Digital marketing corner: Five essential apps for your marketing tech-stack

In this new & exclusive feature, our Head of Marketing, Jordan Vickery, will be sharing his latest insights to help you with your Digital Marketing journey.

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Jordan Vickery Head of Marketing

You’ve heard of Fintech, but have you heard of Martech?

Yes, you guessed it. Martech is the coming together of marketing and technology, and just like the accounting app ecosystem, it’s growing at an incredible rate.

Marketing Technologist, Scott Brinker, estimates that there are currently about 8000 Martech apps available, covering a range of categories including advertising & promotion, content & experience, and data.

Inevitably, this leads to the same challenges of shiny-app syndrome and app-overwhelm that we commonly see in the accounting world. Which is why in this article, I wanted to share my thoughts on what an essential martech app stack for an accounting firm looks like and where you can get started.

Where should you start?

It all starts with your strategy. What are you looking to achieve? Is it brand awareness, lead generation, building up a following within a particular niche? Do you understand which target market or markets you’re going after? All too often I see firms (and businesses) starting with the tactics without considering what the overarching strategy is.

“Accountants need to understand that Strategy always comes first. Ultimately there are 3 things a firm needs to think about, Strategy, Tactics, and Tools. A Strategy is a way to achieve a big overarching goal. (Increase profits/sales for example). A tactic is a way of getting to that goal (content marketing for example) and a tool is something you use to execute each tactic. A great tool is LinkedIn or Facebook however too many firms think this is a strategy, often leaving them wondering why they don’t achieve their goals. You should always start with strategy because the tactics and tools you want to use will always depend on that.”

- Amanda C Watts, Marketing Specialist for Accountants

5 Essential apps for every marketing app-stack

Once you have your strategy in place, it’s time to consider which marketing apps to use to help you achieve your goals and targets.

Here are the top 5 essentials that I would consider…

1. Content management system (CMS)

A CMS system allows you to add, manage and modify content on your website, without any special technical skills. The most common CMS used by businesses is Wordpress. Others include Rocketspark, Hubspot (which then directly links to their CRM product) and for ecommerce businesses, Shopify.

This is something you’re likely to already have in place if you have a website, but a few things I would consider with Content Management Systems is:

  • How easy is it for you to update and add new content and blogs to your website?
  • What plugins and extensions are available to integrate your CMS with other apps in your Martech stack e.g. Mailchimp for emails or Hubspot for your CRM?
  • How SEO friendly is it? I.e. how easy is it for search engines to crawl and index the content

2. Customer relationship management (CRM)

A CRM system usually sits in the middle of your marketing app stack. It’s the place where you can track interactions with prospects, nurture leads, and automate certain marketing activities (depending on which one you use).

There are a number of accounting CRM products available, but in my experience none of these have the same level of functionality that I would look for in a marketing CRM. The typical functionality that I would look out for would include:

Contact management so you can organise different contacts based on activity

  • Sales/opportunity management to keep track of prospects that are ready to sign up
  • Email campaigns so you can broadcast emails to groups of people or send email sequences
  • Marketing automation so that you can automate specific emails or tasks based on the actions people take

There is a lot more CRM systems can do, but at a minimum this is what I’d look for.

Some apps worth checking out here are Hubspot, ActiveCampaign, Pipedrive, and Salesforce.

3. Email marketing platform

If you’re not ready to start using a full-scale CRM system, or the one you have doesn’t allow you to broadcast emails or send email sequences, then I would consider a stand alone email marketing platform.

This will allow you to send mass emails (e.g. newsletters, or invites to events you’re running) to your entire database, or specific segments of it depending on how you segment the data. It will also let you create email sequences so that if somebody downloads a guide from your website, you can send them a series of 5 or 6 emails afterwards to help nurture them and get them to take action. This is another article entirely.

Some of the popular options here include Mailchimp (although I find it quite limited), ConvertKit, GetResponse and Constant Contact.

4. Social media scheduling

Have you ever wondered how some people have the time to post on multiple social media channels, several times a day? Well, some of them do have the time. Others use social media scheduling software.

This software allows you to curate a schedule of content at the start of each week or month (based on your strategy) which is then posted automatically at specific times. The benefits of using these tools is that they can save you time, help you to be more consistent, and also help with the reporting when it comes to reviewing social media performance.

Some tools worth looking at in this category are MeetEdgar, Hootsuite, Buffer and SproutSocial. It’s also worth adding that some CRM products can do this as well.

5. Marketing project management software

Ok, so this one isn’t technically Martech, but it’s important to consider this as part of your marketing tech stack. When it comes to implementing your marketing strategy, there might be any number of projects and deadlines at any one time, which means that having a collaborative task management and project management app becomes really important.

My favourite to use is Asana. It’s simple to use (but can do some quite clever things if you want to use it more) and it can integrate with other tools such as Slack and Zapier. There are plenty of others out there to choose from e.g. Trello and, it’s just individual preference.

Just the tip of the iceberg

This really is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to marketing tech and apps. Other things worth considering as you move through your digital marketing journey include: Analytics & reporting, Webinar software and Landing page builders (assuming you can’t do this in your CRM or CMS).

But the most important thing to remember above all is strategy. Without it, it doesn’t matter how much fancy Martech you have in your firm, it probably won’t be generating the results you want or need to make it worthwhile.

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