13 Essential Marketing Tools Have Become Essential Digital Marketing Tools

13 Essential Marketing Tools Have Gone Digital

It’s time for your business to transform these essential marketing tools into digital form; if you don’t do it, rest assured that your competitors will.

“The arrogance of success is to think that what you did yesterday will be sufficient for tomorrow.” – William Pollard, English Clergyman The arrogance of success is to think that
what you did yesterday will be sufficient for tomorrow.

– William Pollard, English Clergyman (12 Quotes on Business Disruption)

Sometimes disruption and growth is about doing something completely new, but other times it’s about doing something in a new way. Transform non-digital essential marketing tools into digital form on websites, apps and cloud-based platforms in order to give your customers the experience and service they expect.

  • Customer Account Management
  • Loyalty Punch Cards
  • Business Cards
  • Mailers
  • Time-Limited Promotions
  • Events
  • Shopping
  • Meetings
  • Phone Calls
  • Networking
  • Education
  • Customer Care
  • Word of Mouth

It’s Time for These 13 Essential Marketing Tools to Go Digital

Customer Account Management

67 percent prefer self-service over speaking to a company rep - essential marketing tools67 percent prefer self-service over speaking to a company rep (ZenDesk Searching for Self-Service Infographic). Your customers want the ability to manage their contact information, contact preferences, order history, warranties, and access customer care when it’s most convenient for them. If you have a WordPress website, this could be as simply as adding a Community or Member plugin, or taking advantage of account management capabilities of your WooCommerce or other shopping cart plugin.

Loyalty Punch Cards

Paper punch cards are easily misplaced or discarded. Not only are digital punch cards (or digital stamp cards) a more convenient option since customers don’t have to keep track of them, they also give you more marketing opportunities and information about your customers. Digital registration can provide you with both mail and email address as well as mobile phone for SMS/text marketing, so you can:

  • Extend time-limited offers via mail, email and/or text/SMS
  • Introduce new products or services via mail, email and/or text/SMS
  • Touch base periodically to reconfirm contact information and keep your lists up to date
  • Extend “VIP” and surprise rewards to your best customers
  • Ask for feedback or online reviews

Business Cards

 88 percent of business cards are thrown out within one week Like paper punch cards, traditional paper business cards are considered essential marketing tools, but sadly, they are discarded quickly. In fact, 88 percent of business cards are thrown out within one week of receipt!

Video business cards have an indefinite shelf life as well as the flexibility to be used in virtually anywhere online:

  • Website
  • Social media – Facebook, LinkedIn – as part of your profile as well as shared in your feed
  • Email introductions, newsletters and drip campaigns
  • Webinars
  • LinkedIn
  • Played during in-person projector presentations
  • Played via video on your in-house display or externally, such as at a trade show kiosk

Check out this example of a business video card we did for one of our clients.

Video business cards can be especially helpful in social media marketing. Video gets exponentially more reach, likes, comments and shares on social media that content shared in non-video format:

  • Social video generates 1200% more shares than text/image combined (G2 Crowd)
  • Video campaigns on LinkedIn have 50% view rates (LinkedIn)
  • Social media posts with video enjoy 48% more views than other content (Hubspot)


Direct mail can be expensive, especially if you consider that a “decent” ROI (return on investment) is about 1 percent. In other words, if you want to generate 100 leads, you’ve got to send 10,000 pieces to your target market!

ROI of email marketing is 122% per emarketer - essential marketing toolsEmail marketing is far less expensive and provide a much higher ROI – 122 percent, according to eMarketer. Platforms like MailChimp base the cost of email marketing on the size of your contact list, regardless of how many emails you send each month. MailChimp also lets you send emails free – no credit card required – up to 2,000 contacts, making it one of the most cost-effective email marketing tools for small business.

The challenge for you in email marketing isn’t the platform, it’s the list building. Most email marketing platforms don’t allow the use of purchased lists, so you must add email contacts organically. You can do this by encouraging customers to sign up for your emails at the point of sale or even when just expressing interest. In addition, you can increase the number of contacts in your email lists using:

  • Your loyalty and rewards program
  • Referral rewards
  • Website landing pages
  • “Send to a friend” links in your emails
  • Webinars and events
  • Contests
  • Social media profiles and feed posts

Time-Limited Specials

Soup of the day, special of the week, month or quarter, coupons – any time-limited offer can help generate new sales, and special offers are definitely considered among the most effective essential marketing tools for customer acquisition and repeat business.

