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HOW TO EVALUATE ONLINE BUSINESS TOOLS FOR MARKETERS
There are myriads of online tools out there for marketers, but that doesn't mean that they are all worth using. In order to figure out what tools would be the best to include in a short report, it's important to understand what kinds of tools marketers want, what features work best online and why, how expensive a tool is, and how well it works to accomplish a marketing goal. Going by these conditions, we've included some online marketing tools that we think every online marketer to should include in their toolbox, and we've offered you an evaluation of that tool to convince you to add it. But, first let's discuss the criteria more indepth, to give you an idea of what we think makes a useful and worthwhile marketing tool.
WHAT KIND OF TOOLS INTERNET MARKETERS WANT
If you are an Internet marketer, you know that what you are looking for is something to reduce your workload to help you create the following to your website and Internet offerings:
• Traffic The number one thing any Internet marketer wants to achieve online is a good traffic count. Without traffic, there are no customers. Without customers, there are no sales. So, traffic has to be generated and any tool that helps a marketer automate that process is helpful. However, some go way beyond the “helpful” criteria to be actually POWERFUL traffic drivers. Those are the ones that you want to make sure to include in your tool kit. Some of these help you target demographics like a laser, others just get distributed in a fashion that drives traffic back to your site, regardless of demographic.
• Income Another thing that marketers want are tools that help them generate income, manage income streams, or reduce expenses. Along with these tools are things that can produce products online that can be sold, shopping cart tools, and any other sort of revenue specific tool.
• Contact Management So, you have the traffic and you got some sources of income out, but you don't know who is visiting your site? That's because you need tools that help you harvest contacts and then market them via email or subscription campaigns. This is the mouth of your sales funnel and without these tools, you can end up doing a lot of marketing and never getting off the starting block to sales.
• Promotion Tools that promote an Internet marketers business are essential to good online marketing. The Internet may be filled with millions of people, but that doesn't mean your online exposure is sufficient to get the word out. Using tools that help you boost your exposure is one way that you can start creating an online image and brand yourself or your business.
Sound good? Obviously, even limiting the toolbox to these criteria there are still plenty of other tools out there that can be fun to use and/or stimulate interest in your business. But, we'll also offer you some locations to check out tools being developed as they come off the assembly line, for those that want to move even further in adopting technologies for their websites.
WHAT FEATURES WORK BEST ONLINE
Since tools will be either online services or scripts, the best tools have the following features:
• Easy To Use No one wants to spend a ton of time trying to get the tool to work.
• Solves A Customer's Problem Any tool that gives better customer service, or provides a value-added feature to your customers is valuable to your business model.
• Consistent Performance Adopting a tool that works great one time and bombs another is a sure way to lose customers. Stick with established tools that have the bugs worked out of them already.
• Simple Registration A good online tool will either have a very curt registration opt-in, like an email, or none at all, if it's free.
• Manages Multiple Users Efficiently The idea is to attract tons of traffic, convert it to contacts, and start
marketing it. If your tool does this, but performance drops off or you cannot keep up with multiple users efficiently, as an online marketer you might as well not use it.
• Great Customer Support Sometimes technical glitches can happen, even with the best of tools. You want to have a phone number, and AIM contact, or an email you can go to and send in a help support ticket to get your problems resolved.
• Creates Excitement/Interest A tool that creates buzz, excitement, fun and gets your users to participate in your website or offering is a great way to get noticed.