With the multitude of Marketing tools available, implementing your marketing and sales strategy can be much simpler than it was in the past.
How do you choose the correct tools, programs or services, in a sea of hundreds that are all offering similar services?
In a recent episode of the Marketing Strategy Show I was joined by Ben Fewtrell (Co-Founder of Max My Profit) and we discussed which tools to use help improve your marketing, sales and business overall. We came up with almost 50 that we have tried (and many we still use daily) across a wide variety of categories. While this list is by no means exhaustive, selecting the right ones to suit your business will make a massive difference to your productivity and future revenue.
a) Sales CRM
Simply put a Sales CRM (or Customer Relationship Management program) is software that tracks interactions with potential clients and customers and shows where the prospects are along your “sales pipeline”.. This is where you should start with tools & systems.
Being able to simply track where all your prospects are so you can personalise content and emails at different stages of their buying journey is critical. The sales CRM will also help you define your sales process.
There are hundreds of different Sales CRMs on the market but which ones offer the most value / the best service?
- Hubspot sales is a simple to use & setup Sales CRM with both desktop and mobile app. We recommend Hubspot and it has a basic free version that is great to get started. It can also be easily integrated with Hubspot Marketing which is an excellent marketing automation platform.
- Zoho CRM is similar to a lot of the other products on the market. It allows you to set up one sales pipeline (this is a little limited though) and has simple integration with their own Marketing CRM. Not as good as many other CRMs in our view.
- Pipedrive is a great Sales CRM as it allows you to see where all your prospects and return customers are in the sales ‘pipeline’. This also allows you to create more tailored or personalised content for the different people in the different stages. But integration with a good email/marketing automation is a little harder than with other CRM’s
- Sugar CRM provides an easy to use interface that is focused on features and is able to be integrated with whatever existing IT framework that is already there. It is also quickly customisable so you can automate unique business processes.
- SalesForce is probably the market leader from allowing you to integrate with many external programs and create processes to deliver accurate quotes, proposals and contracts.
b) Email Marketing
Sending out email campaigns is no doubt a core aspect of your marketing but how do you send regular emails to your clients and prospects to help keep you top of their mind and be able to measure the results
It would take ages and waste valuable time crafting a nice email and individually adding all your contacts to the email prior to sending it.
Email marketing services help simplify this process for you. Most services come with loads of fantastic looking templates and can import contact lists and send campaigns with a few clicks of your mouse.
- MailChimp is one of the leading email marketing services worldwide. MailChimp comes with the ability to upload contact lists, create custom email campaigns and send them to pre-determined contact ‘groups’. Some of the features included within the MailChimp platform are automation, email testing, e-commerce features, advanced analytics, segmentation and much more.
- Constant Contact is another leading email marketing service. It offers a similar service to MailChimp in that it is an approved bulk mailer which means there are no limits as to what you can send at one time (subject to the plan you select) whereas if you were using Outlook or Gmail to send out a bulk email you would get a lot of bounce-backs or failures to send.
c) Marketing Automation
If you had to manually do every single process related to your business you wouldn’t get anything done. Even something as simple as setting up automatic payments on your domain and website can save you loads of time and hassle in the future.
Marketing Automation tools give the user the ability to automate certain tasks related to the business from anything to sending a response email or responding to a contact query to billing and sending out invoices.
- Hubspot Marketing provides a good entry level free marketing CRM and product upgrades you can choose when you need more functionality. Plus, it seamlessly integrates with Hubspot Sales so you have one platform.
- Active Campaign provides a good marketing automation functionality but requires an integration to work with your Sales CRM.
- Infusionsoft is a marketing automation software that allows you to create follow-up email campaigns targeted to customers as well as analytics to let you know what is working and what isn’t working.
d) Lead Generation
The main benefit of a lead generation tool is that it fosters easy tracking of sources of your leads. It is vital to work out which campaigns are working and which need to be changed.
- General Lead Generation – Using referrals, recommendations, trade-shows and networking as lead generation tools is perfectly fine, but you should also grow your marketing contact list through continuous lead capture using a marketing automation software
- LinkedIn is the best place for business owners and operators to talk and interact with one another online and to do some basic research on prospects or customers.
