Three Types of Must-Have Marketing Tools

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Guest post by Kas Andz.

In today’s hyper-competitive world, effective digital marketing practices are essential. Some marketing tasks can be repetitive and tedious. But with the help of the right marketing tools, you can automate and improve on those to generate leads and conversions more productively.

The most successful and fast-growing companies employ marketing tools that help them reach the right businesses, at the right time, and effectively sell to them.

It is a stand-out or stand-down world. If your team doesn’t have the right software to help optimize your digital marketing practices, it will difficult to get noticed online.

There are thousands of tools available across the digital marketing technology landscape. The key is to pick the right set of tools for your type of business and your marketing objectives.

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) Tools

Solid SEO practices improve the user experience and web site usability as well as your organic search rankings. People trust search engines and when your site sits at the top positions for the keywords they are searching, your site’s credibility increases. Organic search is one of the top two traffic drivers for most websites, and effective SEO provides long-term benefits.

Google Search Console

Google accounts for 87% of all searches worldwide, so it’s the logical focus for your SEO efforts. Google Search Console (GSC) tools and reports help you quantify and assess your site’s search traffic and performance, fix issues, and improve your site’s visibility in Google search results. It helps you optimize your content with search analytics, allowing you to see which queries bring people to your website. It analyses your site’s impressions, clicks, and position.

GSC uses a URL Inspection tool to help you understand how Google search sees your pages. It delivers thorough crawl, index, and serving data about your pages, directly from the Google index.

SEMrush

SEMrush is recognized as the best SEO suite according to US Search Awards 2019, MENA Search Awards 2019, and SEMY Awards 2019. It is also the best digital tool according to Interactive Marketing Awards 2019.

SEMrush is an SEO tool that assists with keyword research, tracks the keyword strategy used by your competition, and runs an SEO audit of your site, looks for backlinking opportunities.

It helps you identify the keyword phrases that are likely to get you the most search traffic and identifies different keyword variations related to a particular root term. This gives you a much better understanding of how people actually search online.

SEMrush shows how your site ranks compared to top competitors along with their top keyword phrases, helping you stand out in search results. Furthermore, it performs detailed SEO audits to help you stay current with Google algorithm changes and improve your link building approach.

All in one toolkit for digital marketing professionals

BuzzStream

BuzzStream offers a set of tools to help with domain research, email marketing, and project management. It’s a comprehensive all-in-one type platform, and the sheer number of capabilities it offers can be intimidating but useful.

It helps you collate lists of results for your target keywords. Then it delivers data about each result, including overall rankings, related social media accounts, domain age and authority, and more.

BuzzStream allows you to study your competitors based on any keywords you are targeting. It displays important data about domain age and authority for specific websites. It shows your competitors’ rankings in the search engine results pages (SERPs) and finds the social media accounts for their sites. It can also let you see what authors who write for competing websites are doing.

Email Marketing Tools

Email marketing is one of the most widely used and cost-effective channels for promoting your business. Email marketing tools automate your message sequences to welcome new opt-in subscribers and nurture leads. The best tools in this category are those keep your messages out of the spam folder and drive clicks or purchases.

Constant Contact

With Constant Contact, you can easily generate mobile-responsive emails that display properly on any device, and trigger a sequence of emails based on client behavior. It allows you to automatically resend emails to those who do not open your messages; and its powerful email list building tools help you grow your opt-in list through social media, your website, and other networks. Constant Contact is one of the most modern, mobile-responsive, and effective email marketing tools.

Mailchimp

One of the easiest email marketing platforms to use is Mailchimp. It makes it simple to create branded emails that look professionally designed. The attractive appearance of messages generated through Mailchimp help improve your brand image and conversion rate.

Mailchimp features a very user-friendly email design tool that lets you generate professional-looking emails in minutes. With the help of Mailchimp’s email automation, you can produce more output with less effort; and it has a mobile app that allows you to create and send emails from anywhere.

