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15 Digital Marketing Apps & Tools Every Startup Needs

You can’t do the job if you don’t have the right tools, but too often startups forget this, relying on gut instinct, passion, and little to no data. Finding the apps that can help you understand what is happening and give you the hard data to back it up is invaluable. You can’t be successful on guessing alone.

Every startup needs marketing tools that address data, management, engagement, and team communication. Here are the tools you need to consider for your startup.

Raven Tools

Raven Tools helps make your online marketing easier by automating some of the tasks involved as well as providing reports that help you know how your marketing is doing. This is a tool that helps you manage complex marketing campaigns — including social media, SEO, and advertising — across the whole team.

Unbounce

Unbounce is a tool that makes it simple to build beautiful mobile responsive landing pages with the option to do A/B testing. These landing pages can be tied into various marketing campaigns (e.g. email) so that you direct people to a specific landing page. Unbounce integrates with popular marketing tools, making it easy to target your page to a specific audience. The A/B testing makes it possible to adjust your page systematically to maximize your results.

Moz

Moz is an SEO tool that turns otherwise complex inbound marketing into something simple. Moz is all about SEO, with a goal of making your site more visible to search engines. The tools it provides makes it possible to measure and improve on your current traffic, as well as improve your keyword rankings. Moz will automatically audit your site to make sure that you are always up to speed, as well as track what your competitors are doing with SEO, and how you compare.

ReTargeter

ReTargeter is a tool that helps your paid advertising provide you with better results. It serves up ads to people who have visited your website, signed up for emails, opened one of your emails, or engaged with you on social media as they browse the rest of the web. This means that people who see the ads you are paying for are already receptive or familiar with your brand and more likely to click. It provides a better return on your dollar as compared to serving up ads to a “cold” audience who know nothing about you. ReTargeter also works on Facebook.

Google Analytics

Nearly everyone is aware of this free analytics tool from Google, but Google Analytics should definitely be a part of your toolbox. Just because it is common and free doesn’t mean it isn’t a serious contender. Google Analytics provides much more than just traffic numbers. It has grown in recent years to include social media data, demographic data, and more. Its simple implementation belies its powerful return, and the dashboard and reports have become more user-friendly than its first iteration.

Launchrock

In the early days, you might not have a website or product ready quite yet, but you want to start acquiring customers in the build-up to your official launch. That’s where Launchrock comes in. With an easy WYSIWYG editor and sharp responsive design, you can start collecting email addresses and “pre-sale commerce” with a landing page that converts.

Launchrock is what helps you build buzz and gives you a place to send customers when you aren’t quite ready yet. It helps your startup launch with a ready-to-go audience instead of an echo chamber.

Roost

Roost taps into the growing web push trend and alerts your followers when you publish new content via web push. Roost works with several popular integrations, including WordPress, Drupal, and Joomla, as well as with some of the top-used eCommerce and social media marketing tools.

Web push is yet another avenue for startups to reach their audience by sending quick messages to those who have given permission for you to send them.

CoSchedule

CoSchedule is an editorial calendar for WordPress. It helps your team plan, managed, and create all content for your WordPress blogs. It also makes it easy to set up a social media publishing schedule associated with your blog posts. When your blog post goes live, your social media plan goes into action. CoSchedule’s key strength is in how your content marketing team can do all planning and conversation inside the app, as well as how social media content is integrated tightly with blog content.

MailChimp

Though there are many email apps that will help you manage and publish to your email list, MailChimp is a popular tool because it is free to get started and has a serious set of tools to help you manage your email publishing. Email is still the best way to connect with your fans and convert them to active customers, so whether you use MailChimp or another service, you must be ready to accept email sign-ups.

SurveyMonkey

One of the things you’ll be doing often is ascertaining who your audience is and what they want. You’ll turn to analytics and all kinds of data. Don’t forget the obvious: just ask your audience. And that’s where SurveyMonkey (and other similar survey tools) comes in. SurveyMonkey gives you options, both free and paid, to query your readers, email list, or any other group you want to focus on. It also provides additional data, including text analysis, to help you create the best survey and understand the results that you get back.

Sprout Social

Sprout Social is a social media management tool that makes social engagement much easier, particularly as your audience grows. Remember, a couple of things will be happening on social media as your startup heats up. You’ll be getting responses from people who are sharing and reacting to your content, and you’ll also be getting support and tech requests. Sprout Social is a tool that makes it easier to handle these two distinct types of conversation. Sprout Social also provides data and analytics so you know more about your social activity and audience.

KISSmetrics

KISSmetrics is a tool that provides easy-to-understand data on how your current lead conversions are doing. It also provides guidance and help in understanding customer behavior, seeing what they do, when they do it, all to help you better understand “why.” KISSmetrics brings all this important data into a dashboard where you can understand and adjust what you have decided to measure. It is a valuable tool in understanding what is happening with visitors on your site.

HootSuite

HootSuite is the ever-popular social media tool that makes it easy to create and schedule content for your favorite social media networks. Not only does it provide the tools for you to publish your own content, but you can also use HootSuite to listen for specific topics of content, and have conversations with those who respond to your social media content. HootSuite provides tools to make it easy to manage social interaction with an entire team, as well as analytics to see how your social activity is faring.

Olark

Olark brings real-time conversation right to your website with a simple chat plug-in. You can see where your visitor came from, as well as other basic information. Olark makes customer support immediate and an integral part of your “marketing” in a way you might not have considered. When a web visitor or customer can ask you a question and get a response right away from a real human, it breaks down barriers and leads to more immediate sales or positive feelings towards your startup.

Qualaroo

Qualaroo helps you understand what your customers are doing and why. It uses the most obvious method: it asks them. It’s a simple survey plugin that allows you to ask any question on any page of your site. You can find out if your FAQ page needs more information, if your pricing is too high, or ask customers why they are canceling their account. Instead of guessing why, ask your readers and customers.

If you are overwhelmed by data, find a tool that packages it in a way that you can understand it. If you are mystified at what your customers are doing or seem to want, find a tool that helps you ask and discern it. If team management and content creation are becoming impossibly unwieldy, find a tool that makes it easier.

Are you refusing to use tools because you are trying to save money and don’t want to pay? Bad idea. Many tools have free options or a trial that help you better understand the tool’s capabilities. If you like it, go all in and pay for it. You can’t leave the success of your startup to guesswork.

Comments

1 Comment

Niraj Ranjan Rout

Rob, great list of essential apps. I’m the founder of GrexIt (http://grexit.com), and an avid user of Kissmetrics, Olark and Hootsuite myself. I’ll check out Roost – it looks very interesting.

Do check out our product GrexIt (http://grexit.com) – its a great productivity tool for startups. It turns your Gmail into a simple, powerful collaboration tool by letting you share your Gmail labels. Its used by thousands of companies daily to run critical business functions like customer support and sales management.

Do try it out sometime – I’d love to know what you think.


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