The American Marketing Association has defined marketing as
the activity, set of institutions, and processes for creating, communicating, delivering, and exchanging offerings that have value for customers, clients, partners, and society at large.
I have been marketing small to medium businesses for the past 10 years. My experience suggests that most businesses lack tools that are essential to completing the marketing loop. Marketing cycle consists of Planning, Execution, Feedback, and Analytics. For each stage, you require a tool to either develop, manage or retrieve information. In this post, I will talk about basic tools a business person could easily set-up by getting some help from YouTube and Google.
There are many tools that a marketer should have at their disposal for initial planning. It is assumed that you know the basics of marketing and you are looking for tools that will help you achieve desired results. We start with a software that will help you build a marketing plan:
This software will make it easy for you to gradually build a basic marketing plan for your business. Don’t worry, you don’t have to be an expert, just follow the instructions. In order to have an effective execution, you must plan your path. You can find various software that will help you build a marketing plan, just search ‘Marketing Plan Software’ in Google (Duh!). If you are on a tight budget then simply use any software like Microsoft Word to write a basic marketing plan.
Most websites on the internet are built on WordPress so you can be sure that it has been tried and tested for a long time. If you want to build a website that you have complete control over it then I recommend WordPress as your Content Management System. A website built on WordPress helps you integrate with other tools that I will be mentioning in this post. Remember, websites are your storefront so make sure it is aesthetically pleasing, user-friendly and functional. Most of your potential customers are likely to see your website before they visit your store (if you have one). For now, I am not going to discuss the best website development practices.
Once your website is all set up, make sure you set up Google Webmaster Tools. This will help you iron out some search engine related issues with your website and most importantly, this will submit your website to Google. You can manually submit your website to other search engines as well but Webmaster Tools has many features that help you optimize your website for better ranking in search engines.
I know surveys are boring and they are annoying for customers to fill out but without feedback, you are left in the dark as to how your customers feel about your products and services. Tools like SurveyMonkey can help you conduct web and email surveys. You should at least send out a survey annually if not monthly. Keep them short and to the point. Don’t try to cram everything into one survey, keep your questions focused on one topic.
There are thousands of software out there that a marketer could use but I tried to keep my list limited to software that are necessary. I am not paid to endorse any of the software I mentioned above nor do I think they are perfect. I found these tools to be most cost-effective solutions on the market to complete my marketing cycle. Remember, the objective is to enhance your marketing so you can increase your revenue and can have the best tools on the market. Wrong use of these tools and software will not be beneficial for you.