Determining the ideal online marketing tools for your business can be a difficult decision if you do not know the benefits or downfalls of each. Whether you're seeking to create and test campaigns or measure their performance, the programmes and apps that you use can either assist or hinder you, depending on how you use them.
After all, you can have the best ideas in the world, but if you can't execute them – or you don't have the correct intelligence on which to base your decisions – then your online efforts won't be optimised.
So, how do you know which software to use?
Digital Marketing Tools
To help you understand which software can give you a headstart, we've compiled a comprehensive list of some of the best tools on the market today – although you should, of course, conduct your own additional research to see which platforms best fit your requirements.
To start, though, here are some of the top programmes that you should consider:
An internet marketing tool that will schedule all of your social media posts in advance, Buffer is a one-stop-shop to organise and optimise your online content. Whether you're arranging content on Pinterest, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or LinkedIn, basic use of the platform is free, although the company offers paid options for more advanced services.
With Buffer, you can also utilise key social media analytics to post at optimal times, thereby increasing the chances of user engagement and allowing you to track the success of a given post in terms of likes, comments, and shares. Thanks to this service, you can dedicate a set amount of time to organising your social media accounts, then carry on worry-free until the queue runs low.
With the essential uses of Canva being free — and the bells and whistles offered at a minimal monthly subscription — this is a must-try when it comes to choosing an ideal internet marketing tool. Whether you're creating a captivating image to post on Instagram, a flyer to "snail mail" to loyal customers, YouTube thumbnails and banners, or, indeed, anything else, Canva has a template for it.
When you're seeking something a little more unique, you have the option to create your very own template with customised dimensions and images of your own, too. This enables you to ensure that your brand identity remains unique, while still looking professional and aesthetically engaging.
3. Google Analytics
The industry standard for determining website analytics, Google Analytics gives you an in-depth look at all the essential metrics – as well as a whole lot more on top. Completely free to use, you can easily access information regarding the demographics of the people visiting your site, which of your pages are performing best, how you are acquiring visitors and what exactly they do when they reach your site. In fact, you can even see what visitors are doing on your website in real-time, with additional functionality and features being added almost constantly.
If you only use one tool on this list, Google Analytics should be it, as the data and information that it reveals is absolutely vital for understanding your traffic – and how to finetune it. It's a good idea to use this tool in conjunction with Google's other free analytics tool, Search Console, which provides invaluable insight into your keyword and search engine performance.
A social media monitoring and "listening" tool, Awario is designed to help organisations see where they are being mentioned and discussed across the digital landscape. This allows companies to get an idea of how they are being perceived, monitor any trends and, if needs be, join the conversation directly.
The platform also provides a unique analysis suite, as well as lead generation capabilities. At the same time, you can also monitor mentions of your competitors and finetune your search queries for maximum flexibility. Awario has three price plans ranging from $29 per month to $300 per month, although there is a free trial available.
A key element not only of email marketing, but also of your digital marketing strategy in general, is to create visually pleasing content. Thus, one of the best platforms to create and distribute campaigns is the e-newsletter automation platform, Mailchimp.
This marketing service not only allows you to design your newsletters directly on their platform; it also enables you to categorise specialised mailing lists for multiple groups – an important process known as segmenting. The primary functions of their services are free, with more complex features offered on a subscription basis as your business – and your needs – evolve.
With the ability to boost search engine optimisation and your company's overall website ranking, SEMRush is an extremely useful tool for any company. Business owners can conduct keyword research, track the keyword strategies utilised by their competition, perform an SEO audit of their company blog, as well as seek opportunities for backlinking (which, in turn, also boosts SEO).
To make the most of SEMRush, it is recommended to opt for the paid subscription. However, there are a limited number of useful digital marketing tools you can take advantage of for free, including restricted keyword searches.
A powerful online tool that dissects, analyses and identifies what kind of content you should be featuring on your website, BuzzSumo is essentially a scanning tool designed to focus your content production strategy. You can filter by geography, topic, niche – or any custom combination of all three – while the platform also endeavours to "predict" viral hits; you can also see what is already popular in any given subject.
That's not all, either; BuzzSumo also has a dedicated influencer analysis tool that allows you to analyse and identify the right collaborative partners for your influencer marketing strategy, as well as API functionality to automate your queries and requirements.
With around 240m active monthly Vimeo users, it's no surprise that many business owners are implementing this ad-free video platform into their digital marketing arsenal. Having been around since 2004, this video hosting service encourages users to share high-quality, visual stories, with a choice of free and paid subscriptions that can be tailored to your output and your needs.
In terms of running a business, this could mean sharing your team's personal story in the form of a video, demonstrating a client case study, or providing some kind of insight into how your company operates. It's another method with which to get creative with your advertising, and attract clients through a different format, and can be used to generate interest and authenticity in your brand.
The web is full of online marketing tools that are ready to be utilised, but only some are worth investing your time – and in many cases, money – in. By considering the platforms listed above, you will have gained a better understanding of which are the ideal options on the modern market, as well as how every one of them could potentially be incorporated into your wider marketing plan.
In the meantime, which tools would you recommend? Did we miss any of your favourites that you'd like to share with fellow business owners and entrepreneurs? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.