Tools that Cover Search Marketing, SEO, Social Media, Conversion Rate, and Content
As a digital marketing lead generation strategist and online media buyer, you just can’t have enough tools to help manage my clients’ online activities. When I am not involved with business development, speaking, and my own social media marketing, I am usually on the computer with some sort of advertising, SEO, social media, or conversion optimization tool. I’m 51, so as a former media buyer in a past life, I remember the days of typewriters, graph paper, Arbitron and Nielsen rating books (I still have an old reach/frequency slide rule!), calculators, and pencil erasers. On the shelf were multiple SRDS books; each one the size of a phone book. Need a radio station in Miami?- look it up. Need to find a prospect? Dial a phone and make friends with a gatekeeper. Luckily my number will be on a pink message pad for the boss. I digress!
So there are thousands of marketing tools; and am sure everyone has their favorites. For this post I just wanted to share some of my favorite media and inbound marketing tools that make my job easier, and provide efficient use of my time, so I can spend more of that time with strategy and consultation. For this post, I decided to avoid Google properties, because obviously Google Adwords, Google Webmaster Tools, and Google Analytics would be at the top of the list.
Acquisio is a pay-per-click management dashboard that allows me to manage Google, Bing, and Facebook Ads all on one –platform. Acquisio has robust automated bid management tools, and does include integrations with Google Analytics, Trade Desk (for display), and Doubleclick
Ok one Google product; Doubleclick is an ad management platform that allows me to plan display campaigns, research demographics of sites, upload banner ads, traffic banners to websites, networks, and exchanges, and measure clicks and conversions.
Trade Desk is a display ad platform that buys sites, exchanges, and networks in real time (called RTB or real time bidding). I use it to buy display, video, social ads, and mobile ads, amny times on a CPA basis. Trade Desk also measures attribution, and partners with DMPs sich as Blue Kai and Datalogix to provide more advanced targeting based on 3rd party data and cookie pools. As mentioned above, Trade Desk integrates with Acquisio, and combined with Doubleclick, my potential Internet reach is almost 100%.
Ad Ready is in essence, a mini Trade Desk, because there is no minimal spend, meaning I can use the platform for display and retargeting for smaller clients of mine. Display is more than performance, it’s also branding. AdReady makes it easy for me to plan regional or targeted campaigns, using behavioral or contextual targeting, as well as site retargeting and 3rd party data overlays for more granular audience targeting.
Millenial Media is the dominant mobile advertising platform. For clients who want to connect with audiences specifically via mobile and tablets, Millenial allows me to target a variety of ways, with a multitude of ad units, including mobile video. Utilizing their proprietary technology, I can target based on real-world actions, from demographics, to behavioral, to local, by device, by context, and by retargeting.
Adroll, like AdReady, has a very small minimal spend, so I use Adroll for localized retargeting campaigns for my mid-size clients. Adroll is a site retargeting specialist, and allows reach of message go beyond the Google Display Network, but partnering with Right Media (Yahoo’s ad network) as well as the Facebook Exchange (Facebook retargeting).
SEMRush is a multitude of keyword research tools that allow me to see what my clients’ sites and their competitors rank on Google, what keywords competitors rank with, and what PPC ads they run. I can also do some long-tail keyword research with it.
Open Site Explorer is a robust link tracker from MOZ, and it gives me insight on how many links my clients have, and how much authority those links have. A sound SEO strategy includes achieving links from high quality sites. Specifically, I can meaure any site’s:
- Page Authority: The quality score of your web pages
- Domain Authority: The quality score of your website (based on a number of link metrics)
- Linking Root Domains: The number of domains linking to your site directly from their website
- Total Links: The total quantity of links points to your website
- Social Signals: Social media metrics that have a positive correlation with rankings. These include Facebook shares, Facebook Likes, Tweets, and Google +1
Buzzstream is a neat tool that helps me find bloggers and engage with influential bloggers, with the goal to get article backlinks as part of the link building process. Building and effectively managing relationships with these influencers is the key to getting found by prospects, and Buzzstream helps me build those relationships, and track my communication.
