Welcome back to our little corner of the internet! On the agenda today, we are going to cover the four categories of tools any modern marketer needs. If you’ve gotten this far, you probably know that we’re a digital marketing agency in sunny Southern California.
With paid search and paid social media marketing on the rise, a lot of businesses are looking to get started or improve their digital marketing skill set.
Most people have a general understanding of marketing, so we’re going to focus on the digital aspect of PPC and the tools that we use to achieve the best results! So without further ado…
I know what you’re thinking. You’ve used Excel before, right? If so, that’s fantastic! One thing we love about excel is how easy data manipulation is. Being able to sort and view data in so many different ways makes it a perfect platform for data analysis. Did you know, while it is great for making spreadsheets and graphs, it can also receive data from your Google Ads account via custom scripts? Welcome to a whole new world of reporting! If you aren’t using a CRM, you can use scripts to feed new leads into an excel sheet for you. Isn’t (automation and) excel the best?
For those of you that are still familiarizing yourselves with the Microsoft Office Suite, we recommend learning some shortcuts. This is 2019, you should never need a right mouse click again!
On top of all this great stuff, you can pair Excel with Google Ads editor to make quick work of campaign builds and edits!
Here’s another one many marketers out there already have on their “tool belt”. While using Spyfu may not be quite as thrilling as drinking a vodka martini, shaken -- not stirred, or driving an Aston Martin, it is certainly one of the best tools a spy… ehmm… digital marketer can work with.
Basically, Spyfu gives you the ability to see which keywords your competitors are buying and using. It works well for SEM and SEO research, but rather than writing you a novel about all the capabilities it has, I’ll just link you to Spyfu’s Website!
Just be sure to take what you find on there with a grain of salt. We find it best to use it for keyword research, rather than budget and bid analysis. Through a few various tests we were able to conclude that the estimated budget, traffic and CPC analysis were often quite inaccurate.
Sending out emails can be a real pain, even if you have your email list right in front of you and your copying and pasting fingers primed and ready. If you only have to do something once, why do it a million times? We love to use email marketing platforms, such as MailChimp, to help us streamline the process. MailChimp allows you to automate your email marketing to increase customer engagement and satisfaction. Are you spending too much time sending emails?
Email marketing for ecommerce stores is a full time job! There are so many stages a customer can be in, and you need an email response for each one. Rejoiner allows you to set up unique emails that are sent out based on triggers, and even allows for AB testing, and is designed specifically for ecommerce stores. Basically we love automation and tools that help us achieve it!
Risk mitigation is a big deal in business, and it should be for your PPC campaigns too! Did you know that - "Nearly 20% of total digital ad spend was wasted in 2016" (CNBC, 2017)? Crazy to think about, but the click fraud business is boomin'! Which is why platforms like PPC Protect are essential. They provide an extra layer of defense for your campaigns, automatically analyzing and negating bot traffic, which saves you money!
Where do we start with this one…? By now, you’ve probably got the jist that automation tools are key when running a digital marketing campaign (or life in general), but Zapier lets you take it one step further. If the other platforms are the tools, Zapier is both the toolbox and the workbench. It lets you connect the applications you’re using via APIs to create intricate processes and flows.
One of our favorite examples is creating an automated Slack channel update, so when you get a new lead your sales team is updated immediately. But that’s just scratching the surface.
Working remotely is definitely in, but can pose problems in the modern workplace. Communication is key, especially when you aren’t able to talk to each other in person. Using a messaging platform like Slack allows you and your colleagues to discuss work and other points of interest easily. In Slack, you can create different channels for different topics, as well as separate workspaces, making it ideal for internal and external communications. Why venture to the water cooler when you can communicate with your colleagues using gifs and emojis via Slack?
Do you ever miss the first day of school, when you had a backpack full of new school supplies and a planner? Well just imagine that feeling, but instead of a school desk, it’s your office desk, and instead of a planner, it’s task management software! Just as exciting, right? Asana is a task management software that mixes calendar functionality with messaging capabilities. It allows you to break down tasks into subtasks and set due dates for you and your entire team to see. You can also share and attach documents to each task, making your projects so organized, it can be slightly overwhelming. Definitely a must have at all companies with 1+ employees.
This one may be a little controversial for all the Apple users out there (myself included). A lot of email addresses are powered by Google, which makes using Google Calendar really a breeze. The main benefit of using Google Calendar in conjunction with a Gmail account is integration. Either way, using a general calendar application for scheduling calls and meetings can definitely be a handy organizational tool.
As much as we all may prefer to send emails (with gifs when appropriate), phones are still needed for internal and external communication. Uberconference is a great tool for team phone calls because of its conference call and screen sharing capabilities (through a browser extension). Our team is able to streamline reporting and auditing by controlling the call and screen through the same application. We think everyone should utilize screen sharing during their calls!
PRO TIP: Don’t forget to turn off all notifications on your computer before you start, and close all other tabs.
