Inbound Marketing 101: Part Three – The Tools You Need Jessica Lunk In part one of this series, we covered what inbound marketing is, but let’s reiterate it for the listeners in the back. In a nutshell, inbound marketing allows you to create a pathway that attracts visitors to your website, converts them to prospects, and nurture them with personalized content until they eventually are ready to buy. In part two of our series, we outlined specific ways you can implement inbound marketing tactics for optimal success. But what’s crucial to understand is that your implementation tactics will no doubt require some essential tools. Your inbound marketing strategy will demand a social media calendar, digital advertising, an SEO strategy, and consistent content creation, just to name a few. You can only be successful, though, if you can measure and manage your results to see where you’re hitting your goals and where you need to make adjustments. By using the right combination of technology and tools, you can provide your marketing team with everything they need to be effective at inbound marketing. Let’s dig into the various areas within your strategy that you’ll need some additional help, and call out some of the tools that you can try. Website BuildingIf you don’t want to (or simply can’t afford to) pay a professional top dollar, you have the option to create your own website using one of many different site builder programs available. If you’re a complete amateur and have no experience, go for one of the drag-and-drop sites like SquareSpace or Wix. If you can click a mouse, you can create a professional-looking website. These kinds of platforms are built to allow beginners to create something they can be proud of, and they’re so simple you can have a basic website up and running in a weekend.If you’ve got a bit of experience online, building your own site with WordPress gives you a wide array of options for how your site will look, feel, and work. The basic templates are pretty standard, but you can buy premium ones with a sleeker feel, plus you can choose between thousands of WordPress plugins to do small specialized tasks, such as create a shopping cart or allow an image carousel. Image CreationSocial media posts, memes, website design elements, and blog pages all need appropriate images to help with SEO and to attract and engage viewers. Most business owners aren’t graphic designers, so online sites and downloadable programs are a world of help. Here are some image creation tools to get familiar with. CanvaOne of the most user-friendly sites for inbound marketing campaigns is Canva. It’s drag-and-drop, they have templates set up for Facebook posts, tweets, Pinterest posts, and other social media offerings, and almost all of the site is free to use. They do offer some premium content, but since the site allows you to upload your own graphics, you can create the images you like without any extra costs.InfogramIf you’ve got dull and boring numbers, you need to incorporate into your content, use Infogram to turn them into eye-catching images. You can use this site to create infographics, charts, maps, and reports of all kinds.CrelloCreate social media posts, including animated vector images, with Crello. They offer 25,000 templates for all social media, marketing, and blogging formats, so your imagination can soar for days on this site. With its huge library of photos and images, you can use Crello for months and never create the same image twice.Social Media PostingSocial media can enhance your inbound marketing efforts by driving new leads to your website and content. But, it’s crucial to first nail down a posting schedule that makes sense based on where your audience is, and how often you should be posting. Most social media accounts do best if you post on them at least once a day, as doing so tells people that you’re interested and engaged in your subject matter, and you’re a leader in the space with a lot to say. Having a social media posting schedule helps you plan out your posting in advance, so you can post at optimal times of the day yet still save a ton of time. Having a social media tool that allows you to load a number of premade posts or tweets and schedule them to be posted at a later date and time is an absolute must for your inbound marketing strategy. Here are some social media tools that can help you:HootsuiteHootsuite has the ability to post on a variety of social media outlets, including Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Pinterest. Hootsuite also allows you to track conversions and separate the ROI between owned and paid media. BufferAt Hatchbuck, we love Buffer. You can select the exact times that you’d like to create posts each day and for each platform of your choice. You also get a calendar view that shows you a more holistic view of your posting schedule. What’s more, they show you which of your posts received the most clicks so you can “re-buffer” and share out the higher-performing social posts again.TweetdeckIf Twitter is your social media platform of choice, give Tweetdeck a try. This free program allows you to schedule tweets across multiple accounts. Use it to track your account’s activity in real-time, add images and GIFs to your messages, and keep track of your brand’s likes and follows.TailwindTailwind focuses on helping businesses with their visual marketing. If your inbound marketing campaign includes Instagram or Pinterest, this is where you should be scheduling your posts. Tailwind will recommend the best times for you to post your images according to when your audience is most active, as well as a drag-and-drop function for creating graphics.Marketing AutomationDon’t forget the most important task for your inbound marketing strategy: marketing automation. If you want to nurture your leads effectively, automate tasks, have reminders set for you, more fully understand your leads, and create personalized drip campaigns, marketing automation is an absolute must. The right marketing automation software provides you with details on your leads’ site behavior, where they are in the funnel, and what they’re looking for from your company. This allows you to send them personalized nurture that they’ll find useful, and gradually ease them through the funnel till they’re ready to buy. There are some great marketing automation tools out there, but it’s important for you to do your research and establish your needs before making a selection. You don’t want to be paying for features you don’t need or get locked into a program that underdelivers. If you’d like to know more about our software and how it can help you achieve your marketing goals, set up a demo of our software today. Endless VariationsInbound marketing can take over your to-do calendar very quickly if you don’t tame it right from the start. Like with any new tech area, it’s best to find one piece that answers your most important need and master it before moving on to others. It can be easy to fall into shiny object syndrome, downloading dozens of new programs, but this can end up costing you time instead of saving it. Like your inbound marketing campaign itself, creating a system of automation works best if you do it one step at a time.