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21 Digital Marketing Tools You Need When Starting a Business

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Did you know there are more than 30 million small businesses in the United States alone?

With a number like this, small business owners need a competitive edge. If you are building a business, chances are you’re looking for ways to get your leg up on the competition. To accomplish this, you’ll need a good marketing strategy and access to the best digital marketing tools.

In this post, I’m going to outline 21 digital marketing tools you need when starting a business. You may be familiar with a marketing tool or two in here; others might be new to you.

From simplifying your social media marketing efforts and project management to finding freelancers, each of these tools will help you get the competitive edge you’re after.

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Are you ready to grow your business with digital marketing?

Then let’s begin.

Get this: email marketing is used by eight out of ten marketers.

This isn’t something you should wait on. Instead, you should implement an email marketing strategy on day one.

With more than 12 million customers, MailChimp has claimed its spot as one of the top email marketing providers and digital marketing tools in the world.

While there are alternatives, this tool remains one of the best, for many reasons:

  • History dating back to 2001, well before most companies began using email marketing
  • Self-service support options, ensuring that you can quickly find answers to all of your questions
  • Free plan for those with less than 2,000 subscribers and those who don’t send more than 12,000 emails per month

When starting a business, it’s not likely that you will have more than 2,000 subscribers. For this reason, you can get started with MailChimp early using the tool for free as you get your feet wet with email marketing and then move to a paid plan as you scale.

mailchimp digital marketing tool

When it comes to marketing, sales, and CRM software, HubSpot has become one of the top players.

For the sake of this post, let’s focus on its marketing software solutions. The company has this to say about this digital marketing tool:

From attracting visitors to closing customers, HubSpot brings your entire marketing funnel together.

You know just how important it is for your marketing funnel to be in good working order. With this software, you have access to tools that help with:

  • blogging
  • SEO
  • social Media
  • website
  • lead management
  • landing pages
  • calls-to-action
  • marketing automation
  • email
  • analytics

There is no stone left unturned, when you rely on HubSpot’s all-in-one marketing software.That’s why it’s a top choice for those who are starting a business.

With everything you need in one place, you don’t have to pull yourself in many different directions. This will help you to find success in the early days and help you as you grow.

hubspot digital marketing tool

Trello is a digital marketing tool that helps you to manage projects and stay on the same page as your team–a sound digital marketing practice if you want to save time and frustration.

For example, you can share blog posts on Trello before you publish them. This gives others on your team the opportunity to review the post, weigh in with their thoughts and make changes that could strengthen the piece before it goes live.

In the past, before the days of Trello and similar programs, email was the best way to collaborate with your team. While this is still helpful, to a certain degree, it can lead to confusion, missed messages, and frustration.

trello digital marketing tools

With Trello, everything related to your online marketing strategy can be shared in the same place. It only takes a few minutes to set up a board. Even better, you can quickly invite your entire staff, all of whom can jump in on the action without delay.

Trello isn’t the only digital marketing tool of its kind, but it’s, by far, one of the best. When it comes to collaborating with others regarding marketing tasks, this tool is hard to beat.

hootsuite digial marketing tools

Social media plays a big part in the success of any company, regardless of size, age, or industry. In fact, I’d argue that social media marketing is a must to thrive in this digital era.

Digital marketing tools like Hootsuite allow you to schedule social media posts in advance, thus saving you loads of time.

Hootsuite offers tons of features to help you grow your business. For example, you can:

  • Identify influencers for your marketing team and leads for your sales team
  • Reply to comments and mentions through the dashboard–there’s no reason to visit each individual platform
  • Take advantage of pre-written responses
  • Schedule posts when your audience is most active (even if you’re asleep!)

Social media marketing is not as difficult as it sounds, especially when you rely on tools like Hootsuite. With this particular tool, you can schedule and manage social media profiles for more than 30 platforms.

Imagine doing this by hand, without a central dashboard to guide you. It would be enough to frustrate even the most experienced entrepreneur, let alone a new business owner. Let Hootsuite take over like the social media marketing manager it is.

As one of the top free tools from Google, Analytics should be part of your digital marketing strategy from the very start. In fact, I’d argue it’s one of the most powerful digital marketing tools out there.

It only takes a couple of minutes to add the Analytics code to your website, giving you the ability to track every action by every visitor.

This is considered by many to be nothing more than a traffic tool, but it can actually have a big impact on your marketing strategy, if you know what you’re doing.

Take, for example, the ability to see where your traffic comes from:

google analytics digital marketing tools

Maybe you realize that a particular social media campaign is driving tons of traffic to your website. With this data, you can adjust your future strategy, in an attempt to capture the same results.

Or, maybe you find that a particular set of keywords is doing wonders for your organic traffic. Again, you can turn your attention to these keywords, ensuring that you keep these in mind as you create content down the road.

Google Analytics isn’t one of those digital marketing tools you can ignore. Installing this early on is a key decision, in regards to your digital marketing strategy. The data you can collect is extremely valuable.

The tagline of this digital marketing tool says it all:

Track, analyze and optimize your digital marketing performance. See what’s working and what’s not, across all campaigns, mobile and web.

It’s good that you want to spend so much time on digital marketing in the early days of your business. But, do you really want to make decisions that aren’t having an impact?

You need to track and analyze every move that you make, as this is the only way to focus on the tactics that are providing the best return on investment (ROI).

