The importance of having the correct marketing tool
There's nothing more maddening than knowing what you want to accomplish in your digital marketing campaigns or content strategy and not having the correct type of support to make it happen.
Marketing tools with powerful features are critical for business owners to grow and scale their businesses. Beyond making life easier, the best marketing tools:
- Make customer relationship management an enjoyable experience instead of a dreadful checklist of check-ins and emails.
- Integrate your online business software to reduce the number of programs you use and the expense of tools that don't align with the goals of your digital marketing strategy
- Help you better understand the customer behind the data and make business decisions that will provide value to both your customer and your company.
Learn more: The Modern Marketer's Guide to MarTech
Types of marketing tools
Choosing the right marketing tools for your business can be overwhelming when there are thousands of choices.
So to narrow it down and help you decide, here are my top recommendations in four different categories:
Among all digital marketing strategies, email marketing is the most effective for reaching your intended audience and capturing their attention. Email marketing significantly generates more engagement than social media or any other strategy.
Image Source: Omnisend
Omnisend is an email marketing platform targeted toward ecommerce users, specializing in email templates that present your online store in a visually appealing and compelling way. It includes all of the automation and workflows you expect, but Omnisend takes it further.
Beyond abandoned cart automation, they also feature cross-selling and customer reactivation templates. Plus, the newsletter editor is easy to use, and all of the typical list management tools are available.
Premium plans allow for even more features like unlimited landing pages, different levels of account access and using your own domain. However, the price point is higher than others in the industry ($16-$115/monthly) based on your number of subscribers and email sends.
Overall, Omnisend is an excellent choice for anyone with an ecommerce focus and integrates well with all the big online platforms like Shopify, WooCommerce and BigCommerce.
Image Source: MailerLite
MailerLite is an affordable beginner-friendly email marketing service provider that fulfills the needs of small to medium-sized businesses or marketers. Even those with no email marketing experience can easily design lead capture forms, import contacts, and create email campaigns.
MailerLite is popular among small businesses, bloggers and freelancers because of its affordability and ease of use.
Though the name "Lite" would suggest this is a scaled-down version of a more robust service, the features included in Mailer Lite's forever-free plan are pretty extensive. They have basic automation for no additional cost, and the free program is available to any account with 1,000 or fewer subscribers.
It's important to note that MailerLite does not count subscribers in two groups or lists as unique, unlike some other platforms. Therefore, you can have a subscriber in many groups, and the program considers this one subscriber.
Features like creating and designing opt-in forms are very intuitive using their drag-and-drop builder, and building automation is equally simple with the visual layout and step-by-step guides.
Paid plans begin at less than $100 annually and increase based on the number of subscribers. Overall, MailerLite is a very easy-to-use, beginner-friendly product that will serve you well.
Image Source: Campaign Monitor
Campaign Monitor features a very intuitive interface, making it easy to learn for beginners or anyone new to email marketing. In addition, the email templates are well-designed and easy to adapt for any industry or use case.
Campaign Monitor also provides data segmentation features to personalize your emails, and its automation features are comprehensive.
On top of this, it integrates nicely into most other platforms, letting users have a seamless experience between the website and email opt-ins.
Unfortunately, the price point of this product makes it unattainable for some businesses, and there is no free trial offering.
Image Source: Flodesk
Flodesk is a relatively new email marketing provider that takes a design-first approach. Its entry into the email marketing scene took bloggers and creatives by storm, and its subscriber rates have continued to climb.
One of the most talked-about features of Flodesk is its flat-rate pricing. All plans are $38/month, regardless of the number of subscribers (and a quick search on Google will provide you with several promo codes to save 50% off your first year, as well).
The flat rate covers all of the features, from design templates to list building forms and more. You also get a whole month's free trial to get a feel for the platform and whether it suits your needs.
Flodesk is very much a "what you see is what you get" software with intuitive and straightforward builders and easy-to-follow navigation. The templates are drag-and-drop, though not customizable to a large degree.
Building workflows and creating segments is straightforward, as well. Flodesk also includes a good deal of analytical data to help you analyze your campaign performance.
If your business is concentrating on emails that look great and carry your branding from your website to the inbox, Flodesk is a great place to start.
Image Source: ConvertKit
The ConvertKit dashboard separates its features into five sections: subscribers, automation, broadcasts (ConvertKit’s term for campaigns), sequences and forms.
