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Be your own free marketing service using the top digital marketing tools.

Top Digital Marketing Tools

Take charge of your business' growth by mastering one or more of the leading digital marketing tools and learn to make better strategic decisions to save money and grow profits.

Picking up a new marketing tool comes with a learning curve, I'll admit. Often it might seem easier to simply outsource digital marketing campaigns to an agency. Sometimes this is the right choice. Often it's not.

Mastering digital marketing using the top tools allows you to cut out expensive 3rd party marketing agencies and puts you in control of growth at a fraction of the cost.

Invest time learning how to use one or more of the leading marketing tools sooner rather than later. This will make your marketing more adaptable and nimble. Go after growth in the areas you want, from SEO to content to PPC, social and more, without having to rely on a 3rd party marketing firm.

Keep your marketing campaigns and overall strategy streamlined, efficient and able to quickly pivot and adapt to new marketing opportunities as they arise.

Marketing Tools (by Category)

Click on a link to learn more about any of the best marketing tools across these primary categories.

  1. SEO & Competitor Analysis
  2. Email
  3. Inbound
  4. Graphics
  5. Influencers
  6. Conversions
  7. PR
  8. Content & Writing
  9. Live Chat
  10. Video
  11. More Tools

1. SEO & Competitor Analysis (SEMRush)

SEMRush SEO Tools

SEMRush offers free usage & paid plans from $99 per month.
SEMrush serves over 6 million users and provides competitive insights into 810 million domains and over 20 billion search keywords.

Discover who dominates your niche market and how they do it. Learn and apply your competitors' secrets to quickly capture and grow rankings in Google.

Analyze one of your competitors right now.

It's a vital tool in your armory if you intend to compete for organic search traffic from Google because it can shed light on:

  • what competitors are doing to get new backlinks
  • who's giving them backlinks
  • how well they are performing in the search results
  • what it takes to get page one Google rankings for your target SEO keywords
  • ...

In particular, SEMRush has a powerful set of reports and metrics that can help to ensure you understand how well your content competes with the competition, and what they do (or don't do) to capture first page rankings in Google SERPs.

SEMRush does something that Google Analytics and Search Console can't in that it provides analytical data & insights on competing websites.

A great option if you value having a single, unified resource to do all your SEO & competitor analytics in one place.

2. Email Marketing (AWeber)

AWeber Email Marketing Tools

AWeber offers a 30 day free trial with paid plans from $19 per month.
AWeber facilitates over 100 000 small business email campaigns.

AWeber is an incredibly popular email marketing platform because of it's slick, easy-to-use interface and wide range of integrations with 3rd party apps (such as your online store, blog, Facebook page, etc) that make growing a super valuable list relatively painless.

Emailing seems to have taken a bit of a backseat as of late - what with sexier ways to promote with mobile and social undergoing huge growth. But email isn't dead - it's just that there are other options to look at in addition to it.

And, there's a good reason why email marketing with AWeber is more popular than ever... it works!

Make sure you grow your list for an effective and sustainable sales channel in the years to come.

3. Inbound Marketing (HubSpot)

Inbound marketing using HubSpot

HubSpot offers free usage with paid plans from $400 per month.
64,500 customers in over 100 countries grow their businesses with HubSpot.

HubSpot offers a full suite of tools and services that integrate to make inbound marketing faster, cheaper and more effective.

Inbound marketing doesn't push advertising onto customers. Instead it draws in customers by providing engaging content using a number of techniques, from social media marketing to SEO and branding.

HubSpot's offerings are divided into 3 sections:

  • Marketing: Grow traffic, convert more visitors, and run complete inbound marketing campaigns at scale.
  • Sales: Deeper insights into prospects, automate the tasks you hate, and close more deals faster.
  • Service: Connect with customers, exceed expectations, and turn them into promoters that grow your business.

Their free plans offer fantastic tools and functionality to get your inbound marketing strategy up and running, and generating revenue. With over 7+ million monthly readers, you're joining a huge community of businesses benefiting from the inbound marketing methodology.

4. Marketing Graphics (Canva)

Visual marketing with Canva

Canva is free to use with a paid plan (and 30 day free trial) for $9.95 per month.
Canva helps more than 4 million people create and share visuals online.

