Marketing tools help you accomplish various tasks such as market analysis, content creation, information sharing and tracking social media engagement and activity. In this post, I have shared seven tools that are free or very reasonably priced while delivering great service.
1. Google Analytics: The first logical step after creating a website is to add a set of codes that work to monitor and report on each nook and cranny of your portal. You can learn who came in, what they saw/ read, where they came from and how much time they spent on your site. I would definitely consider myself crippled without this vital information. Google Analytics can track visitors from all referrers, including search engines, display advertising, pay-per-click networks, e-mail marketing and digital collateral like links within PDF documents. This technology helps you to review online campaigns by tracking landing page quality and conversions (goals). Goals might include sales, lead generation, views of specific pages or downloads of particular files. The reports can be generated for any time period and are easy to understand.
2. BringShare: is a unique tool for data analysis that compiles all online marketing initiatives into a single, easy-to-comprehend dashboard and presents data in a way that makes it simple to identify which efforts provide the best return on investment, which approaches need to be modified and those initiatives that aren't paying off at all. An important metric BringShare provides is the SEO rank of your top three competitors on Google, Yahoo and Bing for the industry-related keywords you choose. It shows how you have performed on the chosen keywords versus your competitors.
3. Marketing Grader: Keeping track of competitors, measuring website performance and monitoring social media status is something that every SMB needs to do because evaluating your marketing efforts gives perspective and guides your activities. Hubspot Marketing Grader improves your marketing efforts by pointing out weak areas and showing where your competitors are doing well. In less than 30 seconds, it analyzes all of your marketing—not just your website—reviewing more than 30 different factors and then calculating an overall marketing grade on a scale of 1-100.
With Marketing Grader, you will understand:
- Competitive benchmarking: is my marketing more or less effective than my competition?
- Lead generation: are my marketing efforts generating enough leads and sales?
- Mobile marketing: is my web presence optimized for mobile devices?
- Social media: how effectively are we using Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter?
- Blogging: is my blog driving results that justify the investment or are we wasting time doing the wrong things?
- Overall analysis: what are the strong points and shortcomings in our marketing?
4. Sprout Social: It is one application that is low-cost with a 30 day free trial that enables you to monitor your brand and manage your conversations on most of the social networks (i.e., Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and Google+) with one easy dashboard. It not only serves as a social listening tool but also facilitates scheduled content publishing with one click. Sprout Social keeps track of new fans and followers for you and reports real-time engagement to measure and analyze your social activity. There is a mobile version, too, enabling you to be mobile without losing access to all updates.
5. Google Trends: A free Google tool that shows how often a particular search-term is entered relative to the total search-volume across various regions of the world, and in various languages.
Many of us marketers plan campaigns using our understanding of the market combined with intuition, but that can get us into trouble. Google Trends allows us to test our instincts with huge amounts of data that is free and readily available. SMBs can use Google Trends to see which keywords to incorporate in their online and offline campaigns to best connect with their target audiences and which geographies will give them the best ROI.
In addition, Google Hot Trends displays the top 20 hot or fastest-rising searches terms of the past hour in the United States. This is for identifying searches that have experienced a sudden surge in popularity.
Of all the blogging software platforms, no other offers the same degree of rich functionality and design flexibility. It might not be the easiest to use but definitely beats every other platform in terms of presentation. However, Tumblr is rapidly becoming very popular, reporting 100 million unique visitors and over 15 billion page views per month in January 2012, and is becoming stiff competition for WordPress.
7. Email Marketing Platform: If cost is the critical factor in choosing an email marketing platform, which is the case of many new startups and SMBs, then go with MailChimp as it is free for fewer than 2,000 subscribers. Plus, their clever sayings and sense of humor entertain you as automated messages appear from time to time.
On the other hand, if your emails require complicated templates, you need special customized designs and the like and you have the ability to learn a system, you'll want to take a look at Constant Contact to see if the fees are worthwhile to make your emails more interactive and effective.
What other marketing tools have you used? How have they made your marketing efforts easier and more productive?