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EntrepreneurMarketing Tools

101 Must-Have Software Tools to Avoid Failure and Grow Your Business Online

Software solutions have been the secret sauce for the businesses not only surviving, but thriving, during the pandemic. 

Here’s the reality: doing business the old-school way, hoping all your customers will come to your store or find your number online and call you, is no longer working. NOT HAVING A STRONG ONLINE PRESENCE CAN KILL YOUR BUSINESS.

When the tide went down with COVID, many businesses who did not have infrastructure built to adapt to an online marketplace were left out to dry.

But for those businesses that remained, software helped them turn the challenges they faced into incredible opportunities for growth.

 

As a digital marketing agency ourselves, we know a thing or two about great software. So, we thought we’d put together a comprehensive list of the best tools and software by category in 2020. Here are the categories we will cover:

  1. Social Media
  2. SEO and Link Building
  3. Funnel-Building
  4. HR, Billing and Payments
  5. E-Commerce
  6. Communication and Collaboration
  7. CRMs
  8. Email Marketing
  9. Scheduling
  10. Lead Generation
  11. Website and Landing Page Builders
  12. Marketing Automation
  13. Sales and Prospecting
  14. Design
  15. Analytics and Reporting
  16. Content Creation
  17. Other

Now, before we jump in there is one step you still need to take to ensure you actually grow your business. Bookmark this page so you can easily reference it in the future. Here’s how…

Social Media

1. CoSchedule– If you’re looking for a tool that can house everything you need related to social media marketing, this is it. You can track new ideas for content, schedule out posts in advance, assign tasks, and manage multiple platforms for multiple teams at once. My favorite feature? Optimized social scheduling. CoSchedule does allow you to try their service for free for 14 days with paid plans starting at $12/month.

2. HootsuiteThe OG of social media marketing software, Hootsuite has been around the block and knows what they are doing. Hootsuite has everything you need to manage your social media accounts. All the basic features — they are there. If you’re looking to follow other accounts and manage replies to your posts, then Hootsuite is unique in that sense. Hootsuite, in general, offers more bells and whistles than other platforms and would be our recommendation for businesses looking to leverage organic social content.

3. Instasize – Advanced filters and editing tools to make your social photos look amazing. Instasize offers a free trial that gives you access to filters and do some color and video editing. Their Premium membership is also highly affordable: only $4.99/month. 

4. Linktr.ee – Boasting as “the only link you’ll ever need”, the “link in bio” tool helps you simplify your bio for Instagram, Twitter, and Linkedin by showing users all of the content you have previously featured in your bio. This solution is prime for content marketers who keep changing the link in their social platform bios with each offer they feature. You can start for free. If you do a lot of content marketing and want to drive traffic from your social media channels to your website, this tool is essential.

5. Buffer – Buffer has two product categories: Publishing and Analyzing. On the publishing side, Buffer helps you stay on top of your content across all social platforms and even custom tailor your post for each social network. Want to sound more professional for your Linkedin post and keep the other platforms casual? No problem. On the Analytics end, Buffer offers in-depth analytics that go beyond internal dashboards. Further, it helps some businesses get an at-a-glance look at how they are performing across all social platforms. 

6. Later – Later is the dream tool for instagram users and businesses with some amazing features to help you engage your audience and sell products. Another “link in bio” tool, Later helps give your followers access to all of your featured content. The scheduling tool makes posting less time consuming and integrations with Instagram Analytics give you all the essential data you need to know on how customers are interacting with your page. If you’re a business using Instagram to drive revenue, Later deserves your attention. Later offers multiple payment plans, but specifically provides a free plan that gives you ample opportunity to get a feel for the platform before spending money. 

 

SEO and Link Building

7. Ahrefs– Getting people coming to your website is about much more than beautiful design and simple navigation. Ahrefs provides a snapshot of the technical side of generating traffic to your website. They offer a $7 7-day trial. Ahrefs is an “all-in-one SEO toolset” to get you ranking higher in Google. 

8. SEMRush – For many digital marketers, SEMRush started as a tool to do keyword research and has since evolved into an all-in-one SEO platform that helps you create and promote your content more efficiently, much like Ahrefs. The tool offers backlink opportunities, keywords trends, blog headline ideas, paid ads analysis and much more. To get a taste of what SEMRush can do for your business, you can click here and check out their 14-day free trial

9. Buzzsumo – Tired of spending hours on writing a blog to get no traffic to your site? Buzzsumo is one of those tools that can make a real difference in helping you create content that creates a buzz (see what we did there?!). We use Buzzsumo to be smart about the content we create. Search keywords that you want to talk about and Buzzsumo will show you content that’s creating the highest engagement in that category. Want to see what content is most popular on a specific platform (Youtube, for example)? Easy! There’s a lot you can get out of this platform without paying a dime. Simply go on to the website and start plugging in keywords.

10. Yoast WordPress Plugin – There are many SEO WordPress plugins out there, but let me say this: Yoast tops them all. It’s the once-and-for-all SEO plugin that you need for your WordPress site that goes much further than suggesting some good keywords. Meta description, title tag, URLs, site structure and many other elements are indexed by the Yoast plug-in and cross referenced against current search engine algorithms to ensure you have the most relevant content. The Yoast plug-in has been downloaded millions of times for WordPress users with almost all of its features included in the free version.

