Nowadays, a business is not just about selling a product or a service. It is less about what you have to offer and more about how you offer it.  With so many players leveling the field, taking a different approach to marketing is imperative. This is why businesses aim to engage through relevant tools that attract customers on a deeper level. Hence traditional marketing methods are now being consistently replaced by digital marketing efforts.

Building your brand’s story in a relatable way will help you connect with the right audience. And how you do it is no rocket science. If you wish to connect with your customers, you need to be where they are – on the internet. A strong digital presence is considered the holy grail of marketing by every kind of agency – small or large.

So what is digital marketing? Marketing digitally means targeting your customers on the internet using multiple channels. For a new player, online marketing may look like a completely new terrain. There are so many aspects of digital marketing that it can be mind-boggling at first. Content creation, email marketing, social media, lead management, SEO, web traffic analysis – the list goes on. However, fret not. There are many digital tools to help you automate those tedious and complicated marketing tasks.

Whether you are just starting out as a digital marketing agency or an already established one, automating your digital marketing process is important. It will help you save time, increase efficiency and simplify your marketing efforts. You have a digital marketing tool for everything, right from email marketing to web page analytics, website builders for SEO to upselling and cross-selling tools. Integrate these tools in your marketing pipeline to create a stronger web presence.

Best Digital Marketing Tools in 2021:

1. Hubspot

It is an all-in-one software solution that helps you manage blogs, landing pages, email marketing, lead management, analytics, CMS, social media, SEO. The platform comprises a Marketing Hub, a Sales Hub, a Service Hub, and a powerful free CRM tool. The best part of this solution is their Freemium and Enterprise pricing, making it affordable even to freelancers.

Features:

  • Traffic and conversion analytics
  • Email marketing management
  • SEO analysis and research
  • Social media management
  • Marketing automation
  • Predictive lead scoring
  • Customer service automation
  • Blog & content creation and distribution
  • SEO and content strategy
  • Lead generation tools

2. SEMrush

SEMrush is one of the best digital marketing tools in the market. It is an all-in-one online visibility management platform that takes care of your SEO, Paid Traffic, Social Media, Content & PR, and Market Research. The platform lets you do a site audit, collect benchmark data, get SEO ideas, and much more. You can even do a competitor’s research analysis, view their backlinks and track their keyword strategies.  It is one of the best SEO tools in the market.

Features:

  • Site/domain and keyword analysis
  • Competitor SEO analysis
  • On-page SEO
  • Web Page/website rank tracking
  • Social Media Management
  • Link building and competitor’s backlink analysis
  • Market analysis
  • Competitor PR monitoring
  • Content creation and distribution

3. Mapify360

Mapify360 is a cloud-based service that helps you find unclaimed or unoptimized local leads. Sounds interesting? Well, it surely is a different and effective approach to digital marketing. Business leads that have not yet been properly explored  are defined here through Google Maps. Once you identify the local businesses that are not yet optimized, you can jump in with your optimization services.

Features:

  • Identify unlimited local leads with the help of Google Maps
  • Reveal “Google My Business” optimization issues
  • SEO optimization reports
  • Identify bad reviews for “Google My Business”
  • Help client rank their business

4. Sendinblue

Sendinblue is a comprehensive digital marketing tool that combines email marketing, SMS marketing, CRM, and ad retargeting. The platform automates outbound emails according to the digital behaviour of users. Engaging with your customers and generating leads have never been easier.

Features:

  • Email campaign
  • Marketing automation
  • SMS campaign
  • Facebook ads management
  • CRM
  • Ads retargeting
  • Chatbots
  • Transaction emails
  • Dedicated landing page for each campaign

5. Mailchimp

Initially Mailchimp started off as a leading email-marketing management software. Now it has evolved into a full-fledged marketing automation solution. The platform offers a robust email-marketing management with e-commerce integration tools. It covers all your marketing needs, right from custom domains to automation and campaign analysis.

