You won’t last a day trying to manage your digital marketing efforts — organic or paid — without the help of the right set of tools to build the all-important sales funnels.
Marketers like to call any bunch of tools used as a marketing stack (and you can call it whatever you want). To succeed with your digital marketing efforts, you essentially need funnels (of all kinds), and you’d need the right set of funnel building tools too.
The funnel is simple and usually looks like this (and there’s no need to complicate this one, no matter what reasons you manage to bring up).
You could choose to go the dumb route for each step of that funnel or you can choose to be smart.
Every step of that funnel will need precision, attention to detail, hard work, and continuous optimization — you are never going to land on the perfect funnel and you are never going to get it right the first time around.
To make your life easier, hire professional agencies (not the dumbass ones that just put up ads or write one blog post for you per month).
Either that or you do it yourself with the help of some really smart tools purpose-built to make your sales funnels or lead funnels work.
Even professional agencies use these tools when they set about working with you. I know because I use some of them too.
Here are some of those awesome digital marketing tools you’d need for your digital marketing efforts:
MailChimp, Campaign Monitor or Drip:
You can ignore email marketing all want but you won’t get anywhere. Social media won’t beat it. Your paid advertising won’t beat it. Email marketing is the real money-maker. Period.
The first — and the most important – part of your funnel is your email service provider that allows you to send broadcasts, RSS-to-email campaigns, regular campaigns, and automation sequences.
If you have a simple business, an e-commerce store, or a brand that relies on pretty looking email templates (not everyone needs these, like I don’t), there’s no better way to start building your list and grow your subscriber base than by using MailChimp.
Nothing comes close to MailChimp for the sheer ease of use, the price (free for 2000 subscribers), and the popularity (meaning which almost everything else you might use works with MailChimp).
Running an eCommerce store? Need to work with lots of visuals? Do you need great customer support? Then look no further than Campaign Monitor (also comes with visual workflows and marketing automation).
If you have anything slightly more complicated that won’t fit into singular lists, you’ll need Drip.
Drip uses tags and advanced workflows to make this marketing automation work, so it’s a worthy option.
I make about 6-7 different offers depending on which page of my website you are on or which blog post you read. I have to use a combination of Sumo and Drip to make that work. Also, it’s hard for me to use lists (like MailChimp) and it’s easier to manage tags (like we do in Drip).
Another worthy mention should go to Convertkit. They are incredibly good and there’s not much difference between Convertkit and Drip (except maybe a slight difference in pricing).
Emails are critical, and I suggest you stop reading and get your email marketing in order. But it’d be nice if you had more smart tools working in different ways to get you the results you seek.
Growthfunnel goes a little beyond what you normally see on websites today. Instead of just relying on pop-ups and letting visitors just take one single action (and get done with it), GrowthFunnel lets you do more.
“With Drift on your website, any conversation can be a conversion. Instead of traditional marketing and sales platforms that rely on forms and follow-ups, Drift connects your business with the best leads in real-time, like a virtual assistant for your website.”
Start using drift if you don’t just want to say “Hi” and then “not appear”, maybe Drift can help?
Convertflow works a wee bit different compared to others on this list.
Using smart-looking conversational pop-ups, you could have people take action, respond to your questions, and make visitors “flow-through” well-defined sequences.
Here’s an example:
The reason why this works beautifully is that there’s much less resistance to clicking on one of those blue buttons. If I clicked on “growing my agency”, I’d go to a page on Convertflow website that specifically addresses my concerns (as an agency).
Convertflow also helps with “On-site retargeting” by personalizing content and offers based on details of returning visitors, subscribers, or customers.
You’ve heard about social proof and you already know that we humans tend to trust, believe, and go with what 100,000 others think, do, or say. Normally, you have limited options such as testimonials and slapping 16 logos on your landing page or website to let the world know just how popular your product or service is.
Proof gives you a smart, non-intrusive, and an easy way to improve your conversions and results with a tiny little pop up that slides up from below your website to let your visitors know how many people are viewing the page you are viewing, little details who just happened to purchase a paid account or signed up for a free trial.
Here’s how it looks like:
Which of these conversion-centric tools to help build muscle for your funnels do you use and why?
Do you take 48 hours or more for a blog post? Do you go back and forth gazillion time with your web developer just to get your website running the way it should? Do you repeat the same “Do this, do that, change this, change that” routine with your graphic designers to create visuals, graphics, and branding assets?
You are doing no good that way. Your perfectionistic streak is hurting efficiency and speed. Your insistence on colors and shapes is costing money and time.
Then, there are a thousand other things that are critical for your digital marketing success but you can’t afford to spend three years on at the same time.
You have to make some decisions quick. Here are a few tips:
This is 2017, and if you are still chasing shared hosting just because you’d like to cut some corners and save on bills, you are hurting yourself. For one, your journey with those shared hosting platforms would feel like a dream date until shit happens.
Most shared hosting providers come with hosting that’s unbearably slow. Plus, their servers are overloaded (because it’s cheap, Charlie), which makes your site even slower.
You shouldn’t have to think, blink an eye, or take a smoke break to think about this.
Pick any of the following, indulge in a few clicks, and you are up and running on rock-solid web-hosting in no time. After that, never worry about hacking, malware attacks, the fact that you didn’t backup your site, and page loading speeds.
If you still insist, at least go for NameCheap’s hosting (only because they have fantastic support).
If you have to create a new website today, what would you do?
After years, I’ve come to a few simple options:
Use webflow and create an HTML/CSS. Great support, blazing-fast websites, and an incredibly sleek (and functional) web page builder. Webflow also has a CMS, should you want to do blogging and such (which you should).