11. RankMath – Writing good content is difficult enough without having to worry about optimizing your content for SEO results. RankMath is out to change that. The free WordPress plugin helps users write SEO-friendly content. Upon installation, Rank Math verifies your site’s settings and recommends the ideal settings for best performance. The step-by-step wizard then sets up your site’s SEO, social profiles, webmaster profiles and other SEO settings. The dashboard is full of color and easy to navigate. 

12. Google Adwords – If you’re running any ads on the internet, it’s smart to have some experience with Google Ads. Google’s reach alone should put this platform on your radar. The search engine handles over 5 billion searches a day. Further, Google gives you a wide range of targeting filters to narrow in on your audience, especially those with commercial intent. This makes Google platform different from others out there. By advertising through Google, you can run ads to people who have very specific search intent. Naturally, this leads to higher conversion rates on your ads. Lastly, you can get started on any budget. 

13. Pingdom Website Speed Analyzer– This tool is a must-have. No, seriously… Bookmark this URL before you forget and you will thank me forever. The Pingdom Website Speed Analyzer works like this… You type your website’s URL into the search bar and Pingdom tells you the exact time (in seconds) it takes for your site to load, gives you a long list of suggestions for improving your pages performance (with a 0 to 100 score), and gives your site an overall 0 to 100 score, helping you gauge exactly how well your site performs. You can download the data and share it all for free. The truth is, nobody likes a slow-loading website. The first step to improving your site performance is knowing where exactly you need to improve. Pingdom gives you all the solutions and suggestions you need!

14. Ubersuggest – Ubersuggest is a free SEO tool that helps you find new content ideas, learn about your competitors, and get keyword suggestions for your content. It offers many of the same features as many paid tools out there (Ahrefs, Moz, SEMRush), making it a great option for freelancers and those that need quality SEO software on a budget.

15. Google Trends – Unlike other SEO and keyword research tools, Google Trends is the best tool out there for showing you how search trends have changed any period of time (up to several decades). Many businesses use Google Trends to get an idea of the popularity and search trends related to their own brand, client’s brands, or keywords directly tied to their product and service. If your products or services tend to be seasonal in demand, take a glance at Google Trends to see how the volume of search queries for your keywords have changed.

16. Google Rank Page Insights – learn more about how your website is performing. A faster website means two things (1) a better experience for your users and (2) better SEO results. Trust me, you want both.

17. Cloudfare – Only investigate setting up this tool if you have a technical background or have a tech person on your team. The primary benefit is that it helps to speed up your website (which is good for SEO), potentially save you money on server costs, and protect your site from certain security threats.

18. Answer the Public – Answer the Public is very helpful when working discovering new keywords to add to your SEO campaign and can also be helpful in better understanding your target audience in general. The tool allows you to plug in phrases and see what questions customers have been asking related to that phrase. It’s incredibly insightful, as many of the questions that your customers ask are highly revealing of the problems that they want solved. If nothing else, at least take a look at their home page. It’s weirdly entertaining (you’ll know what I mean when you see it).

 

Funnel-Building Software

19. Funnelytics – If you’re looking to build, visualize, track and grab analytics on sales funnels, Funnelytics has got you covered. It’s a simple tool that gets you up-and-running with great visualizations in little time. My favorite feature, the “Forecast”, allows you to estimate the flow of traffic through your funnel before it goes live. This is a great option to use when building out funnels for clients that you can show them the expected conversion you expect prior to launch. 

 

20. ClickFunnels– Clickfunnels has one of the most loyal fanbases out there… and for good reason. The software is the most prominent brand in the digital sales funnel space. It’s an easy drag-and-drop landing page builder for entrepreneurs looking to generate leads and sales, whether for an e-commerce company, as a consultant, or service-based business. Clickfunnels starts at $97/month. They do not offer a free version but do have a 14-day free trial available.

 

HR, Billing Payments Software

21. Gusto– Gusto has made HR simple. It’s all-in-one solution that allows you to support, pay, insure, and onboard your team all in one spot. One cool thing that seperates Gusto from the pack is the ability to add unlimited payrolls at one set cost. Pretty nice for a business looking to scale. Gusto starts at $45/month. Unfortunately, there is no free version of trial, so you’d have to jump right in. But, in our opinion, it’s well worth it. The interface provides a more modern, streamlined look than other competitors.

22. Quickbooks– No accounting experiencing? No need to worry! Quickbooks works well for businesses of all sizes, but primarily for businesses that sell products and require a scalable fully-fledged accounting software. Their inventory tracking system syncs directly with it’s accounting software. Quickbooks also boasts 400 native integrations with CRMs, email marketing tools, e-commerce software and more, to provide you all the functionality you need. Looking for a more complete tool? Quickbooks is the answer. As opposed to Gusto, Quickbooks has plans that start at a lower price (12.50/month). In my experience, Quickbooks interface is a little more complicated than other platforms available. 

23. Freshbooks – Freshbooks is favorable to solopreneurs, small businesses and service-based businesses for it’s quick and simple reporting. One of it’s best features, is the smooth time-keeping features that allows employees to track their time specific to projects that they are working on. Although it may not bolster the comprehensive nature of Quickbooks, Freshbooks still has a legitimate place in the accounting software space. As you scale and require more features, Freshbooks does have more limitations than Quickbooks and may take a little more of your time. 

