Starting your own business is tough—and even tougher when you aren’t sure what resources are available to assist you along the way. The good news is that if you’re struggling to market your startup or just need a place to begin, you’ve come to the right place.
In today’s saturated technology landscape, it’s no longer enough to rely just on the quality of your product to draw in new customers. Instead, the fate of your startup will rise and fall based on how effectively you convince clients that they need to do business with you through your marketing.
Making yourself stand out against your more established rivals is no easy task, so you’ll have to leverage a variety of tools that will give you a competitive edge. This guide will show you the most helpful and effective website tools for marketing your company and set you on the path to startup success.
Data is one of the most important currencies of the 21st century. By collecting, processing, and analyzing more data, you’ll obtain better information and use it to make better decisions for your company. As a business, you want to translate the data that you collect—from website visits to purchases—into actionable insights that tell you how to target customers and potential customers.
Analytics tools measure metrics such as website traffic, page views, and clicks in order to assess the performance of your website and your marketing efforts. The data-driven solutions below will help you think like your audience by revealing their behavior and preferences.
- Google Analytics: The website analytics tool of choice for companies of all sizes, Google Analytics provides a wide range of statistics about your website visitors. You can see valuable metrics such as bounce rate, average time on site, and percentage of new visitors.
- SEMrush: Not seeing the expected results from your inbound marketing campaign? SEMrush can analyze your search engine optimization (SEO) and pay-per-click (PPC) advertising initiatives to see where you’re going wrong and show you how you stack up against competitors.
- Crazy Egg: If you want to understand exactly how visitors use your website, Crazy Egg is exactly the tool you need. Crazy Egg uses simple visualizations to show you trends in how users scroll, click, and move their mouse, so that you can make improvements to your site’s design and content.
If your startup has customers, then it also needs tools for customer support to address the questions and complaints that you’ll inevitably receive. Although handling all these issues can be a challenge, think of them as a good sign that your business is growing!
Most startups don’t have the resources to maintain a fully staffed help desk that’s available to customers 24/7. What you can do, however, is make use of the following established support tools and solutions, which will go a long way toward making your customers happy.
- Help Scout: If you need a simple solution for ticket management, Help Scout may be your best bet. You can easily sort emails into mailboxes, folders, and categories and view your previous interactions with each customer.
- osTicket: A free, open source alternative to paid options like Help Scout, osTicket runs on your own servers and has a full-fledged suite of features, including filters for automated ticket routing, easy ticket transfer and locking, and dashboard analytics.
- ZenDesk: One of the most popular choices for multichannel customer service and support tools, ZenDesk is a cloud-based SaaS (software as a service) product, allowing you to access it through browsers and mobile apps. The software has a simple installation and onboarding process and can even support users via social media, SMS, and chat.
Customer Relationship Management
Beyond addressing your customers’ immediate issues, you also need a way to connect with them and track their interactions with your company. By improving your relationships with your customer base, you’ll be more likely to have them come back and recommend you to their friends and professional connections.
Customer relationship management (CRM) software can have a variety of capabilities, from social media engagement to sales automation, and you’ll have to decide which solution best fits your marketing strategy. Below, you’ll see some of our favorites.
- Salesforce: Any discussion of CRM software would be incomplete without mentioning Salesforce, the reigning industry leader. Along with applications for sales, customer support, and commerce, Salesforce offers its all-in-one marketing platform Marketing Cloud and its marketing automation tool Pardot.
- Insightly: If you already use the Google Apps suite in your business operations, Insightly is the perfect solution for you. The software automatically locates your customers’ social media information, links it with your previous interactions and content, and displays it all within the Gmail interface.
- Intercom: Need a way to automate your customer discovery process? Intercom lets you send targeted messages to customers and potential customers based on time or behavior, such as visiting your website or using your app. As an added bonus, there’s a discount for early-stage startups.
Email newsletters are some of the most powerful ways for you to market to customers—yet only a minority of your newsletter subscribers will open any given email. Unless you take the time to analyze how well your campaigns perform, you’ll simply be sending messages into the dark. To maximize your return on investment for your email marketing campaigns, take advantage of the following tools.
- MailChimp: MailChimp comes with a wealth of features, from drag-and-drop editing to analyzing the best time to send your emails. The service is free for the first 12,000 emails to 2,000 contacts, letting you try before you buy.
- ActiveCampaign: Not only does ActiveCampaign include features for editing emails, it includes a full CRM and marketing automation suite. The insights you glean about your customers will allow you to strategically divide them based on relevant factors like interests, age, and location and then send better-targeted messages.
One recent website marketing trend that’s potentially intriguing is the use of live chat tools. Potential buyers can speak with a real person who can answer questions for them while they browse the site. These tools have one massive upside: they allow you to engage visitors when they’re most interested in your products.
Live chat tools are both convenient for shoppers and growing in popularity. According to a survey by Forrester Research, 44 percent of customers say that having a live person answer questions for them while shopping is one of the most important features for a website.
- LiveChat: LiveChat has much to recommend it as a chat tool: from push notifications, to automated greetings and responses, to a “sneak peek” of what the customer is typing. Perhaps most importantly, LiveChat can show the customer’s previous chat history and recover automatically when you accidentally exit the chat.
- Zopim: If you have an international customer base, Zopim is an excellent choice. The software automatically translates messages between the agent and the customer, and can also identify customers who are at key stages such as actively browsing or stuck at checkout.
From analytics software to live chat tools, today’s startups are spoiled for choice in terms of marketing solutions. There are countless more options available than the ones we’ve highlighted above, so picking the right marketing solutions for your startup will require you to have a firm understanding of your own business needs and objectives.
When choosing the right technology stack for your startup, no two companies will come to the same conclusion. The best advice is to keep it simple: pick mainstream, mature solutions that allow your business to do its job well in the niche that you’ve chosen.