The key to effective marketing is to create a “message to market match.” This requires you know and understand a lot about your market. It used to be difficult and very expensive to get that data. Now, the data you need to be effective is readily available through some great, free tools. If you’re trying to grow a small business and you’re not familiar with these tools, you’re missing out big time.
Google Analytics is a given. Awesome free measurement tool. They recently launched Intelligence as a new feature of Analytics similar to Google Alerts, Intelligence will notify you of any anomalies in your traffic. Things that you often don’t notice when you’re looking at a macro level. Things that, if you catch them as they’re happening, you might be able to take advantage of and leverage to get lots of free traffic.
A big part of marketing and advertising online is figuring out how to find your target market. Obviously you’ll get a much better ROI on your ad spend if you can get your message in front of people who want what you sell. Google Insights for Search allows you to dig in and find those people. By entering in keywords that your target market may be interested in, you can see what other keywords they use, geographic and volume trends.
Google Trends is an interesting tool. Like Insights for Search, it will give you volume trends over time. But, when you enter in a website, Google Trends will let you know what keywords people who visit that site search on and what other sites they’re likely to visit. So, if you know that your target market is likely to visit infusionsoft.com, you’ll find 10 other sites they’re likely to visit (including customerhub.net) and 10 keywords that they’re likely to search on.
If you’re serious about growing a business online, you need to get serious about your website. HubSpot created a grader that grades your website on multiple factors and gives you suggestions for improvement. You’ll get a score out of 100. If you’re not in the “A” range, you need to get busy improving your site. Website Grader will give you directions for on and off page SEO, how well you’re doing in the blogosphere and in social media.
Incoming links to your site play a significant factor in your search engine rankings. Getting details on those links is now easy with SEOmoz’s Linkscape tool. Linkscape displays the performance in a variety of scoring methods that empower you to make the necessary changes for your website. At the same time, you’ll learn the ropes of SEO when using the tool as SEOmoz is a trusted authority for advice.
Google collects and tracks TONS of data through is web search. You can capitalize on that data by using the Google Keyword Tool. This will help you find out what people are searching on, how many people are search, an how much competition there is. Be sure to change the match type to “Exact” to find the exact phrases that people type in. Otherwise, you’ll get various combinations of commonly searched words.
ClickBank is an affiliate network. People post products that they’d like others to sell for them. They pay affiliates a commission if they put up links for their products and sell them. You can use this data to find out what people are buying. If you’re in startup phase or you’re looking to expand your current product offering, log into ClickBank and look at some reports to find out what’s selling and what isn’t. This can help you avoid some very costly mistakes.
New marketing tools are being created all the time! Keep a look out for new ways to find the info you need to improve your marketing. The data is already out there, which will help you get the right message to the right people at the right time. There happens to be one other really powerful tool that I absolutely love. I’ll write about it later. If you want to know what it is right now, request it in the comments.