With a new year beginning and likely new lofty goals for your marketing efforts, we thought you could use a little assistance. While we can’t fly around the world to aid you in daily tasks, we can find the online tools that will come pretty darn close.
Of course, you’ve learned by now that every business needs to have a substantial presence online, compelling video ads to grab your audience on social media and a product your customer service team (even if it’s a team of 1) can stand behind. But that’s just the start. To take advantage of the global market you want to create a well-oiled machine that includes all the elements a marketing guru at the big agencies would have.
Now you can!
Try our top 33 innovative tools to make your job easier and your work more effective:
When’s the last time someone asked you for your business card? It’s likely been ages. Even if they did, wouldn’t it be ideal to give your URL with a pristine website full of all the information any future customer could ever need? Yeah, we thought so. Not only are websites an absolute must, now when creating sales and lead generating campaigns (and if you’re not yet, we highly recommend it) a unique landing page is also a necessary piece of your marketing efforts.
With Wix, you can create a drag and drop website for every business vertical. The editor allows you to customize each aspect of your website and brand your content from top to bottom. Not only that, the unique packages for eCommerce, Photography, Restaurants and more include all of the back-end tools required to manage your business online. Whatsmore, they offer a wide selection of in-house and 3rd party apps that can be added to each site for functionality and design. Whether you are an advanced web designer or a first-timer you have an easy-to-use tool to create the exact website you want.
If you’re looking for a stunning website template, you’ve come to the right place. Squarespace puts beauty first with pre-designed sites. You simply need to edit with your own content and make slight adjustments. In need of a domain name? Squarespace is a domain name registrar and your site can thus only be housed within the platform.
If you’re ready to code a website to fit your specific website needs and build a truly robust online presence, many businesses look to WordPress. They are a free and open-source content management system. They offer both a plug-in and template system. Should you want to adjust your appearance over time, you can change between templates easily and efficiently to grow your business.
While a website is a must, often a campaign needs to be directed to something a bit more specific. For example, are you trying to reach out to only mom’s on Mother’s Day? Do you have a special coupon you want only a select group of customers to access? These are the times when creating a separate landing page can give you the customization and flexibility you need to create your full marketing vision from top to bottom.
Ever wanted to A/B test a web page? Of course, why wouldn’t you? After pouring yourself into your most valuable web asset, testing which elements can perform best will give you a significant advantage. Optimizely also has numerous personalization and customization offerings so that your site can target each unique market.
When running a marketing campaign for your business, Unbounce is an excellent platform for creating a landing page. In 2017 they released Convertibles, “a series of website advertisements designed by the platform’s users to appear at varying points in a web browser’s exploration.” They also created a free Landing Page Analyzer to assess landing page performance and help you choose the perfect template.
For agencies and marketing teams, this is the ideal tool for creating landing pages collaboratively. The tool allows for multiple users to create and comment within the platform, speeding up the design and execution process. They also include templates designed with conversion optimization in mind. The landing page can easily integrate with other elements of your campaign such as CRMs and emailing marketing tools.
Centered around high-performance and beautiful templates, you can easily customize your landing page for each campaign. Built on a drag and drop editor, they have all the bells and whistles including pop-ups and SMS opt-in codes and 1-click sign-up links. Really, the additional features are endless for campaign development.
Visual Content: Videos
Videos passed from being the way of the future and now solidified themselves as the power house of the present. A recent study shows that more video content is uploaded in 30 days than major American television networks have created in 30 years! So, since people love clearly to consume video content, it means as an advertiser, you need to create compelling and dynamic work to grab the all that coveted watch time.
You’ve officially found your one stop shop for video content creation. With professional level footage, pre-cut and fully licensed music and an easy to use editor included, you can make compelling video ads for every online channel in a matter of minutes. Racing to make content for social media or a specific holiday? Not to worry. Promo offers ready-made Collections for special days, sales and industries. Just add your message and logo and hit publish!
Snag this fun and easy to use mobile app to add text to images and make silly GIFs. All you need to do is think up the text you’d like to share and they’ll do the adorable design for you. Because … why not?!
If you’ve already got the footage, then with WeVideo you’re ready to edit and create a super professional video. Along with it’s advanced editing options, massive video storage capabilities (meaning you can continue the editing process everywhere) and easy-to-navigate interface, this tool also offers up to 4k resolution for the highest quality viewing experience. What more could you want? A green screen? With WeVideo, you can use that, too.
