How to Launch a Virtual Conference for Lead Generation and Customer Acquisition: A Step-by-Step Guide

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When we say “virtual conference,” we don’t just mean webinars. We mean interactive, live panels and microsites dedicated to the single purpose of promoting one event with various sessions a person can “attend.”

Virtual conferences have become a more popular medium to develop and reach large audiences. From marketing to recruiting and sales to education, businesses in various industries have realized hosting online events are far cheaper than an in-person event — making it cheaper to build awareness around a brand.

We’re going to get into a lot, but by the end of this post, you’ll see the value in hosting a virtual conference and know how to organize and host your own event. You’ll have another medium to accelerate brand awareness, generate more leads, and develop authority as an industry leader.

I helped launch Inbound Sales Day here at HubSpot, and I’m here to teach you how it’s done. Continue reading to download my project management templates and emails I used to book speakers — all available for free.

How to Plan a Virtual Event

What is a virtual conference?

Imagine a conference. There are dozens of rooms, booths with vendors trying to sell you their product, and a lot of people walking around. You might run into some very influential leaders in your industry, and you expect to see people on stage sometime during the event. You’re excited to hear them share lessons and tips they’ve learned from their own experience and journey to success.

Now, imagine a similar experience — but without having to leave your desk.

You log into an “event” online, where you can meet and interact with people through messaging platforms. You go into “rooms” (aka web pages) where you can watch speakers present their knowledge in the form of a recorded video.

It’s a simple concept: Get the content you would receive at a conference on your own time, when it’s convenient for you. It aligns perfectly with the culture and popularity of on-demand services, such as:

Lyft: on-demand car rides

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Drizly: on-demand alcohol

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Soothe: on-demand massages

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Virtual conferences: on-demand quality content and insights about the industry.

Virtual events began in 1993, presented by Alan Saperstein and Randy Selman. They started by videotaping trade show exhibitors booths and attaching the video to HTML floor maps. These events have become more popular among marketers for their lower cost and effort to produce.

Here’s an example of an HTML floor map:

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Examples of virtual events include:

You might be thinking, “There’s no way these events were produced by a small team.”

That’s fair. But I can tell you that I coordinated and launched Inbound Sales Day, a full-day virtual event with over 10 hours of video that garnered over 15,000 registrations globally. And I did most of it by myself in only three months. For a comparison, the team that organizes HubSpot’s live INBOUND event has over 10 people involved in planning the event for the entire preceding year.

It’s possible to host and launch one of these things, even with a small team, but why should you host a virtual conference in the first place? Why not just host a physical event instead?

There are numerous benefits to hosting online events. Let’s dive in.

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Why should you host a virtual event?

Consider some of the reasons you’d host a conference, either virtual or in-person:

  • To grow awareness for your business — Depending on your market, there may already be competitors or other companies targeting the same target audience as you. You can use an an online conference as a means of partnering with those other companies.
  • To generate leads
  • To acquire new customers
  • To create a revenue stream from sponsorships. People host these conferences strictly as a revenue stream. (Curious how? Sam Parr explains how he made a profit from hosting Hustle Con.)
  • To build relationships with influencers

Below are expenses to consider for a physical event (based on a 400-person hosted by Hustle Con):

  • Venue ($5,000)
  • Vendors, i.e., caterer, bartender, decorator, photographer, videographer, etc. ($10,000)
  • Equipment rental ($2,000)
  • Licenses and permits (dependent on venue)
  • Transportation and parking for attendees and speakers (dependent on venue)
  • Service fees and gratuities ($1,000)
  • Speakers’ fees ($0 – $10,000+ per speaker)
  • Signage ($500)
  • Registration materials ($300)
  • Security and staff ($2000)

Even for a smaller event, that totals at least $20,000. Soon, you’re underwater and either hiring contractors or using half your team’s day to get all the little details right. To top it off, there always seem to be attendees or speakers who are an absolute nightmare to deal with.

I’m getting stressed just thinking about it.

For an online conference, a few weeks of work and a small budget are all that’s needed. In fact, all of the software I used to organize everything was free:

  • Trello for project management (check out my free template below)
  • Google Sheets to manage the assets (you’ll get a template of this, too)
  • YouTube to host videos
  • Dropbox to host files
  • Canva to create images

Plus, when you create assets for your event online, you continue reaping the benefits of long-tail keyword SEO and organic traffic from evergreen content for months to come.

Depending on your resources, you may want to hire freelancers to help you with asset creation or to run Facebook ads to get more awareness about your event.

In many cases, you end up cutting expenses dramatically by hosting an online event instead of an in-person conference. Let’s dive into how we decided HubSpot should host an online conference about inbound sales.

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A Virtual Conference by HubSpot

HubSpot revolutionized marketing in 2006 by introducing the concept of inbound marketing and telling the story of how marketing had changed. Since then, sales has also changed, and we’ve introduced the concept of inbound selling.

However, similar to when inbound marketing was a new concept in 2006, people needed to be educated about the concept of inbound selling.

