As a marketer, you're often wearing many hats and simultaneously managing a variety of responsibilities and tasks—from social media to content creation. Luckily, there's an app or service for almost every marketing activity out there, with new ones popping up every week.
As helpful as such tools are, the sheer quantity available can make it overwhelming to figure out which ones you need.
This article is based on the recently published e-book, 20 Tools for Clever Marketers, including some the most popular tools used by marketers from brands such as Nike and L'Oréal.
Idea Generation and Organization: Feedly, Mention, Trello, Zapier
The best marketers don't live in a bubble, they constantly absorb information and analyze the latest trends. With so much content being shared each day, it's important to stay organized so that you don't miss out on key opportunities.
Tools such as Feedly and Mention let you track topics based on the news source or the keywords that you choose. They help you to not only monitor the conversations happening around your brand but also generate new ideas for your own content.
Once you've nailed down your information sources, it's time to tweak your daily activities so that you work smarter, not harder. Trello lets you organize all your information on a visual dashboard and share it with your coworkers, making collaboration more centralized and efficient.
You can then increase your productivity even more by cutting down on manual, repetitive tasks by connecting all the apps you use with Zapier.
Content Creation: Creads, Fotolia Instant Collection, GoAnimate, Pixlr, Qzzr, TextMaster, Unique Sound, Wistia
Content marketing's role is becoming increasingly important for marketers. On average, B2C marketers are working on 13 different content initiatives, making it vital to manage resources as effectively as possible.
The idea of content has evolved from simple blog posts to a variety of formats, including infographics and videos. Brands have become publishers, and they are using different tools to create the content themselves, without relying on specialized agencies and big budgets.
Graphic design, video production, and written content have become more accessible through online platforms that either let you do it yourself or use a crowdsourcing model to minimize the role of the middleman.
Marketers who want to get hands-on with content can use tools such as Fotolia Instant Collection to find modern stock photos that have an "iphonography" look, and then use Pixlr to edit or add text to the images for their blogs or newsletters.
They can also create Buzzfeed-style quizzes through Qzzr to engage with their audience in a fun, casual way.
Although those tools make it easier to create content, you may not always have the time to do it yourself. Crowdsourcing has become a popular alternative to hiring an agency. With an increasing number of freelancers working on these online platforms, the choice of talent has grown to the point where it's easy to find the right person or team that fits with your project.
TextMaster (where I work) brings together a community of writers and translators to produce articles, brochures, or Web pages. The graphic designers at Creads can take that text and make an eye-catching piece that will stand out in the ocean of content. Marketers can also hire a composer from Unique Sound to create a custom score for their video.
Social Interaction: Buffer, eKomi, GetResponse, Tweepi
Creating content is only half the work... you also don't want all of your hard work to be lost in a content graveyard! Social sharing has become an art, and successful marketers are using a slew of tools to make sure that their efforts have the biggest impact.
One of the most popular social sharing tools is Buffer, and for good reason. It not only automates your posts across social networks but also shows you the best times to publish. Twitter is undoubtedly one of the most popular marketing resources, and Tweepi helps you to manage your Twitter network to increase your reach and connect with influencers.
The businesses that get the most engagement from their content don't just stop at social sharing. They create an entire ecosystem around their content using tools such as GetResponse to make their own landing pages, forms, and newsletters with a drag-and-drop interface.
When you put yourself and your content out there for the world to see, you'll inevitably get a response. eKomi helps manage customer feedback to help you increase your creditability and even improve your Google search rankings.
Visitor Conversion: AB Tasty, Buzzstream, Keywordtool.io, Moz
Using search engine optimization, marketers are optimizing their websites to attract new visitors and convert them into customers. They're using a combination of Moz tools to analyze and improve their websites, Buzzstream to manage link-building, and Keywordtool.io to identify relevant keywords.
After all that work, you're not done yet: It's important to test and tweak the layouts and messages of your emails and website to find what works the best. AB Tasty is useful for getting hands-on with your A/B testing without needing a degree in statistics.
What Trends Can We See From These Tools?
The top takeaways from the popularity of these tools are that marketers are finding innovative ways to improve their workflow, including for creating content themselves or finding freelancers online.
Marketers have a lot on their plate, and the workload just keeps growing. The ones who will succeed are those who are continuously testing new ways to make themselves more efficient and their marketing activities more effective.