Raven Tools: An Overview

Raven Internet Marketing Tools

Raven Feeding

Feed on Your Competitors? Well maybe not literally, but you can leverage a lot of their hard work.

Feed on Your Competitors?

Well maybe not literally, but the right platform will put you at a competitive advantage!

Raven Tools are promoted as “A Powerful Internet Marketing Platform” and claim they’ll “help you work faster and smarter”.

In this series of posts, I will look in some detail at what Raven actually deliver and hopefully answer your questions such as:

  • Do Raven Tools deliver value for money?
  • Are they appropriate for your business?

I will also look at how you can use Raven Tools to gain a march on your competitors, and leverage all  their hard  work.

And yes. I am an affiliate for Raven Tools, but I feel comfortable promoting >them as use them myself. (I also feel comfortable pointing out their limitations.)

Value for Money?

I first started to really notice Raven a year or so ago. They were advertising heavily on webmasterradio.fm, and I was driving a tractor round in circles mowing the front block and listening to a few downloads. I guess their advertising worked, because I decided to give them a go!

This is a bit unusual for me as I don’t invest much in tools. I use spread sheets a fair bit to organise my SEO and PPC work, and many of the most important tools are free.

A good example is keyword research. Why spend money on keyword research when Google’s Keyword Tool is free? Same deal with traffic and conversion analysis and Google Analytics.

So do Raven Tools deliver value for money? What type of online business are they
appropriate for?  Do they add value in particular areas or do they just aggregate the data?

Here’s a list of the main functional areas Raven is designed  to help with:

  • Keyword Research
  • Competitor Research
  • Assessing Website Quality and Design from an SEO perspective
  • Content Management
  • Link Research and Management
  • Aggregating Social Media Management
  • Monitoring Search Rankings
  • Reporting, with white label option

The main idea is to provide a user interface that integrates these functions, so as to save time and keep everything organised.

Raven tools workflow

Raven Tools workflow. If you work from left to right in the main menu items, and from left to right in the submenus, you get to tick the boxes on most areas of an Internet Marketing campaign.

I have some issues with the reporting side of things – at least as Raven promotes it – but I do think Raven Tools deliver real value.

There are plenty of tools available for the online business entrepreneur or consultant, and plenty of ways to spend money. So how do Raven Tools deliver value for money?

In short:

Raven provides a framework for your Internet marketing efforts.

Running effective marketing campaigns is hard. It requires an understanding of key areas such as market and competitor analysis, how to implement the right strategy and tactics for the market, how to keep up a consistent effort , and how to keep track of everything including links, content, social media, competitors etc etc.

Failure to manage your marketing effectively is as likely to cause the failure of an online business as poor selection of a product, or service.

Rather than trying to manage campaigns using a range of disparate tools and spread sheets, a set of integrated tools like Raven will help you move forward promoting your business online.

Most online businesses fail, so anything that keeps your business out of the failed side of the ledger has to be worth something.
Raven Tools

Is Raven appropriate for your business?

Raven Tools provide two plans – Pro at $99 per month for indivduals and smaller agencies to Agency at $249 per month.

My personal view is that if you are serious about your business, then these sorts of prices are pretty small relative to other costs.

Even if you only have a single site to manage, having some serious intel on your competitors, the ongoing saga of managing links, keeping track of social media and your search rankings, all add up to major job.

Anything that can stream line all this and actually help make it happen has got to be worth serious consideration.

Raven Tools Limitations

Internet marketing is not just about tools, but it is how you use those tools that really counts

Raven Tools don’t do everything. There are parts of their reports that don’t add value to the way I work, and there is more to keyword research than just generating a whole bunch of lists.

One area I found to be weak was the report generator. Although the individual reports in each section of the Raven workflow were invaluable, the main reporting module – much touted as a white label solution for agencies – has limitations.

For example, if you were to do some analysis for a new client and simply print out the relevant report modules you would end up with a lot of data, and very little scope for summarising or editing the information. There is a WYSIWYG summary editor you can use prior to export in PDF mode, but this is pretty useless except for brief summaries.

Clients want you to provide insight and summary data – an overview – not just produce reams of canned data. I prefer to export the data in csv format, edit and summarise  where appropriate, and compile the report in my own report template.

Other Benefits

Another benefit from subscribing to a marketing framework like Raven, is that they have to do the work in establishing  an up-to-date view of the SEO and Internet Marketing world, which to some extent relieves YOU of the need to worry about it.

I would not overstate this, there are some significant areas – of keyword research and analytics for example –which are not really covered by Raven in much depth.

You still need to be learning about Internet Marketing, but I guess if you just follow the workflow implied by the Raven interface you will achieve a great deal in terms of marketing your business. And those who are new to the science will also learn a lot.

Summary

Raven Tools provide a great framework for managing the online marketing , imposing discipline and saving time.

Free trial

Check it out further

See also – Raven Tools for Keyword Research.

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