#1 WordPress

What was once only a blogging platform is now a full fledged CMS. Powering over 8% of the entire Internet WordPress is backed by a powerful community of developers who are constantly extending the functionality and building plugins. On top of that the user experience designers at WordPress are top-notch always improving their system to make it easier for us regular folks to manage our content.

  • Open-Source: means extensibility and regular updates
  • Makes maintaining and adding content easy
  • Adding a blog to your 2012 strategy? WordPress will get you up and running quickly
  • Brand refresh on the horizon? Integrate your blog and your website for a seamless experience
  • No licensing fees/ no ongoing cost for use (not including plug-ins)

#2 jQuery

Remember you don’t sell steak, you sell sizzle. For many years in the web world that meant Flash. Not the “excitement factor” but the technology. jQuery is a JavaScript library that simplifies the process of writing JavaScript and allows developers to make use of JavaScript in ways not feasible before. JQuery can provide the sizzle without the compatibility issues and large file sizes that Flash is notorious for.

  • Open-Source: the library is free to use and modify
  • Compatible on all mobile phones and devices that can render JavaScript (all the ones you care about)
  • Cross browser compatible
  • Smaller file size and quicker load times

#3 HTML5 / CSS3

The new standards are here and all moderns browsers are beginning to get on board. Want video to play on an iPad, HTML5 can do that. Got a location based feature on your website HTML5’s got that covered too. Want more delicate animations for hovers, drop downs etc then you’ll want to use CSS3

  • Less code means small file size and faster web pages
  • Compatible with all mobile phones
  • Faster for developers to create pages with more pizazz than ever before
  • Not compatible with older browsers but degrades gracefully. (ex. round corners will be square)

#4 Analytics Tracking

Appealing to a different kind of nerdiness website analytics will allow you to track user behavior in a thorough and comprehensive way. Not only will you get stats about what pages people visit and how long they stay but you will also get information about where those visitors are coming from. Want to know if those Facebook ads are turning into sales? Check! Got a QR code on a print ad? Check! Whether you take advantage of Google Analytics for free or pay for a more robust platform like Adobe Online Marketing Suite tracking will make all your campaigns more successful.

  • Follow users through your site to see what is working and what needs improvement
  • Track online ads, social campaigns, and other campaign performance
  • Help support the case for mobile development looking at what devices are viewing your site.
  • Slice and dice the data however you want with custom reports and custom segments.

#5 MailChimp

Email marketing is here to stay, MailChimp makes it easy. By far the easiest template editor we have ever used. Add to that a robust API allowing tight integration with your website and you have a winning combination for sure. Email marketing services are a bit of a commodity when it comes to price so you might as well get a robust feature set and easy to use admin panel.

  • API and website widgets make building your list easy
  • Template builder is intuitive
  • A/B Testing module built-in
  • Cute little monkey and quirky content make deploying emails just a little more fun.

#6 Marketing Automation

Behavioral targeting at its finest, marketing automation allows you to fire emails and social posts based on user behavior on the site. Emails and social posts can be fired automatically triggered by user behavior creating a conversation with customers and their social graph automatically. For example, lets says a user just downloaded a whitepaper about a service. Why not start that user into an email flow reinforcing that service offering and driving home the benefits of that service through a series of email. In another example a user just purchased a product, why not post on their wall asking about their experience with the product or the site.

  • Start the conversation automatically
  • Services such as Silverpop or Pardot allow you to multiply the efforts of your customer service and marketing teams.
  • Behavioral targeting is a powerful way to move people from consideration to purchase.
  • Marketing Automation moderates communication so you can have many messages but not over communicate to any individual.

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