The email editor is relatively simple and easy to use. The sequences and automation work together to create robust workflows that automate a great deal of work for marketers.
While ConvertKit is on the higher end of price ranges for email marketing platforms, its price rises as your subscriber count increases. The lowest plans begin at $29 monthly. A free plan is available, though the features are limited to just one automation.
These social media marketing tools help you organize, plan, publish, analyze and report on your social media channels.
Image Source: Social Status
Social Status is an advanced social media analytics tool for tracking and reporting on all the main social media channels.
Social Status is perfect for agencies who want to automate their social media reporting into CSV, PDF, PowerPoint or Google Slides. Reports can be white labeled and completely customized per client.
Social Status supports Facebook, Instagram, Instagram Stories, LinkedIn, YouTube and Twitter. You can also connect Facebook Ad Accounts to report on Facebook & Instagram paid campaigns. Social Status also supports competitor analysis so you can track your performance against any public account. Plus, it also has Influencer Analytics for tracking and reporting on influencer marketing campaigns.
Social Status has a free plan with paid plans starting at just $29 per month.
The days of doing busy work on repetitive, non-revenue generating tasks are over. Instead, these marketing automation tools help you get more done in less time and focus on what matters most to your business.
Image Source: SocialChamp
SocialChamp is a social media management tool with a content dashboard as the main UI. The tool is vibrant with an easy-to-navigate flow, and you get to see all the main features on the main screen only.
SocialChamp makes it incredibly easy for tools to maximize their social media presence and strengthen their social footprint across all networks.
SocialChamp has Facebook, LinkedIn, Google Business Profile, Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram as their social media integrations for scheduling and tracking posts.
With features such as social media calendar, auto RSS, bulk upload, workspace, team collaboration, repeat and recycle, you can pretty much fully automate the workflow. The tool also provides analytics with platform-centric metrics and downloadable PDF reports.
SocialChamp has four plans, with the least one priced at $10 per month. Additionally, with exceptional customer service, you can request for demos or put across your queries easily.
Image Source: SocialBee
One of the fastest growing Social Management Tools perfectly made for businesses, SocialBee can guarantee you more leads with considerably less effort.
The main purpose of this tool is allowing you to create, categorize and publish content on all major social media platforms such as Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, TikTok, Instagram, Pinterest and Google My Business.
SocialBee has many great features that its users find really useful, such as generating a posting schedule, multiple workspaces and team collaboration features.
It also has an evergreen feature that makes it possible for you to recycle engaging content so you don’t find yourself in the situation of having nothing to post.
It’s extremely affordable, as the pricing goes from $19 starting with a 14-day free trial.
Image Source: WeCanTrack
If you're using affiliate marketing, you know the hassle of logging into multiple platforms to check your click-through and conversion rates. WeCanTrack helps you connect all your data and presents it in one dashboard view.
The software imports sales and commission data into Google Analytics, where it filters and sorts data into which traffic channels are leading to the highest revenue. It integrates with over 160 affiliate networks, but if you need to add one manually, that's supported as well.
WeCanTrack goes beyond aggregating data to help you analyze and interpret the data - a significant shift that other solutions aren’t offering.
The free plan supports up to five networks for beginner affiliates and can be a great trial period to test it out and see how it works for you.
Other plans range from $60/month to $240/month, depending on the number of affiliate networks and website traffic volume.
Image Source: Avoma
While most automation tools focus on what happens after the meetings, Avoma is your go-to solution for automating the meeting planning process, collaboration and follow-up.
From agenda templates for specific meeting types to notetaking and follow-up, Avoma uses AI processes to help you at every stage.
It integrates with your favorite tools like Zoom, Google, Hubspot and Salesforce. It offers a 14-day free trial, affordable plans (including a free option), and customization.
Image Source: Outfunnel
When you're using multiple marketing tools for different situations and priorities, it's easy to allow those tools to operate in silos and create extra work in analyzing the data across each platform.
Outfunnel, however, makes it easy to connect all of the tools you're using and store the data in one place for easy access, coordination and collaboration.
For example, lead generation data gets automatically synced to your email audience segmentation or sent emails are automatically logged in your CRM for future reference.
You can analyze email campaigns and revenue reports together to measure the impact of your campaigns accurately and take website visitor feedback and attach it to a customer's record in your sales CRM.
The integrated approach from Outfunnel helps marketers save time, focus on the right leads and take a holistic approach to marketing. Plus, all plans feature a free, 14-day trial to see if it's a good fit for you and your team. Plans range from $19/month to $125/month.
