If you need help with managing your social accounts, creating video content or researching competitors, then there’s likely an app, tool or website out there that can help you. The only catch is most of them are pretty lackluster.
Some just can’t deliver on lofty promises, while others hide their best services behind a pretty steep paywall.
We run into a lot of these while searching for solutions to our clients’ unique needs, and while it may be difficult to find the right tool, there are several we can’t recommend highly enough.
Here are some of our marketing and sales tools we started using this past year that might help your business accomplish your goals in 2019.
Growthbot is HubSpot’s marketing and sales AI assistant. This is a chatbot that integrates into your Slack or Facebook Messenger that lets you conduct some quick research. For example, you can ask Growthbot a simple question like, “What keywords does Disney rank for?”
Growthbot will then quickly pull your information and provide you with the info below:
You can also use Growthbot to quickly look up company information like size, location and other general info, which is great when you’re conducting some prospect research. If you have a HubSpot account, Growthbot can also quickly add any helpful information to your CRM as well.
Unlike Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn — which allow numerous third-party platforms to update and monitor your profiles on each platform — Instagram can be a little pricklier. Finding a service which allows you to both schedule Instagram posts on your computer and receive helpful analytics can be difficult, especially after Instagram updated their API earlier this year.
Iconosquare is one especially useful tool we’ve been using to monitor and manage client Instagram accounts. Along with giving you access to loads of helpful information and graphs that touch on basic metrics like follower growth (image below), Iconosquare also tracks and lets you know your most popular times for posting, when your followers are most often online and it has a tool that allows you to compare your growth and metrics against selected competitors, among other functions.
Iconosquare also includes a scheduling tool which allows you to plan your Instagram posts in advance.
One important note: Iconosquare does charge a monthly fee at various levels pending how many profiles you’d like to manage. If you’re interested in making a big push on Instagram though, I highly recommend it as a tool that makes posting easier and allows you to track your performance on the platform.
HubSpot Reverse IP Lookup
We recently covered reverse IP lookup more in depth, but essentially this tool offered by HubSpot allows you to uncover what company your website visitors represent. This is accomplished by tracing their IP address back to its owner — the company they work for.
Reverse IP lookup allows you to boost your B2B sales prospecting and marketing efforts by uncovering new prospects, improving your lead nurturing and tightening up your sales reporting.
Google Alerts lets you monitor the web for content by creating notifications for topics of interest. With Google Alerts, you can have alerts sent to your inbox at your chosen frequency on a variety of info, including:
- News about organizations you’re prospecting
- News about your top customers
- Any alerts about your own company
- Competitor tracking alerts
As these uses imply, this is an extremely flexible tool that you can get very creative with.
For example, you can set up an alert based around a question someone might ask on a forum like, “How should I get started with inbound marketing?” As a marketing agency, we could then go in and respond to this question and link to helpful resources we created.
Hotjar is a website tracking tool aimed at helping you better understand how users behave on your website, allowing you to make immediate changes and optimize their experience.
It helps you accomplish this by providing you with:
- Heatmaps that allow you to visualize where your visitors are most often clicking or scrolling (image below)
- Visitor recordings that let you actually see your visitors’ mouse movements and clicks
- Conversion funnels that detail what pages or steps visitors are most often leaving your site on
- Analysis of any forms on your site
- Surveys and feedback from visitors to improve your site
Essentially, Hotjar shows you what’s working on your website and what could use some improvement.
One note: Hotjar isn’t the cheapest tool on the market (business plans range from $89/month to $989/month and up, depending on the number of pageviews you’ll be tracking). If your website has been providing you with some lacking returns though and you’re looking to make some improvements, it’s probably worth looking into if only for their free 15-day trial.
As fellow blog author Jordin Ruthstein put it, Shapr is like “Tinder for networking.” So, other than swiping left or right, what does that mean? Jordin explains:
“If you’re a small business looking for leads, your sales team can create profiles and then select career fields your business is interested in (so you can put the industries you work with). Next, you can add your personal or company social media profiles, and finally specify the best way to connect (if you prefer a coffee meeting, phone call, lunch, etc.).”
Once you create your profile, you’ll receive a few daily matches based off your specifications. If someone looks like a quality lead, you can match with them and if they mutually match (which already takes it from being a purely cold lead) you can start talking to them and schedule time to meet.
It’s a great way for small business owners to bring in new leads and expand their network.
If you do any competitive or marketing research, Owler is a great resource. Essentially Owler lets you search for any company, get a snapshot of their financials and then compare them to their industry competitors.
Here’s a snapshot of what a company’s overview page looks like:
I’ve found Owler most useful when doing some market research for clients who are looking to break into a new vertical. You can search by industry and set filters like organization size, annual revenue and location to help you develop a list of potential prospects.
Finding the Right Tools
Like I mentioned up front, finding the right tools can be difficult. There have been many times when I thought I’d find a miracle tool that meets all my needs, only to quickly realize I needed to hop back on Google.
If you’re searching for a tool or service to fulfill a specific marketing or sales need, you should follow a couple steps to eliminate lacking tools from consideration. These Include:
- Read the reviews. Especially if you’re downloading an app, be sure to look at the star rating and also scroll through some reviews to see if anything jumps out at you. A lot of free apps will include hidden purchases or limited functionality unless you subscribe — a “free” video editor that puts a watermark on your videos unless you pay, for example. Usually an annoyed customer will point this out and likely save you some time.
- Do the free trial. Many services like Iconosquare, for example, will give you a week or two of free access to their “business” or “pro” services so you can see everything the tool has to offer. Take advantage of this offer and test out every function of the tool. It’s the best way to see if it will ultimately meet your needs.
- Request a demo. For more expansive and costly options like Hotjar, you should request a demo and come prepared with questions unique to your business. You want to make sure that the product can do everything it says it does and that the support team understands your needs and can help you get the most out of the tool.
If you feel swamped or unsure where to begin when it comes to finding these tools, you can always reach out to an experienced marketing agency. The right agency will more than likely already have a set of tools they trust and, most importantly, the experts behind the scenes to take the data these tools provide and turn them into real marketing campaigns and sales strategies.
If you’d like to learn more about the tools we employ and how we can use them to help your business meet your goals, contact us today.