As the Internet's premiere visual creation tool, Canva is used by companies such as Amazon, Netflix, Disney, LinkedIn and many more.

Canva's popularity is due to the fact that there is virtually no learning curve to use it. Home based bloggers can create exactly the same quality branding and marketing visuals as large sophisticated marketing teams with huge budgets.

It has also evolved from a graphics design tool into an integrated marketing and branding tool. Whether you are a photographer wanting to edit pics and share them directly to Instagram, a small business designing business cards and flyers, or a blogger creating infographics for content promotions, creating, publishing, printing and promoting is a snap.

5. Social Media Marketing (SocialPilot)

SocialPilot Social Media Marketing Tools

SocialPilot offers a 14 day free trial with paid plans from $25 per month.
115,000+ businesses trust SocialPilot to manage social media, schedule social media posts, improve engagement & analyze results.

Social media has quickly become part of the fabric of online business. Whether you are blogging or selling, the traffic and customers driving your profits can be grown using one or more of the major social networks. To run a social media campaign for business requires tools that help you understand the audience and create better engagement with them.

As you probably know, even the mighty Google has tightly integrated social signals into its results. As a result, businesses need to start building social influence in order to remain competitive online over the medium to long term.

SocialPilot helps you to save time and effort by managing all your social media profiles from one convenient location. Plenty of tools and support help you get the most from social.

6. Conversion Optimization (Leadpages)

Conversion rate optimization with Leadpages

Leadpages offers a 14 day free trial with paid plans from $25 per month.
More than 40 000 small businesses optimize conversions using Leadpages.

Leadpages helps small businesses connect with an audience, collect leads, and close sales using fast, easy to construct landing pages, pop-ups, alert bars, and more.

This is an extremely useful tool for performing market research (in addition to improving conversions). A low barrier-to-entry in terms of time, effort and cost make it perfect for taking new products, services, ideas & campaigns to market and seeing if they are viable (i.e. MVP - Minimum Viable Product - research).

Quickly work out who your audience is, what they want and what type of landing pages convert the best. All with one convenient tool that offers a suite of conversion rich features in addition to the standard graphical Web builder design interface.

7. Online PR (HARO)

Online PR with HARO

HARO is free to use as both a reporter and a source.
HARO connects brands with over 35 000 journalists via more than 50 000 journalist queries each year.

Help A Reporter Out (HARO) is a platform for journalists and other publishers to get expert commentary and insights from industry experts (i.e. you and me).

It's a fantastic way to build backlinks and referrals from high quality blogs and media publishers, as well as establish and grow relationships with influencers in your niche. I would go so far to say that answering queries sent out by journalists should form part of all small business marketing mixes.

8. Content & Writing (Grammarly)

Grammarly writing assistant

Grammarly is free to use with paid premium plans from $11 per month.
Over 20 million people use Grammarly to improve their writing

Grammarly is an online writing assistant that helps you compose clear, mistake-free writing that makes the right impression.

You might be forgiven for thinking this is another WORD spellcheck type thing. It's not. Things have gotten a little more sophisticated. Grammarly can now check the tone of your message before you hit send so that you can be reassured that the reader will react the way you expect based on your intended tone.

9. Live Chat (LiveChat)

LiveChat

LiveChat has a 14 day free trial with paid plans starting from $16 per month.
LiveChat supports over 27 million live chats in over 150 countries every month.

LiveChat and their chatbot are one of the few places where AI actually has a tangible impact for small businesses. Engage with customers faster and more effectively, in a way that drives conversions for a fraction of the cost of operating an entire support team.

Find the perfect balance between AI automation and the human touch when it comes to serving customers better. Integrate live chats into over 170+ tools throughout your business to ensure you never miss an important support query or lead.

The perfect way to radically improve the user experience (UX) on your website with minimal effort and cost.

10. Video (TubeBuddy)

Tubebuddy YouTube video management

TubeBuddy offers a free version with limited features and paid plans starting at $9 per month.
TubeBuddy is a browser extension and mobile app used by over 3 million YouTube creators and brands.

Tubebuddy provides suite of tools designed to help you quickly publish high quality videos to YouTube and have them focused on maximum growth and exposure.

