Great marketing is a combination of art and science. Art, because creativity is always the starting point of a great marketing campaign. Andscience, to help you plan, implement, analyze, and replicate campaigns.
This post will cover the science part of marketing and includes essential digital marketing channels such as Website, Social Media, Email Marketing, SEO, and Analytics. Also, we cover tools that will help you (and your employees) communicate better while planning and executing marketing campaigns.
Note: The tools we cover are best suited for startups and Small-to-Medium sized businesses.
Marketing Tech Sections:
WordPress is still the most popular website builder (content management system), and for good reason – it has all the features most small businesses and startups will ever need.
Why we like WordPress:
- Ease of use
- Scalability (countless modules to extend your website’s functionality)
- Free (software is free, but you will have to pay for hosting)
- Easy to find help with WordPress experience (Designer, Developer, Marketer, etc.)
Website Link: WordPress
While other domain providers love to upsell additional features, Google takes a different approach and includes essential features in the domain’s price.
Why we like Google Domains:
- Privacy protection for no additional charge
- Includes all the DNS tools you need and expect
- 2-step verification
Website Link: Google Domains
Landing pages are precious in marketing because they are often at the end of a lead-generation funnel. Therefore, irrespective of how great your marketing campaign is, if your landing pages fail to convert visitors into leads (or ustomers), your campaign will fail. Unbounce makes it easy for non-technical users to create beautiful landing pages.
Why we love Unbounce:
- Drag-and-drop builder
- Built for non-technical users (you don’t need a developer to create a landing page)
- Countless templates to choose from
- Includes A/B Testing
Website Link: Unbounce
Still the best way to track and analyze your website traffic. And with Google behind it, it will only get better with inevitable machine learning and AI enhancement.
Why we like Google Analytics:
- Easy to install and use
- Scalability (used by solopreneurs and Fortune 500 companies)
- Enhancements (Google is continuously adding new features)
Website Link: Google Analytics
When you need to know how your visitors/leads/customers interact with your website content. With HotJar’s recordings and heatmaps, you can quickly spot user experience and conversion (lead to customer) issues.
Why we like HotJar:
- A generous free plan
- Supported by most website platforms like WordPress, Drupal, Wix, Squarespace, Weebly, etc.
- Sharing and collaboration tools (for multiple team members)
Website Link: HotJar
2. Social Media
When you need a tool to handle multiple social media accounts. With Buffer, scheduling posts across various platforms has never been easier.
Why we like Buffer:
- Makes managing multiple social media platforms and posts much easier
- Supports major social media platforms (Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Twitter, and Pinterest)
- Reasonable pricing (you can manage up to 8 social media channels for $15/mo)
Website Link: Buffer
3. Email Marketing
Most email marketing platforms have similar features, but Mailchimp remains at the top because of how easy it is to use – even if you’ve never set up an email campaign.
Why we like Mailchimp:
- Ease of use
- A generous free plan
- Robust A/B testing and behavioral targeting tools
Website Link: MailChimp
The internet is full of fake email accounts, so how do you know which email contacts are valid and which are not? While not perfect, NeverBounce’s cleaning & scrubbing services are excellent at spotting fake emails.
Why we like NeverBounce:
- Can automatically clean your emails
- You can pay-as-you-go (e.g., $0.008 per email)
- Generous free plan
- Reputation (you don’t have to worry about your data/emails getting into the wrong hands)
Website Link: Neverbounce
Note: Please see the Marketing Automation section for additional email marketing tools.
In today’s world, where many employees are working from home, effective communication is essential. Even if all your employees are in the same office, Slack makes internal communications seamless.
Why we like Slack:
- Without a question, the best tools for online messaging between team members
- Ease of use
- Available on all devices (Mac, Windows, Android, and iOS)
- Countless integrations
Website Link: Slack
Over the last 15 years, we’ve used every possible web conferencing solution, and while Zoom was never the pioneer, it emerged as the most popular solution because it’s easy to use.
Why we like Zoom:
- Popularity (organizing online meetings is much easier when your attendees know how to use the software)
- Easy to use
- Includes every feature you will ever need to organize a meeting or a webinar
- Reliable (from our experience, Zoom is the most reliable web conferencing solution we’ve used so far)
Website Link: Zoom
An excellent tool for any business with task and project management needs. You will struggle to find easier and more intuitive tasks/project management software on the market.
Why we like Trello
- Created for non-technical users, so the learning curve is much lower than with other comparable tools.
- Integration options (e.g., Slack, Dropbox, Google Docs, Evernote, Mailchimp, Salesforce, etc.)
- Extensibility (abundance of apps – when you need to add extra functionality)
Website Link: Trello
You are far more likely to capture ideas and conversations if you have an easy way to do so – precisely where Evernote shines. In our opinion, the best note-taking application on the market.