We had various goals that overlapped with each other when thinking about hosting a virtual event:

  • Spread the message of inbound selling
  • Generate leads for our sales products
  • Develop authority in the sales industry
  • Promote the first sales-focused track at our INBOUND event

What better way to educate our audience and develop credibility around inbound selling than by hosting real experts to talk about it? Influencers already have an audience who will listen to them. They have their own methodologies and many of those ideas aligned perfectly with inbound selling.

By hosting a virtual conference, we were able to scale influencer marketing and associated the credibility of those influencers with the HubSpot brand.

Plus, with the changing landscape of content and more consumers preferring video content, this was an opportunity to develop high-quality video content we could continue to use.

Still interested in hosting your own online conference? I’m going to lay out all the steps I took to organize Inbound Sales Day that you can replicate for your own event. I’ll also give you the project management and email templates I created that kept me organized throughout the whole process.

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How to Plan and Execute A Virtual Conference

Before we jump into the planning, decide how you’re going to manage the project. I used a combination of Trello and spreadsheets to manage my work.

I laid out all activities in my project management Trello board, which gave me a bird’s-eye view of the timeline, what needed to be done at the moment, and what was coming up. This allowed me to catch situations where I would need to delegate work or ask for help ahead of time.

All assets that were created (landing pages, emails sent, social posts, videos, etc.) were listed in the asset management spreadsheet. This way, I had access to every asset in one place without having to search for it.

The campaign was executed in six phases, which I’ll walk you through below:

  1. Set the vision
  2. Conduct speaker outreach
  3. Create assets
  4. Promote
  5. Launch
  6. Analyze

Phase 1: Set the vision

What do you want the event to look like? What topics do you want to cover? Who’s your audience? How many registrations do you expect? (Use this spreadsheet to help set those expectations.)

All of this will be important for your speaker outreach as those will be your selling points. If you can pinpoint your target audience (try the MakeMyPersona tool to help with that), you can find speakers who also want to reach that audience. If you have a set number of expected registrations, you can attract speakers with an idea of what their reach will be if they participate.

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Phase 2: Conduct speaker outreach

The most important step to producing a viable virtual conference is to get speakers in your industry. This will benefit you in two ways:

  1. You can build relationships with these industry experts
  2. You can associate your brand with these experts, making yours more credible

I highly recommend getting experts within your company to speak on the subject matter and promote the event by giving a talk or interviewing another expert so that your employees will come to be seen as trusted industry thought leaders.

My goal was to get on a video call with the potential speakers I emailed. A video call allows you to sell them on the idea and show them how excited you are.

Here’s the email template I used:

Invitation to Participate in [NAME OF VIRTUAL CONFERENCE]

Hi [NAME]!

[YOUR COMPANY] is launching [NAME OF VIRTUAL CONFERENCE], a virtual event for [#] [TYPE OF PEOPLE YOU’RE TARGETING] on [DATE] and we would love to have you as a featured speaker.

We’re inviting top experts in [INDUSTRY] to help [PROFESSIONALS] become more successful by providing actionable information about [BROAD OVERVIEW OF TOPICS].

I watched your talk on [TOPIC] and think you’d be a great fit for our audience.

If you’re interested in speaking, we have many speaking options available that can be flexible with your schedule. I’d love to discuss them with you on a quick call.

Let me know if you’re interested and we can schedule time this week or next to talk through the details.

For your convenience, here’s a link to my calendar so we can schedule time right away: [MEETINGS LINK]

Best,

[YOUR NAME]

Pro tip: If you’re a HubSpot customer, I recommend using the HubSpot Sales Meetings and Templates tools to make scheduling meetings really, really easy.

Once I got the meeting scheduled, I made sure to hit the following points for each conversation:

  1. Explain the event and why you’re doing it.
  2. Emphasize what the speaker would get out of participating. (We emphasized that we were aiming to reach over 10,000 salespeople and they would get their own landing page with links to their website and social profiles.)
  3. Tell them about other speakers you’ve booked to develop credibility around your event and that it’s something worth being a part of.
  4. If they’re interested, explain what we need from them right then and there: I asked for a rough title and outline of their talk, and the format they preferred (live Q&A, recorded interview, or recorded lecture-style video).

After the call, I immediately sent a follow-up email which:

  • Recapped the call included topic and format of their talk
  • Attached a speaker agreement form
  • Asked for their availability to schedule introduction to interviewer, recordings, and dry-runs
  • Listed specific deadlines of when everything is due

Here’s a template I used:

[NAME OF VIRTUAL CONFERENCE] Call Recap

Hi [NAME]!

I’m glad we got to connect today. We’re very excited that you’re going to join us for [CONFERENCE NAME]. Here’s a recap of what we discussed earlier — feel free to revise any of it.

  • Working session title: [SESSION TITLE]
  • Working session description: [DESCRIPTION]
  • Format: [FORMAT]
  • What I need from you by [DATE]:
    • Bio (max 200 words)
    • Preferred headshot
    • A page you want us to link to
    • A rough outline of your presentation

Again, it was great connecting today! Please let me know if you have any questions.

