We often recommend the same marketing tools to our clients over and over again. Why? Because they get results.
If we don’t work with a tool and know first-hand that it will produce good results when used the right way, we won’t recommend it.
Check out our favorite marketing tools below and contact us or schedule a free 15-minute phone call if you have questions about specific software on this list. We’re happy to offer suggestions or advice, whether you’re a customer or not!
Content Management Systems | CRMs/Sales Automation | Email Marketing | File Sharing and Collaboration | Help Desks | Hosting | Marketing Automation Platforms | Metrics, Measurement and Analytics | Landing Pages | Media Outreach | Project Management | Shopping Carts/Ecommerce | Social Media Management | Strategic Planning
*NOTE: We are a certified partner, reseller or affiliate for some of these products, and we do get a small commission if you click on a few of these links. HOWEVER, we only recommend products if we’re passionate about them. There are a ton of competitors for some of these products and we’ve tried most of those as well, but we’re only including a product here if we’re big fans!
Content Management Systems:
WordPress is by far the most popular CMS on the market today for small to midsized businesses, and for good reason. It’s powerful enough to accommodate almost any site we throw at it and is highly customizable through tons of inexpensive plugins. Don’t discount this platform if you think your needs are complex.
HubSpot’s CMS is a good choice if you’re already using HubSpot for your other marketing tactics. We host our own site in HubSpot, and we love the tight integration between web site pages, blog posts, landing pages, forms, social media, SEO, analytics, CRM and sales that you get in this all-in-one platform.
If you’re a developer, Drupal is still a good choice, although it doesn’t see the popularity of WordPress, HubSpot or some of the other CMSs out there.
Enterprises commonly utilize SharePoint due to its popularity, ease of use, customization capabilities and integration with other Microsoft products. It can get pricey if you have a lot of users, but we’ve used SharePoint to manage sites with thousands and thousands of pages for some of our enterprise clients.
Many people think of HubSpot as purely a marketing platform, but did you know that it also includes a strong CRM and powerful sales automation suite? HubSpot invented the term “Smarketing” − meaning the harmonious marriage of a company’s sales and marketing functions to create ongoing, two-way communication and collaboration between the two. A key part of this is the identification of measurable goals and mutual accountability, and HubSpot’s integrated suites make this lofty goal much more attainable. With the ability to track prospects’ activities on your site, automate outreach, track deals in your pipeline, the ability to call leads and record phone conversations right in the interface, and much, much more, HubSpot Sales is a killer sales app.
Although you won’t get all of the functionality of the paid versions, HubSpot’s free CRM and sales platform is a good fit for smaller companies on a limited budget who don’t have a lot of contacts or complex needs. Like the paid HubSpot products, HubSpot Free automates the tasks that salespeople hate and allows you team to identify, connect with and close more leads more quickly.
Looking for a solid CRM and sales automation tool that will handle core sales functions but won’t break your budget? Active Campaign might be the right fit for you. It offers the ability to track prospects’ activity, manage and monitor deals, automate lead nurturing through drip campaigns and keep your sales team on track.
This is one of our absolute favorite sales prospecting tools out there! LeadFuze is an outbound sales tool that can be easily integrated into a sales approach that combines the best of inbound with tried-and-true outbound techniques in a helpful way. You can use LeadFuze to identify prospects that would be a good fit for your company, find contacts at a specific company for account-based marketing, conduct automated social selling tasks such as bulk LinkedIn connection requests (tailored, of course to the prospect’s existing needs and actions) and sync data with your CRM. Gone are the days of spammy cold emails and cold calls. Just be sure you use this tool responsibly and take the time to learn how to create truly helpful email messages, sequences and workflows.
Tired of spending mindless hours sending out LinkedIn connection requests to people on your prospecting lists or wasting time transferring those names to your CRM? Enter Dux-Soup. This handy Chrome extension automates some of the most tedious parts of prospecting, and syncs nicely with other prospecting tools such as LeadFuze or CRMs like HubSpot. Again, be sure to use this tool responsibly and frame your outreach emails or connection requests in a way that first and foremost helps your prospects.
HubSpot and HubSpot Free
Emails are a breeze to send in HubSpot and HubSpot Free, with a user-friendly interface and lots of design templates (including the ability to design your own templates using their drag-and-drop editor or HTML or import your own templates). Like all of the other HubSpot tools, the email tool is tightly integrated with the rest of the tools in the suite, including landing pages, web pages, the keywords tool, SEO, forms, CTAs and analytics.