Features:

  • Custom domains
  • Pre Built templates to create and distribute sm posts, emails, landing pages and digital ads
  • Planning and scheduling marketing calendar
  • Email automation
  • Reports and analytics
  • A/B testing
  • Integration with ecommerce tools like Shopify, Woocommerce and Magento

6. Marketo

Marketo is a leading marketing automation platform by Adobe. It combines customer data with analytics to bring about a personalized engagement. From account based marketing to web personalization, it covers almost all kinds of marketing strategies to engage and retain customers.

Features:

  • Email marketing
  • Content personalization
  • Cross-channel engagement
  • Sales insight and analytics
  • Predictive audiences and content
  • Account profiling
  • Website personalization

7. Campaign Monitor

An email marketing tool that allows you to automate the process and engage with your customers efficiently. Its preset templates, clean and simple interface and custom auto-responders make email-marketing a piece of cake.

Features:

  • A/B testing
  • Automated drip campaigns
  • Mobile optimized emails
  • Data segmentation
  • Campaign monitor and analysis
  • Data import and export tools
  • Subscriber list management

8. Google Analytics

Source: web.soft-pro.com

It is one of the most popular business intelligence tools in the market, and not without good reason. Google Analytics provides access to a massive amount of data that gives in-depth insights into customer behaviour. Although it has a steep learning curve, the efforts are well worth it, given the free access. Combined with other google marketing tools, it becomes a powerhouse unmatched by any other platforms. It also has an enterprise version, Google Analytics 360, that packs additional features.

Features:

  • Realtime reporting
  • Audience report – demographics, traffic source, conversions, behaviour
  • Detailed metrics – page views, sessions, bounce rate
  • Customisable metrics and segments – including users, sessions and hits
  • Cohort analysis
  • Engagement report
  • Mobile app analysis and reporting
  • Multiple property management

9. Cake

Cake is a cloud-based affiliate marketing software that gives clarity and insights to your marketing campaigns. It uses custom targeting and whitelisting to generate reports on partner and campaign performance. Manage your campaigns, generate and track leads, optimize conversions and much more with this tool.

Features:

  • Ad performance tracking
  • Network performance tracking
  • Cookieless tracking
  • Custom links
  • Comprehensive reporting and insights
  • Lead generation and distribution
  • Automated lead management
  • Affiliate and multichannel marketing

10. Textedly

Textedly is an SMS marketing management platform that includes a wide range of features for an effective text message campaign. It offers mass texting, auto-responders, and text scheduling, along with campaign insights. Send up to 100000 text messages at once, track their delivery and build an opt-in subscriber list. Their Zapier integration will allow you to integrate Textedly with over 1,000+ apps.

Features:

  • Planning and scheduling SMS campaigns
  • Contact management
  • Auto-responders
  • Analytics and insights
  • Free incoming text message
  • Multimedia messaging

The Best Digital Marketing Tool is…

As a digital marketing agency, there is a wide range of services that you can cater to. The top digital marketing tool is the one that is the best fit for your business. Unfortunately, there is no “one size fits all” platform here.

An effective digital marketing strategy will require several A/B tests, trials and errors to optimize the results. It also needs multiple channels to broadcast your ads in a targeted fashion. While SEMrush is more comprehensive in its features, tools like Textedly focus more on a specific campaign type. Choose your tool according to your trade, and you can never go wrong.

Regardless of how it’s used on your site, social proof always has the same general objectives. You want your site visitors to trust your brand. You want them to feel confident that their order will be delivered without hassle. You want them to know they’re dealing with a reputable online store selling high-quality goods.

You also want your prospective customers to feel an emotional connection with your brand. You want to show them other happy customers – their peers – having a great time with your products because it makes them feel something. Emotional triggers are critical to a great conversion rate.

In this post, we’ll take a look at different ways online retailers win trust and generate feelings by showing social proof on their sites.

1. Show Credible Product Reviews

Seeing what verified customers have to say about a specific product is arguably the oldest form of social proof. This is a fantastic way to build trust, not only in your brand but also in a specific product that the site visitor is considering buying.