With KISSmetrics, you can easily see what’s working and what’s not, across all of your campaigns.

Take, for example, its Analytics products. With a funnel report, you can see if there are any “leaks” in your business. Here’s a screenshot of what to expect:

kissmetrics digital marketing tool

Starting at $120/month, KISSmetrics isn’t the cheapest digital marketing tool on this list. Even so, it’s one that you’ll want to think about, as your business gets up and running.

With a variety of products at your fingertips, the insights you receive will be invaluable to your company’s growth.

digital marketing tool follower wonk

Do you plan on spending a lot of time on social media marketing?

While this is a great way to engage your audience and send traffic to your website, it’ll only work in your favor if you have a solid plan in place.

Tools, such as Followerwonk, are designed to help you improve your social media marketing strategy, such as by digging into your Twitter analytics data.

I included this digital marketing tool on the list for two reasons: it’s easy to use and it’s extremely effective.

Followerwonk breaks down its service into three distinct categories:

  • Find: Use the tool to search Twitter bios and compare accounts.
  • Analyze: Breakdown your follower list by bio, location, who they follow, and many other criteria.
  • Optimize: match your strategy to follower gains and losses, to understand what type of content performs best.

The only downside of Followerwonk is that it can’t be used with other social media platforms, such as Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn. However, if you have big plans for Twitter, this is a digital marketing tool you should use often.

Even though you may not use it on a daily basis, it can come in handy from time to time. After all, it’s imperative that you understand your audience.

follower wonk digital marketing tools

If WordPress is your content management system (CMS) of choice, you shouldn’t hesitate to install the All in One SEO Pack plugin.

A big part of your digital marketing strategy should be based around search engine optimization (SEO) and this digital marketing tool will ensure that you always make good decisions regarding your content and its appeal to search engines.

Some of the top features of the plugin include:

  • XML Sitemap support
  • Advanced Canonical URLs
  • Automatic generation of META tags
  • Compatible with most other plugins
  • Automatically notifies major search engines, including Google and Bing, of any site changes

Even though all of these features are exciting, it’s something else that has made it one of the most popular WordPress plugins of all time: its ease of use.

Here’s a screenshot, showing a small portion of the tool’s back end:

digital marketing tool AIOSEO

You don’t have to make many decisions in order to get started. And, if you’re ever confused as to what you should be doing, there is help to be had. All you have to do is click the “?” symbol and you’re provided with more information and advice.

The All in One SEO Pack plugin has more than a million active installs. You won’t have to look far to find competitors, but there’s a reason why so many people use this digital marketing tool.

Not only is it free and simple, but it’s results can’t be denied. It will definitely help your website from an SEO perspective, which is something all new businesses need.

BuzzSumo is a big deal for people who need to learn more about their market.

When you start a business, it’s safe to say you know a thing or two about your industry and primary competitors. But, once you dig around more, you’ll find that there is tons of data you can use to your advantage.

If you want to better understand your competition or if you want to learn what type of content performs best with search engines och your audience, you don’t need any other digital marketing tool by your side.

A BuzzSumo search results page looks something like this:

digital marketing tools buzzsumo

Additionally, there is high level data associated with each result:

digital marketing tools buzzsumo

This information can come in handy at many times, such as when you are creating content for your blog.

Why guess as to what is performing best in your niche? You can use BuzzSumo to answer this question with 100 percent accuracy.

With this search, you see that the top result has approximately 20k social shares. You now know what to strive for, if you want to achieve the same level of success.

As a big fan of BuzzSumo, this is a ditial marketing tool that I use on a regular basis. Even if you don’t do much with the data at first, each search will help you to better understand your competition and target audience.

crazy egg digital marketing tool

Do you ever find yourself asking this question: what’s working and what’s not about my website?

This is where Crazy Egg can step in and provide assistance.

There are two keys here:

  • You can use Crazy Egg to make website changes that generate better results.
  • You don’t need much, if any, IT help to get started.

When you’re new to your business, you don’t want to spend countless hours dealing with IT issues. Unfortunately, this often happens when it comes to split testing. Unless you use Crazy Egg, of course.

The tool is packed with features, such as:

  • heatmaps and mouse recording
  • analysis and reporting
  • platforms and integrations
  • targeting and personalization
  • research and user feedback

A tool that helps you understand what your website visitors like and don’t like, so you can maximize your sales and leads, means that you have to give Crazy Egg a try. It’s one of those digital marketing tools that you don’t know you need, until you use it one time.

ubersuggest marketing tool for starting a business

Not only is keyword research a challenging task, but it can also get expensive with the price of premium keyword research tools. Your typical free software won’t offer you much but UberSuggest isn’t your typical free software.

Digital Marketing Tools You Need When Starting a Business ubersuggest screen shot

As a whole, this digital marketing tool is easy for beginners because the dashboard is simple to navigate so you can quickly find the data you want. You’ll start by entering a root keyword or domain that you want to research. You get up to three free searches per day on the free version and you can upgrade to a paid software as well.

UberSuggest provides useful keyword information such as total search volume, difficulty, and paid difficulty if you’re thinking of running an ad campaign around that keyword.

digital marketing tools for starting a business ubersuggest keyword ideas

As you work your way down you’ll see historical data that will show you how that keyword has trended over time. This is helpful for determining seasonal keywords or ones that are popular now but may die off over time.

