Small Businesses: The Best Free Social Media Tools  

By Steve Hoag

free social media tools

Small businesses are all about executing effective bootstrap marketing programs. Budgets, time, and personnel are tight. Small business marketing is value-centric, with a more bang for your buck mentality. That’s why small businesses love social media. It’s cheap, powerful, and can scale with any business. Small businesses can’t afford marketing automation software that can cost hundreds of dollars per months. That’s why it’s important to identify cheap (read: free) tools that can get the job done in a jiffy. For example:

HootSuite

HootSuite is the de facto social media management platform. You can aggregate many of your networks, schedule posts, monitor custom newsfeeds and much more. Also, you can upgrade to their very affordable Pro version to gain access to reports and other analytics. This is the solution for you if you need to manage multiple accounts on different networks.

TweetDeck

TweetDeck is basically HootSuite lite. It can still aggregate news from different networks, but is best suited for a company that wants to manage a couple of accounts. It’s UI is extremely streamlined and simple to use. TweetDeck offers many of the same features as the free version of HootSuite, just in a downloadable desktop client.  It is also owned by Twitter now, so support is great.

TweetReach

Twitter has a variety of metrics that are worth keeping track of to measure your ROI. Unlike Facebook or LinkedIn, Twitter doesn’t publish impressions. These have to be manually calculated and estimated, or a third party solution needs to be used. TweetReach is a great free-mium tool that analyzes any Twitter account and calculates its total impressions. It also highlights which posts performed well, your exposure, and top contributors. TweetReach is great for giving you a snapshot summary of your online performance. Keep in mind that it only looks at your past 50 tweets, if you want data beyond that then you will need to upgrade to the paid version. 

View User Profile for Steve Hoag Steve is a recent graduate from UW, and the Marketing Coordinator at Fast Track. He primarily has experience in the tech and start-up industries. When he's not busy promoting Fast Track, he's watching Huskies or Green Bay Packers football. You can find him on Twitter @steven_hoag .
Posted by Steve Hoag Thursday, March 27, 2014 9:21:00 PM Categories: B2B B2C inbound marketing SMB social media social media marketing website

The Best Website Evaluation Tools on The Web Today 

By Steve Hoag

best website evaluation tools

Having a great business website is all well and good, but you need to leverage tools to keep it optimized. There are a bunch of free evaluation tools out there that will help you keep your website in tip top shape. Many of them focus on areas like SEO, design, and marketing. It’s important to use a variety of them to get an accurate view of how your website is performing. Some of the best free tools available today are:

HubSpot Marketing Grader

HubSpot has made a huge name for itself in online marketing. Their main product is a marketing automation platform, but they have some other nifty tools like their Marketing Grader. This takes a look at a variety of things like social media and blogs to evaluate your online marketing. It evaluates everything in the marketing funnel, and then compares that to your competitors’. Definitely check this out!

Pingdom Full Page Test

Pingdom is great at evaluating your website in some key metrics. For instance, it takes a look at your website’s speed and bottlenecks, and identifies areas where you can make simple changes for big performance boosts.

SEOquake

This tool is, as the name denotes, SEO focused. It’s a toolbar plugin for your internet browser that gives Google/Alexa scores, and your Pagerank. It’s great for monitoring and analyzing links. It also offers features that can analyze your keyword density, and then diagnose problem areas on your website.

Fast Track Site Evaluator

Another great tool worth checking out is our comprehensive Site Evaluator. It measures your performance on everything that goes into a website like SEO, marketing, and design. Getting a full report will take a couple days, but it’s well worth the wait. You will receive a detailed analysis which identifies areas of strength and weakness, as well as recommendations on how to improve. Get yours today!

View User Profile for Steve Hoag Steve is a recent graduate from UW, and the Marketing Coordinator at Fast Track. He primarily has experience in the tech and start-up industries. When he's not busy promoting Fast Track, he's watching Huskies or Green Bay Packers football. You can find him on Twitter @steven_hoag .
Posted by Steve Hoag Thursday, March 27, 2014 12:59:00 AM Categories: B2B B2C enterprise inbound marketing landing pages SEO SMB social media social media marketing web design website

Landing Pages: Three Mistakes To Avoid 

By Steve Hoag

inbound marketing strategy

Landing pages are one of the main components of any inbound marketing strategy. They capture the user’s attention and drive them back to your website, while capturing lead information. Landing pages are extremely effective when done correctly, but there are some easy mistakes to avoid and be aware of.