We utilize MailChimp daily for some of our clients, and it’s a fairly good email platform. It offers a user-friendly interface, the ability to create complex segments and a stable environment at various price points (including a free option all the way up to an enterprise option). But be forewarned…if you have complex needs or a large list, another email platform or a marketing automation platform might be a better fit for you.
This tool is easy to use and user-friendly. With multiple payment plans (including a free pay-as-you-go plan with no monthly fees), it’s a good fit for small businesses who don’t want to learn a complicated program, but still need a tool that will meet their basic needs.
File Sharing and Collaboration:
Google Drive (includes Google Docs, Sheets, Slides)
Almost everyone is familiar with Google Docs, Google Sheets and Google Slides these days, which is one of the main benefits of using it. You can work collaboratively on documents with other people in different locations and control permissions with ease using this popular Google suite of tools.
If you’re tired of looking for files on your hard drive, in your email inbox or on Drive, Teamwork Projects is a great project management tool that allows you to easily store tons of files tied to a specific project, department or group. With granular permissions, privacy settings and the ability to share files via email, Teamwork Projects allows you to stay on top of things and find files quickly, even months or years after they were initially created.
Full-featured support desk software that allows multiple agents, email notifications and customization. We switched from Zendesk to Teamwork Desk when we started using its sister project, Teamwork Projects.
More expensive than Teamwork Desk, but a very solid, robust and popular tool that allows for multiple agents and customization. It is a bit pricier than Teamwork Desk or other alternatives, but it’s been around for a long time and for good reason.
We’re all in love with WPEngine! It’s by far the most user-friendly, SEO-friendly, stable environment we’ve worked in, and the support team there is also super-helpful. We are a WPEngine reseller and we have a dedicated server that we utilize for our clients’ web sites, which typically see huge increases in speed, performance and stability after migrating to WPE. Contact us today if you’re interested in having us set up and manage a WPEngine hosting account for you, and we can have your account set up (and in some cases, your site migrated!) within a few days.
We’ve been a SiteGround partner for more than eight years and it’s one of the better hosting providers we’ve encountered. They have a top-notch, responsive support team who generally respond to help tickets within a matter of minutes, a variety of plans, and a good reputation. Be forewarned that if you’re hosting your site on a shared server (as most businesses do), you may run into server usage issues fairly quickly because they constantly monitor and flag websites that are draining server resources.
Marketing Automation Platforms:
So we’re a little bit biased, but we happen to LOVE HubSpot as a marketing automation platform! There are others on the market, but there’s a reason HubSpot is consistently voted the #1 platform in this category…it rocks! You’ll see as you scroll through this resource list that HubSpot can do many things (web sites, blogs, landing pages, SEO, keyword research, forms, analytics, sales, CRM, etc.)…but more importantly, it does them WELL! If you’re even remotely interested in HubSpot, contact us FIRST before you contact HubSpot because if you do it through us, you’ll get benefits that you wouldn’t otherwise receive by going straight to HubSpot’s sales people (including waived onboarding fees). If you contact them first, their required onboarding will cost you $2,000+.
The “little sister” of the paid HubSpot platform offers some nice features, including a CRM, emails, forms, analytics, ads, integrations and free training, so you can get your feet wet with HubSpot and take advantage of its basic features. Again, contact us FIRST before you sign up for a HubSpot Free account, because if you upgrade later to one of their paid plans, you will be required to pay $2,000+ for onboarding if you’re not working with a certified agency.
A somewhat new addition to our arsenal, Active Campaign is a good fit for companies who need a solid marketing automation platform that offers email marketing, basic workflows and marketing automation, a CRM, sales automation and basic analytics. Although it doesn’t have a landing page builder or some of the other features of HubSpot (such as web site hosting, blogging, social media publishing and monitoring, SEO, a keywords tool and paid ads integration), it is still a VERY good option for companies who don’t have the need or budget for those features.
A strong marketing automation platform that includes blogging, landing pages, email, social, CRM and sales automation, forms and analytics, Sharpspring is a good fit for someone who needs more than a basic marketing automation platform.
