Seven Online Marketing Tools To Improve Your B2B Marketing
To run a successful marketing campaign you don’t have to be an IT genius. The most important ingredients in a successful B2B marketing recipe are creativity, insight into what your customer needs, and the ability to analyse the results carefully. Voila.
This being said, there are some fantastic apps out there that make each step of the process that little bit easier.. As Hubspot partners and Infusionsoft experts, we are proud to endorse these excellent products for marketing automation, customer relationship management and inbound marketing. In addition, for each of the following seven core marketing activities, we’ve recommended an easy-to-use, low-cost app that will give you a much-needed boost without breaking the bank
1) Customer Relationship Management (CRM): Hubspot FREE CRM
Hubspot is one of the most well-rounded, cloud based CRMs out there at the moment, with the added bonus that it is free to use. It has all the powerful features you’d expect from a market leading tool, including the ability to manage your sales leads and contacts and plan effective marketing campaigns. Hubspot’s auto logging feature makes the CRM a joy to use. The tool communicates with your email and phone systems to keep your contact profiles up-to-date, cutting down on the amount of data entry required.
Hubspot is a tightly focused sales tool and is an excellent CRM if you have an active outbound sales team. Premium versions of the app allow you to schedule and queue sales calls and log all communications with your leads. The tool also integrates well with Outlook and Gmail email communications. The same applies to inbound calls of course, allowing you to build a detailed picture of your customer relationships. Hubspot CRM really comes into its own when twinned with the Hubspot Marketing Platform. This partnership covers both outbound and inbound marketing, allowing you to blend your sales and marketing functions into one unified strategy.
Many users find they sign up for the Hubspot free CRM and then migrate onto one of the premium packages for greater flexibility and added functions. Monthly subscriptions are based on the size of your contact list, rather than the number of users. They range in value from £140 per month for small databases to £1,680 for contact lists of 10,000 or more.
2) Email Marketing: Mailchimp
Mailchimp is the Queen of email marketing applications. It is easy to use, quick to pick up and, if you have an email database of less than 2,000 contacts, it is completely free. There is a reason why Mailchimp has become the world’s leading email platform, with over 9 million users worldwide.
For sending simple emails Mailchimp provides a number of fairly intuitive templates, although these are limited in scope. You can also upload your own HTML email templates or use their email editor to code your own templates directly onto the site.
The free version of Mailchimp comes with a decent set of analytics, allowing you to track email opens and click through rates for your campaigns. If you send a lot of emails, then a pro version of Mailchimp is available for about £130 per month. This allows you to send campaigns to more users and comes with more advanced data analysis software.
3) Generating Content Ideas: DrumUp
DrumUp is a (currently) free online content marketing app that searches the web for relevant and interesting content, and allows you to share with your followers on social media. DrumUp’s search facility is keyword based and allows you to quite closely select the sort of content you are looking for. Nine out of ten searches generates genuinely relevant content.
If you want to simply share the links it comes up with, then you can schedule it to be posted to your social networks directly through DrumUp, or you can take the links for use with a different scheduler. DrumUp is also very useful for keeping track of industry trends, and for generating ideas for creating original content. There has been a gap in this market since Google Reader was discontinued, and DrumUp goes a long way to fill it.
4) Twitter Optimisation: Followerwonk
Despite its silly name, Followerwonk is one of the most powerful social analytics packages for businesses who use Twitter. Using Followerwonk helps you understand and develop your Twitter followers. Find out more about where your followers are located, what content they follow and when they are active. Find out more about an industry or sector by connecting with influential tweeters and content creators. Compare nice-looking visuals with similar users within your industry, and print off a range of nifty -looking reports. Altogether, a very user-friendly, free online app, developed by the Moz (formerly SEOMoz) team.
5) Monitoring: Mention
Mention is a highly effective and dead simple way of eavesdropping in on what people are saying about you on the Internet. This is important for more than mere curiosity’s sake. The app can be set up to provide an ongoing feed for keywords, brand names, search terms or Twitter hashtags. This allows you to accurately trace the impact of your campaigns and how people are reacting to your brand.
It allows you to find conversations where your brand is being mentioned, and gives you the opportunity to respond and join in. This alone makes mention exceptionally valuable. It can also be used to trace your competitors of course, and to map the progress of your brand compared with others in your industry.
You can get basic functionality for slightly less than £19 per month. Higher packages are quite pricey, with a ‘company’ package costing £200 per month, and an ’enterprise’ package costing nearly £520 per month. This highest package allows you to track half a million mentions each month and 30 individual alerts. A serious app for serious marketing campaigns.
6) Video Creation: Animoto
Animoto is a straightforward app that allows you to create high-quality HD videos. For a very modest monthly subscription of £8 to £24 per month you get access to up to 3,000 music tracks and 70 customisable video templates. Compare with some video creation apps, Animoto is a genuinely high quality programme. The options allow a high degree of customisation and it is really quick to use. Highly recommended for any business that uses video content.
7) Social Media / Content Scheduling: Hootsuite
If you sign up for just one of these marketing tools, make it HootSuite. If you use multiple social media platforms, HootSuite is an indispensable scheduling tool. Sign up for free and use the app to schedule tweets, Facebook updates and Google plus posts months in advance if required. A lot of users leave it at this, but there is much more to HootSuite. The app is an extremely powerful monitoring tool, allowing you to analyse the reach and impact of each of your social media shares, including how far each piece of content has spread through the networks of your followers. It can give you insight into how to better engage your audience, the optimum times to launch campaigns and how to maximise ROI from your social media efforts. Paid plans with added functionality are available from £6.99 per month.
These are just some of the many hundreds of fantastic marketing tools available. Prices and functionality vary widely, so before you invest in a marketing tool make sure you shop around and compare a number of independent customer reviews. Most apps also allow a free trial or a 30 day money back guarantee for their premium packages, so it is well worth taking advantage of this before you commit your money.