Online start-ups can be an adventure. But sometimes, that adventure can feel like a never-ending roller coaster, as you work to keep your marketing plan-and business–on track.
Management, marketing and product-focus are a tough balance to strike when you’re building a company.
But what if you had a plan to put your marketing strategy in place and the right tools to do that? This post takes the research off your plate and provides you with an actionable plan of 30 tools in 30 days, organized by topic.
And, because offering more than expected is a great way to serve customers, clients-and readers-there are a few tools included here that aren’t technically for marketing, like security and financial tools, that support both your business and marketing plan.
Set-aside one to two hours each day, for the next 30 days, to take a walk around these tools and get going on them.
Google Apps for Work is a paid bundle of every Google product, like Google email, Google Drive, with Docs, Spreadsheets and Slides, Google Hangouts and Google calendar.
Why You Need it: Convenience. As an online business, it makes sense to use this as your hub, since it can be accessed from anywhere easily. For just five to ten dollars monthly per user, it’s a cost-friendly organizational solution.
Remember your first bike? The one you first learned to ride? Think of Google Analytics like that. It might feel a little challenging, or shaky to use at first, but it’s the “first-stop-shop” in Analytics 101-where all your site analytics live and where you first learn to read and apply analytics data.
Why You Need it: Google Analytics will supply you with everything from the basics, like page views, to unique site visits, demographics, site visit times and averages and referral sources.
If Google Analytic’s is your foundation, Kissmetrics works as your premium solution. It’s a user-friendly, comprehensive package, that lets you deep dive, monitoring single user’s activity, at each touch point.
Why You Need it: Kissmetrics is tailored to offset Google. They’ve created it for both “techxperts” and newbies, so it’s a short learning curve, and it provides a diverse variety of metrics, for well-rounded analytics.
RivalIQ is a budget-friendly analytics SaaS that takes tracking one step further, allowing you to track multiple clients, competition and markets within your industry, across a broad array of metrics.
Why You Need it: RivalIQ has put a lot focus on creating an easy-to-use product as an all-inclusive tool, from comparative social media content engagement analytics, to brand and message positioning insights and email analytics alerts, it’s a simple to use solution for navigating your business’ marketing campaigns.
Plan to use Google Analytics, Kissmetrics, and Rival IQ, as your analytics dashboard and you’ll have a solid foundation.
In 2015, we’re skating the edge of just how keywords are relevant. Gone are the days you can drive traffic to your site by keyword stuffing, though long-form blog posts are back in vogue. And keywords still play a part in how your target audience finds you.
Google Adwords is an extension of your Google hub-as the foundation for where you create and manage ad campaigns (and test more specific metrics with your Google-Kissmetrics-RivalIQ analytics solutions).
Why You Need it: Google Adwords starts a free campaign management and SEO tool. What you spend depends on your campaign budget. And Google’s algorithms favor search for Google-based products. So well-organized campaigns, complete with relevant keywords and, according to Tips and Tricks HQ, a strong call-to-action will give you an edge.
Raven is a campaign management tool. But don’t get bogged down with multiple tools–use Google as your foundation and supplement it with Raven for it’s excellent keyword and link library.
Why You Need it: Google Adwords as a keyword search tool is free, but it’s limited. Starting at $99 monthly for four users, Raven provides an easy to use keyword tool for deciphering how Moz, Google and Raven keyword terms and phrases fair, giving you a straightforward, competitive overview.
7. SEO Quake
SEO Quake is a free toolbar and easy to download on any system. It lists every major search engine an shows real-time ranking and standing results for any site you search.
Why You Need it: It should be part of your on-boarding that its on every member of your marketing team’s computers. A quick skim will reveal how every site you search is faring, giving you instant snap shot access. Have a potential client cold call and want to get a quick overview, according to how Google, or Bing ranks them? Tap in their site and use the information to propel the conversation.
Alexa ranks your site according to the amount of visitors you have
Why You Need it: It’s an “old school” tool, but one to have in your kit-for at- a-glance, immediate info and not for deep analytics. It rounds out Google page ranking results with results based on visits.
Olark provides budget-friendly live chat software for your site or video.
Why You Need it: Olark helps you gather important customer feedback, insights and is a great value in conversion, offering products like targeted chat. Their program starts at $15 a month, billed annually, making it a low-cost, high-value addition to your conversion strategy.
Project Management Tools
If Google’s the hub for your internal organization and communication, your project management tool is your company hub for external, client and customer management.
Depending on your industry, some project management tools are better suited than others. But choosing one of the two options here is sensible for an online start-up, because of their features, security and user-friendly landscapes.
HighQ is a project management, file sharing and collaboration tool and feature-intensive management software that starts at $18 monthly per user.
Why you need it: HighQ is targeted to mid-to-large size companies. It’s beefed-up security capabilities are excellent for the specific industries it targets, like real estate, finance or corporate law.
Basecamp is one of the top program management tools on the market, used by many in creative and design, in agencies and across industries. Like HighQ, it has a versatile feature offering at a budget-friendly price.
Why You Need it: Basecamp can be used across devices. And there’s a lower learning curve with this product, because it’s well-known and used.
Communication and Meeting Tools
As a start-up, it’s not if, but when, you come to the frustrating challenge of choosing the best online meeting tools for your company. These tools are easy to access, use and are budget friendly.
