Expert Interview Series: Dana Kilroy, ShortStack – Choosing the Right Marketing Software
6th April 2017 Will Humphries
Dana Kilroy manages content and communications at ShortStack, a marketing SaaS company.
We recently talked to Dana about her social media marketing expertise and how marketing software can help generate leads, drive sales and boost engagement using social marketing. Here’s what she shared:
Can you talk about your professional background? How did you get into social media marketing?
I jokingly call myself a “recovering journalist.” I was a freelance magazine writer for about 15 years and then, when the economy was a bit rocky, decided to go graduate school to get a master’s in interactive and digital journalism. It was about the time that social media was disrupting both marketing and journalism and there was a lot of focus in my program at the University of Nevada on how journalists could use social media to publish and promote their work. My graduate work required an internship, which is how I found my way to ShortStack. I ultimately created a job for myself that combines my storytelling/journalism skills with social media and marketing.
How has social media marketing evolved since you started in marketing? What changes do you foresee on the horizon?
Even just five years ago, “social media” was still a relatively new tool for businesses. Even though most businesses had a Facebook presence, and maybe Twitter, many smaller brands weren’t using social media very effectively. One of the changes that we’ve been noticing lately is how businesses are choosing to create and publish more content on landing pages, which are natural extensions of their websites, and then use social media to promote those efforts, rather than publishing directly to social media channels. We see this sort of “omnichannel marketing” as becoming more important because brands aren’t beholden to the various (and ever-changing) rules and regulations of the social networks.
What’s the mission behind ShortStack? How are you hoping to impact the marketing industry?
ShortStack is a DIY software product that allows businesses of all sizes to build beautiful landing pages, contests, signup forms, etc. – without having to pester (or pay) for a developer. We make it easy to connect with existing customers, collect new leads, and have some fun at the same time. Some of our most popular templates are photo-vote contests, newsletter signups and “personality” quizzes – similar to those ubiquitous Buzzfeed quizzes – that people love to participate in and share. In terms of mission and impact, our goal is to give both small brands and enterprise businesses an easy-to-use tool that makes it possible to connect with the people they want to do business with for years and years.
What are the most common pain points your clients are hoping to fix?
The biggest pain point is the cost of developers. One of the reasons our users say they love ShortStack is that we offer 20 professionally designed templates that can be used “out of the box.” Since it’s also possible to make minor tweaks to make these templates super custom, if that’s what a brand needs, our customers love how versatile the software is. If you have zero coding capability, you can use ShortStack to build and launch a simple contest or landing page in about 10 minutes. On the other hand, if you’ve got web designers on standby, you can use CSS to really fine-tune your campaigns.
What advice can you offer companies on choosing marketing software that will work best for them? Where should they start their search
First, think about goals. Is your goal to build a new email list? Increase brand awareness? Get more followers on your various social channels? Of course, your budget and the skill level of your team are also significant considerations.
What are the most common mistakes or oversights you see brands making when shopping for marketing software?
Not having specific goals is a major oversight. You want to ensure the product you choose will help you reach your most important goals.
How can companies ensure that any software they purchase will be adopted by their team members? What will guarantee a smooth transition
We recently experienced this exact scenario. We had been using a task-management app that everyone liked well enough, but it wasn’t quite as robust as what we needed. So we did some research, a few of us tried out new options and then we committed to one. But it wasn’t until we finally shut down the product we’d been using and forced everyone to switch that everyone committed. So…I guess that’s a long way of saying that we encouraged people to check out Asana (the new project management software) and then we gave them no choice.
What brands should we look to for inspiration for consistently smart marketing practices?
We are always inspired by what MailChimp is doing. And for content marketing, we love reading everything that Buffer publishes.