Don’t forget to have a compelling call to action.

Users need a good reason to click on a landing page link, and then they need a better reason to fill out a lead capture form. You may have a great e-book waiting on the other side, but that doesn’t make a difference if the user isn’t made aware of that. Make sure your call to action is easy to see, front and center, and compelling.

Don’t overcomplicate sign up forms.

Landing page sign up forms are great for lead capturing. They need to be as simple as possible. Too many fields can scare potential leads away. Focus on what’s absolutely necessary. You can use A/B testing to find out how many fields is ideal. Don’t worry if that ideal number is just two fields for first/last names and an email address. Some contact information is better than no contact information.

Don’t forget to integrate analytics with your landing pages.

This is absolutely crucial. Using analytics to track performance is a must. Without it you will be completely in the dark as to how you are doing and what you need to change. Use bit.ly or another URL shortener to track click throughs to your landing page. Then make sure to use Google Analytics and/or a marketing automation platform to track landing page performance. Some of the more comprehensive marketing solutions offer great features like A/B testing, and on page analysis to track performance. At the very least make sure you have something in place to track click throughs and that your forms link to a database.

View User Profile for Steve Hoag Steve is a recent graduate from UW, and the Marketing Coordinator at Fast Track. He primarily has experience in the tech and start-up industries. When he's not busy promoting Fast Track, he's watching Huskies or Green Bay Packers football. You can find him on Twitter @steven_hoag .
Posted by Steve Hoag Wednesday, March 19, 2014 7:11:00 PM Categories: B2B B2C enterprise inbound marketing landing pages social media social media marketing web design website

Blogging: Why Every Company Should Be Doing It 

By Steve Hoag

benefits of blogging

 

Blogging isn’t just for teenagers who want a virtual diary anymore. It’s mainstream now, which means everyone is getting in on the action. Blogs are being used in a ton of ways today like showcases, developer notes, news editorials, etc. Companies are paying more and more attention to blogging because of what it can mean for online business, especially in the B2B market. For instance:

Blogs help to increase search engine rankings.

SEO is a huge part of any online marketing effort, and blogging is a great way of improving search engine rankings. Having dozens of articles with keywords, and linking to them from social media networks can help significantly. Not to mention doing guest blog posts on other reputable sites to link back to your company website. A strong SEO program is one of the best marketing tools, and a solid blogging presence will help to facilitate this.

Blogs are a low cost, easy to share method of attracting attention and traffic.

Running a blog is very affordable compared to other marketing initiatives. It is also highly effective when done right. Blog content is so easy to share and build traffic with, it’s ridiculous. Focus on writing content that your audience enjoys, and be persistent in sharing it on social media. People love free content, and social media is the best way of reaching a ton of users quickly. Traffic building doesn’t happen overnight, so define your sharing process and stick to it.

Blogs help to improve thought leadership.

Another benefit of blogging is that it can improve brand equity and credibility online. Blogging is a great way of showing off what you know and do. A strong blog presence can make a small company seem much larger than it is. For instance, if people see you constantly sharing quality content about digital marketing, they will be more likely to come to you when they need marketing help or want to acquire your services. An ounce of perception is worth a pound of performance!

View User Profile for Steve Hoag Steve is a recent graduate from UW, and the Marketing Coordinator at Fast Track. He primarily has experience in the tech and start-up industries. When he's not busy promoting Fast Track, he's watching Huskies or Green Bay Packers football. You can find him on Twitter @steven_hoag .
Posted by Steve Hoag Tuesday, March 18, 2014 6:36:00 PM Categories: B2B B2C blogging enterprise inbound marketing SEO SMB social media social media marketing web trends

Social Media: An Infographic Story 

By Steve Hoag

Social media is taking off in a big way for business and it's important to stay on top of all the latest statistics and trends. The best way to do that is with some awesome infographics. We looked all over and got a bunch of great pieces of content for you to check out. Enjoy!

 

fascinating social media statistics

 

H/T to Entrepreneur.com , bufferapp.com , florentlemens.com , and mediabistro.com for the great content!

 

View User Profile for Steve Hoag Steve is a recent graduate from UW, and the Marketing Coordinator at Fast Track. He primarily has experience in the tech and start-up industries. When he's not busy promoting Fast Track, he's watching Huskies or Green Bay Packers football. You can find him on Twitter @steven_hoag .
Posted by Steve Hoag Wednesday, March 5, 2014 7:21:00 PM Categories: B2B B2C enterprise SMB social media social media marketing
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