13min read

10 Categories of Tools to Help Lean Into Your Digital Marketing Strategy

by Dan Moyle | July 23, 2020 at 8:30 AM

The landscape of marketing technology (MarTech) and all of the tools included is nearly infinite. Imagine trying to see the far reaches of our galaxy with the naked eye. That’s what it can feel like if you’re trying to find the right tools to help you lean into your digital marketing strategy.

But it doesn’t have to overwhelm you. Many of the tools in MarTech are great. But they aren’t all needed at every level. 

Depending on where you are in your growth journey, you may need fewer tools or different solutions to your pain points. 

When you’re getting ready to lean more into your digital marketing strategy, you can look through this list of tools for what speaks to you and helps you get to where you need to go.

Buyer Personas

Regardless of how long you’ve been doing digital marketing, it’s wise to think about buyer personas. Do you have personas? Are they accurate and up to date? 

You can find tools like buyer persona templates from a lot of sources. HubSpot’s buyer persona templates are a good place to start. We offer a buyer persona guide as well.

The critical point to personas is to keep them accurate and up to date. Collaborate with sales to ensure they’re accurate. Conduct buyer persona interviews to make sure they’re current. 

Great marketing starts with understanding your buyers and why they need you. 

How to Start: Develop Info About Your Persona

buyer-persona-example

There are a few important things to consider when developing each of your personas:

  • Demographics. How old are they, roughly? What’s their identified gender? Marital status? Where are they located?
  • Job Title. What field are they in? How many years experience do they have? What’s their current job title? What about their goal; what position are they hoping to advance into over the next few years?
  • Lifestyle. What’s a day in their shoes like? How long do they work each day? Do they have a family? What do they like to do outside of work?
  • Pain Points. What are some of their struggles— both as they relate to your product or services and in general? For instance, do they have limited time, a restricted budget, or challenges at work or in their home life?
  • Goals. What motivates this person? What are they trying to achieve as it relates to your products or services and more generally?
  • Problem-solving. When this person is looking for help, where do they typically turn? Are they looking for how-to articles? Videos? Referrals from a friend?
  • Objections. What holds them back from choosing your products or services? This ties in with Pain Points characteristic above, however, it’s more specific to your business. What are common complaints about your specific offerings and which do you think would apply to this particular persona? For instance, if your product or service is more expensive than your competitors, this may be an objection to one of your personas and a roadblock to sealing the deal.
  • Language. We don’t just mean do they speak English vs. Spanish. What are common words or slang they might use? What tone of voice feels most appropriate based on their other demographics? This is an important point to consider for search engine optimization and keyword research. 

Want more help with developing buyer personas? Dig in here: What are Buyer Personas and Can Creating them Accelerate My Marketing?

Keyword Research

Once you know your personas, it’s time to start understanding how they’ll find you online. 

When you have a question or want to find something online, where do you go? Your potential audience goes to search, too. 

This is why search engine optimization (SEO) has become so popular. And so critical. 

SEO isn’t the only tool in your digital marketing tool box. But you don’t want to work without it. 

New call-to-action

Where do you start? 

HubSpot Academy has a great course called SEO Training Course: Building Sustainable Traffic for Business Growth that can help marketers begin to understand SEO. There’s also a great lesson on topic clusters and pillar pages here.

Want another resource for SEO? 

The Impulse Creative team also uses the following tools in their SEO work:

Bonus: Download our Keyword Research Workbook to get your team thinking more deeply about SEO and keywords. 

Content Management

If you don’t create content online, are you really a digital marketer? 

You already know that a website is vital when it comes to your digital marketing strategy. But how often do you think about the content management system (CMS) you built your site on? 

Your CMS is the engine that runs your digital marketing machine. At the heart of your strategy should be the home base of a relevant, engaging, powerful website.

Here’s a quick look at a few features we suggest you look for in the right CMS for your digital marketing.

Powerful Publishing Tools

The content you publish is the backbone of your engagement with your buyer personas. In the same way, publishing tools are the core of any quality CMS. 

