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5 tech tools to help marketers stay ahead

5 tech tools to help marketers stay ahead Elizabeth Phillips

As a digital marketer, your work is online. And using tech tools enables you to communicate better, track progress more accurately, and work more efficiently on the web. Using technology to your advantage can put you ahead of the pack -- and ahead of the curve.

Here are five tools you need to keep your business competitive in an ever-changing digital landscape.

Updated technology

Keeping your company's technology current seems like a no-brainer. But how often should you really update your technology? Experts suggest that businesses should overhaul their tech equipment every two years. That includes computers, phones, printers, fax machines, software, and more.

Outfitting your office with all-new devices and programs can get expensive. If that's not within your budget, try updating the way your employees use existing technology. Even old computers will work better on a faster, more reliable internet connection like fiber optics. And enabling mobile access to email servers and intranet sites can make it easier to work from home or on the go.

Social media

You spend your time creating web presences for your clients. But that doesn't mean you can forget about your own. To stay ahead of the internet game, your business should actively use social media. Each social media site serves a different purpose, and some might suit your company's needs better than others.

With more than 1 billion monthly active users, Facebook offers access to a huge audience. And the site is well-suited for client interaction. Users can post comments and reviews of your business. You can respond to questions, address concerns, and post relevant information.

Twitter posts are limited to 140 characters. That brevity makes it better suited for quick business updates than meaningful interactions. You can work around the character limit by linking to longer articles and including images and videos in your tweets.

LinkedIn targets a specific demographic -- professionals and those in the job market. Use LinkedIn to post industry news, advertise employment opportunities, and showcase what exactly your company does.

Cloud storage

Offices don't look like they used to -- and employees don't work like they used to. Now, one in five Americans work from home at least once a week, and BYOD (bring your own device) is becoming more common in the workplace. Employees need to be able to access information everywhere they go, on any device. 

Cloud storage services like Dropbox or Google Drive allow employees to access business files all the time -- no matter where they are or what device they're on. Cloud storage services can be used on computers, smartphones, and tablets. And even better? Multiple people can access files and collaborate at the same time.

A mobile app

You have a company website and social media accounts. That's enough, right?

Wrong. More and more people are getting online on mobile devices like smartphones and tablets. Nearly 40 percent of time spent online is on mobile devices -- and 31 percent of people say that mobile devices are the primary way they access the web. 

Mobile apps make it easier for clients to interact with you online, on screens of any size. It's not hard to create a mobile app -- and it will put you light years ahead of the competition. Services like AppyPie, Infinite Monkeys, and AppMakr can help you create a simple mobile app on the cheap.

If you don't have the time or resources for a mobile app, try creating a mobile interface for your existing website that's designed for smartphone and tablet browsers.

Online analytics

There's no advantage to having a well-honed online presence for your digital marketing firm if you have no idea how it's performing. Keep tabs on your site's activity just like you do for your clients. Use online analytics tools to monitor your website traffic.

Many online analytics services are pricey -- but there are many that can get the job done at little to no cost.

Google Analytics offers performance tracking for both websites and mobile apps so you can know who your audience is, what they're doing on your site and more. The basic version is free -- but an upgrade to premium will cost you $150,000.

Chartbeat provides much of the same web data as Google Analytics, but it can provide same-day results. Chartbeat can also be integrated with Facebook and Twitter. Services range from $9.95/month to $149.95/month.
StatCounter also offers same-day analytics -- and the service allows you to track individual IP addresses in real-time as they navigate your site. But it's not as good for big-picture analysis. The basic version is free, and plans range up to $119/month.

Digital marketing is a cutthroat world, but keeping up with the latest tech tools is an easy way to stay ahead of the game. What tech tools are indispensable to your company? 

Elizabeth Phillips is a freelance writer.

On Twitter? Follow iMedia Connection at @iMediaTweet.

Elizabeth Phillips is a former marketing professional who is currently freelance writing. In her free time, she enjoys reading, writing, traveling, and attending marketing seminars. She can be found typing away on her laptop in Philadelphia, PA. She...

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