You also get keyword ideas and suggestions that are relevant to the one you’re searching for so you can update older content or develop a content marketing plan.

Overall, UberSuggest is an amazing free keyword research tool that is a great choice for beginners and has enough value as a paid tool for those who are scaling as well.

digital marketing tools for starting a business cofounders lab

CoFoundersLab is a great digital marketing tool for small businesses that are growing but need a little help to take things to the next level. It uses AI to help you find a cofounder, additional member, or advisor based on a certain set of criteria.

The best digital marketing tools make life easier. CoFoundersLab intends on helping to create a large ecosystem of business owners, entrepreneurs, consultants, and advisors so it’s that much easier to find whatever you need at the current stage in your business.

For example, you can search for someone with a specific skill and find them instantly without having to post on job boards, conduct interviews, and do onboarding. If you’re looking for an SEO content creator, you’ll simply fill out that set of criteria and be instantly connected to someone who can fill that role.

It’s similar to other freelancing platforms out there, but what separates CoFoundersLab is you can find someone who is on the same level. If you’re looking for someone to financially back your business or simply support you equally in your venture, this might be the place to do it.

adobe sign digital marketing tools for starting a business

When it comes to must-have digital marketing tools, Adobe Sign more than makes the cut. It’s a cloud-based e-signature service that helps you use less paper, save time, and get signatures using an automated signature system. You can send documents, sign, and manage the whole process via desktop or mobile device.

There are also integrations to keep records of all the signatures you’ve received so you can reference back if you lose something important.

This simple but useful tool solves a major problem that a lot of businesses have. More and more people are working remotely and may not have access to printers and scanners. This creates delays in your workflow and can frustrate customers if you’re unable to get them what they want because you’re waiting on signatures and approvals.

Adobe Sign is also usable from anywhere on any device. Someone can be on their way to a meeting in the car and sign on their mobile device using their fingertip. No need to print anything, scan, fax, anything. It’s completely digital, safe, and secure.

DropBox is an essential piece of the modern digital business. It allows all the working pieces of your business to come together in one place to eliminate clutter and save time looking for things.

Organization is the key to a successful business, and downloading and sharing files simply doesn’t cut it anymore. With people working from home, you can’t have everyone downloading personal company files onto their computers, misplacing them, or potentially abusing them.

DropBox prevents this from happening by being a totally cloud-based document sharing platform that allows you to set permission levels so certain people can only see what they need to.

You can also connect other tools like Slack and Zoom to DropBox so you have everything in one place. All company data stays in one place so it’s organized, safe, and accounted for.

If you’re still manually downloading files to your computer, attaching them to emails, and sending them off into space, you’ll find DropBox is a much more efficient and safer way to keep track of documents and document sharing in your business.

digital marketing tools to start a business google products

I don’t know where I would be without the full line of Gmail products. There used to be a time when we’d create pieces of content in Word platform, download it, and then attach it to an email and send it off.

The next person would mark it up with notes and adjustments, send it back, and the process would start over.

Thankfully, those days are long gone.

With Google Docs and Sheets, you can share documents in real-time and actually mark them up with the writer looking at them so you can see what they’re doing. There’s a chat feature and a suggestion area, too where you can ask questions and provide responses as to why a certain adjustment was made.

There’s a level of security and protection here, as well. Different permission levels ranging from “view” to “edit” give you complete control over your documents. If you’re sending a document off as a reference to something, you might not want that person to make any changes to it without making a copy for themselves, the Gmail Suite of products can do that.

Plus, everything syncs with your Google Calendar. If you’re talking in an email about setting up a call in three days, you can instantly set that appointment on your calendar and you’ll receive reminders across all your devices.

odesk work digital marketing tools

oDeskWork is a freelancer platform that connects you with the right virtual assistant or freelancer to support your business. At some point, every business needs to start hiring. No matter what business you’re in, to grow and scale, you need a support system because you can’t do everything.

This is where digital marketing tools like oDeskWork come into play. You can upload current projects that you need completed, browse profiles, and start communicating with potential candidates.

The platform also offers payment protection, so you ensure you get the services you anticipated. Payments are only released to the freelancer when you’re satisfied with the work they completed.

oDeskWork has experts and freelancers in all different kinds of niches including digital marketing, virtual assisting, transcribing, proofreading, writing, editing, SEO, WordPress, and more.

upwork digital marketing tools

Upwork is a freelancer platform that connects you with qualified candidates who can help your business grow, making it a must-have digital marketing tool. What I like most about Upwork is the transparency you get and the fact that you can see all types of work that the freelancers have completed.

For example, if you’re browsing for someone to build you a WordPress website, you wouldn’t hire someone without first seeing what type of work they do, right?

The platform will show you examples of their work, their job success rating, a description of their skills, their rate per hour, as well as any badges they’ve earned for continuous performance.

When you’re searching for tools for digital marketing agencies, the last thing you need is to waste time with people who can’t deliver. Upwork ensures that doesn’t happen with their escrow protection as well. None of the money you pay for a job will be released until you are happy with it.

I also find that Upwork is a great place to find long-term working relationships with freelancers that you can use on an ongoing basis versus a one-off job.

fivver digital marketing tools

I like to think of Fiverr as Upwork’s little brother. When you’re looking to create long-term working relationships and hire someone who can really provide you with a premium service, you should turn to Upwork.