MeetingBurner is a practical addition to Google Hangouts as an all-in-one tool that lets you interact with up to ten attendees for free
Why You Need it: It offers video conference and record the meeting and share content. But more importantly, you can also gather real-time analytics on shared content.
Though many startups and progressive companies still hold on to PowerPoint as their main presentation tool. Prezi is the better option. Prezi is a cloud-based presentation tool that surpasses both PowerPoint and Google Slides in features and doesn’t have some of the quirks, like audio compatibility problems, found in PowerPoint or Google slides.
Why You Need It: Presentations appear fresher, more compelling and engaging using Prezi, and private plans start for just $10 a month.
WordPress is one of the most popular site creation platforms and most well known.
Why You Need it: WordPress is the easiest to use, cost-friendly resource for both your website and content, with a generous number of free site design options, free plug ins, excellent paid theme options, functionality and support.
Hootsuite is a free to tiered-pay tool that conveniently allows you to manage all of your social media content in one place. No list of online marketing tools would be complete without it.
Why You Need it: As is the case with many tools on this list, its budget friendly. More importantly, it allows you to schedule all your social media content across channels in advance and track engagement directly there, saving you and your marketing team time.
Dwolla gives Paypal its best competition as a payment service option.
Why You Need it: More importantly, it saves on fees, with only a quarter for any transaction over ten dollars. And better, it connects to your social media, email and mobile phone, allowing a number of ways for customers or clients to send a payment.
Buzzsumo is a fast way to determine what blog articles, topics, keywords and subjects receive the most views and interactions. With tiered pricing, you can start for free.
Why You Need it: You can customize your search by industry, year or topic and the free tool is loaded with powerful search to get you started. You’ll save your content team time generating the most engaging content ideas.
Hashtracking is similar to Buzzsumo, but focuses on hashtag search and campaigns, revealing which do well, in what industry and with what audience.
Why You Need it: While this can be categorized as an analytics tools, like Buzzsumo, it’s a fast way to generate winning content ideas.
Wistia is a PaaS video hosting service with analytics and marketing tools that work across devices.
Why You Need it: Increasingly, start-ups are looking to video and rich media to expand their content offerings and conversion. Wistia offers video hosting and basic marketing tools for free and starts at $25 monthly at the next tier, with analytics and deep customization options to best help you market your content.
HapYak is an app that allows you to create up to five interactive videos for free.
Why You Need it: HapYak is simple, low-commitment way to create higher user engagement with interactive video. Start with HapYak or use it in tandem with Wistia for your video content marketing.
MailChimp is an email marketing service that helps you design and track company newsletters on social media. It keeps all of your list-building contacts in one place and allows you to view their engagement and activity with your content
Why You Need it: Though this service has been around for many years, it’s one of the essential, to help track your list building and user engagement.
Infogr.am allows you to make infographics–typically highly shared content–at a low-cost.
Why You Need it: infogr.am is a great budget solution for your content team, whether it’s for social media shares, presentations or internal communication.
Though there are quite a few sources online to find free or low-cost images, for ease of use and selection of professional looking pictures, this is one of the best options.
Why You Need it: Images can be costly. To offset a client’s or your content budget, consider using this free site, where downloads and navigation are both easy.
As a cloud-based accounting service, Freshbooks is a smart, low-price alternative to Quickbooks. It offers simple invoice creation to easy and secured set-up with banking, expensing and entries.
Why You Need it: It’s tailored to small-business owners so it’s great for small start-ups looking for an efficient, secure, easy-to-use accounting system.
Making sure you’re prepared to pay taxes means being organized. Whether you’re a small or mid-sized start-up, shoeboxed.com-not to be confused with “shoebox,”–a picture-scanning site, is a way to manage all of your businesses receipts.
Why You Need it: Send paper receipts and add digital receipts to Shoeboxed, and they take care of the entries. It cuts down on time for your accounting and admin team and keeps everything digitized and organized. You can then upload this data to your accounting software.
Avalara helps businesses navigate and decipher sales tax across 10,000 U.S locations.
Why You Need it: Simply put, Avalara automates sales tax, so you don’t have to.
You’re in the business of running a company and hiring employees directly because you own an online tool, platform or site. You might be surprised how many companies have no idea what they’re site’s worth, other than when the domain expires.
Why You Need it: Your site is an asset. It’s a simple tool to give you an immediate value estimate.
Evernote is a tool that helps you bookmark, clip, organize, note and keep all your bookmarked sites in one place.
Why you need it: This tool is for personal organization and research. The learning curve can take a little while, but once you’ve integrated this into your working day, it will serve to keep every facet of your web research and site information organized and more easily retrievable.
Start-ups move fast-and sometimes grow faster than hiring can keep up with. Zirtual offers virtual online assistants to help.
Why You Need it: Having extra administrative support via Zirtual can save your small or mid-size start-up time, money and stress, to help you better focus on marketing and growing your business. Pricing is reasonable, and you can opt to use the service as your full-time solution, for a part of your administrative support, like travel, or as a short-term addition for busier times.
Zscaler is security as a service tool that secures your company and employees on any device, via the cloud.
Why You Need it: It starts with basic service and takes care of your security maintenance, ensuring you don’t have a hole in any point of your security management.
These 30 tools serve to make both your marketing plan and start-up management easier. While it’s true it can be challenging in your busy, day-to-day start-up schedule to incorporate new marketing tools, it’s worth spending the time, for better results, in the long run.
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