By Sherri Huleatt
With new marketing tools being launched—what seems like—nearly every day, finding the right one can be a headache. Lucky for you, as a digital marketer, I’ve slogged through my fair share of marketing tools over the years, so I can present you with my list of time-tested and marketer-approved tools. These tools will help you write better, optimize your marketing efforts, and save time.
HubSpot grader: website optimization—Free
Are you curious about how your website is performing? This free tool offers a detailed rundown of your website’s SEO opportunities, site performance, responsiveness, and security. You’ll get specific optimization tips, including how to reduce page size to speed up your website, to install a security certificate, to establish URL redirects, and more.
AdEspresso: Facebook and Instagram a/b testing of ads—$49-to-$499/mo.
Both a massive time-saver and impressive data hub, AdEspresso makes a/b testing on Facebook and Instagram ads a breeze. Instead of manually creating each ad within Facebook’s business manager, AdEspresso allows you to enter all variables you’d like to test (for example, three headlines, four images, and two calls-to-action), and the platform will create all possible iterations of each ad and test them at once. This is a priceless tool for social media marketers wanting to optimize their ad spend and impress their boss with actionable insights on audience engagement, ad type, placement, and more.
Grammarly: writing tool—Free chrome extension and application, or upgrade to Premium for $139.95 a year
Even if you’re not a professional writer, poor grammar is one of the easiest ways to make or break your credibility. Grammarly is a free tool that goes beyond simple spellcheck to help you write and communicate better. The Chrome extension spots passive voice, incorrect pronouns, and wordiness while you work. You can copy and paste full documents into the application to spot writing errors. If you’re a nerd like me and crave grades, Grammarly also provides a weekly scorecard on how your productivity and writing accuracy compared with other Grammarly users.
Gleam: online giveaway promotion—$10-to-$399/mo. (I recommend the $49/mo. Pro Plan.)
Hosting online giveaways is an excellent way to increase your brand’s reach, boost email subscribers, and increase your social media following. (I’ve seen online giveaways increase social media followers by up to 300% in one week). Gleam allows you to create online tasks for participants—such as subscribing to your email newsletter, following you on Twitter, watching a YouTube video, viewing a new product, etc. Each action equals a certain amount of entries (you can choose more entry points for high-value actions), so the more actions participants take, the more likely they are to win. Attract the right participants with relevant prizes, such as giving away your products, offering event tickets, or partnering with another brand to increase your reach and splitting the cost of the prize. You can embed the giveaway on your website or use the custom landing page created by the app.
HotJar: website user experience—Free-to-$660/mo.
A heat mapping and website video recording tool, HotJar shows how your audience interacts with your website, so you can track popular content, user obstacles, and areas of opportunity. The heat maps show which links and content users interact with most and least. You also can view scroll patterns (e.g., how far users scroll down the page) and record cursor movements and user flows to see how users navigate your website.
MailChimp: email marketing tool—Free-to-$199/mo. and up
This tool might be a no-brainer for some brands, but if you’re not already doing email marketing—start right now! My favorite tool is MailChimp. It offers pre-designed email templates with simple drag-and-drop content sections, and it is more affordable than Constant Contact. You can optimize your emails with easy a/b tests—test your subject line, email content, calls-to-action, timing, and more. MailChimp’s automated emails can create ongoing “welcome” emails (my personal favorite) to educate and engage new subscribers or send automated “come back” emails to people who haven’t engaged with your brand in a while.
Jing: screen capture—Free
As a digital marketer, very few days pass without me using Jing. It’s an easy-to-use screen capture and video recording tool that allows the capture of all or portions of your computer screen and mark them up with arrows, text, and highlights. Once you’ve marked up your image, you can save it, copy it, or create a URL to easily share your screenshot or video with others. This is the perfect tool for editing content, sharing instructions, or capturing interesting ideas online. Jing automatically stores your screenshots, so you can refer to them later.
Other notable tools:
Canva: free graphic design.
Survey Gizmo and Survey Monkey: online surveys.
Buffer and HootSuite: social media schedulers and analytics.
Google Analytics chrome extension: View real-time analytics on your site without navigating to Google Analytics.
WebAIM tools: Ensure your marketing materials are ADA accessible.
Slack: A messaging app that streamlines internal communication and file sharing.
Google Drive: free online document storage and collaboration.
Unsplash and Pexels: free stock photos.
What are your favorite digital marketing tools? Leave your suggestions in the Comments section below!