21 digital marketing tools to help you win 2019
As a digital marketer you’re short on time and you’ve grown weary of trying new apps to get the job done. Look no further! We’ve packaged up a list of the best free and affordable options for your digital marketing toolkit - the ones we use ourselves.
Content creation: Marisa
As Communications Manager, I’m all about creating content that stops you in your tracks. As we know, content creation has a heavy visual component – first you need to capture a viewer’s attention before they can decide whether or not to read your content.
This is where your phone comes into play; of course nothing can replace a DSLR and first-class lens but, honestly, if you’re as busy as I am, taking a pic you can quickly snap, edit and post is paramount.
I’m an iPhone user so all this will be most relevant to Apple fans, but many features appear on other devices. Here’s my arsenal:
First up: the tried and true Camera app. In-built on iPhone are handy features like Timelapse and Slo-mo. I’m also enjoying playing with iPhone XR’s Portrait feature which can add a depth to your photos, as if being taken with a superior lens.
I’m a massive fan of Live photos on the iPhone, mostly because you can capture a mini video - Live photos take three second snap shots which you can turn into a video (with sound) or a cheeky GIF.
We love the way this technique captured the moment - and personalities! - at a recent Sookio gathering in a way that a photo wouldn’t have and video set up would have missed the moment.
My favourite free app for editing photos on your phone. Snapseed is a brilliant photo editing app. It comes with 29 tools and filters to enhance your photos. For all its fantastic features - and there are many! - the thing I appreciate the most is they NEVER try to up sell you extra filters, packs or watermark removal. Just great results.
Creating beautiful designs and Pinterest-worthy imagery. Free design platform, Canva, can enhance your content with easy-to-use design templates, extensive fonts selection and graphics to help whip up infographics in a pinch. If need be, you can purchase (quite affordably) more intricate designs and, best yet, you can incorporate your branding easily.
How to keep content accessible and organised. Google Photos is a free, helpful and intuitive photo storage platform, allowing you to keep all your photos backed up and readily at your fingertips without clogging up your phone! Very helpful, especially when low on storage (you don’t want to start deleting apps and music just to take a photo, amiright?).
Playful design. Make the everyday slightly more interesting by experimenting with film making. We know that video converts - including video in email marketing increases click through rates by 200%-300%.
“But how can I make better videos?” you’re asking. Here are some apps designed to make experimental video content a little easier:
Life lapse is an app to create stop motion video content. It’s free if you don’t mind the logo, or try before you buy and opt for the seven day trial to remove their logo.
Hype Type allows you to spice up your photos by animating text and adding sound over an image; they also helpfully allow you to export multiple designs for different social media channels.
Wondering how to plan and schedule content on the run? Buffer social media manager is a very helpful tool to manage all your social media accounts and schedule posts across all your platforms.
Nailing those hashtags. If you’re in need of some hashtag inspiration to get your Insta pics noticed you can try a hashtag generator. Be warned, they’re not always the most relevant but they do suggest tags you perhaps haven’t thought of.
Project management: Deepa
As Digital Strategist, Deepa handles all things strategy-related and is a primo project manager. She keeps on top of client-work and projects, so therefore always has her ear to the ground for new, cutting-edge programmes.
What programme to use to manage your newsletter subscribers. MailChimp seems like an obvious recommendation, but you may not be aware of the newer, more advanced features MailChimp now has.
It starts with emails. As well as normal campaigns you can send automated emails to customers and subscribers. For example, you can ask them to review an item a certain time after they've purchased. You can set up other workflows that capture abandoned carts or keep up with lapsed customers, for example.
You can also create very customisable landing pages to accompany campaigns using MailChimp. They're simple to build and can be branded in whichever way you'd like. A real boon for marketers, no more waiting around for your website team to create extra pages!
How to keep up with trending news for social media. Forekast 'The calendar for the internet'. I recently found Forekast, which simply lists all the notable events that are coming up. It's American-focused but useful anyhow - allowing you to plan seasonal content and be aware of what may or may not trend, as well as what's trending now.
Preview Facebook ads. Need to see what your Facebook ad might look like before it goes live? Need to convince your boss that Instagram advertising is a good idea? Adparlor is an ad mockup generator; the website lets you add logos, images and copy to give you an idea of what your ad might look it. We use it so clients can approve their ad creatives. This saves us time setting up dummy ad campaigns just to get the advert preview.
Business development: Sue
To complement Marisa and Deepa’s tips on creating great content, allow me to share some of the behind-the-scenes tools we use to keep everything running smoothly.
A customer relationship management tool (CRM). We’re loving Capsule to the point that we recommend it to people and train them up on it too!
Assuming all your wonderful digital marketing activity is proving effective, you’ll be generating lots of lovely leads. A CRM will help you keep on top of these, and your sales pipeline too. I also use the tagging feature a lot, so I can quickly look up projects relating to a particular sector or location. Then if I’m in, say, Edinburgh, I can quickly find someone I can meet for coffee!
Accounts software. You need Xero or Sage in your life. Not only does it cut down on paper and potential human error from manually creating invoices in Word or Google Docs, but they will save you time each month by helping you automate processes. You can also see if invoices have been viewed – perfect for the SME who is always getting the run around from accounts teams in large corporates.
Time tracking and leave time. Keeping a watchful eye on time is important if you are going to increase that profit margin and work out which activities are actually the most worthwhile. In our agency we tend to bill on a project basis rather than by the hour, so we need something simple, like MyHours. You want to make sure it’s easy for the team to use too; otherwise, you end up spending more time on tracking than doing the work!
And a newcomer to our favourite suite of tools is Timetastic, which we now use to book holiday time. A classic case of picking one thing and doing it brilliantly. It integrates with Slack and Google Calendar too, so the whole thing feels seamless.
Talking of Slack! This messaging app for teams has massively reduced the amount of emails we were sending internally. We simply have a channel per client or major project, and use this to discuss the work. No more digging through 17-message long email threads trying to pick out the important nugget of information.
Project management tools. We love Trello for its simple sticky note-style ease of use, satisfying checklists and the way it helps us collaborate as a team. But for larger scale projects with multiple milestones – like a website build – our partner agencies tend to use Basecamp or Asana.
Lastly, password management. We find ourselves getting well bossy with clients who use projectname123 or similar across ten different platforms. If you get handy with one new tool in 2019, make it something like LastPass to ensure you are fully protected. Getting hacked by someone using your Twitter account to flog cheap Viagra is never a good look.
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Need help with your digital marketing? Get in touch - we can do everything from creating bespoke content strategies to boosting your social media with stunning video and animation.