24. Stripe – Although PayPal has been around longer, Stripe has inserted themselves as the dominant force in online payments software. Stripe, like Square, offers a wide set of commerce tools that make it easy for merchants to run their businesses. For any international e-commerce, Stripe’s robust multi currency and payment method support make it an ideal solution. In terms of the assortment of integrations and recurring payment options, Stripe takes the cake. They’ve got plenty of add-ons, like plugins for WordPress websites and integrations with major e-commerce providers.

25. Clover – Chances are if you’ve been to a restaurant recently, you’ve interacted with a Clover product. Their POS hardware comes in multiple shapes and sizes and is a great system for merchants who need a solid hardware and software payment processing solution that syncs easily. Clover goes further than payment processing, however. You can monitor sales, customer refunds, and spending habits in real time on any device. Clover POS will allow you to connect with the e-commerce software (BigCommerce, Quickbooks, MailChimp, Gusto, and many more)  you need to build your online presence. If you’re comparing Clover to Square, Clover offers more functionality in their paid plans.

26. Square – For small businesses needing a payment processing software for in-person transactions, it doesn’t get much better than Square. Square has a wide array of products to meet your payment processing needs. Their flagship product, Square POS, integrates with their custom CRM, mobile app, and analytics features that help small businesses better manage relationships with customers. You can even upgrade to an industry-specific POS system at an additional cost. Square’s free plan is a great place to start for those looking to try out the software!

27. Bonsai – As a freelancer or solopreneur, you have to wear a lot of different hats. Bonsai recognizes that, and they’ve built a platform to help freelancers make life feel a bit less hectic. Bonsai has got you covered with proposals, accounting, invoicing, time tracking, contracts, task management, and CRM all in one spot. Pricing is pretty favorable. They allow you to start for free, then move up to $24/month/user. 

28. Paypal – At 19 years old, Paypal is without a doubt the seasoned veteran in the payments software space. Paypal is free for users to register and charges a transaction fee. If you’re looking for a reliable, freemium payments solution, Paypal is still one of the best. It has an easy-to-use user interface, one-touch log in, and card synchronization making it one of the most convenient software options out there.

 

E-Commerce

29. Shopify When it comes to building your own online store you’ve got two options: you can build your own customized online store from scratch within your existing website (which will take development skill and a lot of time) or, you can use a tool like Shopify that allows you to get up and running with an online store at a small monthly fee and per-sale transaction. Shopify has added many new integrations that allow you to sell directly on Pinterest, Twitter, and Facebook. Shopify is the talk of the town in the E-commerce space and worth looking into for anyone selling products online. 

30. ThriveCart– A great option for all e-commerce businesses, ThriveCart has some unique features not included in many competitor platforms. ThriveCart offers a bunch of third-party integrations and has upsells and bump features that are hard to find elsewhere. For new businesses that are not used to similar software tools, ThriveCart can be a bit complicated to understand compared to Shopify. If you sell physical products, ThriveCart will give you complete options for selling and recording your sales. Businesses that offer services will also find ThriveCart to be a useful shopping cart. It can take both one-off and recurring payments and deal with all subscription settlements easily.

31. BigCommerce – BigCommerce is most suited for enterprise level businesses. Like Shopify, BigCommerce comes with every standard ecommerce feature you’d expect included right out the box. Nothing is missing that should be there. BigCommerce has a gallery of existing user sites. You can model your store off of something that’s already built or start from scratch. BigCommerce hosts more advanced features internally that keep you from going back to the app store to buy add-ons. As you scale up, it’s convenient to have the functionality there when you need it.

 

Communication and Collaboration Tool

32. Slack– In the times we’re living in today, Slack has gone from the well-known instant communication platform to a cant-survive-without-this lifeline for most businesses. Slack set out to create a platform that eliminated internal email and that’s what they’ve done. You can get started and try it for free, create different groups for your teams to collaborate on various topics, and share files faster and easier. Slack has its own video chat tool to host meetings within groups, making it easier for teams to collaborate. 

33. Google Drive – It’s hard to have a list of must-have tools without Google Drive. Google Drive is a cloud-based storage platform that allows you to access the files you need quickly and across multiple devices. Whether you’re building a spreadsheet, written document, or slides, Google Drive is the FREE service that allows you to share all of your vital documents with your team members in the cloud.

34. Asana – Asana is a team collaboration tool that helps your co-workers better organize and track progress on tasks and projects. Asana offers a 30-day free trial to help you get a feel for its functionality. It also offers integrations to take advantage of tools you’re already using (Slack, Google, and Microsoft Office, to name a few).

35. Trello – Different from Asana, Trello is a bit lighter on features and favors small teams and startups who need to manage projects and tasks across team members. Still, Trello gives you a lot of bang for your buck. The card system allows team members to interact and collaborate with each other on projects – users can add comments, links, files and photos to project cards. Trello offers a “free” tier that offers unlimited boards, lists, cards, members, checklists, etc.

36. Zoom – Thanks to COVID-19, we’re all too familiar with Zoom. So much so that it’s become synonymous with video chat (‘Hey, let’s “Zoom””). The platform is the industry-leader in video chat and conferencing. It’s reliable, secure, and allows you to add up to 1,000 members with 10,000 people watching. For large teams, Zoom beats out it’s competitors (like Google Meet) with more features and functionality favorable to enterprise-level businesses. In addition to having all of the basic features as it’s competitors, Zoom stands out with individual meeting URLs, breakout sessions for dividing participants into groups, virtual hand raising, and more. With teams now working remotely, these features can make a big difference. 

