Six Tools to Automate Your Marketing

by Steven on August 31, 2010

toolbox

Do not wait; the time will never be “just right.” Start where you stand, and work with whatever tools you may have at your command, and better tools will be found as you go along. -George Herbert

In today’s SaaS-driven world, it is easy and tempting to purchase every tool that comes along, without consideration for the 10/90 Rule: spend 10% of your budget on tools and 90% on the talent using them.  That said, there are a plethora of tools that can optimize and streamline your marketing efforts, increase your inbound leads, and make your life easier.

Here then are six core marketing tools with a total starting budget of $275 per month:

  1. WordPress. At the bargain price of free, WordPress is can host your content, whether its a small blog, or a robust site with a built-in social network.  If you don’t have a functioning website, I would recommend registering for a WordPress.com account immediately and exploring some of its features.
    1. Key Add-on: Thesis. This WordPress tool turns your basic blog into a beautiful, SEO friendly website without the need of a coder.
  2. Google Analytics.  Another tool with the ROI of infinite, Google Analytics can arguably do more for your online business than any other tool.  Worried you won’t have time to analyze the fire hose of data?  You’re not alone: I’ve seen many small businesses put adding GA to their site because they don’t know how to use it.  But there is a better approach: add Google Analytics to your site, today, acknowledging you won’t look at the data for a year.  That year of data will offer a crucial perspective when you (or a future analyst) begins to look at the data for feedback to your business.
  3. Unbounce.  Starting at $25/month, Unbounce provides landing pages to capture leads.  Why not use a simpler web to lead form, such as in Salesforce?  Unbounce provides A/B testing and analytics so you can brainstorm 1-4 ideas for a page and let them duke it out for the best choice.
  4. DemandBase.  So you have a B2B website, you’re tracking visitors for later analysis, and you have functional landing pages.  Where are your leads?  DemandBase will let you see the firmographic information about your anonymous web visitors.  Did someone from Cooley visit your website?  For about $1.50, you can purchase the contact info for the head of technology there.
  5. Google AdWords.  Some industries may have more success with Bing or Yahoo, but the fundamentals are the same: PPC marketing provides a repeatable, predictable cost for lead generation.  Many marketers fall into the trap of paying a high amount for top words.  If you keep reminding yourself a lead is a lead, you can drive new traffic to your site for five cents per click.
    1. Key Add-on: Little publicized, Google’s new Remarketing feature will allow you to purchase banner advertising targeted at segments of your website visitors.  Done right, this can increase repeat visitors and strengthen their perception of your brand and size.
    2. Key Add-on: Google’s Search Based Keyword tool can quickly give you a seed list of keywords based on your website content; with some Excel wizardry, you can identify the group that will fit into your budget and build a cost effective campaign in two hours.
  6. Demand Generation System.  Are you dreading creating new content to keep your leads engaged?  With Hubspot, Genius, or Marketo, you can create drip marketing campaigns tailored to the buying cycle and your target segments.   Starting at as little as $250/month, these tools will allow you to nurture to your prospects while you sleep, test variations to optimize your content, and pass qualified leads to sales so they spend less time prospecting.

Set these tools up in a few days, and you’ll have the infrastructure needed to acquire qualified leads, nurture them on behalf of sales, and gain valuable feedback to improve your message.

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