First, a caveat: When selecting your marketing tools, don’t let the tail wag the dog.
Each powerful marketing campaign, movement or strategy has to be founded on a strong idea. Not the tool.
On the journey to the execution of a campaign, the idea goes through 4 stages:
- Developing an idea
- Selling the idea
- Executing the idea
- Measuring the effects
We’ll go through some of best productivity tools I have used. Some simple, some complex – but it never matters. What matters is the reason why and how you chose to use what you use.
Developing the idea
In order to become more creatively agile, you just have to go out into the world and experience it. Read a book, watch a play, travel, discuss ideas with people. Then in the laboratory of the mind, you take these experiences and combine them with one another.
Don’t start off binding yourself with the conclusion that you need advocate marketing, content marketing, influencer marketing or any of the latest hypes around. Start with building an idea that will lead to a strategy.
Tools for capturing these experiences can be as simple as a blank paper notebook or a camera. But if you’re in need of an exo-brain, use these apps to help you refer and recollect quickly.
Capture images, voice clips, attach files, web pages and store them into compartmentalized virtual notebooks. Your work is synced across all your devices, ready to be worked on and developed whenever and wherever you’re ready.
Collect pictures that inspire you or ideas that could become useful someday and pin them on your Pinterest boards. Build an online scrapbook that you can collaborate on with friends.
It’s like magazine without the pesky words. You clip images with just one click. These pictures are very powerful in brainstorming sessions, sparking off epiphanies that explode into workable campaigns.
Ideas have to come from somewhere and one of the best places to look is in the daily news. Enter Feedly – this lightweight news aggregator helps you compile news feeds from a variety of online sources.
It aggregates RSS feeds into a cloud providing you immediate updates on the the latest news, updated to the second. Tailor your content preferences, chose a layout and you’re set. All you need to do now is to make sense of all these news and tailor them into a cohesive idea.
Selling the idea
Now that you have a robust idea, you need to pitch it to the world. And nothing is better pitching than great storytelling; who are you? What is your product? What’s the history? How will it change lives? What’s in it for everyone? How will you inspire and liberate the people who hear your idea?
A brilliant idea is best presented in stunning visuals that aim to impress and inspire. According to scientific research, 90% of information transmitted to our brain is visual. People remember 80% of what they see but only 20% of what they read. For master communicators of the future, being able to present ideas visually is a survival skill.
Visme is a highly collaborative, drag-and-drop tool that turns ideas into powerful visuals. You’ll have presentations, infographics and banners in minutes. It is very easy to use, even for a writer like me.
Stocked with an extensive library full of templates, shapes, icons and objects, you focus on telling your story rather than too much effort on learning how to use the software. With integration of objects such as polls, maps and quizzes you now the ability to receive feedback your audience.
- Apple iMovie
Consider these stats: According to Forbes 59% of executives prefer watching video to reading text. 52% of consumers feel more confident about a product or service after viewing a video on it. That should be strong reason to include a good video in your pitch.
I find iMovie the fastest means of presenting an idea. Templates could be dropped in quickly, captions put on the fly. Integrate music and sound effects. In a very short amount of time, you have yourself a video presentation that could pass off as a multi-million dollar Hollywood flick.
Deploying the idea
You’ve got the idea sold. The campaign is a go. You’re now on the next stage: execution. By now you will have realized that your idea takes centerstage, not the tool.
From social media management to CRM to email campaigns, below tools will have your every marketing execution need covered.
Hootsuite is a fully integrated Social Media Management System. It helps you monitor and manage multiple networks such as Facebook, Google+ and Twitter and even post updates and make replies directly.
View across the many platforms that you run and chart what people are saying about your brand. Hootsuite came up as the top Social Media Management System in a survey by Pingdom; over 20% of companies use it to manage their social media empires.
Technology has certainly changed the way we do marketing. In Northern America, 200 million numbers are on the Do Not Call List. 44% of direct mail is never opened and 86% of people skip TV commercials (or are not exposed to them to start off with, given on-demand television).
Hubspot is an inbound marketing and sales software that enables you to adequately attract and convert customers. The Software as Service (SaS) has a blend of capabilities that help you to develop digital marketing material, embed conversion mechanisms within them and funnel leads into opportunities for closure.
This is a tool to help you integrate promotions, surveys, pools, listings and more into your email marketing campaign.
Use the service to develop professional emails through the templates provided and automate important marketing activity such as birthday greetings, trigger anniversary emails, product reminders and so on.
You would be able to track effectiveness of your material and understand the read, open and forward rates and tailor your strategies accordingly.
For even marketers, EventBrite is a godsend. It is a full service event marketing platform that enables you to set up events, control ticket prices and communicate with attendees. In minutes, your event is communicated out to your target audience, payment and
registration is managed seamlessly and marketing communications are delivered all on one platform. The best part? Watching the ticket sales as they happen!
If you use influencers as a part of your marketing campaign, you will want to have a look at Traackr. This is a powerful influencer analytics program that mines the internet to discover gems that could be of great use to your cause.
The platform will also let you manage influencer relationships, nurture relationships and then chart the impact of these relationships for future decision.
CoSchedule is a scheduling software for content marketing, social media marketing and marketing projects. It is a hub for your entire inbound marketing process and with it you can plan, promote and execute your entire social strategy in one place.
If productivity and focus on content development is what you’re after, this tool will help you keep on track with your work. It is also highly collaborative – you’re notified of what the rest of the team is working on, delegate tasks, get members to check-off on work that is completed and keep an overview of completed, scheduled posts.
Tracking the idea
You can’t manage what you can’t measure. At some point in the lifecycle of your campaign, you will require tools to provide you with data. For digital marketers, you will have all the tools at your disposal to track campaign performance on every channel.The following are some of the more efficient services that have served its purposes.
This service combines monitoring & analytics with engagement to give users a complete lifecycle approach to social media community management.
It is perfect for organisations who want to synergize social engagement and monitoring on one platform. Equipped with a scheduling calendar for planning and deployment of posts, it also tracks user sentiment, conversations and influence ratings for reporting.
View metrics and statistics for Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus, YouTube and LinkedIn through this popular analytics service. Socialbakers is an easy to use system that can be deployed in minutes. You’ll be able to better understand both yours and your competitor’s marketing performance.
The company has recently developed an Instagram Analytics tool that tracks your photos, filters, hashtags and interactions with followers and benchmarks your performance alongside your competitor.
BuzzSumo is a research and monitoring tool that does more than tell you how well your marketing material is doing. It finds content that is most shared, finds you influencers, gets alerts based on the data you provide and tracks competitor content and their movements.
With this SaS, you’ll be able to get an insight into what is working and who are the influencers that are amplifying it. You’ll be able to access data such as content insights such as sharing and searches in a specified time period and use all this information to piece together a viable strategy.
This marketing automation tool integrates email, social media, offline events, content, and more, helping sales and marketing teams prioritize prospects based on demographic and behavioural criteria, measure performance of marketing campaigns, and more.
I thought many would have known what this is and how to use it, but this old faithful warrants a mention.
Firstly, because of its integration with the very dominant Google, there is very little reason why you don’t have Analytics installed on your website. It tells you a lot about your visitors – down to the network that they’re arriving from.
You will also want to use this to determine what the frequently used words are that people use to search for your site.