Hope you have a great week!

Best,

[YOUR NAME] 

A week later, I followed up again for all those items. Speakers are really busy, and it’ll take a few emails and calls to get those details from them. This is why I suggest you begin the process at least two months before your launch date.

Some speakers will ask for a packet with more details. You can use this template to create your own speaker packets.

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Phase 3: Create assets

On my Trello board, I laid out a timeline of when all assets were created and used the spreadsheet to keep track of them as they were created.

Landing Pages

Your landing page is going to be a selling point for your event to get speakers and attendees. Don’t expect to attract many of either if your page doesn’t look sharp.

Below you can see the homepage, agenda page, and session pages we created for Inbound Sales Day.

The homepage highlighted the benefits of attending and the various speakers we featured.

The agenda page shared more details about what topics will be discussed and the main takeaways of each talk. This gave viewers an opportunity to see who would be speaking and do their research or reach out to influencers before the event.

The session page is where the fun happened. Each video had its own landing page on the HubSpot domain so viewers wouldn’t have to leave our website to see the content. We had over two-dozen of these pages.

Landing Page Agenda Session Page

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Click the images to see the full versions

Video Hosting

I recommend using YouTube Live to broadcast live videos and to host all videos to take advantage of its video SEO. I then embedded all the videos on landing pages so people wouldn’t have to leave our website to watch the video.

Video Production

There were three different session formats which each required different preparatory measures. Here was my process for each format:

  • Live Q&A
    1. Speaker chose topic
    2. Researched their online material (blogs, videos, interviews) and created a Google Doc of canned questions
    3. Introduced the speaker to the employee who would host the session via email and set up a call to develop their rapport
    4. They reviewed the list of questions together and brainstorm more questions
    5. We prioritized top five canned questions to ask in case there were no live questions
    6. A week before the live session, get on a call with the speaker to do a final check-in (the meeting was hosted using a private YouTube Live session so they understood how to sign in)
    7. Live broadcast: Speaker was expected to sign into YouTube Live an hour ahead of time for audio and video check, review the talk points with HubSpot host, and build rapport for the session
  • Recorded Interview
    1. Speaker chose topic
    2. Researched their online material (blogs, videos, interviews) and created a Google Doc of canned questions
    3. Introduced the speaker to the employee who would host the session via email and set up a call to develop their rapport
    4. They would review the talk track outline and go back and forth about what topics the speaker would want to hit on
    5. We agreed on five questions that would be asked by the interviewer to guide the conversation
    6. Booked an hour with the speaker and interviewer which gave enough time for audio and video check, review talking points, and record at least twice (in case the first run was too rough
  • Recorded Lecture
    1. Speaker chose topic and provided outline of talk track
    2. Provided feedback on their outline based on what our sales audience is interested in (based on previous campaigns and blog performance)
    3. Two recording options:
      • Book an hour of their time to record the session via YouTube Live
      • They recorded on their own and sent the video

Question Submission Form

For live events, we created a Google Form for people to submit questions ahead of time. These questions were used to inform talking points for relevant sessions.

Social Media Images

The obvious goal for social media images is to make a person stop scrolling through their newsfeed and read what the event was about. We went with blinking GIFs that included photos of the speakers.

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Phase 4: Promote

As with content distribution in general, this was the most difficult part of the process. We leaned into speakers a lot and asked them to promote the event to their email list and on their blogs and social profiles.

Speakers: Email, Blog & Social

We asked each speaker to send an email to their list, write a blog post, and post on social media about the upcoming event. We made it as easy as possible for speakers to promote the event by creating speaker promotion packets, which provided pre-written emails, blog posts, social media copy, and images. All they had to do was copy and paste the text and insert the image.

We also gave each speaker their own unique tracking URL (learn how to do it using HubSpot software) to use in promotional materials. This showed us how much interest each speaker drove and how many registrations they contributed.

Don’t start a packet from scratch, get the free speaker promotion packet template.

Blog Posts

Brainstorm blog post topics based on the topics your speakers will discuss, and come up with a publishing cadence for your promotional posts. If you already have an editorial calendar, I’d suggest you avoid making every post promotion and instead periodically insert promotional posts.

Social Posts

I met with HubSpot’s Social Media team two months before the event launch to discuss the campaign and come up with a promotional cadence that made sense for each channel.

I used this spreadsheet to organize all social media posts. I wrote most of the copy in bulk and scheduled the posts in batches as each date came up.

Get my asset management spreadsheet template here.

Your promotion strategy will vary depending on which channels you have access to. I sat with my team and brainstormed promotional tactics before deciding which were most viable. A few of those included:

  • Pop-up forms on highly trafficked site pages
  • Calls-to-action on the home page
  • Posts in relevant LinkedIn and Slack groups
  • Links to the event in sales reps’ email signatures

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Phase 5: Launch

The night before your launch, make sure:

  • All recorded videos were hosted on YouTube
  • Landing pages that hosted videos were tested
  • Reminder email to registrants have been scheduled so they remember to watch the videos
  • Emails are pre-scheduled to notify speakers to log into YouTube Live an hour before the broadcast time

On the day of the event:

  • Monitor your social media hashtag if you have one
  • Keep an eye on your email if case people have trouble accessing the event

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Phase 6: Analyze

To prove that the virtual conference was worth the time and effort, do an analysis of the traffic and registrations you received, how many video views you got, and send a survey to your registrants.