37. Skype – If you’re looking for an easy, reliable video chat tool, Skype will get you everything you need. For businesses working in Microsoft 365, Skype is a logical decision over competitors Zoom or Google Meet. If you have a large company and are in need of video calls with over 250 people, Zoom beats out Skype. With privacy being a major concern for remote teams recently, Skype does have an edge on it’s competitors. Keep in mind, the business version of Skype comes with Microsoft Teams. If you value having Microsoft Teams, which includes Microsoft Office collaboration and access to productivity apps, Skype may be the right video chat tool for you.

38. Google Meet – If you’re already using G-Suite products, then Google Meet is the way to go for your video conferencing needs. Google Meet comes free with your G Suite subscription for unlimited video conferencing or free to everyone for meetings up to 60 minutes long. Share your screen, send files through chat, free for everyone to use, This program is pretty basic but has all the collaboration tools you’ll need to conduct productive meetings.

39. Dropbox – Share, store, and create cloud content, both big and small, quickly across teams with Dropbox. In terms of picking the right plan for you, be sure to take a look at the storage capacity that each plan allows. Depending on the nature of your business, reaching storage limits quickly can cause some serious issues. Dropbox also provides many app integrations, like Slack, Google Cloud, or Zoom to help you share documents as you’re communicating in real time with team members. 

40. Box – Technology has brought about the ability to connect and share important data faster and broader than ever. Developments in connectivity have brought about many concerns for the security of our important files as they are being shared across platforms and users. Box is the secure content management system that helps you safely share data with anyone, anywhere, on any device.

41. Loom – Loom is simple and easy to use for your screen and video recording needs. It does exactly what it is supposed to do, is easy to save, has great features, and is intuitive. There’s no need to be a “techy” in order to create high-quality videos. The tool is great for content creators and eliminates the need to record your screen, audio and front-facing camera separately. Loom does it all at once. You can also use loom for internal employee training, your next Youtube tutorial, or creating helpful videos that walk your team step-by-step through various processes. If you’re looking to share anything you’re doing on your screen, Loom is a great tool to use. 

42. Crisp Chat – Crisp Chat is a chatbot tool that adds a personalized touch to messaging. The cool part about this tool is that the features go beyond what you’d expect of a typical chat bot. For example, you can quickly identify return users and send more targeted in-app messages or emails. Like many other chat bots out there, Crisp Chat also helps alleviate pressure on your customer support teams, automate leads into your sales pipeline, and get feedback from your customers. And, you can start for free!

 

CRMs

43. Salesforce– If you’re in the market for a new CRM and have conducted any sort of research online, chances are Salesforce has popped up numerous times. Salesforce is a sales, marketing and customer relationship platform. A major con is that Salesforce can be extremely overwhelming. The platform has the capacity and the features to be great for enterprise level businesses, but many small businesses can get lost in the customization and features that Salesforce offers.

44. Hubspot – Hubspot is a cloud-based CRM that provides tools for better collaboration between sales and marketing. First off, there is a lot that you can do with Hubspot’s free CRM — contact management, report sales activities, create forms, build email templates, browse reporting dashboards, and much more. Hubspot has a long-list of features and they come at a price, so be sure you need everything that they offer, otherwise, there may be a more simple, low-price option available. In my experience, Hubspot’s ecosystem is absolutely worth it for more mature businesses who have been around for a while and know exactly what they are doing. But not so much for the small or micro sized business who is taking its first steps into the direction of sales and marketing automation.

45. Zoho – The CRM for small businesses looking to scale and scale fast! One of the cool things about Zoho is their use of Artificial intelligence. For example, the AI system tracks a contact’s event data, such as calls, emails, and chats. It then suggests the best time to reach these individuals so reps have a better chance of making a connection. Get lead scoring based on demographics and customer journey. A long list of add-ons make it easy to know when contacts, leads and customers interact with your company. It’s free for 3 users, which makes it an even better option for small teams. 

46. Drip – Drip is the CRM for e-commerce businesses. What kind of capabilities do they offer, you ask? Well, here you go… Drip has a fantastic email designer, helping you to quickly and easily feature your products and lead your customer’s to a purchase in just a click. Drip offers tracking codes to help you see the exact path your customers are taking to purchase your products. Tracking codes allow you to hone in on the habits of your customers and quickly target your most profitable target audience. Drip offers a 14-day free trial, so you can give it a spin before your buy.

47. Ontraport – Like the other’s in the CRM category, Ontraport is a solution that bodes well for large businesses that want many features composed under one platform. If that’s what you need, Ontraport has got it. Now, there are a few features that make Ontraport stand out. They have an internal 2-way messaging capability, built in membership site functionality, automations triggered by user outcome, and A-B-C-D split testing formats. But be careful — some of the marketing automation can get a bit advanced. Starts at $79/month with a 14-day free trial. 

 

Email Marketing

48. Lemlist – Unlike most email marketing platforms, Lemlists offers a few distinctive features that you can’t find anywhere else. Lemlist allows you to create highly-personalized emails at scale using photos to engage your audience and increase response rates. If you want an example of what this may look like, I recommend hopping over to their site to take a look. We love using Lemlist for outreach campaigns (and we haven’t seen better results anywhere else!).

