Digital Marketing Software: The Favorite Tools of Industry Leaders
Choosing the right marketing software is a unique problem for every business. There are no all-in-one options to satisfy landing pages, e-commerce, marketing automation & lead management, a/b testing for email marketing, and real-time marketing strategy developments.
Digital marketers everywhere need to be smart about how they are spending their marketing budgets. Tools can be costly, and ensuring that you’re getting the most out of your marketing solutions is vital for success.
Last year, Chief Martech estimated that there are 8000+ different solutions in the marketing tech sphere with more tools being introduced every day. Of course, Google reigns supreme as well as the larger players in SEO tools: Ahrefs, SEMrush, and Moz.
We spoke to over 200 digital marketing professionals about the tools they like to use for their widely varied business needs. Looking for a consultant to choose a software stack for you? Check out our top digital marketing agencies, consultants, and experts.
47 Software Tools Digital Marketers Recommend
Whether you’re running a new startup or a small business in need of customer data, large and small businesses alike can benefit from user-friendly software. From simplifying workflows within your company to using a marketing platform to streamline your social media accounts, choosing the right software is vital to strategic success.
Unique Tools We Love
At UpCity, our SEO department and development team put forth our votes for our favorite tools right now based on the array of responses we received. We get really excited when we find new ways to make our lives easier, too.
Layout Shift Gif Generator
The free to use Layout Shift Gif Tool is a tool that has been created by Chris Johnson over at Defaced. Using these kinds of tools has quickly become a necessity due to Google’s push for its Core Web Vitals to become a major ranking factor. If you run a report on your site’s Core Web Vitals, you might find that you have some work to do, one of the most common points of work is reducing the Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS). Oftentimes it’s hard to know what to change or how to fix the problem, that’s where the Layout Shift Tool comes in.
Charlie Worrall, Digital Marketing Executive, Imaginaire Digital
This new tool from the ex-founder of Moz, Rand Fishkin, allows us to easily identify the influencers across the web that talk about ethical and sustainable fashion and that we need to create relationships with. The tool is fairly new, but has already gained a huge following and as far as we know there is nothing quite like it on the market.
Ben Heinkel, Co-Founder, Ethical Clothing
The Classic Names in SEO
Without a doubt, the most commonly used tools were the big names, however, Ahrefs took the cake with a large majority of marketers stating that the many functionalities of Ahrefs were truly worth the investment when comparing the three.
I use MozBar all day long, every time, on every project. The SERP gives instant, critical information on the competitiveness of any type of given query, and the domain page gives valuable snapshots of the link juice ‘big picture’.
Brack Nelson, Marketing Manager, Incrementors Web Solutions
SEMRush helps us explore more content that we may not be thinking of that relates with our existing content. This helps build a diverse set of articles that relate to each other that ultimately grows our silo pages.
Jeff Neal, Marketing Manager, The Critter Depot
I have been working on SEO/SEM for about a year and since then I have used many tools for Keyword Research and SEO but Ahrefs has been my all-time favorite.
Chris Taylor, Marketing Director, Profit Guru
Without any doubt, Ahrefs is the best digital marketing tool out there. It’s only next to Google when it comes to being the largest website crawler. SEO experts can’t get enough of Ahref’s Site Audit feature as it’s the best SEO analysis tool around.
Ben Rose, Co-founder, Trainer Academy
You can use it day-to-day to keep a record of how you rank in search engines, in different locations, for different keywords.
Tanner Arnold, President & CEO, Revelation Machinery
The Domain Comparison tool in Ahrefs is our choice. We add our site and those of 4 of our competitors to it. This serves to find sites that have backlinked to our contenders but not us. This benefits us in finding great link opportunities.
Jim Hildenbrand, CEO, Tiger Financial
Keyword Research Tools
Strong keyword research forms the backbone of any successful content marketing strategy. Business owners are looking to ensure they are finding and targeting the right keywords for their industry.
SeedKeywords helps me track and collect data for the most search queries in our niche. It lets me create searching scenarios to get help about what people would look for on search engines based on that scenario.
Valentina Lopez, Co-Founder & CMO, Happiness Without
With the UberSuggest Google Chrome plugin, you can type any keyword into Google and it will tell you the search volume, keyword difficulty, other related searches (and their SV and KD), and the domain authority of all the websites that are currently ranking.
