There are more digital marketing tools than you can shake a stick at. But how do you cut through the noise to determine what solutions are best for you and your enterprise marketing efforts.
From analytics to automation to advertising to attribution, the goal is to better understand and engage customers, make it easier for them to find your products or services, and focus marketing programs on what is working and eliminating what is not.
The Go-To List of Solutions
Here’s a list of go-to tools for 11 key marketing solutions categories, and why they are solid options to consider for sparking success with your marketing campaigns:
CRM stands for customer relationship management, and nobody does it better than Salesforce. Here’s the company’s own definition of CRM: “a technology for managing all your company’s relationships and interactions with customers and potential customers. The goal is simple: Improve business relationships.”
Salesforce provides the power and functionality of an enterprise-level CRM for small and medium-sized businesses, yet the platform can easily and gradually be upgraded and scale with your business over time. The CRM fills the needs of startups but will grow and adapt as those businesses move to the enterprise level.
Capabilities include lead management, marketing automation and contact management to help organizations manage customer accounts, track sales leads, conduct and monitor marketing campaigns, and provide service after the sale. A SaaS deployment solution, the Salesforce app provides a technology stack workflow and user interfaces, as well as database and security.
There’s a reason HubSpot receives great reviews on sites like Capterra. One comment says it all about the company’s marketing automation products: “A platform with soul – HubSpot keeps marketing human with products built on best practices.” HubSpot uses inbound marketing to increase traffic, convert leads and prove ROI for companies looking to expand. It is a very useful tool for those in affiliate marketing as well.
HubSpot touts its powerful, easy-to-use integrated workflows, including email drip campaigns designed to move prospects from the top of the funnel down and through it. Emails are just one component of the fully automated marketing platform, making database and contact list updates easy. Other tasks HubSpot’s software automates include social media posting and ad campaigns. In addition to increasing efficiency, the data gathered helps enterprises provide a more personalized experience for its customers.
Web Development: WordPress
Perhaps more known for being a blogging platform – that is how it began – the free web software is actually a solid tool for creating functional websites. Marketers using WordPress web development tools do not need to know how to code, and easy-to-use plugins and themes intuitively walk even the not-so-tech-savvy folks through web creation.
The number of websites out there showing how to use WordPress to create a website shows how powerful a tool it is and how it has turned conventional thinking on the website-building process on its head. And many “pros” now use the WordPress platform to create beautiful websites for their clients. WordPress has created a cottage industry of website developers.
Again, the user-friendly platform allows rookie site administrators and small business owners to make basic updates and add blog posts, images and videos. Mobile-friendly layouts and easy SEO are other added benefits.
Advertising: Google Ads
There’s no denying Google Ads catch eyeballs and put marketing messaging in front of targeted audiences. It takes work to effectively manage your spend with Google Ads and stay on top of bidding. However, if you focus your resources on using the data and analytics Google provides on click-through rates and conversions, you will find success.
You’ll definitely want to define your marketing campaign goals and make sure they are aligned with your business goals. Google Ads uses automated bid strategies (portfolio bid strategies) – an automated, goal-driven bid strategy that groups multiple campaigns, ad groups and key works. The aim is to have bids sufficient enough to compete for qualified buyers, but at the same time not overbidding and putting messaging in front of people outside of your target scope.
Advantages of Google Ads: a limitless reach and open targeting; ad relevance for users; you pay for clicks only; remarketing to those returning to your site; lots of good data to improve performance, even if the data is biased to Google Ads and does not consider other channels that may work in tandem with those ads.
Advertising: Facebook Business Manager
Facebook is an important advertising channel, but if you share access to multiple pages and ad accounts outside of your own scope, Facebook Business Manager is for you. The tool offers safety, organization and a centralized location for your business assets. Like Salesforce, Facebook provides the best definition of its product: “Business Manager serves as a one-stop shop to manage business tools, business assets and employee access to these assets.”
Facebook Business Manager allows you to create and manage business pages while not using your personal profile. Facebook tools are great at helping increase brand awareness and promote relevant, eye-catching content. Marketers also have the ability to add company employees, agencies and other partners to help manage Facebook accounts. It is not a requirement to become Facebook “friends” with colleagues or clients.
Analytics: Google Analytics
Work smarter not harder, the old adage goes. Google Analytics provides free tools for analyzing your site and app users to get a pulse on the performance of your marketing, content, products and more. Integrated with all of Google’s marketing products, including Google Ads, Search Console and Data Studio, a marketer who commits the time to using the GA data will find it worth the time put in.