- LinkedIn Sales Navigator is a great advanced solution for modern selling, designed to grow pieplines and increase close rates by helping sales professionals target, understand and engage with their prospects.
e) Content Creation
Creating content is very important for every business, no matter the size. You need to be consistently putting out content for prospects, potential customers and current customers for them to remember your business.
Without content creation tools and processes, you will be wasting valuable time and effort creating blogs, social posts and website content whereas if you had a content creation tool the time you spend on these tasks would be drastically reduced.
- Canva is a fantastic tool for creating pretty much any social media graphic or post as well as any other advertisement. With thousands of templates and easy to use tools, Canva is a great tool for any business that regularly creates ads and social posts (every business)
- Istock Photo is another wonderful content creation tool. Filled with thousands upon thousands of royalty free stock images for your website, resources, social posts and any other accompanying material.
- Bigstock like Istock photo is another royalty free stock image service. The greatest benefit of using a service like Bigstock, Istock or Fotolia is that once you purchase an image you have the license to use the image wherever you want.
- Fotolia is another image service very much like Bigstock and Istock. One aspect that might give Fotolia the edge over Bigstock and Istock is the fact that Fotolia has over 4,000,000 images giving you a wealth of choice when it comes to image options.
Every business manager and owner wants a continuous flow of website traffic but how do you get people there when times are tough and website traffic is low.
How do you identify what is driving people away from your website and in turn what you need to improve? With website performance tools, of course.
- Website grader is a very useful service that gives you a website rating out of 100 based on 4 or 5 different criteria such as how fast it loads, security, etc. Check it out here.
- SEMrush is an SEO tool that helps you do keyword research, track words for your competitors, technical website audits and examines linking opportunities
- Buzz Sumo is a great monitoring tool that allows you to gain insight on your content as well as what content is being most shared on the web. You can also set up content alerts for certain topics and find influencers in certain areas.
- Google Predict is a tool that you can use easily by going to Google Search and typing “how to” then whatever your service is.
- Google Search is a classic tool that still holds great significance when it comes to prospects and potential clients finding your business. Make sure you are putting in a reasonable amount of time and effort into your Google Search Ranking and researching what your competitors are doing.
Networking is vital to the success of your business, you could have a massive online following but if the potential clients you are trying to reach aren’t online then the following you have there is irrelevant.
- Meetup is a great app to find local networking opportunities
- Eventbrite is a US based event management and ticketing website but lets users browse local events
As important as it is to do the daily, weekly and monthly tasks that keep your business running and the funds churning through but it is equally important to plan ahead or make ahead or making the most of planning tools to help you achieve your goals.
- Wunderlist is a cloud based management app that gives users the ability to manage their tasks from a smartphone, tablet, computer and smart watch.
Meeting prospects, developing marketing strategies, working for current clients and managing staff all while creating content for your website and social media is all but impossible without the right time management tool.
You need to be able to effectively manage your time and to do so you need to plan and use your time wisely and without proper time management tools this is a very difficult task.
- Rescue Time is an application that tracks the time spent on applications and websites, giving you an accurate picture of your day so you can focus on the important things. It also gives you detailed reports and data based on your activity.
For more information on Time management check out one of our old Marketing Strategy Show episodes where Ben Fewtrell joined me to discuss the topic.
i) Project Management
If you run or manage a small to medium business you would surely be aware of how hard it is to control all the moving parts and accurately track where your staff is in terms of progress on different tasks, therefore a project management tool is a must.
- Trello is a web-based project management app and is an easy, flexible and visual way to manage your projects and organize any work related to your business. In Trello you can create individual cards for individual jobs and assign different members of staff to different tasks and it has both an app and web interface.
- Asana is a very similar service to Trello and also has both web and app functionality
Being able to effectively and properly communicate is probably one of if not the most important aspect of your business. If you can’t communicate with prospects or clients how are you supposed to nurture your business. Communication tools make this much simpler to do.
- Zoom Video Communications is a company that provides remote conferencing services using cloud computing as well as the ability to record calls and conversations.
- Skype has been around for over a decade and is still a quite reliable telecommunication software focused on providing video chat and voice calls between computers, tablets, mobile devices and smart watches.
