To accomplish any job, you need the tools for your trade.
- An accountant would be helpless without Quickbooks and Excel
- A carpenter can’t construct a house without a saw and a drill.
- A salesman needs a phone and a CRM to make calls and close deals.
The same case applies to digital marketers! To drive traffic to a site, convert that traffic, and ultimately retain customers, digital marketers rely on various software tools.
Today, there are thousands of options when evaluating software for your marketing team. And most successful companies rely not just on one tool, but a suite of digital marketing tools to grow their business.
So what are the best digital marketing tools?
Rather than simply telling you what we think, we turned to digital marketers from various industries for their favorite digital marketing tools. Then we asked them two questions:
- Why do you like the product?
- What specific benefit has the software provided to your business?
While there was some overlap in responses, we were surprised by the variety of tools that we received. Some online marketers highly valued SEO and SEM while other valued productivity more highly.
Without further ado, here’s the list:
20 Digital Marketing Tools Trusted by the Experts
To help you quickly find what you’re looking for, we’ve separated this post by strategy. Use the following links to quickly jump to a section.
- Conversion, Marketing Automation, & Personalization
- Design, Social Media, and Video
- Google Tools
- Keyword Research, SEO, and SEM
Digital Marketing Analytics Tools
“One of my favorite digital marketing tools is Hotjar — it’s an analytics & feedback program that allows marketers to track user behavior on the site. The program helps you identify the information behind behavior by leveraging powerful tools like site heatmaps, screen recordings of your user and surveys/feedback polls. As a digital marketer, having a tool like this helps me measure the effectiveness of a website design while allowing me to build solutions that increase conversion of the site! I’ve been using it in our latest e-commerce launch of MSafe, a direct-to-consumer home safe brand.”
Dean DeCarlo, President @ Mission Disrupt
Digital Marketing Tools for Conversion, Marketing Automation, & Personalization
2. HubSpot Forms
“HubSpot Forms starts out free and is, for the most part, without any big limits on the free version
(you can make as many forms as you want with as many fields as you desire. As many leads as you want can pass through). It automatically syncs to HubSpot CRM (also free), but you can also integrate easily with other CRMs or email marketing tools. The best lead capture forms out there.”
Alex Birkett, Growth Marketing Manager @ Hubspot
“Marketo is one of our marketing team’s go-to tools with two simple goals: generating leads and staying top-of-mind for our clients. It was the best solution to help us scale our automated nurtures, landing pages, and ultimately, conversions.”
Jenna Weinerman, Marketing Director @ Updater
“This program allows you to develop nurture tracks or sets of email responses based on actions they perform on your website. It saves you a TON of time especially if your website has a lot of visitors who download eBooks, sign up for webinars or free consults or typically fill out forms. You can also integrate it with your CRM so that there is a handoff from marketing to sales if the visitor reaches a certain point in the engagement.
Pros: Cuts down on time required to respond and follow up with every inquiry. Has a ton of features for A/B testing and contact scoring. Cons: It takes a bit of time to set up. There is a cost to this digital marketing tool but well worth it if you invest the time to use correctly.”
Colton DeVos, Marketing Specialist @ ResoluteTS
“A must-have for any marketing team looking to boost conversions and effectively reach their consumer base with an email campaign. It also makes ad campaigns easier and more effective while also creating more appealing landing pages. The user-friendly marketing tool has helped us create a flexible email campaign that proved to be significantly more successful than our previous efforts. After switching to MailChimp, we saw our open-rate jump to around 25% with a click-rate of 5%.”
Nate Masterson, Marketing Manager @ Mapleholistics.com
“Mailchimp has always been my go-to and the most valuable tool for me as a digital marketer. I love it because it helps me to deliver succinct marketing messages directly to my audiences without having to dip too deep into my marketing budget. It allows me to create and disperse targeted messaging easily, especially recently as we launch our bedding line, Saatva Dreams. We can reach our audience about new products and developments quickly through our Mailchimp initiatives.”
Harrison Doan, Director of Analytics @ Saatva Dreams
Digital Marketing Tools for Design, Social Media, and Video
“Canva is a free design tool that lets you make sleek and professional looking graphics really quickly. You can upload images, icons, and your logo to help customize the graphics you make. Its super easy to use and anyone (even people with no design experience) can quickly pick it up.
We use Canva extensively to make infographics and gifs for our website and for our social media posts. It’s a great way to make branded, eye-catching graphics that get interactions on social media and show up in Google Image search.”
Lauren Hilinski, Digital Marketing Specialist @ Shred Nations
“Over the past couple of months, our marketing team has been investing in and dedicating time to the launch of our new website isaless.com. We have utilized different digital marketing tools and tactics to aid our inbound marketing strategy.
