If your business saw amazing growth last year, you might be wondering how you can double down on what’s working while scaling up your efforts quickly and effectively.
Here’s the good news and the bad news. There are so many different digital marketing tools to choose from that many suffer from analysis paralysis.
Well, if you want to double down on your marketing plan this year, there are a few tools your team needs to have (and be able to afford) in your arsenal whether you are a small business, startup, or large organization.
As digital marketers, from the very beginning of your customer’s journey, you should have access to incredible automation tools that guide them through your funnel with little hassle.
You need tools you can trust to get the job done, and you need stellar analytics to keep track of what your customers and prospects are doing once they’ve interacted with your business.
So, here are a few of the best digital marketing tools your team should consider if you’re looking to beef up your marketing efforts going forward.
The first thing to focus on is marketing automation. Marketing automation refers to the software platforms and technologies designed for marketing departments and organizations to more effectively market on multiple channels online and automate repetitive tasks.
Some common functionality that marketing automation includes are email marketing tools, lead scoring and routing and reporting on web traffic and campaign performance.
One significant benefit to marketing automation is that it can combine functionality you might otherwise need multiple tools to achieve.
For example, instead of using a social media posts scheduler like Buffer or Hootsuite, you can integrate your social media accounts utilize the same functionality from many marketing automation tools.
This is likely because using marketing automation tools allows your team to gain access to important information, while also streamlining your marketing process with less effort.
Not only does automation allow your team to save time and make more sales, but it will help you scale more efficiently and easily.
Just look at this case study on SmartBear, a B2B cloud mobile company, who wanted to examine how automating their CRM system could help them scale.
Shortly after implementing this new automation software, their lead volume increased by 200%, and 80% of the global leads they received were generated through automated trial downloads. From there, SmartBear generated 85% more revenue from those trial download leads.
Automation is not only convenient, it’s essential for scalable growth over the long term. It will help you answer the crucial questions about your customers’ behavior, tendencies, and desires.
When a customer enters your pool of prospects and is immediately engaged through an automated email campaign, it builds trust in your brand from the very beginning.
Plus, companies who nurture leads this way see 50% more sales at 33% less cost than non-nurtured leads. This means automation can help you do more to capture and keep your leads for less effort (and money) on your company’s part.
Our Marketing Automation Recommendations
Pardot is a true workhorse tool, particularly well-suited to organizations with longer than average sales cycles. It provides powerful lead management capabilities as well as email marketing, A/B testing, forms, and more.
One of its strongest selling points is its native integration with Salesforce. Unlike other tools that merely act as a layer on top of your sales tool, Pardot and Salesforce blend together seamlessly for powerful revenue-driven marketing.
From lead scoring and routing to event tracking to email split testing, they’ll help your team innovate and implement your campaigns all in one place.
Just take Assurex as an example. After implementing Pardot as their main CRM tool, they saw a 46% increase in leads, but also a 67% reduction in support case resolution time simply by streamlining their process with automation.
SharpSpring is another amazing tool for end-to-end automation, with the key differentiator being their fully re-brandable platform.
This is ideal for agencies who want to offer the platform to their clients or use it themselves to manage services for clients.
For example, take a look at this case study by FunnelBud, a B2B marketing automation agency that helped one client improve their lead gen by 90x simply by streamlining the client’s lead generation system with SharpSpring.
SharpSpring is made for multi-channel marketers and B2B companies seeking to scale their marketing automatically.
Not only is SharpSpring more affordable than other solutions like HubSpot, but they are also designed with conversion in mind. They’ll help you increase ROI by incorporating many of the benefits that their competitors include as “a la carte” options.
That’s how FunnelBud was able to 10x one of their clients’ ROI in just 3 months via SharpSpring.
Once you’ve got your funnel and processes automated, the next step is to find a robust analytics optimization tool to give you access to the data you need.
Analytics is an essential part of tracking your marketing efforts, such as content marketing, but they also give you a better picture of the customer journey in its entirety.
Not sure what metrics or KPI to look for? We have a whole post about it that you can find here. But just to get you started, you want to look for metrics like traffic or leads by channel, pipeline metrics, conversion rates, engagement, etc.
Upon adding an automated analytics system to their overall marketing strategy, Michigan State University’s University Advancement department saw a 55% annual ROI.