49. MailChimp – Mailchimp made its name off of making email easier for businesses, but over the years they’ve created a platform that does much more than send email. You can build landing pages, create custom forms, and promote retail products through their marketing platform. Mailchimp also provides robust automation features. Automate email for your welcome series, whenever a customer abandons their cart, or any major dates like customer birthdays. For businesses that want many services on one platform, Mailchimp is one of the best out there.

50. Drift– Drift is the perfect software solution for bolstering your sales pipeline from first touchpoint to close. All of the functionality that you need to close a sale, Drift has got it. Impressive email features, live chat bots, sales video features, and automation make it a great choice for any business with a long sales process One of my favorite features is the ability to share videos during live chat conversations to provide better, more personalized customer support. 

51. ConvertKit– An essential part of building any online business is learning to grow your email list. ConvertKit is made for the small business and solopreneur who are looking to turn subscribers into buyers. Convertkit uniquely offers template forms and landing pages included in their CRM to make the process from lead capture to lead follow-up super simple. Plans start at $29/month. Unlike Mailchimp, ConvertKit does not offer a free plan, but does allow you to try 14 days for free. 

52. Mailshake – Mailshake is one of the top cold outreach tools. The platform has a great design- it’s simple, clean, and it’s step-by-step campaign builder is the best I’ve seen. To reduce bounce rate, Milkshake has a built-in email verification system. If you want a more comprehensive platform, you may need Mailchimp or Constant Contact to compliment Mailshake’s cold outreach capabilities. Mailshake makes it easy with thousands of integrations. For those doing a lot of email prospecting on a consistent basis, Mailshake’s got what you need.

53. Constant Contact – I considered putting this under the “Marketing Automation” category for its many great features that will save you time, but Constant Contact is first and foremost an email marketing platform, and here’s why… Using Constant Contact, you can create beautiful emails with ease, compare open rates of two emails in their dashboard, and schedule multiple campaigns to run at optimized times of day all in a few clicks. Mailchimp does win out in having more advanced features, but with less features, Constant Contact does feel more simple to navigate. They offer a 60-day trial for those looking to get started.

 

Scheduling

54. Calendly – You know what’s annoying? Having to send 10 emails back and forth to figure out a mutual time to schedule meetings. Luckily, Calendly has solved this dilemma, providing a simple way to schedule meetings with your clients and leads without all the back and forth. It syncs up easily with your calendar and allows people to schedule meetings with you only when you’re available. Say goodbye to double booking and back-and-forth email!

55. YouCanBook.Me – Another back-and-forth email tool with simple online scheduling for you and your team. Like Calendly, YouCanBookMe has a slew of built-in features. You can send confirmation and automated follow up emails and meeting reminders, set meeting durations and padding, and allow bookers to select team members that they want to meet with. They offer free trials and even allow you to experience some of their “supercharge” features for a limited time for free. 

56. Google Calendars – We had to throw Google Calendars on this list for the sheer number of people who use G-Suite services. If you’ve got a Google account, the Calendar is going to save you a lot of time. For small teams, there are a lot of things that you can do through Google Calendars to schedule meetings and save time without paying the price of other services. Many people aren’t aware of all that you can do within Google Calendar. For example, you can email meeting participants directly through your Calendar, arrange appointment slots, sync meetings with your CRM, or add a Google Meet link to your event. We love Google Calendar’s because it’s easy to sync up with team members and clients. 

 

Lead Generation

57. Opt-in Monster – This is a paid tool that works on any site (not just WordPress) and costs about $200. After it’s installed, you can create your own email collection widgets in the sidebar as well as exit-detection pop-ups that show when someone is about to leave your website.

58. Thrive Themes – This is a bundle of WordPress plugins that comes with full website theme templates for almost any kind of business, as well as a landing page “content builder” tool that is relatively intuitive and easy to use. Fast to get up and running, Thrive also includes a number of other useful tools, like pop-ups, 2-step opt-in forms, and A/B testing.

59. Wufoo (Read Later Widget) – After you sign up for Wufoo (it’s free to start), you can create a form you can embed on any WordPress blog using their “shortcode.” Create a simple one-field form requiring an email address with the title: “Receive a copy of this article to read later?” Finally, make sure to create the automated email in your Wufoo form which will be sent out with a copy of your article inside and a link back to your website. You’ll be surprised at how effective this can be, especially if you’re writing longer articles which people won’t typically read 100% of the way through the first time they visit the page.

60. Sticky Widget – This is another WordPress plugin. It allows you to turn a sidebar widget into something that will “follow” or “stay” with the reader as he scrolls down the page. This is particularly effective for increasing the effectiveness of your newsletter opt-in, content upgrades, or other free offers that should motivate visitors to subscribe to your email list.

 

Website and Landing Pages Builders

61. Leadpages– Leadpages is a perfect tool for any small business that needs to convert website browsers into buyers. They offer over 200 beautiful landing pages and website templates that are designed to convert. The landing page design tool is extremely simple, so for those that want to spend less time designing and more time selling, this is an ideal option. They also offer pop-up features to increase lead generation. To keep things streamlined, they offer their own CRM in-house, allowing you to process and gather new leads and follow up by email. 