Sometimes though, you’re just looking for a quick job that someone can turn around fast for an affordable price. For example, if you need someone to do up a quick logo for an affiliate site for five dollars, Fiverr is the way to go.

One thing I really like about Fiverr is you can quickly sift through freelancers using the search feature. Type in the service you’re interested in, and you’ll find information such as overall rating and average starting cost.

Fiverr also provides certain freelancers with titles like “top-rated seller” and “level 2 seller.” These will help you determine what level of experience you’re looking for in the job you need to be completed. The best digital marketing tools offer this kind of trust.

This tool is best for one-off jobs that are lower budget and not as difficult, but I wouldn’t recommend hiring off Fiverr for anything too involved such as link building or content creation.

omnifocus digital marketing tool

Need to stay on task? This digital marketing tool can help.

OmniFocus is a task management tool that helps you manage all your operations in one place. You can keep track of everything that’s going on all from your browser or mobile device.

You can tag certain projects, assign them to the individual you want to complete them, and set due dates so you can lay out your week in the most productive way possible. As work comes in, you can assign support workers to handle the task and close it out when it’s complete.

One of my favorite things about OmniFocus is the forecast feature where you can get an overall snapshot of what you have coming up in the future including recurring tasks that might only happen once per quarter, bi-annually, or even every few years. This ensures that no one forgets anything.

The main downside is that this tool is only available for Apple users at this point. For all the Windows and Android people out there, you’ll have to go with something else like Trello or ClickUp for now.

zoom digital marketing tool

We all know Zoom as the video conferencing software used to bring people together no matter where they are on the planet. We’re all facing our own unique remote working situation but we still need to connect sometimes and Zoom allows that to happen. The best digital marketing tools help bring businesses together.

You can share your screen, draw on the screen, record meetings, and invite others to join in as well. Zoom offers free video conferencing for up to 100 participants for up to 40 minutes.

If you’re holding a one-on-one meeting that runs longer than 40 minutes, I’ve found in the past that Zoom will often extend the meeting for free with no time limit.

toggle digital marketing tool

Toggl helps bring this list of digital marketing tools together. For all the work you’re doing, freelancers you’re managing, and documents you’re sharing; you need to have an idea of how long everything takes.

This tool does that with time tracking, reporting, and project planning. You can use Toggl to get an accurate representation of how long a task or project will take so you can know how many resources you need to allot for next time.

Toggl offers a few different tools for time tracking, project planning, and candidate-screening so it’s an all-inclusive tool for businesses that manage a remote team.

Slutsats

Starting or growing a business isn’t easy, but it doesn’t have to be overwhelming, either.

The first step is to create a strong digital marketing strategy–one that incorporates social media marketing, search engine optimization, email marketing, and consistent, valuable content that truly speaks to your audience.

Ensuring your business succeeds means using the right digital marketing tools at the right time. It’s my hope that this list will help you in your digital marketing efforts and bring you the success you seek.

Would you add any other tools to this list? Did you use any of these as you launched your small business? Share your thoughts in the comment section below.

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Is a Marketing Degree Worth it in 2023?

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Is a Marketing Degree Worth it in 2023?

If you’re thinking about getting a degree at any age, it makes sense to think about the value of that degree. Is the qualification needed for the career you want? Are there alternative paths to that career? Can you develop better skills by gaining experience in work? 

All of these are perfectly valid questions. After all, getting a degree requires a pretty large investment of both time and money. You want to know that you’ll get enough return on that investment to make it worthwhile.

Why marketing?

When it comes to marketing, a lot of entry-level jobs list a bachelor’s degree as a requirement. That doesn’t mean there aren’t alternate ways to get into marketing but having a relevant degree certainly makes your resume more competitive. 

Growth industry

Marketing skills are in demand in the current jobs market. According to a recent report from LinkedIn, marketing job posts grew 63% in just six months last year. Half of those jobs were in the digital and media sectors, meaning digital and content marketing skills are highly valued

Personal Development & Career Path

The reason for this increased demand for marketers is tied to the rise in digital marketing. New methods of marketing have continued to develop out of the digital sector. This means that marketers capable of creating engaging content or managing social media accounts are needed.

This leaves a lot of room for personal development. Young graduates who are well-versed in social media and community management can hit the ground running in digital marketing. Getting on this path early can lead to content strategist and marketing management positions.    

What are the Types of Marketing Degrees?

When we say marketing degree, the term is a bit too general. There are a lot of degree paths that focus on marketing in major or minor ways. The level of degree available will depend on your current education history, but the specific course will be down to your personal choice. 

Associate, Bachelor’s, or Master’s?

Recent statistics suggest that 74% of US marketing professionals hold a bachelor’s degree. 9% have an associate degree and 8% have a master’s degree. Here’s a quick overview of the differences. 

Associate degrees – 2-year courses that cover marketing and business in a more basic way than bachelor’s qualifications. They’re designed to give students the basic skills needed to apply for entry-level marketing jobs.   

Bachelor’s degrees – 3/4-year courses that cover business and economics. There is a range of bachelor’s courses with marketing at their core, but you’ll also cover wider business topics like management, communication, and administration. 

Master’s degrees – 2-year courses, usually only available if you’ve already completed a bachelor’s degree. MA or MBA courses are designed to develop a deep understanding of complex business topics. They are highly specific, covering areas like strategic marketing or marketing analytics. 

