25 Tools Online Marketers Need in 2013
The title of this post has a very specific purpose: to talk about the essential tools for online marketers this year. Because of constant innovation, the tools online marketers have access to changes constantly, and what was a must-have in 2012 is already yesterday’s news.
What do online marketers need? What do you need?
We need tools to help us through every step of our work day, and to help us from beginning through to the end of our important work projects.
The Online Marketer’s Project Lifecycle
A list of tools wouldn’t be useful to you if they didn’t map to your online marketing workflow.
- You have sales goals you need to meet
- Then you need to brainstorm ideas about new campaigns or strategies
- You conduct research on your target audience and relevant keywords
- You need to design your campaign
- You’ll implement an SEO strategy
- A PPC campaign
- A Social media campaign
- A content marketing strategy
- An email marketing campaign
- You need to track and analyze your efforts, and finally
- You need to drive them to a landing page to close the deal
Thinking about your workflow, we’ve put together the following list to help you at every step.
Goals and Ideas
Your first task as an online marketer is to set goals. What are your goals? Are you trying to increase current sales, or drive new sales for a new product line? Are you trying to increase conversions from your current traffic, or generate more quality traffic from new sources?
You also need to brainstorm ideas. You need to avoid becoming a “me-too” marketer, and innovative ideas are important – no, they’re crucial, to help you come up with that online marketing strategy that will put you on the map.
You need a way to write down your best ideas, and brainstorm the most profitable goals.
Evernote is the king of idea capture applications. They have a rabid cult following, and Evernote users get downright emotional about it. At about 50 million users it is the defacto leader in the space. It’s free, but there’s also a paid premium version available.
Google Keep and Springpad are trying to give Evernote competition, but they have a long way to go.
For pure brainstorming and for structuring ideas, mind-mapping applications are useful. My favorite tool is Xmind. You can download an individual version for free, and of course you can upgrade to a paid version for your company. I prefer Xmind to something like Mindjet because there are no dependencies to being connected to the internet. You can use it when you’re locked up in a cabin in the woods so you can brainstorm in peace.
After creating your brilliant new campaign idea, and setting SMART goals, you need to research.
Marketers need to research their target market, the competition, keywords and best practices. Since the world of online marketing moves so fast, research has become an essential daily activity.
Not only can you follow specific blogs, but you can create RSS feeds based on keyword alerts, a great way to expose you to web content from new sources.
For keyword research, the Google AdWords Keyword tool is a useful free tool. It does a great job to get your campaign started with an initial set of keywords. For in-depth keyword analysis Scribe, WordTracker and Moz are at the top of my list (Scribe was also designed as an SEO copywriting tool, and Moz provides in-depth keyword analytics as well).
A recent find I will be exploring further is Long Tail Pro, which for an increasingly competitive online marketing landscape is helpful to find those niche keyword combinations.
Once you've launched your campaign, your goal is to track activity. You need to know where your visitors are coming from, what’s their activity on your landing page, where are you losing them, and how long it takes them to answer your call-to-action.
The standard-bearer for analytics is Google Analytics. And though it’s been around for as long as anyone can remember, Google Analytics has become a little sexier, with real-time reporting, Google Analytics Premium, and the Analytics apps gallery.
But marketers who want to go in depth with their analytics have access to some really sexy tools. Kissmetrics is the 900-lb. gorilla in the space. With the person as the main analytical unit, Kissmetrics helps you understand customer behavior, and not just how crowds interact with your content or pages.
And speaking of customer behavior, how can you tell how customers behave once they land on your carefully designed landing page? (We cover landing pages below).
Qualaroo claims to help you analyze customer behavior during every stage of your online funnel, allowing you to identify bottlenecks and target specific customers with solutions on-the-fly.
Ever wanted to conduct your own eye-tracking study but felt it was too expensive? Crazy Egg can help you with that.
Social Media Marketing
You need to incorporate every tool available to ensure success. Social media is part of the equation. But it’s almost impossible to manage all of them individually. You need the mother of all social media tools that helps you manage your social media overwhelm.
Hootsuite is an oldie (in internet years) but a goodie. They continue to add features to stay relevant. The App Directory provides support to a growing list of social media sites, and CRM tools such as Batchbook and Salesforce.com.
Buffer has exploded on to the scene, having started life as a Twitter scheduling tool but they now provide support to a growing number of social media sites, including App.net. With widgets for Firefox and Chrome widgets Buffer allows you to share content directly from your browser.
Email is making a huge comeback. Marketers now realize that social media is not what drives the most sales – it’s email.
There is no shortage of email marketing tools. MailChimp, Constant Contact, iContact and Aweber are the usual suspects. Tinyletter is an exciting new tool that seems to have come from out of nowhere to provide a user-friendly experience for novice email marketers.
This is where you close the sale. It’s where you dedicate your most persuasive sales efforts. It’s what determines whether your online marketing campaign is a success or a failure. You need the ability to create an infinite number of landing pages for different keywords, traffic sources, personas, and products.
Lander, our own landing page creation and management tool, allows you to design landing pages even if you've never designed in your life. You can conduct A/B/C split tests, connect to analytics applications, email marketing and social media tools, and you can open a free account with the option to upgrade to a premiere version.
What tools do you like?
We know there are more tools out there, and it’s so difficult to narrow down the hundreds of tools down to our favorite 25 tools.
We haven’t even covered CRM tools, presentation tools and blogging platforms. They fall out of the scope of a list of tools for online marketers, but they’re important nonetheless. Some of the tools in these categories are: InfusionSoft for marketing automation, Join.me for online presentations, and of course WordPress for blogging.
What are your favorite tools? Let us know, as we’re trying to build our list for 2014!