The best way to prove value is to tie it all back to revenue. How many qualified leads did you get, and what is the monetary value of a lead? How many new software signups did you get and what is the worth of each signup? How many new clients did you get and how much are they paying you?

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Learning Lessons and Tips for Hosting A Virtual Conference

As always, no matter how successful the event, things can always be better. Here are a few things I wish I had done differently that you can learn from.

Align with your sales team.

This event would’ve been great for sales enablement. Sales reps could use the conference as a piece of content to share with prospects and be helpful. It’s also good to let reps know about the event and how to talk about it in case prospects bring it up on a call.

Get speakers with large audiences.

This may be more difficult for your first event as you start developing credibility for your event, but get speakers with large audiences if you can. It’s even better if you can get them to commit to driving a certain number of registrations.

Have a post-event plan.

Ideally, you’re going to get a lot of registrations for the event. What are you going to do with them after the event? Have a communication plan for your registrants, whether it’s sending them content, telling them about your products or services, or asking for feedback. Don’t leave them hanging.

Build anticipation before the event.

How can you get registrants to share the event before it happens? Maybe a contest or giveaway? How can you get registrants to engage with speakers before the event?

As more companies work to get a foothold in their industries and the marketing industry evolves to encompass more video content, virtual conferences will become more and more common. And as with any marketing tactic, as virtual conferences become more common the medium will become less effective.

Host your first virtual conference now before your competitors and gain first-mover advantage. Good luck.

Here are all the resources and templates I’ve shared throughout this post:

Want to have a one-on-one conversation diving deeper into how you can host a virtual conference? Get in touch with me to have a quick conversation.

Thanks to Kendrick Wang, Cambria Davies, and Scott Tousley for reviewing drafts of this post.

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Source: blog.hubspot.com/marketing

How to Design & Optimize Landing Pages [Free Ebook]

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Landing pages are an essential component of any well-crafted, effective inbound marketing strategy. Whether your goal is to generate leads, sell products, or collect data, your landing pages are where the action happens.

With the growing challenge of attracting and holding people’s attention online, it’s more important than ever to design your landing pages to trigger instant conversions. Otherwise, you won’t be able to gather information about the people visiting your website — which will in turn make it very difficult to understand them, market to them, nurture them, determine how fit they are for your product or service, and ultimately convert them into paying customers.

Want to start generating as many leads as you can for your business? Then it’s crucial that your landing pages are planned, designed, executed, and always working correctly. If you want to learn more about how to do just that, then you’ve come to the right place. We just released a brand new guide: How to Design & Optimize Landing Pages. 

This free ebook will teach you:

  • What landing pages are and why they’re important.
  • What an optimized landing page looks like (with examples).
  • How to A/B test your landing pages.
  • How to measure the success of your landing pages.

Ready to build high-converting landing pages for your website? Download our free introductory ebook on landing page design and optimization and you’ll have all the knowledge you need to start boosting your site conversions today.

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Source: blog.hubspot.com/marketing

How to Use Infographics to Get Leads From Your Website

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I’m a sucker for a good infographic. Sometimes, it seems like it’s hard to come across a truly remarkable one — one that’s achieved the perfect trifecta of good design, readability, and reliable data. But when they’re well-executed, infographics work wonders, transforming complex topics and dry statistics into visually enticing content. They’re liked and shared on social media 3X more than any other type of content. And, as a result, they can be an excellent tool for driving more traffic to your website.

But here’s a fun fact: Infographics can also be a helpful device to generate more leads.

Generally, the same rules apply here as for creating any effective visual content — it serves as a conversion path as a result of shareability and informative nature. Save countless hours using these free, pre-made templates to design your  infographics.

But what are the specifics there? What are the different ways to create the infographics that are going to generate leads? We identified five of our favorite ways to go about doing that, and outlined them below.

5 Ways to Use Infographics to Get Leads From Your Website

1) Represent an offer with an infographic.

How are you generating leads today? You might be creating downloadable content that’s gated by forms, or offering a free trial. Whatever those offers might be, pick one and break down the different ways it can be promoted.

To start, make a list of the 10 most interesting things about your offer, like the problems it will solve and the most important information it contains. Think: helpful bits of trivia, the most outstanding statistics it contains, and the best solutions it offers.

For example, let’s have a look at this infographic that was created by HubSpot Marketing Blog Editor Carly Stec:



Infographic example

This particular infographic could be an excellent lead generation tool for, say, a comprehensive guide to blogging. While writer’s block is just one pain point in blogging, it’s one that many people experience. Isolating that particular challenge and fleshing it out in a well-designed, shareable image is an excellent way to tease and promote the larger piece of content.

2) Know the design resources available to you.