Free to use image from Pixabay

Marketing Specific or Business General? 

This is down to personal choice. There are general business degrees that will cover marketing as a module as well as marketing-specific degrees. There are also multiple universities and colleges, both offline and online, offering different course platforms

If you’re looking at a specific job role or career path, then research which type of degree is most relevant. Remember that you will need to add to your marketing skills if you intend to progress to management roles in the future. 

Check the Modules & Curriculum

This is important, and not only because it lets you see which courses align with your career goals. Marketing has changed significantly over the last decade, even more so if you go back to before the digital age. Many business courses are still behind on current marketing trends. 

What Jobs Look for a Marketing Degree?

Once you’ve got your marketing qualification, what jobs should you be looking for? Here are some job titles and areas you should watch out for, and what qualifications you’ll need for them.

Entry level

If you’re starting with a degree and no experience, or work experience but no degree, take a look at these roles. 

  • Sales/customer service roles – These are adjacent roles to marketing where most companies do not ask for prior qualifications. If you don’t have a degree, this is a good place to start.
  • Marketing or public relations intern – Another possibility if you don’t have a degree, or you’re still in education. 
  • Digital/content marketing associate – These roles will almost always require an associate’s or bachelor’s degree. A good grasp of new digital and social marketing techniques will be required to succeed. 
  • Copywriter/Bid writer – This is a good route into marketing for those with journalism or literature qualifications. These roles combine aspects of marketing, creative writing, and persuasive writing. 
  • SEO specialist – A more focused form of marketing centered on SEO content optimization. If you know how to optimize a blog post for search engine rankings, this role is for you. Bachelor’s or associate qualifications will be a minimum requirement. 
  • Social media/community manager – Since these are relatively new roles, we tend to see a mix of degree-qualified marketers and people who’ve had success fostering communities or online brands but don’t have on-paper credentials.  

Free to use image from Unsplash

Career Progression

If you have an MA or MBA, or significant experience in one of the above roles, then you can look at these more advanced roles for your career progression.

  • Digital Marketing Manager – A role for experienced marketers that involves running campaigns and coordinating marketing associates. 
  • Senior Marketing Coordinator – A department management level role. Responsible for overall marketing strategy and departmental performance.  
  • Content Strategist – A specialist role that focuses on content strategy. Designing content plans based on demographic and keyword research are a core aspect of this role. 
  • Marketing Analyst – This role involves analyzing customer behaviors and market trends. If you want to move into analysis from a more direct marketing role, you’ll likely need specific data analysis qualifications. 
  • Public Relations Specialist – The public voice of a large organization’s PR team. Managing a brand’s public perception and setting brand-level communication policies like tone of voice.   
  • Experiential Marketing Specialist – This area of marketing is focused on optimizing the customer experience. Experiential specialists have a deep understanding of customer psychology and behaviors. 
  • Corporate Communications Manager – Communications managers are responsible for company-wide communications policies. This is an executive-level role that a marketing coordinator or public relations manager might move up to. 

Average marketing salaries

Across all the roles we’ve discussed above, salaries vary widely. For those entry-level roles, you could be looking at anything from $25 – $40K depending on the role and your experience. 

When it comes to median earnings for marketers with a bachelor’s or master’s degree, we can get a bit more specific. Recent statistics from Zippia show us that $69,993 p/a is the average for bachelor’s degree holders and $80,365 p/a for master’s degree marketers. 

Image sourced from Zippia.com

Marketing Degree Pros and Cons

So, the question we asked above was “Is a marketing degree worth it?” Yet, in truth, it’s not a simple yes or no answer. The question you need to ask is “Is a marketing degree right for me?” Here’s a summary of the pros and cons that might give you some answers.  

Pros

  • Degree holders have better job prospects and higher earnings potential in marketing
  • You can study highly specific skills with the right courses
  • Gain soft skills like communication and collaboration

Cons

  • High time and money investment required 
  • Diminishing salary returns at higher levels
  • Can be a restrictive environment for self-starters and entrepreneurs

What are Marketing Degree Alternatives?

If you want to stick with education but don’t want to invest four years into a degree, then accredited online courses can provide an alternative. This can be your best choice if you wish to upskill in a specific area like running conference calls from Canada

If higher education really isn’t your thing, the other option is gaining experience. Some businesses prefer internships and training programs for entry-level roles. This allows them to train marketers “their way” rather than re-training someone with more experience.  

Free to use image from Unsplash

How to Decide if a Marketing Degree is Right for You

Ultimately, choosing to do a marketing degree depends on your goals, your preferences, and your talents. Consider all three factors before making your choice. 

Career Goals

Do you want a management position that needs marketing knowledge? What areas of marketing interest you? What skills do you already possess? Answering these three questions will help you define your career path. That will narrow down your course choices. 

If you want to get better at selling small business phone systems in Vancouver, you don’t need a four-year course for that. If you want to develop into high-level marketing roles, then you want that degree. 

Personality

You don’t need a specific personality type to work in marketing. Your personality and interests might determine what area of marketing would suit you best though. For example, if you’re outgoing and creative then public relations or social media management might be for you.    

Investment & Return

Money isn’t everything. But, if you’re going to put the resources into getting a degree, you want to know that you’ll get some return on your investment. From the figures we quoted above, it seems the “optimal” qualification in terms of salary return vs. time and money investment is a bachelor’s degree. 

