The majority of inbound marketing solutions are a collection of different tools that are forged together. Rarely is there one specific platform that can provide an end-to-end solution. Most of these platforms differ in services offered to businesses of different sizes. However, a successful inbound marketing solution should have the following components:
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- A/B Testing
- Email/Marketing Automation
- Landing Page Creation
- Lead/Database Management
- PPC/Advertising Analytics/Management
- SEO Monitoring/Management
- Web Analytics
A few of the larger vendors such as Eloqua, Hubspot, Marketo, and Pardot offer these services as a comprehensive solution. A comprehensive solution can make things easier for everyone. Here’s a list and evaluation of the top contenders:
Eloqua provides email automation, landing page creation, and lead/database management. This application is a marketing automation vendor. It’s not really considered to be an inbound marketing platform. It provides an enterprise-level technology with tremendous potential for customization and a very strong community that builds interconnected software and can be leveraged as a strong knowledge base. However, Eloqua doesn’t do a great job of delivering accurate web analytics, SEO, or PPC/ advertising functions. It generally needs to be paired with another application to fill in its service gaps.
Hubspot provides virtually every function to be expected from an inbound marketing platform. It is generally used by SMBs, but larger companies could benefit from its suite of tools. In addition to the regular functions the application also features social media capabilities. Its landing page creation/ A/B testing aspect of the platform is exceptionally strong and is based on the acquisition of a company named “Performable”. Unfortunately, PPC and Advertising solutions are not a strong point of Hubspot outside of measuring basic performance.
Marketo provides email automation, landing page creation, and lead/ database management. It’s very much like Eloqua and possesses nearly the same strengths and weaknesses. Most users would find this application to be a bit easier to use. It appears to be targeted to the needs of smaller companies that may not have dedicated IT resources.
Pardot also provides email automation, landing page creation, and lead/ database management. This application is very similar to Marketo and Eloqua. It does have more strengths in email marketing, but it seems to lag behind in other types of functions.
Google’s Marketing Stack
This tool provides web analytics, SEO, PPC, Ads, and A/B testing. Its combination of Google Analytics, AdWords, and Webmaster tools makes a great combination for startups with little resources. However, the power behind its services can accomdate SMBs and larger companies. This is a great complimentary service to any of the preceding marketing automation vendors. The services level of integration is unparalleled and linking all of its tools together can provide a cost-effective and intuitive method to create an inbound marketing solution.
Adobe’s Marketing Stack
This tool provides web analytics, SEO, PPC, Ads, and A/B testing. Many companies that prefer to have more control and scalability choose Adobe over Google’s offering. The tools are quite good, but they’re expensive. Its tools will work well with complex sites and the SearchCenter will allow you to manage your ads across various search options.
There are also a few other tools that can be used in creating inbound marketing solutions. These tools include:
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- Cuutio- SEO, SEM, basic analytics
- Brightedge -SEO Management/ Analytics
- IBM -Analytics, Lead/ Database Management
- Mailchimp- Email Marketing
- Marin Software- PPC/ Ad Management
- Salesforce-Lead/ Database Management
- UnBounce-landing pages/ A/B testing
Inevitably, you’ll have to determine which tool works best for your situation. There are a lot of good options out there; it’s best to try a couple of tools out before making a final decision.
Editor note: Contributor Tiffany is a writer by profession and has excelled in the category of technology and online marketing. Visit the site he contributes: Agency Platform, that provides white Label Inbound Marketing Software that suits for inbound marketing agency that helps to stay on track, share and collaborate, work faster and close more deals.