Lush Cosmetics doesn’t mess around when it comes to providing social proof on their product pages. Not only do they give you an instant overview of what the product’s average review score is by showing its star rating and the number of people who reviewed it, but they also dedicate a giant section of the product page’s real estate to the reviews themselves.

How to Show Social Proof on Your Ecommerce Site to Boost Conversions
image source: lushusa.com

Halfway down the product page, right after giving visitors all the product info they need to generate interest, there’s an extremely detailed list of reviews. Each review is packed with info that generates credibility. Along with a sizable section of feedback, it proudly shows the customer’s name, their location, and when they bought the product.

What also helps generate trust is the fact that amongst all the glowing words of praise, there’s the odd 3-star review where a customer had a less-than-stellar experience. This helps Lush avoid the impression that they’re cherry-picking responses from their customers.

2. Integrate Social Media UGC into Your Website

By sending out requests for user-generated content or creating branded hashtags, you can easily get hold of imagery of your existing customers using your products in interesting ways and locations.

This is a fantastic way to show social proof that generates emotions with your site visitors, whether they’re new leads or existing customers.

From a technical and design perspective, there are many ways to do this. You can cherry-pick specific social media submissions and simply post them into a gallery on your site, like Campman does. Or you can simply integrate your entire Instagram feed into an element on one of your site pages, like Orizaba Original does.

How to Show Social Proof on Your Ecommerce Site to Boost Conversions
image source: orizabaoriginal.com

Either way, what you’re giving your site visitors is a chance to project themselves into the lives of one of your existing customers. You’re allowing them to vicariously enjoy your awesome products, which will help generate feelings that are hugely important to triggering conversion.

3. Generate Scarcity by Showing Remaining Stock

This is an exceptionally powerful method if you’re selling a finite asset like accommodation or event tickets. The fewer you have left, the more you’re triggering a fear impulse with your site visitors.

The fear of missing out is one of the most effective drivers of impulse purchases, and it can be leveraged to deliver a massive boost to your conversion rates.

Have a look at the way Booking.com handles messaging on their accommodation pages. Once a certain threshold is reached, the site displays a text message indicating how many rooms are left at this particular location. The message is in red so that it stands out from the background and surrounding text.

How to Show Social Proof on Your Ecommerce Site to Boost Conversions
image source: booking.com

Even though the visitor may have considered other options or would have liked to browse a little longer, seeing that they have a limited time to make a decision on this option is likely to trigger an instant transaction.

This message also plays a secondary role – buying credibility for that particular product. “There’s gotta be a reason there are only a few rooms left, right? This place has to be awesome!”

4. Announce Recent Sales and Real-Time Purchases

A fantastic way to buy trust in your store is to let a visitor know that a purchase has happened while they’ve been browsing. These unobtrusive pop-ups that slide into the corner of the browser screen go a long way towards showing a first-time shopper that yours is, indeed, an active store with real customers.

These pop-ups typically show the visitor who the customer was (if this was supplied during the purchase), where they’re from, and the item that they purchased. The visitor feels comfortable that they’re not the only person browsing and shopping. It creates a feeling of community and goodwill towards your brand.

David’s Clothing is a terrific example of a site that does this well. The pop-up is tastefully designed, and it stands out from the surrounding content without blocking too much of it.

How to Show Social Proof on Your Ecommerce Site to Boost Conversions
image source: shopdavidsclothing.com

In a recent case study, OptinMonster found that this feature, as enabled by TrustPulse, can boost conversion rates by up to 15%.

Some Final Thoughts

All of the examples we looked at in this article are applicable to ecommerce websites, but only you would know whether they’re appropriate for your target audience.

When considering which social proof method you’re going to utilize on your site, think critically about your brand’s different buyer personas. If you were in their shoes, which of these techniques would resonate with you the most?

If you make decisions like these from your target audience’s perspective, the social proof methods you choose are far more likely to improve your conversion rate.

