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The Best Digital Marketing Tools On the Web

Oct 9, 2017
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Having the right tools for the job is essential to success. But how do you know which tools are right for you?  There are hundreds if not thousands of digital marketing tools available online. Each of them aims to solve one or many pain points marketers, and business owners face. But not all of these tools live up to their hype!

In this weeks video, I share some of what I consider to be the best digital marketing tools available online today. From all-in-one solutions like HubSpot to more niche tools for SEO, BI or content marketing, I'll share from personal experience what I've found to work for me. 

Video Transcript:

Hey, what's up everybody, and welcome to Hack My Growth. If you've spent any time trying to grow your site online, you've probably also spent quite a bit of time looking for the right tools to help you do your work better and faster. That's what we're going to be talking about today on Hack My Growth. So let's go.

So before we get started, I want to say thank you so much for watching, and if you like our videos, and you've liked our videos in the past, please hit the subscribe button and that way you can be alerted any time we post something new.

Today we're going to be talking about tools and some SEO and some online marketing and inbound marketing tools that we can use to make our lives easier. I know a lot of people who spend a lot of time researching and trying to find the right tools to help them optimize their process. That's what tools are for.

Now, a disclaimer. Often we look for tools to become a magic bullet. Now, I have yet to find a single tool online that can do anything for me other than what I put into it, so tools are only useful if you actually use them. The tools that I'm going to share with you today, these are tools that I've used for very specific purposes that I've had some really good success with.

All-In-One Tools

So we've got a couple categories here. We actually have four categories we're going to be looking at. The first category is all-in-one tools. So all-in-one tools do a lot of different things for you. Maybe they help you with content marketing, email marketing, social media marketing, and more. So these are tools that you are probably going to invest a little bit more money in and a lot more time in because they're going to do a lot more for you.

The first one I'm going to highlight is HubSpot. I am a Hub Gold Partner, so I use HubSpot. I sell HubSpot. I help other people use HubSpot, and for me, it's been a really good tool, and a lot of people go to the pricing page, and they get scared, but don't just be scared of the price because you're getting a lot more than what you may see. Prices start out as low as 200 dollars and the go up from there, and I know they have a lot of new products coming out as well. HubSpot's got a free version which is not an all-in-one tool, but it's something you can do to get started with in the inbound process.

What HubSpot does, it lets me blog; it creates landing pages in my website. I can do social media marketing, and email marketing, and a lot of other things all under one roof. What makes it easier is I've only got one place to go to really look at these. Now, that doesn't mean that's the only tool I use, but it's one of the tools that really help me, overall with a broad strategy and kind of touches every different aspect of my marketing strategy.

Now, there's also this open source tool called Mautic, and Mautic can also be very, very powerful. It can help you do a lot of that automation and integrated marketing online. Now, there's a little bit more of a learning curve. There's a free version of Mautic which you can install on your own servers. You can also use the cloud version of Mautic, and they also have different paid versions of it. It is a cool tool, and it can be very helpful, but it's not for the faint of heart. If you've never used an automation tool before, there's a little bit of a learning curve with Mautic. Now yes, there are other tools out there like Pardot. There's SharpSpring; there's Marketo which is like the big guy, right? There are so many tools out there, but for me, what I'm really trying to help you do is find tools that can work for you, and honestly, that is a little bit of an easier price point, and when it comes to all-in-one tools, HubSpot is probably the easiest one to use. 

You can also build your own. WordPress has a number of really cool capabilities that you can begin to piece in and integrate. A lot of the things that HubSpot does, using a WordPress site, you could build in email marketing filters and segmentation and dynamic content, and a lot of other things. Now, it takes a lot more time, and it also takes a lot more knowledge of different technologies and plugins and different platforms, so it makes it a little bit harder, but you can build your own. 

Analytics and Research

The second set of tools I want to talk about it analytics and research. If you've seen any of my videos, you know that I really believe in big data, and big data can help us make better decisions when it comes to marketing, sales and growing our business the right way, so you want to make sure that you're getting the right data, so when you're doing keyword research or topic research, there's actually a lot of free tools out there. You've got Google Keyword Planner, which is part of the AdWords Suite but still a very good tool. You've got Google Trends which is another really cool tool that helps you see keyword trends over time. What are people doing at certain times of the year? How are certain terms being searched for in various areas? You can really begin to geotarget your keyword research using Google Trends.

You also have Google Analytics which is a great analytics tool if you use it to its full capabilities. It's more than just seeing what your traffic does, and if you have more people coming from one source or another. You could actually track users over time and see how they engage and set up goals, and really get a lot of cool details using Google Analytics, and investing in learning it. I highly recommend Google's free Google Analytics academy so that you can learn how to use these tools better to get the best data you need.

Tableau is another cool tool. Now, this is a BI tool that's been on the market for a number of years and its really a data visualization tool. It allows you to pull in your data and clean up your data a little bit. It's not specifically an ETL tool, but it is a good tool that helps you visualize what you're doing, and you can either do that on a desktop, you can do it on the cloud. They have a free version but if you use the free version, just know that all the data you put into that is open to the public, so don't use it unless you are okay with that.

Another cool tool that I've really loved and really been using a lot lately is Watson Analytics, and that's by IBM, and what you can do is actually connect your data to Watson, which, if you don't know, it's IBM's really supercomputer, and it helps you digest your data. It helps you ask questions about your data, maybe questions you never thought to ask before, and it helps uncover those hidden gems within that mass of data points. It helps you make really good decisions. 

Now, here's the cool part. You may think, wow, that's got to cost a lot. But you can get a single user license for Watson Analytics, it's like 30 bucks a month, and you get a ton of detail, so if you want to know how your data is working, I highly recommend that. Now, it doesn't have native integrations with Google Analytics and some of those other tools, but what you can do is export that data into Excel or a CSV, and then import it in, and then Watson can do its stuff in there. So it's a pretty great tool.

