Who knew, coding is sometimes easier than marketing.
I wish spinning up the right mix of marketing tools was as simple as starting to code an application. When developing software you have access to very opinionated frameworks that make all the key decisions for you.
Frameworks like Laravel and Ruby on Rails make it incredibly easy to start building your application without getting bogged down on all the technical details. Instead of spending hours researching what libraries to use and how to model your application, you can focus on writing code and creating value.
Obviously these frameworks have their limitations and eventually your application might outgrow them. However by then you will have a much better understanding of what your business needs to scale and make much better decisions than when you started.
Marketing suites from Hubspot, Salesforce, and Adobe attempt to give you an all-in-one solution. However, they’re usually a poor choice for startups because they’re too expensive and lock you into year long contracts. They’re also not complete — there are always a few missing components that you need to bolt on in creative ways.
The real issue is that the marketing technology landscape has exploded. You wade through over a dozen different technology categories: email, automation, social, analytics, event tracking, etc. with over a dozen vendors in each category.
It can take weeks to sort out and evaluate the different options and a wrong choice can mean having to start over at square one.
Startups need a low-cost, easy to implement technology framework for marketing. They usually don’t have the budget or expertise for a all-in-one solution like Hubspot so they ignore the problem. Eventually this results in many lost opportunities and a wasted advertising budget.
A good way to think about a marketing technology is by assessing what marketing needs your business has. In general for any web business there are three main needs:
When implementing marketing technology at B2B startups, I divide the available tools into three categories that match the above needs: Content, Growth, and Analysis.
Content — All the tools you need to host and optimize your marketing content. This includes hosting your website, landing pages, videos, and optimizing your content through A/B testing and SEO.
Growth — The tools that focus on increasing engagement with your marketing content and drive additional traffic through sharing and advertising.
Analysis — The tools that measure campaign results and help you find additional opportunities and troubleshoot bottlenecks
Here’s the marketing framework I recommend for any B2B startup. The best part is that it only costs $149/mo fully loaded. Compared to $1250/mo from Hubspot for a similar feature set.
With this framework you can:
I assume you already have your domain name picked and your website hosted. Just in case I’ve included my favorites at the bottom of this post.
Landing Pages - Leadpages.net Leadpages helps you create, manage, and optimize landing pages using a slick drag and drop interface. There are no restrictions to the number of pages you can host, number of visitors, or collected leads. This makes Leadpages much more scalable than other vendors such as Unbounce.
Price: $37/mo or $25/mo with annual billing
A/B Testing - Google Optimize
I find it surprising that Google doesn’t promote their A/B testing tool. I’ve used both Optimizely and Google Optimize side to side and prefer Google’s offering because it loads content faster and lets you tweak your selection algorithm. Optimizely usually has a delay when loading content that you’ve tweaked using their platform. This results in a bit of a twitch when a web page is loaded. This delay occurs less frequently when using Google’s tool.
Price: Free, enterprise pricing for advance features
SEO Content Auditing - Yoast SEO Plugin If Wordpress is your CMS of record, Yoast SEO plugin can help you optimize your website for search rankings. It handles both technical and content optimization.
Price: Free or a $89 one time fee for advanced features
Video Hosting - Youtube
No need to get fancy with your video hosting just yet. You’ll end up posting your company videos and webinars to Youtube anyways so might as embed them into your website. My previous choice was Wistia, however there free tier only allows 3 videos, while the regular tier is $99/mo.