10 Must-Have Marketing Tools For Business Growth In 2021
Welcome to the DNB Digital Marketing Blog! This week, we are looking at my recommendations for must-have marketing tools. These tools are appropriate for any size business, but start-ups and SMBs may find them particularly helpful.
What It Does: AppSumo is an online marketplace that sells software and digital tools to its members (aka "sumo-lings") at an extremely discounted rate. The company was founded in 2010 with one idea in mind, "the tools you need to grow your business shouldn't put you out of business". I think the App Sumo business model is brilliant, as it reduces expenses for freelancers and entrepreneurs, while also providing visibility for tech start-ups.
AppSumo has software to help every small business, here are a few categories you'll find in the marketplace:
WordPress, and much more!
Two of my favorite AppSumo tools for DNB Digital are Relay That and Swipe Pages. Relay That allows digital marketers to quickly and easily create designs suited to fit any banner ad, blog post, or social media platform. All designs are properly formatted and meet file size requirements, saving you significant design time. I highly recommend Relay That for anyone that creates digital campaigns.
Swipe Pages allows users to create professional-quality AMP landing pages, with no coding required! With an improved user experience (lighting-fast load times and more relevant content for your target audience), Swipe Pages claims improved user engagement and higher conversion rates.
What Is The Price: There are no fees to become an App-Sumo member, but you can upgrade to become a "Plus" member, which costs $99 per year and can be cancelled at any time.
Why It's Worth The Investment: Even as a basic App-Sumo member, you will receive access to some incredible tools and software that you will simply not find elsewhere at the same price. I just recently purchased a software called Publer (social media scheduling/posting) for $98 (LIFETIME) that would have cost $174 PER MONTH to general users. Plus members receive 10% off all purchases, exclusive/extended access to promotions, and King Sumo Giveaway Pro. If you're looking to boost productivity, App Sumo is a great place to start.
Adobe Lightroom (Adobe CC)
What It Does: Adobe Lightroom has the ability to easily transform your images from ordinary to extraordinary fast! With a wide range of tools at your disposal, you can improve dynamic range, color, contrast, sharpness, and exposure. If shooting in RAW, you can quickly adjust white balance, increase clarity; and with recent updates, users have access to a cinema-style color grading tool.
With Adobe Lightroom's new Advanced Color Grading tool, users have the ability to adjust shadows, midtones, and highlights separately or adjust the color of the entire image with a global control. The color grading tool replaces split toning, and offers additional creative control. See the video below for further detail.
What Is The Price: Adobe Lightroom plans start as low as $9.99 (USD)/Month, but can be considerably higher if paired with other Adobe Creative Cloud apps.
Why It's Worth The Investment: As you can see from the video, Adobe Lightroom is an effective tool that can dramatically improve the aesthetics of your photography. This is important, as professional looking imagery (whether for your website, social media, or even print) can improve user engagement, click-through rate (CTR), and conversions.
What It Does: Canva is a drag-and-drop design platform that allows even the most technologically-challenged users to create professional quality graphics to use in social media posts and profiles, advertisements, video, printed products, and much more. Canva also offers a content calendar, allowing you to schedule and post your social media updates from one location; and with the pro plan, you can resize all of your designs fast.
What Is The Price: Canva does offer a free option, but I would suggest going with the "Pro" plan as it offers more templates, stock assets, 100 GB of cloud storage, one-click resizing, and 1 brand kit - all for just $16.95 (CAD)/Month.
Why It's Worth The Investment: With the tools available, and the time you will save, your business can create more professional-looking content on a consistent basis. The bottom line: Canva will improve user engagement and brand image.
Ahrefs Webmaster Tools
What It Does: Ahrefs Webmaster Tools is a free tool that provides website diagnostics and SEO data.
What Is The Price: Free. If you are interested in the full Ahrefs suite of tools, the pricing ranges from $99 (USD)/Month to $999 (USD)/Month.
Why It's Worth The Investment: The #1 search result in Google has a click-through-rate (CTR) of approximately 32%. Ahrefs Webmaster Tools allow you to assess your SEO efforts and improve the position of your website in search results. See organic keywords that you are currently ranking for, a backlinks report, domain rating, and a health score for your website.
Even better, Ahrefs provides a detailed list of SEO-related issues, and how to fix them. If your business is looking for a budget SEO solution, this is it.
Google My Business
What It Does: All businesses, regardless of size, should claim their Google My Business (GMB) profile. With a business profile on Google, your business will instantly become more visible in both search and maps in your local market. The online profile allows you to display your contact information, website URL, customer reviews, photos, videos, location, products, services, and much more.
What Is The Price: Free. A business profile within the GMB platform is free; however, you need to follow the criteria that Google has outlined. Home-based and service-area businesses are eligible as well, so you don't need a physical location to claim your listing.
Why It's Worth The Investment: GMB Profiles are incredibly value for any business as they:
Provide better local visibility for your business on Google Search and Google Maps. A business with a GMB profile is much more likely to show up in the highly sought-after "local 3-Pack"; which are the first three business profiles shown at the top of the page before the organic listings.