Matthew Reif, Owner, The Marketing U
With KWFinder You get everything you need in the most straightforward way – keyword volume, difficulty score, volume history and a snapshot of the SERP right now (so you can look at what’s ranking). All the information is laid out so that it’s incredibly simple to follow and interpret. So much so that even a beginner can get to grips with.
Sally Gibson, Founder, Someone Sent you a Greeting
A key part of SEO if creating content that supports the keywords you want to target. Also Asked allows you to identify questions that internet users ask and create content that answers their questions.
Chris Ostergaard, SEO Specialist, Caravan Digital
Ranking and Optimizations
Have you been working on your SEO strategy through optimized content but keep missing the mark of getting featured in the coveted snippet? Frase might be the answer.
I recently invested in a tool, Frase, which uses artificial intelligence to help create better-optimised content helping it to rank well in the SERPs but also increasing the chances of getting featured in the snippets. Frase pulls data from Question and Answer sites such as Quora and Reddit as well as analyzes the articles in the SERPs to help you construct detailed content briefs.
Leanne Scott, Founder, Passive Income Superstars
Technical SEO Tools
Sometimes technical SEO is better left to the professionals. However, other times, a valuable tool can tell you the ingredient you’re missing in your SEO soup.
Screaming Frog is an SEO spider or simply a bot that crawls your site for possible SEO problems ranging from simple to technical issues. This tool can help you determine broken links on your website, URLs that miss H1 tags, and more.
Julia Newman, Desktop Support Specialist, Fix The Photo
Yoast is a very famous plugin that runs with both Gutenberg and the Classic editor in WordPress. Yoast is an invaluable tool to assist you to optimize your content for search engines.
Julian Goldie, CEO, Goldie Agency
I also use Register Compass to find domains. If I find a good domain that has a healthy backlink profile, I’ll buy it and turn it into a site. The power that comes with these domains far exceeds that of a new domain with no links.
Drew Mann, CEO, Drew’s Reviews
If your business relies on word-of-mouth and happy customers, finding the right tool can make a huge difference to your bottom line. Here’s a suggestion for local businesses.
Our business relies on influencer marketing and we use a Shopify app by LaunchTip called Promio. It makes it easy for us to encourage our customers to share our store on social media in an unobtrusive way. Promio has helped increase our store reach across social networks and unlock potential customers and orders every month.
Sandra Henderson, Founder and Licenced Professional Counselor, LifeHacks
Social Media Made Easier
Social media insights, planning, hashtags, and formatting. Don’t let your social media data fall by the wayside.
In terms of social media, businesses can get more insights from Instagram accounts using Ninjalitics – it helps to get data and insights into engagement and growth rate when analysing an Instagram account.
Lilly Douse, PR Executive, Elle Synergy
MobileMonkey is an excellent chatbot platform with productivity, social media, automation, and SMS messaging capabilities. The integrations are great for social media.
Larry Kim, Founder, Founder, Wordstream
WooBox takes a lot of the legwork out of running a contest or giveaway on social media, from curating #hashtag entries to picking winners at random.
Lee Grant, CEO, Wrangu
Traackr is a social media influencer marketing tool that allows you to find and analyze influencers. It enables you to investigate how influencers can benefit your brand. Traackr also has targeting options that allow you to narrow down your search for better results.
Veronica Miller, Cybersecurity Expert, VPNoverview
Build Forms and Surveys with Ease
Collecting information from customers, employees, or attendees can be difficult to put together in a digestible format, but these tools make it simple to offer an opinion.
It’s an extremely powerful piece of software that yes, allows us to build forms easily, but it does so much more. I’ve built quizzes with tricky logic, full blown sales funnels with one click add ons and one time offers, and dozens of cheek out pages.
Kathleen Celmins, amplifiedNOW
If you’re scanning for a powerful lead creation tool, Survey Anyplace is the software your marketing unit should consider. With their ReportR pack, respondents can lead away with a personalized PDF record based on their responses instantly after completion.
Jeff Cooper, Manager, Messagely
Typeform helps collect customer feedback and online events attendees comments as an alternative to Google Forms.
Iryna Kandrashova, Head of Marketing, UXPressia
Project Management & Organization
With so many different project management tools out there, it’s hard to decide the right one for marketing agencies or B2C businesses. The variety below demonstrates a small amount of the overall functionalities across so many different, highly versatile platforms.
We use Airtable as our primary content calendar and library as it allows us to easily see what content is in the pipeline, what has been published, and what team member is tasked with what project. Unlike a typical spreadsheet, Airtable allows for customizable views so team members can easily sort and view the information however they like.
