Stop for a moment and think about the tools you’re using to market your business. When was the last time you looked into whether or not they were working? Yesterday, a month ago, a year ago?

Turns out, marketing technology is changing at a rapid pace. If you’re not updating your toolbox on a regular basis, you’re probably on the verge of falling behind.

Now, don’t get me wrong. The goal isn’t necessarily to have the latest and greatest tools. It’s to have the tools that’ll give you the latest and greatest results. Here are a few of the musts that will help you accomplish that goal.

Automation

It might sound counterintuitive, but the reality is that automation is making corporations more human and approachable. Marketing automation has come a long way recently to deepen connections between customers and companies.

New to marketing automation? You’ll want to pay attention.

With an automated funnel, buyers can build relationships with large enterprises that, in the past, wouldn’t have had time to engage on a personal level.

In its most basic form, marketing automation looks something like this: If a customer takes action A, the software will start one workflow. If a buyer takes action B, the software will start another workflow. You can refine the triggers and conditions to fine-tune your messaging, so in the end, your workflows end up looking a little like this.

marketing automation

Workflows are designed to enhance the user’s experience. By fine tuning your marketing message to where your buyer is in their journey with what you sell, you make every interaction feel more personal and more relevant. In other words, there are no mass sales messages that fall on deaf ears (and lead to buyers ignoring your messages down the road).

There are several marketing automation tools out there. Get Response does an excellent job of outlining how marketing automation can work efficiently. Infusionsoft also offers a similar approach through refined funnels.

No matter which piece of automation technology you use, it’s important to incorporate it into your marketing tool arsenal. The reason? It makes every interaction feel better. And when buyers feel better about doing business with you, they’re more likely to buy boosting your marketing ROI.

Email Marketing

I just talked about marketing automation, but there’s a core component that deserves a section of its own — email marketing.

Pay no attention to the rumors that email marketing is dead. Although it’s true that marketers have ruined this channel with spammy messages and invasive marketing techniques, there’s still a lot of life left in it when it’s done right.

To do email marketing in a way that feels good to your buyer and gets you results, you must:

  • Send messages that are relevant to the recipient’s current spot in the buyer’s journey;
  • Keep the engagement personal and fun;
  • Know your limits and never overdo the outreach.

A large part of that burden falls on setting up the right funnels. Finding the right email marketing client to set up these workflows is equally important to both your effectiveness and your sanity.

The automation tools I listed above are robust. They include a variety of automation tools in addition to email marketing.

But if you’re just getting started, or you need to bump up your email marketing game, you might want to find an email marketing tool that gives you the same options to automate without extra bells and whistles.

There are a few email marketing providers that stand out from the crowd.

ConvertKit was designed for bloggers and beyond. Unlike some of the more well-known email marketing tools that serve a more generic audience, this tool simplifies the workflow setup experience for people who use their blog to sell products and services.

Another powerful email marketing tool is Emma. They serve a variety of industries but focus on franchises, hospitality, universities, retailers, and non-profits.

When finding the right email marketing software for your business, focus on who else uses the software. Knowing this is a helpful way to know if the email marketing software will suit your business model. If it does, setting up your workflows and automating your emails will make your email marketing efforts more lucrative and fruitful.

Webinar Software

Email is great, but no matter how much technology dominates our world, there’s still nothing quite like a face-to-face interaction. That’s why webinars continue to remain so popular.

Webinars have come a long way over the past few years. Now, modern webinar software gives you the full package from sign up to sign off.

If you’ve ever hosted a webinar, or if you’ve ever thought about hosting a webinar, there are a few things you should look for in the platform you choose:

  • The ability to brand and rebrand your content;
  • The ability to customize your registration page and invitations;
  • The ability to engage your viewers from the minute they log in to start hearing from you.

The last point is crucial. Your customers (or potential customers) are busy people. If you get them to agree to sit down with you for an hour so you can share some information and sell your thing, you’d better make it worth their time.

Engaging your viewers from the second they log in will immediately set the tone for how much value they’re going to get. If they were on the fence about joining, they’d be more likely to stick around and hear from you. And that’s how you get results.

