Doing business in a pandemic is tough enough. For many it’s a fight for survival, but with the right mindset and tools it’s the ideal time to re-evaluate old ways of working, seek out new opportunities and perhaps even grow. Savvy marketers know they can’t do it alone and turn to digital marketing tools to help. These tools make up their marketing stack.
Building such a toolkit from scratch can be a little daunting. Thankfully we’ve got some tips on how to get going, including where to look, how to compare different options and how to do so resourcefully. The right stack should be a small ongoing investment that repays itself many times over.
Tip 1: Know Where To Look For Your Marketing Stack
With thousands of marketing SaaS out there, finding the right one for your business can be a minefield. That is, unless you find others who have done the hard work for you!
This help comes in the form of curated directories and communities, such as Product Hunt, Indie Hackers, and Reddit.
The first, Product Hunt, is a listing site for the best new tech launches that day. A tool starts life on the site once ‘hunted’, with other users voting it up or down depending on its usefulness and inventiveness. A minimum of 20-30 new tools are featured on the site daily, making it a great way to discover the next best thing.
Next up is Indie Hackers, which is more article and forum-led. This extra room is for the startup world to grow together, share their learnings and find out who is building what to solve today’s big marketing challenges. There’s a real focus on side projects here, as makers look to bootstrap their way to financial freedom. Startup threads on Reddit have a similar focus, with members happy to answer questions and point you in the right direction.
Tip 2: Tools For Every Challenge
Now it’s time to draw up a shortlist. You’ll want it to be well-rounded, with a 1-2 all-in-one tools supported by a handful of specialists. A mixture of steady hands and niche unfair advantages. Too many single-purpose can be a pain to switch between and they don’t always work together. All-rounders such as HubSpot have most of what you need to improve your visibility (e.g. SEO, blogging, ad management & social media management), convert more visitors into customers (CRM, live chat and landing pages) and serve them better with customer service add-ons. Plus, the big guys have the added bonus that they’re entirely scalable, so you can grow into them.
Where they often fall down is their flexibility, leaving gaps for independent, single-track tools to fill.
Tip 3: Test The Water
The exciting bit: trying a few out! And you’re in luck…
Over the last ten years “freemium” – a combination of “free” and “premium”- has become the dominant business model among SaaS companies. Marketing SaaS is no different, meaning most tools are underpinned by a free tier. These are normally stripped back in some way but still very generous. For example, HubSpot’s free plans are almost too good to be true and includes forever free CRM and some must-have features.
At the very least you can expect free trials, so you can test drive a marketing tool before you commit. The only exceptions I’ve ever come across is Ahrefs, which charges $7 for a 7-day trial, and enterprise level software which hides its demos behind mandatory sales calls.
Tip 4: Complementary Tools
Another trick is to find what works with your current tools and new finds. By far the easiest way to get more out of the tools you already love is via integrations.
Popular tools can have entire ecosystems of plugins, allowing you to hook them up to the likes MailChimp, Xero, Stripe, Slack, Typeform, Zoom, Eventbrite and Zendesk, as well as a host of indie tools. Use them to take payments, segment your customer base and send emails, run advanced analytics and automate your sales workflows, and so much more!
These trusty sidekicks typically work seamlessly with your core marketing engine, giving you the holy grail of a single view of the customer and fewer log-ins and subscriptions.
Tip 5: For Everything Else, There’s Zapier
If an official integration between your favourite tools doesn’t exist yet, you can count on Zapier to step up.
Zapier moves info between 2,000 web apps to stretch their features even further and create a workaround. Their recipes (or ‘Zaps’) can turn one-dimensional tools into lead generation machines by automatically sending website leads to your CRM; add tags based on their behaviour; send them event invites or drip campaigns; add recurring posts to social media; add important tasks to your team’s to-do lists and even order pizza when you hit sales milestones!
Best of all, it doesn’t require a single line of code and it’s a free service for your first 100 Zaps a month.
So, in conclusion, if you want to free yourself from repetitive tasks and fulfil your potential be sure to turn to marketing tools. With thousands to choose from, we’ve tried to outline a few ways to find the best ones for your business and build a marketing stack that won’t break the bank.
For more ideas on what tools to add to your marketing stack, check out these recent Marketing.com.au articles: