If you’re starting your own marketing agency, you’ve probably noticed (if not been overwhelmed by) all of the top digital marketing tools in the market.
With so many tools, it can be complicated to figure out which tools are best for you. As such, I’ve done the hard part of you, filtered out some of the duds, and listed the best of the best!
But first, let’s talk about some of the qualifications for these tools. Like a hammer in the physical world, tools need to be simple to use for the user. There’s nothing worse than buying or downloading a tool that’s too complex to use.
Likewise, do these tools actually save you time or is it just a crappy product from a company trying to rob you blind with the “latest and greatest” dud?
Simply put, tools should save time and/or save money.
So how do you know if you need a tool for your business? And, will a particular tool actually help you? If so, how do you implement that tool into your business?
Social Media Management: Scheduling Tools
Every serious digital marketing agency focused on growth needs to think about automation. Here are a few tools to help with managing various social accounts. Let’s talk about some of my favorite marketing tools…
When you need to manage content, Hootsuite (and Sprout Social) are here to help. All of our pages – WordPress, YouTube, Instagram, Facebook, etc. – are all managed in Hootsuite. We can respond to comments and messages all in one location, rather than having to hop around from one place to another. Plus, we can schedule and post content from the same location. It’s vital to create a schedule and then to manage that schedule with a tool like this one. If you’re managing various accounts, you can also pull reports so clients can better understand your results and keep paying you money!
Like Hootsuite, Sprout Social also works as a user management program to collaborate with editorial calendars and various content creation features. Hootsuite is said to have a deeper collaborative ecosystem, in terms of departmental and team-oriented dashboards, but both are solid to get started with social media management.
Described as “the easiest way to manage your brands on social media,” Zoho has options for businesses and agencies. The platform allows you to schedule unlimited posts, monitor everything you’re doing, and create custom reports to get insider details for social media post-performance. Personally, I like the sticky dashboard and multiple-column layout.
Newcomers to the social media management game are Later, Agorapulse, and eClincher. Later is best known as an Instagram scheduler first and foremost. Agorapulse monitors all platforms and provides insights on various features and functions. Next, eClincher is a feature-rich management tool meant to simplify and streamline social management. All of these programs are fast, easy, and simple to set up.
Social Media Management: Monitoring Tools
The examples above have their monitoring skills, but they’re best for scheduling. Now, let’s talk about monitoring on a deeper level. What are the top digital marketing tools?
Little old ladies used to listen in on neighbors’ calls on a system called party lines, and Awario provides that same level of eavesdropping, but in a manner to promote your business (don’t worry, it’s legit). The social media monitor helps businesses discover conversations about their brands so they can monitor discussions, check-in on trends, and be a part of the conversation.
Likewise, the tool Mention is a web and social media monitoring tool that checks in on how often your social media channels are mentioned with and without hashtags. This is another solid way to stay involved and see what target keywords are being used when discussing your brand. Remember when Macklemore’s “Thrift Shop” song came in and Goodwill changed their ads to target teens and coeds? It’s like that.
The self-proclaimed “new kind of intelligence” tool, BrandWatch is focused on a new kind of market research. Rather than designing products and finding an audience, this platform wants to help you create products for trends and cater to an audience. If you’re looking to optimize your influencer strategy, this is a solid place to start.
With Google Alerts, you can actually track topics and get notifications in your inbox. A lot of celebrities set up this feature, even if they’re not particularly involved with social media. That said, it’s not just for the narcissistic. You can track companies, people, products, and topics to stay in line with trends and filter out the click-bait.
Vendasta claims to focus more on “local economies,” but this might just be a hook. The white-label software company builds and curates a sales and marketing platform for digital businesses and small clients. The word itself means “incredibly efficient and useful,” and they cater to marketing agencies, broadcasters, publishers, directories, banks, and more.
Curated Content Readers
Let’s take the social monitoring a step further and break down some more news and update filters. These online marketing tools below can help filter your feed.
“Where readers become leaders,” Feedly helps you keep all of your key topics in one location. You can also break down various subjects into categories. For example, if you follow Tech and Food, you can separate topics sort of like Pinterest boards, but with a focus on publications, blogs, YouTube, keyword alerts, tweets, and RSS.
Another web-based content and RSS feeder reader, Inoreader is a cloud-based system for web browsers and mobile that compiles and filters news feeds, creates customized layouts, and cuts down on the nonsense.
Another curated content reader, Flipboard is unique because many people compare it to a digital magazine. It also personalizes content based on interests, but displays in a unique and familiar style.
Listed as UsePanda.com, Panda is a curator and simplistic news reader meant to help users discover the best tools, resources, and inspiration in the world of design and tech. As a Chrome extension, Panda has multiple layouts, unlimited feeds, and bookmark functions as an all-in-one reader.
