When we first launched our company, we were tracking everything in Excel. We were making hundreds of calls every day, sending emails out by the thousands, and marking notes on every interaction we had in painful detail. In short, we were wasting way too much time trying to keep our data organized. We needed to find tools that would improve our efficiency and enable us to properly scale our business.
In trying to find the best tools for our business, we looked for products based on the following parameters: fantastic customer service (we like to ask questions), competitive pricing (we like to save our money), data analysis (we like to know what we are doing right…and wrong), and functionality (we like products that are adaptable and useful in more than just one context).
Below is our list for the top ten products that saved us from deathly monotonous tasks and helped our marketing team elevate our company from just another wannabe start-up to a lean, mean, profit-earning machine.
Why you should use it: MailChimp is a cloud-based third-party email service provider. It is a must-have for building and managing your email list and avoiding the dreaded Spam filter.
Why we love it: Mailchimp gives us the ability to create beautiful email templates, segment our lists for better targeting and easily track the engagement of our email subscribers. Additionally they make it very easy to run A/B tests, setup auto-responders, and export reports. Bonus points: MailChimp has fantastic customer service (they even respond to our emails!).
Why you should use it: Moz is the leading industry darling for SEO (search engine optimization). They provide tools and applications that analyze the quality and authority of websites and keyword rankings. They also offer free resources that are extremely helpful for those learning about SEO (they have a fantastic blog!).
Why we love it: No other SEO tool is more influential in understanding the intricacies of organic traffic, keyword rankings, domain authority, link profiles, and competitor SEO tactics. This foundational understanding enabled us to increase our rankings on the major search engines and ultimately grow the organic traffic to our site. If you are seeking to boost your website visibility, do your marketing team a solid and sign up for Moz.
3. SEM Rush
Why you should use it: SEM Rush offers amazing specialized tools for SEM (search engine marketing). They are a great service to use for keyword research and competitor analysis in the PPC (pay-per-click) marketplace. Bonus points: SEM Rush allows you to edge out your competitors by getting a first-hand view of their current campaigns, ad copy, and keywords.
Why we love it: SEM Rush is constantly adapting to changing algorithms and SEO trends – their processes are always up-to-date. We rely on their metrics to better understand keyword search volume, competitiveness, search trends, and market prices.
Why you should use it: Hootsuite is a social media management tool that links all of your social media accounts, including Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. Instead of visiting each site individually, Hootsuite enables you to manage and update all of your social accounts from one site. Moreover, their tools and customizable reports software provide valuable data to understand the effectiveness of your social media strategy.
Why we love it: Hootsuite has streamlined our social media campaigns, enabling us to automatically post our recent blog articles directly to our social media accounts. We can even schedule messages and tweets when we’re out of the office.
Why you should use it: This free service powered by Google is a must-have tool for any company seeking to understand their customers and maximize online marketing opportunities. Google analytics provides critical information about web traffic and visitor behavior, including where your traffic is coming from (thanks, Dad!), the content being viewed, and how visitors engage on your site. Furthermore, the ability to manipulate the data on a granular level makes this platform especially powerful.
Why we love it: Google Analytics greatly impacts the direction of our digital marketing strategy. We analyze the effectiveness of our marketing campaigns and make statistically confident decisions by setting goals, tracking conversion funnels, and gathering demographic information.
Why you should use it: Webflow offers an easy-to-use platform for web design. It is a must-have tool for quickly and easily publishing webpages. Bonus points: never worry about website format again! Webflow’s templates are mobile responsive, meaning that they are automatically optimized to respond gracefully to different screen sizes.
Why we love it: Webflow makes all of our website design dreams come true. We love the WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get) graphical interface in place of code and the fact that the layout is very similar to that of Adobe Photoshop. Our marketing team is now completely self-sufficient, creating landing pages without consulting our design and development teams. Webpages are created by simply dragging and dropping elements and hitting ‘publish’ – without any worry about hosting, FTP servers, HTML code, or maintenance. Amazing!
Why you should use it: Salesforce is the ultimate service for cloud-based CRM (customer relationship management). It essentially streamlines every aspect of the sales funnel, from tracking customer interactions and sales opportunities to simplifying internal communications. Your sales team will stun you with efficiency.
Why we love it: Salesforce keeps our company incredibly organized and up-to-date and is highly utilized by both our sales and marketing team. Salesforce catalogs the full story of the customer journey, from acquisition to closing. Additionally, it integrates seamlessly with our marketing tools, allowing us to align our email marketing, SEO, and SEM efforts within Salesforce.
Why you should use it: WordPress is more than just a blogging platform. It is a CMS (content management system) that is highly customizable with an endless array of plug-ins.
Why we love it: WordPress is extremely user-friendly. Our marketing team easily creates and edits blog posts without any help from our developers. We use an SEO plug-in to ensure proper on-page optimization for all of our blog posts. We also use a nifty plug-in called Yoast, which helps us to automatically generate relevant meta-descriptions for all of our blog posts. These are just a few of the plug-ins we use every day that allow us to enhance our marketing efforts.
Why you should use it: Optimizely provides website optimization software that enables you to easily run A/B testing to measure and track how visitors engage with your site.
Why we love it: Optimizely is unlike any other A/B testing tool. It is incredibly easy to use and doesn’t require any knowledge of HTML. Users can easily drag and drop elements directly on their screen – no coding required! We use Optimizely to constantly run tests on our landing pages and conversion funnels to ensure an enjoyable user experience.
10. Google Drive
Why you should use it: Google’s cloud-based file storage and synchronization service simplifies the process of creating, saving, editing, sharing, and collaborating on projects. Thanks to Google, all of your shared documents are always accessible!
Why we love it: Google Drive is incredibly versatile. It has simplified our day-to-day efforts. We use it to create documents and spreadsheets, edit blog articles and case studies, and store photos and images. We love the ability to access all of our internal documents and data from just our Google account.
The Expert Institute is a New York-based company that connects organizations to subject matter experts. The Expert Institute is a young, innovative company focused on utilizing the latest technologies to streamline operations and enhance the customer experience. If you would like to connect with The Expert Institute, please follow us on Facebook and Twitter.
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