To quote the famous biologist Charles Darwin: “It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent that survives. It is the one that is most adaptable to change.”
Two-hundred years later and that statement still rings true, especially in business. The ability to make sudden changes in areas like marketing can help you steal a march on your competitors. In this article, we explore five marketing tools – some free, some not – that could help streamline your marketing efforts and provide you with exponential business growth in 2017.
Analytics & Data
Big data isn’t only for big businesses. The fact is that information about how your customers behave — and what they want — is now readily available thanks to smart marketing tools such as Google Analytics and Hotjar.
Google Analytics is a free tool that tracks how users act and behave on your website. Installation of Google Analytics is achieved by setting up a Google account and adding a simple string of code to your site (your web developer should be able to do this in under half an hour).
The tool provides up-to-the-minute data on how customers behave on your website. Information like this can tell you what your customers are most interested in and which content they are not so engaged with. It will also tell you the source of all the traffic that hits your website so you can assess how each channel performs and which brings you the most profit.
Hotjar takes these analytics capabilities one step further. The tool allows you to see exactly where people are looking on your web pages by recording the mouse movements of users as they browse. There is no longer need to guess what your customers want when there are free off-the-shelf solutions that can tell you.
Modern-Day Search Engine Marketing
The behavior of clients is shifting. According to data from Smart Insights, 80% of the world’s 3 billion internet users access the internet from a mobile device. This paints a clear picture that people want information fast, and while they are on the move.
Smart businesses need to be top of the pile when it comes to search, and Pay Per Click can support this. According to Alex Croucher, digital director at marketing agency QliQ:
“The ability to show ads based on location and the particular device is becoming a key driver for many businesses, enabling them to target specific segments of people who are in the right spot at the right time. Furthermore, it’s now possible to target paid ads at people based on the websites they visit, the mobile apps they use, and the hobbies and interests they love.”
Many specialist digital agencies can support companies with their paid search efforts. For more information and a list of accredited suppliers visit the Google Partners website.
The vast number of steps involved in executing a successful marketing campaign cannot consistently happen without automation. Whether it is Email Marketing triggered by the actions your customers take on your website or bespoke web pages with individual offers for each of your clients, an automation system is a key to making it achievable.
Systems like Hubspot and Sharpspring are revolutionizing the way smaller online businesses manage and automate their marketing. These solutions offer a myriad of features such as website visitor identification, email marketing based on customer behavior, simple drag-and-drop web page building tools and much more.
Conversion Rate Optimisation (CRO)
Investing in advertising, search engine optimization and Pay Per Click to drive traffic to your website is all well and good but if your site performs like a sinking ship, then your investment is pretty much wasted.
Conversation rate optimization (CRO) is a system for increasing the percentage of visitors to a website that converts into customers by testing various messages and/or page designs until the optimal combination of both is reached.
Unfortunately, many organizations are still trying to grasp the underlying nuances of conversion rate optimization (CRO) and continue to invest heavily in driving traffic to their websites without considering the implications of not having a CRO plan.
There are literally dozens of CRO tools on the market, but the favored ones include Google Experiments (which is built into Google Analytics and is free) and Optimizely, both of which enable you to create multiple versions of the same page in order to test and see which performs best.
[BONUS TOOL]: Google Trends
Google Trends compiles the latest search trends and data into graphic visualizations to show you what’s trending right now. It is completely free to use and is essentially a direct portal into the massive search database of the major search engine.
Trends can help validate your ideas and even help you create new ones. The masses of data available tell you what’s hot in e-commerce, business, sport, politics, entertainment and so much more. With historical data going back to 2004, you’ll have the ability to compare new with old and spotting trends and patterns will be much easier thanks to the graphs and visualized data in the Google Trends dashboard.
Effective digital marketing campaigns are not just about a strong message and good creative. It’s also about staying ahead of your competitors and learning what your customers want. So when it comes to marketing strategy, don’t just take a guess. Use the huge range of tools at your disposal to make informed marketing decisions.