25 of The Best Digital Marketing Tools in 2020
by Mike Khorev
April 25, 2019
in Analytics, Content Marketing, Digital Marketing, Email Marketing, Marketing Automation, SEO, Social Media
There’s no secret that the digital marketing world is now a very complex one involving all the different platforms, different marketing methods, and virtually endless possibilities. Thankfully, with the rise of complexity and saturation, also comes more digital marketing tools that can help ease the burden.
However, with so many different online marketing tools available, it’s sometimes hard to know where to start. This is why in this opportunity, we have compiled 25 of the best options used by marketing consultants on a daily basis.
We will divide these tools into categories, according to their core features. Let us begin by discussing what’s arguably the most important category: marketing analytics tools.
Arguably, half (or more) of good marketing efforts is about proper understanding of your audience—so, analytics—.
With that being said, having the right analytics tools in your marketing arsenal is a must, and here are the best ones available today:
A fairly obvious choice, but a very important one nonetheless.
The best part of Google Analytics is that it is totally free. Well, there’s the ultra premium Google Analytics 360 that can cost more than $100,000 annually, but for most small to mid-sized businesses (and even most large businesses), the standard version is more than enough.
Google Analytics allows us to analyze various performance metrics on our website, especially regarding our audience. These metrics include audience demographics, keywords/search queries, actions taken by visitors, bounce rate, and so on.
2. Built-In Social Media Analytics
Too often we look in other places while what we need is already on our hands. Most major social media platforms like Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube, and Twitter, among others, offer their own built-in analytics. More often than not, they are actually the best compared to other third-party social media analytics tools for the respective platforms.
The key to social media marketing is properly understanding your audience and how you can fulfill their needs, and tracking various user metrics with these built-in tools will help you in this aspect.
MixPanel is often considered as the main competitor/alternative of Google Analytics because indeed, both of them have similar core functionalities—at least on the surface—. However, there are several major differences where we can use MixPanel for different purposes.
For instance, Google Analytics mainly works by tracking user’s behavior around page views, while with MixPanel we can track various visitor actions—or “events”. MixPanel can update real-time data regarding these actions in mere seconds.
Meaning, if your marketing revolves around tracking real-time data like conversions, first-trial registrations, and so on, MixPanel can be a better choice.
Formerly known as SumoMe, Sumo is an excellent all-in-one suite of analytic tools covering many different areas. Sumo especially focuses on content-related metrics like showing where your visitors click on your site, how much of your content they actually read, and so on.
If your marketing is content-heavy, Sumo is a great analytics tool to help optimize your content, increasing your site’s traffic and conversions in the process.
Besides its analytics function, Sumo also covers useful automation features like the email list builder and easy-to-use CTA buttons. A very useful tool especially for blogs and websites with heavy focus on content.
Social Media Marketing Tools
In the world dominated by social media, obviously we can’t miss social media marketing in our marketing efforts. Thankfully, a lot of useful—if not, powerful— tools are available to assist us here, such as:
Hootsuite is certainly one of the most popular social media marketing tools available, with the core feature of monitoring and scheduling all your social media profiles in one streamlined dashboard.
Besides its automation functionalities, Hootsuite also offers analytics features to track the performance of your social media campaigns. The key feature, however, is the ability to schedule hundreds of posts of at once to automate your social media presence.
Often compared to Hootsuite and with good reasons, mainly because both of them are centered on post-scheduling and automation.
Admittedly, Hootsuite offers more features, integrations, and even more supported platforms. However, this also means that Buffer is a simpler tool that is easier to use.
Buffer also offers analytics features, that is also simpler and focused on the performance of your posts.
Tailwind especially focuses on Instagram and Pinterest, and you can use it to schedule posts, monitor conversations, finding interesting content, and as usual, analyze your performance, among others.
The scheduling and automation features are pretty handy, as you can create an optimal schedule while using the analytics data like engagement, reach, and traffic.
With Instagram being one of the most popular social media platform today, Tailwind is a great choice if your business is active on both Pinterest and Instagram.
An A.I.-driven social media marketing tool that especially focuses on analyzing audience behavior. With Socialbakers, you can custom-tailor your posts with more personalizations, improving engagement and conversion in the process.
Socialbakers is also capable of managing different social media platforms in one dashboard, complete with a real-time analytics feature.
