Marketers love their tools. There are so many actually in every single category, so you always have the right solution and a few alternatives on the side.
Nevertheless, all of us should be careful not to use too many because we'll end up wasting time.
As a person who started out as a freelancer and who spent a year grinding in a local marketing agency before joining the startup world, I've used A LOT of different tools down the road.
The ones you'll see below are those which I love the most or used to an extent in the past. Kinda liked the way I've jotted down these tools without any particular order whatsoever.
So here's the list of top marketing tools for agencies and freelancers for 2021.
Let's begin, shall we...
1. Google Search Console
Google Search Console is an incredible tool that helps you measure your search traffic and make your site shine in Google's eyes.
For one, it's easy to see which queries are attracting people to your website. Another great benefit is that, with a few clicks, you can get quick reports on all your website issues, submit sitemaps and URLs for crawling.
Maybe one of the best features that Google Search Console has to offer is "Search Analytics", which allows you to segment traffic and understand what types of content are performing best. What this means is that you can easily break down your search to Desktop, Mobile, Image and Video traffic.
Practical resource: A Complete Guide to the Google Search Console
Ahrefs is a great tool to analyze search traffic, spy on your competitors and develop a deep backlink understanding. By using this tool, you can extract relevant keyword ideas and their rankings, discover popular content and find what SEO issues your website is experiencing.
Perhaps one of the coolest features besides backlinks that Ahrefs has to offer, at least in my opinion, is the ability to see the reasons why some pages are ranking better than others. Every marketer puts a lot of sweat into his or her content strategy. In such a noisy environment, creating great content and putting it in front of your audience is one hell of a journey.
One of the ways to determine topics and define your content game is a nice little trick in Ahrefs. By clicking on the "Top Pages" in the menu on the left, you can easily segment out pages with good traffic and relevant keywords. Quora, Reddit, your website, your competitor's website, popular news site, ANY LINK ON THIS PLANET. In other words, you'll end up having all the relevant topic questions, different content ideas and, most importantly, you'll understand what actually works in your industry.
Pricing + Free Trial for $7
3. What's My SERP
WMS Everywhere is a free Chrome extension that allows you to assess free search volume, CPC & competition data for any keyword on this planet.
I think that the number one benefit this tool provides you with is time. It just saves an enormous amount of time. You literally go to Google and type a query.
What happens next is that, regardless of whether we're speaking about Google Suggest or Related Searches down below, you get all the data about that keyword right then and there.
VidIQ is both a fully paid tool and a free Google extension that helps you understand YouTube SEO. It's a great option for individual publishers, video editors and marketing agencies who manage YouTube channels for their clients.
The free option can be used to optimize your videos, make it more engaging and also analyze your competition. On the other hand, the paid option provides you with more extensive analytics and meaningful insights that help you make practical decisions.
Free + Pricing
Am I biased now? Pretty much, so full disclosure first. I'm a Head of Content at lemlist. But, I also use our tool to do SEO & backlink outreach, send cold emails and basically biz dev with folks. I do this A LOT actually.
What makes lemlist distinctly different is that it focuses first and foremost on personalization. Being able to personalize images and videos at scale is the number one reason why I'm getting more replies than ever. Our inboxes are an overcrowded place and to have a tool at your fingertips that's going to help you stand out makes it 10x easier.
Trust me on this, as I've spent the majority of my career in a B2B environment, along with the fact that I'm both the user and builder of lemlist. :)
Lusha is a powerful lead gen tool that helps you dig out the information you need about prospects. When doing any kind of outreach, having your data highly accurate is half of the work. With Lusha, you don't have to worry about inaccuracy, plus you can connect with your prospects via social networks, in Salesforce or even via API.
Along with some cool data enrichment capabilities, I really like their Chrome extension. While doing research on any profile page, their extension does the heavy-lifting and provides you the most up-to-date contact info, in full compliance with the required data regulations.
Free Trial + Pricing
P.S. A colleague of mine wrote about 30 lead generation tools you wanna check if you're chasing growth.
I love Evernote. It's a super simple tool to remain organized and find anything you need in a matter of seconds. With that being said, I need to add one more thing. I'm not a pro Evernote use. I mostly use it for three things: take notes on a fly (wonderful option for Mac users), bookmark content I like to go back to and store some of my files.