AdBase

More than just an email service, AdBase is a predictive marketing system that uses artificial intelligence (AI) to help you determine what email, text, or sms message to send, when to send, and whom to send it to. It combines tools for email (templates and delivery automation), text messaging, and pop-ups to help grow you opt-in email subscriber list into one integrated offering.

Each AdBase “product” shares valuable metrics with the others, which allows the platform to learn about your customers in detail. These metrics are then used to automatically tune your other customer acquisitions through Google Ads, Instagram, remarketing, Facebook, and other channels.

Pay-Per-Click (PPC) Tools

PPC Protect

PPC Protect helps you get the most out of your PPC budget. It stops bots from clicking your ads and spending your precious PPC budget, by monitoring every click on your ads and blocking any suspected bot.

With PPC Protect’s huge database of VPN, proxy, and malicious IP addresses, you can run online ad campaigns confident that your budget won’t go to waste.

SpyFu

SpyFu is one of the best PPC tools for competitive research, enabling you to download your competitor’s most profitable search keywords.

With SpyFu’s Adwords Keyword Grouping Tool, you can determine which keyword groups are generating the best results for your competitors. This tool lets you view and download your competitor’s entire Google Ads history.

This detailed research helps you identify keywords that didn’t work well for your competitors, and avoid making the same mistakes. SpyFu also has a PPC Ad Rank Tracker which gives you information about your ad rank across important keyword groups.

Gear Up

It’s essential to have your marketing strategy established before investing in marketing technology tools. With a solid understanding of your target buyers, your product or service differentiators, and your optimal marketing channels, you are set and positioned to choose the most effective marketing tools for your business.

If you’re new to digital marketing and not sure where to start, there are affordable local SEO services that can help you navigate the digital tool jungle.

Kasandz.com is an award winning, full scale marketing and automation growth agency custom tailored to your businesses. Kasandz.com offers Pay Per Result SEO packages for small business and e-commerce email services. Kas Andz Marketing Group will do all the technical work for you and get your business selling.

Breaking Down the Digital Marketing Areas to Focus on in 2020

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Guest post by Ronita Mohan.

Digital marketing is so broad that marketers can sometimes over-concentrate on areas that don’t generate sufficient ROI.

Here are a few key areas to focus on in your 2020 marketing plan, and how you can optimize efforts in each.

High Quality Content

The trend towards “quality over quantity” in B2B marketing started at least four years ago.

That said, there are still brands focused on simply pushing out more content—often at the detriment to the quality of what’s produced. 2020 will see a continued shift in the kind of content created.

Read more

Three Forms of Influencer Marketing Tools to Know

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As the Internet has democratized the media world—effectively making anyone with specific subject-matter knowledge, the desire, and a keyboard into a “publisher”—traditional public relations (PR) has arguably morphed into the broader practice of influencer relations.

To be sure, PR remains a vibrant profession. Though its tools and methods have evolved with digital technology, its practitioners still produce news releases, build relationships with key journalists and editors, and work to procure industry, business, and (often) local news coverage.

But it is also increasingly viewed as a key component of earned media exposure, along with analyst relations, influencer marketing, and even partner marketing through industry trade groups and associations. To the extent it helps build high-quality links, PR (and more broadly, influencer marketing) also supports SEO efforts.

Influencer marketing is one of the four key channels in the POSE model for content distribution and promotion, along with search optimization of content (owned media), social media marketing (shared media), and online advertising (paid media).

As with those channels, influencer marketing has its own unique set of tools to help expand capabilities and automate repetitive tasks. Here are three vital types of tools to assist with influencer marketing efforts.

Content Distribution and Amplification Tools

You’ve just written an awesome blog post—a carefully researched, insightful piece of writing, complemented with compelling and relevant images, that addresses a hot topic. Great! Now what?

