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2020 was a weird year, huh? From the standpoint of running a business, it was tough and it forced many business owners to adapt. One way they had to adapt was their marketing. For example, how can you still get your name in front of your consumers when they aren’t out and about and shopping at outlet malls and downtown locations? Digital marketing came into the forefront as something that all businesses must invest in. Luckily, there are many great digital marketing tools that businesses can utilize to keep their consumers engaged from afar.
After all, what is a magician without his deck of cards, and what is a marketer without his ever-evolving toolkit of amazing tools? I absolutely love these incredible and effective tools, for 2021 and beyond. I believe tools can’t make you more persuasive, but they can amplify your ability to get the word out – thus allowing you to educate, persuade, and entertain at a greater scale.
Table of Contents
5 New Tools for 2021!
1. Exploding Topics – Brian Dean’s brilliant new tool for identifying topics that are reaching a fever pitch.
2. Rank Math – A Yoast SEO alternative to help your WordPress site rank high on Google – with better features than Yoast, including built-in internal linking and schema markup in the free version.
3. Spark Toro – Rand Fishkin’s tool for identifying real influence in social media, and identify fake followers and other red herrings.
4. Mobile Monkey – Larry Kim’s chatbot tool that allows you to build chatbots easily.
5. Surfer SEO – Matt Diggity’s tool for doing on-page SEO and identifying opportunities to rank higher on Google.
Best analysis, and measurement tools for 2021
1. Ahrefs – ridiculously efficient competitive analysis, keyword tracking, and traffic volume research.
2. Google Data Studio – Curated a bad-ass dashboard for ‘stakeholders’ to see how amazing you’re doing.
3. Google Search Console – Finding high impression, low click pages
4. Google Analytics – Reverse goal path for attributing success from conversions + assisted conversions
Best Advertising & Content Promotion tools for 2021
5. Google Adwords – remarketing + Expanded Exact Match keywords
6. Facebook Ad Platform – remarketing + dynamic creative
7. Quuu Promote – for content promotion to specific niches on Twitter (they curate for other’s accounts)
Best outsourcing tools for 2021
8. Upwork – for grabbing new talent and outsourcing, great for web developers, though you have to sort through a lot
8. Fiverr – for little tasks where quality isn’t super important.
Best visual design tools for 2021
9. Invision – for sharing mockups, and creating prototypes.
10. Adobe XD for Designers – for insanely quick and powerful UI Design.
Best WordPress plugins for 2021
11. WP Fastest Cache Premium – for speedy 2 second or less WordPress load-times.
12. Yoast SEO – for comprehensive and delightful easy management of SEO related things like meta-titles and de-indexing.
13. Advanced Ads Plugin – I love this tool for creating mid-content call-to-actions on blog posts, and you can change them out for mobile, or by category.
14. Gravity Forms – for creating epic forms. I love being able to create conditional fields, uploads, tabbed content, and style on the fly with pre-made CSS classes. The pro version has tons of extra amazing stuff.
15. Calculated Fields – Want to make an epic calculator on your site as part of some of your moonshot content? Calculated Fields can do that in a jiffy.
16. Advanced Custom Fields – The pre-eminent web developer helper. Allows web designer and developers to more quickly create ‘from scratch’ WordPress themes, and give clients (and themselves) the ability to edit content easily – ACF just injects that content into the appropriate part of the template – trust me, it’s magical.
17. Hustle – All kinds of E-mail capture options, quickly and efficiently in a way that hooks up with whatever service you need it to. (I’ll just sneak in here that I use a combination of Mailchimp (for newsletters) and InfusionSoft (for nicely paced follow-up’s to opt-in’s.)
Bonus! Check out this Marketing Budget Calculator for 2021!
Best Social Media Tools for 2021
18. Sprout Social – This tool is amazing to get an idea of what your social media marketing is doing for your business, what the trends are for your likes and follows – and most importantly: engagement.
19. Buffer + Buffer Chrome Extension – Schedule out your posts on social media like a boss. Buffer even gives you ideal times to post and has a color logo overlay tool Pablo, and the Buffer Chrome extension allows you to add content on the fly whenever you’re reading a post and want to Buffer it out.
20. Canva – For non-designers, if you want a tool that really helps you do some featured images for your blog posts, or quotes and whatnot for social media, Canva is the way to go.
21. Social Quant – My friend Clayton Johnson swears by this tool for getting more engaged followers on Twitter. I haven’t tried it, but after him waxing poetic about it, I might have to give it a try.
22. Promote Hour – If you want to get your new content in front of a wide variety of audiences from Reddit, ProductHunt, HackerNews, and Cnet Promote Hour will handle the dirty work for you.
Best P.R. / Outreach / Influencer Tools for 2021
23. Pitchbox – An amazing tool to create templates and do outreach to people for guest posting or whatever your heart desires.
24. Ninja Outreach – Similar to Pitchbox, but with its own set of drawbacks and benefits. Probably a little easier to pick up and go than Pitchbox, but doesn’t seem to have as many tools in the program.
25. PressAdvisors – Get a press release created for you with none of the work, and get it distributed to 350+ websites. Fantastic for any new site to get some linking diversity and get on some well-respected sites.
Best Website Speed Tools for 2021
26. GT Metrix Page Speed Tester – Great way to see what you can improve about your website to make sure it’s going as fast as it can. A fast website is huge to getting a decent ranking and providing a great user experience.
27. Pingdom Website Speed Test – Another excellent tool for this kind of work, I like how Pingdom lays out possible improvements and gives a quick and visual reference, so you know where to focus.
Best SEO Tools for 2021
28. Press Release Jet – If you’ve already gotten a press release made, this is a great option just for distribution. Press releases are one part of an initial SEO strategy, and I deploy at least one for every site I do SEO on for clients.