Average earnings for marketers with a master’s qualification were only $10k higher. This suggests that you’re not really getting a significant financial return for the additional investment. Of course, if that master’s leads to your dream job, you might see it differently.  

Final Thoughts: Forge Your Own Path

Is a marketing degree worth it in 2023? The short answer is yes. Whether that means a marketing degree is right for you, we can’t tell you. Hopefully, though, this guide has given you the information you need to make that choice. 



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How the LinkedIn Algorithm Works in 2023 [Updated]

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How the LinkedIn Algorithm Works in 2023 [Updated]

LinkedIn bills itself as “the world’s largest professional network” — and they have the numbers to prove it. With over 875 million members in more than 200 countries and regions, LinkedIn is immensely popular and well-used. On top of the sheer size of the platform, nearly 25% of users are senior-level influencers; about 10 million are categorized as C-level executives, and LinkedIn classifies 63 million as “decision makers.”

If you’re a B2B marketer or brand, you probably already know this social media platform offers you an excellent opportunity to reach your target demographic. However, seizing that opportunity is easier said than done since LinkedIn uses a unique algorithm to serve content to users.

In this article, we will walk through how the LinkedIn algorithm works in 2023, best practices for beating the algorithm with organic content, and how brands can elevate their presence on the platform.
 

What is the LinkedIn Algorithm?

 
The LinkedIn algorithm is a formula that determines which content gets seen by certain users on the platform. It’s designed to make each user’s newsfeed as relevant and interesting to them as possible to increase engagement and time spent on the platform. In this way, the LinkedIn algorithm is similar to the Facebook or TikTok algorithm, though LinkedIn’s is slightly more transparent (which is good news!). 

In fact, LinkedIn itself is a good source for demystifying the algorithm and understanding what content is prioritized for members. But the general function of the LinkedIn algorithm is to review and assess billions of posts every day and position those that are most authentic, substantive and relevant to each user at the top of their feeds.  

How the algorithm achieves that function is a little more complex.
 

How the LinkedIn Algorithm Works in 2023

 
 
LinkedIn users’ feeds don’t show posts in chronological order. Instead, the LinkedIn algorithm determines which posts show up at the top of users’ feeds, meaning that sometimes users see older or more popular posts before they see more recent ones.

Several factors influence the LinkedIn algorithm, and the factors change relatively often. Let’s take a closer look.
 

1. Assess and Filter Content by Quality

 
When someone posts on LinkedIn, the algorithm determines whether it’s spam, low-quality, or high-quality content. High-quality content is cleared, low-quality content undergoes additional screening, and spam content is eliminated. 

 

  • Spam – Content flagged as spam can have poor grammar, contain multiple links within the post, tag more than five people, use more than ten hashtags (or use expressly prescriptive hashtags like #follow, #like, and #comment) or be one of multiple postings from the same user within three hours. 
  • Low-quality – Content categorized as low quality isn’t spam but is judged as not particularly relevant to the audience. These posts can be hard to read, tag people who are unlikely to respond or interact, or deal with topics too broad to be interesting to users.  
  • High-quality – “Clear” content is easy to read, encourages engagement, incorporates strong keywords, uses three or fewer hashtags, and reserves outbound links to the comments. In other words, it’s something your audience will want to read or see and react to in a substantive way.

 

2. Test Post Engagement with a Small Follower Group

 
Once a post has made it through the spam filter, the algorithm distributes it to a small subset of your followers for a short time (about an hour) to test its ability to generate engagement. If this group of followers likes, comments or shares the post within this “golden hour,” the LinkedIn algorithm will push it to more people. 

If, on the other hand, the post is ignored, or your followers choose to hide it from their feeds (or, worst of all, mark it as spam), the algorithm will not share it further.  
 

3. Expand the Audience Based on Ranking Signals

 
If the algorithm decides your post is worthy of being sent to a broader audience, it will use a series of three ranking signals to determine exactly who sees it: personal connection, interest relevance och engagement probability. 

These signals boil down to the level of connection between you and the user who potentially sees the post, that user’s interest in the content’s topic and the likelihood of that user interacting with the content. We’ll break down exactly what these ranking signals are further in the post.
 

4. Additional Spam Checks and Continued Engagement Monitoring

 
Even after a post is pushed to a broader audience, the LinkedIn algorithm continues monitoring how users perceive it in terms of quality. If your content is marked as spam or entirely ignored by the new audience group, LinkedIn will stop showing it to those audiences. On the other hand, if your post resonates with new audiences, LinkedIn will keep the post in rotation. So long as the post gets a steady stream of engagement, posts can stay in circulation for months.
 

8 Best Practices to Make the LinkedIn Algorithm Work for You

 
 Understanding how the LinkedIn algorithm works is the first step to reaching more people on LinkedIn and ensuring your content is well-received and engaging. The next step is optimizing your content based on the factors the algorithm prioritizes to maximize its effect. This is where mastering the ranking signals comes into play.

Here are eight tips for crafting high-performing LinkedIn content:
 

1. Know What’s Relevant to Your Audience

 
Relevance is what the algorithm prizes above all other content qualities. For LinkedIn, relevance translates to engagement, which leads to more time spent on the platform, which results in more ad revenue and continued growth. Following this tip will win you points in the “interest relevance” and “engagement probability” ranking categories. 

