The best tools for understanding your online marketplace?

I find that on training courses, the tools I recommend to help marketers are always popular, especially the free tools... At a course I was asked for a list of “essential tools” for digital marketing, so here they are… 2016 update: I originally created this list in 2012 and thought it was due an update since the feed reader tools and keyword tools have changed. We aim to review and compare tools for managing different digital activities on Smart Insights, so we have many of these tools covered in other posts, so I’ll link to these where relevant. There's a diverse mix of free tools available, one of the enjoyable aspects of working in digital marketing today. I’ll start with the most widely used. Please let us know about the “essential free tools” you use in the comments. For many more tools suggestions - check out…

These productivity and copywriting tools can help you take your content marketing to the next level

In a year in which content will reign supreme, it’s very important to differentiate yourself from tons of the material that is getting uploaded on the Internet every single hour. It’s important, but it is also very difficult. Your content has to shine, it has to entice, and it has to be beautiful. Now, when we say beautiful we don’t mean it as an invite to go out there and b-dazzle pieces of paper, charts and diagrams. One example of 'beautiful content' is well-researched and organized content that has a structure and a flow. Another example is richly illustrated content that speaks to visual learners; every writer who’s worked on content for an infographic knows that visuals can do wonders in getting the material to really shine. A page of content completely devoid of grammatical and…

5 types of online audience surveying tools to help create a more customer-centred website and brand

Web analytics tools such as Google Analytics are used by nearly every company since they provide valuable quantitative data on site visitor behaviour. No surprise there. But web analytics systems don't give direct qualitative feedback from site visitors and customers and the surprise to me, is that relatively few companies use these, although their popularity is increasing rapidly. We believe that qualitative website feedback tools are also essential to take the pulse of your website, but surprisingly they are less widely used despite paid services such as Opinion Labs being available for many years and some incredible free tools such as the much lauded 4Q Survey.

January 2016 update to tools

Thanks for your suggestions in the comments - I have included UserSnap and GetResponse as more cost-effective alternatives to existing tools. Other comments of the latest tools you…

10 practical recommendations for choosing the right retail personalisation service for your online store

Although ecommerce is now a relatively mature industry, the software solutions that underpin the industry are still very much evolving. Nowhere is this more apparent than in the personalisation field. Recommendation engines were perhaps the first tools to promote personalisation, but it is now a common feature espoused by many ecommerce tools, in systems designed for both marketers and online merchandisers, with each often having a very different take on what it means and the benefits it brings. If you’re in the process of selecting personalisation software where should you begin, what questions should you ask?

#1 KNOW YOUR GOALS

It may seem obvious, but knowing what you hope to achieve by selecting a personalisation solution is critical to selecting the right product. Although a ‘no brainer’, don’t fall into the trap…

A listing of personalised production recommendation services to increase conversion and Average Order Value

These website personalisation tools enable you to segment visitors and then deliver personalised messages within containers as with the classic Amazon personalized recommendations – read their published methodology from this fascinating whitepaper from back in 2003. I originally wrote this post in 2010 when there were fewer options. I have updated annually since with the help added by commenters - thanks! [si_guide_block id="57383" title="Access resource – Web Personalisation guide" description="Our E-learning topic will show you the options for delivering more persuasive, relevant dynamic web content at relevant points in the onsite customer journey for B2B and B2C sites. As well as the techniques and tools available for personalisation based on audience characteristics and behaviour."/]

Personalization integrated with web analytics

Coremetrics Intelligent Offer IBM Coremetrics is widely used by retailers for analytics – and increasingly personalization for cross and up-selling. …

Use these tools to plan, manage and optimise your social media marketing - which do you use?

Social Media is no longer the wild west of marketing that it used it be, but it is still a dynamic and fast growing platform for engaging with customers, enhancing/maintaining your brand or even selling if done correctly. Just ‘doing social’ is no longer good enough. Doing it in a half-hearted or un-planned fashion could well do more damage to your brand than not doing it at all. In order to make the most of it you need to plan, manage and optimise it. This all takes time, but there is an excellent set of free social media management tools out there to save you time and get better results from social media marketing.

#1. Hootsuite

This platform is among the best developed of the free social media tools out there. It gives you a dashboard to…

7 mostly simple online services to hack your growth

Marketers have always relied on non-traditional tactics to make their startups grow rapidly. However, content marketing has remained a staple in their campaigns. The methods of online content marketing can almost guarantee a more successful, well-established business within a short period of time. There are many different strategies that marketers use to make their campaigns more effective, but their most recognizable approach involves creative, optimized online content that attracts relevant audiences, drives traffic to the main website, and generates actual income. From YouTube videos to Facebook posts, the method of content marketing are versatile enough to fit into everyone’s needs and preferences. The most important goal to have in mind is attracting new consumers to the services and products you offer. The following content marketing tools will help you do that! and Smart Insights new content distribution matrix gives…

How I boosted my lead generation with visitor tracking software, in conjunction with blogging, pay per click, email and social media outreach.

When you’re growing an audience, and converting website visitors into customers, you need a watertight marketing funnel.

The sad truth is that most of us convert less than 5 per cent of our website visitors into contacts, meaning that more than 95% of visitors leave our sites, potentially never to be seen again.

So what steps can we take to improve our website marketing, tighten up our funnel, and generate more leads from what we have already?

I faced this challenge earlier this year, and have written this post to share my experience with you. 

My website was only four months old, so I had insufficient visitor data in Analytics, and I was up against a tight deadline. My challenge was that I needed to…

Broken Links = Missed Opportunities

It's common with the growth of website Content Management Systems that websites have multiple editors & frequent updates, so this can easily result in mistakes. An area that often suffers as a result is internal & external linking from within webpages. While easy to manually check, it is often the case that sites are just too big to go through page-by-page to check. Luckily for webmasters and marketers alike there are tools that will help you identify broken links on your website.

Why are broken links such a bad thing?

Not only are you disrupting user journeys through the website which could leave users frustrated with your brand, but you are also making search engine spiders jobs more difficult and therefore reducing your opportunity to rank well. If search engines are unable to crawl / index you site easily they will be less likely to appropriately rank it. Broken links from other sites are also an…

Mobile apps to manage your digital marketing life

The modern marketer can reap massive benefits from the mobile app revolution.  Useful marketing software is becoming increasingly available in app form, making tools and data readily available on the go.  From uploading blog posts to tracking campaign metrics, apps allow marketers to access information at their fingertips quickly and conveniently.

But of all the apps available, which are the best for the marketer, and particularly the digital marketer?  I’ve put together a list of the apps I find most useful, both to keep up-to-date personally, but also to manage company social network activity.

The Best Social Media Management Apps

Founded back in 2008, Hootsuite is a popular…

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