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… 2015 update: I originally created this list in 2012 and thought it was due an update - 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.

1. Reviewing the latest developments in your industry

There still…

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…

SmartInsights tool review: Touchstone

Rumour has it that the next Indiana Jones film will see our favourite archeologist searching for the greatest undiscovered treasure of modern times: the perfect subject line. In the meantime, we're left looking for guidance on how to improve subject line performance by using the "right" words. Do we say "free" or "no cost"? "Summer" or "Summertime"? "Deal" or "Offer"? Any tool that helps us consistently pick out the best words or phrasing would, of course, have two huge advantages: The benefits go straight to your bottom line: subject lines have a big influence on opens, clicks and other success metrics. You can skip a lot of A/B subject line testing: A/B tests are not always easy to do right (and can give misleading results if done wrong). Unfortunately, the tools or reports offering advice on subject line wording tend to suffer from two critical flaws. First, they commonly base recommendations on a review of past subject lines and the…

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!

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. Adobe Test and Target One of the best established personalization engines evolving from the original Touch Clarity back in 2004. BT Buckets Lower cost option that integrates with Google Analytics.

Personalization Software as Service (SaaS) for Ecommerce

The second category we review here is specifically for E-Commerce merchandising giving automated…

5 key features and differences of Google's Keyword Planner

As many of you know, the Google Keyword Tool has been sunset and in some accounts has already been replaced by the Keyword Planner.

There has been much discussion (and disappointment) around this, as the Keyword Tool has, for many years, been the leading keyword research tool, loved by marketers SEO’s, bloggers and copywriters

Google’s launch of the Keyword Planner brings the functionality of the veteran Keyword Tool, combined with data from the Traffic Estimator. Clearly there’s more focus on the needs of AdWords customers, and whilst it’s not perfect, it will no doubt evolve as customer needs grow.

To ease the transition between the original Keyword Tool and the Keyword Planner,we’ve listed 5 changes Google has made.

5 New Google Keyword…

Sharing screengrab tools (including how to screen grab a really long post with a single click)

I mark a lot of student marketing assignments. It's good to see students using visuals, but I'm often surprised at how many are still using "Print Screen" to do a full screen grab when what they actually want is just a  section of a page. So here, I share three of the many screen grab tools that I use.

1. Windows Snipping Tool

This is an under utilised tool that comes free with Windows. The screen grabs below are  self explanatory as to the steps involved:


With this tool you can highlight text or underline/circle etc:

8 hacks for common email tasks

In the spirit of working smarter, not harder, here are eight tools that can maximize your email marketing efficiency.

1. Scope - Go behind-the-scenes of an inspiring email

Have you ever wondered how that beautiful email in your inbox got so beautiful? Scope creates a web-based version of any email you choose and reveals its HTML source code, mobile rendering, and desktop and plain-text views.

The free tool, created by the email marketers at Litmus, comes as a bookmarklet and works inside supported email clients like Gmail. Open an email, click the Scope button in your bookmark bar, and start inspecting.

2. Premailer - Convert HTML design to email-ready inline CSS

The retro nature of email design—heavy on tables, blind to external…

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