A good CMS will adapt to the type of content you want to publish – everything from short news items to longer articles with custom layouts to landing pages with embedded documents or databases or even videos or podcasts – and integrate this into an overall publication workflow.

And, of course, it needs to be intuitive and easy to understand, even for novice users.

Your CMS should also handle SEO, content tagging, adding images, video and more from within the publishing interface.

Built-in SEO Tools

seoGoogle constantly tweaks and evolves its search algorithms. You’ll find no shortage of factors that influence your ranking.  

While it may be difficult to know every off-page factor that plays into your search rankings, you can be sure that on-page search engine optimization isn't going away.

That’s why your CMS needs to have built-in SEO tools to help you optimize your content for both readers and search engines.

This should include helping you create the best meta descriptions and page titles, while also authenticating with Google and Bing Webmaster Tools.

Detailed Analytics

You can’t improve what you don’t measure. Tracking engagement on your digital marketing efforts is an essential part of carrying out your strategy. Your CMS should include its own analytics tool as well as integrate with the most popular analytics tools like Google Analytics or Search Console.

Good analytics in your CMS should also show you where the key audiences are based, what technology they are using, how they are interacting with content on which platforms and which pieces of content are most popular, in order to further refine the content strategy.

Where to start? Here’s a look at three popular solutions we see often: What's Your CMS of Choice? WordPress vs Squarespace vs HubSpot 

BONUS // When you want your CMS to evolve into a Customer Experience Platform, we’ve got you covered.

Contact Management 

Once an audience finds you and engages with your brand, now what? How will your marketing and sales teams manage the contact data and interactions? 

A good digital marketing strategy needs to include a top-notch customer relationship management tool (CRM).

As HubSpot says, “A CRM is the foundation of your business, so it's critical that you choose the best CRM to enable your success.” We agree.

Here are a few criteria and features we suggest you look for when choosing the best CRM for your business.

Can you add new contacts and companies to your database in seconds? Your CRM should allow you to create new contacts straight from your email with a single click or import lists.

Easy to use leads to higher adoption: Log sales activities automatically. Make calls, send emails, create tasks, and publish notes. Find a CRM that will log your activities for you and say goodbye to manual data entry. 

Efficient and optimized for better sales emails in less time. Email templates only go so far. With the CRM you should be able to schedule your emails for the best deliverability.

Email Marketing Tools 

In addition to managing your contacts, you’ll want to use tried-and-true tools like email messaging to lean into digital marketing today. 

Email-Marketing-2

For the modern marketer, email marketing continues to deliver results. It’s a vital strategy for marketing and sales teams in growing brands.It’s true across industries and business sizes. 

Email marketing reigns supreme as a predictable, effective and cost-conscious way to engage and nurture those contacts, leading them to become loyal customers. In fact some studies show an ROI of email marketing of more than 4,000%!

So, how do you add email to your digital strategy? Or if you have it, how do you make it more successful? In addition to a solid strategy—nurturing sequences, drip campaigns and one-off messaging—technology is crucial. Email marketing service providers (ESP) exist to make the process of email marketing simpler.

Be sure to look for features and capabilities that enhance and streamline your email communication to help you identify qualified leads, nurture those leads, and close more deals.

It’s a bonus when your ESP connects to your CRM for powerful contextual marketing.

There are thousands of ESPs to choose from. Here’s a look at a few we’ve worked with and suggest, depending on your price point and desired features.

Social Media Marketing

Social media. It’s grown from Mark Zuckerburg’s attempt to connect his fellow students (or to “get girls” if you believe Hollywood) into a powerful marketing and sales tool for businesses. 

But great social media doesn’t just happen overnight, or by accident. It takes more than a few mentions and broadcast posts to build a loyal, engaged following. 

There’s no magical social media recipe or silver bullet. Sorry. 

UInstead, a successful social media strategy is like any other marketing strategy—carefully crafted, measured, managed and founded on a strong and clear strategy. Then when it’s time to deliver on your strategic vision, you need to have the right tool or tools.