“Approximately half of all consumers would rather interact with a brand via messaging instead of email or phone calls… In some cases, chatbots increase the quality of the lead or sale because more obstacles to the sale have been answered and eliminated. Source” We know that chatbots are a newer technology and not always adopted onto websites, but we love using Intercom’s bots for our landing pages to answer questions and increase user experience. Maybe it’s time for you to implement one too?
If you’re a business owner, you’re selling something. And if you’re selling something, you’re using some sort of customer relationship management software. And if you’re not…
But really, the primary goal of your sales team should be closing deals, not wasting time on administrative tasks. We love Pipedrive because it enables us to streamline the sales process through a well designed interface, and makes it easy to track sale progress and set clear team goals. Plus Zapier has a Pipedrive API to make your integrations a whole lot easier. Why not give it a try? Here’s our link for a month long free trial!
Obviously, the internet in an important part of digital marketing. Specifically websites and landing pages that leads can go to, so they can read/see the CTA and convert. At Esper Inbound, we strongly recommend the use of landing pages. Designing a dynamic, dedicated page based on keywords contributes to high conversion rates, and Unbounce is our most favorite platform to accomplish this. Unbounce takes the technicality out of building web pages by having a drag-and-drop user interface, easy to set up conversion tracking, and dynamic content capabilities. Don’t just take our word for it though, play around and see for yourself with their free builder preview.
For those who have spent a lot of time building and mobile optimizing landing pages, you know that design changes can be a (major) hassle. Figma is the answer to your prayers. It’s an online design platform that can be used to build out functional site maps and mockup landing page, plus it can be used by multiple users at the same time. Figma is easy to navigate and maneuver -- well… as easy as design platforms can be.
Now that you’re a total expert at using Figma to layout your pages, and Unbounce to build them and publish them, it’s time to see how your pages are performing. Hotjar is a great tool for this because it gives insight into how people are navigating your page, where they’re clicking often, and even how far down they are scrolling. It’s always valuable to find out what you’re doing well and what needs improvement! Plus, heat maps are pretty cool.
So now you know how to improve your landing page based on your feedback from Hotjar. You make some changes, but you’re not sure which text is better, or if an image looks better here or there. This is when you make multiple variants of your page and start A/B testing! Unbounce has some really great features for splitting traffic and A/B testing, but why just stop there? VWO is an optimization suite that helps optimize your pages, as well as test them without reducing performance. Being in the digital marketing field, you know that you can NEVER have enough data!
The Adobe Creative Cloud subscription contains all of the design essentials. Photoshop, Illustrator and Adobe Stock are the top 3 that we use in particular. With these tools you’re able to take design to the next level and execute some handy tricks in terms of both style and file size efficiency. Not to mention, if you can’t find a decent stock photo on Unsplash, you’ll definitely find it on Adobe Stock!
Choosing the right images for landing pages can be pretty difficult, especially when you and a client have different visions for the page. While using stock images can be a good option, you usually have to pay for them, so running through a few image changes per page can rack up a bill. Enter Unsplash -- free, high resolution photos! Using Unsplash images on landing pages or as place holders on design mockups is a great solution to paying for stock photos or leaving blank space. Thanks to all the talented photographers that share their art with the community!
I don’t know about your eyes, but my limited eyes don’t see colors as hexadecimal digits, which can make color matching more difficult. Luckily, someone else also had this problem and created a Google Chrome browser extension that identifies the hex color of any pixel you choose. Magic, right? This design tool is incredibly useful when brand matching landing pages with a client’s existing website.
Our go-to call tracking platform, CallRail allows you to track essential source data from your phone calls. Using Dynamic Number Insertion, CallRail is able to attribute calls directly back to their source down to the ad platform, campaign or keyword. On top of robust data behind your lead sources, CallRail allows you to personalize area codes, record phone calls and has easy to use integrations. This software is a no brainer, which is why we host all of our clients on it as a part of our services!
This platform is a must for any website. Having Google Analytics installed on your website allows for you to unlock the true potential behind your traffic. By allowing you to monitor trends, track conversions and build audience segments - Google Analytics helps you get the most bang for your buck, because it’s completely free!
This is an amazing tool that was rolled out by Google in the recent years. A problem with digital marketing is the amount of scripts you need to implement on a page for certain initiatives. These backend scripts can get really messy. GTM solves the issue by allowing you to control and implement all of the necessary tracking scripts in one dashboard. It has tons of awesome features to make your life easier. If you’re serious about your PPC tracking, you’ll pick up GTM skills.
This is a free Google Chrome extension which you can use to troubleshoot your Google scripts, including: Conversion Pixels, Tag Manager, Analytics, Optimize and more! This nifty tool is an essential for troubleshooting your code implementation to ensure everything is setup properly.
This is another free Google Chrome extension which has the same functionality as the Google Tag Assistant, but for Facebook’s tracking pixels. This free tool will help you ensure your pixel is setup and conversion events are tracking properly. Another essential for troubleshooting!
Now, we may not have covered every tool out there. And we may not have covered every tool here in depth. If there’s a tool you’d like to see highlighted here please reach out and we’ll get it added! Additionally, if there is a tool in our tool belt you’d like to learn more about, don’t hesitate to reach out to me at: firstname.lastname@example.org