An inbound marketing software creates an alignment between your sales and marketing efforts as it tracks leads, classifies and segments them to keep them from being left out. It provides valuable customer insights, facilitates communication with them at all touch points of the purchase cycle and measures your marketing return on investment (ROI). It builds and maintains the structure of your marketing efforts giving you plenty of time and resources to focus on the planning, scheduling and creation of content. With a plethora of options out there, it is important to choose a marketing software that perfectly matches your inbound marketing objectives and aligns your processes into a seamless flow. Here is some food for thought to help you make an informed decision.
All-in-One Solution or Piecemeal
Some marketing software such as diip offer a comprehensive package which covers everything from blogging, SEO, email marketing and analytics and measurement. They also offer add-ons such as training, and support and integration. You need to figure out how much of the marketing campaign needs to be automated or you need a software that does one component (e.g SEO or analytics) very well. Depending on your company objectives, you can choose either option. However, a piecemeal solution may not allow you to integrate other features in the long run. Therefore, it is a safer option to choose a free or basic version of an all-in-one solution and then move to a more premium plan as you grow and your marketing campaign needs and objectives change.
Free, Basic or Integrated
Most inbound marketing software choices come with free, basic and integrated features. You may need to upgrade or downgrade over a period of time as your inbound marketing priorities, needs and expectations change. For example, if your inbound marketing plan for a given period aims at publishing blog articles and generating email subscribers, you probably don’t need an advanced integrated plan. A free WordPress or Blogger account would be an ideal choice. You can also add additional plugins, customised logos and other features to give it a more professional appearance. As you dive into a full-fledged inbound marketing strategy, an integrated features option would be the way to go.
B2B or B2C
Depending on whether your company targets B2B or B2C, your choice of an inbound marketing software will vary. Some software such as diip, Marketo and Pardot are most effective and efficient in the B2B space. This is because B2B clients focus on expertise and information. Long form, well-researched content works best for them since the business has to prove its expertise to encourage a buy-in.
Tracking and Metrics
A free version of any software may offer website metrics but may not offer individual performance metrics or real-time data. A more integrated software will provide you accurate analytics in real time. It leads to a comprehensive return on investment (ROI) and detailed analysis of user engagement. For example, the diip platform offers an all-in-one dashboard with snapshot views as well as detailed reports of current status, analytics and publishing social media and blog posts. You can seamlessly navigate between one or more diip accounts.
Email and Nurturing
Some basic and free versions of software such as MailChimp and Outbound offer fully functional email marketing systems. Some even have a social media component. However, there is little room for automated nurturing. A fully integrated system of software such as diip bring together the best of both worlds – email marketing and user-friendly automated nurturing system that manage, monitor and follow up on workflows, smart forms and call-to-actions.
Before choosing a marketing software, you must ensure that it is adaptable and integrates easily with tools such as a blog or CRM. The apps and services must have frequent new upgrades and a growing database to enable a customer buy-in. It must constantly grow to encompass all core areas including social media, e-commerce, analytics, mobile, etc. To provide a seamless experience, these apps must work as an extension of the original platform. It is important to note that integration capabilities show the flexibility of the software to adapt to future changes and stay relevant in the long run.
Training and Support
If you have recently made a transition to inbound marketing, it is highly likely that you have a new team in place who will require significant training and subsequent hand-holding and support. As your team grows, new team members and new challenges will also demand continued support. Even after the initial training and onboarding, it is important to stay up-to-date with enhanced product features and industry changes. The more complex features you choose, the more investment in time and training is required. Therefore, it is necessary to consider training and support at the outset itself.
An Inbound Marketing Software can be a sure asset, especially in the long run. To achieve the best results, you should be able to identify which inbound marketing software meets your needs in a cost and time-efficient manner. Having clearly defined objectives always makes life much easier. Doesn’t it?