Isn’t there something extremely meta about using a software tool to drive people to your own software tool? It may seem like a funny concept, but if we didn’t use each other’s software tools for our marketing, there wouldn’t be too many people left out there for us to market to. It’s like the old adage says, “come in and eat or we’ll both starve.”
We’ve set out to put together a solid list of tools that we think other companies can use to scale their own growth. This post shows some of the different types of marketing tools available, and gives examples of the leading tools in those markets. By no means is this list all-inclusive, so be sure to keep searching for tools we may not have mentioned.
To make it easier to navigate to the products you need we’ve added these jump links. Please note that the numbers were just a way to organize the tools and are not indicative of preference; if we had the time we’d use them all.
Marketing Tools by Strategy:
- Organic Social Media
- Paid Social Media
- Email Marketing
- Display Retargeting
- Programmatic Advertising
- Website Testing
- Video Hosting
- Content Creation
- Content Curation
- Website Analytics
- Customer Service
- Search Engine Optimization
- Affiliate Marketing
Organic Social Media Tools
As of writing this post Facebook has 1.44 billion monthly active users, Twitter has 302 million and Instagram has 300 million. With so many people spending so much time on social, it’s becoming one of the most important channels for brands to utilize in order to engage with their current and prospective customers. One of the best ways to do that is with a social media management tool.
Sure, Sprout Social may be the company behind this massive list of digital marketing tools, but we’re also some of its biggest users and brand advocates.
Sprout is a social media management and engagement platform for business that makes it easy for brands to effectively engage with current customers and prospective customers. Come and see what we’re all about with a free 30-day trial.
Offerpop is an engagement marketing platform with a focus on garnering engagement via user-generated content, hashtag campaigns, referral programs, quizzes, contests, and more. They’re focused on transforming the way that global brands engage and convert today’s mobile and social consumers.
Paid Social Media Tools
Social media sites aren’t just great for organically reaching and engaging with your customers; they’re also effective for paying to promote your brand to large groups of active users. The major social networks have so much data on their users that targeting can become extremely granular and effective, which makes social an ideal place to pay for impressions.
Nanigans is a multichannel advertising software with an emphasis on Facebook marketing. Its software has access to the Facebook Exchange (FBX) for retargeting and a plethora of other tools that make targeting more efficient. Nanigans is the tool of choice for companies such as eBay, JackThreads and Zynga.
The Power Editor is Facebook’s own tool for creating and running advertising campaigns. Facebook is constantly improving its ad platform, and the tool frequently releases new targeting and budgeting features for users. For marketers just starting on the paid social front, this is probably the best choice as there is no third-party fee to create and manage your advertisements.
Twitter is another major network brands should consider paying to advertise on. Twitter has some fantastic features for targeting, with segmentation functionality that includes the ability to target certain keywords so that whenever someone Tweets out, or engages with a tweet, using that key phrase they’ll be targeted.
Email Marketing Tools
The first email was sent way back in 1971, so it’s kind of strange to think of how big a part email still plays in our online marketing strategies. But even though it may be one of the oldest marketing channels, it is by no means one of the most ineffective. In fact, it was predicted that email marketing would be the top target for increased investment in 2015, which is why you should look into email marketing software for your business.
With over eight million people using MailChimp every day, it’s one of the most powerful email marketing platforms on the market. MailChimp’s incredibly simplistic platform structure and freemium plan make it easy for even some of the most amateur email marketers to get setup with robust email campaigns.
Emma—also a fun abbreviation for email marketing—is a strong platform that backs up its powerful features with a notoriously hands-on customer service team. Emma has all of the tools that you need to start creating and testing your own email marketing campaigns.
If you’ve dabbled with some email platforms and feel ready to take it to a more advanced level, Marketo could be the solution for you. Although email is a large facet of its business it is by no means the only part of the tool. Marketo allows you to combine email into your entire automated marketing campaigns.
Display Retargeting Tools
Have you ever gone to a website, left without purchasing anything, only to be followed around by that company’s advertisements all around the web? These are retargeting ads, and even if you haven’t heard of them there’s a good chance that you’ve been targeted by them in the past. This channel is incredibly efficient for getting customers back to your site to make a purchase or become a lead.
AdRoll is one of the most well known names in the retargeting space, boasting a customer base of over 20,000 brands. Its platform grants access to over 500 ad exchanges, which includes most of the major social media networks. It offers a self-service platform, but you can also leverage its employees for additional help if you need it.
ReTargeter is a tool that uses site retargeting, search retargeting and dynamic retargeting. You can use ReTargeter as a self-service platform, or you can pass all of your campaigns onto an account team to run your retargeting for you. You can use these search services à la carte or combine several into a custom package.
