15 Tools You Need to Improve Your Marketing in 2018

As consumer behavior constantly changes, your marketing team needs dynamic marketing tools to keep in step. These marketing tools help companies establish their online presence and increase brand awareness. In addition, they help drive traffic, boost sales, and curate essential customer data. In this article, we provide a list of some of the most widely used and most effective digital marketing tools for different marketing strategies to help you improve your marketing today.

1. MailChimp

Email marketing is an essential aspect of many marketing campaigns. One of the reasons why it’s widely used is because the median ROI of email marketing is at 122%, making it four times more effective than other marketing formats.

Mailchimp is one of the more popular email marketing service and a great starting point to anyone who’s new to email marketing in general. It allows you to build better relationships with your target market by automatically sending more personalized marketing emails in different stages of the buying process, from welcome messages, birthday emails, to post-purchase follow-ups. You can also connect your MailChimp account to your e-commerce store and automatically send customized emails for your visitors to recover abandoned carts, provide order notifications, follow up on purchases, and suggest new products based on their purchase history. 

tools for marketing

MailChimp’s dashboard
Source: MailChimp

Mailchimp offers a “forever free” plan for small and startup businesses with fewer than 2,000 subscribers, but there’s also a paid option that ranges between $10 to $199 per month.

Not interested in Mailchimp? Here are some alternatives.

2. Google My Business

Google has always dominated the search engine scene, closing 2017 with an impressive 91.79% share in the market. This is why business owners always take Google’s search algorithms into consideration when planning their marketing strategy. Google My Business is a listing service tool that helps businesses manage their online presence across Google. It is also a great marketing tool as it helps business owners engage with customers from any device.

Using Google My Business makes you more accessible to consumers who use Google to search for local businesses. What’s more, it’s free to use, and it gives you access to its suite of optimization tools, making it easier to increase your company’s online exposure. Google My Business is free, which means you don’t have to pay for your business to be listed.

3. Help a Reporter Out

Another resource to add to your marketing toolbox is Help a Reporter Out (HARO), an online PR tool connecting writers to sources for their articles. It’s the easiest way to cut through the difficulties of building a relationship with reporters, as well as getting free publicity by establishing yourself as an expert in your industry. Respond to reporter queries with insightful tips that can grab their attention. It doesn’t always have to be relevant to your product or service either. You can always respond to business management related queries with out-of-the-box ideas that will make yours stand out from the rest.

HARO is a great marketing tool because responses are published by authority websites, which improve your brand visibility through backlinks. As more backlinks are published on authority sites, you increase your domain authority and give your organic marketing strategy a healthy boost. HARO is a free service with reasonable guidelines for both reporters and sources to follow.

4. WordPress

Most small business owners are using WordPress when creating their website. As an inbound marketing tool, however, WordPress is also the best free option for creating landing pages, especially when you already use it for your website or blog. A landing page is a single webpage designed specifically for lead capturing purposes, mainly by collecting your site visitor’s email address. This page usually greets visitors coming from a search engine result page or an advertisement.

The process of utilizing WordPress to create a landing page is as easy as creating a regular webpage via Pages. Use it to highlight your premium blog content, ad campaigns, and even your social media promotions. WordPress even offers ready-made themes and plugins designed specifically for landing pages to capture the attention of your site visitors, as well as their contact details. Using WordPress to design your website is free, including themes and plugins, but there are also premium templates which can cost anywhere between $50-$80. If you’re looking for a page builder solution, consider using Elementor for your page building and WordPress hosting needs.

tools for marketing

Sample landing page made from WordPress
Source: WordPress

5. Canva

Whether it’s for your website, blog, or social network, unique images in your content will never fail to attract and hold the attention of visitors. In fact, blogs with images get 94% more views than those without. Get more traffic with the help of Canva.

Canva is a web-based graphic design tool you can use to create images and infographics for your online platforms. You can even use their library of layout templates or upload one of your own to update.

You don’t need to be tech-savvy in order to use Canva’s editing tool either. The user interface is user-friendly and comes with straightforward functions that anyone can easily learn. Canva is mostly free to use but some features and images are premium, which can be accessed by a $12.95 monthly subscription.

tools for marketing

Canva’s web-based editing tool
Source: Canva

6. Feedly

Feedly lets you choose your favorite sources—blogs, publications, and YouTube channels—and shows you all the recent content from these sources in a single feed. This function makes it a powerful tool in finding interesting articles and information that you can share with your followers.