Some of the tools that my team has incorporated to aid our digital marketing strategy include Active Campaign, Biteable, and Hotjar. However one of our favorite software that we use would be Hootsuite.
We like this software because it monitors all of our social media platforms at once and also provides post updates, review responses, and connects with all your customer’s platforms you could possibly think of. The software also allows us to share information very easily through a plug-in which you can utilize in sharing through all your social media platforms simultaneously.
Hootsuite has had a positive impact with our business through the increase in web traffic. Because Hootsuite allows us to post in all social media platforms at specific times, my team and I created a social media calendar and implemented Hootsuite to follow this calendar in order to post at specific times throughout the day. Therefore we engage and have the most conversions possible with Hootsuite’s automatic postings at times of our choosing. We also use Hootsuite to listen to what other people are saying. For example, when someone posts a specific keyword that is similar to what we are using in our posts, we can look at their post and use the information to make our posts better than our competitors.”
William Hyland, Digital Marketing Specialist @ Inside Sales Solutions
Google Tools for Digital Marketing
8. Google Search Console & 21. Google Analytics
“These two go hand in hand – they’re probably the single most powerful tools for anyone interested in optimizing for search. These tools will give you insights into where your traffic is coming from, how potential customers are searching for and discovering you, and how you’re performing over time. With respect to Search Console, one example of its use in your SEO strategy is to identify traffic opportunities by sorting keywords that drive the most clicks but have a ranking of 6-10.
If you’re already generating traffic through these keywords and you aren’t in the top 5, focusing your efforts on improving content and citations on the pages that rank for these queries will lead to growth in organic traffic. There is a whole range of amazing insights that GSC can provide and with the latest release, webmasters are provided with data going back 16 months.”
Marc Nashaat, SEO & Digital PR Consultant @ MarcNashaat.com
9. Google Forms
“For a small business on a budget the expense of paying for a survey service, just to be able to send a survey once in a while, is not a worthwhile expenditure. This is where Google Forms, a free form builder we use for collecting data online, comes in.
Our last customer feedback campaign was set up by making a survey using Google Forms that was then sent out to our whole user base via email. We wanted to measure customer satisfaction, locate customer pains, get ideas for new features and get a detailed overview of our direct competition.
The surveys are easy and fast to create — it didn’t take us more than an hour to create a survey with 16 questions that branched out based on user reply. The data can be analyzed in two ways – you can either use the visual report provided by Google forms (which includes various charts and graphs) or you can export the data and make your own in-depth analysis.
The data we got in this way was priceless — not only do we now have a precise plan for our future updates, but we also identified customers to interview in depth later on.”
Marina Dolcic, Marketing @ Morningscore
10. Google Data Studio
“Our recent favorite tool on the SEO and CRO team is Google Data Studio. We started experimenting with it last year as a better way to offer to report, and about 6 months ago transitioned all our client reporting onto the platform.
Data Studio is powerful because you can blend data sources from multiple datasets—Google Analytics, Search Console, Google Ads, Bing Ads, Facebook Ads… you get the idea.
Clients love the reports because they provide a great overview of how their campaigns are performing in an easy-to-understand format.
Implementing Google Data Studio has benefitted us in two important ways. It has allowed us not only to automate but also to centralize our PPC and SEO reporting around a single tool. More importantly, our clients are benefitting from better reporting. They love the visual, interactive, and real-time nature of the reports.”
Ben Hicks, Director of SEO @ Chicago Style SEO
Digital Marketing Tools for Keyword Research, SEO, and SEM
“This is a paid tool and helps a digital marketer audit a website, analyze traffic, analyze competitors in the same category/industry, analyze competitor ads, and find their pages which generate traffic.
Of late, Google Adwords has broadened the broad search results in its AdWords tool, making keyword generation for Digital Ads a painful and inefficient process.
The SEMRush keyword tool helps by generating buying intent specific keywords. In our analysis, Return on Ad Spend(ROAS) by keywords generated through SEMRush has been 2X of the keywords generated through Google Adwords.
SEMRush also helps in content marketing by generating topics with the search volume for specific keywords. It provides a template for the content generation with specific guidelines on keywords to include in the content and reference sources that can be reviewed before writing the content. This makes content writing a piece of cake.
Bye Bye to topic research! Content writers can save a lot of time due to this tool.”
Rajnish Rajpal, Founder @ ibrandstrategy.com
“I love the product because it’s easy to use, and it’s built specifically for PPC & generating leads. Creating website pages that are different and dynamic can be complicated if you’re hardcoding, and creating landing pages for PPC campaigns can take too long. With this drag and drop functionality and pre-built templates, it makes it so much easier!
