Larger, more well-established businesses have it easy – they can buy all the tools for digital marketing, hire experts and
Small businesses, however, cannot afford to waste money and resources investing in the wrong tools
In fact, since they’re usually always on tighter budgets, they can only invest in a limited number of places.
Not only that, but startups also require tools for digital marketing that are easy to use.
Without experts, it can become extremely difficult to manage and make effective use out of these tools.
Thus, I’ve created a list of the best tools for digital marketing (for each platform) which won’t create a hole in your pocket and are extremely user-friendly:
#1. Email: Constant Contact
Constant Contact is one of the oldest and largest email marketing tool out there – which gives it the advantage of knowing the industry better than any other competitors out there.
It offers unique advanced features which are constantly improved and increased, including an event management tool, social media tools and integration with a number of different apps.
When it comes to customer support – Constant Contact provides access to live chat, email and phone support.
But the best part is that you can customise your dashboard from a wide range of niche-specific templates to use and track them accordingly so that you can make constant improvements.
Lastly, Constant Contact has extremely helpful guides and services that will help you navigate through the platform so you don’t need to hire any experts!
With pricing plans starting from $20 a month, it’s light on the money for the services that it provides.
#2. SMS: ExpressText
There’s a lot of competition when it comes to SMS platforms in the US and it can be difficult to pick one that accurately fulfils your business needs.
With ExpressText, you’ll have a wide variety of features to incorporate into your SMS Campaign – including double opt-in, birthday texts, link tracking, detailed analytics and so much more.
But the competitive advantage that ExpressText has over other platforms is its pricing.
You’ll be able to send a higher number of text messages in the same prices that you would on any other platform – with access to all the features.
Plus, there are help videos at each step to assist you in signing up, incorporating features and making payments.
Lastly, it has a mobile application that allows you to manage your account without the need for desktops which means that you can access it anywhere outside the office!
Your customer representative employees no longer have to be bound to the office or work night shifts when they can easily work from home and even while commuting.
#3. Social media: Sprout Social
Social media itself is a pretty broad term because so many marketing channels come under it – including LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram and even Pinterest.
To top that, social media channels rank the highest in terms of effectiveness.
Thus, you need a really good tool to manage your social media accounts all in one place:
Sprout Social is great for all kinds of businesses – whether you’re a startup, a growing business or a well-established enterprise because it has pricing options for each.
There are a lot of other great social media tools out there that will cost you nothing but they’re limited to managing only 1-2 platforms, for example, Facebook analytics.
So instead of investing your time and effort in different tools, you can pay to integrate all your social media apps on one platform like Sprout Social.
With the ‘smart-inbox’ feature, you’ll get messages from all platforms sent to a single inbox, making it easier for your employees to interact and reply back to customers.
Plus, you can also schedule posts for different social media apps on your account calender.
From my own personal experience, I feel that Sprout Social has a great user interface which is customised to each user’s needs and it offers some of the best engagement tools, so it’s worth the investment.
If you have less than 5 social platforms, you’ll only have to pay $99 a month.
However, if you’re looking for an even cheaper social media management tool then HubSpot will cost you half the fee.
At the end of the day, you need to decide which platform works best for your business and if the features that it provides fulfil your requirements or not.
#4. SEO: SpyFu
With the increasingly prominent shift from traditional to digital marketing over the last decade, you simply cannot ignore search engine optimisation.
It’s the first thing you need to know as a marketer today because, without proper SEO, your competitors will rank higher in search results which means you might as well be handing over your sales and potential customers to them.
That is why you need to be well versed with Google and other search engines SEO guides (especially if your business is international) because each search engine has its own system and requirements that determine ranking.
I picked out SpyFu as one of the best SEO tools out there because even though the job is simple i.e. finding out competitor and other popular industry keywords, the best tools are those that give you in-depth and accurate information:
In other words, SpyFu will get you results. And how they do that?
By telling you exactly the reason behind the success of your competitors.