The entire LinkedIn ecosystem is set up to prioritize highly relevant content. To ensure your posts are relevant, create content focused on your niche and your audience’s specific needs and interests. As LinkedIn’s then-Director of Product Management Linda Leung explained in 2022, “we are continuously investing in the teams, tools, and technology to ensure that the content that you see on your feed adds value to your professional journey.” 

Use customer research and analytics from other social media platforms to learn more about what your audience wants to know. Focus on creating high-quality, valuable content that helps professionals succeed in formats they prefer (for example, videos, which get three times the average engagement of text-only posts). But above all, posting content that is personal and has industry relevance is vital. 
 

2. Post at the Right Time

 
As with most things, timing is crucial for successful LinkedIn posts. It’s even more critical when considering the “golden hour” testing process integral to the algorithm’s rankings. Remember, how much interaction a post gets within the first hour after it’s published determines whether it gets pushed to a broader audience. That means posting at the optimal time when your followers are online and primed to respond is a central factor to success.

You are the best judge of when your top LinkedIn followers and people in your network are most likely to be on the platform and engaging with content. But for the general public, data suggests the best time to post is at 9:00 a.m. EST on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. Cross-reference these times with your own analytics and knowledge about your audience — like a common time zone, for example — to find the best time for your posts.
 

3. Encourage Engagement

 
Your post format can play a significant role in user engagement. The LinkedIn algorithm doesn’t explicitly prioritize videos over photo and text posts, but LinkedIn’s internal research has found video ads are five times more likely to start conversations compared to other types of promoted content. 

Asking a question is another great way to encourage interaction with your post. If you’re sharing industry insights, open the conversation to commenters by asking them to share their opinions or experiences on the topic. 

Additionally, tagging someone in your LinkedIn post can expand its reach, but only tag relevant users and people likely to engage with the post. You don’t automatically get in front of a celebrity’s entire following just because you tagged them. In fact, the algorithm’s spam filter can penalize your post for that. But when you tag someone relevant, the tagged person’s connections and followers will also see your post in their feeds. 
 

4. … But don’t beg users to engage

 
The LinkedIn algorithm penalizes posts and hashtags that expressly ask for an engagement action like a follow or a comment. In an official blog post from May 2022, LinkedIn said that it “won’t be promoting” posts that “ask or encourage the community to engage with content via likes or reactions posted with the exclusive intent of boosting reach on the platform.” Essentially, content that begs for engagement is now considered low-quality and should be avoided.
 

5. Promote new posts on non-LinkedIn channels

 
LinkedIn doesn’t exist in a vacuum, and neither do its users. Content that gains traction in other channels can help boost LinkedIn posts and vice versa. Sharing posts on your website, other social media platforms, or with coworkers can spark the initial engagement required for a viral LinkedIn post. Promoting content on other channels can also encourage inactive LinkedIn users to re-engage with the platform, and that interaction will be interpreted as net new engagement for your post.
 

6. Keep Your Posts Professional

 
As the “professional social networking site,” LinkedIn has a well-honed identity that extends to the type of content it favors. Specifically, business-related content that users will find relevant and helpful to their careers or within their industry. 

This might seem common sense, but it can be tempting to think that content that earns lots of clicks or likes on other social media platforms will perform similarly when cross-posted on LinkedIn. Unfortunately (or fortunately), hilarious memes, TikTok dance clips and personal videos don’t resonate with the LinkedIn algorithm. 
 

7. Avoid Outbound Links
 
 

The urge to include an outbound link in a LinkedIn post is real, especially for B2B marketers using LinkedIn to generate leads and traffic to their websites. But this is universally regarded as a tactic to avoid. LinkedIn wants to keep users on the platform and engaging; link-outs defeat that purpose. Therefore, the algorithm tends to downgrade content that includes an outbound link. 

Posts without outbound links enjoyed six times more reach than posts containing links. Does that mean there’s no room for a link to your brand’s website or blog with additional resources? No. But the best practice is creating content that encourages a conversation and letting the audience request an outbound link. If you feel compelled to link to something off-platform, include that link in the comments. 
 

8. Keep an Eye on SSI

 
LinkedIn has a proprietary metric called the Social Selling Index, which measures “how effective you are at establishing your professional brand, finding the right people, engaging with insights, and building relationships.” Per LinkedIn, social selling leaders create 45% more opportunities than those users with lower SSI scores.

A higher SSI boosts users’ posts closer to the top of their audience’s feeds. While this impacts post visibility for individual posters rather than brands and companies, it remains a significant influence on LinkedIn’s algorithm and is worth noting. 

Källa: Business 2 Community
 

An Overview of Ranking Signals on LinkedIn’s Algorithm

 
 
As mentioned earlier, there are three ranking signals the LinkedIn algorithm uses to rank posts in a user’s feed:
 

  1. Personal connections
  2. Interest relevance
  3. Engagement probability

 
And here’s how each signal impacts a post’s ranking:
 

Personal Connections

 
In 2019, LinkedIn began deprioritizing content from mega influencers (think Oprah and Richard Brandon) and instead began highlighting content from users’ personal connections. To determine a user’s connections, LinkedIn considers these two things:
 

  1. Who a user works with or has previously worked with
  2. Who a user has interacted with before on the platform

 
At the top of the feed, users now see posts by people they engage with often and by anyone who posts consistently. Users also see more posts from connections with whom they share interests and skills (according to their LinkedIn profiles). 

That said, as of 2022, LinkedIn is also “creating more ways to follow people throughout the feed experience,” including thought leaders, industry experts, and creators that may be outside of a user’s network. So it’s important to remember that personal connection is just one factor influencing post ranking.
 

Interest relevance

 
Relevance is another of the three ranking signals – and in many ways, the most important one. LinkedIn explains on its engineering blog: “We already have a strong set of explicit and implicit signals that provide context on what content a member may find interesting based on their social connections and the Knowledge Graph (e.g., a company that they follow, or news widely shared within their company).”

LinkedIn also uses what they call an “interest graph” that represents the relationships between users and a variety of topics. This lets the LinkedIn algorithm measure the following:
 

  • How interested users are in certain topics
  • How related are different topics to one another
  • Which connections share a user’s interests

 
The algorithm also considers the companies, people, hashtags, and topics mentioned in a post to predict interest. To maximize the interest relevance ranking, you have to understand your target audience and craft content that they’ll find relevant.
 

Engagement Probability

 
Interaction plays a significant role in a post’s ranking on LinkedIn. The platform uses machine learning to rank interaction in two ways:
 

  1. How likely a user is to comment on, share, or react to a post based on the content and people they have interacted with
  2. How quickly a post starts receiving engagement after it’s published. The faster users interact with a post, the more likely it will appear at the top of others’ feeds

 
Users who regularly interact with others’ posts in their LinkedIn feed are more likely to see interactions on their content, which in turn means that they’ll be more likely to show up on other people’s feeds.
 

Elevate Your Brand’s LinkedIn Presence

 
The LinkedIn algorithm can seem intimidating, but it really isn’t. It relies on a series of rules and ranking measures that can be understood and mastered to present users with content they find helpful in their professional lives.

Knowing that the algorithm prioritizes engagement, relevance and connection will help get your posts in front of more LinkedIn users and improve your overall performance on the platform. And by following the eight best practices outlined in this article, you’ll be able to keep your audience’s interest and create plenty of opportunities for them to engage with your content. 

Tinuiti helps brands strengthen relationships with new and current customers through expert social media strategy and brilliant creative. Reach out to our Paid Social services team to learn how to start advancing your LinkedIn strategy today.

Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in September 2021 and has been regularly updated for freshness, accuracy, and comprehensiveness.

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A Digital Practioner’s Guide to Starting the New Year Right



It’s that time of year again – the holiday excitement has faded as we fall back into the workweek. With a year’s worth of work stretched in front of us, there can be both a sense of opportunity and overwhelmedness 

Because transitioning back into the swing of things can be daunting, We’ve gathered key takeaways from the previous year, global Opticon Tour, and how we can successfully apply those learnings in 2023.  

1. “Work about work” is holding teams back. Take this chance to declutter.  

Consider the reality of what most digital teams are up against. When it comes to managing the content lifecycle, draft documents that are stored in separate places and disparate tools that don’t work together are the norm for many. With no centralized point of communication and cumbersome workflows, it can take forever for teams to create and approve content, and work is often duplicated or unused.  

After work is completed, it can be easy to dismiss the headaches caused by inefficient, siloed workflows and processes. But the long-term effects of inefficient and bulky collaboration can be detrimental to a brand’s digital experience – and bottom line. (Those who joined us in San Diego at Opticon might recall this concept played out via ). 

Digital teams with unwieldy content lifecycles can take back control using , saving countless hours and frustration over the year.  

2. Change is constant. Set your team up to be adaptive. 

We all know how difficult it is to create amazing customer experiences these days. The world is moving faster than ever, and change is constant and chaotic with uncertainty on nearly every level: economic upheaval, rapid cultural change, ever-escalating customer expectations (thanks, Amazon), and a tight talent market.  

To not only stay the course but to also grow in this unpredictable environment, it’s important that teams constantly stay on the lookout for new ways to drive more sales and increase loyalty. In other words, consistently deliver modern, relevant, and personalized commerce experiences.  

But keeping pace doesn’t necessarily mean working harder. Optimizely’s Monetize solutions, teams can drive sales and loyalty with fewer costs and efforts.  

3. Data fuels a great customer experience. Test and optimize every touchpoint. 

As practitioners, we all know that the best customer experience wins.  

When teams don’t clearly understand what’s happening and when, they miss the mark. With little patience and high expectations, today’s customers will simply switch to a competitor that better understands them and provides a more personalized experience.  

But when teams work together to inject data across silos, they have the insight needed to make the right decisions and create with confidence.  

For instance, take the marketing team: with access to a slew of customer touchpoints and experimentation data, marketers should be a critical resource for understanding customers’ wants and needs. Developers, product teams, and beyond should utilize this data to remove the guesswork and inform strategies, priorities, roadmaps, and decisions.  

With customer-centricity at the heart of any great digital experience, the best experiences are fueled by data uncovered by high-velocity experimentation. Consider the power that Optimizely’s Experimentation products can have on your entire team’s ability to unlock personalized insights and better connect with customers.  

Hopefully, your new year is off to a great start – but if you’re feeling a little off track, contact Optimizely today to learn more about our DXP can impact your business and set you up for a successful and productive year.  

A special thanks to our sponsors at Opticon London – Microsoft, Google Cloud, Valtech, and Siteimprove – and Opticon Stockholm – Microsoft, Google Cloud, Valtech, and Contentsquare. 


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