Producing high-quality content is only half the battle. That blog post, article, video, or infographic won’t produce results that provide a positive return on effort without promotion. Certainly, if it’s optimized for popular keywords, if should draw some organic search traffic. And sharing it across your social media accounts will drive some additional visits.

But that’s not the end of the story; much more can be done to gain exposure and readership for your content. Here are four specific types of content distribution and amplification tools that get your text and visual content in front of a larger audience.

Content Publishing Tools: LinkedIn Pulse and Medium enable you to publish original or previously published (e.g., on your company blog) posts in order to reach a wider audience.

Content Distribution Tools: There are several different types of tools within this group. Some enable to you to expose content in specific formats to a wider audience, including SlideShare for presentations and Vimeo for videos. Triberr and Dlvr.it help you build networks of content producers and encourage co-sharing of topical posts. Paper.li and Tumblr are social content curation tools.

Content Amplification Tools: Outbrain and Taboola increase exposure to your blog posts by positioning them as similar or “you may also like…” content on high-traffic media sites. Zemanta and inPowered programmatically distribute native advertising content.

Social Sharing Tools: Start A Fire enables you to promote your own content each time you share a link on social networks, while Flare connects to your Google Analytics account to provide visibility of where your content is being shared.

Influencer Marketing (Outreach) Tools

Influencer marketing tools typically offer a core set of features for finding and connecting with industry influencers, including the ability to:

  • identify influencers by topic, industry, or subject matter expertise;
  • rate or rank influencers by their level of influence;
  • manage outreach activities; and
  • monitor engagement and results.

There are dozens of tools that provide these core features. Among the most popular alternatives are Klout, Buzzstream, Kred, Little Bird, Onalytica, ContentMarketer.io, and InkyBee.

The stndard in influencer marketing - Klear

There are also a number of tools that put a bit of a different spin on influencer marketing. For example, tools that focus mainly on connecting marketing and PR professionals with journalists, and journalists with expert sources. In the U.S., this group includes Muck Rack, HARO, and Cision. In the UK, options are Gorkana, Journalisted, and JournoRequests.

Influencer relationship management (IRM) platforms are pretty much what they sound like: CRM-like platforms designed specifically for managing relationships with industry influencers. Popular IRM tools include FullContact, Contactually, Prezly, and Traackr.

Among popular apps for connecting brands with paid influencers are Izea, Influence.co, and Grin. Tools like Social Crawlytics and Klear add competitive analysis to standard influencer marketing functions. And InfluencerDB is an Instagram-specific influencer marketing app.

Reputation Management, RSS, and Social Search Tools

While the key goal of influencer marketing is getting others to talk about you, it’s also imperative to understand what people are already saying about your company, brand, products, competitors, and hot topics in your industry.

Here are four types of tools that can help you monitor the pulse of your industry and jump in where and when necessary.

  • Reputation management tools: Sites like Reputation.com and BrandYourself enable you to monitor brand mentions, encourage advocacy, and fight back against negative comments and content.
  • Topic monitoring tools: Set up TalkWalker Alerts or Google Alerts to receive periodic updates of the latest online news or content based on your search parameters.
  • RSS readers: Use Feedly, Digg, or Feedspot to create a curated stream of news and posts from any sites that produce an RSS feed, including publications, blogs, and YouTube channels.
  • Social search tools: When periodic alerts aren’t timely enough, try a tool like BrandMentions, Whos Talkin, or Social Searcher to conduct real-time searches for topics or brand names across blogs, social bookmarking sites, online forums, and social networks.

Long gone are the days when your brand image relied on a what a few key publishers and analysts wrote about it. Today, marketers have direct access to a wide range of journalists, analysts, bloggers, social media influencers, and trade association partners each with a distinct voice and (overlapping) following.

Track your brand on social media - Social Searcher

Influencer marketing tools help you find and reach those voices. Content distribution and amplification platforms, meanwhile, extend exposure to your brand’s content. Together, they help you maximize your “earned media” coverage across the web.

This is the sixth post in the Ultimate Guide to Content Marketing Tools series.

#1: The Ultimate Guide to Content Marketing Tools: Introduction

#2: Three Types of Tools to Use for Content Strategy and Planning

#3: Seven Kinds of Tools to Help Develop Better Marketing Content

#4: Seven Groups of Tools for Designing and Optimizing Websites

#5: Seven Key Categories of Social Media Marketing Tools

#6: Three Forms of Influencer Marketing Tools to Know

Marketing Technology Isn’t a Stack—It’s a Matrix

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A version of this post originally appeared on the V3*Broadsuite blog.

The universe of marketing technology tools and apps is exploding. The number of marketing technology vendors tracked by Scott Brinker, a.k.a. @chiefmartec on Twitter, has surged from 150 to nearly 5,400 in the past six years.

Though the flood of new entrants has significantly outpaced consolidation activity so far, merger and acquisition activity is picking up. Specifically, four large tech vendors—Oracle, Salesforce.com, Adobe, and IBM—hope to dominate the market by gobbling up small suppliers and rebranding the acquired products into all-encompassing suites.

The logic behind these moves, according to TFM Insights, is that buyers confused and bewildered by this fragmented landscape will flock to single-source solutions: “Thus the big software companies, alongside a number of smaller competitors, have seized the opportunity to sell their customers more complete marketing suites. In theory, this takes some of the hassle out of building a bespoke, marketing stack.”

Only time will tell how successful these vendors are. Industries do generally, of course, consolidate over time. Think of the American auto industry, which collapsed from hundreds of manufacturers in the early 1900s to just three main players by mid-century. Or the cable TV sector, which telescoped from 42 companies to four major providers in just 20 years.

Yes, but…Software is Different

But software industry consolidation is less linear. Even in the enterprise resource planning (ERP) segment, where a steep drop-off in new purchases after Y2K-fed consolidation—Infor alone acquired 16 companies between 2005 and 2016, and had snapped up several before then—there remain “hundreds of vendors offering best-of-breed (i.e., stand alone) ERP applications or integrated ERP software suites” according to Software Advice.

Software sectors are resistant to consolidation due to the low barriers to entry. It takes huge amounts of capital to build up an auto maker or build out a cable network. But it takes only an original idea, a couple of talented programmers, and modest quantities of pizza and Mountain Dew to start a software company. (Okay, that might be a slight over-simplification.)

The marketing technology segment may be particularly difficult to reduce to a handful, or less, of “suites,” given how diverse the landscape is. Brinker’s Marketing Technology Supergraphic organizes its 4,891 vendors into 49 functional groups across six major areas. Given the diversity, marketing technology applications don’t fall neatly into a “stack,” and “cloud” isn’t much more descriptive. The different functional areas actually resemble a large, complex matrix.

What’s a “Marketing Stack” Anyway?

The term “marketing stack” began getting traction in late 2015, as shown by the jump in Google searches:

Martech chart

Image source: Google Trends

The phrase was a play on the term “technology stack”—which is logical. That came out of the software programming world, where it generally described an operating system, database, web server, and programming language designed to work together to provide a development environment.

For example, LAMP is a technology stack combining the Linux OS with the Apache web server, MySQL database, and Perl, PHP pr Python scripting language, while the WINS stack consists of the Windows Server, IIS web server, .NET software framework, and SQL Server database.

A “marketing technology stack,” on the other hand, has no clear definition. This post alone highlights 21 different variations. The reason is clear: Unlike a programming environment, marketing technology isn’t so much a series of layers as it is a fluid matrix of different categories of tools, which can be mixed and matched to meet the specific needs of an organization’s overall marketing strategy, and even change within that organization over time.

Where to Start?