29. Keywords Everywhere – Allows you to see what ‘cost per click’ and search volume are for certain keywords. Works great with Google search console to enhance the information you’re getting in the tool.
30. Answer the Public – Allows you to see commonly searched questions for a particular keyword or topic. Perfect for researching what you could write about when you’re trying to brainstorm topics for your blog.
Best Conversion Rate Optimization Tools for 2021
31. CallRail – If you want to track your phone-calls from your website in Google Analytics and beyond, this tool will allow you to do this relatively easily. It also will whisper the source at the beginning of the call if you’d like and record phone-calls if you select that option.
32. Optimizely – A/B Test on the fly without having to code two different versions of the site. Make changes and see what converts better. A delightful way to show the difference in revenue that design changes can make on sites with a higher volume of traffic.
33. Inspectlet – Record the visitors on your site. Sounds creepy, but great for figuring out why people aren’t converting, or what path they’re taking through the site and where they are ‘falling off,’ in a way that gives more context than analytics.
34. CacheKiller – Did you ever make a bunch of changes on your website and then can’t see them because your browser has ‘cached’ the changes? This tool allows you to turn off that feature easily and quickly with the press of one button (always there at the top right of your browser), without a bunch of poking around in your browser settings.
35. Wappalyzer – This browser plugin also sits at the top right of your browser and gives a dropdown to show any tech on a particular website that is being used by the site. Kind of fun to spy on competitors quickly without having to dive into the code and know if they are on WordPress or what JS frameworks, if you’re into that sort of thing, or using any analytics tools and much more.
Best Sales Tools for 2021
36. Calend.ly – Allow people to schedule time with you quickly without all the back and forth in an email about what day, what time, and timezone, etc.
37. Hubspot – This set of tools keeps getting better and better. The free aspects of Hubspot sales and Hubspot marketing give you analytics about which pages a lead visited and gives you a very visual interface for your sales funnel, along with options for cataloging information about sales, and it’s nice to have a place to go to that tells you who to follow up with. Hubspot makes it simple.
38. SalesReach – Give your prospects clarity around key points of your process along the sales journey with this amazing sales tool, combine with video, case studies, and team to give a high-end onboarding experience. Super easy to swap out steps, and have different components saved and ready for repeated use.
WordPress Plugin Honorable Mentions
39. All in One WP Migration – Unless you enjoy the manual migration of databases you’ll love this tool that makes moving WordPress instances less painful (if they aren’t massive – then you’ve got to do it the old school way.)
40. Broken Link Checker – helps you stay on top of broken links on your site.
41. Search & Filter Pro – A bit more for programmers, or front end developers that want to search and sort things on the front end of the website without coding it all by hand.
42. SEO Auto-linker – Kind of an old school plugin, but one that I love. It allows you to get a lot more internal links to your main pages by setting up an auto-linker for each term separated by a comma that you want to link to that page. Internal links are huge for ‘crawl-ability’ – a very helpful thing in search engine optimization and internal links are very underrated.
43. Super Socializer – This tool allows you to add share buttons anywhere and everywhere on your site, as well as social logins and other social tools.
44. WordPress Smush – Get your images as small as they can be without making them look bad.
45. Duplicate Post – Give yourself or your clients an option to duplicate any kind of post on the backend of WordPress. Invaluable.
Best Stock Photo / Video Tools for 2021
46. Pexels for Stock Photography – Completely free stock photography for any use. Their selection has a very strong lifestyle feel to it which is great for making a more emotional connection with your audience. A solid list of other options: https://blog.hubspot.com/marketing/free-stock-photos
47. Unsplash – Another great stock photography site.
48. PicJumbo – My third favorite of the free stock photography sites.
49. Biteable for Video Creation – Like Canva, but for video. Choose a template and start creating videos for everything from telling your business story to a simple thank you to your customers.
50. Wistia – For embedding beautiful videos in your site, branded, and you can also use call-to-actions and get analytics.
51. Kapwing – For embedding captions onto your video.
52. Descript – Subtitling done for you for 7 cents a minute, with 95% accuracy.
53. Rev.com – Subtitling done for you by humans for $1 a minute, with 99% accuracy.
Best Campaigning tools for 2021
54. MailChimp for Email – Expanding on their dominance in email marketing, MailChimp last year rolled out a new Landing Pages feature to help improve your conversions, and it’s included in their free plan.
Best Technical Tools for 2021
55. Screaming Frog for Site Health/Technical SEO – This tool is a must for keeping your site in top shape for scoring high with technical SEO, including broken links and pages. Basically, a tool that helps you see your site the way search engines see your site to identify what’s broken or missing.
56. Google Tag Assistant for Analytics QA – It’s been a buzz that the importance of analytics is essential for any sized business. That data is no good if you can’t trust it. Use this tool to make sure your analytics and AdWords tags are working correctly. For a fully automated enterprise-level solution for all your analytics vendors, check out Observepoint.
Best Productivity tools for 2021
57. automate.io for Task Automation – Automate is focused on being a more Small Business Owner than Programmer friendly versus Zapier. It’s a great solution to automate tasks, especially as a solution for integrations between software that they don’t offer out of the box.
58. Trello for Project Management – I love the simplicity and visuals of this project management app and versatility of it. I typically create a board for similar projects and take great satisfaction as I move each one though project phases with simple drag and drop. Project cards can be as complex as a full website redesign with comments and file attachments, or simple tasks with assigned due dates.
59. Monday.com for Project Management – Easily creates to-do lists, sort by a client – due date, or any other tags you create. It’s simple enough that each team member can have their own list that allows them to create their own calendar, and also assign multiple people to one task.
Watch this quick video to see how savvy businesses save time and hook better leads: