8 Essential Marketing Tools You Need to Start Using Today

There never seems to be enough time in the day for a professional services marketer. In my constant battle to get more things done in less time I have learned to leverage an extensive arsenal of tools to improve my efficiency.  These are not tools most all of us have heard of, such as Google Alerts, OneNote, and Hootsuite but rather others I have discovered over years of trial and exploration. The key behind using any of these types of tools is to ensure that the value gained far exceeds the effort spent using the tool.  With time I have found that some tools simply are not worth the effort, while others have become vital to my job and to our firms’ success. While there are dozens of tools we could look at, I wanted to share with you 8 tools that you are probably not using today that I believe will make you a more effective marketer:

Media tracking and monitoring – mention.com

In my role I need to know immediately when our firm’s name is in the news or in an online publication. As many of you know Google changed their formula for the popular Google Alerts several years ago and it is no longer sending you every mention in the news, rather it now only shows sources that generally show up in the top 100 search results. I spent months looking for a tool that would send me up-to-the-minute updates whenever Timmons Group was mentioned on the web to replace Google Alerts and found it with the tracking and monitoring service mention.com. If you search the site long enough you will find a basic version of the service that is free. With Mention you will get an email, usually within minutes, whenever your firm’s name has been posted online, ensuring that you are the first to see your name in the news.

Title Capitalization – titlecapitalization.com

I know what you are thinking: what type of marketer doesn’t remember how to perfectly utilize AP style or Chicago Manual formatting on titles? The answer is me. It might be simple, but titlecapitalization.com easy a fast and easy way to copy-cut-past in a title and copy-cut-paste it back to Power Point, Word, Prezi, InDesign, or anywhere else you want.

Google PageSpeed – developers.google.com/speed/pagespeed/insights/

Your website is running slow, and Google knows why (Google knows everything). Google has hundreds of tools for web developers, that anyone can use, and one of my favorites is PageSpeed. It is buried under the speed optimization tools in their developer’s toolbox so just search for it or use the link above. What you’ll find is a measure of your websites page load speed and specific actions you can take to speed it up if it is running slow.

Camtasia – camtasia.com

It was bound to happen, I was going to share a tool with you that costs money (all of them up to now have free options). There are hundreds of video editing software platforms available, but this one is easy, affordable, and can do just about everything without switching between multiple products to get your video completed. It does all of the normal video editing things you would expect, but is also provides screen capturing, it has a cell phone app for capturing video, allows for editing multiple tracks, and even has advanced volume leveling capabilities to balance out voices that always seem too loud or too quiet.

Website page monitoring: visualping.io

If you have ever checked a website every day for weeks waiting for an RFP to come out then you need Visualping. The website monitors webpages for you and will send you an email whenever there is a change on the page. I have found this to be especially helpful for websites that only publish RFPs once or twice a year, but that we have to check weekly to make certain nothing is missed. Simply set up an alert and get an email whenever a procurement webpage has updated or changed. Try it out, trust me this website can save you an extra 30 minutes of time every week, and yes it works for any type of webpage.

Graphic Design: canva.com

It’s true, we do not have a graphic designer on our marketing team, but give us some amazing templates and software that is easy to use and you’d be impressed what we come up with. Canva is not a replacement for InDesign or Photoshop, but what is does is give you the tools and templates to ensure that your marketing looks great. Give Canva a try if you are not a graphic designer but want to ensure that what you create looks great.

Website monitoring service: montastic.com

Websites go down and Montastic will ensure that you are the first to know so that you can do something about it before anyone else knows it is down. I have used several services over the years for website monitoring but finally stuck with Montastic because it is free, allows multiple people to be notified, and even sends SMS text alerts. Just be forewarned, Montastic is great at website monitoring, but they are not great at designing the layout of their own website, it is ugly.

Website link checker: cloudtrawl.com

Once a year I have gotten into the habit of cleaning up our corporate website. Over the course of a year you would be amazed how many links on your website get broken and how many images are no longer available. These broken links impact your Google ranking. Most of the time this occurs with links to external websites, but it also happens when someone inadvertently makes changes inside the website. Cloudtrawl sends web crawlers throughout your website to check every link and every image on your website. About an hour after you start the process Cloudtrawl will send you a report identifying every broken link on your website. You can pay for an annual subscription, but I typically just sign up for the free trial once a year. In two weeks you can get just about everything fixed and then you can sign up for a free trial again the next year.

I hope that some of these tools help you get more done with less effort as well, and if you have another tool to share please be certain to share them with me on LinkedIn.

 

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A Child’s Rights (updated)

Thank you everyone that replied with thoughts on the original post!  I have updated this post with many of your ideas including adding education and healthcare. – Tim 

In what will undoubtedly be the shortest post in this series, I wanted to share with you what I have been processing through regarding children’s rights.  Specifically, I have been thinking about what rights I believe we have a duty and obligation to protect.  I think the hardest part of this list is the question it draws out every time I review it: “What am I going to do about it?” I am still working through that answer and, while I have made some strides, it breaks my heart to know that so many children do not have these basic rights.  Please let me know if you have any rights that you would add to the list.

I believe that every child has certain rights that should be provided for and defended unconditionally. These rights include:

Clean water
Food
Clothing
Shelter
Protection and justice
Freedom
Education
Opportunity
Love

Healthcare: I believe that preventative care should be free for all. In most cases costs for health problems should be managed individually instead of universally, the exception would be for children, pregnant moms, and moms nursing who should always be covered for all health related care.

Prophecies about Jesus Fulfilled

In my second post in this series I wanted to share with you some of what I have learned related to the texts written about Jesus in the Old Testament (before he was ever born) and which of these texts were fulfilled (or actually happened) in the New Testament. As I mentioned previously, I only looked at the books in the Old Testament that to the best of my knowledge were part of the Dead Sea Scrolls archaeology discovery in 1946-47. This assured me that the texts in the Old Testament were actually written before the birth of Christ (by several hundred years in most cases). I am not trying to prove any point here, instead, as stated in my blog post at the beginning of this series, I am only sharing what I have learned. I also need to thank some people that had written much of this down many years ago, yet whose websites I can no longer find. Hyperlinks to the verses are included. Enjoy!

Jesus Genealogy and Heritage Old Testament
Scripture
New Testament
Fulfillment
Messiah would come from the line of Abraham. Genesis 12:3
Genesis 22:18
Matthew 1:1
Romans 9:5
Messiah would be a descendant of Isaac. Genesis 17:19
Genesis 21:12
Luke 3:34
Messiah would be a descendant of Jacob. Numbers 24:17 Matthew 1:2
Messiah would come from the tribe of Judah. Genesis 49:10 Luke 3:33
Hebrews 7:14
Messiah would be heir to King David’s throne. 2 Samuel 7:12-13
Isaiah 9:7
Luke 1:32-33
Romans 1:3
Messiah would be born in Bethlehem. Micah 5:2 Matthew 2:1
Luke 2:4-6
     
Prophesy About Jesus Old Testament
Scripture
New Testament
Fulfillment
Messiah would be born of a virgin. Isaiah 7:14 Matthew 1:22-23
Luke 1:26-31
Messiah’s throne will be anointed and eternal. Psalm 45:6-7
Daniel 2:44
Luke 1:33
Hebrews 1:8-12
Messiah would be called Immanuel. Isaiah 7:14 Matthew 1:23
A messenger would prepare the way for Messiah Isaiah 40:3-5 Luke 3:3-6
Messiah would be rejected by his own people. Isaiah 53:3 John 1:11
John 7:5
Messiah would be declared the Son of God. Psalm 2:7 Matthew 3:16-17
Messiah would be called a Nazarene. Isaiah 11:1 Matthew 2:23
Messiah would bring light to Galilee. Isaiah 9:1-2 Matthew 4:13-16
Messiah would speak in parables. Psalm 78:2-4
Isaiah 6:9-10
Matthew 13:10-15, 34-35
Messiah would be sent to heal the brokenhearted. Isaiah 61:1-2 Luke 4:18-19
Messiah would be a priest after the order of Melchizedek. Psalm 110:4 Hebrews 5:5-6
Messiah would be called King. Psalm 2:6
Zechariah 9:9
Matthew 27:37
Mark 11:7-11
Messiah would be praised by little children. Psalm 8:2 Matthew 21:16
Messiah’s price money would be used to buy a potter’s field. Zechariah 11:12-13 Matthew 27:9-10
Messiah would be silent before his accusers. Isaiah 53:7 Mark 15:4-5
Messiah would be crucified with criminals. Isaiah 53:12 Matthew 27:38
Mark 15:27-28
Messiah’s hands and feet would be pierced. Psalm 22:16
Zechariah 12:10
John 20:25-27
Messiah would be mocked and ridiculed. Psalm 22:7-8 Luke 23:35
Soldiers would gamble for Messiah’s garments. Psalm 22:18 Luke 23:34
Matthew 27:35-36
Messiah would be forsaken by God. Psalm 22:1 Matthew 27:46
Soldiers would pierce Messiah’s side. Zechariah 12:10 John 19:34
Messiah would be buried with the rich. Isaiah 53:9 Matthew 27:57-60
Messiah would resurrect from the dead. Psalm 16:10 Matthew 28:2-7
Acts 2:22-32
Messiah would be a sacrifice for sin. Isaiah 53:5-12 Romans 5:6-8