Image Source: Dubsado
Dubsado is a customer relationship management tool (CRM) that incorporates several functions into one seamless B2B marketing tool. With features like lead capture forms, invoicing, contracts, estimates, client questionnaires, project management and client portals, the options to automate processes and workflows are robust.
Beyond the functionality, Dubsado does a great job with design and intuitiveness on the product's back end and the client-facing side. In addition, they offer flexible templates to get business owners started and in-depth support on creating the corresponding workflows.
A tool like Dubsado can save businesses hundreds of hours on repetitive or manual tasks and impress potential clients simultaneously.
Dubsado's pricing begins for just one user at $400 annually or $40 per month with add-ons for multiple brands or more users.
Image Source: Buffer
Buffer is an all-in-one complete social media management tool that invites users to automate their social media scheduling and workflow. Once you connect the networks you want to use, you create your post (content, links, photos) and schedule them.
Buffer also allows you to edit how your links appear on the platform, provides optimal scheduling feedback and gives you both a list and calendar view. Additionally, Buffer also aggregates your analytics for easy post-performance analysis and allows you to customize the metrics you monitor.
There's a free plan for up to three social media channels that includes a landing page builder, and the paid plans are incredibly reasonable at $5 per month per channel and a free 14-day trial of the premium features.
Image Source: Bulkly
Since it launched, Bulkly has scheduled over 1,000,000+ status updates for its users.
Bulkly is a social media automation tool with a unique approach in that it can help automate other popular social media tools like Buffer or Hootsuite.
Simply connecting Bulkly to these platforms can automatically add content into your queues. This approach works best if you share evergreen blog content since Bulkly can automatically recycle your status updates for you.
Aside from integrations with Buffer and Hootsuite, you can also connect directly to your favorite social media platforms including Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn and Twitter.
Regardless of how you connect Bulkly, all of these features (and more) are available:
- Create multiple status updates from a single blog posts URL - automatically
- Automatically recycle your updates (set-and-forget)
- Continuously send updates in a random order
- Drip scheduling
- Avoid sending the same post too often
- Organize your status updates into groups with unique settings
- And more
All plans come with a free 7-day trial and start as low as $19/mo. Switch to an annual plan and you can save 20%.
Visual storytelling is critical in today's marketing world. These digital marketing tools help you present your content in a compelling and visually appealing way while keeping you from getting bogged down into too much detail.
Image Source: Vectornator
Vectornator is for any designer who wants to create designs in vector format - illustrations, logos, drawings, websites, apps and any type of graphic.
Since it's a vector-based tool, all the design outputs are versatile in any size, and users can print them at a large scale. Plus, since the program works flawlessly on iPad, designers can easily move from one device to another.
Other key features of Vectornator include:
- Tools to help you align, group, scale or duplicate objects
- An auto-trace option that converts raster images into vectors
- An icon library that includes more than 80,000 icons
- Extensive color and typography controls
- Collaborative features for teams
- Multiple export options for all file types
And best of all, Vectornator is entirely free with no strings attached and no feature limits.
WordPress is the most popular CMS on the planet, and with good reason. However, if you can’t code, creating a WordPress website may prove challenging.
That is unless you use Elementor. Powering 7% of all the world's websites, Elementor enables just about anyone to create dynamic WordPress websites without having to write a single line of code.
Elementor offers users a wide variety of features with which to create the perfect website. These include a best-in-class drag and drop editor, 90+ widgets and hundreds of designer-made templates, a WooCommerce website builder and Full Site Kits.
- Intuitive drag and drop editor
Elementor provides users with a clean, clear and intuitive environment in which to create and update landing pages, blogs and other pages.
- WooCommerce website builder
Elementor is the ideal solution for those looking to build an ecommerce store powered by WooCommerce. WordPress’ premier ecommerce plugin, WooCommerce is used by millions of business owners and online store runners.
You can leverage Elementor’s drag-and-drop interface to design your single product page templates and your shop archive pages (the pages that list all of your products or the products in a certain category).
In addition to designing your store’s templates, you’ll also get dedicated WooCommerce widgets that you can use to insert WooCommerce content anywhere on your site.
- Full site kits
Elementor’s Kits Library contains dozens of complete, designer-made website kits. These kits include all the elements and attributes a website needs in one single kit. All you have to do is click import. Kits eliminate the need to tackle each page component (e.g. header, footer, color palettes) individually. With just a few clicks, you can customize a kit to fit your needs and vision and voila, you’re up and running with a complete website!