Like an SEO tool for YouTube, Tubebuddy allows you to perform keyword research to find high-performing, searchable video topics and craft the perfect titles and tags. They also have tools and templates to drastically lower the amount of time it takes to publish a new video. Finally, once your new video is published they're there to help ensure it has the best chance of ranking well to get plenty of views and subscribers.

Perfect for any blog or business looking to make use of YouTube as a marketing channel.

11. More Top Marketing Tools

There are plenty of other digital marketing tools and services worth exploring. Here's a more comprehensive list to get you started.

  • Google Analytics: Google Analytics lets you measure your advertising ROI as well as track your video and social networking sites and applications.
  • Google Ads: Online ads on Google can help you reach the right customers and grow your business.
  • Google Search Console: Search Console tools and reports help you measure your site's Search traffic and performance, fix issues, and make your site shine in Google Search results.
  • PageSpeed Insights: Use PageSpeed suggestions to make your web site faster.

I'll keep it updated as and when I come across more that I like. Feel free to drop me a line and let me know which tools you use and what success you've had with 'em.

Word of mouth marketing

Word of mouth referrals come with built in levels of trust that ensure higher conversion rates and better returns, making it a great 'low hangin

Customer service is a great marketing opportunity

Any company that outsources their customer service is being silly, and are inviting competitors to swoop in and pilfer their client base.

Customer service is one of the few real opportunities you have to forge a solid relationship with people. Why on earth would you want to hand it over to someone else (who hides you from the people that sustain your business)?

And while handling customer complaints and queries can seem like a chore, it can be converted into one of the most powerful marketing strategies available to you.

"Are you looking for some great content marketing strategies that will help to generate plenty of buzz around your blog posts and articles?"

Content marketing is not only important for getting your content read by other people.

One of its primary purposes is to help establish authority so that your content enjoys high page rankings and gets plenty of organic search traffic from Google.

Marketing hacks that worked. Pic by Steven Depolo

Every company in the world is obsessed with marketing and sales - trying desperately to get in front of potential clients, gain visibility, join the conversa

Take an innovative approach to marketing

If you're in the business of making and selling unique stuff then the marketing strategies you use should reflect the creativity of your products in order to reach out to the right people.

Fortunately the Internet is full of the "right people" just waiting to place an order. But your message has to find them in the right place in the right way.

That's why it pays to think creatively about marketing instead of following the pack and doing the same old "tried and tested" things.

Here's the thing about moving traditional customers online; you have to find innovative marketing strategies and ideas to get them to migrate.

Online marketing 101. Pic by See-ming Lee

The first time I started an online business I spent the vast majority of my time actually creating the service.

Creating viral social media content

For many bloggers, webmasters and entrepreneurs there's nothing quite as exciting as seeing an article or brand mention taking on a life of its own and gener

Affiliate marketing beginner guide. Pic by Caleb Roenigk

Learning how to be an effective affiliate marketer on one of the top affiliate programs is a great skill to have for entrepreneurs and anyone looking to star

Drive traffic without SEO

I am an ardent supporter of creating great quality content that ranks well in Google search for marketing purposes.

Recently, however, I have been forced to concede that organic traffic from Google is no longer reliable enough.

Since 2012 Google's search results have been in upheaval, and while the general thrust of the changes are to improve search results and cut out spam, there has been significant collateral damage along the way.

getresponse email marketing comparison review

Anyone looking to grow their business using a mailing list will likely want to make use of one of the leading online email marketing services - but which one?

As a business owner, you probably don't have time to set up a free trial on every site around, so it helps to know which one can get you started the easiest.

SME Pals has already done an analysis and comparison review of the top email marketing services, but that analysis doesn't really speak directly to how easy or hard it is for a beginner to set up their own email based campaign.

7 ways to network effectively

When I started my first company some years ago I placed all my focus on creating a great offering, but almost no effort went into sales and networking. Needless to say that it took an incredibly long time to get off the ground - 6 years in fact.

During that time I learned a lot about how business works, and my focus has shifted almost completely onto sales, marketing and networking.

Nowadays, a good idea with a quality product backed by excellent service is the bare minimum required to succeed. Because there is so much competition (especially online), what sets companies apart these days is how effectively they can network and promote themselves.

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