62. Unbounce – Compared to its competitors like Leadpages and Instapage, Unbounce is great for those who want more flexibility in building and designing their landing pages. If you’ve got a team with experience in digital marketing, Unbounce will give you the space to customize as needed. Use sticky bars and pop-ups to capture leads more easily with Unbounce. You can even use a dynamic keyword placement tool to get better results on PPC campaigns. Unbounce is our top pick of tools to use when creating landing pages, but tends to be a bit more pricey than other tools out there.

63. Instapage Instapage separates itself from competitors with the simple distinction of building landing pages for every single ad set. Grid-free drag and drop editing is a unique feature that helps you publish landing pages and get results faster. You can use any of Instapage’s 200+ free templates, or purchase more advanced templates through Envato. Also, integration with WordPress is super simple using their plugin.

64. Squarespace – Compared to the other website-building platforms on our list, Squarespace keeps things simple. Although you will give up some freedom in your design capabilities, Squarespace makes it easy to put together beautiful looking websites with less effort. For small businesses with simple websites, Squarespace gives you everything you need. For businesses requiring more advanced functionality like member portals, e-commerce capabilities, etc., WordPress and Webflow may be more suitable. However, if you’re looking to get a great site with less headache, Squarespace is for you. 

65. Webflow – Webflow has found its footing in the web development and hosting space by tapping into UX/UI customization (unlike it’s drag-and-drop competitors) without the need for custom code. Webflow helps companies build beautiful customized websites using visual elements and an easy-to-use interface. For small teams and solopreneurs looking to grow fast, Webflow is great to get you up and running quickly at favorable prices.

66. WordPress – WordPress is the most popular CMS and website builder in the world. So, safe to say, you’re in good hands building your website using WordPress. WordPress offers a vast array of plug-ins that you can use to optimize the performance and design of your site. Seriously, if you can dream it, they probably have a plugin for it. WordPress has a more steep learning curve than sites like Wix or Squarespace, but allow customization in ways that many other platforms do not. Keep in mind, if you need any unconventional feature on your site, best to go with WordPress. 

67. Webflow Showcase – Building a new website or web page can often feel like you’re staring at a blank canvas. If you’re looking for some inspiration for your next website build, Webflow Showcase is amazing. For my designers in the room, Webflow Showcase is the Dribbble for website building. In addition to showing off their latest projects, many Webflow developers also post cloneable projects that you can clone to your own dashboard and personalize as you wish, saving HUGE amounts of time.

 

Marketing Automation

68. Zapier – Zapier is the king of automation and you don’t even need to be a tech wizard to use it! Zapier helps you connect your apps and automate processes that take up you and your team’s time. For example… Looking to add new leads to a Google Sheet then send them a personalized email with Gmail or Mailchimp? Connect it all together with Zapier. The possibilities are endless. And even better, your first 5 zaps are free and you can build and test as many “zaps” as you want before launching.

69. Keap – Keap is the one-stop-shop for sales, marketing, and payments for small businesses. Although it could certainly fall into the category of “CRM”, we placed it under automation as a nod to it’s vast automation features. Keap makes it simple to free yourself from day-to-day marketing tasks and customer follow-up by automating your entire marketing journey, ensuring all your leads and customers receive the right message at the right time. 

70. Active Campaign –  ActiveCampaign is a powerful and easy-to-use marketing automation & sales CRM platform designed for small businesses on a budget. Active Campaign emphasizes email features and automation over it’s CRM capabilities. For a tighter budget, Active Campaign is a great CRM option that will likely give you the majority of the capabilities you need without breaking the bank. The platform does neglect a few key areas. It has no landing page builder, live chat feature, or customer service hub like other CRM’s on this list. 

71. Phantombuster – What if any web page you visited was a source of information that you could pull data from? Phantombuster helps you do that, with automations and data extraction. They’ve got some really cool features for agencies and content creators involved in social media management. Phantombuster has created pre-built automations that allow you to auto-follow profiles on social media, auto-like posts, send customized DM’s, and more. It’s the social media marketers dream! You can run it from the cloud and even schedule workflows to begin at just the right time. Free trial included!

 

Sales and Prospecting

72. Hunter – Hunter allows you to receive the contact information of everyone you are sending emails to for better, more insightful outreach emails. Hunter pulls data from your prospects social profiles (Linkedin, Twitter, Facebook) and other sources to give you a better understanding of the people you’re emailing.

73. Linkedin Sales Navigator – it’s hard to find a better prospecting tool than Linkedin Sales Navigator. Why? Because Linkedin houses more information about individuals work life, the positions they hold in companies, their professional interest and mutual connections than any other platform. Lucky for you, Linkedin Sales Navigator helps you utilize all of that data to do better prospecting.  You can use a plethora of filters to narrow down your audience to hone in on your ideal client and use Linkedin’s messaging tool to initiate conversations quickly. You can start with one month free.

74. UpLead – UpLead gives you access to over 46 million business contacts worldwide. Now, I know what you’re thinking… That’s a lot of contacts! Don’t worry, they’ve got plenty of filters to sort through that long list. For creating outreach email and prospecting campaigns, nothing helps you build out your email list like UpLead. Each month you’re given an allotment of credits that you can use to buy more contacts. What’s really cool, is that UpLead actually verifies each and every email so you don’t waste time emailing old, outdated accounts. 