Why we like Evernote:
- Supports all important formats (text, images, scans, audio, and PDFs)
- Seamless experience between different devices (Desktop/Laptop, Tablet, and Smartphone)
- Powerful search
- Clean and intuitive design
Website Link: Evernote
To help you write error-free content. Also, you will find Grammarly especially helpful if English is not your first language.
Why we like Grammarly:
- Catches most writing mistakes
- Clean design and easy to use
- Integrates with every-day tools like Outlook, Gmail, Slack, Salesforce, JIRA, etc.
Website Link: Grammarly
5. Marketing Automation
We recommend marketing automation software to any business striving to use digital marketing to grow its business. With digital marketing, there are so many moving pieces (contacts, leads, website, email, social media, ads, analytics, etc.) that having them all in one place (software) is extremely valuable. It will make your life and your team’s much easier, and you will make better business decisions with all data/reports available to you.
Marketing Automation – Notable Features:
- Email Marketing
- Workflow automation (e.g., automated emails, follow-up, assignments, etc.)
- Online Chat
- Landing Pages
- Online Forms (e.g., contact forms, pop-ups, etc.)
- Contact / Lead Management
We like HubSpot because it’s intuitive, offers excellent online training, and starts with a free version. However, it can be pricy if you start adding too many features. For example, the Starter plan is $50/mo, Professional is $800/mo, and Enterprise begins at $3,200/mo.
Why we like HubSpot
- Simple to use
- Numerous features
- Excellent reporting (higher plans)
Website link: HubSpot
ZOHO Marketing Automation
If you are looking for an alternative, we recommend ZOHO Marketing Automation. While not as intuitive as HubSpot, ZOHO has similar features but is much more affordable.
Why we like ZOHO Marketing Automation:
- Considerable feature set
- Integration with other ZOHO products
Website lInk: ZOHO MarketingHub
6. Visual Design
Canva is a graphic design platform used to create social media graphics (e.g., infographics), presentations, posters, documents, and other visual content. It is straightforward to use, and you can start with a free version.
If you don’t have the time or budget to hire a designer, we recommend giving Canva a try.
Why we like Canva
- Simple – you don’t have to be a designer to use it
- Countless templates
- Inexpensive compared to professional alternatives like Abobe Photoshop
Website Link: Canva
If you are looking to create prototypes for your Website or App, you cannot go wrong with Figma. It’s free to try, and the professional plan is reasonably priced (12/mo).
Even if you have no plan to create prototypes or wireframes, we suggest you try Figma, especially if you design marketing material yourself.
Why we like Figma
- Collaboration features
- Tools, Libraries, and integrations
- Easy to use, if you have some experience creating or reviewing design prototypes
Website Link: Figma
Google Search Console
An absolute must if you are trying to improve your Google Search ranking. Even if improving SEO is not a priority for your business, understanding how customers find you (via Google Search) and which specific keywords they use is invaluable.
Why we like Google Search Console:
- Unsurprisingly, the best way to get access to Google Search data
- Keyword analysis tools
Website Link: Google Search Console
Google Analytics and Google Search Console are great, but sometimes you need more in-depth insights. If most of your website traffic originates from search engines, then using Ahrefs or a similar tool is a no brainer.
Why we like Ahrefs:
- Reasonably accurate (all third-party SEO tools have to do a fair amount of estimating, so their data will never be 100% accurate. However, we find Ahrefs data to be more reliable them most other SEO tools we used.)
- Features (site audit, site explorer, content explorer, keywords analysis, backlink index, alerts, etc.)
Website Link: Ahrefs
Still, the best way to analyzes consumer trends on a budget. If you are starting a new business or trying to enter a new market, Google Trends is one of the easiest ways to analyze possible demand for your product/service.
Why we like Google Trends:
- The easiest way to find out what people are searching for
- Segmentation (by country, state, city, language, device, etc.)
- Visualization (makes data analysis easier)
Website Link: Google Trends
Google Alerts will monitor and alert you when a specific keyword or keywords are used. For example, “your name,” “your business name,” “your product name,” “your event,” etc. Unsurprisingly, this is an invaluable tool for reputation management and market research.
Why we like Google Alerts:
- It’s Free
- A great reputation management tool
- Insights can be compelling (if used correctly)
Website Link: Google Alerts
As we mentioned at the beginning of the post, great marketing is a combination of art and science. While the art (creative side) is challenging to implement and nurture, the science part is not.
If you start treating your marketing like science and start using the tools we covered you will undoubtedly elevate your marketing and lead generation to the next level. Without question, marketing technology can create a competitive advantage for your business, and more importantly, accelerate your growth.