If you were to look up ‘Marketing Tools’ in a Google search, you’d come up with an endless list of articles, blogs, and white pages claiming to know the best and most popular in the business. And we could certainly follow their lead. Because it isn’t hard to string together a list of what’s trending right now – anyone can easily find that information for themselves.
But we are marketers – that’s what we do and what we’re passionate about. So why would we ramble on about apps and software that you, the curious reader, already know about? That would neither be impressive for us nor productive for you.
Instead we’re going to dive a bit deeper into the underground world of Marketing…
For example, did you know that there’s a whole world of marketing tools outside of Buffer? Many businesses don’t have the time or money to explore all these options.
Buffer may be the all-in-one Swiss Army knife in your marketing toolbox, but can that tiny knife slice through a thick, juicy steak with ease? Nope. Being well-rounded can leave some pieces on the dull side. We recommend gathering an army of tools rather than just settling for the ease of a one-trick pony.
Which is why we’ve gathered some of our favorite marketing tools, apps, and software into one place. There may be some you’ve already heard of, some you know quite well, and many that you didn’t even see coming!
Take a look at what we have to say about these lesser known marketing materials and what they can do for your business (in no particular order whatsoever).
We’re willing to bet you’ve heard of Google Analytics (GA) – every marketer’s main SEO tool. Despite its notoriety, GA does have one serious flaw: it only gives you numbers. And if you’re not a math person, interpreting those numbers may be a challenge. Oh, math.
Hotjar gives you better visual feedback than GA, at a fraction of the cost. If Crazyegg and Google Analytics strike your fancy but the price is too steep, Hotjar is exactly what you need.
We love this tool for two specific reasons:
- It has templates for all popular image types and keeps them updated – so your image is always the current optimized one for a given platform.
- It makes designing a breeze by providing stock images, an exciting font selection, and a range of helper elements – like borders, arrows, etc.
Our wild obsession aside, their infographic templates are extremely easy to use and of surprisingly good quality. So if you’re looking to launch an interesting infographic alongside one of your brilliant blog posts, Canva could make that dream a reality.
In short: A simple way to design common standardized graphics for Facebook covers and posts, Twitter, Pinterest – even business cards and flyers.
Charlie is a unique tool that acts as your own personal (social) detective. Imagine having someone on your shoulder, telling you those little unknown details about each person you meet.
This form of data retrieval is less invasive than it seems and it definitely comes in handy – like when planning a new outreach campaign or while sending out emails to a massive fundraiser guest list.
Like a true detective, Charlie scans through a multitude of sources available online and presents you with a one-page document on the person you’re researching.
And don’t worry; Charlie isn’t digging up old secrets or looking for dirt. He knows we like to do those kinds of investigations ourselves…
In short: A tool that lets you spy on contacts and clients, while learning various details about them.
We have to admit, there’s been some hardcore MailChimp action over here… Due to its cool templates, easy-to-use interface, and overall platform.
But, what would email marketing be without an autoresponder to do half the work for you? An autoresponder is a saving grace to those of us that don’t have time to respond to those simple or repetitive inquiries. Having a program that can generate those replies for you is what MailChimp was lacking but SendinBlue provided.
Sendinblue offers quite a bit with its free subscription. You get 9000 emails per month, excellent customer service, unlimited contacts and attributes, and detailed reports that let you see your campaign’s results. Plus, there’s the Pay As You Go option for those of us with very indecisive email marketing tendencies.
In short: An email marketing software with the most compelling free plan on the web.
SEO, or Search Engine Optimization has become one of the most intimidating acronyms in the modern business world. If you think about it, SEO is still a fairly new process. And just like with any new concept, it takes a little getting used to. There are those that ‘get’ it and those that pretend they do.
For those that are still getting their SEO footing, Squirrly doesn’t judge. It’s a completely unpretentious plugin that works as a guide or teacher, giving pointers on how to improve your SEO even as you type!
First there was the All in One SEO Pack, then of course, the WordPress SEO by Yoast. But now it looks like we’re entering the Squirrly era. The era where it’s cool to be helpful, overt, and optimized.
In short: A superb SEO plugin for WordPress that’s highly recommended by some top content marketers online.
Invoicing and time tracking are two things we’d really prefer not to think about, nor do. Both tasks are tedious and literally time-consuming but they can also be quite essential to a business (freelance or professional).
Due.com has the ability to take the hassle out of such burdens. It does this by greeting you with an uncluttered dashboard and an easy-to-use interface. The only hardship you’ll face is deciding which of the many stunning invoice templates you’ll choose.
