Most businesses realise the value of digital marketing, and the benefits of affordability – stretching your budget with a good level of Return on Investment (ROI), creating a level playing field for companies big and small, driving conversion and generating better revenues, as well as building brand reputation. These are all hugely compelling reasons to include digital marketing in a company’s marketing strategy, but not all marketers utilise all tools as best they should.
That is why I immerse my digital marketing apprentices in hands on learning, applying the latest principles to workplace scenarios.
Here are the critical tools for a successful digital marketer’s toolbox:
Data collection and analysis play a large part of any marketers’ daily tasks. One analytical tool that I always recommend my apprentices get used to working with is Google Analytics.
Google Analytics is a free data collection suite for websites and apps. Its capable of collecting masses of data that can prove vital when analysing multiple marketing platforms and channels. Getting to grips with Google Analytics can be a challenge if you have never had any exposure to it before. As part of our Digital Marketing apprenticeship, we require our apprentices to take the Google Analytics Individual Qualification. The certification is an industry recognised qualification that you can take for free. Google provide all the required learning materials to prepare you for taking the main exam.
Once you get to grips with Google Analytics, you will be able to create your own dashboards and reports on a great number of things. Want to find out the journey people are taking when they come to your website? Or maybe you want to know how much money your e-commerce site is generating in sales and where those customers are coming from? Google can do it. As a tool, it is invaluable.
Email marketing has a marred reputation within the digital marketing community. Some marketers swear by it and others treat is with utter distain. I am one of the former and feel that email marketing can be used to great effect if done well. Compound this with the monstrous rise of digital over the last ten years and the power of user experience and you have an awesome recipe for success with e-mail marketing.
My ‘go to’ platform for all email marketing beginners is Mailchimp. It is really user friendly and you can create some fantastic mailers using templates and custom-built designs. It comes with its own analytics, which makes analysing your mailers a breeze and lastly, they offer a free version for folks just starting out.
I often try to get my learners to involved in email marketing if their employers run campaigns. It is a fantastic proactive marketing platform, that teaches you how to write copy for specific audiences and really helps those new to marketing to get their heads around the basics of segmentation.
With the rise of Content Management Systems over the last ten years, where there was only a handful of options in the past, there is now a multitude of possible systems to choose from. Two of the most popular I see on a regular basis are WordPress and Shopify. Having worked with both of these platforms in the past, I can’t rate them highly enough. Depending on a businesses’ requirements, WordPress can be tailored to offer a great number of solutions. Whether it’s a blog, an e-commerce website or a static site, WordPress has you covered in one shape or form. However, If you’re looking at selling products online, I personally couldn’t recommend Shopify strongly enough. Though it’s a monthly paid hosting service, the features included with their price plans are fantastic. Both CMS offer a huge range of features and benefits and are relatively easy to use and get familiarised with.
From an apprenticeship point of view, I always try to push my learners to get involved in working with their businesses’ websites. Often, the business uses a CMS for this and no matter what platform they have, getting involved in working with websites, adding content or even optimising it often is great first-hand skill building for marketers.
Upon the subject of website optimisation, SEMRUSH is a leading tool for SEO specialists. Though it is a paid service, you can use their free trial to test out the toolset. No matter what you are doing to try and improve your SEO, SEMRUSH has it in their kit. Whether you are looking for keyword ideas for your pages, analysing backlinks from a competitor site, or want to see what effect your work is having, SEMRUSH can provide you with all of the relevant data and more. I cannot recommend this tool highly enough. However, there are several alternatives out there on the market that may also be worth looking at.
As there are several competencies that deal with tools and technologies within the Digital Marketing apprenticeship, tools like SEMRUSH are ideal for demonstrating your competence towards them as they not only show you’re able to use the tool to help inform decisions with your marketing efforts, but they also holistically work towards collecting and analysing data as well.
Finally, the last tool I recommend comes under the umbrella of social media management. Hootsuite is an ‘all in one’ social media management provider. It allows you to manage all your social channels from one place. Not only this, but it also collects data on all of them for you as well as a myriad of other features. If your role involves working with social channels, Hootsuite is a great bit of kit to have at your disposal. You can trial Hootsuite for up to 30 days before deciding whether to use it.
If you would like to find out more about the Digital Marketer Apprentice please visit the apprenticeship page.
Digital Marketing Tutor