The benefits have been amazing! Not only am I able to create dedicated landing pages with dynamic text (text that changes depending on customer location, etc.), I can also create lead flows (with exit intent) that increase conversion rates for ebooks, white papers, etc. With all this functionality on top of creating dynamic landing pages, it’s one of the most powerful tools I use as a marketer. It’s very SEO friendly, and also compresses photos automatically. Plus it allows you to connect with many third-party apps to be notified of leads and add to your MQL flow.”
Moises Cardenas, Director of Digital Marketing @ Mountaineer Technology Consultants
13. Screaming Frog
“My go-to tool for any and all things related to technical SEO. This is where SEO starts, before any link development, or content marketing. Ensuring your website is search-engine friendly, and well optimized is critical to any SEO campaign. Screaming Frog is a tremendously powerful web crawler that provides an exorbitant amount of information about the architecture, content, and metadata for pages on your site. It can be used to uncover technical issues, click depth, analyze metadata and more.”
Marc Nashaat, SEO & Digital PR Consultant @ MarcNashaat.com
14. SE Ranking
“I love the SE Ranking SEO platform as it has everything I need to create both relevant and engaging content.
SE Ranking has over 30 tools on one platform that help our content team find the best topics and keywords, analyze our competitors’ content, check whether our blog posts are optimized for certain queries, find relevant sites to share our content to, and even schedule an auto post our social media content…”
Anastasiia Khlystova, Content Marketing Manager @ HelpCrunch
Digital Marketing Tools for Productivity
“Yesware works in the background of the email service that you utilize, showing you additional insights of your recipients. So, you can begin to use the software instantly and concentrate on your marketing goals rather than learning the software.
The CRM team at GoodFirms uses Zoho mail and Gmail for all business communications with the clients. Yesware’s BCC email feature generates a unique email address for each team member in our Zoho CRM account. With this email address, we automatically pull in all the emails sent to our leads and contacts through the affiliated team member’s various email accounts belonging to different email clients in one space (Zoho CRM). This helps us communicate faster and smoother without having to navigate to different email accounts. Thus, generating a higher number of conversions from the leads obtained. If I can help you in any other way with regard to this topic or others in the future, I would be happy to do so.”
Kim Smith, Content Marketing Manager @ GoodFirms
“Slack is a social platform for the company, which handles all the departments individually. We have different departments so we use a single software for handling our customers. As a marketer, we have distributed all the necessary work into different channels. For instance, a graphic designer has a specific channel in which he or she handles all the necessary queries related to its work.”
Syed Irfan Ajmal, Founder @ SIA Enterprises
“Wordable lets you upload Google Docs to WordPress in like 10 seconds. If you use WordPress and you write a lot, it’s a no-brainer in terms of productivity. What could be a bigger waste of time than uploading and formatting something you’ve already written and formatted?
Get rid of that step by using Wordable.”
Alex Birkett, Growth Marketing Manager @ Hubspot
18. Boomerang for Gmail
“Boomerang enables you to temporarily remove messages from your inbox and be reminded of them later. This really helps you focus on the task at hand, without getting distracted by other things on your to-do list. You can also use this app to write an email and send it at a scheduled time later.”
Jon Nastor, Founder @ Hack the Entrepreneur
“My favorite digital marketing tool is Hunter.io. I like it because you can type a business name on this platform and discover interesting contact information, such as manager emails. It’s a great platform to connect with highly influential people online.”
Gregory Golinski, Head of Digital Marketing @ YourParkingSpace.co.uk
“CallRail gives my clients an affordable way to track and monitor call activities from their advertising efforts. Whether calls are coming in from Google Ads, their website, or even offline actions such as direct mail or other print advertisements, CallRail gives us a streamlined way for us to track, monitor, and evaluate these efforts to determine which channels are driving the best ROI.
One of the biggest benefits of CallRail is the hundreds of thousands of dollars we’ve saved by using it to help us cull out the junk calls stemming from our AdWords campaigns. We listened to the call recordings and look for commonalities. With proper implementation, we tracked the calls back to specific keywords that drove a high volume of conversions, yet upon further review, we found that the many of the calls were simply unrelated. By leveraging CallRail’s tools, we discovered just how big of an issue unrelated calls were, and we were able to take immediate corrective action.”
Wes Marsh, Director of Marketing @ DigitalUs
Digital Marketing Tools Are Always Changing
There you have it! Our comprehensive list of digital marketing tools for 2018 — straight from the mouth of industry experts.
Think we left a tool off the list? Have a suggestion for a new tool?
We know marketing moves quickly. Help us keep this list current by leaving a comment if you discover a tool that you think should be on this list!
I would like to thank Ben Johnson for the original content as well as our feature of tools included in this article. Check out the original article here.