What is Inbound Marketing?
Inbound marketing is all about drawing customers in instead of going all out to get them and there are a number of inbound marketing tools that help you do just that -- make the honey-trap sweeter and harder to ignore for one's customers, actual or potential. In this day and age of automation and digitization, one would expect to find various applications and software, apart from the regular marketing techniques and analytics, which make inbound marketing a smoother and smarter experience. That having been said, let's take a look at some of the hottest and most effective inbound marketing tools at the disposal of the smart marketer.
Some of the Best Inbound Marketing Tools Available Today
Content marketing has come as a boon to marketers in terms of its phenomenal reach and low cost. Blogs and social media websites are no longer just forums for people to connect and express themselves in the non-commercial sense. Facebook, Twitter, AOL, Google+, etc., and various blog-sites have become the hot spots for marketing action. Apart from these, we have a large number of marketing software and online applications that make hooking and reeling in customers real easy and efficient nowadays. The best thing about these tools is that a lot of them are free of cost! So, one can actually get a hang of these tools and media without going hard on the pocket. The decision to purchase specialized software may be made later, when the marketing needs expand. So, without any more delay then, here are some of the most talked-about marketing tools that make inbound marketing a cinch.
Developed by HubSpot Inc., the HubSpot software is an all-in-one marketing tool that is enabled with features relevant for search engine optimization, email marketing, content management, social media marketing, and web analytics. Besides the application, HubSpot also has training modules that help marketers understand how to use a particular feature to yield maximum benefits out of it. The SEO and Web Analytics features and their corresponding training allow marketers to attract more virtual traffic and get better leads online. The best thing about this product is that it can easily integrated with marketing and customer relations management applications like Microsoft Dynamics CRM, SugarCRM, Salesforce.com, NetSuite, etc., which means that a complete marketing-system overhaul is not required. It is a paid software and can be purchased directly from HubSpot.
A social media management tool, HootSuite is one of the most successful inbound marketing tools that help marketers optimize social media activities and interactions for commercial benefit. HootSuite integrates all your social media accounts, so that it becomes easier for you to manage marketing content and brand communication targeted at social media users. This tool enables marketers to manage all their social media accounts and content from one place. HootSuite also provides marketers with relevant data, customizable reports, and analytics which help them understand online consumer trends, so that they can orchestrate more streamlined marketing content and form better inbound marketing strategies. The best thing about HootSuite is that it's absolutely free!
One of the best email marketing service providers, MailChimp is a cloud based 3rd party product that helps online marketers create and manage email lists and email marketing templates. This application also helps online marketers target virtual consumers better and track the trends and engagement value of email subscribers. MailChimp also enables marketing emails to bypass spam filters, thereby increasing a marketing email's chances of being opened and read by a target customer. This increases the likelihood of customer engagement. Used alongside HubSpot, which is a master lead generator, MailChimp helps address and engage potential customers in a more direct and personal manner. MailChimp charges for its services and application features and offers three price plans -- Entrepreneur, Growing Business, and High Volume Sender.
Other Inbound Marketing Tools
Besides the above three, a lot of other inbound, SEO, and content marketing tools are available that prove valuable to online and virtual marketers looking towards drawing inbound traffic. Some such tools, services, and applications are Google Analytics, Webflow, WordPress, Rapportive, Optimizely, MOZ, FollowerWonk, SEM Rush, Salesforce, Distility, 1Page, Batchblue's Batchbooks, Photo Pin, Pressable, etc. Rather than relying on just one of these applications for your inbound marketing exercise, it's best to go the mix-and-match way. This will help you reap the benefits of the best features of two or more different content management and inbound marketing tool and since a lot of these tools are enabled to be integrated with other similar software, getting the most out of such a mix is now easier than you think!
Get a more detailed introduction to some of the above tools in the second part of this article Top Inbound Marketing Tools for Marketers Part 2