Envato Elements is the all-in-one unlimited creative subscription from Envato. With over 57 million assets, it offers everything designers and marketers need to elevate their creative campaigns.
From presentation templates and fonts needed to create comprehensive reports to audio tracks and video templates for your next video strategy, the Envato Elements library comes in handy when looking to speed the process of creating marketing projects.
People can choose between a monthly ($33 per month) or an annual ($16.50 per month) unlimited individual subscription. Alternatively, it's possible to create a free account and get free monthly files.
Image Source: Adobe Illustrator
Adobe Illustrator continues to be an industry-leading favorite in the vector design industry. It remains one of the most robust, versatile design programs available - there's only a very short list of what it cannot do.
However, this type of functionality comes at a cost, both in its affordability and usability. Nearly all projects require some kind of tutorial or learning curve that is too much for many beginners. With some practice and patience, most can learn to use Adobe Illustrator to accomplish the basics - logos, illustrations, graphics, etc.
Its integration into Adobe Creative Cloud also opens the possibility of intertwining your other Adobe tools for even more design flexibility. For most projects, the transition from desktop to mobile app is relatively easy.
As a stand-alone app, the subscription is costly - $20 per month with an annual subscription or $30 on a month-to-month basis. However, it's hard to find another solution that provides the same level of value for the money.
Image Source: Visme
At first glance, Visme appears to be a tool to create infographics.
They have thousands of templates to choose from, and the user interface makes it extremely easy to add your data, your supporting text and fun graphics. Plus, they offer animated and interactive solutions to bring those infographics to life, something not currently found in other solutions.
However, Visme can do so much more than just infographics and data visualization. Their templates for presentations, social media graphics, charts and graphs and even landing pages are visually appealing and stand out among the sea of templates out there from other design tools.
Visme also helps you keep all of your designs organized into folders and includes a vast image library for your designs. At a $25/month price for one user and an annual commitment, it's a great solution for content marketers who need to present data visually consistently.
Image Source: Canva
Canva is among the most popular DIY design platforms and boasts over 10 million users. They have perfected the art of making design effortless and accessible for novice users, yet established designers can also benefit from quickly creating unique and appealing designs.
Canva's strength lies in its extensive template library, and they have recently added several new features, including new audio tracks for video, advanced sorting and sharing options and stickers.
Another new feature is importing a PDF and converting it into an editable design.
Canva is not a vector-based design tool. While the designs are perfect for digital work and small-scale projects like invitations or flyers, logos and other scalable designs should be created in other tools like Vectornator or Illustrator.
Canva offers a free version of its software, yet many advanced features are only available with their Pro subscription.
Image Source: Adobe Spark
Adobe Spark (now Creative Cloud Express) is part of the entire Adobe Suite but is notoriously easier to use than tools like Illustrator or Photoshop and much more affordable.
While its features are quite simple - creating quick social media graphics, simple icons, etc. - it's an excellent alternative for marketers who need a one-off solution from time to time with little to no commitment.
Among its popular features is the ability to save designs directly to Google Drive, quickly resize images for different platforms and share designs with others. Plus, it's a great value with a free starter plan and paid options beginning at just $10 per month.
Image Source: Write-On Video
Write-On Video by Kdan Mobile is a great video editing tool that allows users to make use of a range of editing features. Feel free to plan a video outline before the editing process begins, there are also templates available to use for video outlines.
Merge, edit and add images or stickers to your video with a selection of editing options. It’s a great platform for creating eye-catching marketing videos that will grab attention and drive sales.
Write-On Video is available on Mac, Windows and iOS. It’s free to use, with in-app purchases available should you wish to upgrade to certain features.
While Instasize may be famous for its handy resizing tool, the app offers more than just its convenient one-tap resizer. The photo and video editing app offers a robust selection of filters and effects that work for almost every social media platform out there. Its intuitive interface makes it a great choice for beginners and aspiring photographers.
For only $4.99 a month, users can unlock access to over 100 filters, exclusive content, plus more fonts and photo borders. iOS users also have access to Unsplash’s stock library, which is a great resource for businesses.
Some of its best features include Web Stories, a feature that allows you to create engaging visuals made for your platform of choice — your options are endless!
Anyone trying to compete in online content marketing knows that SEO and enterprise content planning tools are non-negotiable.