Justin Smith, CEO, OuterBox
If we see ads, blogs, images, videos that we like, we take a quick screenshot or a video using Snagit. We can add a few notes and save them in a relevant folder. Then when we are planning our marketing we can go through our ‘content bank’ of ideas, and things that caught our attention we work out how to improve them and use a similar idea ourselves.
Alan MacLachlan, Improves.co
Content Studio is a versatile platform with unique features including content creation and curation, automated promotions, quickly setting up topics of interest, and composing social posts.
Julien Raby, CEO & Founder, Thermogears
Trello is, without a doubt, a great networking tool that will greatly assist you and your online marketing team. Trello is a project management tool that allows you to keep track of projects and communicate with your team.
Collin Matthews, CEO & Founder, Cookwared
Reimagining the RSS Feed
Another great tool for those of us looking to curate content based on any RSS feed that’s already out there is Feedly.
Feedly allows you to choose from a variety of blogs, magazines, and topics that interest you; in the meantime, the platform aggregates all of the most recent material from those pages into a feed that you can follow. Feedly is a content curation tool that lets you subscribe to any RSS (Real Simple Syndication) feed and curate content for social sharing that you can save or share directly from the user interface.
Eric McGee, Senior Network Engineer, TRGDatacenters
Outreach and Backlinking
Increasingly, backlinking and link building in general are becoming more and more mainstream in terms of demonstrating authority. Keeping all of those outreach emails stored in one place, and locating contact information is vital to a successful outreach campaign.
This is my go-to tool for content inspiration. Their content tool detects viral topics and a resourceful person can easily spin that content into something good and make it viral, riding on the previous wave. Additionally, BuzzSumo is also a great place to find relevant contacts within your industry to ping them about your new content!
Luat Duong, SEO Lead, Scandinavian Biolabs
Hunter.io helps in finding email addresses of websites I want to contact for promoting my content and building links.
Karan Bhatt, Founder and CEO, Best Web Hosting
PPC Software and More
Ever wanted to design ad campaigns based on what your competition is doing?
Using SpyFu, you can design your ad campaigns effectively by studying the competition, their ad history, and their performance. The tool gives you access to the data of competitor’s ad campaign metrics like monthly budget, total keywords, ad position, % top of the page, coverage, and the preview of the ad.
Aastha Shah, Senior Content Writer, Meetanshi
Customer Relationship Management
Simple but powerful, a CRM sometimes only needs to be an extension of what you already have. Smaller businesses may find tools like Streak to be worth pursuing.
It’s a CRM that directly integrates into Gmail, is as simple to use as a spreadsheet and has a super powerful mail merge function, which helps us contact leads and prospects at scale without much effort.
Chris Kaiser, Founder & CEO, Click A Tree
Insights, Data, and Automation
The world of marketing automation also ranges from the HubSpot giants (complete with add-ons) to the smaller analytics software for easy viewing. It really depends on your company’s needs.
This is by far the best tool that we used in our campaigns. Hubspot can definitely grow a business no matter what phase you are in. Hence, making it flexible for every business. It also contains useful features which are interactive to clients such as popup forms, webforms, live chat software and even email marketing campaigns. It’s a one-stop tool which is suitable for all types of inbound marketing techniques.
Charles McMillan, Founder, Stand With Main Street
HubSpot tied in with Funnelytics helps paint the picture of how everything is functioning as our go-to tech stack. It’s an amazing way to visualize your strategy as well as track what’s working and what’s broken.
Andrew Maff, Founder, BlueTuskr
Ruler allows my CRM, my website and favourite marketing tools to integrate so I can get a holistic view of my leads and their activities. It’s essential to allow me to optimise my marketing and drive more sales, not leads.
Laura Caveney, Digital Marketing Manager, Ruler Analytics
As soon as I start my day, I check the data from Mixpanel regarding the number of signups that we received the previous day, the source of these signups, and the customer churn ratio. Mixpanel gives us a lot of data about customers that helps in understanding what needs to be done in the marketing funnel.
Saurabh Wani, Content Marketing Associate, Automate.io
ActiveCampaign is a must-have software to level up and automate your marketing efforts. It lets you create automated email sequences so your brand and services remain top-of-mind for customers interested in items and services within your niche.
Stephan Jacob, Editor, Best for Android
Through their integrations, they help us collect insightful data that helps us best understand who our customers are and what their interests are. They then turn the abundance of data into insightful reports and analyses that help us move forward in planning our marketing campaigns as well as inventory management.