But Evernote offers a lot more to its users. You can manage all kinds of projects in it, capture ideas, collaborate with your team, create to-do lists, keep pace with your deadlines, sync across multiple devices and a whole lot more.
Free + Pricing
Practical resource: 15 Advanced Tips and Tricks for Evernote
Management is a science. I'm still very young and haven't worked in that many organizations, but what I've learned so far is that if you manage to organize your team in the right way and focus on execution, you'll solve 50% of the work.
When it comes to project management tools, there's no the perfect one. It depends on your personal preference. Me, I prefer Trello. I've used two others in past, but I remained loyal to Trello. Why? It's simple, easy to use, you can divide projects in stages and it's super simple to keep everyone in the team up to date and in the loop.
If you haven't heard of Trello before, it's a tool that allows you to manage projects across boards, lists, and cards. The entire interface is playful and quite easy to use. In each card you can add descriptions, comments, labels, attachments, add collaborators and write down deadlines.
Free + Pricing
Practical resource: How Buffer uses Trello to manage projects
Buffer is a platform that helps you manage your Social Media. Similar to the situation with Trello, I've used a lot of tools in this segment, but I haven't found one that's better than Buffer. The key value of this platform is that you get to schedule posts, analyze performance and manage all accounts in one clean place.
What I like most about Buffer is its simplicity. Super clean interface, really simple to use and easy on the eyes. Combined with their Chrome extension, it makes me faster and on top of all that, works for Instagram too.
Finally, their content team is amazing. Their blog and email marketing are just killing it. Although I don't use it anymore, because I stopped using Social Media management tools a few months ago, if I ever go back there's no doubt what tool I'll be using.
Free + Pricing
10. Google Analytics
Before I started to write my $0.02 I scrolled back up to see my entire list of tools. Without a shadow of a doubt, Google Analytics is my pick number one.
GA takes you out of the dark and puts you into the light when it comes to your website. Whether you're running an ecommerce shop, B2B website, blog or you're creating custom landing pages, GA will give you all the insights you need to understand what's working and what's not.
If you combine it with Google Tag Manager, the whole world is yours - traffic, channels generating most traffic, user website engagement, clicks, drop-off rates, bounce rates, best performing pages, most popular products - you name it.
Practical resource: 31 Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) for Digital Marketing
Zest is an awesome new tool for content maniacs. Not only is Zest your personal, distilled content stream where you can find amazing content by searching through tags and topics, but you can also use it to distribute your content too. There's even an option to boost your content (similar to Facebook Ads) to put it in front of more eyes than organic.
But back to the basics, this is a great content discovery platform. Just like Netflix, you personalize it your way, without spending time searching through web and suffering from content overload.
I wonder if there's a person who hasn't heard about Grammarly. There are solid alternatives, which I haven't tested as I've only used Grammarly in the past. That's the power of good SEO and good word-of-mouth. They were everywhere I looked.
If you're looking for your content wingman to help you keep your articles and posts mistake-free, look no further than Grammarly. It has you covered.
Zapier is another, well, internet behemoth you can't allow not to use. When it comes to connecting your apps and automating workflows, Zapier will set you up in seconds.
The best explanation for this platform is that it's an easy automation for a busy person. No matter whether you want to connect your Gmail with Trello, Google Sheet to your email platform or Slack to Dropbox, Zapier does it all.
UserGuiding is a code-free product tour software to boost product adoption and retention rate while decreasing your customer support cost. It allows you to create interactive product tours to increase user experience and bring your product into the forefront.
With UserGuiding, everyone can build customized guides and onboarding checklists. In addition, you can track the performance of every step of your guides with analytics. It’s totally code-free.
If you're looking for an advanced tool that supports the execution of the majority of your marketing campaign deliverables, Bannersnack is an option worth considering. This cloud-based design platform has been around since 2008, and as the name suggests, its primary function is to assist you in designing ads and visuals for both online and offline use.
With Bannersnack, you can build display ads for Google, and for popular social platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, IAB, Pinterest, or LinkedIn. They also have many professional templates that you can use.
Maybe the best feature Bannersnack has is the banner set generator, a feature that allows you to create and customize 50+ matching banners at the same time. If you're looking for a practical, user-friendly online design platform that doesn't require any coding, you should give Bannersnack a spin.
