The starter's guide to digital marketing tools

Robbe Desmyttere
April 3, 2019
⏱ 6 min. read

Today’s MarTech landscape has expanded enormously. But which tools come in handy? Below I listed seven tools that are essential for every digital marketer and I give some tips on how to use them.

In a previous article, I mentioned that technology is the biggest expense item of marketers, and that trend seems to continue in the coming years. Choices, choices, choices. And resources. Today’s digital marketer has to make strategic decisions when it comes to tools.

Note: in this article, I do not focus on the use of SEA and Social Ads.

1. Rank tracker

Link building is one of the fastest ways to make your site score well on Google. As a digital marketer, it is often a daily task to work on building backlinks. There are many ways to link sites to your content. By far the simplest method is to search for domains that blog about your niche and reach out with the question if they want to link to your site or write about you. Make sure that these sites are relevant to your target group and generate quality content.

MOZ shows you how many links you are bringing in, how many are currently linking to your website and also how many you lost. The latter is useful to track down when you lose valuable referrals. This observation allows you to reach out very quickly to sites where your link was removed, ask why they removed it, and if they want to link again. 

Besides, I use MOZ daily to see how well we are doing in terms of SEO, and where we can improve. One score that I monitor very frequently is the Domain Authority. The Domain Authority is the overall score of your website, for which the algorithm takes into account the keywords on which you score well, the score of your competitors and so on. It is important to know that the Domain Authority is a relative score. For example, if Twitter suddenly receives millions of extra links, the Domain Authority of any other page goes down.

MOZ is a pervasive tool, where you can monitor campaigns (such as a Dutch and English site) very carefully. It is worthwhile to use a tool like MOZ daily, for link building, SEO analysis and site crawling.

Rank tracking tools:

  • MOZ
  • Ahrefs

2. Google Analytics 

Of course. Google Analytics is the ultimate tool and should be a fixed tab in the browser of every digital marketer.

Because there are already numerous starter guides to Google Analytics, I'd like to give you a handy tip, which you can use for content marketing. It's a tip I got from Chris Out (Rockboost) in one of his daily growth hacking tips. 

In Google Analytics, go to Behaviour > Site Content > Landing Pages
Select as Secondary Dimension Acquisition > Source/Medium

What you see now is an overview of your most read pages and the platform where the reader found the content. 

The pages that score well on organic and referral are those that answer the searcher's questions. If, on the other hand, you score well on a topic, and most people end up on that page via Facebook, make sure that you continue to distribute similar content via that platform.

'Boring' topics such as "Tips for a better communication plan" generally score better on organic searches, and 'flashy' articles get more clicks on social media. Therefore pay attention to the bounce rate. If it's very high, your article may have a good title, but irrelevant content. And please, don't clickbait.

Other tools by Google that are worth checking out:

  • Google Trends
  • Google Search Console
  • Google Keyword Planner

3. Keyword suggesting

Neil Patel is gradually becoming a digital marketing god. If you don't know him, or if you haven't seen his videos appear on LinkedIn lately, you probably lived in a cave for the past couple of months. Be sure to keep an eye on his blog!

Besides distributing marketing tips, he also develops useful tools. One of them is Ubersuggest, a free tool that can ignite tons of content inspiration. 

If you enter a keyword, you will immediately get an overview of the search volume. You will also receive a list of keyword suggestions. In short, a list of similar search terms, which you can include in writing content. As icing on the cake Ubersuggest also gives you some content tips, based on the current content that scores well.

Keyword suggesting tools:

  • Ubersuggest
  • SEMRush
  • BuzzSumo

4. Social Media Planner

A recent study by Ignite Visibility found that smaller companies invest most in social media. Social media also has the highest ROI according to most companies, along with email marketing. 

If you, as a digital marketer, are also responsible for social media, you often don't have time to update each platform separately. Many companies are still hesitant about social media because of the time-consuming maintenance of different platforms. That's why I soon came to the conclusion that I needed a central platform to manage all posts and engagement. For that I use Hootsuite.

At first sight, Hootsuite seems to be a rather old-fashioned platform. Although the software does not yet have the optimal look and feel, it is still quite easy to use. 

Social Media Planners:

  • Hootsuite
  • Buffer
  • Sprout Social
  • Agora Pulse

5. Email tracker

Cold emailing is still hot. It is still one of the most effective ways to start a conversation. Although the name suggests otherwise, you don't have to be a cold fish in a cold email. On the contrary! In this article, you will find some templates that come in handy. 

Enough word puns about cold emailing. Once you have sent a cold email, you probably also want to know whether the recipient has read the message. For that I use MixMax. There are many add-ons for MixMax, but for a great emailing strategy these are the essential ones:

  • Opening rates
  • Send later functionality
  • Creating templates
  • Scheduling
  • Per-recipient tracking

These features are all included in the Starter package, for 9 dollars per month. 

Emailing tools:

  • MixMax
  • MailChimp

6. Zapier

From time to time, you want to automate things between tools. For example, you want to get a task in your favourite task app as soon as someone in a spreadsheet adds an extra row.

Many online applications have an API available for this purpose. It is a documented gateway to an application to request, create or modify items. This functionality allows you to connect two or more applications. Unfortunately, this also means that you need to be able to program something for this and that you need to update your programming when you make changes to the APIs.

Zapier nestles between APIs as an interpreter. Without programming knowledge, you can make simple connections between applications. You decide what the trigger, and what the action should be.

At Zapier you start with a free subscription that allows five different zaps and 100 actions. If you need more or more complex zaps, you will have a paying subscription starting at $20 per month.

7. Marketing Planner

A digital marketer never works in isolation. It is essential for every link in the marketing team to keep an overview of the different projects at all times. Using a marketing planner not only makes it easy for you to keep track of your efforts but also keeps you informed of what the other marketers in your team are doing. 

For this facet of digital marketing, I recommend Husky. Essential components of marketing planning such as task planning, communication planning and budgeting are bundled together. Besides, you also keep an overview of the entire strategy and planning of other team members. 

Do you have any questions about one of the tools I'm using? Do you have any suggestions? Let me know at rds@huskymarketingplanner.com.

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