Looking to spice up your brand? Try using animated video to take your messaging in a playful direction. You can create cartoon videos for marketing efforts, training, IT and company presentations. It’s perfect not only for your business but also getting noticed in the academic world.
Visual Content: Images
As a small business and marketer, you’ll always need professional level images–whether they’re for revamping your website, creating an online invitation, showcasing a specific product that’s new, or even putting some easy and organic content on one of your less dominant social media channels. But while snapping a picture with your mobile phone can work in some situations, more often than not a professional level image is necessary to keep your brand’s bar high.
No need to be a graphic designer when you have this easy software to ensure you look like a professional. You know all of those fun inspirational quotes and event images posted all over the internet? Now you can make your own without an in-house team. Grab a beautiful background, chose the font that fits your brand and add your text. If your passion for design begins to grow, Canva also offers tutorials, design courses, teaching materials and loads of ideas to get you exploring your artistic side.
A graphic design editor for the non-graphic designer in all of us. This drag and drop system allows you to adjust the background, use your own photos, write text, include shapes and even add-on effects. Everything is 100% royalty-free and licensed for commercial use.
Sometimes the best way to share a more complex piece of content with your audience is with an infographic. While these used to require a designer, and a ton of work we might add, now you can represent your data more easily and beautifully. Pick from a collection of templates, add your own charts and additional visuals and customize the look and feel to match your brand. That’s it. Super simple. Now share your data discoveries with the world.
Need to snag a screenshot and have it look presentable? We do this pretty much every day for something within the content team and, no doubt, most professionals do, too. The people at Awesome Screenshot understand it’s way easier to communicate with visuals. That’s why they offer a screenshot system that has additional features such as project organization, the ability to deliver feedback on the image and collaborative options.
Social Media Management
Yes, the world is on social media. And we do mean the world. With 2.07 Billion people visiting Facebook weekly, every business has an active audience on social media. With this thriving audience just waiting for your messaging, you’ll need to make sure interesting and active content is a regular part of your daily routine. That’s why any tool that can help organize the work and minimize the time spent is a huge asset.
If you’re like most businesses you’re managing a handful of social media channels. (And if you’re not yet, it’s a must!) Save yourself time and get a bird’s eye view of all the content you’re publishing across your socials by using the Hootsuite platform. You can integrate Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Google+, YouTube, and many more. They even added the ability to include MailChimp, Reddit, Storify, Tumblr, and Marketo for an even more inclusive experience. Schedule your posts, stay on message between team members and oversee your stats all in one system.
Just like Hootsuite, Buffer allows you to manage all of your social media channels in one place. If you haven’t quite figured out the best times of day to post on each channel to maximize engagement, they have built in time slots showcasing when your unique audience is most active online. They include suggestions for content items that will get each kind of engagement for each social platform.
Maxed out with all of your marketing efforts? With Edgar you can simply place the content inside the system and it will post it for you. Ditch the real-time stress, but still get the real-time engagement from your customers. What does that really mean (we’re looking at you international businesses)? Going to bed on time and knowing your amazing content is still circulating the world around the clock.
Data and Analytics
Why play a guessing game with your marketing efforts? Learn from your customers, assess your own initiatives and get better each time by analyzing the data. While this is often an intimidating proposition, it’s easier than you may think. With these tools, you can perform the basic to the most advanced data analysis and grow your business based on the results.
If you’re ready to track visitor behavior on your website and follow up with behavior-based emails, you’ve found the right tool. KissMetrics offers an easy solution to analyze and then create segmentation within your email lists all in one location. This is an excellent service when you want to communicate with customers and, more specifically, to their unique visiting patterns, which will likely push effective engagement growth and purchases.
Track user interactions with web and mobile applications and target communication with them. The offering includes in-app A/B tests and user survey forms as well as custom reports and retention measurements. This tool is not for the faint of heart and we recommend it to those of you who’ve been around the numerical block a time or two.
Are you focusing your efforts on Facebook marketing? Good plan. FunnelDash can give you an advantage when it comes to accessing your campaign analytics for profitable advertising. Easily optimize ROAS and access a dashboard that can include 10’s of campaigns organized based on your parameters all at once.
Email Marketing and Automation
Certainly, you receive daily emails from your family, friends, gym, local coffee shop and a few companies you vaguely remembered signing up to getting the mailing list and can’t quite bring yourself to click unsubscribe. That’s because, just as everyone is on social media, everyone and their grandmother look at their email. We surely don’t need to convince you that flyers are a thing of the past (though often quite fun and can sometimes come in handy) but making beautifully designed emails and monitoring your leads closely with automatic systems is the real future of successful lead generation.
