And yet it's not impossible to develop a strategy yourself using a range of online marketing services and tools, some of which are free, and some of which require a paid subscription. Many of these provide information, statistics, and data, in order for you to make your own decisions based on your own circumstances. This allows you the chance to steer and direct your own marketing strategy accordingly.
However, interpreting data is one thing, being able to translate that into actionable insights can be a challenge. Even still, many such online marketing sites do offer resources to help provide advise on that. Ultimately, there online marketing services you can use yourself that can deliver on three key pointers: data, insights, and communication. Handling these well is an opportunity to success.
Here then we'll list the top five websites we think will help the most in delivering that.
-We've also highlighted the best content marketing tools
-Want your company or services to be added to this buyer’s guide? Please email your request to firstname.lastname@example.org with the URL of the buying guide in the subject line.
1. Google AdsHuge reach onlineWorks with analyticsTakes time to balance cost
Formerly Google Adwords, Google Ads is the world's largest internet advertising network, with ads displayed across Google search results, Android apps, and third-party websites.
Setting up a Google Ads campaign is easy with a Google login, and ads are configured to work with specific keywords and phrases. Once a daily budget is set, the ads will display when triggered.
Traditionally this was primarily done through keyword searches on the Google search engine, or keywords used in content of third-party webpages. These days the ads work more smartly using a combination of user data and user history to make the ads more personally relevant to the user.
The result is that ads are displayed online in intelligent ways, with the key aim of encouraging viewers to click through the ad to view your product/service promotion.
One of the biggest strengths of this platform is that when paired with Google Analytics you can directly track all performance and set your pricing accordingly. However, that's easier said than done and there can be something of learning curve in finding the optimal settings to get the right balance of costs vs sales.
2. FacebookThe social media giant
Facebook is the world's largest social media network, which makes it an invaluable place to have a business presence. Luckily, Facebook make this process simple and easy by allowing businesses to set up a profile page for free. This then allows that business to more directly engage and communicate with customers and potential customers through free and paid advertising.
To help with this, you can use the Facebook Audience Insights feature which aims to give paid advertisers more data so as to be able to run better targeted Facebook adverts. This provides information on such things as demographics, Likes, location and language, Facebook activity, purchasing activity, across the Facebook platform.
In terms of marketing verticals, Facebook offers potentially rich opportunities in terms of enhancing communications to ensure good customer experiences to help better manage your brand and reputation. The advertising element along with audience insights allows your paid advertising to reach people more likely to engage with your advertising.
The one caveat is social users aren't necessarily in the transactional state of mind for making a immediate purchase, but they might be especially tempted by time-limited offers, not least discounts and coupons.
3. Hubspot Marketing HubThe custom marketing hub
The Hubspot Marketing Hub provides a selection of tools intended to help increase traffic, improve conversions rates, and manage scaleable direct marketing campaigns.
Campaigns are centered on the Hubspot content management system (CMS), which allows you to work through a responsive design using only drag and drop tools to set up the feature you want. It also includes suggestions for on-page SEO, as well as optimal times for posting content to social media. The CMS allows for the creation of targeted landing pages, which can be easily modified for A/B split testing.
There are also email template and automation options, along with analytics to show which content, pages, and email campaigns are providing the best click through rates (CTR). However, it doesn't just stop at marketing, as there are integration options available, not least with Salesforce, to allow any marketing campaigns to seamlessly move into customer relations management (CRM).
There are four main plan levels available, which includes a free tier that is limited in features and is best approached as a way to test out the CMS and. The Starter tier only slightly extends this for $50 (£42) per month, by allowing Hubspot branding removal, mobile lists, email, and optimization for mobile devices.
It's only when you really get into the more expensive Professional tier, available for $800 (£655), that most of the Hubspot marketing features really become available, not least an array of reporting and campaign management options. An Enterprise edition for $3,000 (£2,624) a month opens up additional tools such as custom event triggers and reporting, as well as lead scoring and SSO.
4. MailchimpThe email marketing platform
Mailchimp is a dedicated email platform that allows you to send notifications, updates, offers and other direct marketing to opted in subscribers. However, rather than just sending emails it also comes with built-in analytics so you can gauge the performance of email campaigns.
It isn't just a standalone tool, either, and allows integrations with a number of other software platforms. That way you can connect with your favorite tools while running campaigns and measure the response to them. Even better, email tasks can be automated, and once you've got data in for a campaign you can use analytics to try and optimize additional campaigns for improved performance.
Mailchimp is available at three different tiers. There is a Free plan which allows you to send to up 12,000 emails per month to up to 2,000 subscribers on your list. You can set up landing pages, segmentation and tagging, and run split A/B tests to aim for maximum effectiveness.
For the paid tiers, the Grow plan allows unlimited emails and subscribers, and opens up additional tools for use from $10 (£8) per month, while the Pro plan from $199 (£155) per month opens up features such as multivariate testing, advanced segmentation, and targeted demographics.
5. Moz.comThe search marketing center
Moz Pro is a suite of search marketing tools which can be used to provide keyword research, an SEO audit and crawl, backlink research, rank tracking, and an SEO toolbar for your browser. These are aimed at both experienced and amateur marketers, and are intended to provide users with a toolkit they can use for making informed decisions, not least for developing and improving on their own search marketing strategies.
There are many other SEO tool platforms out there, but what really makes Moz Pro stand out is the huge amount of free help and resources provided on the website. There are a selection of free guides to explain all aspects of search marketing in their SEO Learning Center, plus another section with a range of free tools. On top of that there's a Q&A community, help hub, plus training and seminar events.
The company also blogs very regularly, providing up-to-date insights on their strategy sessions, which they share in public as part of a policy of transparency, and this has especially helped build a very reputable community of peers and admirers around the Moz Pro product.
The Moz Pro toolkit itself costs $179 per month, though there is a 30-day free trial available.