Do you remember when we had to look in the yellow pages to find companies? Even today, many small business owners that I speak to, long for this technology.
It was simple, and the people who used it profited from the yellow pages for a long time. The problem was that the method became stagnant with the approach of the digital era. With the explosion of the digital marketing age, we have seen an explosion in technology that continually changes the way marketers find and work with clients.
This at a time when every year, the yellow pages become smaller and smaller as less than 30% of the population even looked at a Yellow Pages book last year. Instead, we want to help you find the best online tools to stay relevant with marketing. Below are the 4 marketing technologies you need to focus on being successful.
Marketing your business online often requires an all-in-one marketing automation system to integrate the various parts of your online campaign.
With so much technology out there today, it helps to have a central point to connect all the dots between your social media, email, blog, and search engine campaign.
Some of the best marketing automation software for your business:
- HubSpot – Has everything from a blog to landing pages to search engine optimization to email marketing automation software.
- InfusionSoft – Centers around email marketing campaigns combined with a contact manager and social media sharing capabilities.
- Marketo – Great for helping you tracking social and search campaigns.
- Pardot – Integrates digital marketing with SalesForce.
- Zapier – Has over 300 services that can be arranged in various orders to perform necessary tasks around the web.
Content Management System (CMS)
A good CMS platform helps you maintain your website, just like the marketing automation software does for your marketing campaigns.
- WordPress – The dominant CMS platform. WordPress started as a platform for bloggers, but with over 36,000 plugins and 3,000 themes, it is capable of so much more.
- Joomla – After WordPress, Joomla is the second largest CMS platform. It is a great all-purpose website builder.
- Drupal – Great for more complex websites. This CMS requires more programming knowledge.
If you want to discover how we can help design and develop a new website for your business, learn more here.
Customer Relationship Management (CRM)
CRMs help you manage your contacts, current clients and even more importantly, your prospects.
- SalesForce – The flag bearer of CRM systems. SalesForce helps businesses of all sizes track their sales
- Zoho – They have an entire suite of software programs for almost any application you need to complete online.
- Insightly – With free and paid options, this is great for small business owners.
- SugarCRM – A good alternative to SalesForce.
Keep current clients and prospects informed with regular emails.
- MailChimp – Free email service up to 2,000 subscribers.
- GetResponse – Email marketing and autoresponder services
- AWeber – Email marketing service with auto responder series and sign up forms.
Keep on Top of Marketing Changes
As we discussed earlier with the rise and fall of the yellow pages, the change in technology is a constant struggle for every company. While the programs we mentioned above are long-term programs, new ones come up every year that have the potential to wipe these old competitors off the proverbial map.
Understanding the causes of these changes will give small businesses a better perspective for why they need to keep up with technology.
Here are some of the greatest challenges and opportunities in technology today:
#1 quickening pace of change – All indications are that the pace of change is speeding up every year as more and more companies vie to compete with new and better products.
Consider the fact that in Sydney and Melbourne, there are over 1,500 tech startups. With more startups, you have more technology being created. This means the pace of technology creation expands, and is not contracting.
Expect more products to come out over the next few years. If you do not keep pace, then your competitors who do will have a distinct advantage over you in the next 3-5 years.
#2 not enough talent to keep pace – An interesting side effect of so many startups is that finding quality project managers and developers to administer this software is a challenge. The problem lies with an education system that is not setup to encourage enough students to become developers and work with technology in school.
People who go into university programs are not taught the best methods for working with the startup community that hire many of them after college.
Therefore, they do not have the skills needed to help businesses with their critical problems.
#3 duplication – Another unique phenomenon happens with so many startups that causes a lot of the indifference from small business owners.
Many tech companies create similar programs. It is harder and harder to single out the differences in quality between many software programs, because so much has now been created by so many different companies. As a digital marketing agency, we see many tech startups that have a serious case of keeping up with the Jones. They do their best to have the same applications as their competitors, which is why everyone has the same applications on their software programs.
Consider the above when we discussed email marketing. While a few differences exists in product structure, MailChimp, GetResponse, and AWeber have many of the same features.
How can consumers understand the differences between these products, so they know which one is right for them when all programs strive to have the same features as their competitors?
This is why any application that integrates all marketing automation must connect to so many different software programs. Zapier is a perfect example of this. The reason it is so successful is because the platform integrates with over 300 different applications around the web.
As technology continues to improve spend some time each quarter analyzing what software you use, and how you can improve.
You might discover better processes for managing the software, or better options to help you market your business more effectively online.
Either way, the companies that keep on top of the marketing technology revolution are the ones who will reap the greatest rewards.