Unfortunately, there’s no clear “base” of the stack to begin with. Some organizations start with their contact database. Others start with tools that work at the top—or left side depending on your perspective—of the sales funnel, with tools that build awareness. Other models start with content at the base.

Regardless of the starting point, analytics are often at the top, or end,  of the “stack,” as that is where results are measured and decisions made about what to do the same or differently.

It’s the middle layer is where the functions, vendors, and tools involved get really muddled. CRM, marketing automation, and analytics are common needs, but what about social media campaign management? A tool specifically for Facebook advertising? Or content ideation, or influencer outreach, or video editing, or project management, or online surveys, or. . .

Across the “middle layer” of tools, the answer to which tools are needed is—it depends. The answers will depend on whether you’re a B2B or B2C marketer; in a large, midsized, or small company; whether your sales are low volume/high dollar or high volume/low dollar; and most of all on your marketing strategy.

But in any case, the notion of a “marketing technology stack” is problematic. Viewing marketing technology as a matrix helps broaden perspective and avoid gaps and overlaps in key functionality.

Suites Can Be Sweet (Or Not)

The diversity of marketing needs and tool categories make it extremely unlikely any vendor will be able to build or acquire enough tools to serve as a single source. But what about the range of tools the suite providers do offer; should companies limit their purchasing focus at least within those functions?

Not necessarily. Though the tools within a single vendor’s “cloud” are (presumably) well integrated, many third-party tools integrate with the applications nearly as well. For example, while Salesforce.com has acquired ExactTarget for marketing automation and Radian6 for social media monitoring, it also lists more than 3,000 third-party technology partners on its AppExchange.

The best approach for companies that own at least two applications within one of the big four marketing clouds (and are happy with the functionality of and support for those apps) is to include additional tools from those vendors in relevant evaluation sets, by default. But consider tools from other vendors as well. Effective marketing technology matrixes are frequently a mix of best-of-breed and suite-based tools.

Ultimately, marketing technology tool selections should be driven by a firm’s marketing strategy mapped to functional needs. Individual tools should be evaluated both on their functional fit for the company’s needs as well as their technical fit with other applications already in place. Making smart decisions about marketing tool choices will increasingly contribute to competitive advantage. But these choices won’t fit into a nice, neat “stack.”

B2BMarketing.Technology: What’s All This About?

Spending on marketing technology (martech) is exploding. According to IDC data reported in Forbes, CMOs and other marketing leaders will spend nearly $30 billion on martech applications in 2017, and more than $32 billion in 2018.

Using Gartner data, Scott Brinker breaks that down in a bit more detail. At the enterprise level:

  • 12% of total revenue will be allocated to marketing.
  • 27% of marketing budgets will be spent on technology.
  • About 40% of that figure will be spent on SaaS marketing software and analytics applications.

That’s a huge investment. And yet, much of that money won’t be spent strategically. Marketing leaders often don’t have a simple framework to operate from  The Forbes article includes this technology map from IDC, which helps with categorization—but doesn’t show how the pieces fit together.

IDC Marketing Technology Taxonomy Map

 

The B2BMarketing.Technology model is designed to do just that, particularly for small to midsized B2B companies. Content gets created, distributed through defined channels, then measured.

B2B Marketing Technology Framework

 

Using this model helps CMOs and marketing directors make strategic—as opposed to siloed—martech purchasing decisions. Making decisions based on a bigger picture helps:

  • Minimize gaps and overlaps in functionality;
  • Choose between a best-of-breed or all-in-one suite approach to tool selection;
  • Make optimal purchasing choices among specific application types based on overall marketing process flow needs, rather than just specific sub-function needs; and
  • Plan properly for implementation and integration services needs to maximize value obtained from the technology investments.

All of that, in turn, helps B2B marketing teams align their technology investments with their marketing processes in order to achieve the ultimate goal of optimizing the end-to-end customer experience. Which helps them win more business and increase top-line revenue while keeping marketing spending under control.

That’s what this site is all about.