 

Graphics & Visual Design Tools

75. Figma – The free design collaboration tool that is taking over the design world, Figma provides a design canvas similar to Adobe Illustrator. Create designs and get feedback from your team directly on the design canvas. The prototyping feature even allows you to visualize animations for your website and get feedback from team members. It’s awesome!

76. Canva – With Canva you can create flyers, posters, resumes, business cards, and presentations in minutes. You can easily add icons, banners, and other styling to their design, and arrange these elements however they wish. Canva also allows users to purchase premium photos, icons, and other elements right in the app, if they need a little extra something to spruce up their design. Additionally, Canva lets you export your graphics in PNG, JPG, or PDF formats, unlike other design tools that limit file formats to one or two options. 

77. Hubspot’s Buyer Persona Builder – This is one that I love and have used personally quite often. Building a well-made buyer persona for your own brand and the client’s you work with is necessary for building top-quality campaigns. Now, you can either customize the design of your buyer persona using tools like Adobe Illustrator, Figma or Slides, or you can use Hubspot’s Buyer Persona Builder and complete your personas in way less time. All you have to do is answer some questions about your customer, put in some customized information that you like, pick an avatar, and vuela! You’ve got a beautiful looking buyer persona. And, it’s free!

78. Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator – Both Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator have been around for some time and are the staple of any designers toolkit. If you’re looking to edit and enhance photos, crop photos, create vector designs, or really design anything for your website, you can count on these tools. Only downside is price. Many free design tools are popping up that are challenging Photoshop and Illustrator.

79. PiktoChart – If you don’t have design expertise but want to create professional-looking graphics for your slide deck, presentations, or social media posts, check out PiktoChart. As their website states, “PiktoChart has a template for any design project you need”. Just pick a template, customize it with the look you want, and you’re good to go. They allow you to create 5 graphics per month for free. Pretty sweet deal, if you ask me!

80. Unsplash – Don’t want to pay a photographer to get high quality images for your website or social media? No worries, Unsplash has got your back with free, high-quality images for your website, slide deck, and marketing materials. Just search a category or keyword related to the picture you need and sift through the thousand of free photos. The one downside to Unsplash is that you may not have many options depending on what you’re looking for. 

81. Pixabay – Pixabay is a great alternative to Unsplash if you are having trouble finding the photo you need. Sites like Pixabay and Unsplash are ideal tools to use for good placeholder photos. If you’re creating customer personas or the initial mock-up for a client website, having quality photos as placeholder’s gives your work a professional look. Downside is that Pixabay’s photos tend to look a bit less authentic and are more “stock photo looking”. Still, Pixabay offers over 1.8 million photos, so chances are you can find some photos suited to whatever it is you may be looking for. 

82. Dribbble– Dribbble is the place to find all of the design inspiration you need (and yes, it beats Pinterest). Dribbble is not only the place to go to witness some of the best graphic design work but also to interact with top designers. Comment on posts, follow designers you enjoy and even outsource design jobs through Dribbble Hiring — their online community to hire talented freelance designers. 

83. Whimsical – For those looking to create visuals to use internally to help you business and teams work more efficiently, Whimsical is worth checking out. They specialize in helping you visualize workflows, wireframes, and mindmaps, rather than graphics for content. For agencies, Whimsical is perfect for doing quick mock-ups of a client’s website, designing digital marketing funnels, and even visual project management to help you delegate tasks. Again, if you need a visual to help make your team work better, Whimsical can help. You can create up to 4 “boards” for free before jumping into a paid plan.

 

Analytics and Reporting

84. Hotjar– Hotjar is a tool that we use at Lazarus for helping clients understand the behavior of their users on their site. Here’s a few cool features of Hotjar… First, You can see website heatmaps to know precisely where your customer looks and clicks as they navigate your site. Recordings will allow you to go back and look at where your customer’s mouse moved as they went through your site. Conversion funnels provide insight to your customer’s progression from homepage to checkout. Nothing will help your business optimize website performance quite like Hotjar. Highly recommended!

85. Google Analytics – This tool has been around for some time and there is a reason most digital marketers still use Google Analytics religiously. It’s easy to install, just a few lines of code added to your site) and you can observe a range of different data points on your customer’s behavior. The platform, however, can be a bit complicated for those just getting started with Analytics and will take some time to master. Oh and did I mention, it’s free?!

86. Supermetrics – If you’re anything like me, nothing gets you hyped up like a well-designed analytics dashboard. If that’s you, then Supermetrics is your new best friend. Supermetrics specializes in pulling data from multiple sources and centralizing it into a single reporting, analytics, or storage platform. You can even add it as an extension/add-on within G-Suite products. Rather than having to track down scattered marketing data across your many platforms, Supermetrics takes data from Twitter, Facebook, Google Ads, Hubspot, Mailchimp, and many other apps and pulls them into one spot for easy access.

87. Mobile Friendly Test from Google – Pretty self explanatory. Pop in the link to your website and you can be sure it’s mobile friendly. Why does this even matter? Well, first off, more and more users are searching for websites and anticipate buying products on their mobile device. Second, SEO results! Google ranks you according to the quality of experience you’re giving your browsers. One of those factors is mobile compatibility. Not sure where you stand on mobile? This will help!

