Brad Post, Create the Movement, host
Josh Rich, Create the Movement, guest
Marketing Tools For Small Businesses
Brad Post, Create the Movement, host: Welcome back to this edition of Create the Movement podcast. Brad Post, sitting here with Josh Rich. How are you Josh?
Josh Rich, Create the Movement, guest: Hi Brad. Good Brad, how are you?
BP: Doing good. What do you want to talk about today?
JR: Today, we’re talking about tools.
BP: Tools, okay.
JR: As a digital marketing company
BP: Let me just make a statement: I don’t think you’re a tool.
JR: I wasn’t going to go there. I was going to make that joke about halfway in, but that’s fine.
BP: Okay, sorry.
JR: But, as a digital marketing company, we use a lot of different online tools that are available to us to do automated reporting, or just to try to automate our processes as much as possible so we can knock stuff out. And that’s been a big focus for me probably the past two weeks. And just looking at a lot of different tools that we’re using. Re-assessing where we’re at. Which ones are the most cost-effective for our company, and which ones actually work the best.
BP: If I could jump in, I made a list about three weeks ago of the tools we use. And there’s like 30 of them, or more.
JR: Yeah, that’s a lot.
BP: I was like this is a big list.
JR: And so, I don’t know, like, maybe massive SEO-companies pay some software developer to make them this one, big powerful tool, ‘One Tool To Rule Them All’, where they can log in data. But we don’t have that luxury, we have to piece it together which is kind of fun. We get to experiment with a lot of different things. So, we wanted to share some advice on how to find good tools, and how to properly assess them.
We bought a tool that we shouldn’t have bought. We overpaid for it. We got dazzled by some ‘bells-and-whistles’ and it ended up not working. So, we wanted to share some insight and help people avoid that in the future.
The first step is to do a ton of research, and you will be floored by how many tools are out there and there’s a ton of redundancy. If you need a tool to check rank, your rankings you can find five right off the bat. Super easy, and that’s super overwhelming whenever you first start this process trying to figure out which one’s the best.
I would recommend they get a sales spreadsheet to keep track of everything when you’re doing research. Otherwise, you’re going to forget about things. You have to accept the fact that you’re not going to be able to find all the tools. There’s going to be tools that you’ve never heard of that pop up here and there. You can’t try to research them all. You’ll go crazy. There’s too many out there; it’s not going to happen.
To help narrow that search down, something that’s really good to do is, if you’re looking for a tool make a really detailed list of what you need that tool to do. “I need it to check my rankings.” “I need it to send automated reporting to my clients.” That way you can actually see what you’re paying for.
BP: Or what you get per package.
JR: Yeah, absolutely. And it kind of gets tricky. In the Development room, we have our list of requirements of what we need our tool to do. But, that’s going to be a little bit different than what our Sales team needs. If anyone’s using the tool, you need to make sure their needs are met on that list.
Define Your Process
Even before the first step, really, really define your SEO process. That’s something that got us. We have a plan written on paper. But, in terms of how we use our tools that wasn’t part of the equation prior to two weeks ago. We didn’t really think, “Oh, this is where tools fit in.” We just kind of knew what we needed it to do.
BP: Just define the process
JR: With your tools in mind. Don’t just say, “We’re going to go get links. We’re going to use this tool to get links.” Keep your tools in mind whenever you’re defining your process.
Once you’ve made that list, once you’ve narrowed it down.
Get a Free Trial
All these tool companies they will have a sales rep that will cut you a deal if you ask for it. Nine times out of ten, I don’t know if we’ve ever been denied a free trial. We’ve asked for a lot, too. We won’t name the names, but we’ve also asked for discounts. Which we’ve received. We said, “Hey, your ‘Enterprise’ package, and this might be because we are a mid- to small- company, that we don’t need these monster packages that you put a 1000 campaigns in there. We don’t have that; but we also have more than 10. We’re kind of in an odd spot where we need a middle package that doesn’t exist. If that’s where you’re at I would encourage you to ask for a deal. They’ll create you some sort of a package that may not be all their list of products. Because they only have three, maybe four packages.
BP: Sometimes it goes 10, 25,
JR: A 1000. Yeah exactly. That’s so true.
BP: Ask for pricing.
JR: Yeah, that’s super fun to do that. A word of caution here, if you do respond to those, be prepared to be hounded. Because if you ask for a deal, they’ll give it to you, but then they expect you to do it. Don’t just send out mass email asking for deals because you’ll get bombarded with sales reps.
BP: A lot of the times on the ‘free trials’, and I think we’ve all done this, is we’ll put our personal Gmail account, not our business account.
JR: Or, even set up an email account – a spam account.
Another word of caution is that you need to budget for your time for on-boarding. For me alone, I manage, I think, almost 30 SEO campaigns. Putting all of the campaigns in there takes forever. You’ve got to put their keywords in there, competitors. It takes, probably, 20 minutes a client, but if you’re doing more than 10 it’s going to add up. You need to divide and conquer. Try different tools out at once. Just try to figure out which ones are going to work the best.
Check forums. There’s a ton of SEO forums. Different ones that will review tools. Really check those reviews to see what other people have said. You can even post a comment, “Hey, does this tool do this?” Or, “How well does this feature work?”
To give an example to sum it all up, we mentioned that we made an error in purchasing a tool. We kind of got dazzled by this one SEO-management tool that said it would do some rank tracking for us. But what realized is that it only tracked the homepage. And so, we would put in our clients that we knew we knew their ‘Practice Area’ page or their ‘Services’ page would rank first on Google, but it didn’t show up in this rank tracker. So that’s something we should have caught in the free trial, but we we’re just blinded by, “Oh, this is so cool!” And this goes back to making sure that you know your requirement list in detail. Not just, “Hey, we need something that’s going to track ranking.” We need something that’s going to track the whole website, not just the homepage.
BP: One question, you mentioned checking forums, you also look at reviews as well. Sometimes they’re bogus reviews?
JR: Yeah. And that’s why I would definitely recommend, you can look at reviews on the actual seller’s site, but I would also go to different SEO forums – Reddit, there’s a 1000 of them you can find. And just ask. If there’s not already a tread – make one and ask.
BP: You can also, when you narrow it down to two, you can even put in your Google search ‘this vs. that.’
JR: That’s a great idea because someone’s probably written a blog post about it. It’s kind of cool see who the digital marketing community will review anything and everything.
BP: And usually you’ll see out of the top five searches people that we follow. Okay, I trust this guy.
JR: If you do it for a while you will find people that are authorities and people that you can trust.
BP: Awesome. Anything else?
JR: I think that’s it.
BP: All right. So this one was about tools. And Josh and I are both NOT TOOLS!