Metrics, Measurement and Analytics:
It’s always shocking to us how many people don’t use a free Google Analytics account to track, measure and improve upon their web site’s performance. Seriously, if you do one thing from this list, sign up for a GA account and learn how to run basic Audience, Acquisition, Top Pages and Goals reports. Then DO IT every single week.
This analytics tool is designed for publishers who want to monitor which articles, sections or authors are most popular on their news, magazine or publishing site. With real-time monitoring and the ability to view analytics about your video content, Chartbeat is a valuable addition to your analytics arsenal if you’re part of a publishing team.
This is a basic, free solution for small web sites. It has a simple and clear dashboard, but offers limited functionality in the free version. It’s still a good choice if you have basic needs and just want to wrap your arms around high-level analytics.
HubSpot’s Starter, Professional and Enterprise plans include a powerful landing page tool that can handle almost anything you throw at it, including template customization. As with the other tools in this suite, HubSpot’s biggest advantage is that its landing pages are very tightly integrated with the other tools in the suite, including forms, CTAs, social, blogging, web pages, SEO and analytics. You can also view your prospects’ activity on landing pages in the sales/CRM tools.
If you’re looking for a standalone landing page tool that offers a ton of professional-looking, prebuilt design templates and good integration with a lot of other tools, Leadpages may be a good fit for you. Leadpages is reasonably priced given its capabilities, and you can choose from either monthly or annual payments. (You’ll save more with the annual option.)
Although we first started using Vertical Response for email marketing years ago, it now includes a landing page tool. Vertical Response offers multiple payment plans (including a free pay-as-you-go plan with no monthly fees).
This is a very powerful tool that will help you automate your media outreach processes, including identifying influencers, finding contact information for contacts, utilizing templates to send outreach emails and more.
Where do we begin when talking about Teamwork Projects? WE LOVE THIS TOOL and utilize it every day. Here at Flair, it is the backbone of our agency and the hub of all project management, collaboration and communication that we do with each other and with our clients. Teamwork Projects offers the ability to create task lists (which can then be exported as a full-blown project plan or Gantt chart), messages, links and more, and almost anything can be shared with or assigned out to internal team members or external partners (in our case, clients) via email. If you manage multiple projects and want to create order out of chaos, get this tool.
We’ll admit it…it’s been a while since we’ve used Basecamp. We were previously huge fans and used it every day until they removed the time tracking features about five or six years ago (which was a must-have feature for our agency). However, we used it and loved it for a long time, and it’s possible that feature has been reinstated. If you’re looking for a project management, task management, collaboration and sharing tool, this might work for you.
As the most popular ecommerce plugin for WordPress, Woo Commerce is highly customizable, stable and integrates with a huge variety of third-party tools and services, including Stripe, Authorize.net, PayPal, Amazon, FedEx, the USPS and many more.
Shopify is used by merchants worldwide to sell and market products online or offline. It offers an online store, payment processing, point of sale, shipping, fraud analysis and integration with lots of third-party products and services, at an inexpensive monthly price.
Social Media Management:
Are we starting to sound like a broken record yet? HubSpot allows you to monitor, schedule, publish and track social media posts in a user-friendly interface where, if you’re a HubSpot subscriber, you’ll probably already be working quite frequently. In addition to the ability to share HubSpot blog posts via social automatically if you want, there’s also a handy Chrome extension that allows you to instantly share any content that you find online via social in a few clicks. This is really helpful when you’re looking or curated content (i.e. content that other people have written) that would add value to your users.
Looking for one place to go to share and schedule all of your social media posts, control what curated content your team is sharing and measure the success of your social media efforts? Hootsuite might be a good fit for you.
Plan and publish your content for Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and LinkedIn in a simple, easy-to-use dashboard. You can draft posts, collaborate with your team, and execute your social media marketing campaigns.
We’ve found this little gem to be massively helpful when planning out our clients’ digital marketing strategies, although it would also be useful if you’re doing business planning in general. You can define business goals, document competitive advantages and differentiators, think through your company’s strengths and weaknesses, create marketing personas, plan out product releases or sprints, and create product roadmaps tied to your marketing plan. This is particularly helpful for software companies or companies who offer frequent product updates that need to be planned and tracked.
Again, we’re showing our bias as a HubSpot partner here, but HubSpot is useful at helping you think through your marketing plans strategically, including allowing you to document your business goals, define your marketing personas, conduct keyword research, plan campaigns and create an editorial calendar that will keep your team on top of things in one integrated workspace.