With many business’ fiscal years coming to a close, it’s time to consider your next year’s budget. One entry you won’t want to overlook is the one encompassing digital marketing tools.
Such solutions enable you to deliver a more engaging experience to your readers and customers, while also helping you run your website more smoothly. Since digital trends shift often, marketers need to constantly adjust their strategies in order to keep up.
These three digital marketing tools will help you with various aspects of your marketing campaigns, to ensure a well-rounded approach.
Before we look to the future, let’s consider the trends that dominated 2018. Artificial Intelligence (AI) has officially made a name for itself, and can be seen in the ever-increasing use of voice search and chatbots on social media and websites. However, there is still a strong lean towards “human-directed” marketing, such as the techniques used by influencers.
These trends are likely to continue into 2019 and beyond. In particular, there should be an increasing reliance on AI and its various implementations (including visual search and content generation). Personalized experiences will also be highly important, and 2019 is likely to see an improvement in how businesses use social stories to connect with their customers at a one-on-one level.
With an eye towards the future of digital marketing, let’s look more closely at some tools to consider for your campaigns in 2019, and some open-source alternatives. Each of these may be well worth a spot in your budget moving forward.
HubSpot For Improving Audience Engagement
HubSpot is an inbound marketing and sales solution, offering various software products. The included Customer Relationship Management (CRM) tool is particularly notable, however, as it’s packed with the features needed to promote effective audience engagement. It enables you to organize your contacts, log and monitor their activities, and even send personalized marketing sequences.
Audience engagement is critical when it comes to building lasting relationships with your customers. This is likely to become even more true moving forward, as AI interactions become more prevalent in 2019. With a tool such as HubSpot, you’ll have access to plenty of features (such as activity logging and real-time chat) that make engagement and retention simpler.
Here are a few tips to ensure that you get the most use out of this digital marketing tool:
- Take advantage of all of its offerings. From email templates and contact enrichment to personalized customer sequences, you’ll get the most from HubSpot by using all of its features in combination.
- Hire an expert. While tools like HubSpot make it possible to implement audience engagement on your own, the task can still become more complex than you’d imagined. Hiring an expert who specializes in engagement techniques, as well as the software used to implement them, can bring your campaigns to a whole new level.
While HubSpot is a well-known inbound marketing and sales software company, there are other options. Mautic, for example, is an open-source alternative that shares many features (including audience segmentation and web forms) with the marketing giant.
Hootsuite For Social Media Outreach
Hootsuite is a social media marketing and management tool that connects you with the most popular social media platforms, including Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. Using Hootsuite, you can schedule posts, curate and monitor content, and analyze engagement.
The free plan includes management of up to three social profiles. On the other hand, the $29 per month professional plan offers 10 social profiles, unlimited RSS integrations, and live chat support.
As a marketer, it’s important that your social media platforms are kept up-to-date at all times. With a tool such as Hootsuite, you can ensure that none of your platforms are neglected, while also not spending a lot of time on the process.
However, even the most feature-filled outreach tool can’t do all of the work for you. Before you begin using Hootsuite or a similar solution, we recommend that you:
- Choose your platforms carefully. Keep in mind that access to more platforms does not necessarily mean increased exposure. By choosing a few platforms to focus your efforts on, you can spend more time optimizing your posts and curating the best content for your audience. Social media outreach tools such as Hootsuite can then handle the rest.
- Set an achievable marketing goal. You may have multiple goals in mind, such as increasing audience engagement and expanding your reach. However, an overarching goal can help you to create a profitable action plan, and then make it a reality.
Beyond the free plan offered by Hootsuite, there are other low-cost options to consider. CampaignChain, for example, is an open-source, multi-channel marketing tool that enables you to connect with your customers on social media and beyond. You can even use it to monitor engagement and track the entirety of the customer journey.
Zapier For Marketing Automation
Zapier is an automation software tool that enables users to connect your various applications using a “trigger and action” mechanism. This means that “triggers” (such as a visitor signing up for your email list) will set off a pre-defined chain of events (for example, the addition of the new subscriber to your CRM tool).
The free Zapier plan enables you to set up basic tasks connecting a wide range of applications and tools. The paid plans, starting at $20 per month, enable you to create more complicated workflows and get more control over your triggers and actions.
When you’re using a lot of different applications to run your business, it can be overwhelming to keep up with all of them. With a marketing automation tool such as Zapier, you can streamline the process and ensure that you aren’t neglecting any of your marketing campaigns and goals.
If you want to get the most from your automation tools, you’ll want to:
- Choose the option with the most integrations. To increase the odds of having all the features you need at your fingertips, it’s best to choose the marketing automation tool with the most options. Zapier is one choice, but others include IFTTT and Automate.io.
- Combine automation with audience engagement and segmentation. It’s important to know what your audience wants, so you can market to them appropriately. With a tool like IFTTT or Zapier, you can effectively combine your various efforts, improving your odds for success.
You can even use Zapier to implement AI more meaningfully into your business interactions. For example, the integration with Super Receptionist enables you to answer calls with AI, while the MonkeyLearn integration will use AI technology to sort your emails by subject and body content.
For businesses that operate in the online space, digital marketing tools are a must. They enable you to effectively reach out and engage with your audience, while also making it simpler to implement new campaigns effectively.
Do you have any questions about the digital marketing tools we’ve introduced, and which ones which you should consider for 2019? Let us know in the comments section below!