If your job accountabilities include selecting the digital marketing tools for your company, you can very quickly find yourself in the role of either the hero or the villain. With some smart decisions, the Marketing team reaches new productivity levels, gains confidence from corporate leaders, and has tangible business benefits to share. Conversely, with poor choices, those positive results won’t materialize – and you’ll likely have to answer to teams that complain about the software you’ve selected. Or worse, they simply won’t use the software at all, leading to low adoption levels, dismal ROI, and some tough conversations about your decision-making.
In this article, we aim to empower you to make the best decisions on your company’s Martech stack. We’ll cover a broad spectrum of digital marketing tools, including web publishing, analytics, email marketing, social media, search engine optimization (SEO), graphic design, and project management. These categories cover the most essential digital needs for any Marketing team. We’ll also mention other types of tools used by sophisticated Marketing teams, including landing page optimization, lead enrichment, and team collaboration.
How the right digital tools enable Marketing success
If we start with the ideal end-state in mind, picture your Marketing team’s many hands busy clicking away at the powerful tools you’ve equipped them with. Among them:
- Your content marketing strategy is in full swing, rapidly producing thought leadership posts that keep your website fresh with content that ranks increasingly well in Google results thanks to your search engine optimisation efforts.
- Your analysts are mining web traffic data to help enrich and optimise the sales funnel.
- Outbound email campaigns and social media content regularly drive healthy spikes in traffic. The engagement on your social posts is rising steadily since you onboarded the new graphic design tool.
- You’re actively listening and engaging on social media to enhance consumer goodwill toward your brand.
- The team is well-aligned on next steps for each campaign, and your project management software has boosted the team’s productivity.
If this sounds like the environment you’re striving for, read on as we help you select the best of the best digital marketing tools.
Important aspects of digital marketing tools to consider
There are some tried-and-true software components that will be an important part of your evaluation process regardless of whether you’re choosing a new email marketing platform or a project management tool. These include:
Integrations: As the architect of the Martech stack, you need to ensure each software solution that you bring on board integrates smoothly with other components. For example, your analytics solution should connect with your web publishing to effortlessly integrate tracking codes on each web page. Most software you select will need to read and write with your company’s CRM tools.
Role-based Administration: The user roles/types, and administrative capabilities, should support how your organisation works. For any type of digital tool, you’ll want some features open to everyone, and some only available to a handful of carefully selected users.
Automation: The best software can increase productivity by handling repetitive tasks. You’ll want to understand what manual efforts of your team can be automated. For example, email marketing platforms should automate unsubscribe activity, and a good project management solution will have templates for common project types and tasks.
Analytics & Reporting: The tools you select are not just for performing tasks – you should be deriving valuable insights from every software platform. You want to assess the ability to filter, run reports, and export data.
Security & Privacy: Protecting your customer’s data is essential. It’s important to bring the right information security experts to the table to test the encryption and data security of each application. This is becoming even more critical as more Marketing teams move to cloud-based solutions.
The best digital marketing software tools and platforms
Content Management & Web Publishing
Content marketing is essential for brand growth, and the cornerstone of your content marketing effort is the content management system (CMS) that publishes your web pages.
- WordPress is the world’s most popular CMS, powering an amazing 34% of websites worldwide. The platform’s popularity is an asset, as there are a huge range of plug-ins available, a great knowledge base, and an active developer community.
- Adobe Experience Manager has been named a leader in Gartner’s Magic Quadrant for Digital Experience Platforms for six years in a row. The system integrates with other components of Adobe’s Experience Cloud for other capabilities such as digital asset management.
To have an accurate view of web-based activity, you need an analytics solution for your website. What was once a crowded market has narrowed significantly, due largely to the dominance of Google Analytics.
- Google Analytics: With 70.87% share of the web analytics market, you may not need to look any further for a solution. Google’s cloud-based solution for web analytics continues to be the top choice for businesses big and small.
- Hotjar: Used by over 1 million websites, Hotjar provides Marketing teams with some unique tools for assessing the experience of your website visitors such as heat maps and session recordings. While these are valuable enhancements, Hotjar doesn’t have the full range of capabilities available in Google Analytics. In fact, the Hotjar product team recommends integrating both solutions.
