In this guide, I share with you a great set and range of tools that are instrumental for your business and any business that wants to have a strong digital marketing strategy.
The marketing technology world is growing at an unprecedented pace and there is no shortage of marketing tools. If anything, it’s the opposite. There’s too many out there and a guide like this, can really help you find the right tools and give you some much needed shortcuts to success when it comes to your digital marketing.
As a marketing agency founder, part of my job entails constantly sweeping the marketing landscape to find the right marketing tools for my clients as well as for myself. Through extensive research, trial and error, I have been able to refine a list of tools that all complement each other to giving any business a powerful marketing technology stack, and a lot of these tools are typically used by some of the best digital marketing agencies.
So, let’s jump straight into it.
First, I’d like to talk a little bit about the categories of digital marketing tools. And these are perhaps my categories although they might be commonly known or used terms.
The categories of digital marketing tools are
- Lead Magnets
- Reviews Generation
- Email Marketing
- Chatbot Marketing
- SMS Marketing
- General Analytics
- UX Improvement
- Social Media Marketing
- Influencer Marketing
- Content Management
- Website Building
- A/B Testing
- Social Proof
- Appointment Booking
1. Lead Magnets
A lead magnet is a very important digital marketing tool and is a way to maximise your website lead conversions from your traffic. An enquiry form is a lead magnet. A newsletter form is a lead magnet. There are a lot of ways you can generate leads from online traffic.
Lead Magnet Tool #1
One of my favourite website lead magnets is Optinmonster. These guys have one of the best lead magnet/lead generation set of features from exit intent to advanced visitors/events based targeting.
Lead Magnet Tool #2
Typeform is an outstanding tool and one of the most effective digital marketing tools you can use especially in the B2B marketing as well as B2C marketing space. Typeform allows you to create highly engaging forms that are dynamic, aesthetically pleasing, and personalised. From a Trivia quiz to Employee Engagement surveys, they got it all. And their amazing designs and flexible customisations, you can create on-brand forms that are just exceptional in every way.
Lead Magnet Tool #3
ThriveLeads is one of the main products in the Thrive ecosystem and comes loaded with great features for all types of forms you can think of, from a Sticky Ribbon form to In-line forms, 2 step opt-in forms, content lock and more. It’s essentially an all-in-one list-building solution and is certainly one of my favourite digital marketing tools. ThriveLeads really makes creating lead magnets fun and enjoyable. The analytics, targeting, actionable reporting and insights they have are right on the money.
2. Review Generation
According to a lot of researches, over 9 in 10 people will check out reviews before purchasing. Let that sync. Your reviews are instrumental to your success. The problem is, most motivated reviewers are typically those who had a bad experience and so they want to take it out to the public and share their voice with others whereas happy customers are less likely to give reviews, UNLESS, incentivised somehow to do so. This is where reviews generation tools fill the void.
Also, let me preface this, review generation tools are not cheap. They come at a price and for a reason. They truly build your brand trust more than most other digital marketing tools out there.
Review Generation Tool #1
Yotpo focuses most on ecommerce but you can still get a lot of value if you are not an ecommerce business. Successful brands like GymShark, GOPRO and Steve Madden use Yotpo. Their 4 main pillars of the platform are
- Reviews & Ratings
- Loyalty & Referrals
- SMS Marketing
- User Generated Content
To generate more reviews, you use Yotpo to send automated emails scheduled some time after purchases that incentivises customers to leave a review by offering personalised promotions. You can target your audience when they visit your site to leave reviews. You can also get your customers to share answers for frequently asked questions so that new visitors can see.
Review Generation Tool #2
Practice what you preach. That’s what the folks at TrustPilot do. If you look at the reviews of the review generation tools on a site like Capterra, these guys have probably the most reviews with obviously a very high rating too.
Unlike Yotpo, Trustpilot is a review generation platform targeting most industries. They are personally one of my favourites if not the ultimate favourite. But they come at a price 🙂
They help you generate reviews based on what you sell – product, services or if you have a physical location like a café. One of the things I really like about them is that they focus on reviews SEO. For example, you can Create a customised page that showcases your top reviews. You can also utilise product Reviews to improve keyword reach on your site. Another great feature is Google & Bing Shopping Integrations that allow you to show your reviews in your Google & Bing Shopping Ads.
