You have a first-rate website that features an excellent user experience, your social media channels are humming nicely, and you’re making the world aware of your great products.
But without effective marketing tools, you can’t know how all those efforts are impacting your business goals. Marketing software provides marketing data so you can learn what’s working (and what needs to be reworked).
Here are five of the most important marketing tools you’ll need in your technology stack.
1) Customer Relationship Management (CRM) Software
Data is at the heart of every interaction with customers, prospects, partners, and influencers. And not just any data—it must be relevant, accurate, accessible, and actionable.
Every customer interaction provides an opportunity to learn more about that person’s wants, needs, and preferences. It also helps us get an idea of their budget constraints, capacity for making a purchase, or influencing others.
To see each of those interactions as potential teachable moments—and to recognize the absence of data as an opportunity lost—you need an efficient CRM to make sure you capture what you can from every touchpoint with your community.
Your CRM software will also help you manage the important relationships in your business. It does this by keeping track of what has been discussed before and generating alerts when it is time to follow up on an issue or request.
2) Marketing Automation Software
Marketing automation software lets marketing teams execute simple marketing tasks automatically so they can focus their attention on the larger budget items—like content creation, PR efforts, events, etc.
It can automatically send blog subscribers a free copy of an eBook, re-send abandoned cart emails to customers who didn’t complete purchases on e-commerce sites. It can even post social media messages that were written by marketers during off-hours without having to stay up late.
Marketing automation also helps you keep track of customer engagement. With it, you can learn more about your audience and deliver personalized messages at scale through segmentation and personalization features.
3) Web Analytics Software
Along with the above tools, you’ll need web analytics tools to measure all aspects of website performance so you can identify problems and improve the user experience over time. You can use Google Analytics, the most advanced free analytics tool on the market.
It can measure all the key areas of a website, including user behavior, traffic sources, campaign performance, and e-commerce metrics. Setting up Google Analytics is very easy, and it can be implemented on any website with simple code.
Once installed, you can do advanced tracking, including custom variables to track specific events on your website. You can even see exact paths taken by site visitors, so it will be easy to identify where they are getting lost. Some of the other advanced features of Google Analytics include:
- Real-time reports and dashboards
- Automatic tagging of data
- Advanced segmentation and filters to view specific customer groups
- A/B testing features that let you test changes on your website quickly and easily (such as a button color or different text) and see which one is working best to achieve business goals (i.e., increasing conversion rates).
4) Social Media Analytics Software
More people are turning to social media sources like Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube, Instagram, Snapchat, etc., every day. And business professionals who spent a lot of time on these platforms a few years ago have already graduated to newer services that have emerged since then—meaning you need to be there too.
Social media analytics tools show you how many people are engaging with your social content and which channels are most popular for each type of messaging, so you can allocate your resources more efficiently.
For example, if Twitter is where the lion’s share of your audience is spending time these days, it makes sense to invest in the software tools that will help you get the most out of this channel. These tools are not really costly, you can use Hootsuite, Buffer, or even Facebook’s own analytics tools.
5) Email Marketing Software
Some advisors rely on email marketing exclusively since it lets them build relationships over time without having to invest in extensive conferences or travel around the world. And because email marketing still strikes fear into some marketers’ hearts (it has a bad reputation thanks to all those “You’ve won!” messages), they may be neglecting this powerful tool.
Email marketing software can help raise your ROI by optimizing email campaigns for clicks and conversions, proving the effectiveness of your cross-channel campaigns. And boosting targeted revenue opportunities through segmentation and personalization features.
It also lets you measure engagement at every step of the customer journey so you know which types of emails are most likely to lead to a purchase from each type of reader.
Marketing technology has evolved exponentially in the last few years and we’re living more and more in a “post-software” era (at least when it comes to marketing).
Startups that try to compete by “doing things manually” will fail since they will be outgunned on every front. It is important to keep track of the latest marketing technologies, so you can always stay ahead of your competitors.