If you are looking to read some more of these texts for yourself I would HIGHLY recommend that you start with Isaiah 53. I would refer to this as one of the most substantial chapters written about Jesus before he was born. Other chapters are below for your reference:

Major Prophesies
Isaiah 53

All Prophetic Sections
Daniel 2

Isaiah 6, 7, 9, 11, 40, 53, 61

Micah 5

Psalm 2, 8, 16, 22, 45, 78, 110

Zechariah 9, 11, 12

 

Understanding Major World Religions

As promised, I am breaking free of the typical topics here on Cofebuz.com to share with you some of what I have been discovering over the past several years.  I wanted to start by sharing with you some research I did on understanding major world religions.  When I started the process of understanding the differences between major world religions many years ago it began as a simple desire to understand other people’s perspectives.  What I found was much more interesting (and simpler) than I would have thought.  I have added links to Wikipedia so that you can dive more into each of these topics if you are so inclined, and if you are reading this is a format that does not have indents, I would recommend clicking on the link so you can see the indents as they create hierarchy.  Which best defines your belief structure?

Theism – God made all

Theism – the belief that at least one god exists. In a more specific sense, theism is a doctrine concerning the nature of a monotheistic God and God’s relationship to the universe. Theism, in this specific sense, conceives of God as personal, present and active in the governance and organization of the world and the universe.

Monotheism – the belief in the existence of one God or in the oneness of God. Monotheism is characteristic of Christianity, Bahá’í Faith, Islam, Ravidassia, Judaism, Sikhism and Zoroastrianism

Polytheism – the belief in the existence of multiple gods. Polytheists do not always worship all the gods equally. Greek Mythology, Mormonism

Henotheism is the belief and worship of a single god while accepting the existence or possible existence of other deities that may also be worshipped.

Kathenotheism is the worship of one god at a time or worshiping different gods at different times.

Deism – the belief that reason and observation of the natural world are sufficient to determine the existence of a creator, accompanied with the rejection of revelation and authority as a source of religious knowledge.

Pantheism – God is all

Pantheism – the belief that everything composes an all-encompassing, immanent God, or that the Universe (or Nature) is identical with divinity. Pantheists thus do not believe in a personal god, but differ in exact interpretation of the term. Zen Buddhism, Hinduism, New Age

Atheism – No god at all

Atheism (secular humanism) – the rejection of belief in the existence of deities. Atheism is the position that there are no gods and the absence of belief that any exist.

A gnostic atheist not only believes there are no gods, he also claims to know there are no gods.

An agnostic atheist doesn’t believe in gods, but doesn’t claim to know there are no gods. The existence or non-existence of any god is unknown and unknowable. Agnosticism is apathy, disregard, or lack of interest towards belief or disbelief in a god.

Non-God Religious Belief Systems

Agnosticism is the view that the truth values of certain claims—especially claims about the existence or non-existence of any deity, as well as other religious and metaphysical claims—are unknown and unknowable. In some senses, agnosticism is a stance about the difference between belief and knowledge, rather than about any specific claim or belief. An agnostic is someone who neither believes nor disbelieves in the existence of a deity or deities, whereas a theist and an atheist believe and disbelieve, respectively

Ignosticism – the theological position that every other theological position (including agnosticism and atheism) assumes too much about the concept of God and many other theological concepts. It is the view that a coherent definition of God must be presented before the question of the existence of God can be meaningfully discussed.