Described as an internet newspaper, Google News bottlenecks 4,500 different news sources and allows search functions like the typical Google Search. It also presents a continuous, customizable flow of articles from countless publishers and magazines.
Productivity – Note Taking
You can always use the old fashioned way of taking notes, by hand, or you could join the rest of us with one of these awesome digital note-taking apps.
“An elephant never forgets” is the cliche behind Evernote, but it’s the #1 system for note-taking. The app provides organization, task management, and more. Plus you can create notes as text, drawings, photographs, and save web content.
Capture notes, share them with friends and access everything from your computer, phone, or tablet. Google Keep is a note-taking service meant to collect all types of notes, such as text, lists, images, and audio.
Productivity – Bookmarking
If you’re going to be wildly productive, then you need to be able to stop and start. And the best part? Many of these tools are free digital marketing tools.
Like some of our other tools, Pocket is a free service that invites users to discover great content, but also to return to it later, on any device, at any time. But be careful, you might join thinking you’ll only read your top articles, but get sucked into their suggestions.
It’s the all-in-one bookmark manager. Raindrop.io is meant to help individuals find inspiration, then get back to work. Gather all of your media “and stuff,” and then return to read and enjoy it later.
Productivity – Task/Reminder
What was I saying? Ah yes, let’s talk reminders…
Perhaps the most fun to try and say out loud, ToDoIst is an app meant to help individuals and teams organize, plan, and collaborate on tasks. Users can see big-picture items, but also specific goals to get things done.
The next cloud-based task management application is Wunderlist. It allows users to manage tasks from an array of devices, such as a smartphone, tablet, smartwatch, or computer.
Productivity – Calendars
Whether you’re scheduling meetings or blocking out time to do nothing, a quality calendar is a must.
Quickly schedule meetings and events in Google Calendar, plus you can make adjustments such as one-time, recurring, and various other customizations to fill up your quarter. Get reminders, invite others, and organize your life.
Tired of the back-and-forth? You Can Book Me is like having a personal secretary to organize meetings. It takes away the ongoing hassle of having to simply guess when someone might be available to meet.
Another phone-tag eliminator, Calendly allows for friends and co-workers to schedule a time that you’re available to chat. Simply share a link and would-be callers can see when you’re available, but not what you’re doing when you’re not available. It’s private and accommodating all at once.
Once you get your calendar figured out, it’s time to fill in those blanks with organized content.
Easily organize and plan workflows and projects with Asana. Keep your team on schedule and know when a project has begun, when it has stalled, and when it’s finished or what a team member needs in order to finish it and move along. Bonus tool: Check out the tool Templana for pre-built templates.
If you’ve been looking for a solid content planning tool, look no further. Google Calendar is great for business and clients, if only because you can color coordinate events and create until-the-end-of-time appointments to remind you when and where to post.
Let’s talk funnel planning. Building funnels can create incredible results, but before you can begin, it’s all about planning…
With Funnelytics, you can create a visual map to describe or detail funnels for your business or your customer’s business. Describe how clients can move from ad to landing page to a sale, and beyond.
Next there’s Geru, the marketing funnel simulator. Inside the program, users are able to simulate traffic with upsells, downsells, and more. Avoid mistakes by stressing the details with a mock-up business plan.
Similar to Geru, Funnel Flows also simulates the client flow. Find out if your funnel plan of attack has any stagnant zones and fix problems before they arise.
Described as an “online diagram software and visual solution,” LucidChart combines drawing, revising, and sharing diagrams and charts, so various collaborators can build out funnels as a team.
Another collaborative workforce, Whimsical helps various team members communicate in a visual manner. Send over flowcharts, wireframes, sticky notes, maps, and then collaborate in real time.
Next, there are tools to help with Ad Campaigns. Managing ads can be tricky for newcomers, so these tools simplify and improve campaigns.
A global marketing company, 4c is a platform for media execution, performance analysis, and audience discovery. Big brands across the globe use 4c to get a better understanding of their audience.
Created by Centro, Basis is a software tool that helps with digital media planning and buying, along with finance, ad operations, and reconciliation.
Celtra prides itself on helping creative companies scale. Creative and marketing teams can collaborate to design and deliver their digital campaigns in several manners.
From planning to performance, Kenshoo connects your message to your customer’s mindset. By exploring search results, dissecting shares, and checking e-commerce, the company integrates various ideas to help with automation and scalability.
Founded by two former Google employees, AdHawk was created to simplify advertising. The company helps people manage Facebook and Google Ads by managing and monitoring data.
