The world of marketing is constantly evolving. What worked in the past may not be effective now – and if you never update your methods and tools, the chances are good that you’re missing out on opportunities to engage your audience and grow your business.
Since we’re at the beginning of a new year, this is the perfect time to update your marketing toolbox and add some new tools to the mix.
Without further ado, here are my picks for the top marketing tools that should be in your toolbox for 2020.
Google Search Console
Google Search Console is my first pick. It’s a terrific tool that allows marketers and local business owners to understand how people find their businesses on Google.
This is a free tool that you can access via your Google account. The only preliminary step you must take is to verify that you’re the owner of your website. Once you’re verified, you can:
- View the keywords that visitors use to find your site
- Check out your most popular pages
- Check your backlinks
- Submit sitemaps to Google
- Track clicks on your site and links
- Understand how Google “sees” your page
- Check your site’s mobile usability
In other words, the Google Search Console is a versatile analytics toolbox that gives you a way to understand and improve the way Google (and your target audience) see your website. If you pick only one new tool to try out in 2020, make it this one!
Revive by Animalz
One of the biggest threats to your online visibility and viability is stale content. If you’ve been blogging for a while – or if your site hasn’t been updated in a few years – you probably have some content on your site that’s languishing from a lack of attention.
Revive by Animalz is a tool that’s designed to help you address the issue of stale content. Without it, you’d need to review every post on your site to determine which posts are outdated and in need of a refresh.
With it, you can simply plug in the URL of your website and let Revive do the rest. It will crawl your site and identify posts that are in a state of decay. (That sounds awful but really it just means pages and posts that are trending in the wrong direction.)
Revive is a free tool. To get your report, you’ll need to provide access to your Google Analytics account. In return, you’ll get a report that identifies the pages, blog posts, and other content that’s in need of an update. You can then use it as a roadmap to refresh your site and attract more traffic than ever before.
Have you ever wondered what your competitors are doing online? If the answer’s yes – and it should be! – then SpyFu is a marketing tool you should know about.
SpyFu allows you to “spy” on your competitors’ keywords and determine which ones are the most lucrative. You can use it to:
- Search for all domains and see where they show up on Google
- See every keyword your competitors have bought on Google AdWords
- See their organic search rank for each keyword
- View ads and ad variations for the past 13 years
You can also use it to track your own keywords and keyword rankings, making SpyFu an invaluable marketing tool for 2020.
SpyFu is a paid tool with pricing starting at $33 per month. The basic plan should be plenty for most businesses.
Hustle is a WordPress plugin that allows you to capture email address quickly and efficiently. It allows you to design pop-ups, slide-ins, email opt-ins and social following bars.
What I like about Hustle is that it’s fully integrated with just about every email marketing service. (I use a combination of Mailchimp for newsletters and InfusionSoft for nicely passed follow-ups to opt-ins.)
As a bonus, Hustle includes exit-intent, which displays a pop-up or slide-in when a visitor is about to leave your page, and Google ReCAPTCHA to prevent spam. Best of all, it’s totally free.
Proof is a tool that makes it easy to display your – you guessed it! – social proof on your website. To install it, all you need to do is copy and paste their pixel onto your site page.
Once you have installed the pixel, it will integrate with your site or your CRM and show your targeted customers:
- Customer reviews
- Video testimonials
- Social media posts
- Hot streak notifications
- Live visitor counts
I especially like the hot streak notifications which Proof says are their top driver of conversions. You’ve probably seen these notifications when you check out an online product and see pop-ups letting you know whenever someone buys the product.
Pricing for Proof starts at $29 for the basic plan. They offer a free demo as well!
SharSpring is a marketing automation platform that can help you improve your conversion rate in a variety of ways. You can use it to:
- Add smart ChatBots
- Manage your email marketing
- Manage your SMS (text message) marketing
- Track how prospects engage with you website & brand on social media
Put an end to boring, mass email blasts and save time on your marketing strategy. Start conversations that lead to conversions with personalized messages and automated campaigns that respond to user behavior. Use the SharpSpring email marketing platform to track leads “after the click.” Unlike other email service providers, we offer detailed analytics on every interaction – so you can send the right message at the right time, and send your sales team into action with real-time notifications.
Tailwind is a scheduling tool that’s designed specifically for Instagram and Pinterest. It will walk you through creating an optimal posting schedule based on your audience engagement, traffic, and virality. Then, it will re-post content for your according to your schedule.
If your business is active on Pinterest, I think Tailwind is a must. It’s just as useful for Instagram. They offer a free trial that allows you to schedule up to 100 posts or Pins without a time limit. After that, the pricing is separate for Instagram and Pinterest, coming in at $9.99 per month for each platform.
Here are a few honorable mentions that I think deserve some love in 2020:
- Canva is a free tool with hundreds of design templates. If you don’t have the money to hire a professional designer, you can use Canva to create beautiful newsletters, presentations, and social media posts. Their basic plan is free, or you can upgrade to the Pro plan for $12.95/month.
- Hemingway is a readability tool that you can use for free online or download to your desktop for just $9.99. I like it because it helps eliminate complicated sentences that might deter readers.
- Pexels is a site with a decent collection of free stock photos. You can use them without attribution. Their selection isn’t huge but if you don’t have the budget to pay for photos, this is a great option.
With the right tools in your marketing toolbox, there’s no reason that 2020 shouldn’t be your best year yet!