Who doesn’t want to create and nurture new customer relationships? In welcoming these critical connections, digital marketing tools can help your team with focus and organization, division of labor, scheduling, and task automation.
Below, you will find a list of great tools. Happily, many of them are either free or very inexpensive. Just one more plus on the path to customer integration.
Tools to Help Publish Content
To be successfully “found” by customers, great relationship development and a stellar reputation are critical. In addition, there’s no denying that written content can help, especially when published in the form of a blog. There are many tools to help you do just that. Here are some that we recommend:
- WordPress: WordPress is one of the most important tools of digital marketing. This blogging platform can operate not only your blog, but your entire website. WordPress makes the process of publishing new content very easy for people within your organization. It also features thousands of “plug-ins” (the equivalent of apps for your blog) that allow you to customize your site in a numerous ways. WordPress is free, and can be downloaded atwww.WordPress.org/download. Remember, it’s preferable to install your blog within your website (i.e., www.yourcompany.com/blog), rather than through an external blogging service (i.e.,www.blogger.com/yourcompany).
- Editorial Calendar for WordPress: Editorial Calendar is a WordPress plug-in (or app) that helps manage the posts for your WordPress blog in a calendar view. This free tool gives you a bird’s-eye view of the posts you and the team have in the queue, and when they will be released publicly. The tool also allows you to drag and drop posts from one day to another, and to edit posts on the fly. This plug-in can be downloaded at www.WordPress.org/plugins/editorial-calendar.
- Google Drive: Google Drive (formerly Google Docs) helps you create lists, calendars, and content for your team to view, edit, and develop. With Google Drive, you can create online documents and spreadsheets and share them with others for group editing. It is a great tool for drafting blog posts, content calendars, or brainstorming. Google Drive is available for free atwww.google.com/drive.
- HubSpot Blog Topic Generator: Do you struggle with the task of coming up with relevant blog post topics? HubSpot has created a helpful tool that turns keywords into blog post headlines. You can enter three nouns and the site will produce a handful of topics that you can use as blog post starters. You can use the tool for free atwww.hubspot.com/blog-topic-generator.
- Evernote: Evernote is a lifesaver for creating and sharing notes, lists, pictures, and virtually anything else you can imagine. It’s a great brainstorming and collaboration tool for use on a computer, smartphone, or tablet. You can create separate notebooks and tags that can be shared with others, and you can add ideas on the fly. When it’s time to write new blog posts, your ideas will be waiting for you in Evernote. Evernote offers both free and inexpensive paid versions at www.evernote.com. Its apps are available for free in the Apple and Android app stores.
- Hemingway: The Hemingway app (www.hemingwayapp.com) helps turn lengthy prose into clear, reader-friendly language. You can paste blog posts into the app and receive instant suggestions for simplifying flowery language, word choice, and voice.
Social Media Tools
Once you start churning out blog posts, there are a number of tools available to help share them online, engage users, and monitor what customers are saying about your brand and competitors. Here are some worth experimenting with:
- HootSuite: HootSuite is a tool that, among other things, helps manage multiple Twitter accounts and preschedule posts on various social networks. It offers free and paid versions atwww.hootsuite.com.
- TweetDeck: TweetDeck (which is owned by Twitter) is similar to HootSuite, but also monitors Twitter for mentions of your brand, industry, or keywords that might signal a parachute moment for you. It can be accessed at www.tweetdeck.com
- Bitly: Once you start sharing links online, it is important to shorten them and monitor their performance. Bitly (www.bitly.com) is a tool that helps you do just that. You can track how many times a link is accessed, in one convenient dashboard.
- FollowerWonk: FollowerWonk is a tool that lets you dive deeply into your Twitter accounts and identify trends and users that can help amplify your message. It offers free and paid editions, and has some powerful reporting features at www.followerwonk.com.
- Hashtags.org: This is a site that identifies and utilizes trending hashtags. Hashtags are words with the “#” symbol in front of them that allow users to communicate and connect around a topic, event, or concept. For example, entrepreneurs may include #startup within their tweet to connect with others who may also be using or viewing this term. Not surprisingly, the site’s URL is www.hashtags.org.
- TweetAdder: This tool helps you zoom in on Twitter users who are connected to your brand’s topics. It helps monitor follower activity and identify users who can help grow your following and social reach. The tool is online at www.tweetadder.com.
- JustReTweet: This site encourages its community of users to retweet relevant content from one another. While some may use a tool like this gratuitously, it may be helpful in connecting with Twitter members who are anxious to share your message with their followers. You can sign up at www.justretweet.com.
Tools to Help Gain Search Visitors
Along with tools for social sharing, there are a number of tools that can help you connect with search engines such as Google and Bing. Spending some time learning about and using these tools can help you position yourself to rank highly in search results when users search for your product or service.
- Google Keyword Planner: Google offers a free tool that gives access to its database of search queries. This tool reveals which words are most often used by people who search for your product. If you are marketing fresh fruit, for example, this tool can help you determine how often users are searching for “organic fruit” versus “local produce.” Experiment with a few examples athttp://adwords.google.com/ko/KeywordPlanneer/Home.
- Wordtracker: Wordtracker is a more focused, intensive version of Google Keyword Planner. It is an established, highly respected keyword research tool, and it’s available for a nominal monthly subscription fee. You can try some free queries and sign up atwww.wordtracker.com.
- Raven: Raven is a comprehensive marketing platform with some powerful search engine marketing tools. It is very complex and worth the investment. It can be accessed at www.raventools.com.
- WordPress SEO by Yoast: This plug-in can be installed within WordPress to ensure that blog posts are optimized for the proper keywords. The plug-in guides your writing and can alert you when your keywords are not properly placed in your post titles, body copy, or elsewhere. It can be freely downloaded atwww.yoast.com/WordPress/seo.
Tools for Measuring Results
Peter Drucker is famous for saying, “If you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it.” When you make great investments in time and resources for digital marketing, it’s critical to keep tabs on what is working what isn’t (as well as track how well those efforts generate a return for your labor). The following tools can help you do just that.
- Google Analytics: This free tool is a must for digital marketers. Offered by Google, it is a metrics tool that can be installed on your website. Google Analytics gauges the activity within your site. It can reveal hundreds of facts, including where and how your web visitors found your site, where they came from, how long they stayed, and what pages they viewed. Though there are others analytics tools available, this one is highly recommended. It’s also compatible with many other services, and simple to understand. It can be downloaded and installed at www.google.com/analytics.
- Visual.ly Google Analytics Report: Visual.ly offers a great, ongoing service to help you visualize your analytics results. With all of the data that Google Analytics offers, this tool can help you digest some of its more important facets. You can sign up for free atwww.visual.ly/google-analytics-report.
- Ducksboard: Ducksboard is a dashboard product that can help put metrics on a screen for team monitoring. It works on a computer screen, mobile device, or flat-screen television. It is affordable, and a free trial is available at www.ducksboard.com.
- Statigram: Statigram is a platform-specific site that helps monitor your brand’s Instagram activity. It can show how popular your account’s posts are, and how your followers are growing. It can also provide a geographical distribution of their locations. It is available for free at www.statigr.am.
- Klout: Klout is a tool that helps you measure your social influence by assigning each account a Klout score. Klout uses proprietary formulas to rate users, and help track progress. It works with accounts on Twitter, Facebook, Google+, and many more. Try it for free at www.klout.com.