Chango is an award-winning display advertising platform with robust retargeting features. With Chango you can combine your own retargeting information with audience intent data that Chango accumulates, which adds a second layer of targeting to your campaigns.
Programmatic Advertising Tools
Programmatic advertising refers to the use of software to automate the purchase of media from both online and offline channels. Two of the largest benefits of using programmatic media buying solutions are that you can reduce the time you spend finding the best networks to advertise on, and you gain access to the plethora of data that most of these companies have access to.
ChoiceStream’s technology is able to process a ton of audience data and discern which of it is actually useful knowledge for brands. ChoiceStream then uses that information to properly target ads to your audiences it knows will be a good fit, boosting the relevance of your ads to your targets.
13. Rocket Fuel
Rocket Fuel is a popular tool with a feature called Moment Scoring. Moment Scoring uses anonymous user data to calculate how likely someone is to respond to your advertisement, then uses that information to decide when and where to serve your ads. Rocket Fuel offers both a self-service platform and managed services.
Simpli.fi differentiates itself by being able to take complete advantage of unstructured audience data. This means that–unlike some other tools on the market–Simpli.fi doesn’t need to rely on pre-made audience segments to categorize audience data, which can be a big advantage when working with a lot of data.
Website Testing Tools
The smallest changes can make the biggest differences when it comes to getting people to convert on your landing pages. Changing the color of your call-to-action button can spell the difference between getting someone to start a free trial of your product, and bouncing from your site. That’s why it’s important to use website testing tools to constantly innovate your pages.
Unbounce is an amazing tool for quickly building, tweaking and publishing new landing pages to test. One of the most fantastic features of Unbounce is how easy it is to use the platform to create brand new pages. Even if you’re not much of a designer, you can use some of the templates available as a jumping off point, then tweak them to fit your style.
Maxymiser is a tool that goes beyond landing page testing. This enterprise-level software solution was built to test all sorts of portions of your website, and to run several different tests all at once. Maxymiser also allows you to segment who you want to send to each tests, creating a more catered experience for your website visitors.
Optimizely combines tools for visual creation and robust targeting into its platform, making it easy to quickly create and target tests to the proper groups of users. The company also has a formidable amount of partners to make it easier to centralize customer data for your various tests.
Video Hosting Sites
It seems like video has recently become the next big content powerhouse brands are taking advantage of, and with so much effort needed to create videos it’s important to make sure you get as many eyeballs on them as possible. A solid way to do that is to host them on some of the popular video sites which draw in large crowds of viewers.
We’ve worked with Wistia on content in the past, and the company is such a fantastic group of individuals. Not only does the team rock, but the platform is amazing for business looking to host, customize and share videos across the web. One of the best functions of its platform is the ability to include a custom CTA at the end of each individual video, making it easy to drive viewers to specific pages.
There are over 20 million people and businesses that trust Vimeo to host their high-definition, ad-free videos. With Vimeo, the idea is to get everyone to host some of their high-quality videos on the site, thereby driving viewers who are looking for visually stunning videos. Take a look at the sample below to see the type of quality content they collect.
Content Creation Tools
We all know that content is king, which is why it’s so important to start creating some of your own to share with your fans and followers. With so many different content formats out there—infographics, blogs, videos–the biggest question is which type of content can you create that will resonate with your audience. We’ve recently created a list of 36 free image creation tools which includes a ton of different tools, but here are some of our favorites.
A great way to make sure your online content stands out is to include an image, but sourcing images that satiate the unique requirements for each social network can be tough. We aimed to solve that problem with our new social media image resizing tool Landscape. Quickly turn one image into multiple, each perfectly sized for the social media networks you’re using.
If you don’t already have an image to resize, try using Canva, a web-based design tool you can use to create unique images to share on your blogs, social networks and more. You can use Canva to create completely unique images from scratch or to polish up some photos that you already have on han.
If you don’t have the time or artistic flair to create your own pieces of content, then you can use a tool like Visual.ly. Visual.ly is a platform that pairs those who need content up with those who can create it. The site charges a flat rate for each type of project, which includes Infographics, eBooks and video.
Content Curation Tools
We constantly need to fill our content calendars if we’re going to satiate the growing need to share actionable insights with our fans and followers. However, we don’t always have the time to put together something unique for every post we create. That’s why it’s good to have some content curation tools on hand to help you fill up those lulls in your calendar.
With Feedly you choose all of the different blogs, publications and topics that you’re interested in and Feedly aggregates all of the recent topics from those people or about those topics into a feed you can monitor. You can integrate your Feedly feed with a tool like Sprout Social to continuously share these articles with your fans and followers.
