In my previous post I summarized the key human resources you need for your inbound marketing team. Today we'll look at the software toolkit and some of the possible solutions you will need to get the inbound marketing job done.
I'm assuming that you have some budget for marketing. There are plenty of free tools available for businesses on a shoestring budget, but I won't cover those here. By way of disclaimer, I'm mentioning software that we use and a few others we are familiar with. We are not endorsing any of these solutions, so please do your own due diligence before you invest in them. Also, please feel free to suggest your own solutions in the comments.
Strategy, Collaboration and Project Management
Your inbound marketing project should be well planned, well managed and monitored for time and cost. There are many options here. We're a marketing agency so we use Timefox, a time/project management tool developed specifically for agencies like ours. Other choices we are familiar with include Basecamp, Zoho, Huddle, Clarizen and Microsoft Project.
Content Creation and Management
Lots of options here. We use HubSpot for our content management system (CMS) and blogging system. We also use Adobe Business Catalyst for non-inbound websites. Other good options we have looked at include WordPress, TypePad, Drupal and Joomla. We send press releases via Marketwire and marketing e-mail via Constant Contact. We use GoToMeeting for online meetings and GoToWebinar for webinars. Most of our videos are published on YouTube, but we have our own server for streaming recorded webinars. We use Flickr for photo sharing and SlideShare for webinar slide decks. So far we haven't done much podcasting, but we probably will soon.
Web Design and Integration
Our designers create their designs in Photoshop, and our developers slice the designs using Adobe CS5 and integrate html and css into either HubSpot or Business Catalyst templates.
SEO, SEM and SMO
We use Google Webmaster Tools, Google Analytics, SEOQuake and CuteRank for SEO. We use Google Adwords, Facebook Ads and LinkedIn Ads for pay-per-click advertising. We use Localeze for local search and Foursquare for geosocial, although we are looking into other services such as Gowalla and Facebook Places.
Along with the standard Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn, we use Tweetdeck for real-time Twitter feeds, Hootsuite and MediaFunnel for social media content management, Google Reader, Google Alerts and IceRocket for blog feed monitoring, and HubSpot for social media traffic analysis. We also use Facebook Analytics, Topsy and Backtype (for Twitter analytics), Klout for influence assessment, and Social Mention and MediaFunnel for social media monitoring.
Lead Conversion and CRM
We use HubSpot for lead generation, lead capture, and conversion rate optimization. Other good options we are aware of include Eloqua, Marketo, JASE and Unica. We manage sales leads using the HubSpot integration with Salesforce. HubSpot also integrates with SugarCRM, Sage CRM and other solutions via its API.
With over 30 years of business and marketing experience, John loves to blog about ideas and trends that challenge inbound marketers and sales and marketing executives. John has a unique way of blending truth with sarcasm and passion with wit. You can connect with John via LinkedIn, Twitter and Google Plus.