Provide businesses with a place to showcase reviews and build trust. In the digital landscape, "social proof" is key to building trust, increasing engagement, and growing your business.
Provide a platform to tell existing and potential customers more about your business, and even offer discounts and promotions. Additionally, a GMB profile allows you to upload collections of your products and services.
What It Does: Google Analytics is the benchmark when it comes to user data or your website. With this tool, you can can capture data that will tell you:
The composition of your website visitors (direct, organic, social traffic)
How many unique visitors have visited your website
How long visitors have stayed on your website
Demographic information for your visitors
What content they have viewed
Search queries that lead them to your website
Visitor interests, which can be used to build custom audiences for social media marketing and/or Google Ads
Which devices your users prefer to view your website or content from
Conversions - Goals that you setup in Google Analytics, or that are related to eCommerce, landing pages, or a custom sales funnel.
What Is The Price: Free.
Why It's Worth The Investment: Successful digital marketing begins with data, and Google Analytics is where you will find it for your website. This platform is an intelligence tool that allows your business to build highly-targeted audiences, improve content, and implement proper conversion tracking. With detailed insights from Google, your business can make better decisions and see a higher return on investment.
What It Does: Google Trends was developed by Google to allow users to view search trends, both historically and in real-time. This is an incredibly useful tool for content marketers, as you can view which topics and keywords are trending daily, in real-time, and how they have performed historically. Additionally, you can break down these search trends by location, categories, and related queries.
What Is The Price: Free
Why It's Worth The Investment: Google Trends can provide any business with an incredible amount of free data related to any topic, anywhere in the world. If you want to keep up to date on current trends or topics that are related to your business, look no further. As a bonus, users can "subscribe" to receive weekly or monthly emails about trending search terms or topics.
What It Does: MailChimp started as just an email service provider, but has since evolved to become a complete marketing service, including email (with automation sequences), landing pages, website builder, digital ads, social media, and even post cards.
What Is The Price: The basic package is free to use, but limits your account to 2,000 contacts and 1 audience. The free option will be more than enough for those just starting to build their email lists.
Why It's Worth The Investment: Email marketing is a critical part of any properly developed sales funnel, and building relationships with current and potential customers. MailChimp allows you to segment or tag users based on purchase behavior, or how they have interacted with your email sequences.
MailChimp includes easy to use drag-and-drop templates, allowing anybody to develop professional email campaigns. Additionally, retail businesses can connect their online store and promote products to contacts directly through email. MailChimp integrates with Stripe, Square, WooCommerce, Magento, and Zapier (to name a few); so there are plenty of options.
MailChimp has provided plenty of case studies (i.e. success stories) for anyone that is interested in learning more about email marketing.
What It Does: Motion Array is an online video platform/marketplace for content creators and filmmakers. The service provides access to stock photos and videos, as well as motion graphics templates, royalty-free music, and much more. If you're looking to improve your video content, look no further.
What Is The Price: Motion Array offers a 30-Day trial, but the downloads are limited to free content only. For full-access to all the templates, videos, and royalty-free music, the cost is $29.99/Month
Why It's Worth The Investment: Video has quickly become the most consumed medium on the internet. YouTube is the second largest search engine on the planet; and it's estimated that by 2022, 82% of all consumer internet traffic will be video (Cisco). Instagram has doubled-down on video with IGTV and Reels. YouTube recently released 60-second clips called "Shorts" to compete with Facebook & IG Stories; and Tik Tok has exploded world-wide, despite some initial privacy concerns.
Motion Array will provide your business with a simple way to produce great content, and stand out in the crowded video medium.
What It Does: SEM Rush is a complete competitive intelligence and digital marketing platform that allows users to assess their search engine optimization efforts (on-page and technical SEO, keyword research, link building, rank tracking); as well as advertising research and optimization, content marketing tools, and much more.
What Is The Price: SEM Rush offers a free trial, at which point the membership options will range from $99 (USD)/Month to $399 (USD)/Month.
Why It's Worth The Investment: If you are looking for a search engine optimization (SEO) and digital marketing tool to grow your organic traffic, and improve your online marketing campaigns, this is one of the best options available.
BONUS: Facebook Shops
What It Does: Facebook Shops is an eCommerce platform that businesses can use with their company page. Businesses can create collections of products in the Commerce Manager, which can then be displayed in their customizable online shop.
Facebook partnered with Shopify earlier in 2020 to create an eCommerce platform that could easily integrate other eCommerce
What Is The Price: Free
Why It's Worth The Investment: If your business sells retail products online, or if you have a brick-and-mortar location, you need to take advantage of Facebook Shops. With setup complete, businesses can display their products on Facebook and Instagram, but also TAG those products in posts! Customers can then complete the purchase of that product on your website, on Facebook or Instagram, or via a direct message. This new platform reduces purchase friction for users, and in a global pandemic that is a very good thing.
Thanks for checking out the DNB Digital Marketing Blog. Checkback regularly for new blog posts and content. If you're interested in a particular topic, please feel free to send me an email (Devon@DNBDigital.ca) with your subject and/or question.