Every seasoned digital marketer understands the importance of having the right tools for the job. Batman may be a world-class combatant, but he can’t flit between gargoyle perches and rooftops without his night-vision goggles and his physically-implausible grapple gun. And getting it right is as much about what you don’t use as it is about what you do.
Think about it this way: no one has the time, resources or energy to juggle all viable tools. They must consider the pros and cons of every option available to them, and come up with a selection that best meets their needs — and that selection must be periodically reviewed as new tools are developed and overlooked or underrated tools get discovered.
In this post, we’re going to look at the latter category: digital marketing tools that marketers should be using far more often than they are — but instead of considering specific instances, we’ll look at tool types. By working them into your strategy, you can steal a march on your more static competitors. Here are five I advise considering:
A configurable VPN
Digital marketers need to spend a lot of time thinking about SEO, and rankings in particular. Because Google doesn’t simply tell people how its ranking system works, the only way to figure things out is through finding what works and trying to infer its secrets through reverse engineering — but rankings vary based on location, which can cause a lot of headaches.
People generally associate VPNs with digital piracy and watching Netflix from other countries, but that’s not all they’re good for. Using a VPN also allows you to quickly gauge rankings in different locations (and avoid getting personalized results that can skew things) — and while there are costly VPNs out there, you can get away with using a free VPN (there’s a solid list at whatismyipaddress.com) if you don’t need to download a lot of data.
A social mention checker
Knowing what people are saying about your brand on social media is extremely valuable for reputation management, because a lot can be gauged from the general sentiment — but you probably don’t feel like staring at your phone all day, repeatedly refreshing your search for a particular keyword. This is where social mention checkers come in.
A social mention tool allows you to define numerous brand-related keywords to be checked on a regular basis, and will inform you of how things are going in an easy-to-follow way. You can even group mentions into categories (typically positive, neutral, and negative) to get a simple idea of how people are viewing your brand. Check some out at Brandwatch.
A website monitor
One of the problems with keeping track of a website’s SEO progress is that it’s always hard to tell how particular ranking changes relate to particular page changes. If you release an update each week for a month, then notice a ranking improvement two weeks later, which update do you think made the biggest difference? Is there any way to tell? Factor in how often clients make changes without informing their marketers and you have a major problem.
By setting up a tool to periodically check a site and take a snapshot of it to list alongside the rankings at that time, you can ensure that you have a comprehensive record of progress. You still won’t know exactly what causes ranking changes, but you’ll have a much better idea than you did before. Take a look at G2’s selection.
A content recycler
No, I’m not talking about environmental efforts: I’m talking about making the best use of your marketing content by using it repeatedly (where appropriate). Social media posts, in particular, are keenly ephemeral: a particular Tweet might have minutes in the spotlight — if that — before it’s sent hurtling down people’s feeds by newer content and ads.
Since the Tweet in question will only be seen by a fraction of people in the target audience, it makes all the sense in the world to use it again at a different time. I suggest considering tools like Edgar or OneUp: choose one that looks good to you and decide how frequently (and in what circumstances) you wish to recycle your content.
A simple video editor
Underrated? Surely video editors are rated exactly as they should be? Well, video editors are underrated as digital marketing tools for two reasons: firstly, video itself is still underrated as a marketing tool (everyone should be using it, as it’s impactful, flexible, and entirely accessible), and secondly, editing isn’t always attributed the importance it warrants.
The difference between a great marketing video and a terrible one is often just editing. Which parts are taken out, which are left in, which are shortened or moved around — it all factors into the efficacy. But since video editing is tricky, marketers often reason that it doesn’t matter that much. It actually isn’t as complicated as is often thought, though, as evidenced by the proliferation of editors that were designed to be maximally intuitive.
Whether you’ve used any of these things before or have never given them much consideration, I see them as absolutely underrated and undervalued. Adding just a couple of these tools to your digital marketing strategy could make all the difference.
Also published on Medium.