You’ve probably heard of online marketing platforms like HubSpot and Marketo, and perhaps even tried out the free versions of these platforms. These are all very powerful tools that can be used to optimize a business’ online presence, from website to social media. However, just because these platforms are popular and have lots of features, that doesn’t mean they’re ideal for every business. In fact, there are cases where a business may want to consider an alternative solution.
To determine whether or not these platforms are the right fit for your organization, you need to consider several factors. First, what are your goals for using an online marketing platform? What do you hope to gain from using an online marketing platform? This will help you decide which platform is best suited to help you reach your goals.
The Purpose of Your Website
The purpose of your website (also known as the “about” page of your website) can be one of the most important factors determining which online marketing platform to choose. If you have a specific goal in mind when you build your website (e.g., You want to attract potential customers to your website, or you want to expand into Europe), you need to choose an online marketing platform that is suited for that particular purpose. Your website’s “about” page should include the purpose for which it was built, as well as the types of customers it is designed to attract. If you have a specific customer in mind when you build your website, include them on your “about” page to guide potential visitors to your website. It would be best to have a combination of both of these purposes; a website that is both appealing to visitors and includes the information that the site’s owners need to succeed.
Which Platform Should You Opt for?
There are four major criteria you need to consider when choosing an online marketing platform: UI, data collection, integrations, and reporting. The first thing to check is the user interface (UI). Does it match your needs? For example, if you’re used to working with software applications that are completely visually oriented (e.g., Product Management software), you may not be happy with a platform that relies heavily on text-based navigation. The ideal solution is one that offers a combination of both options. That way, you can take advantage of the power of the platform and all the features that it has to offer, while not being severely hampered by sub-optimal UI design.
Another important factor to consider when choosing an online marketing platform is its usability. Does it work well with your device of choice? It’s always best to choose a solution that is mobile-friendly; however, it’s also important to consider how easy it is to use on a larger screen. If you have a specific device in mind (e.g., a tablet or laptop computer), make sure the platform you choose is optimized for that type of device. Usability also refers to how intuitive and understandable the platform’s menus and icons are. If you have lower-than-average computer-related skills, it’s best to choose a platform that is highly intuitive and doesn’t require an in-depth knowledge of tech jargon to use it effectively. Think of the “dummies’ guide” to using a particular software application. Imagine having to go through a complicated series of steps to achieve the same goal with a different software application. With a problematic UI, you may spend more time trying to figure out how to use the software than actually getting the work done. Usability is vital; if you want your visitors to engage with your content, you need to make sure that it is designed to be easy to understand and navigate.
Data collection is one of the most important factors to consider when choosing an online marketing platform. Do you need to be able to track the activities of each individual user? Or can you get by with simply being able to track user behavior (e.g., When was the last time a particular visitor came back to your site)? The more data you can collect, the better. If you can’t collect any data using the platform you opt for, you’re severely limiting your potential to track user behavior and learn from past performances. Luckily for you, not all online marketing platforms are created equal. Some collect data in a more discreet manner than others. The good news is that most reputable and popular platforms make it easy to export all collected data in a variety of useful formats. This makes it easy to integrate other services, like Google Analytics or Hotjar, into your measurement and analysis chain. The disadvantage is that some platforms may require a paid subscription to access the data. Luckily for you, most platforms have a free version that allows you to track up to three accounts. This is ideal for smaller organizations.
Integrations are another important factor to consider when choosing an online marketing platform. Does the platform integrate with other services and platforms, like email marketing software, social media, or payment processors? One of the advantages of a fully-integrated solution is that it makes it easy for you to manage multiple campaigns from one platform. The disadvantage is that, in general, integrated solutions are more complex and require more technical knowledge to set up and use effectively. If you’re the type of person who likes to take care of the little technical details, you may end up overwhelmed by the sheer volume of features and settings in an integrated platform.
Choosing an online marketing platform that is fully-integrated is not always the best option. If you want to keep things simple and don’t require a lot of advanced features, choose a partially integrated solution. The good news is that most reputable and popular online marketing platforms are either fully or partially integrated, so you’ll have no problem finding a solution that works well for your needs.
Reporting is one of the most important factors to consider when choosing an online marketing platform. Does the platform offer a clear reporting dashboard that can be accessed from anywhere? The ideal solution is one that provides a comprehensive reporting dashboard, that is cleanly designed and easy to understand. It should also include all the necessary reports that you need to know about the performance of your campaigns. For example, did they reach your target audience? How much did they cost to produce? Which marketing channels performed the best? A well-designed reporting dashboard will make it easy for you to answer these questions and provide your team with the information they need, in terms they can understand.
The Bottom Line
To find the right online marketing platform for your organization, you need to consider several factors. Some of these factors are more important than others. For example, you need to choose a solution that is mobile-friendly and offers a good UI if you have a preference for using tablets and laptops to get work done. On the other hand, data collection and reporting are more vital considerations if you want to learn from past performances and analyze the performance of your current campaigns. Once you’ve found the right platform, the next step is to integrate it with other services and platforms, like email marketing software, social media, and payment processors. Don’t forget to measure the success of your campaigns, and track the results of your improvements and changes. With these tips, you’ll be able to find the right solution quickly and easily. In no time at all, you’ll be able to put all your online marketing knowledge to good use and grow your business successfully.