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The 14 Best Digital Tools to Improve Marketing Productivity

Author's avatar By Expert commentator 20 Nov, 2015
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Use these tools to help you market your business more efficiently using content marketing, SEO and Social media marketing

Whether you’re working on getting your start-up off the ground, or you’ve been working in the field for several years, every business could benefit from some quality digital marketing tools that will make processes more efficient and productive. One of the primary challenges of running a business is enacting effective marketing.

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On average, mid to large size companies spend $958 million more than was actually necessary in their marketing campaign. This clearly shows that the majority of companies need to revamp their marketing strategies to make them more efficient, and one way to do just that is to use some of the following marketing productivity tools.

These are my personal set of marketing productivity tools that mainly focus on content marketing, SEO and Social media. Do share your preferred tools if you prefer other tools in these categories. [We've added which productivity tools we use at Smart Insights to give some alternative ideas although we use many on Larry's list - Dave Chaffey, editing this post]

1. Trello - Planning

Trello is one of the first project management software services invented that makes it possible to collaborate efficiently among marketing divisions, keep up with social tasks, track time, stay in touch with freelancers, and more - all for free with the basic package. [See how we use Trello for managing our content marketing at Smart Insights].

2. Google Drive - Collaboration and Storage

Google Drive offers basically unlimited storage at no cost with a Gmail account. It’s an excellent online collaboration tool for organizing files, storing documents, and sharing archives with your clients. It’s easy to use and has also great editing and privacy capabilities, making it perfect for your content marketing storage system.

[We're using Google Docs and Sheets increasingly at Smart Insights for sharing content plans rather than Excel spreadsheets on Dropbox which we used previously for this and continue to use as general file storage and sharing]

3. Rocket Ranking - SEO

Rocket Ranking is an online SEO service that offers a number of highly useful tools for improving search engine rankings. Their tools include an on-page SEO analyzer, keyword profit calculator, SEO backlink builder, SEO backlink counter, and a social media “like” and “follow” tool. It’s free for the first month, and if you love it, you can continue to use it for a very low fee.

[Our preferred all-in-one SEO tool at the moment at Smart Insights is SEMRush]

4. Elance - Outsourcing to freelancers

In a world where freelancers are taking over the workforce as the cheapest, most effective resource to accomplish marketing tasks from writing to social management, you need a trusted freelancer site. Elance is a great platform companies and freelancers can easily come together. This website allows you to look at candidates’ past job performances and read reviews from previous employers. This way, you can be sure you’re not hiring a dud and that whomever you hire will improve productivity rather than impede it.

[At Smart Insights, we've used oDesk which is now UpWork]

5. Hootsuite - Social media management

The social dashboard from Hootsuite gives you the power to access all of your social media profiles in one place. It saves time and maximizes efficiency on social media marketing. You can access up to three profiles for free, and then upgrade to a larger package for a small fee if necessary.

[We use Hootsuite at Smart Insights on a paid plan]

6. Buffer

Keep your social efforts in one place as you schedule content on all social media platforms, shorten links, view social analytics, share messages, and improve brand recognition, all with this useful app. Buffer makes it much easier to improve branding on social media and promotes organization.

[We also use Buffer!]

7. Canva

Canva is a graphic builder that can be very useful for both constructing content on your blog and sharing it via social media. Memes, infographics, and custom-made images are all very important parts of spreading brand recognition, increasing traffic, and keeping customer attention, and this online tool makes it easy to create the images you need without using expensive, hard-to-navigate software.

8. SurveyMonkey

Surveys are a great way to get customers more engaged in your marketing efforts, and this tool makes it easy to do so. It’s free and allows you to design, collect, and analyze surveys in order to see what works and what needs tweaking. This is a great tool for collecting customer feedback and learning how to better improve your advertisements and promotions to catch more attention.

[We prefer Polldaddy at Smart Insights for our research and surveys]

9. Evernote

Brainstorming meetings for marketers are scrambled and confusing at best. Evernote, free, multi-organizational tool records ideas and uses them to create actionable concepts. It’s a digital blackboard where you can store ideas, take notes, record research, and remember blogging topics all in one place. It makes it much easier to develop something useful out of your marketing thoughts when they’re stored in close proximity to each other.

10. Google Analytics

No marketing efforts are complete without thorough analysis of their performance. This handy, free tool adds to your data collection by accumulating information about the consumers that visit your website. This is useful for things such as allocating the budget, redirecting SEO efforts, improving website appeal, and defining your target audience.

[We use Google Analytics for content and page level analysis, but use Kissmetrics at Smart Insights for business and customer journey reporting - see Kissmetrics case study]

11. Crowdfire

Crowdfire is a set of tools released by Twitter with the express purpose of helping you manage and get the most out of your Twitter account. It’s a paid subscription that helps sort and filter followers, discover demographical information, and target the right audience for your products.

12. Fiverr

If you have a few small projects to be completed, but not enough work to hire someone new, this innovative website for hiring freelancers is what you need. It’s set up for users to buy and sell services for just $5. The freelancers that advertise on Fiverr offer just about any service you could imagine, including writing blog headlines, developing print advertisements, and even crafting newsletters for email marketing. Most of the time, cheap doesn’t mean bad quality for this website, but it’s always good to read reviews before hiring someone to make sure you get the most for your money.

13. Skimlinks

Let Skimlinks worry about the measuring and implementing of your affiliate marketing so that you can put your energy into managing more demanding aspects of your campaign. It works from your website and RSS, Twitter, and Facebook feeds to turn links and keywords into equivalent affiliate links. It’s one of the easiest ways to work with affiliate links in your marketing strategy.

14. MailChimp

For an all-inclusive email marketing management tool, use MailChimp. The easy-to-use apparatus involves plenty of useful features including social sharing buttons, analytics tools, designer templates, and personalized contact forms. The free version also offers the capability to send 12,000 emails to up to 2,000 subscribers, which is more than enough for the average marketing team.

[We use Infusionsoft at Smart Insights for its more advanced marketing automation features for email sequences and API for integrating with our other data sources]

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