We saw a lot of innovative marketing tools emerge in 2015. And, might I say, many of them were extremely good. Now, at the dawn of the new 2016, marketers are once again preparing their arsenal for the upcoming year. To commemorate this occasion, I decided to ask 27 marketing experts for their number one tool that will help maximize business growth in 2016. Here’s what each of them had to say.
2016 Marketing Tool #1: SEMrush
Going into the new year it is crucial to utilize marketing tools that will be constantly evolving with new threads that will inevitably surface. SEMrush has already proven to be on course by introducing a social media tool to analyze and process data from yours and your company’s social media outlets.
Combine this with their existing comprehensive keyword search tool and advertising analysis tool, to name a few, and SEMrush will put you at an advantage over your competitors by eliminating the guesswork involved in growing a business.
As a marketing agency that manages dozens of SEO accounts, we have found SEMrush to be an indispensable tool for both finding new opportunities and reporting to clients. The new custom reporting tool which was added less than a month ago greatly enhances the value of this already powerful program.
Bob Shirilla from Simply-Bags also swears by SEMrush and states that it is thanks to the power of this tool that his business has discovered new product lines that competitors were already having success with and then managed to bring his own products to the top of the SERPs using data from SEMrush:
SEMrush will reverse engineer any website on the Internet. It provides key marketing information essential for any eCommerce company [in order for it] to compete. Acquiring high positions in Google’s and Bing’s search results is challenging and knowing your competitors’ keyword positioning, landing page analysis, and backlinks acquisition will keep you ahead of the game.
2016 Marketing Tool #2: BuzzStream
This tool allows you to research influencers, manage your relationships and conduct outreach. We use [it] to carry out all of our guest post research. Guest posting is great for SEO purposes as you can generate good inbound links and it gives your company exposure.
BuzzStream acts as a crawler and picks out contact details from a website. It also has a built-in Chrome extension so you save details with a click of a button. In one instance this allowed us to gather 7 guest posts in one day.
2016 Marketing Tool #3: BuzzSumo
The second marketing tool that Richard recommends for business growth in 2016 is BuzzSumo:
This tool allows you to identify popular content, view sharers of content and to find influencers. You can replicate articles that have already been shared lots and see what’s trending within your industry.
You are also able to search for influencers on Twitter based on keywords in their bio. You can then outreach to them and share your content. The fact that it’s relevant increases the chances of it being shared.
Another marketing expert I interviewed also strongly recommends the use of BuzzSumo. Kari DePhillips, who is owner of The Content Factory, says that BuzzSumo “will do everything but make you coffee”:
This tool will do everything but make you coffee in the morning, and it’s less than $100 per month. BuzzSumo makes it easy to identify and reach out to influencers on social media, as well as seek out content marketing opportunities by looking at the most shared articles online about any given subject – over any give time period.
BuzzSumo also tells you what the ideal content length and type of blog post is likely to do best (how to, list, etc) for any topic you can think of.
2016 Marketing Tool #4: Google Analytics
After spending years working for small businesses and corporations, there is no doubt that the best marketing tool is the free one: Google Analytics.
For free you can:
- Set goals for sales and conversions as well as track those goals.
- Display how users interact with your website so you can adjust and improve web pages to increase engagement.
- Compare your target market to your actual market.
- Track how and where users are finding your website.
- Track most popular web pages/products and compare to actual sales.
- You can use this tool’s data to increase sales, conversions, SEO, SEM, email marketing and so much more.
Other marketing tools only have some of this data and to get it all you’ll need multiple tools and hundreds of dollars a month.
Ameet Khabra, who is a search engine marketing specialist, also thinks that Google Analytics is one of the best marketing tools for business growth and will remain such in 2016:
I believe that Google Analytics is one of the best free tools out there. It’s rather baffling to see how many websites actually don’t have [Google] Analytics installed and are losing out on valuable data.
Google Analytics allows you to identify any issues on your site through their metrics which aides in growing your business. If I know my bounce rate for my contact page is 92%, there is a problem and I need to fix it immediately.
