In the past decade, Marketing has gained access to a host of SaaS tools that optimize, simplify, and generally improve marketing efforts. Some, like Google's suite of tools, or Facebook's advertising options, have been around for a few years now—an eternity in Internet time—and you're probably already using them. Others are much newer, often with abstract names that don't necessarily reveal how powerful they really are.
What marketing tools should your company be using right now?
Here are 17 for 2017: some new, some tried and true, all totally useful.
1. IFTTT. An acronym for "if this then that," IFTTT is a free protocol that allows users to write "recipes" for automation across 300+ services, apps, and devices. For example, you could set up a recipe that notifies you by text every time a follower writes on your Facebook wall, or one that saves every photo you post on Instagram to a folder in Dropbox.
2. Zapier. Need extensive automation across many different platforms and services? Zapier may be the answer to your prayers. Using this innovative tool, you can build "Zaps" that integrate more than 750 Web and mobile apps. Best of all, a limited plan costs you nothing.
3. Adobe Spark. In content creation, the name Adobe looms large, and its Spark software continues the tradition of excellence. Whether you need a graphic for a social media feed, a digital story, or a quick animated video, Spark provides the tools to get it done—beautifully.
4. Snappa. Hiring a professional designer can be cost-prohibitive for small businesses, but Snappa makes it easy for just about anyone to create slick graphics. Hundreds of customizable templates get you the look you're after, you can use your own fonts and logos, and sharing is a snap. Plus, if you need five or fewer graphics per month, you can get them for free.
5. Biteable. Videos are a crucial component of digital marketing, but having one produced can be costly. Fortunately, services like Biteable make it easy to create customized videos. It's free to check it out, and you can even download your creation, but to remove the watermark you'll have to put down about $100. Costly, maybe, but it's nothing when compared with having a video produced expressly for you.
6. WordSwag. Is Instagram a big part of your marketing plan? If so, WordSwag may be your new favorite app. It allows you to quickly and easily create gorgeous text graphics. Use your own photos or choose from one of its many backgrounds, then save and upload for an image that will stand out.
7. Unsplash. They're beautiful, they're high resolution, and they're free—we're talking about the stock photos from Unsplash. If you're looking for that perfect image to use in a social media post, a newsletter, or other endeavor, you'll probably find it at Unsplash.
8. Wyng. Wyng is a social marketing campaign platform that works across all channels to help you build a consistent and engaging brand identity. Whether your goal is to raise brand awareness, build a subscriber list, or drive consumer engagement, Wyng can help you build a powerful campaign to get the results you're after.
9. Slack. If your business has a sizeable marketing team, keeping everyone on the same page with can be a challenge. Slack is a team messaging and collaboration platform that keeps everyone up to date on project communications, files, and more with threaded, well-organized channels and notifications.
10. Stripe. If your marketing campaigns include a place to take payments, Stripe is the way to go. It's built for mobile, it offers low pricing, and it integrates with most platforms and tools. What's more, for marketing teams with serious developers, as well as marketers who work with the latest tools available, Stripe's open API affords more flexibility and customization than most other payment methods.
11. Eventbrite. Whether your company is running a seminar, an event, or a weekend-long festival, Eventbrite makes it easy to create a landing page, distribute tickets, and manage your registration lists. Fees are low, and there's no charge when you use Eventbrite for free events.
12. SlickText. Want to get a text message out to everyone on your mailing list? SlickText is a platform that streamlines text message marketing so you can reach people quickly. Its mobile keyword signup system can be customized to suit a general list or a more specific campaign, and if you're not sure it's right for you, there's a free limited plan to get you started.
13. Sprout Social. When your social media strategy is firing on all cylinders, you need a tool that puts all of your profiles in one place. Sprout Social is that tool: It's social media management, analytics, and organization that's mobile-friendly and built for collaboration. At a minimum of $600 per year, it's probably best for larger businesses, but you can get a free 30-day trial.
14. Narrow. Marketing teams that rely heavily on Twitter could benefit greatly from Narrow's features. The service can give you useful analytics and user insights, help you build a following based on targeted demographics, and even help you learn more about followers. Pricing is based on how many Twitter accounts you want to manage, with plans starting at $19 per month.
15. Social Metrics Pro. If your website is built on WordPress, you'll want to check out the Social Metrics Pro plugin, which puts details about your social signals in your WordPress dashboard. You'll learn about your user engagement so you can shape how you use social marketing in the future. And, unlike most other SaaS tools, you pay a one-time fee rather than an ongoing, monthly cost.
16. Ahrefs. How does your business stack up against competitors in SEO? Ahrefs can tell you. Specifically, this SaaS tool gives you access to its extensive library of keyword research (over 200 million keywords!) so you'll know where your marketing campaigns need to be improved.
17. ScanW. ScanW is a free SEO, website analysis scanner that brings all the good and bad factors about your website, showing you the errors for free and showing you how to fix those errors again for free. A very useful tool for anyone who isn't looking to spend more money on paid scanners.