There’s much more to a successful content marketing strategy than, well, great content. Sure, you may have a team of talented writers, and your social media strategy may be the perfect enhancement of an otherwise solid content plan. But, what you may not realize is that text isn’t everything.

Despite being the most widespread form of content on the internet, blog posts leave a lot to be desired. First and foremost, in-depth articles can be lengthy or require an above-average command of English. Moreover, they don’t necessarily make the best teaching material, seeing that most people learn more effectively when they combine different types of media.

That being said, it’s certainly a good idea to rethink the visual appearance of your online assets. In the end, you might just find that good design has a ton of potential to enhance content marketing performance. Here’s how.

The Role of Design in Boosting Metrics

Let’s start with the essential role of content marketing: getting organic traffic to your website.

For most businesses, starting a blog, a podcast, or YouTube channel serves the purpose of getting eyeballs on the brand itself. And, with proper production processes, types of content definitely play a crucial role in SEO. But, the thing is, quality or informativeness don’t necessarily equal appeal.

According to a now-famous Adobe report from 2015, 66% of internet users prioritize aesthetics over simplicity when consuming content. In fact, the three most impactful factors in content consumption include the ability to hold attention, displaying well on a variety of devices, and appealing layout and photography.

How good design enhances content marketing performance
Source: Adobe.com

Considering this data, you might want to review the overall appearance of your distribution channels. What type of layout do you use on your website and landing pages? Are your CTA buttons designed with data-driven decisions? Or did you just go with standard practices? Are your visuals consistent across all the platforms you use?

By paying attention to these details, you’re sure to see a spike in marketing performance. Don’t believe us? Conduct an A/B test for a page with aesthetically pleasing visuals and one that uses text-only. You’ll change your mind as soon as you witness a boost in impressions and conversions. And, of course, your bottom line.

Recollection: What We Remember

One of the most impressive statistics about the impact of visual elements on consumer behavior is a statement by Insivia. According to the resource, viewers retain information 9.5 times more successfully when watching video vs. reading text.

Now, you may not be prepared to produce videos as part of your content marketing strategy, but why not make your posts more visually-oriented?

Perhaps, instead of a text how-to guide, you can create a resource that combines text, images, and animation? Or you might find that an infographic is an ideal way to communicate information to your consumers.

For an example of a brand doing amazing things with simple resources, look no further than Bear. The writing app’s content marketing team creates beautifully designed guides for their users. These feature a minimalistic design with a black background and combine text, images, and short videos, all obtained through taking screenshots and screencaps.

How good design enhances content marketing performance 4
Source: Bear.app

Because the blog posts in question feature a variety of multimedia assets, they’re not just appealing. But, more importantly, they’re more likely to be remembered by users, thus ensuring that the app becomes an irreplaceable tool in each customer’s note-taking routine.

Connection: Showing Audiences That You Understand Them

What makes customers return to a brand over and over again? You’ll find that one of the most sought-after elements of shopping consists of customer experience.

Let’s look at some data by Salesforce.

It turns out, 85% of consumers say that the experience a company provides is equally as impactful on their purchasing decisions as product quality. Moreover, 66% of people would be willing to pay more for above-average service. And, finally, 73% of consumers expect brands to predict and meet their needs.

Looking at these statistics, it becomes clear that UX, driven by good design, makes for an excellent investment for businesses who want to improve their content marketing performance. Simple considerations like adopting better blog post layouts or making website navigations more intuitive can significantly boost conversions. This is why companies are always looking for ways to improve the UX of their website content.

For example, Aura’s blog section has a handy visual tool that tells readers how far along they are within a text. Moreover, the blog features two highly visible share buttons (for Twitter and Facebook), encouraging readers to pass on their newly-acquired knowledge and thus helping boost organic traffic to the website.

