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.