Social media management solutions range from simple to complex. Regardless of what you use, you’ll need your tool to support your greater digital media strategy.

From managing multiple platforms to multiple accounts, from scheduling posts to social listening and even analytics, the right social media tool will make staying active and engaging on social media easier for us mere mortals, making our load easier and paving the way for greater impact.

Ready to get to know a few tools we suggest? Here are some known tools and some underdogs:

Image Creation 

10-Tools-to-Lean-Into-Your-Digital-Marketing-Strategy-CanvaHere’s one you don’t think about until you’re ready to publish a blog post you’ve worked for two days and you’re proud to share because you know it’s going to change someone’s life and bring your business leads… Then all of a sudden you realize you don’t have images in the post. Or maybe you’re missing the social thumbnail that will help catch the attention your post deserves.

Creating images to support your digital marketing efforts is huge. But what if you’re not a graphic designer? What if you can’t hire a designer right now? 

At Impulse Creative we have an in-house designer (say hi to Jeffrey). We also have lots of creative people on our team who sometimes have to create on-the-fly. 

Whether Jeffrey creates templates or we go off on our own, one tool we love at Impulse is Canva. With the right set up, we can create calls-to-action, featured images, infographics and more. We definitely encourage you to add Canva to your digital marketing toolkit.

Data Visualization 

You can’t improve what you don’t measure. Any digital marketing plan worth its effort includes analytics. But what about taking that data and visualizing it? 

How do you show your C-Suite updates? 

Dashboards have become all the rage in so many aspects of business, and for good reason. When we can visualize the data we’re trying to analyze, we understand better. 

As a HubSpot Partner, we’re always using different HubSpot Reports in our dashboards to tell the story. 

We also love the power of Databox to bring multiple sources together. With Databox, we can deliver a data deep dive just as easily as we can skim the shallow end of the metric pool, all without making a single spreadsheet. It’s flexible and it only takes about 60 seconds to set up a company’s account and customize the metrics that matter to their many stakeholders.

Video Marketing

Video continues to grow in popularity and power in marketing. With so many people gravitating to video for information and entertainment, brands who fail to include it in their digital marketing strategies will be left in the dust.

So, how can you help your business get started with video?

First thing’s first. You’ll want to start with a video marketing strategy. Without strategy and a plan, you’ll be a rudderless ship in the night. You’ll lack the confidence to move forward, or worse, you’re more likely to dip your toe into a low-quality or poorly-executed video. The latter can almost guarantee terrible results.

A quick look at how to plan your video marketing strategy:

  • Start by identifying a problem that your business can solve and build a video topic around that.
  • Decide which video format you’d like to use. (Long, short or LIVE).
  • Gather the right kind of equipment you’ll need to produce the video.
  • Draft a video script.
  • Record your video.

So, what about video marketing tools? We’ve used a few. Here’s a quick punch list of video marketing tools to consider:

Much like other digital marketing tools, some things to consider with video tools include analytics, content management, speed of media delivery and user experience. 

Podcasting

Here at Impulse Creative, we’ve jumped into the podcasting pool with both feet. While we’re not always counting on direct ROI tied to sales, we know that building an audience is critical in today’s relationship economy. 

We have shows like 15 Minute Strategy Podcast, The Maiden Voyage and Wayfinding Growth

Our co-founder Remington also has a show called the Conversational Marketing Podcast where he tackles all things Conversational. A lot of the episodes are tutorials and tips & tricks shows to help marketers better understand Drift and HubSpot Conversations, two of the biggest players in the game. 

So if you’re thinking about adding podcasting to your digital marketing strategy, we have a few tips here: 7 Tips to Adding a Podcast Strategy to Your Marketing Plan.

We also have some tools we use and encourage you to consider:

When you lean into your digital marketing strategy, you find yourself exploring familiar territory from a different perspective. We’re all working, playing and essentially living in the digital world. Now you’re just creating conversations, converting those into leads and delighting customers with that same mindset. 

New call-to-action