27 May 2016

The Hottest Online Marketing Tools For 2016

 

Have you ever tried putting together a BILLY bookshelf without a spanner?

Don’t do it.

In theory, it should look like this:

Billy book shelf

The result of what you will produce, though, will probably rather resemble this:

ruins

Trust me, this innocent looking piece of furniture can quickly turn your DIY day into a nightmare.

It’s as easy as that: you need the right tools to perform a task effectively, otherwise you will find yourself losing time and patience over little things that could have been solved within minutes if you had been given the right resources.

The same goes for online marketing: a lot of marketers could save valuable time and opportunity costs if they used the right tools.

There are hundreds of marketing tools available and it depends on your specific requirements and personal preferences which ones work best for you. In fact, there are so many different tools that you probably even haven’t heard of half of them.

We have put together a list with our favourite online marketing tools for 2016 to help you build your perfect marketing toolkit:

Our Favourite Online Marketing Tools

Tools suggested by @indicium, @superfuge, and @KathrinOpielka.

Moz Keyword Explorer

1. What you can use it for

As the name already suggests, this brand new tool is great for any keyword research activities. It guides you through the whole process of collecting ideas for keywords, building long-tail keywords and getting important metrics to decide which options you want to rank for.

moz keyword explorer

2. Why it is hot

A big well-done to the Moz team – we think your new tool is pretty hot, as it both presents data in a refreshing and visually attractive design, which helps you grasp the most important data in the blink of an eye. It also offers so much more than “just” keyword research: in addition to volume and difficulty, it indicates two metrics called “opportunity” and “potential”. Opportunity analyses the relative click-through-rate of organic search results, while the latter sums up all the other metrics to calculate the overall potential of this specific search term. Apparently, the methodology used for the calculation of search volume goes beyond what we know from AdWords – according to Rand Fishkin. In fact, we have found significant differences in search volume metrics when comparing search results in both tools. Have we been relying on “wrong” results all this time, or is the new methodology maybe more accurate for regions like the US than the UK?

3. The catch

Yes, there is a slight catch. So far, Moz allows you to try this new tool twice a day – after that you have to either register for a free community account (5 searches/day) or upgrade to a Pro account, which gives you unlimited access to the tool. Feel free to try it out and decide yourself – we think it’s very useful and definitely a worthy alternative to AdWord’s keyword planner.

Answerthepublic.com

1. What you can use it for

Answerthepublic.com is a great SEO and Content marketing tool. It helps you develop long-term keywords for a topic you want to write about and enables you to optimise your content for questions people look for in search engines. It offers a visual version, where it clusters results according to different types of questions, as well as a data aggregation option, where the results are sorted alphabetically, thematically, and by preposition.

Answertherepublic Graph

2. Why it is hot

We added this completely free online tool to our list of the hottest marketing tools for 2016 because we want everyone to use this tool before they write any content – it gives you all the information you need to develop long-tail keywords for your content offer in order to rank better on Google and is a great source of new content ideas!

Even though the “seeker”, who you will have the pleasure of meeting when entering this site, is anything but hot, we think that this tool absolutely deserved a space on our list.

The Seeker

3. The catch

The only downside of this tool is that it doesn’t give you any indication of search volume – you have a collection of questions associated with a specific term but no orientation on how frequently these questions have been searched for. You would, therefore, have to research search volumes for your favourite keywords in tools like the Moz Keyword Explorer, Hubspot, or the AdWords Keyword Planner.

HubSpot

1. What you can use it for

At Storm, we are a HubSpot partner, so you’d probably expect us to recommend HubSpot, and that might be fair enough.

However, we love it.

HubSpot is like the Swiss army knife of inbound tools – it just does everything. It basically integrates all your inbound activities into one platform, be it social media marketing, blogging, keyword research, marketing automation, email marketing, or content management.

hubspot

2. Why it is hot

The great thing about having everything collectively on one platform is that it simplifies your tracking and managing activities by a million times (and this is only a slight exaggeration). You can reconstruct and understand your website visitors’ journeys and optimise your inbound marketing activities based on this data. During the process of setting up your HubSpot account, you are automatically forced to work strategically and make sure you don’t forget any of the aspects important for a successful inbound marketing strategy – if that isn’t hot, we don’t know what is.

HubSpot also offers great training and qualification options for customers, some of which are even publicly accessible, like the really recommendable Inbound certification.

3. The catch

HubSpot isn’t a free tool and it needs some time and training to discover all the different options included in it. Of course,as a partner, we recommend this tool to anyone involved in inbound marketing as it helps to manage your efforts strategically.