If you don’t have a designer at your disposal, fear not — there are plenty of design resources available, many of them free.

One of them is this package of five free infographic templates. They’re in PowerPoint, and are very easy to customize. Just input the 10 pieces of information you selected in the previous step, and tweak the graphics to fit the data. At risk of sounding like a complete nerd — this part is really fun.

Otherwise, sites like Canva and Venngage are both free and easy to use a variety of visual content, including infographics — both also offer paid upgrades if you’re looking for something a little more advanced. Here’s a silly one that HubSpot Marketing Blog Senior Staff Writer Amanda Zantal-Wiener created — about her dog, not to be used for lead generation — for free using the former:



Lead gen infographic

3) Write a blog post to showcase the infographic.

Now that you’ve created your beautiful infographic, you’ll need a place to host it — ideally, somewhere on your site where people will find it.

Your blog is one such venue, and a post is a good way to exhibit your infographic. Even better, you don’t have to write a ton of copy. The visual content should “speak for itself,” if you will, so a small paragraph above the image with introductory text should suffice.

That said, the title of this blog post should still be interesting and optimized, primarily for two reasons:

  1. You want people to find your content organically with the right search criteria.
  2. Remember, one of the best things about infographics is how much they’re shared on social media. Having a strong title to go with a shared social post can encourage people to click on it.

4) Add a call-to-action to your blog post linked to your offer.

Next, you’ll want to create a landing page for your offer — you can click here to do that in your HubSpot marketing software. That way, visitors can fill out a form in exchange for the content you’ve created, and each completed form is a new lead.

Next, create a call-to-action (CTA) to insert into the blog post that’s hosting your infographic. That should be hyperlinked to your landing page — here’s an example of what that might look like:

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Not sure how to start creating a CTA? Check out this article with steps for doing so in your HubSpot software.

5) Make it easy to share your infographic via social media.

With certain blogging platforms, like HubSpot’s Content Optimization System, social sharing buttons will be added to each of your blog posts by default. But if your blogging platform doesn’t include that feature, AddThis is a great alternative. Simply sign up for an account, configure your social sharing bar, and add a bit of code to your blog.

AddThis

You can also add “Pin It” buttons like we did above, using Pinterest’s widget builder.

Also, consider turning sections of your infographic into ready-made tweetable images, like BookBub did for their infographic, “Using Back Matter to Sell More Books“:

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But remember — shareability isn’t just about including the buttons that make it easy to post content with one click. And while that convenience is important, the content itself has to be worth sharing.

So, just to reemphasize, make sure your infographic also meets a high standard of design and helpful information. After all, 42% of B2B marketing professionals state that a lack of quality data is their biggest barrier to lead generation, so make sure the information you include is both reliable and beneficial.

Let’s Get Visual

Lead generation accounts for a big portion of many marketing budgets — in fact, 58% of marketers plan to increase theirs in the coming year.

Using infographics for this purpose is one of the most frugal ways to boost your lead generation efforts. And while creating quality visual content can take time, it can also pay off — so make sure what you’re producing is worth the investment.

How have you used infographics to generate leads? Let us know in the comments.

Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in March 2014 and has been updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness.

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15 free infographic templates in powerpoint


Source: blog.hubspot.com/marketing

58 Best Marketing Tools to Build Your Strategy in 2017

Best Marketing Tools 2017

In the world of marketing, it seems like there are always new tools, tips, tricks, and trends to discover and incorporate into your marketing strategy. How is it possible to keep up with them all?

As a marketer myself, I often wish I had a better sense of all of the tools available to me — and what sets each of them apart — so I can make more informed decisions on how to create and optimize content.

Luckily, I have the privilege of working on a team of 150+ other marketers who specialize in different functions than I do. And because of that, I was able to curate this list of the top 58 tools every marketer should know about and being using in 2017.

I’ll make it easy for you. I broke up my list of recommended tools into different sections so you can get a better sense of what tools are available for different functions of the job. At the end, you’ll see the whole list of 58 tools that you can skim and bookmark for later.

Enjoy!

Automation

Automation is nothing new to marketers. Whether you want to save time doing marketing tasks or simply cut time wasted doing those daily tasks like saving emails and files to spreadsheets, having a tool that makes your life easier and saves you time is ideal.

While there are lots of automation tools out there for specific fields or verticals (for example, the HubSpot workflows tool for marketing automation), there aren’t many tools that allow you to automate the various different tools you use throughout all aspects of your life.

Wouldn’t it be nice to link lots of tasks between different apps together? Like posting your Instagram photos to all your social networks or linking your app reminders together. With IFTTT you can!

IFTTT (IF This Then That) is a  service that allows you to create chains of simple conditional statements, called applets. These “if this then that” applets are triggered by a wide range of other web-based services at the choice of the user. Some of the web-based services that work with IFTTT include Gmail, Google Drive, Facebook, Twitter, Fitbit, and much, much more. 

Sounds great, right? Check it out. 

