner that is good for people and the planet. Hence, by consuming the brand they become“part of the solution”.
Airbnb is, more than anything else, including its multi-billion dollar valuation, a community organisation that includes everyone from anywhere. Add to that the lower costs and almost limitless offerings, in general, and you have something their market can’t say no to. Airbnb is a real part of their culture and value system, not some fake corporation pretending to be ‘cool’.
In terms of promotions, understanding their market is apprehensive of contracts and long-term commitments. Airbnb has none, you make a deal with an owner or someone looking to rent for a while and that’s it, no fuss. In an interview with Fast Company, Airbnb’s head of brand, Nancy King said one of the key reasons for Airbnb’s success “is all about emotional connection, and that is really the root of it”. She continues that,
“Iconic brands have a disproportionate share of cultural voice, and they hold the internal culture of companies.” And it’s clear that Airbnb has developed that cultural integration with millennial values.
Convenience and accessibility is important to most markets, but millennials place an even higher priority on it. They want information right away, especially for online sales, and once bought they want to know where their product is in the supply chain until it arrives at the door.
In the case of Airbnb, your booking information is available everywhere and anywhere, on any device. And as part of the community culture it drives, its biggest brand builders are the word-of-mouth promotions its customers created in the natural flow of conversation, online and offline
“Airbnb is an amazing example of how a brand is the value of a company, in this case valued in the billions of dollars ($38 billion at the time of writing, according to Forbes),” adds Rolfe. “This value is based on the value of its community, its culture and the way its partners (buyers and sellers) value what the brand can do for them, not the value of sales pipelines or fixed assets.
“This is a $38 billion valuation based on brand alone, based on the company’s ability to identify its market and create the community (not the business strategy) that appeals to them. In other words, the other four Ps are determined and led by a clear and intense understanding of the 5th P, the people who give Airbnb its value.”
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