Transtheistic – A belief system that neither accepts nor rejects the idea of the existence of God(s). God is an impersonal “necessary being” if he exists at all.

Cheers to 2016!

As we start into 2016 I am going to be posting a handful of blogs to share some of what I have been thinking about lately.  The topics of these posts are going to be much different than what I have traditionally written about here on Cofebuz.com, but I hope that they might be thought provoking for you as well.  The posts that I am going to be sharing with you are each part of my spiritual journey.  Some are simply research I have done on understanding major world religions, while others look at prophecies about Jesus that were part of the Dead Sea scrolls (Old Testament books that pre-date Jesus by several hundred years and have been confirmed by even the most atheistic scholars), and finally I’ll share some thoughts I’ve had on child rights and the purpose of money. (Religion and money, what could go wrong?)  Like I said, these are not topics typical to Cofebuz, but I hope that they are thought provoking for you.  Thank you for reading, and cheers to 2016!

Tim

Top 10 Presentation Tips

I recently did some in-house training on presentation skills thought you might enjoy reading the Top 10 presentation tips that came out of our discussion:

  1. Know your content – This is the #1 differentiator between a great presentation and a lousy one.
  2. Eye Contact – Make eye contact with your audience.
  3. Paint a picture with your words – Explain your points through short stories. Great speakers use stories to create an emotional connection between ideas and their audience.
  4. Stick to your topic – Remember what type of presentation you are giving and be certain you are focused on achieving the desired result.
    1. Informative Tell others about something they should know about
    2. Instructional – Teach others something they don’t know
    3. Arousing – Make them think, change their thought process (a great example would be the Monica Lewinsky TED talk)
    4. Persuasive – Talk them in to taking an action. Tell the audience what to do, how to do it, what happens if they don’t take the action.
  5. Slow Down – Nervous and inexperienced speakers tend to talk way to fast, slow your speech down and add pauses for emphasis.
  6. Don’t Read –If you don’t know your speech without cues it shows you don’t really understand your message.
  7. Good Questions – Use statements like, “that’s a really good question,” to encourage more questions.
  8. Show up Early – Show up early, check out the room, and run through your slideshow if at all possible.
  9. Practice – The secret to becoming a great speaker is to practice, speak, then speak some more.  The more you speak the better you will become.
  10. Have Fun – Enthusiasm is contagious, so is a complete lack of passion for your topic.

Marketing Reports

The more I have become addicted to marketing metrics the more I find that it is important to step back and take a big picture look at the reports I am running.  When I first began developing marketing metrics many years ago it seemed that I was generating great data, but it was not always actionable data.  Over time I have learned how to focus on developing data and metrics that drive better decisions and revenue. This past week I have been thinking about the reports that I will be running over the next 12 months with a focus on producing data that can be acted on to help drive profits. Below is a listing of some of those reports and I hope many of you will find the list beneficial. I would love to hear if you have additional reports that you are running to help drive top line growth.

Monthly Reports

  • Revenue Forecasting
    • Lead Reporting
    • Pipeline Reports (Fee proposals and  qualification based proposals)
    • New Business Reports (New work signed by month)
    • Backlog Report  (Volume of contracts signed but not yet billed)

Quarterly Reports

  • Marketing/BD Costs by group, division, and companywide
    • Marketing Labor Costs (Marketing personnel Only)
    • Marketing Labor Costs (Non-marketing personnel)
    • Business Development Labor Costs
    • Marketing/BD Non-Labor Costs
  • Hit Rates by group, division, companywide, and most importantly by opportunity owner
    • Proposal to Awarded
    • Shortlisted to Awarded

Bi-Annual Reports (1/1 and 7/1)

  • Revenue Comparison Report (Compare revenues for Top 100 clients to prior 3 years revenues from those same clients)
    • Identify growth and losses for top clients
      • Reversible or Inevitable?
  • Identify Client Managers and set meetings regarding relationships that are losing ground

Annual Reports

  • Project Size Report
    • Project profitability by project size and as portion of total profitability
    • Project size as portion of total revenue
    • Repeat Clientele Percentage (percentage of clients that are New vs. Repeat)