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Closing Deals and Tracking Relationships 

You and your sales team want to sell your product or service — not fight with messy spreadsheets, cluttered inboxes, or clunky tools that slow you down. That’s why using a Customer Relationship Management System — also known as a CRM — is essential. Not only will it help your sales team manage relationships, but a CRM will also give you a place to deliver those leads you generated to your sales team.

CRMs are such an essential part of any good marketing and sales team that we think everyone should have one. That’s why the HubSpot CRM is completely free. 

HubSpot CRM automates the tasks salespeople hate and takes minutes to learn — not months. That means doing more deals and less data entry. 

Check out the HubSpot CRM Now

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Content Creation

In the world of content creation, there are admittedly tons of different tools you could use to create various types of content. Whether it’s social images, logos, blog posts, or ebooks — the options and tools are endless. 

That said, a newcomer among the Adobe Suite of tools is winning the hearts of many marketers, including this one, for its ease of use to create stunning webpages, awesome videos, and eye-catching graphics. The best part? It’s completely free and impossibly easy. 

Adobe Spark is a suite of three web or mobile apps – Spark Page, Spark Post, and Spark Video — that allows marketers to easily create graphics, webpages, and videos in a variety of themes in minutes.

You can completely avoid the hassle of page layout, video editing knowledge, or a CMS and start creating content that looks remarkable immediately. For example, we use Spark Page at HubSpot to create some of our online guides and promote them with Spark Videos and Posts. You can too!

Check out Adobe Spark 

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Other Content Creation Tools: 

  • Venngage
  • Piktochart
  • Canva
  • Recordit
  • Kap
  • Adobe Color CC 

Video 

It’s 2017 — haven’t you heard? Video is the thing everyone is talking about. But how do you actually implement it into your marketing? 

Maybe your strategy is just to put a YouTube video embed on one of your blog posts or landing pages. But then what happens? Someone else’s ad plays on your landing page before your video even begins. That’s bad for your conversion rates, brand, and your user. Luckily, there’s a solution. 

Wistia is a powerful video hosting platform that allows you to host your videos on your website — ad free — with a guaranteed smooth playback and responsive player. Wistia also helps you prove the ROI of your video efforts by offering you video analytics and key metrics to fine-tune your video marketing efforts over time. Ready to take your video marketing to the next level?

Try Wistia for Free Now

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Other video tools:

  • Vidyard
  • Vimeo
  • Youtube

Content Distribution and Brand Awareness:

While it might seem like a given, when it comes to getting your content distributed online, there really is king that we’d be remiss if we’d different mention: 

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I know, I know. Google isn’t “exactly” a new or a fascinating tool that you didn’t already know about. That said, within the same parent company is another important distribution channel that many marketers often forget when they’re strategically distributing content for the sake of brand awareness.

YouTube is becoming more and more important to marketers lean more heavily on video-based content. While, of course, you should continue to optimize your text-based content for search engine optimization, don’t forget to consider Youtube as an important channel as well. Not only is YouTube great for hosting your videos and getting them shared across social networks, it’s also important to optimize your videos for search to get found on Youtube as well. 

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Other distribution and brand awareness channels:

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Linkedin
  • Product Hunt

Continuing Education and Learning

A challenge all marketers face is the need for continuous learning over time. With new tools and methods changing all the time, it’s essential to stay on top of the trends and changes. Luckily, there aren’t a shortage of tools and platforms for you to learn new tactics or techniques and take necessary classes.

HubSpot Academy, for example, is a great place to go anytime you need to get up-to-date information on the latest marketing best practices, find answers to your questions, get certified in a new area of expertise, or renew certifications on subjects that you’re a little rusty on.

 Bookmark your HubSpot Academy portal today

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 Other ongoing education and learning tools:

  • Lynda.com
  • Udemy
  • Codeacademy
  • Skillshare
  • General Assembly

Conversion Rate Optimization

When it comes to your bottom-line goals, you probably want a few top-notch tools up your belt for not only getting visitors to your website, but just as importantly, converting those website visitors into leads and customers. 

Unbounce lets you quickly build beautiful, branded landing pages that will turn those visitors into leads in no time. Between it’s easy-to-use drag-and-drop features, modal overlays, and integrations with tons of different CMS platforms and tools, Unbounce is an ideal tool for anyone looking for a simple tool that will amp up their conversion rates on landing pages. 

Try Out Unbounce Now

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Other CRO Tools:

  • HubSpot Marketing Free
  • HubSpot Landing Pages tool
  • Hotjar
  • Optimizely
  • Leadpages

Event Marketing

Whether your team holds monthly customer and prospect events, yearly conferences, or just occasional community outreach parties and events, it’s important to have the best event marketing tool up your sleeve when the time comes to use it. After all, in-person events are some of the best ways to interact with potential customers and create a brand experience that prospects, customers, and your community will remember. 

Eventbrite is an efficient, easy-to-use tool tons of marketers rely on not only to manage the logistics (like ticketing) of events but also to promote their events. Eventbrite lets you create an event landing page and allows you to set up your ticketing and payment for the event all within the same platform. The best part? Eventbrite is always free if you’re hosting a free event!

