16 essential tools that make inbound marketing easier

The great thing about inbound marketing is that there is no shortage of excellent tools to help you go about your job of attracting qualified traffic and converting it into something more meaningful like leads, inquiries or sales.

Here are the 16 top tools I use regularly for inbound marketing;

WordPress website. Sure there are other excellent open source content management systems available but for inbound marketing its hard to go past WordPress. Its easy to use, very search engine friendly, extremely optimisable and has thousands of great plugins to address just about any requirement. There’s a reason over 60 million people have chosen WordPress for their websites.

WordPress mobile app. Inbound marketers like to post content. Lots of content. From almost anywhere. That’s where the WordPress mobile apps come in. You can create and publish content directly from your iPhone, iPad, Android, Blackberry or Nokia to your website.

Google Analytics. It constantly amazes me how many businesses I encounter that don’t have Analytics on their website. Its FREE and its very powerful. Effective inbound marketing requires understanding what is happening on your websites, traffic sources and conversion results. Google Analytics should be your first stop for this.

Analytics Pro for iPhone. I’m sure that this app is also available for Android and other mobile platforms, but I really love the iPhone app. Just add your Google Analytics accounts and check results wherever you are.

Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Google Plus – surely it goes without saying that if you are doing inbound marketing you are using the big social networks….aren’t you? And you’ve got them all on your mobile device….haven’t you?

Hootsuite. There are plenty of “decks” available for checking and publishing to your social networks but I’ve become a big fan of Hootsuite. It currently allows me to publish simultaneously to Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn from one place and has a built in URL shortener. I’m hoping Google Plus is added soon. Hootsuite has its own analytics, allowing you to monitor clicks and links and there are mobile versions for when you’re on the run.

Su.Pr. This is another social network publishing tool by the people at StumbleUpon. It allows you to publish to Facebook and Twitter profiles, shorten links, schedule messages and monitor the number of clicks. But the best aspect of Su.Pr is that it allows you to automatically post to StumbleUpon which can be a very good source of additional traffic. I tend to publish important messages here first and am happy to report that StumbleUpon is a seriously strong source of traffic for my sites.

Google Reader. There are dozens of RSS readers available but I’ve stuck with Google’s for ease of use and ubiquity. Inbound marketers are always on the lookout for great content and ideas and tend to visit a lot of websites. Subscribing to them all via RSS is the easiest way to keep track of your favourite information sources. Google Reader is one of the first things I check daily.

YouTube. Good inbound marketing websites use video and YouTube is the best place to host any videos you create. Its also the second biggest search engine in the world. From YouTube its a cinch to grab the code for a video and drop it onto your WordPress (or Joomla, or Drupal) site.

Flickr. Its like YouTube for photos.

NLYZR. The world’s easiest and fastest website optimization system. (Disclosure: Yes, we created it). If you want to optimize your website for search this is the tool for you, and you don’t need to be an SEO geek to use  it. Most NLYZR members (who are all ranking very high on Google) are small business owners.

iMovie for the iPhone or iPad. Capture, edit and publish video quickly and easily straight from your phone. A great tool for inbound marketing.

Instagram. This little iPhone app has really taken off in 2011. Its a fantastic way to quickly edit, improve and publish photos to your various social networks as well as having a community of its own. Instagram can make average pics look much much nicer with its range of filters and vignettes.

Those are the 16 tools and apps I use and rely on the most. I’d use the bulk of them at least daily, the rest weekly.

Do you have any you’d like to add to the list?

Posted under Digital, marketing, Web/Tech

Written by Craig Wilson