Hosea Chang, CEO, Hayden Girls
Performance and Behavior Mapping
Understanding customer behavior makes for smart marketers. Visualizing it really adds value to the data.
Rocket Fuel is ideal for performance mapping. For me, its feature ‘Moment Scoring’ is like a cherry on the cake. It helps us assess anonymous user data to analyze how likely the audience is to respond to posts or ads.
Dave Nilsson, Founder and Director, Converted Click
We use HotJar to get a better understanding of user behavior and gather data to formulate hypotheses on how to optimize web pages for conversion. We chose this website visualization software because it complements the data and insights we get from traditional web analytics tools like Google Analytics.
Chad Sakonchick, Founder, BetterLegal
Artificial Intelligence is Growing
It’s amazing what AI can do. Our experts are all-in on having the bots write the copy. Between these two tools, the AI can write, edit, and monitor campaigns.
There’s a new tool called Nichesss that has gained good traction in the last few weeks. It’s an AI tool using the newly released GPT-3 API. It can help you write anything from social media posts to blog post outlines.
Daniel Nikolovski, CEO & Founder, Mailcharmer
SentiOne is an AI-powered tool for extensive social media monitoring, customer service, and automation. It will help you collect, track, manage, and use social media data to achieve incredible and very efficient results. It’s a fantastic cutting-edge tool for social marketing.
Aaron Haynes, CEO, Loganix
Design for Everyone
A great place to start if you’re less familiar with Adobe Creative Suite, Canva offers simple templates, graphics, and logo options.
You can use Canva to make a variety of graphics, including logos, posters for social media and websites, infographics, presentations, brochures, and more. They have a large library with both free and paid designs.Daniel Velez, CEO, Home Security
Streamlined Email Marketing
It feels like hundreds of email marketing tools are on the market today. Our readers overwhelmingly chose MailChimp to fit their outreach needs.
MailChimp is one of the greatest and oldest email marketing tools ever created and is still the industry leader still with the arrival of newer contenders with the latest technologies.
Shad Elia, CEO, WeBuyHousesHere.com
This tool not only sends emails to your clients at the most appropriate times, but it also provides comprehensive analytics that can be used to improve the company’s Digital Marketing efforts in the future.
Dusan Stanar, Founder & CEO, VSS Monitoring
Free to use and easily integrated, using a handful of the many Google marketing tools was a popular option amongst the experts. From local marketing to more complicated surveys, Google tools provide an excellent service at an even better price.
Google My Business
This is perhaps the most crucial tool for local SEO as it enables you to reply to reviews and more importantly, claim your business which is the most crucial step for local SEO. I preferred using GoogleMyBusiness as not only is it free but it’s also fairly accurate after vigorous testing and comparisons with paid software.
Kevin Mercier, Founder, Travel Blog Kevmrc.com
This is a free website optimization tool that allows digital marketing professionals to optimize their conversion rates by continually testing different combinations of website content. It allows for A/B, A/B/n and multivariate testing which sits at the core of conversion rate optimization.
Evian Gutman, Founder & CMO, Ringcommend
I’ve used Google Forms to create massive roundup posts, gathering opinions from different experts in the field I was writing on.
Tim Lommerse, Editor in Chief, Onlingmarketing.nl
Google Keyword Planner
Google Keyword planner is one of my top digital marketing tools for using to improve results in SEO. The free service for anybody with a good ads account allows you to see information on any selected keywords, finding out important information like similar words performing well, how regular words are searched, and the overall monthly performance of words.
Julien Raby, Founder & Owner, Coffee Works
Google Analytics tracks the complete record of your users and visitors that your site receives. You can track everything on your website – from the total number of visitors and traffic sources to conversions and revenue – all for free.
Tim Clarke, Director of Marketing and Sales, SEO Blog
Choosing the Best Digital Marketing Tools
Ultimately, choosing the best tools to use is very business-specific, but staying updated on the current options in the market is vital to ensuring that you’re not missing out on a great new option. Utilizing software to manage content, improve customer relationships, and generate leads can propel any business forward if used to complement your strategic initiatives.
About the author
Emily is a SEO Content Strategist at UpCity and focuses on marketing strategy from digital marketing experts and industry leaders. Prior to UpCity, Emily gained digital agency and SEO experience in Chicago drawing upon a decade of content marketing experiences abroad.