Digital Marketing tools. Everyone needs them and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.
This week’s entry is all about what’s in my personal digital marketing toolbox and why. Some people will use other things and that’s fine but these are my personal recommendations for anyone out there looking to increase their DM tool set.
There are so many high quality tools out there that if I were to list them all, we’d be here all day so I’m limiting my choices to my personal top 3 in each category. I also am not going to include any ‘no-brainers’ like Google Analytics, Search Console, etc. because, well, if you’re not already using those, you’re marketing wrong.
Social Media Tools:
- Sprout Social: I use this one every day. It’s a really powerful tool in terms of being able to schedule and coordinate posts and campaigns between team members and a lot more. The smart inbox feature is also a personal favorite because it lets me view and respond to any messages that may come in that I somehow missed on the platform itself.
- Adespresso: Another tool I use every single day. I’ve used a few different tools for managing paid Facebook ads and this one, to me, is hands down the best. The drawback, of course, is that it only handles Facebook ads at this time but for the price, the tracking, split testing capabilites and control you get is totally worth it.
- Canva: This is not really a social media tool but you’ll definitely love it if you’re not a photoshop wizard (like me, I can’t build an image to save my life) and you need to come up awesome advertising images for your social media posts beyond your tacky stock images of people smiling and shaking hands and whatever else stock image people do. It’s really easy to use and you can use your images in any social media platform.
- Moz: This is the king of the hill for me in terms of all things SEO. There’s a reason why Rand Fishkin, Sarah Bird and the guys over there are so well known and respected. They built a powerful SEO tool that can do almost everything in terms of breaking down your site and telling exactly whats’s going on with it and what you need to fix. If you’re an SEO and Moz Pro isn’t in your toolbox, you’re SEOing wrong. Period.
- Screaming Frog: Everyone needs to know exactly how bloated their site is and what they can do about it. Screaming Frog has you covered with that. Whether you need to know how many pages are still indexed that shouldn’t be, what your meta data looks like or if you need to generate a good XML sitemap, this is going to be your go-to tool. There’s a lot more you can do with Screaming Frog but these are the most common things I use it for.
- BrightLocal: I can’t say enough good things about Brightlocal when it comes to local SEO. This was the first tool I used when I started out in real estate/rentals SEO and I’ve used it for every type of business from mom and pop t-shirt stores to major international chain retailers who wanted to know what their local presence was like and how to get it under control. Speaking of getting things under control, remember how I kept on saying clean your citations? Brightlocal’s add on service makes it super easy to do that – as in, they’ll do it for you and (unlike SOME services out there) you own your local listings, meaning that if you stop paying Brightlocal, they won’t do you dirty and revert all your good information back to the messed up stuff that you had to fix in the first place…and yes, last I checked, there are major players in the local SEO space still doing that janky nonsense.
- LeadPages: I just got this tool and I already love this thing to no end. If you do any kind of digital marketing, you need great landing pages or you’re basically doing nothing but paying people to give you a high bounce rate. Leadpages makes it easy and affordable to make high quality, trackable (Google analytics, Facebook, etc.) landing pages. When I say easy, I mean EASY. We’re talking drag and drop blocks onto a screen and edit stuff easy. You dont need to to know HTML or CSS but if you do, you can build your own template. Also, with the higher levels of the service, you can get things like ‘text to opt in’ to a list and more. Definitely check them out if you need to make good landing pages – and who doesn’t?
- Litmus: Litmus, to me, is like the Moz of the Email marketing world in terms of if you’re not using Litmus, you’re email marketing wrong. It checks for broken links, potential spam trap issues on IP addresses, busted images and so much more. Also, Litmus does what every single email marketer ever needs: it will give you previews of how your mail will look in different browsers. That’s right, it will show you exactly how bad Outlook will mangle your message before you even send it and who doesn’t need that? Just trust me, if you do a lot of email marketing, you need this.
- Sender Score: This is a little different as in this isn’t really a ‘tool’ per se but more of a ‘who thinks you’re a filthy spammer’ kind of thing. Sender Score allows you to put in your sending IP address and get a ranking back and if yours is in the crapper, it will help you figure out what to do about it. What’s the point of sending out all those emails if no one ever sees them, right?
General Digital Marketing/Content Marketing:
- Google’s Campaign URL builder: I use this all the time. There’s no point in having Google Analytics if you’re not using UTM codes. There’s no point in using UTM codes if your UTM codes don’t work. There’s no point in using UTM codes if everyone is making up their own UTM codes as they go along so you have like five thousand different nomenclatures and standards clogging up your GA reporting to where you don’t know what’s what anymore. This simple tool lets you input your UTM code information and generates the URL for you and can even (to a point) provide you with a short link to use.
- BuzzSumo: BuzzSumo is one of the greatest Content marketing tools ever invented. This is like the Moz of the Content Marketing world. If you’re not using this, you’re doing it wrong. BuzzSumo will let you see who’s sharing what, what’s trending, what people are talking about and will even show you the accounts and influencers based on a keyword or term. If you’re writing content no one cares about, what’s the point? If you’re doing influencer marketing and you’re reaching out to people blindly, what’s the point? This will help you get everything where it should be.
- Answer The Public: This tool is just as amazing to me today as it ever was – even if old turtleneck sweater Charlie on the main page still freaks me out a little – and he does. You know how I also always say ‘what’s the point of writing content if no one cares about it?‘ This tool can help with that. Just drop in your keywords or phrases and boom. You’ll get a ton of questions and searches that you can use to help you write quality content about that people are actually asking and searching on. Free and easy.
The Bottom Line:
Yes, there are a lot of tools out there and of course I can’t cover every single one nor can I get everyone’s favorites in here (shout out to SERanking, Raven Tools, Hotjar and, of course, SEMRush) so these are just what I like to use and what I consider the bare essentials. Also, the good thing about these tools
But, real talk, and they’re not paying me to say this: If you’re trying to SEO and you don’t have Moz, just stop. Trust me on this. Just stop. You’re gonna hurt yourself.