One of my favorite things about online marketing are online marketing tools. They give you the ability to be able to see your results…quickly. Knowing quickly whether you are onto something or failing can save a lot of time & money and really help fine tune your marketing process. It’s easy to get lost in analytics and to become a little obsessed by them. I try to allot certain hours of my day and in some instances dedicate an entire day to metrics so I can analyze, deduce and move forward. Doing this allows me to keep some balance and not drown in data. For anyone that uses metrics you know how addicting watching and analyzing can become. I’ve created a list of online marketing tools I use and my thoughts or reviews for each.
9 Reviews of Online Marketing Tools I Use
I’m a big WordPress fan. I was introduced to WordPress in 2004 and I’ve been using it in some capacity both at work and personally ever since. At one point in my career we were managing so many blogs on WordPress that I was able to convince my company to use the VIP WordPress service. That was really cool because we would have IT meetings with the guys over at Automattic who had built MUCH of WordPress’ original open source code and were the main tech supports at the time. Hopefully the fact that I used the term “cool” in the same sentence as “IT meeting” properly conveys the magnitude of how much I favor this content management system (CMS). Good grief.
At another point in my career a company I worked for wanted to switch over their blogs to a home grown blog tool that they had built. It ended up having so many problems they eventually went back (to my great relief) to WordPress. WordPress is a powerful, extremely user friendly CMS. I highly recommend it. You can quickly sign up for a free blog hosted on WP (so your URL would be example.wordpress.com), pay an upgrade free for your own domain (making your URL example.com) or you can host your own by securing server space and downloading the software from WordPress.org. These days WordPress.com has a variety of custom packages so check both of those site out and see what’s best for you. If you have a question about which one is right for you feel free to leave a comment and I’ll give you my .02.
I really like these guys! They’ve got some great products and powerful tools. I use these to track various funnels about consumers on our site…in particular for the buying process. It’s really easy to create a user funnel to track whatever info you want. We also used this tool once to create a little friendly customer service poll after checkout. People seemed to respond to it surprisingly very positively.
This one is relatively new to me. We use this one to track our tweets. It’s been kind of fun to see which tweet does well. It’s also nice to see what other people’s tweets reach end up being…a lot of time they have more impact or reach than ours do which goes to show the importance of building a community that will talk about your brand.
There are literally hundreds of books on Google Analytics, I know because I own one of them! It was pretty good. Google Analytics changes pretty often though so you have to keep on top of their updates. Google does a good job of sending out emails (in my opinion) when they update analytics but a lot of times it comes down to just fiddling with it enough that you figure it out on your own. I like that they integrated webmaster tools with analytics (I wasn’t sure about that at first) but it seems to be working out pretty good. One of my favorite things to do is to send out an email campaign and then get on Google Analytics and watch the real time overview. We’ve actually learned some really interesting things about user behavior from doing that. It’s an amazing powerful tool and I’ll admit I could study it for a long time and probably still not know everything it’s capable of doing. In the past one of the companies I worked for spent a lot of money on Omniture and I didn’t think it was any better than Google Analytics. If you have the capability and budget to have someone in your marketing department whose sole job is to be your Google Analtycis expert I think it’s worth it. That would mean that they would *really* have to get to know how to use that tool and stay up on SEO and GA changes.
Constant Contact is a great email service provider (ESP). I’ve been really happy with them. They make everything very easy to use and understand. They have excellent customer service. Actually, that’s the thing that sets them apart for me from MailChimp (also a good ESP) is their customer service. When you’re about to send out an email to thousands of people and you have either an issue or question arise you really want good customer service and Constant Contact customer service is really good about being there for you.
Very cool way to build community and or simply tell a quick story. What Storify does is thread everything together. There may be tweets about your brand/event, FB updates, Instagram images, blog posts, media mentions and what Storify does is allow you to thread those things together into a really visual and appealing story. We’ve used it as event follow-ups but you can make a story out of anything. If you haven’t tried Storify yet you should. It’s also an interesting way to build your online community.
I’ve talked a bout Pinterest before on here and I use it for both work and as a person (I’m a big Pinterest fan) but I won’t reinvent the wheel and talk about that here. Instead I’ll let both Pinterest for business and Hubspot’s “How to use Pinterest for Business” Ebook doing the talking for me. I will tell you however that it’s useful to spend a few minutes of every day adding pins if you can. Set a time limit because it can suck you into a time warp where you think you’re spending 15 minutes and an hour later realize 15 minutes was up 45 minutes ago (I like to showcase my math skills when I can). This is also a great task for an intern.
This is my first post on Copyblogger’s blogging software Scribe! It seems useful so far but I’ll write an update on what happens with it a little later. I did already have to use their customer service for setting it up and they were very prompt about getting back to me despite it being a weekend. Good sign.
I lived in Seattle and remember when Rand Fishkin was first starting to make waves in the new field of “SEO.” I attended one of their first conferences in the UW library in 2005 or 2006 and will never forget one Fishkin’s opening quotes of, “Do you know what the #1 search term is on Yahoo!?” Let’s see who can answer that one. Leave a comment with your guess. It should be fairly obvious. Anyway, I’ve used SEOmoz premium service on and off over the years. They continually evolve their software which is good and are definitely one of the if not the most respected leaders of this industry. Rand was also a really nice guy.