Once the issue is fixed, I know I will start seeing more contact forms come in.
2016 Marketing “Tool” #5: Content
Adam Greenbaum, who is CEO of Greenbaum Digital, thinks that good old-fashioned dedication to quality content will be key to business growth in 2016:
In 2016, my main focus is strong content. I don’t just mean blog posts and funny tweets, I mean shareable content whether it’s written or designed. We live in a world where BuzzFeed, Mashable, and The Huffington Post are kings of the Internet and it’s because they churn out powerful content every single day.
Brands need to do that on a consistent basis and 2016 is the best time to start. Helps with brand awareness, helps with SEO, and it helps with creating an authority in your niche. No new platform or advertising needed, just a stronger dedication to content.
2016 Marketing Tool #6: Rocket Fuel
James Armstrong from Wooden Blinds Direct says that one of the best marketing tools that they discovered last year is Rocket Fuel, which is a display advertising tool that makes heavy use of data to improve on when, where, and to whom your ads are displayed:
The returns were initially good [from Rocket Fuel], but as we continued to run the campaign, their algorithm gathered an exponentially increasing amount of data from which to draw conclusions and further finesse our campaigns, meaning that the ROI continued to climb every month.
We’re now at the point where we’re able to manipulate the campaign to display ads to users likely to have a greater spend than average, meaning that we’re able to improve revenue and average order values even more, without having to increase our advertising spend. To say we’re delighted is an understatement.
The thing to bear in mind with this tool is that it operates on data from converting customers, so you’ll have to have a good number of conversions per day to provide the tool with the data it needs to do its job. This means it’s a great way to build on solid eCommerce foundations.
2016 Marketing Tool #7: Canva
It’s amazingly easy to use and a must-have tool for every marketer. One can create images for all different kinds of occasions – event headers, Facebook cover pictures, Google ads, etc.
And most of it is for free. One doesn’t need any graphic design skills and can inexpensively create one’s own material for brochures, presentations, and many more. It is vital for my business growth because it saves me a lot of money, is extremely fun to use, [and] supports me with creatives for any situation.
2016 Marketing Tool #8: Appboy
Appboy is a web and mobile SDK that when integrated with Segment IO allows for us to track, connect, nurture, and cross-sell our customers. We use it by placing the code throughout our website (and [our] future mobile app).
It tracks the visitors that land on the page and logs their sessions. It then allows a company to push the user messages to re-engage them and then nurture to landing pages for a conversion. We are a tech enabled, commercial real estate business with a high value per transaction so seeing conversion rates rise significantly, can really impact our bottom line.
2016 Marketing Tool #9: CoSchedule
As my blog has grown, I’ve needed a way to manage multiple writers, editors, and social media management. CoSchedule allows you to put it all together. It starts with a content calendar that’s integrated with WordPress.
You create assignments on the calendars, and can assign them to writers and editors from the calendar. No need to go to a different program. Then, you can connect your social media accounts and set it up to where the content is automatically shared once it is published.
I am now scheduling out social media shares for months each time I publish new content. It has allowed me to plan for sharing and will continue to increase engagement.
2016 Marketing Tool #10: Survicate
Lucek Kierczak from Survicate, says that his company’s tool will be vital for business growth in 2016:
Using Survicate, you can collect feedback from visitors directly on your website. Collected answers will help you understand their behavior and discover problems that they meet.
Analyzing gathered insights helps you tailor your website and services to needs of visitors (e.g. Colorescience built a new section on the website to make choosing products easier). Thanks to an automated on-boarding process, you’ll start collecting answers in just a few minutes.
2016 Marketing Tool #11: GetResponse
Gone are the days where all we needed was an email tool that could send out email blasts. That’s boring and too much of a one-size-fits-all approach. 2016 is going to be the year of email automation.
One of my favorites right now is GetResponse. They offer everything you need to supercharge your email marketing campaigns. Basically, email marketing is a lot smarter when you’re able to segment your list based on behavior and preference. GetResponse allows you to do just that.