The other consideration is that to run an effective inbound marketing strategy requires a reasonable effort in terms of resourcing content and effort more so that the cost of the Hubspot license itself. This is why it makes sense to engage a Hubspot partner like Storm to get the best value from the platform.

Screaming Frog

1. What you can use it for

Screaming Frog is not a torture device to extract more working hours from amphibians. Instead it is a web crawler that can be configured and used in a number of different ways and for a number of different purposes for crawling websites and collating information about them.

For example, if you need to grab a list of all the URLs of a website in order to prepare for a website rebuild project, Screaming Frog is your man. Or frog, I guess. Likewise, it is a great tool for checking for errors in your information architecture, and for checking that all pages have Meta tags, canonical tags and headings.

screaming frog

2. Why it is hot

The great thing about having a tool like Screaming Frog is that it does many jobs that you might otherwise have to do manually. Without a tool like this, how can you be sure you have fixed all your 404 errors, for example? How can you test all your pages have Google Analytics code installed? Screaming Frog can do all of this. It is a great time saver, and replaces what would otherwise take a considerable amount of manual work to do.

Furthermore, it is a user-based license, not a site based license, which makes it great for consultants and specialists. You can crawl any number of websites as often as you like. This also makes it a great way of looking on competitor websites to understand their strengths and weaknesses.

3. The catch

Screaming Frog has a fremium model. If you have a tiny website with <500 URLs (including the URLs of all your images, CSS files etc.) you can probably get most of what you need from the free version. If, like most of us, 500 URLs is only enough to give you a taste for the power of the Frog, then you’re going to have to buy a license at £99.

Google Trends

1. What you can use it for

Google Trends is a great tool to find out about people’s search behaviour over time. It really is an all-rounder if it comes to research: you can use it for SEO purposes or to identify trends for content marketing campaigns. Just type in one or more keywords you are interested in exploring and see how the interest in this topic developed over time and where it is becoming most popular.

google trends

2. Why it is hot

We love Google Trends because it gives you so many options to play around with. It allows you to compare up to five search terms or groupings at once to check which term gets most of the traffic. Moreover, you can change four main parameters to get very accurate results for your specific needs – these are:

  • The type of search (web, image, news, product, YouTube)
  • Location (worldwide vs. country)
  • Time scale
  • Categories (e.g. Arts& Entertainment, Books & Literature, etc.)

This can give you amazing insights when it comes to keyword research, geo-targeting, and content creation. And the best thing is – it is completely free!

3. The catch

Although Google Trends is a great tool to get a first idea when you are doing some keyword research, it doesn’t give you exact figures regarding search volume, difficulty, etc. We recommend using it in combination with other tools like Google AdWords keyword Planner or the Moz Keyword Explorer Tool to get more detailed data.

Google Search Console and Bing Webmaster Tools

1. What you can use it for

We’ve combined the review of these two tools into one as they are essentially the same thing, but on different platforms. We could have included Yandex Webmaster Tools and Baidu Webmaster Tools too, but if your market is in the UK, you probably don’t need to worry about those. They’re broadly the same, anyway.

Search Console and Webmaster Tools provide insight into the data that Google (for Search Console) and Bing (for Webmaster Tools) understand about your web properties.

You can use these as places to submit your XML sitemaps, to review crawl errors and to view search analytics.

Google Search Console

2. Why it is hot

Knowing how Google and Bing have indexed your web property is invaluable in order to be able to troubleshoot poor performance in search results. You can tell relatively quickly whether you have problems with crawling, whether there are issues with missing or duplicate Meta tags, whether click through rate from search results has fallen, and much more besides.

Not only that, but you can also use these tools to communicate, albeit in a limited manner, with the search engines, such as being able to make crawling suggestions via sitemap submission, being able to request deindexation of URLs that shouldn’t be in search results, and to submit specific URLs to be crawled quickly.

Finally, they give the search engines a way to communicate to you where they think you have issues that might reduce your ability to compete in search results.

3. The catch

These tools are free to use which is great. However, in order to access the data, you need to verify you are the owner of the website whose data you want to view. There are a number of ways you can do this, but for a non-technical person it could be a little overwhelming at first. Similarly, to make use of the data it is helpful to have a good idea of how search engines work and how they index websites.

Buzzsumo

1. What you can use it for

If you are involved in any content marketing, inbound marketing, or social media marketing activities at all, Buzzsumo should be your tool of choice. It is a great tool that can help you when developing a content marketing strategy, in particular if you want to conduct a content analysis of a term you want to target or check out your competitors’ performance. Type in any term or website and Buzzsumo will show you the content that performed best on social media, i.e. was shared most on platforms such as Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Pinterest, or Google+.