Screaming Frog is a program that slices and dices a website’s code to find issues with onsite page elements for SEO, presents them in tabs by type and allows you to filter for common SEO problems. The spider allows you to export key onsite SEO elements (url, page title, meta description, headings etc) to Excel so it can easily be used as a base to make SEO recommendations from.
Facebook’s Power Editor makes it easy to manage multiple ad campaigns on Facebook. I can create custom audiences, create specific mobile ads, and test 3rd party data targeting (from Datalogix and Axciom are two data providers).
Once reserved for high budget advertisers, Twitter ads are now available to everyone with no minimal spend. You pay per engagement- for a tweet click, a retweet, a reply, or a favorite. You can target by geography, by interest, by device, and by keyword. Promoted tweets are ideal for more promotional messages. You can also promote your profile if you want to gain new followers.
Social Media Management
There are so many posting and analytics tools, but I discovered Sprout Social years ago, and still find it useful for scheduling posts on Twitter, Facebook, and now Google+. We track engagement with a social inbox, we publish, we analyze and publish sophisticated reports, and we monitor keywords and brands, all from one platform.
True Social Metrics
I found this free and useful social media analytics tool to measure some social media KPIs like conversation rate, amplification rate, and applause rate. Tracking all the major social sites, the tool helps me analyze the overall effectiveness of content, and which are your most powerful influencers.
If you’re really into Twitter, you will be enamored by this Twitter management tool. Robust tools that allow you to target users, monitor hashtags, track competitors, identify influencers, analyze your performance, and manage followers, plus much more. To me, it’s the ultimate tool to engage and manage your Twitter presence.
Although I have a stable of accomplished writers, sometimes we just need extra content for blogs or articles, purely for SEO purposes. Zerys is a network of 25,000 free-lance writers that I manage by posting article topics on a job board where a writer claims the topic, does research with my input, and provides me with a post, optimized for SEO. Quite a time and money saver when articles and posts are needed in a pinch.
YouTube and website videos are one thing; but adding interactive apps to the videos is another, and Viewbix interactive overlays optimize videos for lead generation or engagement. Imagine adding newsletter sign-ups, Google maps, coupons, and QR codes to your videos. Check it out..
We like testing at NuSpark Marketing. Optimizely is one tool that lets you shift around landing page elements, and test CTA or headlines, without a developer’s or an IT person’s help. I just choose an element; implement a change, and an instant A/B test begins.
Visual Website Optimizer is another landing page A/B and multivariate testing tool. Besides testing, I get to see heatmaps so I can see where users click, and I can get feedback from an Internet user panel on how to improve websites or landing pages. I can even test mobile sites.
I have many clients who focus many of their conversions on phone calls, by promoting loud and clear their phone number on their website. Phone call conversions complete the conversion picture when added to web form conversions. Mongoose Metrics provides unique phone numbers for each digital media source, whereby numbers on websites are dynamically changed if the visitor came from Google, Bing, or any other channel. With Google Analytics integration, phone call conversions are now easily measured.
Sometimes when I run paid search ads, I need to build a quick landing page. Unbounce provides ample landing page templates that can be customized for lead generation. Additionally, A/B tests can be implemented as well.
I am not much of a coder, so if we need to design emails and landing pages, Get Response offers a multitude of email and landing page templates that fit the bill for me. Get Response has multiple integrations making email deployment and tracking a snap.
Marketing automation doesn’t need to be expensive. Act-On is a very moderately priced solution but is quite robust. You get the usual; drip campaign management, visitor monitoring, lead scoring, CRM integration, plus a unique Webex integration for webinars. Of course, you can build webforms (with progressive profiling) and landing pages.
Skyglue takes Google Analytics to the next level. By tracking individual visitors to your website, and seeing how they navigate and convert. I like it for event tracking. With the tool I can see who views videos, downloads PDFs, and engages with other events that exist on a website.
I am always testing tools and platforms but the above are currently favorites that I use for digital media and lead generation management. This is just the tip of the iceberg, and I am sure you have your favorites as well. If there are any comments I would welcome discussion. What tools and platforms have you used that you like?