One webinar platform that offers this and a host of other features is Clickmeeting. It lets you set up a waiting room where you can get viewers excited about what’s to come by posting your agenda.

Pro tip to maximize this space: Post your webinar timeline so if a person is only interested in one section, they can tune in when you’re most likely to be talking about what they need (and tune out when you’re not).

Another favorite tool is Zoom. This tool is suitable for both engaging with your audience (if you have a smaller crowd) and for scaling up as you need to (if you’re expecting to jump from hundreds to thousands of people in attendance).

No matter which tool you choose, the goal with modern webinars isn’t to just get on screen and start sharing some knowledge (although that is still important). It’s to provide so much value and inspire the warm and fuzzy feelings that people will be excited to spend time with your brand.

Video Editing

There’s something undeniably attractive about watching a video. There’s movement, audio, and sometimes even text rolled into one piece of media. Perhaps that’s why video has become the must-have in marketing for 2017.

If you’re on the fence about incorporating video, let these statistics sway you:

  • 85% of the U.S. Internet audience watch videos every day, according to ComScore.
  • Viewers spend 100% more time on web pages with video, according to MarketingSherpa.
  • Blog posts with videos attracted three times more inbound links than plain text posts, according to Moz.

The evidence is clear. People love video. So it makes sense that you must incorporate video marketing into your 2017 strategy, and to do this, you’ll need video editing software.

This type of software sounds daunting to many marketers (especially those working in small businesses with limited budgets), but the current tools make it easier than ever to put together attractive videos.

For example, Promo by Slide.ly lets you access premium video clips and then pair them with your text so you can create customized professional looking videos. It’s fast, easy, and gets your content engaged with on a deeper level.

No matter which video editing tool you use, it’s good to have in your marketing toolbox. By adding in more videos, you’ll boost traffic to your site and keep the traffic you attract on your pages for longer.

Podcasting

Podcasting got a slow start. It looked like it was going to take off years ago, and then it fizzled out. A few years ago, it made a comeback with force. Now, consumers listen to podcasts while walking the dog, commuting to work, out for their morning jog, or just doing housework at home.

Adding your voice to the podcasting realm is a smart way to reach people who are eager for a distraction from their current task (housework, driving, fitness, etc.). It’s one of the best ways to capture the biggest asset to companies today: attention.

The hardest part about podcasting isn’t coming up with stuff to talk about on air. It’s editing the audio.

A few of the more popular tools include Audacity for Mac and Adobe Audition CC. These tools let you add in intro music and a message before you get into the meat of what you plan to discuss. They also let you add a call-to-action at the end of your podcasts to use that attention to fuel your other marketing efforts.

SEO Metric Monitoring

Until now, I’ve talked about some of the hottest trends in the marketing world. None of these marketing trends matter if they aren’t giving you the results you need.

Too often, businesses fall victim to the shiny object syndrome. A new marketing trend is exciting, so they jump on it thinking it’ll bring them ahead of everyone else. Not quite.

Some tools aren’t useful for certain industries. Some marketing tactics don’t attract certain demographics of consumers. That’s life. But that doesn’t mean you need to play a guessing game with your marketing.

One of the most valuable tools to add to your marketing arsenal is a metric monitoring tool. This type of tool lets you see where you’re getting traffic, where you’re missing opportunities, and where you can focus your marketing spending to see the biggest ROI.

In other words, monitoring your metrics regularly takes away the guesswork and lets you know what’s working with your target market.

One of my favorite tools for this is Moz. It enables you to do all of the necessary scientific parts of marketing, such as keyword research, link tracking, auditing websites, and more in one convenient tool. It gives you the most realistic idea of where you are today compared to where your site could be. There’s even a version built specifically for local businesses.

Are You Stocked Up?

When it comes to marketing, there’s no shortage of tools available. Knowing which ones will push your business forward and which ones are superfluous is essential to making the most of your marketing.

Automation, as well as a variety of written, audio, and visual content, is essential to capturing today’s consumer’s attention. By stocking up on these tools, you’ll be ready to build out your marketing strategy in a way that makes your buyer’s ears and eyes perk up, driving more traffic to your pages and more interest to your business.