Scoop.it is an incredible tool for easily finding and sharing unique, relevant content to your social networks, blogs and more. With Scoop.it you can find months worth of great in no time at all!
Kapost is a platform that takes into account every step of the content marketing cycle. One fantastic function is the ability to assign different pieces of content different buyer personas, which shows which stages of the content marketing cycle your prospects are most likely to convert on.
Website Analytics Tools
Many tools out there come with their own performance analytics. For instance, Sprout Social has social media analytics that show how your content performs on a variety of social platforms. However, it’s important to keep an eye on the data about events that actually take place on your website.
Kissmetrics offers analytics tools that help you increase conversions across your entire website. The platform tracks your site visitors throughout their entire conversion journey and gives you reports on each part of the funnel. This helps you fine-tune your entire conversion process to increase sales and revenue.
27. Google Analytics
Google Analytics is the standard for most websites these days. Google has advanced analytics that shed light on a variety of your website information, including who your visitors are, how they make their way through your sales funnel and what they do on your website in real-time.
28. Adobe Analytics
Adobe provides an enterprise-level analytics solution for companies who want to gather deep analytics on their website data and performance. The platform has cross-channel attribution functions, 360-degree customer analysis and predictive intelligence which enables you to observe and respond to customer actions in real time.
Customer Service Tools
More than ever before customers are turning to online channels to reach out to brands with their inquiries and complaints. If you’re not there to engage with these customers it reflects poorly on your brand, and you could lose their business forever. Try one of these customer service tools to streamline your customer service process and to ensure you’re responding to all of your inbound messages.
Zendesk provides a full suite of tools that can get your support team up and responding to all of your customers’ needs. The platform aggregates all of your communication channels into one place, which makes it simple to respond to your emails, phone calls and chats.
UserVoice’s beautifully designed customer service platform is a great place for large teams to tackle online customer service needs. The reports offered make it easy to see which agents are performing best, and customer satisfaction surveys let you know how your team performs as a whole.
LiveChat takes a more proactive approach to customer service by facilitating conversations with the people visiting your website. The passive “Chat now” box that lives on your page lets your potential customers reach right out to some of your service reps, helping you effectively answer questions and inquiries.
Search Engine Optimization Tools
SEO is a huge portion of most companies’ online marketing efforts, which explains why there are so many tools out there to help brands take full advantage of the channel. These tools take something incredibly complicated and simplify it, which is something we should all be thankful for.
Moz offers two key products to customers: Moz Pro and Moz Local. The Moz Pro product helps with the classic SEO practices, such as tracking rankings, tracking link building efforts and informing content marketing campaigns. Moz Local helps businesses improve their local SEO listings. All you need to do is enter your business’s location information and Moz goes to work getting you listed.
SEMRush has a ton of great tools that help both paid search experts and SEOs track and improve their search rankings. One key use of SEMRush is to track your competitors. You can use the tools to pull your competitor’s backlinks, monitor their fluctuations in ranking and conduct a full competitive analysis.
34. Screaming Frog
Screaming Frog is a spider tool that can quickly crawl websites, lists of websites or specific web pages to give you a complete analysis on performance. You can use the tool to see if you have any broken links, broken pages, bad redirects and much more. Fixing most of these errors is a quick win for search marketers.
Affiliate Marketing Tools
Affiliate marketing is the idea of having regular people advocate your brand to drive sales; all you have to do is pay them a percentage of every sale that they generate. It’s an effective channel because people tend to trust friends and brand advocates more than they trust a company when it comes to selling. Plus, you only pay for the sales that they generate.
CJ is one of the most popular choices for advertisers looking to get their product picked up and sold by publishers. CJ has one of the largest networks of bloggers and its self-service platform makes it easy to scale your affiliate marketing efforts.
VigLink is an incredible tool for affiliate marketing. The site has a massive database of content provided by publishers which they scan in real-time and add links to relevant keywords they find. The use of this type of contextual advertising makes it much easier to drive sales.
Rakuten is similar to VigLink, except that it advocates long-term relationships between brands and their affiliate. Long-term relationships with your partners helps to build trust and knowledge of your product, which in turn makes it easier for those individuals to sell it.
Get out there and start some free trials! Companies these days don’t typically ask for too much information for you to get into the platform. And who knows, you may end up finding the cost is worth the time you save–we know we’d be lost without Sprout Social.
Have we forgotten any categories or tools you think belong on the list? Let us know in the comments!
Michael Patterson: Michael enjoys writing about all things social media, and his insights can be found on Adweek's SocialTimes, Social Media Today and Social Media Examiner. When he isn't pouring over blog posts he can usually be found exploring Chicago's unique neighborhoods and breweries.