SpyFu has a variety of features that most other SEO tools don’t have, for example, PPC keyword suggestion, domain comparison and competitor backlinks.
It gives you more than just the keywords that your competitors are, and you can use this data to get an edge over your competitors.
Plus, it’s so cheap you won’t even realise you’re paying anything especially with the $33 monthly starter package (that is if you use it annually).
#5. Website: Inspectlet
When it comes to your website, there’s a lot of areas that you need to cover, for example, the web design.
I wouldn’t recommend using Wix or Canva to build your own website, because if you’re investing so much in SEO, is it really worth it if your website doesn’t look professional?
The idea is to get users to stay, so it’s best to hire a web designer (or an entire team, if you have the resources).
Make sure that your web designers maintain and update your website’s internal structure and backlinks frequently to ensure good user experience.
However, that’s a whole other topic so you can check out my SEO guide to learn more about optimising your website.
Right now, I’ll be focusing on how you can maximise your conversions by identifying what’s working for you and what is not. For that very purpose, you can use Inspectlet:
While Google Analytics is also a great website analytical tool, it simply doesn’t make the cut anymore because the purchase process is much more complex than buying or not buying the actual product, and Google Analytics does not take into account the factors that lead up to the purchase.
While it doesn’t hurt to use Google Analytics (after all, it’s free and effective in identifying conversions and leads), you’ll also need another tool to find out the reason behind high or low conversions.
With features like the heatmap and mouse recordings, you can pinpoint exactly how much time a visitor is spending on your website and better yet, record their entire interaction.
So, for example, you notice that a number of visitors keep switching to different pages on your site and end up leaving it without making a purchase.
The most likely reason behind that is difficulty navigating the website.
How can you fix that? Update your website design for a simpler outlook as well as an internal structure so that visitors can easily get to pages that they need to.
You can get Inspectlet for free, but to access the best features, you’ll have to go for the premium pricing options which are also not too pricey (starting at $39) as compared to competitors.
#6. Content curation: Scribble Live
This is my real area of expertise, considering I’ve been working in the field for over 3 years now and I know first hand how difficult it can be to curate content that is relevant, interesting and meets SEO demands.
And with the speed at which competitors kept posting, it was only a certain amount of time before I realised that there are a number of tools that could help me curate my content.
Scribble is great because it collects all the third-party content available on the web and organises it into topic-specific libraries that can be used for instant references.
Plus, it’s an extremely intuitive tool because the more content you create, the smarter it gets when providing information to you.
Moreover, it even lets you distribute your content efficiently among your readers without having to spend hours on the web.
Scribble is one of the top tools for content curation out there since its being used by all the market leaders in different industries.
#7. Analytics & Tracking: Heap
Analytics is the first and last part of your marketing strategy where you analyse your current strategy and revise it for future improvements.
Thus, you’ll need a great tool for that as well.
As I said, you can use Google Analytics (especially if you’re a startup) but if you’re looking for a more in-depth analysis you’ll require a more invasive tool like Heap Analytics:
Not only does it give you an overview of your product and business performance, but it also analyses your sales funnel which is extremely important because the first stages where a consumer becomes aware of your product is critical in converting them into a potential customer.
Thus, Heap will help you in increasing your conversion rate as well as active engagement.
The tool is designed to help you drive engagement and customer retention, which will ultimately lead to higher sales so a tool like this can be a great investment if used right.
The best part about all this is that Heap’s starter package is absolutely free which is aimed at helping small businesses grow.
Plus, it will help you to determine whether the tool is working for you or not – and if it is, you can always upgrade to the premium options.
Each of these tools for digital marketing is specially designed for its specific purpose because at the end of the day, you need to spend money to make money.
However, the most important thing to remember is that you need to invest in the right places. Only go for paid analytical tools if you feel that your strategy is lacking somewhere.
Use social media tools if you have a visible social media presence that requires constant managing and automation to save time.
As your business grows, you will inevitably need more digital marketing tools to help manage each department as well as save time and costs. The bottom line is, do your research before investing in any tools for digital marketing.