Marketing Tool Recommendations from Practitioners

Mar 25, 2016


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Many businesses can use all the marketing help they can get. Never fear, there are countless programs ready and willing to jump to your aid, for a fee of course. And the sheer number of available platforms and solutions makes choosing one daunting.

But for most, it's well worth the cost. Who has time to create and manage content, ads and social media platforms? Let alone do it effectively? As an entrepreneur, you want to focus on the core aspects of your business rather than fret about marketing strategies and tools. That's why we're providing a list of some of these tools, recommended by those with experience.

Online Directories

Because online directories and locations are often key to a businesses' findability, it's important to stay on popular ones like Google My Business, Merchant Circle, YP, Map quest and Yahoo Local. "Our stores can populate individual online directories for free, but that takes time. So many businesses opt to use an aggregator like Yext," says Tim Barrios, marketing director at More Space Place. For aggregators like these, an annual fee is paid to ensure you make these top directories without doing the work yourself.

Professional portrait and wedding photographer of Essentia Photography Jaimi Weatherspoon, generates much of her business from an online directory specifically for wedding vendors- Wedding Wire. It allows "my clients to provide truthful examples of their experience, and potential clients to find out about those experiences." Listing on directories that are specifically tied to your industry can be a great marketing tool.

Social Media Marketing

Managing social media platforms well and posting relevant content can be time consuming, but not with HubSpot, Hootsuite, and Buffer.

HubSpot allows you to view a user's entire history with your company, from page views to email opens. Mireya Espinal-Valdez, chief executive officer of Prescribed Branding, highly recommends this program. "HubSpot provides an app that allows us to create, post, schedule and share content," she explains. "We can also quickly provide reports and collect the metrics and analytics necessary to nurture clients and attract new ones."

Though she claims it's time consuming to become familiar with, it's "completely worth the time as well as the cost for the membership."

She also suggests Hootsuite, and Buffer. Still Espinal-Valdez's first recommendation is the favorite. "We've found that HubSpot is an all-in-one package."

It does seem more convenient to resort to one universal tool rather than several for different areas of your campaign, but depending on available time and budget, making use of a variety of services may also be your best bet.

Email Marketing

Weatherspoon, our photographer, uses MailChimp to fulfill her email marketing needs. Many businesses have used this to create and send out mass promotional emails.

But Weatherspoon prefers not to hire out social media or blog managers because she enjoys maintaining a more personal approach. "I want my clients to know me, my vision, my style, and see that my passion is true," she explains. Choosing to outsource is often a matter of individual business preference. No one said it was a must.

Agency Services

Agencies can provide a variety of services, from SEO help to website design, from branding to content creation. Espinal-Valdez recommends Commune, a design company for brands, websites, ads, products and strategies. Commune has worked with well-known brands such as Toyota, Aflac, Adidas, and Dos Equis.

Meanwhile, Barrios says More Space Places works with Chair 10 Marketing which provides everything from marketing strategy to help navigating the pay-per-click terrain.

Effective marketing strategies and tools differ vastly from industry to industry. Find out what works best for yours, then get help by hiring those most skilled in implementing those strategies.