With personalizations becoming increasingly important nowadays, Socialbakers is an excellent tool that can help you understand your audience better.
SEO and Content Marketing Tools
Yes, SEO is still alive and well, if not even more important than ever with the saturated market. However, it is also true that SEO has evolved to be more complicated than ever, and this is where these tools can help you.
1. Yoast SEO
If your site is WordPress-based, Yoast is an excellent plugin that can “crawl” your website or blog, give suggestions where you can manually optimize your site, and give automated optimizations in some aspects.
This allows Google an easier time to index your site, as well as optimizing other important technical aspects like keyword density, meta description optimization, readability, and many others.
A very useful SEO tool so you don’t have to manually assess your site every time.
Content monitoring is a very important aspect of content marketing: by knowing what’s currently trending and what kinds of content are effective, we can properly develop our own content.
With that being said, Feedly is simply one of the best content monitoring tools available. It’s easy to use with its intuitive and minimalist interface, and you can easily customize your preference to get the content you need.
Google Alerts, as the name suggests, will send an alert to your email when a certain topic or keyword showed up on the web, according to your preference.
This is very useful when you are monitoring a certain topic or keyword. You can also get alerts when someone mentioned your brand, or even your competitors. This will be useful in monitoring the current trends, engagements, and your overall brand awareness.
Again, monitoring other content pieces is often the best approach in planning your own content marketing, and Google Alerts as a totally-free tool is a must.
BuzzSumo is an A.I.-powered content tool offering a pretty well-rounded set of features. However it focuses on topic suggestion by analyzing topics and/or your competition.
For instance, BuzzSumo can analyze the most shared content of your chosen topic on different social media platforms, this can give you a great insight on what kinds of content to develop. You can also check what kinds of content shared by your chosen influencers, which can really help in building relationships and getting those valuable backlinks.
BuzzSumo has been one of the most popular content marketing tools for some time, and with great reasons. Very well-rounded and very useful for content research and topic generation.
Google Keyword Planner is technically a tool designed for Google Adwords—Google’s keyword-based advertising publication—, but is very useful for content marketing and SEO purposes. Why? Simply because it’s so good at what it does: researching and planning keywords.
With Google Keyword Planner, you an especially find out about the search volume of your target keywords, how the trend changes over time, and suggestions for topics and other keywords.
Again, being a totally free tool, there’s simply no reason not to use Google Keyword Planner.
Formerly known as Open Site Explorer, Link Explorer is a totally free tool from Moz to check domain and page authority, as well as backlinks profile.
Domain authority, in a nutshell, is a metric developed by Moz to predict a website’s SEO performance—namely, how high it will rank on the search engine result page (SERP). It’s not 100% accurate, so we will need to take it with a grain of salt, but it’s still useful to assess your current optimizations.
You can also use Link Explorer to analyze your competitors’ websites, which can be a vital step in your overall SEO efforts.
Similar to Google Alerts, but as the name suggests, this tool focuses on social media mentions. With Social Mention, you can keep track of the social media presence of your brand, listen to the conversations, and analyze your current performance to make your improvements.
Social Mention is also very easy to use: simply type in your search query, and you’ll get various data for the query like reach, sentiment, engagement levels, and so on.
8. SEMRush and/or Ahrefs
SEMRush and Ahrefs are similar tools—and direct competitors— to each other with similar core functionality: keyword research. Both also offer similar pricing ranges starting at $99/month. Being the “premium” keyword research tools, they offer more features compared to Google Keyword Planner, and so they are worth a shot if you are serious about keyword research.
While they offer similar core features in many ways, generally SEMRush a little better at keyword research, while Ahrefs is stronger in the backlinks research aspect.
Email Marketing and Automation Tools
Even in 2019 with all the newer marketing channels, platforms, and technologies, email marketing is still one of the most effective promotional channels out there. One of the biggest reasons is the fact that a huge majority of people simply prefer email messages to receive promotional messages from brands.
So, email marketing is still very important, and with the increasing demands for personalizations, also comes a great number of email automation tools.
Here are some of the best email marketing tools available today:
SendinBlue is a well-rounded tool dedicated for email and SMS marketing. It comes with a minimalist interface that is very easy to use, making it an ideal tool even for email marketing beginners.
