Three Free Online Marketing Tools Anyone Can Use and Understand
Have you ever tried to grind peppercorns without a pepper mill? Open a taped box without a knife or key? Inflate an air mattress without a hair dryer? Without the right tools, even simple jobs test the limits of human patience and ingenuity, turning rational people crazy — at least temporarily. Keep these free, easy-to-use tools at the top of your online marketing toolbox to drive performance without driving yourself crazy.
Google Alerts: Google Alerts makes it ridiculously easy to monitor online chatter about your company, a competitor or any other topic. Simply enter your email address and topic (e.g. company name) at www.google.com/alerts to receive email alerts whenever the topic, in this case your company, is mentioned. Half of the reputation management battle is knowing what others are saying about you. If the place you’re mentioned allows you to leave a comment, make sure you respond to both positive and negative mentions. The good news is that according to Google, 80 percent of online reviews are positive.
Google Analytics: When Google purchased Urchin in 2005, and released Google Analytics in 2006, suddenly everyone had free access to first-rate web analytics. Today, Google Analytics is the de facto standard amidst a sea of paid services like Omniture, WebTrends and even visual analytics software like Crazy Egg. Google Analytics allows you to gather data about your website including traffic sources, keywords, what pages are visited most and conversion rates, so you can stay informed and make smarter business decisions. For example, if you see that returning visitors convert far more often than first time visitors, you may decide to start a blog on your site to engage viewers and keep them coming back. Go to www.google.com/analytics to learn more.
Website Grader: Hubspot’s Website Grader helps website owners determine the effectiveness of their site from a search engine optimization (SEO) perspective. Enter your URL at www.WebsiteGrader.com and Hubspot generates a report about two minutes later. The report lists all of the things it checked for and suggests improvements to achieve better organic search results. Most developers and website owners are already fairly savvy about many good or best practice SEO strategies and tactics, but Website Grader aggregates tactics and empowers you with a tool to check your work, regardless of your technical expertise. Just like in school, your website is graded on a 100-point scale and the closer you get to 100, the better.
The right tools certainly simplify tasks, and these are three I keep dusted off with regular use. But remember, although getting the information is easy, it’s what you do with it that counts. Use this valuable business intelligence to be true, meaningful and distinctive.
Stephanie Santos is an integrated campaign manager at The CSK Group with experience in B2B and B2C. She is a wife, a mother, a closet poet and a lover of live music.