Here are a few to consider:
40% of the internet runs on WordPress, a system with many known (and emerging) vulnerabilities and attack vectors. The central problem with WordPress, and other systems like it, isn't just its popularity but with how it interoperates with user systems.
Say hello to a modern Enterprise CMS for managing all of your digital content, Agility CMS.
Agility CMS was built from the ground up with enterprise in mind. As a Gold Certified Microsoft Partner with a deployment in Microsoft Azure, they bring years of enterprise experience to the table.
Furthermore, a headless CMS like Agility CMS gives you better options to modify and replace your content structure and metadata. With a headless content management platform, you can model channel-specific content with fewer constraints and deliver the best digital experience possible with metadata tailored to help it rank better.
Image Source: Ahrefs
Ahrefs is one of the more popular tools to grow your website traffic and increase your position in search engine rankings. It has a handful of core features, including the site explorer, backlink checker, keyword explorer and site audit tool.
The most basic feature of the site is the site explorer, where users can see an overview of the site's overall SEO performance.
Using filtering and sorting features, users can glean an enormous amount of data from even the basic reports -- how much traffic the site has, where the traffic was generated and even what it's worth monetarily.
Ahrefs is also great for doing keyword research on competitors. It shows you competing domains and potential content gaps or backlink opportunities.
Last but not least, Ahrefs’ keyword explorer can help you find and analyze keywords that are likely to help you rank better and get more eyes on your content.
At a starting price of $99 monthly, Ahref is a great SEO tool for beginners or those who need more of a high-level view of their site's performance. In addition, it measures up with competitors like Moz and SEM Rush, although each has its advantages and disadvantages.
Image Source: Hotjar
The days of relying solely on the number of website users or click-through rates are over. Instead, the most successful marketers use tools like Hotjar to record user behavior and better understand the customer journey from start to finish.
Hotjar's primary feature is its heat map showing visitors where they hover their mouse and ultimately click. It even goes one step further and records the screen of the user's session.
They also provide user feedback polls so you can ask your visitors directly why they did or didn't take a specific action and on-screen support to provide users with answers in real-time.
Hotjar offers a basic plan for free though it's pretty limited in its use, and paid plans range from $39-389 monthly.
Image Source: MarketMuse
According to its website, MarketMuse "Workflows and metrics that make it simple to find your best content opportunities." In short, this AI-powered tool helps with content research, content optimization and content planning to better compete for search engine rankings.
The user interface makes it easy to identify areas of your website with content gaps or blog post articles with the potential to rank higher and draw more traffic.
MarketMuse is also great for teams and allows you to organize your projects into plans and assign team members due dates, research topics and more.
Best of all, MarketMuse will score all of your website pages based on the authority and sort your best opportunities into potential projects.
MarketMuse is a premium product at a premium price, with the standard plan coming in at $149/month. It’s not worth it for amateur bloggers who blog for fun, and not for profits. They do offer a free program, though the features of this tier are significantly limited. However, if your primary digital marketing goals center around content marketing, MarketMuse is a wise investment.
Image Source: Grammarly
Great SEO and content marketing begins with great writing.
While Grammarly isn't designed for SEO work or filled with tools to help you optimize keywords, its functionality ensures your content is easy to read, grammatically correct and written consistently.
It also includes a plagiarism detector to help you avoid creating duplicate content, which could harm your ranking on search engines. Grammarly offers both free and paid versions and works across platforms and browsers.
Image Source: Keywords Everywhere
Keywords Everywhere is a browser extension that shows you monthly search volume, CPC and keywords' competition data of keywords on multiple websites.
This versatile tool allows you to save significant time comparing websites inside of an SEO tool and figuring out which keywords are worth exploring further.
Results are displayed right on the search engine results page, and even the free version provides enough data to see which short or long-tail keywords might be worthy of pursuit.
Instead of switching between your browser and Google Keyword Planner, all the data you need is at your fingertips.
The pricing works in credits where one credit equals one keyword, so it's as affordable as you need it to be.
The future of marketing tool platforms
A shift from a one-way distribution era to an engagement era is reshaping marketing as a whole. What does the future of marketing tool platforms look like?
Marketers are becoming increasingly frustrated with the lack of innovation in marketing tools. Trends such as advances in automation, AI and personalization will continue to evolve and become more accessible.
Companies will need to balance personal connection and scaling to serve more people with fewer resources.
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