Webelieve that a powerhouse marketing platform like HubSpot is the glue that holds a marketing strategy together. That being said, it's helpful to explore new tools that bolster your software. We personally experiment with different apps and websites for internal communication, content creation, analytics, and more.
Here's an inside look into some tools we actually use for our marketing process, and how they can generate leads and efficiencies in your own marketing strategy.
Slack, the team management software trying to kill email, has indeed driven email into the dust at our office. If your internal marketing team needs a way to organize collaboration, Slack is up to the task.
Slack is integral to our internal communications. We use it to talk about all team-wide happenings, and to facilitate conversation between colleagues. Basically, you use different "channels," like chatrooms, to compartmentalize conversations. Are you having conversations about budget? Hold them in your #budget channel, and reference previous discussions with ease. Want to rope two coworkers in on a content project? Create a private chatroom for just the three of you. Slack is ultimately a great email replacement — you can engage in chats with any combination of users, or message coworkers individually, too.
This collaboration framework has many useful functions for marketing teams. It's been proven that a sales and marketing alignment helps generate leads and close more business. In fact, syncing sales and marketing makes companies 67% more effective at closing deals, according to Marketo. Slack could be used in your office to encourage correspondence between the two teams — passing intel on leads, for example, or sharing and storing useful information, like a "smarketing" protocol.
(If you don't have internal need, or if you simply want to reach outside of your own office, you can join Slack's communities for all sorts of interests and industries.)
Beyond communication, Slack is a great way to integrate your disparate marketing functions. With integrations like Drift, for example, you can live chat with website visitors right inside Slack's simple platform. HubSpot also recently debuted an add-on bot that digs up great marketing information from your portal and beyond.
I personally love Slack as a great aggregator of docs, notes, and reminders. You can upload files of all types, and even use SlackBot (your personal AskJeeves of the 21st century) to answer questions and procure bits of information — great for technical info, like social media graphic sizes. In my opinion, Slack's search tool is top-notch. It digs back easily through months of messaging to find you that one really great marketing article you wanted to read someday.
And, perhaps most importantly, it's worth brushing up on Slack as a potential marketing channel.
Experts have predicted that messaging apps may overcome search engines in the future, and this shift may be coming faster than you think!
Our tips: Set ground rules for which internal correspondence goes in which channel. This will keep communication clear, and will simplify the hunt for old messages.
HubSpot's blog tool works well for optimizing and formatting posts. But we wanted something with a little more drafting power to build out our content marketing process. After some research and a free trial, we invested in GatherContent for content production.
As a marketer pumping out or facilitating lots of content, it's helpful to have clear structure — both within the draft itself and the process as a whole — to streamline your content marketing tasks.
GatherContent is all about bringing structure into content creation, and on several levels. For top-level organization, Gather lets you organize content into different "boards" that could be segmented in many ways. For example, you could organize by content types (blogs/eBooks/web content), different campaigns, content contributors, or even separate buyer personas.
Within each board, you establish a workflow structure that clearly outlines the editing process for that type of content. You can invite relevant editors to certain editing stages, and can notify collaborators via email as the draft moves between stages. By setting deadlines for each drafting stage, you can keep each project and contributor on task.
Within the draft, editors can highlight, leave notes, and "resolve" edits when they're finished. (And if you have the inevitable "oops" deletion or mistake, you can view or even restore old auto-saved revisions.)
You can also use GatherContent's easy template creator to add "structure" to content items. For example, we use a "blog post" template with a set structure: We mandate an upload section for images, a built-in max-word counter, and text fields for keywords, author, outline, and publish date. This lets content contributors know which elements they're responsible for, and keeps content consistent.
Our tips: Consider the "read only" checkbox for certain editing stages, particularly if you have an overzealous colleague or supervisor who tends to over-edit or micromanage a draft after the editing stage has concluded.
HubSpot has great analytics power under the hood, but if you want to get really granular with analytical data, Google Analytics is top-notch. You can utilize it to discover information on lead generation sources, and also easily track different campaigns and lead actions.
Our (hipster) analytics expert claims that Google Analytics was offering services "before they were mainstream." Event-based actions, for example, were present in Google Analytics (for free!) long before they appeared in HubSpot. In his opinion, HubSpot simplifies analytics data that Google Analytics can show more in-depth — although the thoroughness can come at the expense of intuitive simplicity. The "Mac and PC" analogy comes to mind.
We use the free online tool as a MacGyver workaround for some holes in HubSpot's reporting. For example, HubSpot doesn't yet offer a way to track traffic to a subdirectory blog domain. Our inbound marketing consultant devised a workaround by setting up some Google Analytics tracking URLs.
It takes a little know-how, but with Google Analytics, you can get more precise with DIY reporting.
Our tips: Check out Google's free Analytics Academy if you want to learn the ins and outs of the tool. That's where our expert got his chops, and he's teaching the rest of us awesome stuff all the time.
Marketing campaigns involve a lot of elements — workflows, content creation, CTA design, and more. Teamwork Projects is a fantastic task management software for internal use. It's the place to keep team members up-to-speed with all the moving pieces of your marketing process.
Teamwork lets you create, assign, and close tasks easily. If you're a to-do list aficionado, you'll love the satisfaction of crossing off items. You can even create "sub-items" for ultra organization. Your team can collaborate in real-time with the cloud-based tool, ensuring everyone's on the same page. And if you're managing a team, you can read reports on time tracked per project (and employee) to ensure efficiency and help with future scheduling.
Our tips: Make sure the person assigned to a task is the only one closing it. Though it's tempting to cross off things that your coworkers technically finished, it will keep things better organized for everyone.
HubSpot offers amazing digital marketing capabilities, but it's helpful to stay nimble with innovative tools and to bolster your marketing process with new options. Experiment with what works best for your inbound marketing strategy — and don't forget to poke HubSpot reps about potential integration ideas.