What newer online platform will you be investing your marketing resources in this year, and why?

The following answers are provided by the Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC), an invite-only organization comprised of the world’s most promising young entrepreneurs. In partnership with Citi, the YEC recently launched #StartupLab, a free virtual mentorship program that helps millions of entrepreneurs start and grow businesses via live video chats, an expert content library and email lessons.

1. Yesware

Our sales team recently started using Yesware and it has made a big impact. Yesware shows the team exactly who opens their latest emails and tracks clicks. It also syncs with Salesforce. It is so helpful to be able to contact the customer when they are thinking about the product.

- Sarah Schupp, UniversityParent.com

2. AdRoll

AdRoll is a retargeting platform, which means that it displays banner advertisements to individuals who have already visited your website. I like it over its competitors because it has massive reach across the web, delightful customer service, and there is no minimum monthly advertising spend. They also allow retargeting on Facebook, which produces a high ROI for us.

- Lawrence Watkins, Great Black Speakers

3. Intercom

You need to be using Intercom to engage with customers while they use your service. Every single time someone interfaces with your app/service/community, they should be treated as guests in your home and offered the equivalent of a glass of water (at a minimum). Intercom lets you address them uniquely, make sure they’re happy, and alert them to updates and new features.

- Derek Shanahan, Playerize

4. Contactually

I’ve been using Contactually to keep in touch with my clients and prospects, and it has significantly improved my follow-up. Not only do I have a system now, but I also have a quick glance at how recently I’ve stayed in touch with people. That’s priceless when we’re constantly on the go and can forget that people are what drive business results.

- Nathalie Lussier, The Website Checkup Tool

5. Commun.it

We’re investing in online community tools this year, and Commun.it is one. Commun.it has proven itself as our most valuable community tool. It’s tied to Twitter, and enables us to monitor the activity of our influencers, supporters and engaged members. It also tells us who unfollows our clients. Our unfollow tweets have resulted in sales, brand equity and many re-follows.

- Brett Farmiloe, Markitors

6. Visual.ly

Infographics aren’t dead yet, but they’re consolidating. Visual.ly does, by far, the best job of centralizing the web’s best visuals — and the people who are looking for them — in one compelling, beautiful place.

- Derek Flanzraich, Greatist

7. Windows

We’re investing in Windows’ phone and Windows 8 apps. Similar to our iOS and Android apps, they’ll be free to download and will help us reach customers who may not have found us otherwise. Windows’ phones have a growing customer base, and every new PC comes with Windows 8, so these have huge market potential.

- Bhavin Parikh, Magoosh Test Prep

8. Tout.com

Post short, 15-second video updates that have been prerecorded or recorded on the fly with your iPhone. Share the videos easily via email, Twitter or Facebook. I’ve used it to preview video content that will be published, or to share short updates. Tout.com also features a rich community of people creating video updates to network with, from mom bloggers to celebrities.

- Jennifer Donogh, Ovaleye, LLC

9. Unbounce

I love this service. Unbounce lets you create tons of different versions of landing pages. They host them on their server and you can throw them live, start testing them and see real-time analytics on them within minutes. You don’t need a developer, and it’s really inexpensive compared to the alternatives.

- Travis Steffen, WorkoutBOX

10. Pinterest

While Pinterest certainly isn’t brand new, we’ll be investing more resources in this platform. Pinterest has been a great source of traffic and conversions for ONA, so we’re planning a more proactive approach to growing our following and ensuring that our website is Pinterest-friendly with compelling imagery and well-crafted product descriptions.

- Tracy Foster, ONA

11. Optimizely

Optimizely is a simple tool that allows our marketing director to use A/B testing throughout our website. The results provide powerful information that has helped us increase sales.

- Jeff Berger, Doostang and Universum Group

12. Google+

While the transition has been a little rocky, I’m really excited about the combination of Google Places and Google+. Our clients are, too. I think this is a potentially powerful example of the effect of the convergence of SEO and social, and the impact of that on local optimization.

- EricMcGehearty, Globe Runner SEO

13. Audience by SurveyMonkey

SurveyMonkey allow you to generate insights from you customers (analytics are king!), as do most surveying companies. But their new product Audience allows you to gain direct access to narrow demographic groups, and learn how your product or service is perceived. Audience gives startups the ability to do market research on the same scale as a major brand.

- Aaron Schwartz, Modify Watches

14. Quora Blogs

One new platform that we will follow closely is Quora’s recently announced blog service. Different marketing channels are more efficient for certain demographics, and the “movers and shakers” we are interested in engaging are definitely found among Quora’s user base. If Quora’s well-organized topic curation is expressed here as well, it will be a great marketing tool for us.

- Nanxi Liu, Enplug

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