Check Out Eventbrite Now

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Other event marketing tools:

  • Picatic
  • Facebook 
  • AddEvent

Fun and Innovative Tools:

If you’re on the search for new marketing tools, chances are you’re not just looking for the hammer and the nail in your toolkit. Instead, you might be looking for new and innovative solutions to try out and experiment with in your marketing. Sound about right? 

As marketers, you’ve probably used forms — whether on your site or in a survey — more than a few times. But have you ever started to get bored with the same old, robotic form type?

Typeform is the tool you need to try if you’re looking for new ways to interact with your prospects and customers while giving them a positive, human-centered experience. Typeform isn’t just another survey tool. It’s a conversational, interactive typeform that feels more interactive than a standard form. Use it to host survey content, lead forms, or even create content with it by putting together quizzes and more.

Try Using Typeform in your Marketing Today

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Other fun tools to try:

  • Giphy
  • To.Doist

Keeping Up with the Latest Industry News Tools

Reading this post alone won’t end your career-long pursuit for the latest tools, trends, and marketing techniques. That’s why keeping up with the latest industry news is a full part of your job as a marketer.

Product Hunt, a tool meant for finding the latest tools and products, is a must for any marketer trying to stay on top of the industry and find new channels to promote their own product launches. Product Hunt is a daily feed of launched tools, letting people upvote what they think is interesting. Pro tip: when you sign up for Product Hunt, set it as your homescreen in your browser so you’ll always have a reminder to keep an eye out for what’s new. Who knows? You might even decide to use some of the featured tools yourself!

 Sign Up for Product Hunt Now

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 Other news and timely tools:

  • Flipboard
  • Pocket
  • Your choice of online news sources or magazines

Lead Generation Tools 

If you’re in the mood for demand generation, you probably have you eyes on the prize: converting anonymous website visitors into contacts with email addresses that you can successfully nurture. While landing pages are a must for some things, sometimes you want a shorter, simpler user experience to capture lead information.

HubSpot Marketing Free is the simplest, easiest way to do just that. The moment a lead shares their email, you’ll know who they are, where they work, and what pages they visited — all in real time. When they view an offer or check your pricing, you’ll be ready to follow up right away.

And with simple but powerful analytics, you’ll learn more about what’s working and what’s not — like which traffic sources or pieces of content are driving the most conversions. It’s a risk-free way to find out what inbound marketing can do for you. No budget necessary.

Try Out Hubspot Marketing Free

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Nuturing

In the world of nurturing, the tools and techniques used are constantly involving. While some aspects of nurturing remain the same, like using email to nurture contacts down your funnel, for example, the content and positioning you use is ever-changing. It would be easy for us to introduce a set of standard workflow and automation tools (like HubSpot’s, for example) you can use to nurture your contacts down the funnel. But if you’re looking for something a little more innovative for actually creating nurturing content, we have a new tool for you to try.

Vidyard is a great tool for creating and hosting awesome video content in your nurturing flows and otherwise. At HubSpot, for example, we’ve even started using Vidyard to create unique, customized nurturing videos specific to our audience and product. What makes Vidyard so great is its variety of video tools that you can use  to create remarkable content. 

From Vidyard’s live feature to its studio content creation products to its free tool – ViewedIt — Vidyard is an excellent tool if you’re a marketer looking to jump on the video bandwagon and start integrating video into all of your content. 

Check out Vidyard Today 

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Online Advertising Tools

If your team is making investments into PPC ad campaigns on platforms like Google, Bing, Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn, it’s probably a bit of a hassle to manage all the different ad campaigns you’re running across each different network. Besides just managing them, you then have to try and report on the results of all of them. What a struggle. Luckily, there’s a tool for that.

AdStage takes the hassle out reporting on all of the PPC campaigns you’re running and puts it all in one place. AdStage helps you automate, create, and manage your campaigns across all of the major PPC platforms, then allows you to report on your results. With visual features and powerful automation tools, AdStage is a must for PPC experts and newbies alike. 

Check out AdStage

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Other online advertising tools:

  • HubSpot Ads Add-On
  • Perfect Audience
  • Google Adwords
  • Facebook 
  • LinkedIn 
  • Adroll

Organization

In any marketing team, the inevitable happens: there’s a million files and pieces of content between everyone on your team without one place to keep it all. Organization on any team — let alone a marketing team — is essential. That’s why it’s important to have a collaborative organization tool to keep you sane. 

Dropbox is the perfect tool to keep your team organized and your files under control. With cloud-based software to keep your files accessible anywhere at anytime, Dropbox helps your team store all of its files in a central location. Dropbox makes it easy to collaborate, too. With tools like Dropbox Paper, which allows you to write and collaborate in real time on the same doc — and sharing tools for shared folders and files, you’ll be organized and ready for any project that comes your way.

 Get Dropbox for Your Team Now 

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Other organization tools:

  • Google Drive
  • Box
  • Trello 

Project Management

File management and organization is one thing, but how do you manage all of the moving pieces of a marketing campaign or project? There are many different tools you can use for project management, but only one sticks out when it comes to the number of integrations and features at the price of — oh yeah — free! 