In mid-July, Google Analytics announced a new feature, Predictive Analytics and Predictive Metrics. Still in beta, users will be able to see (hence, predict) new audiences, namely “likely buyers” and “likely churning purchasers.” On the metrics side, an analysis will point to marketing campaigns that captured users with the highest probability to purchase. Predictive Analytics and Predictive Metrics will work in tandem to identify the right audience and scrap campaigns that miss the mark.
Search Engine Optimization: Google Search Console
SEO professionals, webmasters, website owners and web marketers monitor website performance in the Google search index by using a collection of tools and resources known as Google Search Console. Savvy marketing pros likely have multiple tabs open to GSC as they monitor traffic dips, spikes and impressions.
A free service, Google Search Console ensures Google can crawl your site or app correctly, allowing for validation of a given page’s performance. The Search Console API and URL Testing Tools API provide programmatic access to the service. In a nutshell, GSC lets you see what part of your website needs work, whether it be something technical (catching crawl errors) or identifying that a keyword is losing its steam and adjusting use and ad spend around that keyword accordingly to increase impression rankings.
Search Engine Optimization: SEMrush
Need to boost your online store’s performance or want to dial in on your complete workflow, including lead generation, prospecting, campaign management and reporting? SEMRush is the tool. Drive more traffic with search – paid and organic – and pump up your brand recognition.
SEMRush is an SEO tool that does your keyword research, tracks the keyword strategy used by your competition, runs an SEO audit of your blog, and looks for backlinking opportunities, among other things. Less is more is one motto of this product, as audit results can determine how to make your website better by eliminating what is not working. A simple spreadsheet reveals which URLs are underperforming, so you can prune those out.
LeadsRx provides an impartial, cross-channel view of the entire customer journey to see where in the funnel people are acting, reacting and converting. The LeadsRx marketing attribution platform moves beyond solely counting impressions and clicks that today’s marketing KPIs rely on. For LeadsRx, return on ad spend (ROAS) is the No. 1 performance indicator.
Impartial multi-touch attribution helps you identify the specific touchpoints that are influencing new customers. This helps you optimize your ad dollars and eliminate wasted ad spend. Marketing shifts from paying for traffic and clicks to optimizing for actual performance.
Attribution connects the dots between broad-scale marketing programs and customer acquisition, ultimately improving bottom-line profit. As an enterprise marketer or agency who must justify marketing spend and do more with the same or shrinking budgets, you can look to attribution to provide the customer intelligence you need.
Chat Bot: Drift
Drift has a simple promotion for the service it provides: “Give your website a personal assistant” – albeit it not human and automated. Using chatbots, Drift qualifies leads quickly and effectively, adding those leads to your CRM. You set up your routing rules, pushing new leads out by territory, company size or any designation of your choosing, and existing leads are automatically routed to the existing lead owner.
Chatbots are active 24-7 and, according to Drift’s own site again: “Chatbots are intelligent virtual assistants that provide helpful content to visitors, qualify leads, and book meetings for sales every hour of the day and every day of the week.”
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So what are chatbots? They are software applications that use artificial intelligence and natural language processing to understand what a human wants to assist them and guide them to a desired outcome – without requiring much work by the end user. Next time you see a pop-up in the lower righthand corner asking how to assist you, more often than not you are working with a chatbot, not a real person.
Email Marketing: Mailchimp
Besides a lovable logo/mascot, Mailchimp is a hardworking cloud-based email marketing solution that works for any size business. Send marketing emails and automated messages, create targeted ad campaigns, build landing pages, send postcards, sell online, and facilitate reporting and analytics all through the platform.
Users find it easy to set up, the ability to edit multiple emails in multiple tabs (a cut-and-paste marketer’s friend), and it easily integrates into most website platforms. Besides being a solid newsletter platform, Mailchimp aides in building mailing lists generated from your website’s opt-in forms and provides customizable newsletter template options for standard, ecommerce-based and dynamic emails. The power and customization capability of Mailchimp are traits often listed in positive reviews of the product.
Like other optimization tools, Mailchimp help focus your efforts on marketing campaigns driving the most business value. The service identifies the best times to send out messaging and allows for segmentation to provide insights about your contacts and how to better target them.
Load Up Your Tool Belt
The point of all of the tools listed above is to help you better focus your marketing efforts. Use of some of these tools together, or all of them if you have the capacity, sets up future decisions on campaigns for success. Many of the tools are free, but even the ones that are not prove their worth almost immediately. Knowledge is power in marketing. Informed campaigns are successful campaigns.
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