University of Maryland Extension

Tools for Building Your Online Marketing Plan

Ginger S. Myers

Ag Marketing News Update

I recently read that there are 16M new websites launched every month. That means that there are almost 200M new sites launched annually! These all contribute in multiples to the unfathomable amount of information on the Web. To that point - a Google search of the terms “On-line Marketing Tools” yielded 94M results. When I refined the search to the terms “Online Marketing Tools for Direct Farm Marketers” there were still 36M results.

It would seem to be an almost overwhelming task to:

  1. sort through all these postings to find the specific web tools and trends that work for your business,
  2. design your online marketing plan and website in a way that attracts viewers and yield profitable results, and
  3. can help you mine out the information about who, what, when, where and how your web presence can be improved.

In an effort to keep my Extension and farm business websites effective, attractive, and keep my effort in a manageable timeframe, I have developed a list of mostly free and easy to use web tools that I use on a regular basis. This is not an exhaustive list of all the web tools available for digital marketing, but this list can be a starting place for creating, analyzing, and updating your web marketing efforts.

On-line Analytics

  • Google Analytics
    Google Analytics is a free service offered by Google that tracks and reports website traffic. With a little bit of setup, it will give you an enormous amount of information about who is visiting your site, what they're looking for, and how they're getting there.

  • Mobile-Friendly Test Tool by Google
    This test will analyze a URL and report if the page has a mobile-friendly design.

  • Check My Link
    A building campaign with a broken link is a huge bummer. Check My Links can help ensure the accuracy of links─whether external or internal ─of a webpage, giving a publisher or editor the opportunity to make corrections before the page is live.

Staying in touch with Customers and Colleagues

  • Mail Chimp (
    MailChimp is a web-based email marketing service. It helps you design email newsletters, share them on social networks, integrate with services you already use, and track your results. Currently the service is free up to a certain number of emails sent.

  • Hootsuite (
    Managing a business’s social media presence can be a full-time job. Hootsuite is one of many tools referred to as a “Social Media Management System” or tool. It helps you keep track and manage your many social network channels. It enables you to monitor what people are saying about your brand and help you respond instantly.
Email at sign

GraphicsInfo Graphic - Figure 1

  • Infographics are visual presentations of information that use the elements of design to display content. Infographics expresscomplex messages to viewers in a way that enhances their comprehension. The volume of infographics goes up more than 1% each day and people love them. Infographics simplify information in a visually engaging way in order to attract and inform a large audience. See figure 1

    The best infographics for a business to use are the ones that support their own company of product area. Creating your own infographics is very manageable with these online tools: ( currently offers many templates for use. They are fairly standard in size with portrait and landscape templates available. The program is incredibly user friendly and virtually all its features can be mastered within a few minutes. A wide array of shapes and icons are available on your infographics.

    Piktochart (
    Piktochart is the original online infographic generator. Currently free and premium features are available. Piktochart offers a variety of template sizes (and lengths,) icons and shapes and other features on the free version.

  • Graphics, Photos, Inspiration
    There are lots of picture and information shared everyday online. Check if you can legally copy and use these materials. I use these sites for sources: Facebook postings,, and

Engaging in On-line Learning Session to Re-Charge Your Batteries

While not marketing tools per se, keeping our perspectives fresh and energized contribute greatly to our creative marketing output. These are two on-line resources I have found helpful in engaging my imagination, expanding my skill sets, and satisfying my yen for a fresh perspective on topics I deal with on a regular basis.

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May 2015

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