7 online marketing tools your business shouldn't be without

  • /images/kristie__web.jpgIn order to succeed online you need to embrace a wide range of marketing techniques. Keeping on top of them all and knowing what to prioritise can be tricky. Kristie Marchant identifies seven tools that business owners can use to make building their brand online as easy as possible.

    1. Your website

    OK, so this sounds like a statement of the obvious, but not maintaining your website is like running a marathon without any training. You will be at a serious disadvantage to your competitors and quickly behind the pace if you don't have an up-to-date website with an easy to use content management system (CMS) to allow updates and new content to be added quickly and easily.

    Your website serves as the central hub of your online presence. Here you should be showcasing your products and services, providing your customers with valuable information, possibly providing another channel by which to complete a purchase, and, most importantly, providing a variety of means by which they can show their interest in you and reveal their identity - either via contact forms, downloads or relevant tools.

    2. Your blog

    A blog is a convenient extension to your main website: it can either be integrated (this is preferable for SEO purposes) or built on a separate blog hosting platform such as Wordpress or Blogger. Having a blog allows you to produce content related to your industry that demonstrates your knowledge and expertise. A popular blog will not only attract traffic to your main site via search, but it will help you to build an active and engaged audience that is more likely to translate into conversions.

    3. Site analytics

    There is little point in creating a fully functioning website if you have no way of telling how well it is performing. There are plenty of free and paid for software programs out there such as Google Analytics that make collecting and measuring site performance a much simpler process. Monitoring these results will allow you identify what’s working and what’s not and make informed decisions about what to do next.

    4. Social media software

    Effective use of social media will help boost traffic to your website and promote your brand to a wider audience. Many businesses set up profiles on the various social networks, but quickly find that maintaining these profiles takes a lot of time and effort. As a result, the presence becomes neglected.

    Luckily, there are a number of software programs available to make the job of managing followers, engaging with content, tracking relevant competitors and industry leaders, and many other networking activities, a much simpler task. The most popular of these programs include Hootsuite, which allows users to control all the main social media platforms, and Tweetdeck (for Twitter use).

    The alternative is to outsource the task to an agency that is skilled in this area of online marketing.

    5. Reputation tracking

    Like site analytics, it is important to monitor your reputation on social media sites. Reputation tracker sites such as Klout help you determine how influential you are across these platforms, how many people are engaging with your profiles, and ultimately provide a measure of your social media effectiveness based on these findings.

    6. Email marketing software

    A way to keep clients and potential clients up-to-date and engaged is to send out regular email campaigns. In order to send out bulk emails, it is important to use an established email software system to ensure that messages are sent efficiently and that the results can be tracked. Email marketing programs such as Sign-up.to and Mailchimp let you choose custom designed templates for your campaigns and send out messages as often and to as many people as you wish.

    7. Content curation

    Finding content to support your content marketing strategy can be one of the most laborious tasks of all. Even the most prolific writer can only create a certain amount of unique content in any given period of time and it is, therefore, necessary - and legitimately helpful to your followers - to share interesting content created by others.

    Content curation tools like Scoop-it trawl the Internet for new content related to the search terms you programme into it and make sharing it across your social media feeds quick and easy

    So there you have it - 7 essential tools to turn you into an online marketing superstar.

    We are always happy to guide clients who want to undertake the day-to-day management of their online marketing programmes themselves using our Mentor Me service. Please contact us for details.

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