Consumers who follow brands on social media even say they do so primarily to find out about new products or services and to be notified of deals, coupons and other special offers. (The Sprout Social Index, Edition XV)

Top reasons why consumers follow brands on social media per Sprout Social Index Version XV - essential marketing tools


  • 50% – learn about new products / services
  • 48% – be entertained
  • 40% – stay up to date on company news
  • 38% – learn about promotions or discounts
  • 36% – connect with like-minded people
  • 36% – be inspired
  • 35% – be educated
  • 20% – connect with people who are different than me
  • 20% – communicate with the brand

Your website, email marketing, social media, loyalty program app or text/SMS messages – all of these digital essential marketing tools can be deployed to inform prospects of time limited offers, new products and services and other company news. Don’t forget that your audience also wants to be entertained, educated and inspired in the process!


Want to hold a client attraction event? Get ready for the challenge of finding an adequately sized venue, tables, chairs, presentation equipment, catering, and so on. Not so with digital.

Webinar platforms like StartMeeting.com offer low-cost options for hosting online events with up to 1000 participants. Your virtual event can be recorded so that you can provide participants with a copy of the recording for future reference or even replay it as a new client attraction event in the future. In addition, registrations from these events help you grow your email marketing list so that you can follow up with prospects after an event more easily.

Alternatives to a full-fledged webinar platform include free tools like Facebook Live, which enable you to present information in real time using your webcam or smartphone. These sessions are also recorded, so that you can share them again on other platforms and at a future date. Unlike webinar platforms, however, they don’t give you the ability to switch between media (such as a PowerPoint presentation, slideshow, your computer’s desktop, pre-recorded video, etc.) so they are more limited in use.

Shopping / Ordering / Pre-Ordering

You might not technically be able to (or want to) sell online, especially depending on what type of goods or services your business provides. But that doesn’t mean that your customers can’t shop online. Here are some ways you can re-imagine the online shopping process, even if you don’t sell directly from your website:

  • Give clients the ability to add multiple items to a virtual holding cart when requesting a quote
  • Let prospects assemble services à la carte to see bundle pricing
  • Use email marketing and your loyalty app to give customers the ability to pre-order new items before they are available to the general public
  • Use video marketing to introduce your clients and prospects to new products or services before they roll out
  • Use photography and videography to create 360o and 3D renderings of your products that can be shared on your website, social media, email marketing, on and offline presentations, etc.

Alternatives to a full-fledged webinar platform include free tools like Facebook Live, which enable you to present information in real time using your webcam or smartphone. These sessions are also recorded, so that you can share them again on other platforms and at a future date. Unlike webinar platforms, however, they don’t give you the ability to switch between media (such as a PowerPoint presentation, slideshow, your computer’s desktop, pre-recorded video, etc.) so they are more limited in use.


The same technology you utilize to hold digital events can double as your tool for digital meetings. StartMeeting.com allows you to share your computer screen and/or webcam, which makes it possible and easy for you to meet with anyone, anywhere, at any time that is most convenient for them. It’s a great way to meet with remote teams since anyone can call in from anywhere in the world!

Since you can also record these sessions, there is no need to take notes – simply save a copy of the recording as part of your customer file or share it with your customer for future reference. Everyone who attended will be able to revisit what was discussed and agreed upon, and the video can also be shared with people who were unable to attend the meeting.

Phone Calls

The most effective communication is done face to face, where people can both see and hear one another. Email and text messages, though convenient, don’t always convey the tone intended and can lead to misunderstandings or miscommunications.

Video calling enhances your ability to communicate accurately and as intended. SmartMeeting.com can be used for phone calling since everyone on the call can enable their computer or phone webcam, so all participants can both see and hear whoever is speaking.

Skype and Facebook’s video chat (and other free video-based phone calling tools) are also a good option to replace traditional phone calls, though generally these tools won’t work for you if you have people calling in from multiple locations.


Just as with events and meetings, online meeting platforms make it possible for you to hold virtual networking events where attendance is no longer limited to driving distance. You can host networking events online and enhance the experience of participants by adding a Community plugin to your WordPress website.

Instead of just connecting once a month, networking group members can connect any time they want! The user’s community page becomes their hub for both sharing and getting information from the rest of the group and from you as the group’s host. Members can message one another which increases referrals and word of mouth. Use your MailChimp email marketing account to communicate with the group to send information, ads (sponsored posts to generate additional revenue) and reminders.