Buzzsumo

This tool can help you to gain valuable insight into which types of content perform best for a specific topic – which will be worth a mint when you develop a content marketing strategy.

2. Why it is hot

Buzzsumo is a very intuitive tool and offers you all the information you need to identify great types of content or influencers for a topic you want to focus on. It even comes with a monitoring function which make tools like talkwalker or Google alerts obsolete. As soon as your website or a specific term is mentioned on the web, you will get a notification via email to keep you up to date and keep an eye on possible backlinks.

It is extremely user friendly, and you can download your analysis easily as a CSV, Excel, or PDF file.

3. The catch

Unfortunatey, Buzzsumo is not completely free. It allows you to do a limited amount of searches per day, but you can only use Content Research tools including the options “most shared” and “trending now”. All other features are available after you have purchased a Pro account, which starts from $99 per month. I would recommend taking advantage of the free trial, which allows you to explore the tool for 14 days for free – there are no obligations to buy a licence after the trial ends but believe me, once you have tested this tool you don’t want to miss it!

semrush

1. What you can use it for

Semrush is a great tool to know how well your company is doing compared to your competitors both in organic and paid search results.

From the paid search side of things, it’s rather useful to see which of your competitors’ keywords are profitable and which ones are driving traffic, as well as to uncover their paid search strategy  to not be left behind in the market.

2. Why it is hot

semrush logo

Well, the logo itself looks like a ball on fire so we’d say that’s pretty hot already by itself, but there’s more to it than that. We know it’s not all about looks and we care about the inner values, too.

You just type in your competitor’s URL and voilà, the tool generates hot stuff in the shape of the keywords they’re using and the traffic they’re getting. This might give you some new keyword ideas and you can also use the insights for your paid search strategy. You might find out about new keywords and whether it’s worth trying to rank high for them through organic and/or paid search.

3. The catch

Semrush has some limited reporting available for free, so you are able to test how useful it can be, but to get any real value from it you need to invest into a full license, which start at around £50 per month.

Like many of the tools here, you also need a little bit of background knowledge to interpret the data usefully, which means partnering up with a digital specialist to configure and interpret this tool is often the best way to get great value action from it.

TrustPilot

1. What you can use it for

TrustPilot is a great tool to gather reviews online. It is basically the digital version of the good old word of mouth but without the reach limitation and it can also help you boost your paid search campaigns having seller ratings shown along with your ads.

Using a third-party service like TrustPilot provides that independence users can rely on, which provide many advantage over self-published testimonials and reviews.

trustpilot

2. Why it is hot

We think Trustpilot is hot as chorizo, but not any chorizo – more like a chorizo dipped in sriracha and then enveloped in a scotch bonnet chili, as it both helps you boost your marketing efforts and build trust with your customers. Here are the hottest features for you:

  • You can start a dialogue with customers
  • It gives you the possibility of adding a widget to visible on your website
  • It offers social media integration
  • You can add seller ratings extensions on search engines

This is especially a very handy tool for everyone working in the retail and tourism industry, where reliability and trust play a paramount role when it comes to the final decision of the customer.

3. The catch

It’s important to have the resources in place prior to boarding the platform. There is always a chance of getting negative reviews, so we recommend developing a strategy on how to deal with them beforehand.

Unfortunately, the tool is not free to use but the good news is that it’s a great way of gathering feedback, which in the end helps you save money on other types of research.

In summary

There are many great tools to help make digital marketing easier and more productive, and we could have included so many more in this review.

We even chose to ignore some really obvious tools like Google Analytics, Majestic SEO, Raven and more, not because we don’t like them (we love them too) but because we can’t really review everything.

If you manage digital marketing campaigns and you want to give yourself the best chance for success, choose the right tools for you. We think the ones we have reviewed here make a great starting point!

Which tools make your life a little bit easier every day? Feel free to share your favourite tools in the comment section, we are curious to hear your story! 🙂





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  • Ladislav Jalševac

    Thanks for sharing, but the hottest tool in 2016 is (will be) XtagPlus with XtagMobile free app. Check for more info on http://xtagmobile.com/invite . Get rewarded for free install. (use refferal code MTU3Mg== to get 1Mcoin).

  • Jackie

    For planning and budgeting, hands down Hive9!

  • Nina Carvalho

    Thanks for creating the list. Never heard of Semrush, but it seems like a very useful tool! Are you familiar with reporting tools? I was in search of one, since reporting wasn´t one of my strongest points (and to be honest, it just took me a lot of time). Someone recommended me Douply, https://www.douply.com/campaign-reporting/ . This tool helps creating structured reports, where even the client has all access to its data by using a client side dashboard. It might be a nice one for you as well. Anyhow, good job on the list!

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