The amount of activities you could be involved with in online marketing for your business is dizzying. There are so many to think about, and it’s easy to get lost. When you are promoting a business in a digital space, things get a lot easier when you have software to manage the task.
In case you haven’t been paying attention, there are a handful of very useful inbound marketing software programs available. Businessbee.com offers a great synopsis of the costs, benefits and feature highlights of the different inbound programs out there, so we won’t go through that here.
What we would like to discuss is why software can be of benefit, its myths and how you might go about the process of deciding whether you need it or not.
Inbound encompasses a lot of things. It’s SEO, social, blogging, video, images and other forms of content or content platforms. Most of these things require ongoing management. Another common thread is that there are more than a dozen methods to accomplish each of them.
The basic goal of any software should be — and often is — to make some kind of computerized task easier to do. Software should save time, money, headaches and misery. Many of the leading inbound marketing software programs do just that.
I haven’t had first-hand experience with all available software, but I have had the opportunity to check out a couple of them and actually use them in my work. If you can successfully tie together your social media work, SEO work, blogging and other activities along with tracking and analysis into one central location, you can save yourself a lot of digging. This is especially true if you do a lot of volume.
Myths aren’t exclusive to inbound marketing software. They go along with any software program. What I’m referring to is the fact that software companies, and sometimes the programs themselves, can lure us into believing that we can just flip a switch and the work is done for us.
In reality, software packages can help save time, but you still have to put in the effort. No program is going to magically market your business. With any platform that you choose to utilize, do the following:
- Learn the features of the program very well
- Look for opportunities where you can leverage the software’s strengths in your work
- Be resourceful; use other programs with your new tool to maximize its performance
- Don’t rely on it to make you a better marketer; only you can do that
- Read any best-practice guides or reviews on the software
Jon Henshaw gives a very candid appraisal of Hubspot marketing software in this blog post from back in May of 2013. While you should probably take any opinions with a grain of salt, both the post and the comments offer some valuable insights.
The fast answer to this question (as with many others) is “it depends.” I don’t have a hard rule for you on this one, but the following conditions would suggest that you should start looking into some kind of program to help you with your job:
- You are relying heavily on SEO, Social media, blogging and other inbound tactics to grow your business
- You manage multiple presences for multiple companies online
- You are using more than 5 different programs to manage the same campaign for the same company (or your own)
- It is apparent that you need to increase your marketing efficiency as evidenced by your inability to get past a plateau or to maintain your sanity
Inbound marketing software can be expensive, so you have to enter into an agreement with a company for the right reasons. For those who need it, software can help speed up your processes, make managing campaigns much easier, provide useful tracking and sale information and allow you to manage your activities from a single location.
What are your thoughts on using inbound marketing software? Do you have any additional insight on the topic? Let us know by leaving a comment below.