- GoToWebinar is a web hosted service that provides an online nmeeting, desktop sharing and video conferencing software that enables the user to meet with other computer users. One of the biggest negatives working against GoToWebinar is the $109 per month cost.
k) Social Media
Social media is a critical component of a successful business today. People are spending several hours of their day on various social media platforms so you need to be advertising to them there or at the very least informing them of your business.
- Facebook is a social media behemoth, with millions of daily users in Australia and even more abroad it makes sense to be regularly posting testimonials, company updates and achievements as well as any promotions or ‘deals’ you might be having
- Facebook Groups are also a valuable tool for researching and growing your online presence and help build a “community of followers”. Using business groups or answering questions online lets more people find you online.
- Instagram is another continually growing platform, although remember since it is a photo and video sharing app it is first and foremost a visual medium. Companies that specialize in design, architecture, graphics and any form of art could benefit greatly from posting on Instagram.
- LinkedIn as well as being an excellent lead generation too as mentioned earlier LinkedIn is the primary platform for sharing content and building connections if you sell B2B (business to business)
- Various other social media apps such as Snapchat, Twitter and Quora all have their relevance as well. It all depends on where your ideal clients are and whether the effort you put in will result in leads, clients and sales.
For more information on Social Media Strategies check out a recent episode of our Marketing Strategy Show where we discussed the topic.
l) Password Protection
You can’t afford to lose a password to something as vital as a domain account or an important company email so you need proper software to keep track of these important passwords.
Between your website, emails, domain, hosting and social media accounts can you keep track of all the individual passwords for each program?
- Last Pass offer a solution to the issue of lost passwords by allowing you to store all of your important passwords relating to your business in a secure account under one master password.
There are countless tasks that need to be completed daily, weekly and monthly for your business and there just isn’t enough time during the day to complete them all. So outsourcing simple time consuming tasks to qualified cheap workers makes perfect sense.
- Fiverr is an outsourcing website where for as little as $5 you can get a variety of small jobs completed. Anything from doing some research, to making some cold calls or even making social media posts you can probably find someone willing to do it on the cheap.
- Upwork is another outsourcing service where you can find a variety of experts in different fields to do any odd job you need completed. One of the things to be careful of when using Upwork is to ensure that the person is fluent in English as a large portion of the freelancers are ESL (English as a Second Language).
- Airtasker is an Australian Company which provides an online and mobile marketplace allowing users to outsource everyday tasks. One of the main benefits of using Airtasker is that you can find local people to complete your jobs.
n) Mobile Apps
Having the ability to send a document straight from a meeting or capturing a prospects info and accurately logging it into your CRM on the go are vital to the development and success of your business.
- Tape A Call is an iOS app that gives you the ability to record calls you are on or are about to make. This can be great for when you are calling a client or another colleague in order to discuss content. Always remember to inform the other part if you are recording.
- REV is service where you can dictate to the app or send them an audio file and for a dollar a minute they will create a transcript based off the content in the audio file. So if you prefer speaking rather than writing this is a great way to start the content creation process and want to capture the conversation to create content.
- Scanner Pro is a mobile app that allows you to scan paper documents into PDF’s that look clean and professional. The main benefit of this is quite clear in that it allows you to create pdfs on the go and send any important meeting notes to staff whenever necessary
- Business Card Reader Pro is another iOS app that features the ability to import contact information from a business card directly to your iOS contacts.
o) Other Tools to help You
- Flying Solo is a forum that specialises in offering advice to business owners and operators who are the only ones running their business. On the website there are business advisors, tradies, architects, social media guru’s, real estate agents and everything in between.
- Zapier allows you to connect things that wouldn’t typically be able to be connected. For example, if you are using an email marketing service like MailChimp and you have another CRM product that doesn’t have a natural connection you can quite often use Zapier to connect the two together.
- Trade Exhibitions are a great tool for expanding your network and building your contact base up. Visiting trade exhibitions you can meet loads of wonderful new prospects and see your prospects products and services in action.
- Dropbox is a file hosting service that offers cloud storage, file synchronization, personal cloud and client software. It has been running for over a decade and is very likely the best file hosting service available on the market.
- Drive by Google is similar to dropbox and integrates seamlessly with Gmail and other Google services.