Their time tracking device comes in the form of a widget (no more extra tabs) and it can integrate with other sites like Paypal for easy tracking and quick payment.
In short: A freelance marketer’s tool for online invoicing and time tracking.
This tool is one of our secret weapons (well, it’s probably not so secret now…). Knowing if and when someone opened your email can be absolutely invaluable to a marketer.
For instance, you can take advantage of this information by following up with a call when in other instances, you’d just have to sit around and wait. But Yesware doesn’t only check on the read status. It can also tell you if an attachment was downloaded, if links were clicked, and even if a presentation was viewed.
And you wouldn’t guess it but Yesware isn’t all email surveillance. If you’ve ever wished you could schedule an email to be sent at a later time, Yesware will grant that wish. You can also set reminders for answering important messages and their Mail Merge system lets you send up to 200 personalized emails with one click. Yes, we know: pure magic.
In short: A tool that lets you know the status of the emails you’ve sent.
As much as we’d prefer it wasn’t the case, your success in social media is directly related to how large your follower base is. With Crowdfire, you can scan your business’ social media profiles for a plethora of information. See who recently started following you, followers who aren’t active, nearby fans, and people who haven’t followed you back yet. It’s a nice tool if you really want to know who your actual audience is because you get to see those accounts with your own eyes.
Crowdfire isn’t calling itself a ‘Growth Manager’ for nothing either. The app uses many techniques to help your business expand its reach. It suggests ‘relevant users’ for you to follow and has the ability to automatically send direct messages to new followers.
For all the extreme social media players out there, Crowdfire also allows you to blacklist those accounts you would never want to follow. A little playful competition never hurt anyone…
In short: A growth manager for Twitter and Instagram, formerly known as JustUnfollow.
What started as a small WordPress plugin by Noah Kagan (we’re big fans of his wise and witty blog) has now turned into a full-blown set of tools to help grow your website’s traffic. Currently, SumoMe provides various modules to try.
There’s the List Builder app that entices new visitors to join your exciting email list. You can customize the dialogue and even have it redirect new subscribers to a different page. SumoMe obviously knows that timing is everything because they allow you to change how soon the subscription box pops up on a visitor’s screen.
Then you have their Highlighter function which makes it easier for readers to share snippets of content from your site. While a visitor is highlighting a portion of text, a social share box appears with the option to spread your words on Twitter or Facebook. If what they chose to share has been shared before, a star will appear with the number of times it’s been quoted.
Our favorite treat from SumoMe is their Smart Bar, which simply serves as a reminder to visitors that there are other things worth checking out on your site. Perfect for users that are prone to zoning out and leaving earth for a little while.
In short: Your all-in-one set of on-page tools to grow your website’s traffic.
Us humans like to believe that we are logical creatures. That we are smart enough to weigh outcomes based on logic rather than fervor. But as it turns out, even the most basic purchasing decisions are driven by our emotions.
In response to this radical realization, The Advanced Marketing Institute created a Headline Analyzer to measure the Emotional Marketing Value of any articles title. You simply type in your headline to find out its percentage of emotional impact and which category it falls under: Intellectual, Empathetic, or Spiritual.
One thing to keep in mind is that this very basic tool is incredibly addicting. Our editor may or may not have spent over an hour plugging in imaginary headlines to see where they fell on the sensibility spectrum… But if your business has a blog, this is an interesting tool that we recommend utilizing.
The screenshot above this tool’s title is the score one of our blog article titles received. That percentage may not impress on a term paper but for a blog piece in the business world, above 40% is considered impressive. The screenshot below is the score one of our more vague titles received. According to EMVHA, ‘The Simple Science of Landing Pages’ isn’t stirring up emotions anytime soon…
Put simply, the more emotionally rich your headline, the more intrigued a future reader will be.
In short: A free tool that analyzes the quality of your headlines based on their emotional load.
11. Ninja Outreach
Outreach is an absolute necessity for most marketing campaigns. But it is extremely time-consuming. In some cases, companies hire people whose only task is to outreach. Those businesses that can’t afford an extra body quickly discover how vast that sea of opportunity is and how little time they have to explore its depths.
Ninja Outreach was created for those of us that don’t have the time to research and network ourselves. It gives users the chance to discover, manage, and get in touch with relevant influencers. Ninja Outreach provides contact information for each influencer, their location, their social media profiles, and even their site’s traffic metrics.
If there’s one thing we’ve learned from the old fashioned golden days of outreaching it’s that you have got to stay organized! Which was hard to do when you had three browsers, forty-five tabs, and at least two spreadsheets open. But that was the past. Today, there are tools like Ninja Outreach that keep all of your contact lists in one place so that you can stay organized. It gives you the chance to focus on managing your new connections rather than just trying to find your sanity in all the clutter.