88. Octoboard – Think of Octoboard as the king of custom, white-labeled dashboards. Any dashboard you need, they can help you build it. Client reporting, TV dashboards, internal leaderboards, white-labeled client portals, you name it! Octoboard is a more user-friendly alternative to Google Analytics. They have plans available for both businesses and agencies. 

 

Content Creation

89. Giphy Chrome Extension – Want to spice up your website or emails with gifs? Take a look at Giphy! With communication becoming more informal, having a well-informed gif can buy you some serious street cred with your customers (especially millennials and Gen Z). To use the tool, all you have to do is open the extension in Chrome, search, choose a GIF, and drag and drop. So far, the tool works in Gmail, Twitter, Facebook, and more — and they’re constantly expanding support.

90. CoSchedule Headline Analyzer – Writing a good blog headlines can make or break the performance of your blog. CoSchedule’s Headline Analyzer is here to make sure you write a killer blog headline each time you create a new piece of content. Just plug in the name of your blog and CoSchedule give you some great feedback, including a 0-100 score on how effective your headline is predicted to be. Further, the tool will analyze your headline based on word count, character count and the types of words that you use by category. 

91. Hubspot’s Blog Topic Generator– Ever feel like your brain is drained of new ideas when thinking of your next blog topic. Hubspot’s got you covered with their Blog Topic Generator. You can add in up to 5 keywords for free and it spits out a week’s worth of Blog topics to get you started (you can put in some information for an additional 250 blog topic ideas). This is a pretty simple tool to have available to you when the creative juices aren’t flowing. 

92. Eyedropper Chrome Extension – Calling all graphic designers! This is a quick and easy free Chrome extension that allows you to get HEX codes for any color on any website in chrome. 

93. Boomerang– Boomerangs were the hot trend in content creation back in the early 2010’s and you still have access to them within Instagram Stories. If you need a piece of content that reflects the fun, upbeat personality of your brand, Boomerang can do that for you. 

94. Hemingway Editor – Hemingway helps you find your voice and make your message clear to your audience. Hemingway Editor goes further than grammatical editing. The editor uses different highlight colors to give you feedback on your writing. Red highlight, for example, tells you that your sentence is too complicated for readers to comprehend. Green highlights mark phrases where passive voice is being used. These corrections to format and syntax are a game-changer for anyone creating written content on a regular basis. And for our content creators, you can publish your writing directly to WordPress and Medium. Cost of the Hemingway Editor is $19.

95. TrintTrint is a speech-to-text platform that uses AI to translate speech into video. Allows you to transcribe spoken word and share it easily with your teams and clients. This is a great tool to have when transcribing a Youtube video, taking notes in a meeting, or turning a podcast into a blog. This is a major time saver!

96. Evernote– I use the free version of Evernote every single day. From to-do lists and research notes to writing entire chunks of articles, it’s proven helpful at every step of the writing and editing process.One great feature? Its mobile, desktop, and web apps sync automatically as long as you have an internet connection. (And if you work offline, it’ll sync the next time you have internet.) Plus — and this is super important for content creators — it’s constantly saving and syncing your work automatically, making it a safe place to write and store ideas. Use it to keep a running list of ideas, take notes, store inspiring articles or ebooks, or plan your editorial and social media publishing calendars.

97. Google AlertsIf you want to automate more of your work, then put Google Alerts on your list of must-have tools. For all the digital marketer’s out there, we know that doing content research to find what types of content are trending on the internet is a necessary, time-draining task. Google Alerts helps you to speed things up by monitoring trending content in your industry in real time. Just plug in a search term and get blogs related to those keywords sent directly to your email inbox. 

 

Other

98. MemberstackMemberstack is the software tool that makes creating membership portals and member-only content on your website super easy. Just add links to your “Profile”, “Sign Up”, “Log In” and “Checkout” buttons and easily create a complete member portal. The pricing structure of memberstack is favorable for those who are just getting started. You can set up everything you need and you wont start paying until you start getting members to your site. Set up recurring payments and retain your customers long-term using Memberstack.

99. Inbox When Ready – Stop getting distracted by email notifications and protect your focus with Inbox When Ready. This tool is my go-to whenever I’m needing to get a lot of work done. This Chrome extension will help you check your inbox with reasonable frequency, batch process your email on a regular schedule and minimise the total time you spend in your inbox.

100. Rewardful Looking to keep your members coming back to your business again and again. Rewardful helps you turn customers into raving fans by creating affiliate and referral programs using Stripe. SImply connect your Stripe account, and you can start tracking referrals, discounts, and commissions! Rewardful also integrates with Memberstack. Between the two, you can cover most of the features needed to create a great membership experience for your customers. 

101. Unroll.me – Keep your email subscriptions in check with the quickest and easiest way to unsubscribe from marketing emails at scale. Unroll Me shows you a list of all of the emails you are subscribed to. From there, just pick the ones you want to get rid of and you’re all done. Create an account and use the feature for free!

 

What tools are YOU using?

If there are any great online tools that we missed in this list that we need to know about, let us know in the comments below!

 

Need help choosing the right software for your business?

If you’re needing help choosing what software tools are best for your business, we can help you at. Schedule a consultation with the Lazarus team and we’ll help you grow your business exponentially online!

 

Lazarus Design Team

About Lazarus Design Team

We create incredibly designed and remarkably effective websites for growing startups, non-profits, and small-midsize businesses.

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