There are a few other excellent features but generally speaking, one thing I really like about TrustPilot that makes them stand out for me is the clean modern design and wide range of layouts of their review widgets.
Lastly and according to them, Trustpilot is among the 1% most popular websites in the world. That’s because their reviews pages are visited by an outlandish amount of people looking to research about the product or service they are about to buy. If you can afford a Trustpilot license, this one is a no brainer.
Review Generation Tool #3
ProductReview is an Australian product and services reviews site that’s got quite a big reach. According to them, they get 4.5 million visitors per month and 1.5 million genuine reviews.
Besides the main reviews generation and management features, one thing that makes them really stand out for me is the ability to advertise on their site. You can basically show ads to people who are looking at your competitors reviews page. Isn’t that just brilliant and awesome at the same time? You can also show your ads on the category page. Advertising on a reviews site can be very powerful because you are in front of people who are motivated to buy and are mostly qualified buyers, who moved further down the marketing funnel.
3. Email Marketing
There is an abundance of email marketing tools and platforms out there. Email marketing technology has come a long way. From email blasts back in the day to very sophisticated email marketing journeys today, it’s been a great evolution. Your email marketing is a major part of your digital marketing tactics. You need to get it right. To find and choose the right email marketing tool, there are a few things you need to consider.
- What’s most important to you? Deliverability, personalisation, analytics, etc.
- What other tools in your marketing stack that need to integrate with your email marketing?
- What other types of communication will you be using besides Emails? SMS, Chatbots?
- How many contacts and leads do you see yourself having in the short-term and long-term?
- How many people in your team will be using your email marketing tool?
- Do we have developer(s) to handle any coding needed for the automation or do we prefer a tool that allows us to customise everything without needing to code?
All of these points will help you decide the right email marketing platform. Without further ado, here are my top email marketing platforms.
Email Marketing Tool #1
ActiveCampaign is in my opinion top of the food chain email marketing tool. The platform comes loaded with a lot of great and usable features all aimed at one thing, helping you personalise your target audience journey.
If there is one thing I don’t like about ActiveCampaign is the CRM part of the platform. It’s quite basic and you probably won’t use it much if you have a proper CRM. If you don’t, then you might want to look into that or perhaps start with their CRM.
Anyhow, one of the things I love about ActiveCampaign is that it comes loaded with automation templates. These are journeys and series of events that your audience go through. They make your job easier to create your email journeys instead of having to create them from scratch. For example, if you are an e-commerce business, they have a ton of email journey templates like as in the below screenshot. 👇
Another thing I love about this platform is
- Very user friendly and easy to use
- Highly customisable
- Integrates with a lot of 3rd party tools
- Understanding the journey of every contact
In saying that, they are not the best when it comes to
- Analytics and reporting
- Lead generation forms but then again that’s not the main aim of the platform anyway
Email Marketing Tool #2
SendGrid is just an awesome Email Marketing platform and is surely going to be a great addition to digital marketing tools stack. It was primarily created for high scale email marketing with a strong API for businesses to use to create their email sending journeys along with your standard campaigns. Recently they started to add ’email journey’ features to break into that space. If you are after an enterprise grade email marketing platform and have one or more developers that can bolt it onto your digital marketing framework, SendGrid is the top option in my opinion. The 3 main things I really like about the platform are
- Very high email deliverability (highest in my opinion)
- Scalable infrastructure
- Customizable Analytics
My 3 other picks in the world of Email Marketing are
- HubSpot: Goes without saying – one of the best. Is a bit pricey in my opinion but if you can afford their license, by all means, it’s worth it.
- Sendinblue: A lot of cool features and great value for money. You can also start with the free version which will get you up and running.
- ConstantContact: From visual email builders to smart journeys and social posting, they have a lot of useful features and is a quite user friendly platform.