The only real way to own your traffic is through email marketing. Find out how with the tools below.
With a heavy focus on automation, Active Campaign helps email marketers with sales, CRM, and messaging. They provide personalized emails, trigger automation, sales data, and more.
The all-in-one platform, Mailchimp provides email marketing, ads, landing pages, and CRM tools to help businesses grow their companies. The clean format also makes design easy with drag-and-drop features.
Next, there’s Constant Contact. The email marketing company provides templates, a simple editor, and various list-building tools. They also provide live support and tons of data.
If you’re going to spend a lot of time writing articles, you want to see results. This means incorporating and monitoring SEO.
Ahrefs provides SEO analysis. The site audit tool helps companies understand and monitor SEO results and “SEO health” over time by using alerts, keyword mentions, and more.
A service-based company, Serpstat is a tool for backlink analysis, rank tracking, competitor analysis, site audits, text analytics, and keyword research.
SEMrush offers solutions for PPC, content, social media, search results, and of course, SEO. Understand your online visibility and marketing analytics with this helpful tool.
Need help with inbound marketing and analytics? Moz helps with SEO, link building, content marketing, and a little bit of everything SEO related.
With Soovle, companies can find all of their keywords in one place. By scanning Google, Bing, Amazon, Yahoo, YouTube, Answers, and Wikipedia, Soovle is the tool for search and content inspiration.
Originally called Feed the Bot, Varvy provides free SEO tools and information for companies. The company also helps with Google’s strict guidelines, which constantly tweak how SEO works in search.
To keep your team on track, you need to put proper project management tools in place.
With Asana, it’s possible to organize and plan workflows, craft projects across various employees, and simply keep your team on schedule.
With Harvest and Toggl, you can also help your team stay on schedule, but you can also keep up with time tracking, send invoices, and creating billing and time-sheet information for clients.
CRM stands for Customer Relationship Management and it’s a vital part of any business.
A web-based office suite, Zoho provides word processing, presentations, databases, spreadsheets, note-taking, web conferencing, project managing, invoices, and a little bit of everything else to help run your business.
Built to provide tools for social media marketing, content management, search engine optimization, and web analytics, HubSpot provides a full platform of CRM, customer service, sales, and marketing functions.
Great for the Solopreneur, Streak provides CRM for Google with a single click. Users can share contacts, files, emails, and everything else with this multi-purpose tool.
Improve your site’s rankings with the following website tools.
Hotjar is an interesting tool. It provides the online behavior and voice of your users and potential customers. It combines analysis and feedback tools so you see the big picture of your customer’s experience.
Google Search Console is a free service from Google that helps business owners monitor, troubleshoot, and maintain their site’s presence in a Google Search.
Are they apples and oranges? Find out with these comparison tools.
The tool, Alternativeto.net, is a website that lists alternatives to desktop software, mobile apps, and web-based software. Specifically, it shows the number of registered users who have clicked the “Like” button.
Another comparison tool, G2Crowd compares various business software and services by examining user ratings and online social data. Check reviews for CRM, CAD, PDM, and more.
With the tagline, “You know your business. We know software,” SoftwareAdvice.com provides trusted advice, original research, and real user reviews to help you find out how to best improve your business.
The final comparison tool is Slant.co, which is a trustworthy product ranking tool that uses user feedback for more information. Where is the best place to find mixtapes? Find out on Slant.co.
Standard fonts are great to get started, but sometimes you want something more unique…
Both Ffonts and Daft provide unique fonts for your business. Whether you’re looking for a new logo or just creating a holiday email template, these sites help you find unique fonts for your business.
Not every tool fits the template, right? Check out the sites below for unique tools to grow your business. Here are a few more of our top digital marketing tools.
If you’re looking for hosting software, check out Github. A subsidiary of Microsoft, the tool is a hosting device with it’s own web-based graphical interface, basic management tools, and collaboration features. Look for the “awesome lists” for curated tools.
A platform for modeling and executive system-specific workflows, FLOWSTER is a program meant for large data centers, designed by IT departments. Basically, it’s an intriguing way to build out your own Standard Operating Procedure.
Designed to help with Instagram traffic, Linktree gives information to bloggers, artists, and everyone else who might use Instagram for traffic growth. Figure out how to focus on consistent branding with this helpful tool.
Enter words and click “generate.” Seriously, it’s that simple. With so many businesses online, it’s difficult to think of a good name. Let this algorithm tool do the heavy lifting for you.
Finally, there’s AppSumo, SAASMantra, and StackSocial. These companies often provide Lifetime deals, which means you can get a product that normally costs $50 a month, for $50 for a lifetime. One of the best ways to grow your business is with affordable tools.