Email marketing tools
No marketing discipline has benefitted more from software-based automation in recent years than email marketing. Here are some platforms that enable your team to deliver automated, rule-based, segmented email campaigns.
- Intuit Mailchimp: Mailchimp is the most widely-used email and marketing automation tool in use today. The intuitive interface allows you to be up-and-running with your first campaign in minutes, but it also has sophisticated automation capabilities to support segmentation and campaign-driven logic.
- Adobe Marketo Engage: With the acquisition of Marketo in 2018, Adobe added a powerful marketing automation platform to its product lineup.
- Hubspot Marketing Hub: While the company’s core offering is an affordable CRM system, Hubspot supports its product with some powerful outbound marketing capabilities.
Social media management
There are too many marketing tools for social media to count. The most essential solutions are dedicated to publishing content to your social media channels and/or monitoring social media activity related to your brand.
- Hootsuite: One of the earliest entrants to the social media software space is still one of the best. Hoostsuite’s product focuses on three key areas: social content creation and publishing, social commerce, and social customer care.
- Sprout Social: Sprout’s platform supports Marketing teams with social publishing tools, tracking and responding to social media feedback, and social media advertising campaigns.
- SentiOne Listen: Our Listen product is designed for social media monitoring, collecting all social media mentions of your brand, competitors, and topical trends in one convenient interface. With alerts, sentiment analysis, and detailed reporting capabilities, it helps Marketing stay up-to-the-minute with how their brand is portrayed in social media.
Search Engine Optimization and Search Engine Marketing (SEO/SEM)
SEO platforms have an integrated suite of features to help your team discover and track the most relevant search phrases for your business, create highly-optimised content, and obtain detailed reports on search performance.
It can be hard to differentiate a clear winner between SEMRush, Ahrefs, and Moz because the three platforms offer an extremely similar feature set. As you evaluate each one, it may be that less evident criteria such as ease-of-use, customer support, or pricing ultimately decide the winner.
Graphic Design and Video Marketing tools
If you’re seeking content marketing tools to create visuals that sizzle, these may be just what you’re looking for:
- Canva is a powerful web-based design tool that makes it easy to create social media posts, presentations, posters, videos and more. It offers both a free version and a professional license.
- Visme is a great tool for data visualization and infographics. The platform currently has over 19 million users.
Project Management tools
With the right project management software your team will find it easier to control timelines, costs, and accountability. Teams benefit from having all key project information easily available at a glance, shared by the entire team. Some of the most popular cloud-based solutions include Asana, Monday, Wrike, and Workfront.
Other Categories of Marketing tools to explore
If you’ve mastered the essentials and your Martech stack is humming along, it may be time to investigate some specialised software tools that dive a little deeper into niche Marketing disciplines. These include:
- Conversion optimization tools: Marketing tools like Unbounce and Otimizely help you refine the pages and experiences that matter most to your conversion rates for lead generation and online sales
- Lead enrichment tools: You can build richer profiles of your leads using services like Clearbit and Datanyze
- Collaboration and task management software: Looking beyond project management, tools like Slack and Airtable help your teams more effectively share and collaborate.
Tips for choosing the best marketing tools for your team
- Involve power users in the review and purchase process. It helps to have them model workflows for an ideal solution, which adds valuable detail to your use cases.
- Choose solutions with a 3-5 year time horizon. You don’t want to swap solutions every year, but should also expect that the best product today may not hold the top spot in the future.
- Paint a clear picture of how each item fits in the ecosystem and how the components work together. Having a relatable, holistic vision makes it easier to enlist support.
- Get show-stoppers out of the way early. Your business may have strict limitations on data residency, encryption levels, language support, or accessibility. Introduce these factors early to avoid wasting evaluation time on a solution that can’t meet your needs.
Drive social engagement to new heights with SentiOne Listen
SentiOne Listen connects you to online conversations about your brand, products, and competitors. Gain real-time access to social media conversations, delivered via detailed reports or automated notifications. To learn more, visit SentiOne.com or book a demo.