Feedly is a great marketing tool because sharing the latest in your field provides added value to your audience. In addition, it reinforces your credibility as an expert in your industry by being up-to-date with the latest trends.

You can start using the service for free by registering on the website or opt for the paid service that offers additional features, such as premium support and integration with sharing, saving, and automation tools. Feedly is free to register but you also have an option to upgrade to Feedly pro for less than $6 a month.

7. Vimeo

Companies that use video in their websites gain 41% more web traffic from searches. If your marketing strategy benefits from heavy video content, it’s a good idea to invest in a reliable video hosting platform. Vimeo is a popular video hosting platform for high quality, ad-free videos that can be easily integrated on websites and social media sites, as well as optimized for mobile device viewing. These high quality videos are an effective platform to introduce and demonstrate the potential of your products and services to your clients.

Below is an example of a high quality video of a virtual house tour uploaded on Vimeo.


The site offers a business membership plan that optimizes Vimeo’s marketing tool capabilities with interactive and customizable video cards and email capture fields. The basic Vimeo plan is free but upgrades are available if you need more than 500MB of storage, and can cost between $7-50 monthly.

8. Hotjar

One of the key steps in creating a website is constant testing. This doesn’t only apply to making sure that all functionalities are working as they should. It also refers to finding the design that generates the best response from your site visitors. The overall user experience is a great indicator of your chances of conversion. In fact, a number of companies have reported that user testing improved their business performance from a 50% increase in conversion to a 115% revenue growth.

Hotjar is a popular web analytics platform that offers real-time visual record of your visitors’ clicks, taps, and scrolling behaviors through heatmaps. These functions quickly show you which part of your site appeals most to your users and takes away most of the guesswork on what needs to be improved. As a marketing tool, information from Hotjar helps create webpages and features that are most effective in attracting and keeping your customer’s attention on your website.

tools for marketing

Hotjar Dashboard
Source: WebDesignerDepot

Hotjar is compatible with most platforms, including WordPress and Hubspot, and is used by over 200,000 companies around the globe. Their plans range from basic (free) to agency accounts. For business owners, their business plans begins at $89 per month for those that are expecting a maximum of 20,000 page views daily.

9. Google Analytics

Google Analytics is a highly detailed web analytic service that gives you all the information you need to analyze your website’s performance for free. If you’ve wondered who your visitors are and what they do on your website in real-time, Google Analytics provides those details and more. With reports like shopping behavior analysis, browser reports, mobile performance, and content efficiency reports, website owners should be able to fine tune their websites by recognizing the stages that require improved measures and constant monitoring. The data provided by Google Analytics allows marketers to identify the content that their customers respond to, which makes it easier for them to develop more effective content in the future.

Google analytics is free for impressions (number of times your ad is displayed) not exceeding 5 million a month.

tools for marketing

Customized Google Analytics Dashboard
Source: OnlineMediaMasters.com

10. SEMRush

Everyone is trying to get that top spot on the search engine results page, but with so many factors involved, it can be difficult to know exactly what needs to be done. With over nine years of experience, SEMRush is an SEO toolkit considered as a leading provider of versatile tools that help track and improve search ranking of websites.

It helps you find highly profitable target keywords, review your competitor’s advertising practices, discover search engine result page features that your competitors rank for, track your competitor’s traffic, and even help you come up with engaging topics and content ideas. Its ability to provide marketers with information to optimize their website’s searchability makes SEMRush a great marketing tool.

SEMRush’ subscription plans range from $99.95 to $399.95 per month.

tools for marketing

An example of an SEMRush dashboard
Source: SeerInteractive.com

11. Hootsuite

The rise of social media platform popularity has made it hard to ignore when it comes to marketing campaigns. Facebook alone is nearing its 2 billion monthly active users, with other social media platforms steadily increasing their user base. As companies market on more than one social network, it can be a lot of work to post and track performance on various platforms. Enter Hootsuite.

