People often ask me which tools I use to execute upon my strategies. A marketer’s “marketing stack” can be an important part of the overall strategy, as long as the marketing goals and objectives are well defined. Purchasing tools just to appear trendy isn’t a good strategy.
I try to keep my marketing stack fairly lean no matter the size of the budget I’m working with so this list should be useful for fresh startups to established teams.
So here it is, all of my secret weapons.
The Affinity team has done any amazing job building their illustration and photo editing tools. Affinity Designer is a direct competitor to Adobe Illustrator and honestly, it’s the winner is most scenarios – especially when it comes to price.
A lifetime license that can be used on both PCs and Macs will only cost you $50.
Don’t let the low price tag fool you, this tool has outperformed Illustrator in most tasks I’ve thrown at it, it’s even less resource intensive.
When I need ranking and ad copy data for my own website or to snoop on my competitors I turn to SEMRush. It’s just under $100 a month and provides over 28 different tools to track organic, paid and social data. It also offers backlink data for those that spend way too much time caring about links.
I use this tool multiple times a day making it well worth the price tag. I even use its data exports in some of my own custom tools such as my Content Gap Analysis.
When I need to dive into technical issues holding my sites back from ranking well I turn on Screaming Frog and let it do it’s thing.
Screaming Frog is a web crawler that will go through your website helping you identify broken links, duplicate content, missing page titles and descriptions, blocked pages and much more.
It’s also useful on snooping on your competition to uncover weaknesses in their SEO strategies.
It’s ~$150 for a year subscription and if your company is focused on improving SEO it’s absolutely essential.
Influencer marketing, although its been around as long as products have, has become a huge channel for many marketers in recent years.
The problem is, most companies don’t know how to approach it and end up paying the prettiest influencers they can find to push their products. Unfortunately although they’re pretty it doesn’t automatically mean that they appeal to your audience.
With PeopleMap you can find top influencers based on popular influencers in your niche. It tracks the most engaged, liked, followed, etc influencers in a specific space which will help you build a network of individuals that appeal to your audience.
It starts at $20/mo. and it well worth it if you’re dabbling in influencer marketing.
This isn’t a standalone tool itself, it’s actually a plugin for WordPress. Depending on theme you buy it’s even free to use; however, it does offer premium features.
Visual Composer turns the traditional WordPress page editor into a drag and drop designer. Although I know how to code, at least enough to make landing pages, this tool helps me build out new landing pages in less than an hour.
I’ve opted for using Visual Composer over other tools such as Leadpages and Instapage.
This one is pretty self-explanatory, but I use MailChimp for almost every newsletter I manage. It’s simple to use, fairly affordable for smaller businesses and it just works.
If you’re building email campaigns such as newsletters or ecommerce related retention messages I highly recommend looking into MailChimp.
When I’m working in the B2B space I tend to use HubSpot to manage the inflow of leads gathered from my marketing efforts.
I also use it to build basic email sequences to continue warming up the leads. A great example is how I’m currently using HubSpot’s built in sequence feature to send the initial follow up emails on behalf of my sales team members. These emails greet the new customer and asks them to set up a time on a sales team member’s calendar by simply clicking a link.
It’s been a very effective tool in managing inbound leads.
Pricing varies, but most startups I know have gotten major discounts during their first year so make sure you ask your HubSpot sales rep about deals.
The Google Suite
Another given due to its popularity, but Google Analytics has never failed me and I’ve used plenty of other tracking tools.
It’s free, easy to setup, there’s plenty of documentation on how to customize it to your needs, it works with all the other Google Suite tools. What’s not to love?
Unless you’re a special use case that needs added data protection then I highly recommend sticking with Google Analytics for your tracking and reporting needs.
Too many marketers completely ignore this tool. Google developed this tool to show you exactly how they view your website. It displays HTML errors their bots have come across, it shows how they’re digesting your sitemaps, it displays the EXACT search terms your customers are using to find your content…the list goes on.
If you’re not using Google Search Console you’re missing out on essential insights.
GTM allows marketers to take control of their tool and tracking installation without having to bother the development team when something needs to be updated.
After you install the initial GTM script a marketer can go in and install any tool, custom JS, custom tracking, etc without submitting a dev support ticket.
I use it to install all of my tools from Google Analytics to HubSpot and HotJar. I also use it to create tracking snippets for custom events.
It’s necessary, just install it.
Customer feedback and behavior tracking is essential when optimizing landing pages and software products.
HotJar allows you to create heatmaps, video recordings of your customer’s actual mouse movements, custom conversion funnels, customer polls and even allows for a customer feedback button when customer’s can highlight where they’re experiencing issues on your website/product with a short description.
Pricing varies based on your web traffic but you can check it out for free to start. It’s usually $89/mo. to $200/mo. for my purposes.
This is a simple tool I created myself in order to identify gaps in my content compared to the competition. I’ve also used it to discover a competitor’s most popular product features and promotions.
I’ve put together a guide on how to use it and even build your own. If you’re looking for quick content ideas that your customers are actually asking for then this tool will surely be of use to you.
I’m always testing new tools to see if they can help me improve my process, but the tools listed above are my mainstays. If you have any tools you’ve recently discovered or can’t live without I’d love to check them out – share them in the comments below or message me directly.