How? By using analytics digital marketing tools to categorize potential donors based on 170 different characteristics allowed their team to gain deeper insights into each alumni’s potential to give.
This means that in just 1 year they saved over $30,000 by saving employees time on manual data entry and analysis.
It’s absolutely crucial for your team to be able to see all of their data in an easily digestible format, which is why choosing the right analytics tools is key.
Our Analytics Recommendations
Google Analytics is one of the top-tier metric tracking tools on the market right now, and for good reason. Google has cooked up a truly bulletproof solution for teams of all sizes by creating a hyper-integrated analytics machine.
Their software pulls traffic data, conversion tracking, and even keyword referrals to give you the clearest picture of what’s really going on in your business’ traffic. It gives you a complete picture of your traffic funnel so you can eliminate gaps and double down on what works.
Lenovo saw first-hand how powerful these insights could be when they utilized Google Analytics to get a fresh perspective on their traffic flows.
By gaining a clearer picture of where their prospects were interacting with their brand, Lenovo was able to increase their revenue from their multi-touch conversion paths by 73%.
They realized that by engaging their prospects across multiple channels and integrating comparison shopping engines into their marketing efforts, they increased their conversion rates substantially. All this made possible through Google Analytics.
BONUS: Google Keyword Planner is an excellent free SEO tool for your marketing team to use for keyword research and Google Adwords can help you plan a strong PPC program when you’re ready.
Along with Google Analytics, Google Search Console is a tool that gives you insight into your website and those visiting it. It’s popular among marketing professionals, SEOs, designers, business owners, and app developers who want to improve the performance of their web content.
Neil Patel from Hubspot shows how, just by properly implementing the free features of this tool, you increase your traffic by 28% like a client of theirs.
It tells you how many visitors your site is getting in real-time, how they found your site, and helps you fix page errors. It also shows you whether they are accessing your site via mobile or desktop. Finally, it tells you which pages are getting the most visitors, giving you a clear picture of which content is performing the best.
Loving Google’s free tools? We’ve also done a review on Google Data Studio.
Advanced SEO Tools
If you’re further along in your marketing strategy and looking for ways to step up your SEO game, we have a few advanced tools we can recommend to aid your marketing campaigns.
- Ahrefs – used for auditing SEO, improving backlink strategy and URL rankings, competitive analysis, and more.
- Moz – is an all-in-one SEO tool that allows you to holistically improve your search engine visibility.
- BuzzSumo – helps you to discover the best topics for engagement and outreach across social and search so you can use the insight to inform your content strategy.
- SEMrush – another excellent SEO platform that enables you to improve your online visibility. Tools include PPC, Social Media Marketing (SMM), Keyword Research, Competitor Analysis, and Content Marketing.
- HotJar – is a behavior analytics tool that allows you to track visitor behavior on your website through tools like heatmaps, surveys, and session recordings.
- Screaming Frog – Screaming Frog is an SEO Spider- a desktop application, or chrome plugin, that crawls website links and analyzes them from an SEO perspective. With this insight, subscribers can optimize your website, content, links, images, and code to perform better on Google.
Web-Based Content Builders
Content builders are one of those “no-brainer” digital marketing tools that every business needs. Content is essential for gathering leads and growing your email lists, as well as creating and delivering killer offerings for your existing customers.
These marketing platforms help to design websites, landing pages, microsites, web presentations, and more without the need to hire a developer. With beautiful custom content, you can get the most out of your campaigns, funnels, and product launches.
The Content Marketing Institute reported that 91% of B2B Marketers use content marketing to reach their target audience, adding further that content marketing was one of the most effective ways for businesses to promote their products and services.
Our Content Builder Recommendations
For landing pages, we love Unbounce. It’s made waves in the past few years and garnered quite a reputation with its customers for being easy to use, and having incredible customer service.
They offer automatic image optimization to maximize your load speed for every page, plus they offer over a million free stock photos with Unsplash that you can use on any page, any time.
New Balance Chicago took advantage of these optimization features when they wanted to improve their mobile marketing efforts in a new campaign.
Through highly targeted Facebook ads that lead users to an email opt-in and subsequent landing page, New Balance Chicago increased their email list by 10% in just two months, and the open rates for their email campaign performed 5-10% above their previous campaigns.
