Have you ever heard of Kenton J. Hetrick?

If not, you’re not the only one.

On 15 October 2006, at the Lafayette game, student conductor Kenton J. Hetrick conducted the Harvard University Band performing Richard Strauss’ “Also Sprach Zarathustra”.

What put the event and Kenton into the made the event into the Guinness World Record book is that his conducting baton was 12.5 feet (3.81 metres) long.

And although he used an impressive tool, he didn’t become a world-class conductor.

What does that tell you?

No matter how impressive your tool is, if you can’t use it, it’s just as useful as a cat flap on the elephant house.

The corollary to that is Abraham Maslows’ observation…

“If the only tool you have is a hammer, you tend to see every problem as a nail.”

And when it comes to inbound marketing, the world is most certainly saturated with one-trick ponies.

Nevertheless, we have to have the right tools at our disposal, otherwise we can turn even the most seemingly promising inbound marketing effort into a disaster.

But before we go into the details of the tools, we want to look at…

The Division of Tools

Let’s start with a builder, like Jen. She is a general contractor friend of mine from New York. In a former life, I worked with her at a construction company.

Jen has three sets of tools.

One set is in her tool shed, one set in her tool box and one set on her tool belt.

Tools on her tool belt are the tools she uses all the time. She always has a hammer, tape measure and some other bits and bobs on her tool belt.

Tools in the tool box are the tools that she uses less frequently. For example, a circular saw, a jackhammer or a nail gun. Let’s ignore the size difference between a standard toolbox and the tools I’ve just listed.

Tools in the tool shed are the tools that she uses only once in a while. For example, a table saw, a wheelbarrow or a concrete mixer.

In your business, you have to divide your inbound marketing tools and allocate them according to how often you need them to do your work.

And now we can look into…

Inbound Marketing Tools of the Trade

Analytics Tool

This tool is for monitoring your marketing system’s performance.

The free Google Analytics can be a good first-step tool and then later you can check out more sophisticated tools like www.crazyegg.com, www.kissmetrics.com or  www.optimizely.com.

Many marketing experts agree that even after signing up with big guns like Optimizely, they keep using their Google Analytics to compare search and analytics results.

Blog

You may or may not enjoy blogging, so let’s look at some numbers, hoping it piques your interest:

Hubspot reports that companies that regularly blog can garner 97% more inbound links.

According to InsideView, B2B marketers who use blogs generate 67% more sales leads than non-bloggers.

As per TrafficGenerationCafe, an extra 21-54 blog posts can increase traffic by 30%.

Hubspot again: Businesses that blog more than 20 times a month can get 5-time more traffic than those that blog less often than 4-times a month.

Ideally, you need three people for blogging: a writer, an editor and a web person.

The writer and the editor are full-time people and the editor is either a part-time or independent professional.

But even if she’s a freelancer, she must be part of the team, so she has a good feel for the company’s tone and style.

Later, as the company grows, she can be turned into a full-timer.

Don’t try to get everything in one person because you it will be a huge disappointment.

This is a tall order, I know, but if you can get a writer who has subject matter expertise and industrial experience in the domain she has to write about, then do your best to get her.

The caveat is that you’re unlikely to get her as an employee. Specialist writers are highly sought-after, and most of them don’t even consider “gainful employment” as an income earning possibility.

For blogging platform, we use Hubspot and have found it versatile, robust and user-friendly. Depending on the package your subscribe to, you can open or close a broad range of features.

Calendar

This calendar can include many things, including your content calendar, your work- and meeting schedules and the milestones of the projects that you’re working on.

If you’re leading a team of professionals, it’s also important to keep an eye on how they’re getting on with their work. No, not micromanaging them, just keeping yourself on track as to when to schedule briefing/debriefing/updating meetings with team members.

Remember, teams must be lead not managed. Talented people want to be lead; they just don’t want to be managed.

CRM

In today’s red-hot competitive business environment, using a CRM system is not even optional.

According to SuperOffice, in 2008, only 88% of CRM solutions were in-house desktop software.  Today, 87% of solutions are cloud-based, and we’re getting very close to the point that this 87% becomes very close to 100%. At last, based on the trend, this is a fair prediction.

SuperOffice also indicates that in the future, companies invest the most in CRM systems.

Knowing how important it is and how many different CRM systems there are out there, you have to be very careful with your choice.

It’s a balance of budget and capability. With every new feature, price can increase quite significantly.

You certainly want to invest in a scalable system in which you can open new features or robustness (storage space, number of fields, number of users, etc.) as your business grows.

For instance, in , you can start on SalesforceIQ CRM Starter for $25 per month per user and go up to Lightning Unlimited for $300 per month per user.

And in case, you’re concerned about investments, here is something from the Gartner Group: CRM offers an average return of $5.60 for every $1 spent.

Hope it has helped a bit to make up your mind.

Email Marketing System

Target Marketing wrote that email marketing offers some $4 return on every $1 invested.

I would say that’s pretty good.

What makes email marketing so attractive is that it costs nothing to send emails.

But there is a dark side of email marketing which have implications, such as the spam laws, especially Canada’s Anti-Spam Legislation.

The good news is that you don’t have to worry about the technical details because they’re all built into systems like Hubspot, Pardot or Aweber.

While Aweber or Mailchimp don’t have the sophistication of Pardot or Marketo, they’re very reliable and inexpensive systems for new businesses.

They all that spam tools built into them, meaning that technically they are spam compliant.

So, if you send out quality content and stay away from spam-triggering words, you’re safe. The system can take care of the technical nuances, like sending to large lists in small batches and including some key elements in the body of the email.

Idea Repository

A few years ago, I read an interesting British study about when people get their best ideas.

It turns out that the best ideas hit us while standing under the shower and while commuting to and from work.

What this means is that you need a reliable method to recording your ideas.

And you need a system that allows you to deposit your ideas into a system which you can easily retrieve it from at a later time and start developing them into full-blown intellectual property.

For me what works best is a little digital voice recorder that I carry with me everywhere and I can activate with one push of one button.

Yes, smartphones can record to but to get them started is a fiddly process for me and I can’t do it with one hand. And definitely not in 3-5 seconds.

But if you’re an experienced smartphone user, this is not a problem. It is for me, because I’ve been a mobile phone user only since December 2014, so I’m very inexperienced.

Then when I go home, I connect the recorder to the computer, download the recorded files and can listen to and transcribe them.

I user EverNote as my idea repository. Some notes are only for me, but some I want to share with others. EverNote is perfect for that.

I use the desktop version of EverNote and the computer synchronizes the desktop with the cloud version.

Besides the voice recorder, I also carry some index cards to take written notes.

To learn more about EverNote and how to use it as an effective productivity tool, Visit Steve Dotto, a Vancouver-based IT consultant’s website and you find several tutorials on EverNote. As a bonus, Steve has a brilliant presentation style too.

Hubspot also has a blog post on how to use Evernote to dictate your notes.

Marketing Automation System

Let’s start with the definition because otherwise some other tools can be misleading.

A marketing automation system will usually include a full suite tools like email marketing system, social media platform, blogging and other tools. It’s an integrated version of several separate tools.

And while they can do a lot, especially for new businesses, it can be a bit of an overkill. Hubspot, Pardot, and Marketo are great tools, but new businesses don’t need to start there. Take time to review the plethora of new marketing automation platforms on the market to learn what works for you and your business growth.

But the other side of the same coin is that you’d better choose a system that can serve your business for a few years to come. Otherwise you spend your life migrating data from one system to the next.

Want more inbound marketing tool tips? Click here for our second article in the inbound marketing tools of the trade series.