How good design enhances content marketing performance 3
Source: goaura.com

You may think that these small design features don’t actually impact the brand’s content marketing strategy. But, if you take a closer look, you’ll realize that they do exactly what they’re meant to. They predict user needs and answer them without requiring any previous input. In the end, such UX isn’t easy to develop. But it makes a great way to ensure that every reader who lands on the blog leaves with a positive impression of the brand.

Reduce, Reuse, Repurpose: the Economics of Content Production

How much new content do you churn out every month? Plenty of guides look at the ideal frequency of publishing content on different distribution channels. For example, Buffer suggests going with 5-10 Facebook posts per week, five tweets per day, and one post per day on LinkedIn. Add a blog, podcast, or video content strategy, and you’ll find yourself with more work than you can physically accomplish.

But surely, there must be a better way to get results from your content marketing, other than to spend every waking minute composing new posts? Well, it turns out that there is.

An experiment from 2013 found that tweeted content, which performed well the first time it was shared, would get an equally high number of retweets the second and third time it was shared on the platform. Moreover, social media analysts advocate for adjusting to your brand’s audience, covering more than a single time-zone to enhance impressions.

So how does this connect to design?

Well, the one thing that visual design does for your content marketing strategy is that it gives you two things:

  1. It allows you to present your subject in different manners and formats, ensuring that you reach as many people as possible by appealing to varying aesthetic preferences; and,
  2. It reinforces your name through visual branding, making it easier for you to inject your content with elements that’ll automatically remind your audience of the value your brand offers.

For one of the best examples of reusing and repurposing content, look to Lululemon. In December 2020, the brand collaborated with dancer Ebony Williams, creating an artistic IGTV video. The video was only to be published on Instagram. But, they also produced an interview for their website, which combined traditional content marketing with the visual appeal of the dance video.

How good design enhances content marketing performance 2
Source: lululemon.com

By taking this route, Lululemon displayed an excellent understanding of how different media types could work together in bringing about a complete experience.

Does your budget have room for a whole video series based on your how-to posts? Or you need to ensure the highest ROI with the bare minimum? Whichever of the two is true, remember that making slight changes in the visual presentation can help you get more out of the content you already created.

Final Word

As you can see, there are multiple ways in which design enhances content marketing performance. But, the one thing you’ll be most happy about is that boosting your content production strategies with a clear visual direction will ultimately add to your brand’s success.

Whether you’re running an ecommerce store, a SaaS company, or a blog, 2021 might just be the time to bring your design elements to the next level. You’re sure to see the benefits quickly enough.

In a year full of undigestible news, it’s refreshing to know that we can still create some lasting positive change, like giving money or time to a good cause. In that spirit, we’ve just ordered 330 trees from Carbon Neutral to be planted in the “Yarra Yarra Biodiversity Corridor” in Western Australia.

What is the Corridor?

It’s a project to replant approximately 10,000 square kilometres of land in Western Australia that was cleared through European settlement. It’s Australia’s largest revegetation project, based on carbon capture and biodiversity.

Why here?

The farmland is mostly unproductive and this project will help protect some endangered animal species which only live in this area.

Does this project offset carbon and help the fight against climate change?

Not in an “official” carbon offset way. But trees capture Co2 from the atmosphere as they grow. More on that here.

Why did we choose Carbon Neutral?

We’re skeptical of many “good causes”, as it’s well established that the impact of funds can fluctuate wildly depending on the cause.

We chose this project because:

  • Capturing Co2 helps the whole planet for a very long time.
  • It seems cheap, at around $3 per tree.
  • It will help protect some really cute endangered animals.
  • The positive impacts could be very long lasting, like 100’s of years… (won’t these 330 trees do what trees do and drop seeds and create more trees?).

Bonus Video:

Of inspirational people involved with the project – especially the man at 1:58 whose face is home to a population of flies…. how does he do it?

Should you contribute money to this project?

Obviously! Go now and contribute and you too will receive the warm and fuzzies:

https://carbonneutral.com.au/plant-a-tree/

Will the animals I help protect be grateful to me personally?

Yes it’s a scientific fact that animals love people that donate to their well being*.

 

*May not be science.