One of my biggest pet peeves in the digital marketing space is the term “all-in-one solution”.
Ya see, I think it’s a misnomer.
Or, actually, I think it’s misleading.
Any tool is an all-in-one solution if it’s the only tool you need, but the reality behind small business is that it’s infinitely complex – and therefore the landscape of tools to support your business is infinitely diverse (and ever expanding).
I have my own robust techstack, and Infusionsoft by Keap, and AccesAlly are at the core of it. I’ve written more about the specific tools that have earned my trust – if that interests you reach out to me and I will be happy to share.
But the reality is that the tools that support each business will be somewhat personal – they’ll likely need to match up with your business needs, priorities, and goals.
So, in this diverse, technical, and tricky landscape, when you could literally spend weeks researching options – how does a business owner choose what tools to depend on?
The answer is ROI.
Like anything in business, the tools you choose are an investment – and it only makes sense to continue investing in those tools if they’re earning an ROI for you.
Now, the typical way people think about “return on investment” is in a financial way, and your tools could certainly work to create new revenue – but they could also pay a return in other ways, like by saving you money, effort, or time.
I highlight that because I think focusing solely on a monetary concern will not only limit the tools you have at your disposal, but it can also be shortsighted in terms of crushing your longer term goals.
The next piece of advice I have for selecting the tools in your techstack is to focus on the role they will play.
You almost want to think of the tools you use as actual employees you’re casting into a role.
This’ll help in a few ways – first, it’ll help you get clear on the expectations you have for that tool.
And second, it’ll serve as a reminder of why that tool is valuable – because there will come a time when you question it, or when there’s a bug of some sort; and it’s important to be able to go back to it and recognize that this tool works around the clock and doesn’t take days off.
And finally, I’ll leave you with what I think is the most important lesson – small business is about crafting journeys.
(What’s a journey?)
The experience you create for your customers is what sets your business apart from others.
So if we recognize that, then the tools we use should be designing and supporting the journey we create for our customers.
And to zoom out one level further – that means that we, as small businesses, or as entrepreneurs need to spend time getting clear on the existing journey our customers are already having.
Then, ask yourself what it should look like. Try and visualize what your perfect customer journey would entail – if you only had one customer, and you could give them all your attention, what would that feel like?
That’s the blueprint.
(Here’s a case study) of how a tech stack can support an end-to-end customer journey.)
Once you have both of those it’s time to go to work narrowing that gap.
The tools you choose are how you build the customer experience blueprint.
Greg Jenkins is the founder of Monkeypod Marketing, where he focuses on empowering entrepreneurs through virtual courses and educational resources.
In addition to small business and marketing automation, Greg is a semi-professional dogsitter; he loves hiking, traveling, watching basketball, and binging netflix. And dogs, did we mention dogs?