Hello, dear SEMrush blog readers!
Whatever marketing strategy we develop, during each step of it – research, content creation, promotion, analytics and networking – we utilize tools. So today, we will talk about the best tools to help digital marketers succeed. Which free tools are must-haves? Which mistakes should you avoid when dealing with different tools? How can you define a proper set of tools if your budget is limited? Check out these answers from our Twitter Chat participants and special guest Ian Cleary, founder of RazorSocial!
Generally speaking, all tools that our participants use on a daily basis can be divided into five big groups:
- Task managers and scheduling tools
- Tools for data research
- Social media/content tools
- Tools for creating visuals
- Tools for analytics
Plan, research, create, share/implement, analyze and repeat! No matter if you are most concerned with SEO, content creation or social media management, your basic daily plan may same. Not let's take a look at the different tool sets that our participants suggested.
Take a look at these two toolkits that contain both services and tools covering all five major groups.
— Kairay Media (@KairayMedia) June 17, 2015
Now let’s explore the toolkits of our participants. Ian Cleary’s toolkit definitely tells us a lot about his daily routine! Ian is known as a great blogger, so his toolkit proves that behind every great post is a tremendous amount of work devoted to research, as well as content optimization and distribution.
Here is another toolkit for content creators from Diana Mackie.
— Diana Mackie (@Diana_at_Work) June 17, 2015
A daily social manager’s routine must involve content research and content curation tools. These professionals also attach great importance to the creation of visuals. And, of course, their jobs require the ability to work with distribution and analytic tools.
Actually, we can take every single tweet from this thread for the purpose of illustration – and each and every one of them will be unique, because we all use different tools. So I made a little list of the top 10 tools most often mentioned by our participants.
- Google (every single Google’s product was included here, from Google Analytics – actually mostly Google Analytics, to Google Drive) - 47
- Hootsuite – 26
- SEMrush - 15
- Moz – 15
- Excel – 14
- BuzzSumo – 11
- Trello – 10
- Feedly - 10
- Screaming Frog – 10
- Canva - 9
Nothing surprising here – every single marketing activity can be covered with this toolkit. And, once again, no surprises – Excel has taken a worthy fifth place in the top 10. From scheduling to reporting, analyzing and counting – Excel is still a marketer's best friend! Don’t forget about this when you’re considering your daily toolkit!
The previous thread showed us how many tools can be used for different marketing activities and daily issues. So now let’s talk about how to prioritize data during the research stage without getting buried under too much data and how to get the most out of your tools.
A3: Have a smaller number of great tools rather than a large number of ones you don't use! #semrushchat
— Ian Cleary (@IanCleary) June 17, 2015
First of all, remember that all research requires data you can rely on. This means that during research, you’d better choose a tool that provides comprehensive data.
Before researching and analyzing, create a plan. “Schedule Schedule Schedule your day and time for tools. Don't forget time to check out or play with new ones” - Gina Schreck @Ginaschreck.
— Gail Gardner (@GrowMap) June 17, 2015
However, you don’t want your tools to swallow all your time. It should be vice versa. “Tools should help you to automate that work that can be automated and organize the data that you should analyze” - Pablo López @popiplo.
Another way to save some time on your daily routine – use API data.
— Brad Roberts (@Brad_Machine) June 17, 2015
And of course, don’t forget about a marketer's best frind – Excel! And I’m saying this only half sarcastically.
I want to end this thread with another very simple idea that no marketer should ever forget. ThinkSEM @ThinkSEM verbalized it perfectly – you “need to be as good as the tool, though”. Use common sense, turn on your brain, and don’t rely on tools to answer every question.
Today, so many tools are at ones disposal that one can easily get lost. And if you have a limited budget, it is especially important to choose wisely. No need to rush to the most popular tools. The main question to ask yourself is – which tools do you need for your everyday work? “Well, it would be important to analyze which tools you use most and prioritize accordingly.” - Ecreativeworks @ECWseo. Beginning with your needs, you can create a proper set of tools. Here are some examples of toolkits suggested by our participants:
— Ian Cleary (@IanCleary) June 17, 2015
Your basic toolkit will also differ depending on what type of campaign you are planning.
— Joe Martinez (@MilwaukeePPC) June 17, 2015
For a small business social media is one of the most efficient marketing channels, so by focusing your efforts on it, you can boost your success. “Definitely invest in a great social dashboard (@SproutSocial) for analytics, scheduling, monitoring and more,” as Gina Schreck @Ginaschreck suggests.
As Emary @MReeVasquez rightfully suggests, “before wondering what to pay for, build up your free search toolbox”. And while doing that, you may surprisingly find that this toolkit has everything that you need. After all, there are plenty of free tools to cover your fundamental needs; and why waste money to discover data that is not essential for your business?
a5) take that money and spend it on ads and utilize free tools, there are enough to get the basics done. #SEMrushchat
— Patrick McKeown (@pjmckeown) June 17, 2015
So, to sum it all up, your perfect toolkit will ultimately depend on your type of business, the peculiarities of your industry and your main goals.
To get more ideas for creating your toolkit budget, check out the article “How to Choose the Best Marketing Toolkit for Your Budget.”
When planning your search optimization strategy, always keep in mind the risk of being penalized by search engines. The ability to estimate that risk could come in very handy.
A6: I wish there was a tool that would analyze your website and backlinks to determine a % of likelihood for a penalization #semrushchat
— Marty.B.Trent (@Marty_Marketing) June 17, 2015
Creating and publishing a piece of content is only half of the story. It is essential to know what happens to your content after it goes live – who shares and mentions it, links to it, or engages with it in any other way.
One of the most coveted tools is one that can extract “not provided” keywords from Google Analytics.
— Tripp Hamilton (@Tripp_Hamilton) June 17, 2015
How great would it be if you didn’t have to choose from a variety of tools to get the analytics you want? What if there were a single tool that could provide all the statistics you need? Wouldn’t that be a dream?
But even the most detailed and valuable data has no worth if you do not know how to use it or what practical application it has. So a tool that would show you exactly what to do with the analytics you’ve obtained would be truly inestimable.
A6 A tools that can spit out in text what that data actually means in relation to the business goals! #semrushchat
— Jenny F (@LocalSEOJenny) June 17, 2015
And finally, wouldn’t it be awesome if there were a single tool that could help you with ALL aspects of your digital marketing strategy, from your SEO efforts to content promotion?
Feel free to share you ideas in the comments and join our next Twitter Chat!