Free + Pricing
Buzzsumo is an awesome platform if you're looking to analyze what content performs best for a specific topic or any of your competitors, but also to find influencers who are most likely to share your content.
I stopped using Buzzsumo a year ago to be entirely honest because I've moved to a different role in my company, but I want to give them a shout out. Finding influencers in a simple manner and then filtering them the way I wanted was a big pain in the ass, pardon my French.
With Buzzsumo, it stopped being a pain. That's the biggest value Buzzsumo provides in my opinion, besides its robust content analysis that gives you precise, actionable insights to crush your content marketing.
17. Video Bolt
Video Bolt is not essentially a marketing tool per say, but it's a group of people I wanted to mention. A year ago, I've added some video editing chops to my skillset, but I was suffering when video animations came into play as I haven't conquered Adobe Effects yet. Plus, I've also started a wine vlog as my side hustle.
Video Bolt helps me create and customize templates for all kinds of videos. If you need a powerful intro or a template for an Instagram Story Ad, for a bargain of a price, you can have Video Bolt take care of everything. They have a tone of different templates you can play with.
18. Social Pilot
SocialPilot is another amazing platform that helps in building a social media presence. The ease of use and outstanding customer service makes the tool a pretty cool choice.
It looks into various activities from scheduling and publishing to moderation and analytics. Besides that, it also has a float of other features you'll enjoy playing with.
19. Google Keyword Planner
If you're running Google Ads, the Keyword Planner is your go-to platform to get keyword ideas, search volume and forecasts for your keywords.
Like any other tool on this planet it has its limitations, but ultimately we're talking about one of the finest keyword research platforms out there. You can't neglect the fact that it's packed with some amazing options and you simply can't avoid it if you're doing a keyword research.
10Web is a platform for building, hosting, and managing WordPress websites. They provide a number of pre-designed sites, premium plugins, Elementor and WordPress widgets, and backup, security, optimization, SEO, reporting, and tech support. Think of it as Wix for WordPress.
Poptin is the software that lets you to easily create eye-catchy and triggered pop-ups. It's great for building lists, capturing emails, offering discounts and improving conversion rates on your website
Every marketer needs a quick way to create landing pages without having to deal with code and run A/B tests to generate more leads. In my experience, Unbounce has everything you need.
Seriously, you need zero coding skills, they have many different templates you can use, it's super easy to publish duplicate pages for testing and connect your favorite tools to make your workflow seamless. For me, it's a great agency tool.
Free Trial + Pricing
In my career so far, I've rarely had the opportunity to find a super simple product that's generating profit and providing good value to its users. Sniply is one of them for sure.
Their value prop is quite straightforward, so I'm gonna copy it directly from their homepage - Add a call-to-action to every link you share. In other words, if you put an outbound link in the article you're writing, Sniply adds a custom call-to-action to almost any page on the internet. Click here and look in the bottom left corner to see how it works.
24. Google Suite
One powerhouse to put a cherry on top of this article - Google Suite. We all know what it does and in my opinion, it's a must for any agency out there. Professional emails while using gmail as your go-to platform, all the cloud storage you need, sheets, docs, slides, full protection and mobile-friendly environment - all in one beautiful and clean place.
No more words necessary...
25. Competitors App
Competitors App is the competitor monitoring software that enables you to monitor all of your competitor activities on the internet. You can track competitor's website changes, SEO rankings, social media posts, keywords, and many other things.
It can be extremely useful in creating competitive advantages, since you will always be one step ahead of your competition.
Lumen5 is a video creation platform designed for brands and businesses to produce engaging video content for social posts, stories, and ads.
Their goal is to enable anyone without training or experience to easily create amazing videos in minutes.
Venngage is a one stop shop for marketers looking to create compelling visual content online. Its robust drag-&-drop design editor is incredibly easy to use and beginners will be up and running and no time. 1000s of professionally designed templates ranging from pitch decks, business proposals to social media graphics— can be customized in just a few clicks.
Venngage also offers some unique features like My Brand Kit, which automatically imports your logo and colors for use in various projects. You can either upload your own photos or browse their photo library (conveniently synced with Unsplash). There’s also a collection of 40,000+ icons and illustrations to spice up your creations.
Venngage offers a free plan, as well as Premium and Business options for users to download their designs.
Hope that some of these tools and platforms bring value to your world.