Tools to improve your marketing today.
Your marketing department will face a marketing breakdown at some point. It's inevitable with any marketing department in our constantly shifting business world, whether you have a 100 person marketing team or you're a one-person, one-stop shop.
What creates a breakdown? In this case, it's when your marketing department has a major obstacle in delivering on the 4 P's of product, price, place and promotion. With so many moving parts to your business activities, these essential marketing elements can get shadowed by priorities in other departments, and it's critical to revisit your departmental vision each quarter to make sure you haven't overlooked your own goals.
If this feels like a major challenge, never fear! We’re here to present you with the five ways to get in front of marketing catastrophes with strategies, best practices and SaaS tools must-haves. From analytics to chat tools to project time management, we’ve got you covered.
You have no clue what your customers want.
Solution: Start learning from your website.
Every marketer should know their customer inside and out. It's easier said than done, so there's no better source than talking directly to your customer.
Olark is a simple chat plugin that allows you to chat in real-time with a visitor on your site. When your analytics detect a new visitor, simply initiate a chat via Olark and ask how you can help them! The ability to chat with a visitor in real-time can be invaluable in learning how they found your site, why they’re interested in you, and how you can convert them into paying customers.
Consider working with your Sales and Customer Service team leads to pilot a chat initiative to get the ball rolling. In a world where we’re plagued by emails from fake senders and chat robots, sometimes a bit of real human interaction can be all it takes to convert a visitor to a customer. Olark even syncs with Google Chat, so you can converse with customers right from your Gmail inbox.
Speaking of Google, let's talk analytics. Your company undoubtedly uses Google Analytics or other software like Webtrends, Omniture (Adobe Analytics) or the host of other options, but not all marketing pros have access to these tools. If you don't have the keys, find out who can help you get access, and then get the right training to learn how to pull relevant marketing stats. You'll learn what attracts customers on your site and how to be a better marketer.
This might seem like an obvious choice, but Google Analytics allows you to do so much more than simply monitor the traffic to your website. In addition to tracking basic metrics like traffic sources, where your visitors are coming from and how much time they’re spending on your site, you can customize it to show a unique dashboard with relevant info at a glance. Compare which campaigns have brought in the most traffic over time and what visitors are typing into the ‘search’ box on your website. A marketing dashboard is a great way to segment out the analytics for your department's needs.
There’s a bit of a learning curve to mastering all of the ins and outs of analytics tools, but a few articles and tutorials will help you feel like a pro.
Your marketing qualified lead funnel is empty.
Solution: Create a powerful inbound marketing campaign.
Inbound marketing has been a hot topic for the past year or two, and with good reason. It's been reported that a buyer is at least 57% through their journey before even talking to a rep (a conservative number to many). Your marketing funnel could be empty because you haven't presented the right online assets to these prospects while they've been "buying" online.
Companies like Hubspot have created powerful tools for people who want to run inbound marketing campaigns. They offer a multitude of services such as email marketing, form submissions, website and blog content management systems, a landing page generator, CTA A/B testing, customer management, a lead nurturing program, as well as in-depth reporting and stats for the length of your inbound marketing campaign and beyond.
One of the best things about inbound marketing partners is that the tools are very easy to use and there’s a wealth of information and support in the form of educational material, training, webinars, and customer support to help make sure that you’re using the software to their full potential.
Even if you don't use a vendor to help with your inbound marketing efforts, take their offerings as a cue to enhancing your program. If you're not doing effective email marketing, CTA testing or lead nurturing then you're missing out on a big potential to connect with prospects in a critical stage of their journey. Enhance your inbound strategy and fill your MQL funnel.
There are too many cooks in the kitchen.
Solution: Use collaboration tools to get the most out of each team member.
How many emails are in your inbox right now that could have been avoided? How many of those emails have four or more people copied on them? And how many emails have turned into never-ending threads?
We've discussed this tool in the past and it's worth mentioning again, as Trello is an amazing SaaS solution for teams. It looks and functions like a series of to-do lists that can be moved around, edited and commented on by other team members. Instead of emailing back and forth, team members can add notes on projects they’re working on for everyone to see.
Read Related: 5 Ways Collaboration Tools Earn Their Keep
Trello also allows you to assign tasks to different team members, which helps clarify who is handling each part of a project and where they are in that process. It’s got an easy learning curve and works great on both mobile and desktop.
Another app which has garnered tremendous attention is Slack, an internal communication app that allows you to bring multiple conversations together in one place. This powerful tool allows you to host group discussions, transfer files and easily search through conversation archives. This is especially valuable for businesses whose teams work remotely.
And as an added bonus for growing software companies, you absolutely must be on Github. Technically speaking it is more for developers than marketers, but in today's business world they can be one in the same. Github builds on the Git versioning system and has made huge improvements to the ways that multiple developers can collaborate on a project. It has also become the standard place to host open source projects, with even Google closing down it’s Google Code hosting service and moving the projects over to Github.
You've wasted countless hours on dead-end projects.
Solution: Start following the 80/20 rule and track your time.
The 80/20 rule is simple: 80% of your marketing wins will come from the top 20% of your staff's time. So find out what that 20% is in your company and focus more attention on the items that contribute to your big successes.
If you need to keep track of the time you spend working on a project, Toggl is the best resource to help you do it. It’s an online tracking tool designed for freelancers, consultants and small businesses who need to track the time they spend on projects and with clients.
It’s super easy to use: just type in what you’re doing, hit the timer and tag your task to see how efficiently you’re working. You can pull up specific projects and tasks or view your time in a monthly report to see how much time you’ve spent doing what.
Your public relations strategy is non-existent.
Solution: Start issuing one press release per month and celebrate your company success.
But what do you say? Consider all the things you're proud of internally and what you've celebrated with your teams. Have you expanded a product line recently? Has your company hit a key milestone in your industry or received any recent accreditations? Have you partnered with new companies or brought on an important new client? You may be able to issue joint press releases with your partners and build on those existing relationships.
If you’re unsure of how to go about issuing press releases, which news outlets to submit them to, or even how to write one in the first place, PRWeb is the app for you. It breaks down creating and issuing a press release into easy, actionable steps. The tool also supplies helpful templates and suggestions for what to write and which news outlets should receive it.
Don't forget to post your press releases on the "news" section of your company website to get additional SEO value out of your site. Once you've gotten your first press release issued, start rethinking your corporate blog strategy. It's the perfect tie-in to getting more from your existing company news, communications and internal experts.
Do you have a marketing question that one of our expert writers can tackle? Let us know in the comments below.