After you’ve found the influencers you want to reach out to, the next step is getting in contact with them. Finding time to personally email each one of them could prove to be impossible. Ninja Outreach took care of that roadblock ahead of time by supplying appropriate email templates that you can fill in like a mad lib or customize with our own dialogue. The ease of sending emails directly from their software leaves you with more room to breathe, less tabs to return to, and an optimistic view on the future of outreach for your business and as a whole.
In short: An innovative tool that connects your brand with the right influencers to promote it.
Once upon a time, one used Google Alerts to stay up-to-date on all the topics or brands of one’s choosing. You simply selected topics (as specific or as broad as you liked) and were notified each day when and if those topics appeared anywhere on the web. But one couldn’t help but feel that Google Alerts was barely skimming the surface. They weren’t diving into the realm of social media nor putting enough effort into their search as a whole.
But now we have Mention. And Mention is brand monitoring. They took one small media marketing facet (monitoring) and dissected it, pulling apart all the possibilities, leaving no internet stone unturned.
Mention is the all powerful binoculars to Google Alerts’ vintage bifocals. Mention lets you track everything on the web and social media. With their insights, you’re able to react and interact quickly and professionally. Mention also gives you real-time data, statistics, and reports.
The creation of such a tool is the closest we may ever get to feeling omniscient. In a way, Mention lets you become the godhead of your own media world. So why not use that power to create an empire?
In short: A cool tool to track what’s being said about your brand in real time.
In comparison with Google Analytics, Leadin gives you a much more detailed view of your site’s visitors and leads. The plugin tracks each and every visitor, stores the referring site, records the pages they viewed on your site, and takes note of the opt-in forms they filled out. Best of all, it combines all that data together for you. So you can see detailed information, such as which traffic sources give you the most leads vs. the most visitors.
You can also keep track of those leads by tagging them and putting them into groups. It makes it easy to organize what you’ve found.
Leadin’s Visitor History is a great way to see how someone found your site, if you have repeat customers, and how your blog articles are ranking in Google.
Leadin proves that when it comes to WordPress plugins, sometimes simplicity is all you need.
In short: A WordPress plugin for tracking your website’s leads.
Out of the many roles a marketer takes on today, ‘curator’ is becoming one of the most vital. When a marketer becomes a curator, they are agreeing to an endless quest of finding the best, most interesting content out there and gathering it into one place. Because of this trend, most brands traded in self promotion for a consistent stream of reliable and relevant content.
Snip.ly saw this marketing technique and added a unique twist. It seemed silly that a business would spend hours scouring the internet, searching for links to share on their social media or website, only to send followers off in another direction. Why not leave your mark on the content you share?
So, whenever you stumble upon a link you’d like to share, Sniply gives you the option of adding a small box at the bottom of the page. In that box you can include a link directing the viewer back to your own site. You can also create a call-to-action. The little message (of your choosing) that pops up could be considered an advertisement by some but it’s hardly invasive. It actually reminded us of VH1’s Popup Video – informative and personalized, but without the sound effects.
Snip.ly has given social sharing the chance to finally come full circle. Bloggers get their words passed around and content curators can connect with their followers. With Snip.ly, we all get a little something in return.
In short: The snip.ly-hood of the traveling content… or a unique marketing tool that lets anyone leave their mark on shareable content.
In a world where everything is fast-paced and high-def, one needs to up the ante a bit. Words alone aren’t going to grab everyone’s attention. Most businesses need to create their own presentations, infographics, and images but not every business can afford to hire an entire team of designers.
If you’re a marketer that doesn’t know the first thing about graphic design, Visme is your saving grace. Aside from being affordable, Visme is an unpretentious and easy to use app that gives anyone the chance to create and share interactive content.
In this web-based application, you can choose to start with a preset template or a clean slate. From web banners to short animations, product demos, reports, charts and graphs: any engaging visual is a possibility with Visme.
In short: A browser-based tool that lets you create visual content to use in your marketing.
Back to tiny gadgets and one-trick ponies: You can have every app and piece of software money can buy, but that can’t always do for your business what skill and craftsmanship can. No matter how easy and efficient the marketing tools, you may still need help filling in the gaps (think back to that juicy steak we mentioned earlier).
For extreme marketing matters, you may want to turn to the experts. They have the tools to stay ahead of new tech trends and the skill to use them like pros. What else is going to bring in hungry customers, and who else is going to be able to cut that steak – like a boss?
All edits and witty rewrites by Andrea Cochran.