The marketplace for digital marketing software is inundated with products, software and technical solutions for any professional. The good news is these products have allowed small-resourced or one-man-band marketing departments the ability to compete a bit more in a world where content is everywhere and a key demographic is becoming much more difficult to reach.
The bad news, however, is that those individual marketers can usually get lost in the fray of deciphering which solution offers the best outcome. Marketing software has become so specific these days that it can be unclear at first what each piece of software actually provides. At Clear Creek Digital, we've attended a few digital marketing events where many companies provide information and sales of their specific product. In many I see value but never a direct need for any of our partners.
So what do you need if you are a small business owner who also manages the marketing? What is important? What will make your marketing efforts easier so you can focus on what you do best? Have no fear, my friends. Here's our list of some simple software solutions you should consider for your team of 1, few or many.
1. Graphics Editor
Goods news, you no longer need to be an expert in Adobe Photoshop or InDesign to produce high-quality graphics for your content. Online products such as Canva.com or Easel.ly allow users to easily create professional-grade images and graphics online and at a very low cost. However, we still highly recommend investing an Adobe CC and learning how to do some basic Photoshop design. At only $10 a month, it will be more cost effective in the long run. Plus, you will be able to use all of your own photos!
2. Social Media Scheduler
If you are solely a Facebook user for your business you may not see much value in adopting a social media scheduler. But if you are like us and our partners, scheduling posts and content on all of our networks is quite brutal without one of these. With the exception of Instagram, these tools connect to most networks (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, etc) so you can schedule content to be posted where you want it and when. Hootsuite is a wonderful tool to learn the ropes. For those wanting a friendlier interface, Sprout Social is a viable option as well. At this moment, Clear Creek Digital is researching the properties of a new tool called Agorapulse which could be a viable option for our current needs.
3. DSLR Camera
The iPhone camera has come a long way and we use it frequently due to its accessibility. Having a DSLR available is something every business owner and marketer should have as well. If investing in powerful and valuable content is something your business in passionate about, keep the iPhone in your pocket and use a DSLR for your photos and video. Preferably one with an audio-in jack built into the body. Next, learn how to use it through trial, classes and online training. It will not take as long as you think to become comfortable with it and you will be happier with your content after you do.
4. Editorial Calendar
The easiest thing any marketer can do is create a content calendar to abide. Unfortunately, most marketers disobey the calendar or refuse to implement one. Do you know how many times we've worked with businesses who say, "I don't know what on earth I have to share to people." Well if that's the case, what are you in business for in the first place? Take a few hours this winter to plan for the following year. Break the calendar down by quarters. What holidays or seasons are within that quarter? What do you want to share with people during that time? See, now we have a starting place. Now look weekly. Is there a specific day of the week your followers are more active? Notice, now our calendar is turning into a strategy! Keep going my friend, you'll find everything in it's right place.
5. Email Automation
Hopefully your email contact database is utilized to connect with your customers and leads. Tools such as MailChimp and Constant Contact are great solutions to manage and send emails for your campaigns. It is very important for you to know that one-off emails rarely offer the type of ROI or click-through rate you are going to ask for. Instead, consider an automated workflow with your email campaigns. In simple explanation, automated email workflows are triggered by specific individual engagement with your emails. For example, I send you an email about shoes. Instead of clicking on the sneaker image, you click on the dress shoe. This prompts a workflow which tells the system you show interest in dress shoes and the workflow sends you another email specifically about dress shoe promotions. You do not get an image about sneakers. See where I'm getting at? This type of automation with your email campaigns is a much better solution for your marketing endeavors. You can click here to hear more about the email automation strategies Clear Creek Digital provides.
So there you go, an over-simplified hack of the digital marketing spectrum. Of course there is a lot more out there you can adopt, but for most businesses these tools are great grounds to begin with.