5 Digital Marketing Tools You Must try in 2017

I love this industry because there are always new tools to check! New tools open up new opportunities, offer new insights and inspire new tactics.

Here are 5 tools I intend to give a thorough look in 2017.

What are yours?

1. Netpeak Spider

Netpeak Spider

One of the most indepth and flexible web crawlers out there, Netpeak Spider provides smooth experience and lots of features. It automatically checks 50+ parameters and detects more than 60 SEO errors (including http status errors, canonical issues, Robots.txt issues, meta tag issues and more).

Netpeak Spider

It has 5 crawling modes (site-wide, directory, URL list, XML Sitemap and even from Google SERP). Each of them allows to perform certain SEO tasks, for example, by crawling an XML sitemap, you can detect 21 XML sitemap issues in 17 parameters and send the corrected sitemap files to the search engines.

It even has the ability to calculate your site internal PageRank giving your ideas if important pages of your site are not getting enough power internally.

2. Buffer for video

There’s nothing new about Buffer. It’s been around for quite some time now! So why am I including it in this list? Because Buffer never stops and their most recently added feature is a proof!

Buffer for video is the first product to allow native video scheduling to all the big social media networks. So: upload once, share everywhere.

Not in the video game yet? This stats should change your mind:

  • 82% of Twitter users watch video content on Twitter
  • The number of videos in Facebook feeds has grown by 360%
  • In the U.S., people are posting 94% more videos to Facebook
  • 50% of Americans who use Facebook daily watch at least 1 video every day

3. Slack

I am sure many of you are aware of Slack but few people know that it’s not merely about chatting and collaborating. With the ability to add bots, Slack has become one of the most diverse multi-purpose platforms.

The two cool bots to add:

  • Notify: Brings your brand mentions to your Slack feed. It serves as more of an ambient notification feed for these alerts and may inspire more team conversation than individual emails.
  • Statsbot: Brings Google Analytics stats to your Slack feed. Ask the bot about your stats and see the graphs and numbers right in the message thread.

Statsbot

4. Drip

It is no secret that I am not a big fan of Mail Chimp. I find their system overly bulky, difficult to use, and their policies are so unclear you can violate them by accident. I have tried a number of alternatives, but none of them were the simple, effective drip email platform I wanted. Until I found Drip.

It is a cool system that lets you create an easy sales funnel, in a visual way. While I don’t do direct sales, I have found the same principle applies to content promotion. My email campaigns have become much more effective thanks to this little gem.

Drip

Drip workflows seem amazingly easy and fun to set up. Here are options for automation systems and this one seems like a great one to add to the list.

5. Ptengine

ptengine

Ptengine is a great heatmap application, you can find out at exactly what point customers are choosing to leave your site. Isolating that point is crucial, so you can make the necessary changes to push them to the final step.

Unlike many other heatmap tools, this one provides much more insight than just a visualization. See referral information, track social media campaigns and engagement (page views, visit duration and conversions).

If you are planning a redesign in 2017, this is must-have tool to try! M-Connect Media also has a great guide listing more tools and tips.

And which tools are you planning to try in 2017?

Anybody Out There? 5 Ways to Build the Right Online Audience

Personalizing online content often means creating stories that make people feel connected to a business or product. However, while it may be easy to make up stories that help people feel connected, creating an audience might be a bit more difficult.

Creating online content is like standing on a stage at a talent show. The different audience members like different kinds of acts. Some prefer music while others want to watch magic. The internet is similar to this since you are trying to draw in a multitude of diverse interests.

Finding ways to grab people’s attention can seem difficult and frustrating. However, with the right approach, any business can create a new audience, the key is to create a musical magic act.

Make your website mobile friendly

Most people read website on their phones or tablets while they’re on the move. Making a website mobile friendly is one of the easiest ways to create an audience for your product or service. In addition, Google made mobile-friendliness a ranking signal in April 2015.

  • Find a conversion platform
  • Use mobile plugins
  • Use a web design that is responsive to mobile

Use the right hashtags

Customers looking for products are going to be searching under hashtags. Think about the diversity of your customer base. FM Digital Group suggests marketing to multiple demographics can expand customer base by thinking of different categories of hashtags that can help.

For examples, just because you are a nail salon doesn’t mean that your manicures are just manicures. When tagging the designs on Instagram, go beyond the traditional nail art tags and decide how to market the actual designs. Think about the cross postings that hashtags can give across multiple social media sites.

Choose the right social media channel

Different social media networks offer different audiences and opportunities.

  • Facebook has the broadest range
  • Twitter works best for moving information quickly
  • Pinterest’s users are primarily women and works best for DIY projects, fashion, exercise, beauty, photography, and food
  • Instagram which is entirely pictures and video works best for food, art, travel, fashion and other products that are visually appealing
  • Tumblr is mostly young people with half its visitor base under 25, but if your product is a niche product, this where the audience lives

Find your influencer

Influencers vary by business, but each can become your brand ambassador. In your industry, think about the voices. Building a relationship with one of them might be the best way to build an audience.  This strategy takes time. To make it work, you need to build a genuine relationship based on mutual respect and understanding. If it’s not real, neither the influencer nor the audience will stick around.

Read what others are talking about

Be involved in the conversations that others are having about your industry. Follow up on your competitors to be just as involved as they are. Competitors are just other people with the same audience as you. This means that the customers you want to engage may be engaged with them. By analyzing where your competitors find their audience, you can find your own.

