If you’re in marketing, you probably share a common impression that new marketing tools are being introduced at a rate akin to the U.S. birth rate – about one every eight seconds.
Even if you love what you’re already using, the fact that so many new features and products are being introduced so often can leave you wondering if there isn’t something new and improved that might be serving you better. (Yes, FOMO strikes marketers too.)
To help sort out the answer, I set out to review what I consider the top marketing tools for 2017, by category.
1. Marketing Automation
Marketing automation includes things like social listening, automated emails, landing pages and forms, online behavior tracking, a marketing lead database, segmentation, lead scoring and grading, personalized emails, CRM lead integration and lead nurturing capabilities.
Here are the marketing automation tools I like:
Hubspot is the industry leader, with a full suite of automation tools geared toward B2B.
Marketo is another longtime leader, taking a more technical-oriented approach.
Salesfusion is a behemoth that has it all: website analytics, lead tracking and scoring, email automation, CRM integration, webinar and event-building tools, landing pages and even surveys.
Pardot, a unit of Salesforce, gives you not just the seamless integration with Salesforce’s main product (should you be using that), but also some easy email marketing features and smart lead generation tools.
Act On includes social media integration, SEO and landing page tools, and some nifty brand awareness tools such as mini-surveys.
2. Online Advertising
Online advertising tools are there to take the hassle out of managing all the different PPC ad campaigns you’re running on various networks like Google, Facebook or LinkedIn. They help you automate, create, and manage your campaigns across all of the major PPC platforms, then allow you to report on your results.
The best tools for online advertising I’ve found:
AdStage helps you analyze, optimize, and report on all your Search and Social ad campaigns in one place
Adwords is the original, though it works only on Google-affiliated searches.
WordStream is a good choice for local merchants and smaller businesses.
Marin Software seamlessly links and deduplicates your CRM, audience, revenue and contextual data from any source.
Media Math Sophisticated audience scoring tools and a deep inventory of premium ad channels are what make this software stand apart from the crowd.
3. Search Engine Optimization
SEO tools give you keyword research, content optimization shortcuts, and the ability to check your current page rankings so you can plan your content and test the results.
Here are the SEO tools I like:
OnPage Their ZOOM feature combs through your site just like a search engine would do, and lists all relevant factors in neatly arranged reports.
MOZ displays online advertising for any designated competitors, which helps when doing a competitive analysis for keywords. It features a free Keyword Explorer tool to let you see how it works on a few sample searches.
Semrush is similar to MOZ. You can do a limited number of free searches, and after that you have to upgrade to a premium subscription.
4. Social Media
Social media tools give you a single dashboard from which you can view, create and schedule posts, automatically follow trending topics and connect with Influencers. They should also include alerts and notifications.
Here are the social media tools I like:
Hootsuite integrates Twitter, Facebook, Linked In, Pinterest and Instagram.
Agorapulse – If you live in fear of missing tweets, posts and comments the second they happen, this is the tool for you. Agorapulse feeds out instant notifications to all of your feeds whenever a new action occurs on any of them.
Buzzsumo is a searchable database which shows the most popular posts in any category with the highest engagement metrics on any given day
Iconosquare is a great new tool for getting the most from your Instagram analytics and optimizing your brand’s Instagram channel.
IFTTT (IF This Then That) is a service that allows you to create chains of simple conditional statements, called applets. It connects triggered activities among all your social media channels.
5. List Building
One of the basic building blocks of any marketing automation initiative is an intelligently designed customer prospect database. List building tools give you the power of precise micro-targeting, segmenting and personalizing your communications.
Some list building tools I like:
Zoominfo combines what they claim to be the world’s most comprehensive B2B database with sales & marketing solutions
Discoverorg lets you build detailed organizational charts of your prospect companies.
Inside View combines a B2B database with relevant breaking news and social media alerts, plus a private connections network a la Linked In.
NetProspex, a Dunn & Bradstreet product, lets you link all your accounts and enrich your lead info at the point of capture.
And finally, a great site for more reviews and ratings
One of the sources I often go to when I want to evaluate a new tools is G2Crowd. This site offers a wealth of information including professional evaluations and descriptions of each product, plus crowd-sourced reviews.
If you’d like more in-depth information or to learn how we use these various applications for our clients, contact Leadit Marketing for a free consultation.
Shannon Prager is recognized B2B marketing strategist and the President of Leadit Marketing. She is responsible for the daily operations and management of Leadit Marketing as well as the long term vision for the company.
A marketing leader with over 19 years of B2B demand generation and marketing experience, she understands the importance of a fully developed integrated marketing strategy. Shannon’s background includes demand generation, marketing automation, social media, digital marketing, customer marketing, account based marketing and marketing operations. You can follow her on LinkedIn via https://www.linkedin.com/in/shannonprager or Twitter @ https://twitter.com/LeaditMarketing
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