Trello is a great project management tool for small teams and individuals. With it’s Kanban-style setup and fun user interface, Trello lets you set up to-do lists and tag individual cards with due dates, members, labels, and more. You can attach files, links, images, and more to your cards and easily get a full-view of any project that you’re working on. At HubSpot, we use Trello daily to manage our team campaigns and individual to-do lists. Want an example of how we do this? Check out our guide to managing marketing campaigns in Trello.  

Get Trello — It’s Free! 

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Other project management tools:

  • HubSpot Projects Tool (one of many tools in the HubSpot Marketing Platform)
  • JIRA
  • Asana

Search Engine Optimization

Whether its keyword research, content optimization, or checking your current page rankings, every marketer needs a go-to tool for planning what content to create and how to optimize it for SEO. Google Analytics and SEMrush our great tools for planning which keywords to rank for, but how do you make sure the content you create actually meets your goal once it’s created?

OnPage.org is the ideal tool marketers can use to make sure their SEO efforts are having a real impact on their marketing strategy. 

Check out OnPage.org now

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Other SEO tools:

  • HubSpot Content Strategy Tool 
  • Google Analytics / Keyword Tool 
  • Keywords Everywhere Chrome Extension
  • SEMrush
  • Moz

Social Media

Social Media Managers know the pain of posting that perfect social media post only to have a follower find a typo a minute later and call you out. For marketers, using a social media tool to schedule all of your posts (so you catch those typos beforehand) is a must. But it also helps to get the right analytics from your social posts, especially on channels where it can be hard to get that information.

Iconosquare is the perfect tool for marketers to grow their brand on Instagram with easy-to-use analytics. It’s not always easy to know what’s working and what’s not on Instagram. But, as the second most popular social channel and one that’s quickly approaching first most popular among some age groups, it’s a channel that marketers can’t afford to miss out on. Try Iconosquare now to maximize your Instagram analytics and optimize your brand Instagram channel for success. 

Try Iconosquare Now

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Iconosquare

Other social media tools:

  • HubSpot Social Inbox (one of many tools in the HubSpot Marketing Platform)
  • Buffer
  • Hootsuite
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Linkedin

Team Communication 

Where would your work day be without accessibility and communication between you and your colleagues? Probably pretty frustrating. Marketers can’t shy away from communication when it comes to aligning with team members and across the company, so having the right team communication tools is necessary every single day.

I’d be given a lot of slack if I didn’t make the world aware of this tool.

Slack is a powerful messaging app that allows you and your teammates to quickly message back and forth without the hassle of email. But it’s not just AOL instant messenger 2.0. Slack has powerful features and integrations that make it possible for you to integrate all of your other daily tools — like Trello, Gmail, Giphy, and so many more — right where you’re already communicating. You can start channels between different teams or just chat with specific colleagues. Slack makes remote and in-person work possible and easier than ever.

Get Slack today. Seriously. Do it.

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Other team communication tools:

  • HipChat
  • Google Chat
  • Join.Me
  • Zoom
  • Skype

Website Optimization

As marketers, sometimes it feels like we’re constantly making educated guesses about how our site visitors are going to interact with our content. While we might design a page to draw our user’s eye to a spot on a page, how do we ever really know where their focus is so that we can improve that experience?

Hotjar is a new and easy way to truly understand what your web and mobile site visitors are looking at when they interact with your site. WIth its visual heatmap tools, you can understand what users want, care about, and interact with on your site. Hotjar visually represents visitors’ clicks, taps and scrolling behavior, giving you the ability to find hot areas for growth and conversion rate optimization.

Convinced? Try Hotjar. It’s Free!

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Other website optimization tools:

  • HubSpot Website Platform
  • Optimizely
  • Unbounce

Want the full list of tools? Here it is:

We’ve covered a lot of tools for every part of your job on this page. But sometimes, it’s just helpful to see the full list. Here is our list of the top 58 marketing tools you need to know about. 

Top 58 Tools Every Marketer Should Know About

     
AddEvent Hootsuite Piktochart
Adobe Color CC Hotjar Product Hunt
Adobe Spark HubSpot Academy Recordit
Adroll HubSpot CRM SEMRush
Adstage HubSpot Marketing Skillshare
Asana Iconosquare Skype
Box IFTTT Slack
Buffer JIRA To.Doist
Canva Join.Me Trello
Codeacademy Kap Twitter
Dropbox Keywords Everywhere Typeform
Eventbrite Leadpages Udemy
Facebook LinkedIn Unbounce
Flipboard Lynda.com Venngage
General Assembly Moz Vidyard
Giphy OnPage.org Vimeo
Google Adwords Optimizely Wistia
Google Analytics Pocket Youtube
Google Drive Picatic Zoom
HipChat    
     

You’ve got all the tools you need, but are you looking for a place to start putting them all together? Check out our free marketing blue print guide.  It’ll walk you through creating your own marketing plan and teach you how to use all of these tools together. 

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Source: blog.hubspot.com/marketing