I thought I’d kick off my “Digital Marketing Tools Review” category by sharing a list of the programs I have open and running day to day on my desktop that help me to do my job in B2B tech marketing. I will follow soon with my top ten favourite mobile apps as well as a different post (or maybe a few) dedicated to various social media sharing sites, but for now I’ll share what keeps me going during the 9-5:30 Monday to Friday spot.
If you like the post and want to share, I’d love to hear about the tools you can’t live without.
These are a bit of a random mix of desktop applications and web based apps (they are not in any particular order):
Tweetdeck is my preferred app for tweeting because I need the multi-column view. I tweet from my own account and two other business related accounts, and I need to be able to see the activity in all of them all of the time. I also want to see my mentions, direct messages and the results from any given #hashtag I’m following.
Bitly shortens links for my tweets and provides me with analytics so that I can who has clicked on my links.
I’ve been a member of LinkedIn since 2004 and I use it more than ever. I like the news feed stream featured on my home page and I am actively involved in several LinkedIn Groups (I will list these in
another post!) Once or twice a week, I make time to get involved in group discussions – this has been a great way to learn about everything from marketing automation to SEO. I run a LinkedIn Group for my business and as a business, we do use LinkedIn to gather intelligence on people who’ve recently made job moves or people we’d like to invite to industry events. I often “hear” about events relevant to me via LinkedIn which is useful because I can see a list of everyone attending. Lastly, I use LinkedIn for its original purpose, which is to make connections with like minded business people – I’ve been contacted and have met some extremely useful connections using LinkedIn.
I monitor the traffic of three different websites and produce daily reports to review not only top content, but also top referral sites. For a *free* tool, I have to say, Analytics is pretty impressive. I can monitor which browsers my audience use, whether they are accessing the sites via mobile devices, and how long they stay on the site. I can also identify keywords and content that are causing high bounce rates.
If you run any sort of website or blog and are interested in more than just basic analytics, then you need to add your sites to Google Webmaster Tools. The difference between Google Analytics and Web Master Tools is that Analytics gives you information surrounding web traffic, and Webmaster Tools gives you insight into how your site is ranking (and being displayed in search results) via Google.
In other words, Webmaster Tools is more geared towards search engine optimisation and will help you to identify any problems affecting your sites search rankings. Note that you can also connect your Google Analtyics and Web Master tools accounts for ease of use and across the board traffic and seo analytics.
Sugar, like Salesforce, is a good CRM system. I track everything in my CRM, from appointments to contacts, to new accounts to leads to downloads of white papers and results of other campaigns. I don’t promote any specific CRM within this blog as I feel the market leading CRM’s have all got their good points. Rather, I am saying that I run and track my day to day marketing life out of my CRM.
I use WordPress to run this blog and a few others, and to act as a contributor to a few blogs. There are other blogging platforms out there (Squarespace is especially cool) but I like WordPress because updates are done for me. The range of templates is good, as is the range of widgets which allow me to easily add extra functionality to the blog. If you don’t know WordPress, now is a good time to get to know it as I think it is going to exist as a CMS and platform that will fuel quite a lot of the website population out there in the future.
SnagIt is one of my favourite tools of all time – I’ve used it since my technical author days and don’t like to be without it. For speed and for producing quality images for use in anything digital, this is much better than the standard Print Screen and edit option. It is a clever tool that you can have running in the background and pop up every time you want to take a screen capture. The app lets you capture by selected area or window, and then takes you to a speedy editing area where you can quickly add slick looking borders and an array of other visual effects and link properties. From there you, can save the capture for later use, send it via email to recipients or share it via social media. It’s inexpensive and well worth having at your fingertips.
A good graphic editing program is essential and there are going to be times when you either need to do some more serious editing of photos and images, or create your own images (this is particularly important if you are using Pinterest, which I discussed not long ago in my two part Pinterest series for B2B Marketers. I use Photoshop because I am familiar with it and it has the capacity to go the extra mile – last month my manager used it to successfully remove clouds from a photo that had too many…genius!
Two of my Dad’s top tips for life are: Never be on the “paying interest” end of money and quite simply “get up early”. Maybe no one is going to make a sitcom called “Sh*t John says” anytime soon, but his tips have taught me well. My own list would include “understand MS Excel and *use it daily* to help make sense of life. Don’t be afraid of Excel.
As a marketer I have it up and running in various different guises on my screen at all times. It is as essential in helping me to shape and perfect and later import my CRM data as it is in helping me to personalise and rationalise my Google Analytics results – which I can then display via various useful time or geographical filters. As a budgeting tracker it is second to none, and yes, I even still use it for old school, non-digital purposes such as printing out labels when need be. The list could go on.
And Evernote – a special mention
I’m not sure I *can* actually live without Evernote! Beyond helping me with my home and family life, Evernote has come to play an essential supporting role in my social media marketing life. In my day to day job it is important that I cover all aspects of digital marketing. This is itself is quite a feat.
Add the plethora of possibility social media brings to the table, and let’s just say that I could easily forget about the 20 different amazing content ideas I stumble across in my daily reading, or the new app that is going to make my social media life all the easier. I do tend to use Evernote’s mobile app most often, and this is not a surprise given the app effectively acts like a big “to do” and “great ideas” reminder list where I can check off tasks once they are done. I am going to write a post on my top ten favourite “apps”, and Evernote will definitely be taking a top spot amongst them.