Building an online audience sounds daunting. However, in the same way that the musician at the talent show is able to get the music fans to applaud a good show, so can you become capable of establishing a name for yourself.

Image source: Pixabay

3 Case Studies: How Content Boosted Traffic & Increased Customers

As a small business owner, or solopreneur, you’ve heard that content increases website traffic,and maybe you know that it also helps build brand trust and credibility.

And although you may be keen to try it for yourself, you’re looking for some kind of reassurance that after all your hard work, it’s a viable ROI.

In the case studies to follow, all three companies were young startups that decided to do things differently in order to get the edge over their competitors. Using content as their primary marketing strategy, they experienced tremendous results that enabled dramatic growth.

Have a read. Be the judge about whether content is a good ROI or not.

Case study 1: Turned problem into a solution with online course content

End result: $20K in 5 days
Company: Design Pickle
Industry: Marketing

Design Pickle, founded by Russ Perry in January 2015, offers a flat rate per month for an unlimited amount of graphic designs. Most large corporations have their own graphic designers, so this company’s clients are predominantly small businesses and solopreneurs.

Most small business owners don’t have a content design strategy in place, and therefore, the customer retention rate for graphic design services in particular is generally low. What Perry found, was that once clients received their designs, they would cancel their monthly subscription.

Design Pickle needed a way to grow and to educate its clients on marketing strategies.

Enter Pickle University online courses. The courses, hosted by Kajabi, an all-in-one marketing tools third party online course platform, allows Design Pickle to upsell and bundle services for discounted prices, and is used as a lead magnet to secure new, and empowered clients.

The launch of the first course brought in $20K within 5 days from pre-sale email marketing to people who were already on Design Pickle’s email lists. The key here, was that Perry identified a need; to educate clients on process and industry, and filled that need by providing online courses to help educate and grow the businesses of his clients.

By developing business and marketing courses, Perry is able not only to increase profit passively while still growing his graphics design business, but can also help his clients strengthen their businesses.

Description: online courses kajabi design pickle.jpg
Image Credit: Design Pickle and Kajabi
Russ Perry (back, middle) is the founder of Design Pickle.

Original source of case study: Kajabi

Case study 2: From outbound to primarily inbound

End result: 6 X boost in website traffic and 4 X more customers
Company: Glofox
Industry: Software developer for health industry

Glofox is a startup founded by Conor O’ Loughlin and Anthony Kelly in 2014, and experienced rapid growth with its software developed for gyms and fitness studios. The problem was that the direct sales strategy they were using to acquire customers, was costing too much. Their approach required the use of too many complex systems which were not playing nicely together.

Description: Glofox-670x310.jpg
Image Credit: BusinessAndFinance
The founders of Glofox: Conor O’ Loughlin and Anthony Kelly.

O’Loughlin and Kelly decided that they needed to attract customers to their website instead, by creating an inbound marketing machine. Using HubSpot, they set up a blog, created landing pages for targeted traffic, optin forms and smart call to actions. They say that by using content, they “are positioning ourselves as industry experts and thought leaders in our field; we blog constantly, we have a weekly podcast and we produce ebooks and user guides.”

Similarly to the first case study, the founders of this company say that creating personas was a vital part of their inbound strategy.

Since the swap from outbound to inbound marketing, Glofox has experienced a 6 X boost in traffic, and has 4 X more customers.

Original source of case study: HubSpot

Case study 3: Infographic backlinks strategy for new blog

End result: Website traffic increase of 963% in 6 weeks
Company: ChewieSays (now HerePup)
Industry: Pets

Perrin Carrol, who started the ChewieSays blog, identified an opportunity in the pet niche, after noticing that there were not a lot of smaller pet sites providing good content, and that a handful of big pet sites were completely dominating the Internet.

Carrol needed a strategy to compete with the handful of some seriously big competitors in the niche. To go up against them would entail producing some brilliant content, and promoting it in order to get quality backlinks to his site.

What Carrol did (and this is key), was to identify what was proven to be important to his target audience, and create an infographic around it. Doing his due diligence, he came up with the topic of “ways that pets improve human health”.

Armed with the 22 points gathered from his research, he hired a freelancer to design a pretty basic infographic to use as “bait” for authority websites, in order to get quality backlinks to his site. The link to the ChewySays website, was placed into introductory content on the infographic, which is good for SEO.

Finding prospective blogs in the niche that might have been interested in publishing the infographic, he contacted 92 bloggers and got a positive response of 5.4%.

Once those bloggers confirmed their interest in the infographic, Carrol removed as many barriers as possible, to make sharing the content easy.

The end result was eight niche-related, white hat backlinks which provided a dramatic surge of traffic to his new blog.

Description: infographic-example.png
Image Credit: Backlinko
The infographic that sparked traffic to a new blog.

Original source of case study: Backlinko

Key points

Three startup companies achieved dramatic results, all from using content as their primary marketing tactic. In summary, here’s what they did and what happened:

  1. A graphics design startup launched online courses as a way to grow, and to educate clients. Proving the need for the online courses, was the $20K that was generated as a result.
  2. The cost to acquire clients was proving too expensive for a software developer company, and the founders decided to switch to a primarily inbound marketing strategy, seeing a 6 X boost in traffic and 4 X more customers.
  3. The founder of a brand new pet blog, needed a way to compete with major sites that were dominating the industry, and with a cleverly designed infographic, received eight quality backlinks, boosting the traffic by 963% within six weeks.