2016 Marketing “Tool” #12: The Phone
No, it’s not a product, nor a service if you were expecting that. It’s the phone we use every day and Janice Means from EmbroidMe thinks that not utilizing your phone the right way is a problem that both small businesses and large corporations have:
My recommendation for marketing in 2016 is use your phone as a business/marketing tool. Answer incoming calls with the name of the business. Create the outgoing voicemail message to include the name of the business.
Listen to your voicemails before you hit callback. Change the signature line of your email from your phone from “Sent from my iPhone (or Android, T-Mobile, etc) to business name, contact name, phone number, so that people know who it came from and who to call. [While we’re] on this one, make sure it’s changed on all your devices as well.
2016 Marketing Tool #13: Sezion
Josías De La Espada, who is the CEO of Sezion, a video personalization tool, says that online video will not be all about just watching anymore:
It will be about increasing sales and engagement by integrating it on marketing automation and sales acceleration workflows. Zapier, Sezion, and Facebook Video will play the winner card.
Zapier helps automate tasks between more than 500 business apps. Sezion combines marketing automation with personalized videos, so you can engage with every lead and customer with the type of content that brings the best ROI in a relevant way for every viewer.
Facebook Video is changing the game by connecting targeted audiences to videos and by including powerful in-video CTAs and better analytics to drive actions and traffic according to your business goals.
2016 Marketing Tool #14: Capturly
Akos Boros from Capturly says that their tool is simple and helps you know what your visitors are doing even when you are asleep:
It allows you to record your users real-time and follow their clicks, scrolls, form fills and other activities on your website. Traditional analytics tools will give you numbers, but can never give you this level of insight. Actions speak louder than numbers.
2016 Marketing Tool #15: Pay Your Selfie
This one is a bit unorthodox, but in the marketing world, we love unorthodox. Michelle Smyth, who is the Co-Founder of Pay Your Selfie, says that selfies are the new marketing trend:
Selfies are rich with information and offer a window into consumer’s lives. Pay Your Selfie creates a double-sided marketplace to connect consumers with advertisers who are eager to reach them in relevant ways.
This bridged connection creates value for both sides – for consumers, cash, and for advertisers, insight and brand engagement. The app has partnered with iconic brands such as Lord & Taylor, Crest, and many more.
2016 Marketing Tool #16: DOZ
Dr. Dylan Kissane from DOZ, an SaaS digital marketing solution, says that their tool is helping businesses execute their marketing more effectively and efficiently which results in more clients by the day:
Instead of outsourcing to marketers on Fiverr or UpWork where quality varies and deadlines are consistently blown, DOZ’s marketplace of 6,000 verified, curated marketing experts deliver world-class marketing on schedule, on budget, and exactly as demanded every time.
It’s easy for businesses to manage their marketing needs and easy for individual marketers to be matched to tasks they know best.
2016 Marketing Tool #17: Hootsuite
Hootsuite offers a single stream from which you can manage your company’s Facebook, Google Plus, LinkedIn and Twitter with ease. You’re able to manage, update posts, and engage with customers via Hootsuite.
Being in business means that you need to keep your online social media brand active. You should be replying to customers, followers, and keeping media informed with any new updates, releases, or anything newsworthy. It’s cheaper and easier for a business to manage all social media channels through one single service, compared to having a whole team working separately on each channel.
2016 Marketing Tool #18: Quora
As any entrepreneur knows, the first hurdle of sales is generating awareness. You can create it on Quora, and then cross-promote on other social networks. If you’re a professional service provider or a B2B vendor, one of the best marketing tools is Quora.
Regularly participating in Quora question threads and providing education about issues, products, problem solving can pay off big. The CEO of a San Francisco software coding academy told me in 2014 that he could attribute well over $1 million USD in sales to Quora Q&As during the previous 18 – 24 months. I’ve personally seen it work well with several of my marketing clients.
- Comeet, one of my B2B clients, has closed 4 – 5 deals in the past three months from “introductions” and product trials that were generated by answering 30+ questions in a variety of recruiting and talent acquisition categories.