Hootsuite is a social media management platform that helps users schedule and post updates on multiple social media platforms, all from a single dashboard. You can also send private messages and generate analytical reports to track your social media campaign progress. It is even compatible with Google Analytics and Facebook Insights. Marketers love Hootsuite because it allows them to effectively manage their marketing content evenly across all their social media which ensures maximum visibility for their target clients.

tools for marketing

A sample Hootsuite dashboard
Source: FifteenDesign.co.uk

You can register with Hootsuite for free, but for business owners active in their social media campaign, the platform offers Hootsuite Pro starting at $19 per month, which lets you manage as many as ten social media accounts.

12. Nanigans

With social media’s broad active user base, it’s not that easy to reach your target market with just an organic campaign. This is why paid social media ads exist. With paid ads, you can reach those hard-to-target users within networking sites that have a considerably larger individual data, making for more complex categories for its users.

Nanigans is what’s called a cross-channel buying platform that provides advertising automation software and in-house digital advertising services. It is a great marketing tool because Nanigan’s access to Facebook Exchange puts it in the best position to get a much higher chance at reaching a target market with sponsored content. Aside from Facebook, their software is also focused on Twitter and Instagram, giving them a bigger advantage at locating more users that fall within the target market.

Nanigans usually charge around 5-15% of your Facebook advertising cost, plus a fee of 10% of $20,000 annually, whichever is higher.

13. AdRoll

If you’ve ever wondered how those ads that seem to follow you around even after leaving a website work, they’re what’s called retargeted ads.

Retargeting or remarketing is a form of targeted advertising that shows ads based on a user’s behavior. Display retargeting tools like AdRoll target users who visited your website. AdRoll is a great marketing tool because ads are displayed to users who have already shown interest in your business, which can increase your chances of conversion.

AdRoll gives their clients access to over 500 ad exchanges that include popular sites like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Google. It also lets you monitor and fine tune your ads with their easy-to-use platform.

tools for marketing

An illustration on how retargeting works as a marketing tool.
Source: VRMintel.com

AdRoll offers unique solutions for different types of clients (retail, B2B, agency, PaaS), making it a popular name in the retargeting space. Email retargeting is fixed at $1 CPC, while display ads are priced on a dynamic CPM (Cost per thousand impressions). You can also choose to pay as you go, and that allows you to advertise anywhere or subscribe to their premium plan that offers additional features.

14. Zendesk

The importance of customer engagement to marketing is true even at the after-sales stage of the buyer-seller relationship. This is why more website owners are taking customer service tools into serious consideration to manage client demands. Good customer service ensures satisfied clients and in a marketing point of view, is crucial because their referrals and reviews makes for a great source of leads.

Zendesk is a customer service tool for businesses that offer a variety of mediums. It makes communication with your customers a much simpler task by aggregating different channels into one. You can set up your support team to interact with customers using a live chat tool on your website, create a help center database, or respond to offline messages. It also boasts of a reliable ticketing system and an advanced reporting and analytics function.

tools for marketing

A support agent’s tickets dashboard
Source: Zendesk.com

Zendesk’s helpdesk solutions offers reliable, flexible and scalable services that lets their technology expand to fit your business. Plans start from paying $5 per usage per agent per month, to a full-on enterprise plus at $199 per agent per month, which means you get full control of how much you want to spend.

15. Zoho CRM

Zoho is one of the more popular web-based customer relationship management (CRM) platform designed to identify, attract, retain and satisfy customers to sustain business growth. It provides a system that automates daily sales tasks, manages leads, contacts, sales pipelines and purchase control in an easy-to-use interface. For example, Zoho lets you set reminders to follow up on leads that didn’t pan out the first time around. Customize any combination of timeframe and groups to get reminder emails on which leads to follow up on on specific days.

Another feature that makes Zoho stand out is its scalability, making it easy to adapt no matter the business size. The platform is available on mobile to give you real-time updates. It’s also integratable with a variety of popular applications such as Google apps and social media platforms. From a marketing standpoint, Zoho’s features help in maximizing opportunities to convert as many leads as possible and develop loyalty by providing great customer service.

Zoho plans starts with a free edition, while the paid subscription ranges from $12 – $100 per month.

tools for marketing

A sample Zoho CRM dashboard
Source: PCMag.com

The Bottom Line

Online visibility is key. As consumer behavior continues to evolve, a marketing team’s strategy needs to be fluid in order to keep up. Whether you plan to drive customer traffic, boost sales, or gather customer data, your marketing strategy should focus around dynamic marketing tools that will best deliver your message to customers.