Checklist: How to Create the Dream Inbound Marketing Technology Stack

By November 16, 2015
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When joining EverString, one aspect of my role I was most excited about was building my own technology stack. As Director of Content and Inbound, I get to look at and choose a whole host of innovative platforms to help me do my job better. And since I have pretty much embedded myself into the world of marketing technology for the past 6 years, I get pretty giddy at the thought of bringing on a new platform.

In my role at EverString, I lead content, SEO, web, design, social, and influencer relations. So there are a ton of very cool platforms out there to make my life easier.

While I haven’t yet completed the creation of my ultimate inbound stack, there are certainly many different types of platforms on my wish list. And with that, here is my dream martech checklist. Note: this is not an exhaustive list of all the awesome platforms out there—this is merely a start.

Content Marketing

I’ll start with content marketing, since that is truly my passion. For content, you can implement anything from a CMS, to a content management platform, to content metrics, interactive content creation tools, and more.

  • Content CMS: When I joined EverString, one of the first items I thought through was our resources section—the area of our website that we would host our thought leadership content. We were starting completely from scratch, so I had the option of doing a custom build-out on WordPress, or I could chose use an easy, out-of-the-box platform like Uberflip. Ultimately, due to the quick time-to-launch, we decided to go with Uberflip. Our resources section was up and running in about a week. Uberflip also integrates with Marketo and provides key metrics on content performance, which is incredibly useful. Check our resources section out here. We also use Uberflip for our press release news section.
  • Content Workflow Management: Currently, we do not have a content workflow tool. Our small content team of two is not really big enough to warrant a platform. However, we will implement one as we grow. A content workflow tool enables you to keep track of content production, writers, and distribution. At Marketo, we used DivvyHQ, but other great options are Kapost and Newscred.
  • Video Analytics: A video analytics and engagement platform, like Vidyard, is definitely on my wishlist. Vidyard provides an awesome place to host videos, personalize them, add forms that integrate with Marketo, and more. Additionally, they provide very deep engagement-level data to use in scoring. Imagine what we can do with that data within EverString’s predictive scoring feature?! We are currently building out a video room in our office where we will work to include video as a key part of our strategy. And when we have our video strategy ironed out, I intend on investing in video analytics and engagement.
  • Interactive Content: One of the areas I would really like to explore is interactive content creation. This can be tough if a) you don’t have someone on staff that knows HTML and CSS and/or b) you don’t have the budget. Enter platforms like Ceros, an interactive content design platform. You need to design each element, but the interface allows you to drag, drop, and animate elements to easily create an interactive experience without the aid of developers. Another cool interactive tool that we have explored at EverString is Quizzr, which enables you to create fun and interactive quizzes like this one we created on Who is Your Marketing Spirit Celebrity?

Social Media

The next critical area of focus in my role is social media. I do not yet have someone in the social strategy role (although I am hiring, hint, hint), and when I do I will let that person choose his or her own wishlist of social platforms. But, I do have my own ideas.

  • Social Management: OK, this one is pretty much tables-stakes. If you spend any time on social media, you need a social management platform. I like Hootsuite due to it’s simple user interface, ease-of-use, and functionality. Plus, you can manage all of your social channels in one place.
  • Social Listening and Tracking: Having insight into your industry and competitors on social is critical. A social listening tool enables you to keep tabs on what people are posting and pull deep metrics from social data. When I first arrived at EverString, I brought on TrackMaven—one of my favorite tools that I used at Marketo. TrackMaven is useful for both the social marketer and the content marketer. With a really sticky interface that looks like you are stalking your competitor’s Facebook feed, TrackMaven shows you what is happening in your industry at-a-glance. Plus, you can look at social and content performance on a relative and absolute level, and compare interactions with your competitors. I also plan to look into platforms like Radian6 in the future.
  • Social Employee Advocacy: I believe it is incredibly important for your employees to be an army of social advocates for your organization. To create a formalized program, you need to provide your teams with easy ways to share. There are a ton of great employee advocacy platforms out there like Social Chorus, Dynamic Signal, and GaggleAmp that provide employees with a super easy way to share content across their social channels. Plus, you can gamify social sharing and provide incentives.
  • Influencer and Content Topic Analysis: Sometimes it is hard to determine who the key influencers are for your industry. And it can also be challenging to determine what type of content topics work best. Using a tool like Buzzsumo, you can easily find who is influential in your industry based on social media following and engagement, and you can see what sort of topics are trending in your industry. I used Buzzsumo while at Marketo numerous times to determine who was influential on a particular topic and what people were talking about.

Web and SEO

Next up is web and SEO. This area of inbound is a bit newer to me than the other two, so if you have any additional suggestions, please let me know! But, I know it is critical to invest in platforms that enable you to track and optimize conversions on your website. Here is what I am looking at.

  • SEO Analytics and Optimization: There is a lot going on with SEO. Google Analytics is absolutely critical, but what else should you be looking for? With a software like Moz, you can efficiently track rankings and inbound links. Moz can also identify link building opportunities, perform keyword research, and run site tests.
  • Website Conversion Optimization and Personalization: Ensuring that you are delivering the optimal experience to website visitors is critical. Plus, you want to make sure that your website is optimized for each conversion point. A great tool for both is Optimizely, they do A/B testing and personalization. If you are a Marketo user, you can also leverage Marketo’s Real-Time Personalization platform to do some account-based marketing and personalization on your website. I am also looking into Reactful, which enables you to track online body language and conversion points to create personalized web engagement based on behavior.

Having the right technology stacks truly enables you to do your job better and more efficiently. Long gone are the days when marketers had to manually create workflows and track analytics. Today, there is a whole host of incredible solutions to choose from. I am still a ways off from completing my dream inbound stack, but I am definitely getting there!

What else would you include?

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