SEO Tools

There are so many SEO tools on the market, and it seems like a new one is introduced every day. Now, a lot of them can be very useful and a lot of them can kind of be fluff, and you've got to be very careful when choosing an SEO tool, especially crawling tools because you don't know how good that crawler is going to be.

One of my favorite tools is Moz, and I didn't buy Moz for a long time, but I liked using their free tools. Finally, I did invest into Moz, and I love the way the tool works. I love the data I get. I love the way I can manage multiple campaigns and see what we're doing and track our team and how we're effectively delivering search engine optimization to our clients. Moz has keyword research tools. It's got backlink tools; it's got page analyzing tools. It's got a great crawler. They just updated their crawler, and it's great and helps you uncover some of the issues you have on your site you didn't know that you had. That way you can fix them and optimize your pages better for search. It has great content tools inside. Moz is just a really good tool if you're serious about SEO and serious about doing better with the content and the contextualization of what you're doing with search.

Ahrefs is another awesome tool. Ahrefs has a powerful backlinking suite. It's what I use when I do my backlink research, and I'm trying to understand who's linking to us and why and what are some potential links we could do. They have a great content gap tool, so maybe if you want to see the gap between your site and another site, maybe it's targeted terms and phrases they're ranking for that you don't have content for, there's a number of other tools inside of there. The rank tracker is really good. Again, don't obsess about rank but it does help to give you an idea of where you're moving inside of the SERPs, so Ahrefs is one of the best, if not the best backlink research tool there is out there. 

Screaming Frog SEO is a great crawling tool. If you want to see a big picture of how your site stacks up from SEO elements all the way down to HTML and CSS and Javascript and the image sizes, this tool gives you so much information about your site, and you can download it for free, or you can pay for an upgraded version. You can also link this tool to Moz or Google Analytics or Ahrefs and pull even more data, so very, very cool tool. If you're not using Screaming Frog, check it out. It is free to use. It's free to get started, and it's going to give you that 360-degree view of your site and the data behind your site.

SEMrush is another keyword research tool that's used by a lot for people who are doing typically PPC. Another good PPC tool is WordStream and if that's what you're targeting in, but I usually use SEMrush in more of an SEO sense and to get a little better of a competitive understanding of what's going on in a certain industry or a term. It's a cool tool. Again, you can see they've got a limit, but you can use it free.

Majestic is another backlink tool. It's another SEO tool. It gets a little bit deeper and detailed in the backlinks and understanding linking neighborhoods and structure like that, so if you want some in-depth SEO, Majestic is a really good tool.

There's also another tool that's not on this list that's a campaign management tool for SEO called Raven Tools. They pull a lot of data in from Majestic and some other sources and help you manage your SEO campaign. That's another good one, it's almost an all-in-one tool but it's not quite an all-in-one tool, but it's a really good SEO management tool.

Content Management Tools

Content is so important and we talk about content in our blog and on these videos all the time, and sometimes we just need to help our content out, and that's what these content tools that I've laid out here for you will do.

The first one is Trendemon. Trendemon is not your typical content tool. It's a personalization tool, and it helps you deliver your content to the right user at the right time. Often we have people come to our sites, and maybe we'll be using a pop-up like SumoMe or one of the other plugins for a WordPress site, and you're trying to call attention to a specific piece of content. But what if that user doesn't want that. Maybe they want something else, but you've tied them into that because that's the only option you have. Well, what Trendemon does is it starts to understand the landscape of each individual user from when they land on your site before they came to your site, and then what it does is it recommends content based on their interactions.

What it does is help get the right content to the right person at the right time. It does this very quickly with a very, very powerful algorithm and it's a cool tool, and honestly, it helps drive up conversion rates because it pushes people to the sites that lead to conversion. Again, this tool is not free, but if you're serious about driving up conversions and you're serious about making your site more segmented and more personalized, I highly recommend Trendemon.

Canva. Canva is a great tool for making images. It's also a great tool for making offers and PDFs and white paper and stationary and infographics. Almost anything you need graphically online you can do with Canva. You don't have to have a Photoshop and understand some of these harder use design programs. You can do it right here with Canva.

Piktochart is very similar to that. Piktochart was more in the infographic industry, and they've branched out to a number of other different offerings that you can do with their content creation tool. I love Piktochart to make infographics, to help take your content and make it more exciting and just make it more useful.

And then, BuzzSumo is a cool tool to understand what's trending online. What pieces of content are getting engaged with. This can help you identify maybe where you lack in your own content, or maybe a new direction that you can go.

As you can see, this is a very small cross-section of the tools available online, but the one thing about this, I've actually used every single one of these tools, and I still use almost all of these tools in our repertoire for different specific cases. It's easy to get bogged down in tools and it's hard to know which tools are worth it and which are not. I highly recommend all of the tools on this list, and so if you need help whether it be finding an all-in-one tool or a content marketing tool, or email, we didn't even touch email tools, analytics or SEO tools, please comment below. I'd love to help you out and give you some advice, give you some more suggestions and if you have any questions, even if it doesn't relate to this, also feel free just to connect. That's what we're trying to do here is just educate and build a community.

So, hope you enjoyed this. I hope that it was helpful, and until next time, happy marketing!

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Ryan Shelley, CPBI

By Ryan Shelley, CPBI

Ryan is passionate about helping companies make a more personal connection online with their customers and prospects. He is a regular contributor to Search Engine Land, the largest and most popular SEO news site on the web. His works has also been featured on the HubSpot Blog, Business2Community and by LinkedIn Marketing solutions.

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