Unbounce’s mobile-ready templates will help you optimize your prospect’s experience no matter what device they’re using, and since most users surf on mobile, they’ve really got your best interests at heart.
For websites and other mobile-ready content, Brandcast is an industry leader. Brandcast is a user-friendly design tool that you can use to create visually stunning web content at scale without the need for coding knowledge.
In addition, Brandcast is a full design project management tool. Allowing you to combine teams and tools on one collaborative platform. You can plan, build, and edit your content, search engine optimization (SEO), and host securely, all through the Brandcast platform.
Just look at how Global Nomads Group, a generation Z communication technology tool, tripled their conversions with Brandcast.
After using Brandcast to replace their slow, out-of-date website, they created another site for Seat at the Table and saw an immediate 3X increase in online applications. Their following has since grown from a couple hundred to several thousands of young people all over the world.
Brandcast offers unlimited page publishing using their easy click-and-drag page builders. Plus, they have killer page load speeds so you’ll minimize the chance of your prospects bouncing before the page pops up.
Project management software is one of your absolutely essential digital marketing tools. It keeps everything organized and prevents things from slipping through the cracks.
According to this report, project management is a huge snag for many teams and can lead to dramatic increases in project failure rates when teams aren’t able to adapt to changing demands or objectives.
Yet teams with proven track records of solid project management policies were 28 times less likely to waste money. This highlights why it’s so important to find the right project management tool for your team based on your unique needs.
Choosing the right software can be a headache, though. Especially if you’re not happy with your first choice and have to migrate everything to a different software in the future.
Whatever software you choose should be right for your team and the work you do the most. That’s why we recommend digging into your teams’ workflows to really understand what it is you need from a project management tool.
Our Project Management Recommendations
Wrike is our current project management tool and we love it because of its comprehensive functionality and versatility.
Wrike lets you create Kanban boards, lists, or Gantt charts- however, you like to organize your workflows and timelines. When you set up your account with Wrike, you also gain access to numerous resources that will walk you through all of their functionality.
Take Dare, a digital creative agency in Bristol, as an example. Dare implemented Wrike in an effort to simplify their team’s workflows and by creating a “single source of truth” for their team’s projects, they were able to cut down costs but also cut out unnecessary time-wasters on a few key projects for their team.
This helped them work smoothly and swiftly to meet client needs and prioritize the essentials for both their full-time employees as well as their contractors.
From content calendars to scrums, Wrike helps you develop workspaces that work for you and their permissions are extremely cost-effective. For instance, we love that we can add clients to project boards as collaborators without being charged for additional users.
But the thing we love the most about Wrike is it’s straightforward and easy to use. This is super beneficial for agencies like ours whose team has mixed skill sets, some of which have difficulty using some of the more technical options on the market.
Trello, by Atlassian, is an alternative to Wrike that is an industry favorite for project management. It has a host of amazing tools that will help your projects run smoothly and on time.
Trello uses Kanban boards to make project organization and collaboration easy. In addition, boards can be categorized by lists and individual cards that have specific details for projects such as team members, procedural details, checklists, and discussions.
The Motley Fool, an innovative investment company integrated with Trello to help plan for a launch across all of Scandinavia and Ireland. This huge move, required cross-team collaboration from development, to support, to content writing, and beyond. Trello was able to facilitate that effort.
“Trello helps us see where the pain points are in your team if there are any,” said Laurie Street, a member of their People Team. “We want to make sure that everyone can do a job and cover for Fools if they’re not in the office.”
Trello not only allows you to get started quickly with template boards, but it also allows you to integrate your other mission-critical, third-party apps and work on the go with their mobile application that syncs to all your devices.
Choosing the Right Digital Marketing Tools for Your Team
When you’re looking for marketing software to help you solve a problem, it’s important to get clear on exactly what you need help with.
Is it optimizing your eCommerce storefront, building more brand awareness, or finding cost-effective ways to scale your outreach?
Where are the biggest inefficiencies? Where do you feel there are gaps in your digital marketing strategy?
Identifying those gaps first is going to give you the clearest picture of what your team needs help with the most.
Whether that’s project management or analytics, finding the right digital marketing tools, or looking for other great marketing resources to help your business attract more customers and scale your business.
Need help identifying the gaps in your inbound marketing channel? We can help. Reach out today and we’ll set up a time to talk more about your marketing goals.