Another good thing about SendinBlue is that the free version is actually useful. You can input unlimited contacts on the database, which is a huge plus, and you can send up to 9,000 emails per month. For most small businesses, this number is enough, and the premium plan is fairly affordable, starting from $25/month for 40,000 emails/month.
ConvertKit is designed with the focus for content marketing, for bloggers, podcasters, Youtubers, and other content producers.
With that being said, ConvertKit is especially focused on user experience, ease of use, and personalization. You can create attractive forms and CTAs, as well as personalized emails for individual email subscribers.
ConvertKit is also great in its automation features that are easy to understand even for complete beginners. There’s a visual automation builder where we can build our automation campaign with just our mouse clicks.
Drip focuses on ecommerce CRM, so there are unique features to help convert site visitors into email subscribers, and in turn,into purchasing customers. So, Drip is especially focused on generating conversions, especially by sending automated email at the right time based on the prospect’s behavior and intent.
For example, we can analyze important behaviors like returning visitors, abandoning carts, people who took a certain actions, and so on to custom tailor the messages and plan a schedule.
Drip also offers great third-party integrations, for example, the ability to display Facebook Ads.
MailChimp is one of the most popular email marketing tools available today, and for its reasons.
For instance, MailChimp is very well-rounded with various features like automation, landing pages creation, smart scheduling to send your emails at the right time. It also offers excellent integration with popular third-party platforms. For example, you can easily integrate MailChimp with your WordPress-based site and ecommerce platforms.
Another reason why MailChimp is so popular is its affordability. The free plan allows you to list 2,000 subscribers and send 12,000 emails per month, while the paid plans are offered from just $10 monthly. There are also some good Mailchimp alternatives that can be a better fit for your business.
A very important aspect of email marketing is actually building that email list—the lead generation phase—. Yet, too often marketers focused on the process of email marketing than actually building a list, and this is where AWeber can help you.
You get all the essential features to grow your email list in AWeber, while there are also the usual email marketing tool features like drag-and-drop newsletter builder, automating features, and conversion focused signup forms.
Landing Page Tools
A very important aspect of digital marketing is the conversion-focused landing page. This is where you convert visitors into qualified leads and convert leads into actual, paying customers.
Thankfully, nowadays there are various tools can can help you design and optimize your landing pages, such as:
Unbounce is a pretty well-rounded landing page builder where you can build, test, and optimize custom landing pages as well as other useful features like building a website pop-up.
Very easy to use with its drag-and-drop approach, a lot of built-in templates, and great integration with various popular marketing tools like WordPress, AWeber, and MailChimp, among others.
As the name suggest, GetResponse is especially focused on conversion optimizations. With GetResponse, you can easily set-up a high-converting landing pages that is also mobile-responsive (which is very important nowadays).
GetResponse also features built-in analytics and A/B testing feature. Excellent third-party integrations with Facebook and Adwords, among other platforms, and there are also useful extra features like a webinar builder and email marketing tools.
HubSpot is a popular choice not only as a landing page builder, but as a well-rounded digital marketing tool.
For instance, you can build, modify, and optimize a website some scratch without any IT knowledge, and same goes with the landing page builder. HubSpot is easy to use and the extra features from SEO and content creation tools to A/B testing features to lead capture form builder are great for those who need an all-in-one marketing tool.
A downside for HubSpot is that it’s fairly expensive, but you can just your tier package according to your needs.
Another popular landing page builder choice where you can easily build a landing page with a drag and drop approach.
A lot of (more than 160) templates, great integration with 40+ marketing tools, and is relatively easy to use. The form builder is also very intuitive and you can use it to create high-converting forms.
Leadpages is relatively old and the interface is relatively outdated, but offers some nice features with an affordable price.
Obviously, there are still many more digital marketing tools available on the market, and even categories that haven’t been listed on this guide. However, these recommendations can give you a good starting place to understand how to invest wisely in digital marketing tools, according to your business’s needs and purposes.
I'm a growth marketing consultant who helps B2B, SaaS, IT, technology and software companies generate more leads, sales and grow revenue online. I offer expert advice on marketing your company the right way through performance-based SEO, digital marketing, social media, search engine marketing and many other online practices. Connect with me on LinkedIn and schedule a free marketing strategy session!
January 15, 2022