What once started as an email marketing system, MailChimp has expanded to offer a wide array of marketing automation services. They also may have the best new tagline of the entire list – “Marketing automation is like a second brain for your business.” And they’re exactly right. Removing the manual tasks while still being able to engage with your audience in a successful way is ideal for all small and medium-sized business owners. With gorgeous email templates, data-driven lists and now 3 advertising channel options, this is an excellent tool to launch those new to automation with a flair for design.
If you’re using 3rd party apps such as Shopify or Salesforce, you can import data and customize messaging based on your current user behavior. If you’re a busy bee, perhaps you travel often, this system allows you to schedule all of your emails in advance and not worry about it compromising your own daily activities.
Your customers want to hear from you in a variety of ways. Now you can send personalized emails, in-app messages, SMS, and postcards. Use autopilot to acquire leads, nurture these relationships and grow your business. You can create a unique buying experience online and offline and then sync all the data together in your CRM.
If you’ve got an eCommerce business, you’ve found your match. Drip was specifically created to support selling products online. For those who are visual learners, their workflow was designed for you with customization options that let you see exactly what’s ahead of you and simplify your sales funnel.
PPC and Conversion Optimization
Wouldn’t it be amazing if you could simply put a compelling piece of content online and poof, your customers start rolling in? Unfortunately, it doesn’t quite work that way. To run effective ads, you need to use conversion optimization tools. Social media platforms have built-in dashboards, but if you’re looking for an extra push, with additional data and customized suggestions, you can find a few below.
Make sure your Facebook and Instagram advertising is effective. As a RoboAgency, Needls allows you to determine the perfect target audience for your ads by monitoring social media conversations in real time. Start by inputting information about your business. They will then create and distribute your ad. You will monitor it using the system available and then optimize.
Track your website traffic for free. One excellent way to take advantage of this tool is by using the pop-ups feature. With List Builder, you create pop-ups that appear on clicks, timers and before people leave. We highly recommend using pop-ups both on your homepage, within product pages and, most effectively, on your blog.
Have you heard of “heatmaps?” These allow you to view user activity on websites and mobile and understand what they want by visually representing their clicks, taps and scrolling behavior. This is just one of the many features Hotjar has to offer. They also include recording options to see exactly where a user scrolls. This, in addition to conversion funnels, feedback polls, surveys and user test will give you a wide scope of how each site visitor experiences you online and how to adjust accordingly.
A challenge many of us face is how to convert abandoned users into subscribers. OptinMonster is a powerful conversion optimization and lead generation software that does just that. They have offerings specific to eCommerce, publishers, agencies and B2B marketers. Each of the offerings allow you to do A/B testing in order to maximize your research to make the most informed marketing strategy.
Technical Support and Customer Success
You need a hand. And so do your customers. There is never enough emphasis you can put on support and customer success, as far as we’re concerned. This is how you build your company via word of mouth and have the loyalty of returns. Not to mention, it just feels good! But this too can be overwhelming as human interactions can be extremely time consuming. Not to fear, you can offer the quality of customer care you want with a little help from these online tools.
Looking to scale your business and need to make sure your customer support is ready for the undertaking? Zendesk emphasizes this exact pain point in all of their offerings. They offer responsive and personalized customer support on all channels 24/7. The set-up takes days and is flexible so you can evolve with your customer’s needs.
With the first AI and Bot-powered customer service platform you can offer support on mobile and desktop apps, mobile and desktop websites, and via email. With a built-in chat box, simple requests can be automated and transition to human support when needed. You can also offer in-channel self-service so that customers can help themselves without getting lost in a Help Center or Google search.
Looking for a human approach to your support needs? This software allows you to talk directly and easily to your customers on your website. It’s that simple. With a live chat app that can integrate on all sites, you can open up your communication as well as get real-time reporting and a back-end team management system.
Learn about your customers needs, interests and requests by delivering simple online forms. Just build and customize your form, send it out, and receive email notifications as the results roll in. To make it even quicker and more beautiful, they offer templates and themes so you can look your very best while collecting the precious info.
Whether you’re a team of 50 or you’re going at it alone, we see the challenges of running marketing efforts. But remember, with online innovation and uniquely designed tools galore, you have more help than you realized. If all of this is new to you, start with one or two areas to grow your expertise and add more and more tools as you build your confidence and routine.