- It took about six weeks of my own posting on marketing and communications threads to receive my first inbound business inquiry.
Regularly posting for at least 3 – 6 months (or longer), the kind of habitual effort or routine that Gary Vaynerchuk calls the overnight success 15 years in the making, is going to drive traffic.
You just have to figure out where you want it to go. Translating traffic into revenue depends on what you sell, such as product or service sales, affiliate commissions, traffic generation or event registrations.
It’s certainly worth participating, mostly because you can reach a global audience for zero cost (other than time), and then re-merchandise the content elsewhere.
2016 Marketing Tool #19: Outbox Pro
Ken Herron, who is CMO at Unified Inbox, says that in 2016, your business needs to engage its customers on all the different social media platforms they’re on, if it wants to grow faster:
Outbox Pro is the only social publishing tool that makes it easy for global businesses to publish on both Western and Asian social networks. With 100% control, Outbox Pro allows you to have anyone create great posts for your editing, approval, and review, giving you both better and more frequent posts.
Finally, Outbox Pro is used by conference and event organizers to enable speakers and sponsors to publish on their official social media accounts, delivering more value for participants and speakers, and a completely new high-margin source for organizers.
2016 Marketing “Tool” #20: Triple Monitor Setup
Oh yea, the station of a marketer must be a multi-monitor one otherwise, you are being time inefficient. Brent Hale from Hale Enterprises thinks that every online entrepreneur should have correctly set up their “battle station”:
One of my most important tools for marketing (and staying productive in the office) is a triple monitor setup. Using three monitors helps me reduce the amount of “tab-switching” I have to do and allows me to have more information at my disposal.
2016 Marketing Tool #21: OutWit
Curtis Boyd, who is CEO at Future Solutions Media, says that marketing in 2016 will be all about the best data for personalization and relevance:
Here’s a marketing tool I bet you have never heard of: OutWit. It can collect data at astonishing rates (10,000 queries in 5 minutes) and hone in on priority targets for further data extraction. I have used it a lot for lead generation, as well as marketing potentials in regards to viable outlets.
2016 Marketing Tool #22: ReviewTrackers
Chris Campbell, who is CEO at ReviewTrackers, a SaaS based platform that aggregates all online reviews for a company into one place, is going help business achieve tremendous growth in 2016:
Companies can manage customer feedback and leverage this information to improve their overall business in numerous ways. This sort of data aggregation is vital to the growth of any vertical. Currently, 79% of a consumer’s decision to use a product/service is dictated by the existing reviews for that business.
User generated content is driving the direction of many businesses and this is the proof. Through deep research, we have found that managing and leveraging online reviews can increase a company’s revenue, lower operation costs, improve social engagement and better its SEO efforts.
2016 Marketing Tool #23: NinjaOutreach
Dave Schneider from NinjaOutreach thinks that every content marketer should be using their tool for business growth:
If blogger outreach is a part of your marketing strategy, then a tool that will handle the prospecting, contact management, and outreach is imperative. The tool I recommend for this is NinjaOutreach.
it is easy to use and does all of that in one tool, and I have used it to 5x my traffic in 2015. I have done this primarily through incorporating influencers into large list posts and expert roundups.
2016 Marketing “Tool” #24: Boost Social Posts
Kelsey Goeres, who is the social media and marketing manager at MyCorporation, says that you need to start using the boosted post option if you are on Facebook and Twitter:
It’s the only way to get a lot of eyes (and new eyes) on your posts. If you’re using those outlets just as a place to dump content you’ve written, then this isn’t necessarily pertinent, but if you want to get clicks to your website from your social posts, and you want to build your audience, you need to boost your posts in 2016.
So there you have it. The number one tool of each of these marketers that will most influence business growth in 2016. We had a couple of experts agree on SEMrush and Google Analytics, but the rest had their own unique picks.
Surely 2016 will be extremely exciting as we see more and more revolutionary tools emerge from the depths of the creativity of the minds of the people in this industry. Too much? The question is, do you already have a formulated plan as to how you will grow your business in 2016? You better.