Education, Training and On-Boarding

Any type of education or training that you need to deliver – especially if its education that you deliver on a repeating basis – can be converted to digital format. Using a tool like StartMeeting.com and/or business videography, you can record educational segments to be shared with prospects, customers, employees, vendors – anyone who needs that information.

65 percent of people say they watched YouTube videos to get the information they need to solve a problem - essential marketing toolsThis information can be shared via several platforms and be replayed both on and offline. YouTube is a great repository for educational videos that you want to use to promote your business and support your customer service efforts. 65 percent of people say they watched YouTube videos to get the information they need to solve a problem (Google).

And it doesn’t even have to be that complicated. If you have technical manuals that describe how to install or use your products or services, how to upgrade something already purchased, what your warranties and guaranties cover, and so on, you can use your website to house this type of information in a downloadable PDF format.

You can also “gate” any of this content (PDF, web pages, recordings, etc.) using simple WordPress website plugins so that someone must register to view the information or must be authorized with a login that you provide. If you have a Community plugin, you can also use this to gate content. This way, the resources are always available, but limited only to those individuals who should have access to them. You can also require registration to view recordings, PDFs, webpages and other online resources in order to grow your email contact list.

Customer Service

Self-service is the new customer service – except when it’s not. Your WordPress website can feature an online Chat plugin, enabling site visitors to get in touch with you in real time while they are on your website. If you can’t monitor Chat 24 / 7 – no worries!

You can turn on your Chat tool when you’re available to monitor it or set it up to come on automatically when your customer service department opens for business. Many Chat plugins also give site visitors the opportunity to send an email during off hours, so it can work to increase engagement and lead generation 24 hours a day, even if you can’t.

The community plugin or ecommerce software housed on your WordPress website gives customers another way to get in touch with you to ask questions, report a problem, request assistance, or access some other form of customer service.

You can also use online polls and surveys as a market research tool that increases customer interaction and provides you with feedback about:

  • how your company is doing
  • what might have gone wrong or what you could do better
  • what types of products or product features prospects are most interested in, and so on

Word of Mouth

85 percent of consumers say they trust online reviews just as much as they do personal recommendations - essential marketing toolsOnline reviews are the new word of mouth! 85 percent of consumers say they trust online reviews just as much as they do personal recommendations. (BrightLocal.com Local Consumer Review Survey)

  • 90% use the internet to find a local business
  • 33% use the internet to find a local business every day
  • 82% read online reviews for local businesses
  • 97% of those who read reviews also read business responses to the reviews

Having a strategy to generate online reviews is a must for any business. You can do this by giving customers the ability to leave a review in real time, posting reminders for people to “check in” on your Wi-Fi while shopping at your business, asking for a review at the point of sale, sending a follow up email or SMS text message with a link to a site where you would like them to leave a review, motivating your sales team to follow up with customers to request reviews, and so on.

Business videos can also play a huge role when it comes to these digital essential marketing tools. The statistics don’t lie:

  • People retain 95% of a message from watching a video compared to 10% when reading it in text (Invisia)
  • 72% – nearly 3 out of 4 people would rather watch a brand video than read brand content (Hubspot)
  • 92% of users watching video on mobile devices will share it with others (Wordstream)

Video testimonials, expert endorsements, training and explainer videos and YouTube product reviews can all be extremely beneficial when it comes to word of mouth marketing for your business and it’s products and services.


If you’re not moving forward, you are losing ground!

From Doing the Unconventional in Business: “Status quo isn’t just a fallacy, it’s a recognized cognitive bias. It’s the tendency people have that leads to sayings like, ‘If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it,’ and ‘when in doubt, don’t.’

The problem is, sooner or later one of your competitors is going to see something that you perceive as ‘not broke,’ only instead of moving on to something else, they’re going to see the small cracks.”

Digitizing essential marketing tools is vital for a growing business. The good news is that in most cases, taking these essential marketing tools from traditional to digital marketing tools is easy and can be done very quickly and for a low cost.

If you’re in need of a consultation to assess where your business can transform essential marketing tools into digital marketing strategies, or you are ready for help in launching a new WordPress website, email marketing, social media marketing, business video, webinars, or some other tool – we can help. Simply reach out using the form below and our team will be in touch.