5 Technologies That Will Make Marketing Your Business a Snap
September 23, 2013
Most small business owners agree that when it comes to your business, marketing, sales and social media, you are pretty much a one-person show. Such is the life of an entrepreneur!
But that doesn’t mean you have to spend huge amounts of time doing each of those functions. In fact, there are so many great technologies available that will simplify your life immensely. Let’s look at five technologies that you can use in any sized business to bring automation and order to your sales and marketing process.
1. CRM – Customer Relationship Management tools are there to help you manage the sales process. Sales software has changed from the clunky downloaded contact management systems of the past into sleek social media and mobile integrated platforms that will help you build and grow relationships at any price point.
- Nimble – is ideal for companies who build relationships and opportunities via social media introductions such as LinkedIn or Twitter. My favorite features is Nimble’s ability to turn Tweets and comments into action items.
- Salesforce – This is a favorite for both big and small businesses. Salesforce.com has always had great reporting tools and now they’ve jumped into the social space as well.
- ACT – has been around for decades and was one of the first in the CRM field. ACT is a great choice if you only want to pay once and have access to your information BOTH on your desktop or in the cloud.
2. Email Marketing – There is no excuse for NOT using an email marketing technology in ANY business. Every business should be collecting emails from their prospects and customers. Once you have these emails, you can send “nurture campaigns” that consist of educational and informational emails, newsletters and special offers to your customers.
- aWeber is one of the most popular email marketing platforms and is a popular choice of bloggers and online marketers. Their strength is in customer service and in sending unlimited follow-up emails.
- Constant Contact – This is a fan favorite of many B2C and retail businesses. Constant contact has terrific newsletter options and many templates that make it easy to send offers to customers.
- MailChimp – The analytics and reporting are what set MailChimp apart from the rest. It’s the ideal tool for small businesses who want to test campaigns and see their stats from social media sites.
- Get Response is ideal for beginners and first-time users who would like flexible templates. Another interesting feature is that it offers over 1,000 iStock photos.
3. Analytics – The old quote about not knowing which 50% of your marketing budget is effective is no longer true! Web analytics can actually tell you exactly which aspects of your site are most effective
- Google Analytics – This is a goldmine of information and best of all it’s free. Take the time to learn about who comes to your site and where they are coming from.
- Web Site Optimizer is also from Google and allows you to test several different versions of your web pages to see which gets more clicks.
- Wordtracker is a keyword research tool for search engine optimization and link building. One of the best features is a keyword suggestion tool that you can use to develop the core keywords around your web site.
- Optimizely is an online application that makes A/B comparison testing easy enough for anyone to do. The best feature of this application is the WYSIWYG way that you can make tweaks to your site to test which version works best.
4. Social Media Management doesn’t have to be overwhelming if you’re using the right tools to streamline your social media marketing. Each of these tools helps you to automate and delegate your Twitter, Facebook. LinkedIn and other social media platforms. Each platform is loaded with functions, I’ve outlined just a few that set them apart.
- HootSuite – The free version offers so much functionality, you may never have to upgrade. The upgraded version allows you to create a team of people who post to your social media accounts.
- MarketMeSweet is a free tool that helps you automate and manage your Twitter and Facebook streams. It has a unique “dot” system that allows you to delegate and organize your tweets.
- SocialOomph is one of the most popular Twitter management tools. Like other tools, it allows you to schedule your Twitter and Facebook updates another unique feature is the ability to send you summaries of your @replies.
- Buffer is a great tool that allows you to curate articles, tweets and Facebook posts into your social media feeds. There is a simple button to install in your browser bookmark bar and then you’re set. Buffer allows you to set the number of posts you want on certain days. Buffer also now integrates with Google+.
5. Prospecting and List Building – Getting and keeping customers is on the top of all of our lists. While you can buy lists from InfoUSA, here are a few other sources you may not have considered.
- InsideView offers pre-call contact information that will help your sales team learn more about their prospects and build a better foundation for that first sales call.
- JigSaw comes from SalesForce.com and provides complete contact records and detailed information on companies so that you can plan your sales territories.
One word of warning – don’t take on too many new applications at once! You will get frustrated and overwhelmed. Instead, choose an area you’d like to automate, then do some research, take on the free trial and make a concerted effort to work with each tool until it becomes an integrated part in your process before you take on something new.
Have you tried any of these marketing technology tools and applications? How do they work for you?
Name: Ivana S. Taylor
About: Ivana Taylor is the publisher of DIYMarketers.com – an online marketing publication that provides marketing strategies that help entrepreneurs and business owners get and keep profitable customers. She is the DIY Marketing expert and book editor for Small Business Trends and a contributing author to AMEX Open Forum. Her strategic consulting firm, Third Force specializes in helping companies find their best customers and be the one they choose – regardless of price. Ivana is the co-author of Excel for Marketing Managers. You can find her on Twitter as @DIYMarketers.