Use WordPress. Really, don’t even second guess it. You could spend years just trying to catch up on the WordPress Sucks and Alternatives to WordPress posts, but that won’t help your business.
If both of the above doesn’t work. Try DIY website builders. Not all of them are as good as they are made out to be, though.
Every platform has limitations. Take it or leave it.
Then, easy doesn’t mean it’s the best: For instance, Wix owns everything you create and you can’t move out of that box, for instance (the fact that Wix is popular worries me).
Weebly, however, let’s you export your Weebly website (along with the images and content) out to WordPress maybe? Take 30 mins. Take your pick.
Complete your website in a week maximum. Anything more than that is a sin.
Logo & branding
You don’t need a fancy Branding Consultant for your small business. You just have to spend a weekend over coffee, ponder over what you want your brand to represent (and how you are going to present it), and fire up tools like Logojoy to get your logo in minutes.
Plus, you also get a brand kit, your logo rendered in various colors (including the black and white versions), custom social media graphics created with your new logo, and you can always go back and edit your own logo for free.
You can also use TailorBrands and get your logo along with other graphics, corporate identity kits, brand books, and more.
Within an hour, you should have everything you need for branding. Period.
Digital Marketing Assets
You can’t spend forever on a blog post, a social media update, an infographic, or what have you.
You can’t afford to go slow on that. Plus, you aren’t lining up for the Pulitzer Prize, are you?
Since digital marketing requires you to crank out content with efficiency, impact, and speed, you can’t always be going back and forth with graphic designers. Neither do you have the privilege of learning Photoshop.
For content, either write yourself or hire me and I’ll write until your server crashes
For graphics, use Canva, Crello, or Stencil — any of those tools could give you graphic design superpowers, at speed.
When it comes to landing pages, use Unbounce and you also get A/B testing with it. You can also use Thrive, Leadpages, Instapage, and others.
You need commitment to digital marketing. Don’t expect to get 6 posts up on your blog and then hope for the world to come beating at your door.
This applies to paid marketing channels such as Facebook ads and Google Adwords also. Just because you throw money at Google or Facebook doesn’t mean you’ll do it right.
What are some of those things that you are guilty of spending precious time over?
Chances are that you have a few Google Adwords campaigns up and running as you read this. Or maybe you never tried it at all because Paid advertising requires you to invest upfront for relevant traffic.
Even worse, you tried to do some paid advertising with Google Adwords but gave up after you realized that your budget ends up getting spent faster than the time it takes for you to create a Google Adwords Ad.
While it’s incredibly easy to setup a Google Adwords campaign, it’d be just as hard to deploy campaigns when you have to do it the right way. Most shady PPC agencies don’t bother with it.
Businesses don’t know any better (no matter what they think they do).
It’s been more than a decade since Google Adwords has been around and it’s remarkably stupid if you don’t take the time to setup your Google Adwords campaigns the right way. Here are a few things you should absolutely do to help squeeze more out of your Google Adwords Ads.
Setup Your Google Campaigns Right
I know you’ve read this before, but since absolutely no one seems to have paid any attention, this bears repetition: set up your Google Adwords Campaigns right.
Don’t start with Google Adwords’ default settings (unless it makes sense, as it happens in some cases). For instance, don’t set the default for “ad rotation” as “let Google show the best performing ads”. You need to rotate ads Indefinitely and start with 2 ads (and not three) so that you can test two ads at a time.
Group your ad groups and keywords tight.
Run one campaign for one geographic location (unless those countries are close to each other or if the target audiences share similar characteristics — like the United States and Canada, for instance).
Before launching campaigns, there are certain housekeeping tasks that you’d need to do. You can’t skip this.
Make sure you have specified your audience sources and that you are building your audiences on Google Adwords. You might want to specify your landing page URL as one audience source. You’d have your website URLs as another standard audience source. When you specify URLs and tell Google AdWords to track your audiences, you’d also be already for Google Remarketing campaigns when you want to go at it.
Since you are dealing with Google Adwords, you’d need to track your conversions. To do that, you’d have to install the Google Adwords Conversion Tag the right way.
Watch this video below and learn how to do just that:
It’s remarkable just how many businesses don’t use extensions at all. It befuddles me to even think of the lost opportunity with extensions. Google Adwords provides with the following extensions that you can use at campaign level or at adgroup level.
Sitelink extensions (link along with descriptions to various pages of your website such as your blog, gallery, reviews, testimonials, product pages, etc).
Callout extensions ( little calls to action like “Grab your offer now”)
Structured Snippet Extensions ( possible for few cases like Featured hotels, courses, degree programs, brands available, or your service catalog etc).
App extensions (Have an app?)
Review Extensions (links with your Google+ or Google Business Manager)
Using extensions ensures that you are adding more relevant information to your Google adwords campaigns or ads. Automatically, you also enjoy more real estate on the search engine page than a normal ad would.
See examples here:
Get the match right
Setup your keywords with “broad match” and you’ll run out of your modest budget even before your campaign starts (rhetorical).
In some cases (low volume keywords or for generating traffic — and not conversions), broad match keywords do make sense. For all other cases, use Phrase match (add “” quotes around your keywords) and exact match (Put [square brackets] around your keywords).
No Funnels? No Campaigns
If you are planning to create an ad to send traffic to a website or an ecommerce store, you are doing it wrong.
Don’t. Ever. Launch. A. Campaign without a funnel in place.
I’ve written about funnels before, so do check out the links below: