51 Top Tools, Apps, Software & Products to Boost Your Marketing Productivity
Marketers today wear so many hats: content creators, content curators, social media managers, project collaborators, client appeasers, and more. It’s no surprise, then, that marketers are therefore busier than ever before – there’s just so much to do, but somehow scientists have so far failed to create the 27-hour day.
Instead of sacrificing sleep and leisure time, the answer to your growing responsibilities is to be more productive. And that boils down to two major adjustments to your work day: a) minimizing the time spent on tasks; and b) performing those tasks better and more efficiently, so you earn greater results for less time investment.
The following 50 tools are designed to boost your productivity on everything from contact management to social media analytics. But with productivity in mind, remember that while all these tools are helpful to marketers, you should focus on only those that offer real value to your day. After all, an unneeded productivity tool is the antithesis of productive.
- Content Creation
- Search Engine Optimization
- Social Media Management
- File Sharing/File Management
- Project Management
- General Productivity & Organization
Content Creation & Curation
For marketers, one of the most time-consuming parts of the job is creating a constant stream of new, interesting and engaging content to get consumers to your clients’ websites, blogs, and social media accounts. These tools streamline the process, not only saving you valuable hours but also simplifying the overall process of content creation.
Chances are, you use Google Alerts to receive email notifications for certain phrases, topics and buzzwords. And chances are, you either dread opening those alerts or, even worse, ignore them too often – there’s a lot of work in going from email alert to original content. That’s where Bundlepost steps in, with a content curation tool to auto-save those daily alerts as social media posts. All you have to do is schedule a few minutes into every day to review your drafts and decide which to share; Bundlepost will add hashtags, schedule posts, and export to Hootsuite, Buffer, Hubspot, and other tools (see below).
Price: Free Trial; Pricing from $19.99/month
If Google Alerts doesn’t quite suit your needs, or if you’re simply looking for a secondary source for content curation, head on over the ContentGems. This web service saves you serious time by monitoring more than 200,000 blogs, news sources, and other feeds, and then filters its finds based on your defined interests. You can set up alerts for social signals, keywords, and other indicators. Best of all, ContentGems enables one-click sharing to your social networks.
Price: Free Basic Account (2 interests); 10-100 interests from $9/month
Smart marketers today know that content is not just written: it’s visual, too. And of all the visual content out there, video is one of the most powerful media: an estimated 85% of consumers report they are more likely to make a purchase after watching a video. But video content creation is also incredibly time consuming, which makes this tool all the more appealing: Directr for Business, now a Google tool, makes it easy to create awesome videos with professional touches, quickly and with little hassle.
If you’ve ever used Google Drive (formerly Google Docs) from a smartphone or tablet, you know that the interface can be clunky. When you’re mobile, you can’t edit spreadsheets and some text is unreadable. Skip the frustration and inevitable time suck with GoDocs, a Google Docs app for iOS that allows you to edits, sort, and even create new docs from your iPhone or iPad.
Fair or not, consumers have way of ripping apart, denigrating, and insulting grammatical errors in blog posts, websites, social media posts, and other marketing efforts. Don’t waste your time obsessing over split infinitives and confusing homonyms: turn to Grammarly, a simple tool that’ll review your spelling, grammar and word choice – and even correct the overzealous efforts of the infernal autocorrect. You can even use the web-based tool to test your content for plagiarism and duplicate content.
Price: Free Trial; Pricing from $29.95/month
HubSpot needs no introduction: for content marketers, this is the holy grail of inbound marketing software. Not only does HubSpot provide a ridiculous number of metrics, but the online service also offers tools to become a better content creator, email marketer, social media guru, and more. Perhaps best of all, it also helps you quickly and accurately quantify your efforts, so you can finally convince your clients of the ROI of blogging.
Price: From $200/month
Due to its price tag, Kapost is for serious content marketers only, but if you create and curate lots of content for your clients, it’s worth the premium. This online tool is a complete content-creation package, offering a way to organize your content, create editorial calendars, streamline your publishing channels, and much more. You can easily collaborate with team members, too, and Kapost also integrates with Curata. It’ll save you hours every week.
Price: Free Demo; Accounts from $1,000-$3,000+ per month
If you outsource much of your content creation to a team of writers, the unfortunate reality is that you need to be vigilant about plagiarism and duplicate content. With PlagSpotter, you can run any article through the tool to verify its uniqueness. What’s more, you can also set up daily, weekly, or monthly email alerts to warn you when your clients’ content is plagiarized.
Price: Free Trial; Pricing from $0.04/URL
Content marketers read a lot. A LOT. That’s why you’re so prone to content overload: there’s just so much out there you should read, and not enough time to actually read it. Pocket makes content consumption – and therefore, your ultimate content curation – a little easier, by letting you save to-be-read articles, videos, and other media to access via any device. We love that you can access Pocket content even when you’re offline, meaning you can catch up while in line at the grocery store, during your daily commute, or even when stuck at the dreaded DMV.
Price: Free Basic account; Premium account from $4.99/month
With Piktochart, we circle back to the importance of visual content – this time with infographics. If you’ve ever employed this hot marketing tactic, you know that sharp, visually appealing graphics are not always easy to create: they’re time intensive and can get pricey if you contract the services a premium designer. Piktochart makes infographic creation easy (and cost efficient) with its user-friendly tools that help you produce a beautiful final product.
Price: Free Basic account; Pro account from $29/month
Here’s another one for you visual content marketers: Prezi. This awesome presentation-creation app is all about creating visual content that people will remember – simply and with no technical know-how required, saving you time and headaches. So whether you’re trying to wow a new client, or creating a new consumer-driven video for a current client’s website, Prezi will help. We love that this is a cloud-based tool that allows for easy collaboration with other marketers (and clients).
Price: Free Trial; Pricing from $4.92/month
Storify is basically what it sounds like: a storytelling tool for content curators and marketers. Pull content from your favorite sources – you can integrate news, blogs, social media, and more – and create beautifully curated, media-rich stories that you can mark up with images, videos, screenshots and – get ready for it – your own comments and voiceovers. All in as little time as it takes you to click.
Somehow, slideshows have stood the test of time – at least, the Internet’s version of time, which often passes it a lightening-fast second. If you’re still a fan of the slideshow, buzz on over to VisualBee, a slide deck-creation program that not only creates snazzy presentations, but also lets you add special effects, templates, and other design add-ons. Wham, bam, thank you program.
Search Engine Optimization
Search engine optimization is extremely important to marketers: it’s how you ultimately attract new eyes to your content. We’re not going to lie: the SEO productivity topic could easily fill its own list of 50+ tools, so instead of exhaustive we’ve chosen to go with absolute must-have. The following tools are two of the best out there, and unquestioningly deserve a spot in your productivity toolkit.
SEO and productivity intersect at keyword research – the bridge between content creation and your audience. After all, even the most incredible, well researched, and interesting content is completely worthless if no one looks at it. Keyword Discovery is the missing link, helping you identify the best keywords and key phrases to properly optimize your articles, blog posts, and web content, so all your hard work is not for naught.
Price: Free Trial; Standard account from $29.95/month
Oh Moz, how do we love thee! This super simple SEO tool is easy to set up, so you can quickly and accurately see how all your content and keywords are ranking for a variety of metrics. It’s an easy way to quantify and improve all your inbound marketing and SEO efforts, making you a more productive and effective marketer. Enough said.
Price: Free Trial; Pricing from $99/month
Social Media Management
It’s no secret that social media is one of the greatest marketing evolutions in recent history. Social media gives you a place to connect, share, and engage your clients’ consumers, breathing life – a real human element – into all your efforts. On the other hand, all this networking can be time consuming – so time consuming, you have no time left to do your work. The following tools and apps streamline your social media efforts, saving you time while improving results.
If you’re overwhelmed by the sheer number of accounts you have to manage – Google+, Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn, oh my! – then head on over to Buffer. This awesome tool links all your accounts to one dashboard, where you can easily create posts (and schedule for future publication), monitor your accounts, respond to questions, and more. You can also set up back-end analytics to monitor your social media efforts.
Price: Free Trial; Pricing from $50/month
Whether you’re an opponent or proponent of social media automation, we’re sure you’ll agree that Dlvr.it’s brand of automation is a-ok. This simple tool automatically schedules blog post delivery to your clients’ social networks, so your fans and followers never miss new content. You can easily schedule post source, delivery channel, and timing.
Price: Free Basic account; Pro account from $9.99/month
If you’re unaware of the term advocate marketing, prepare for excitement. The idea behind Influitive is to mobilize and encourage your brand advocates on social media to spread the word on their own: to write social references, provide referrals, offer word of mouth recommendations, and more. It’s the most influential, honest kind of marketing out there, and Influitive makes it easy.
Price: Free Demo; Contact for pricing
This one’s part curation, part social media: Flipboard. In essence, Flipboard offers a platform to curate a custom magazine filled with topical content. In effect, Flipboard is an incredible – and social – way to build your social networks, engage in conversations, and snag inbound links (and clicks) to your content.
Grovo is not strictly a social media productivity tool: in fact, Grovo is online training for many aspects of your marketing biz. But we’re including it on our social media list because this tool offers a whopping 1,100+ lessons in social media essentials, guaranteed to save you dozens of hours every year on your Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and other social media ministrations.
Price: From $199/user/year
Social media managers understand the time suck that is social media. HootSuite is one of the world’s best tools for managing multiple networks in one place: you can schedule future posts, set up alerts, create dozens of streams to organize social content, track analytics, and so much more. We guarantee HootSuite will improve your social results and save you hours every week.
Price: Free Basic account; Pro account from $8.99/month
Instagram is an incredible social tool to help brands and marketers tell a story. Iconosquare (formerly Statigram) takes Instagram to the next level, granting you solid tools to track back-end data like comments and likes. The tool generates a dashboard populated with your Instgram analytics, giving you a visual and easily understood method to track your performance and gain insights into your Instagram strategy.
If this, then that (IFTTT) – it doesn’t sound much like a social media productivity tool, does it? But it is, and an ingenious one at that. This simple tool (pronounced ift, by the way) lets you program various social posting scenarios from the comfort of your smartphone. For example, if you change your Twitter photo, then update your LinkedIn photo, too. It’s easy to create personal recipes, but we really love the collective knowledge and productivity gleaned from the community recipes section.
Mention is similar Google Alerts, allowing you to monitor the web for certain keywords and phrases. For marketers, we appreciate the emphasis on monitoring your or your clients’ social reputation: fast alerts give you adequate time to analyze and react to social mentions – and collaborate on damage control, if necessary.
Price: Free first alert; Starter account from $29/month
Social media is not just about posting online; it’s about honest, meaningful engagement with the people who spend their time there. Nimble is designed to help with this engagement, fostering and nurturing all your social relationships with social sharing calendars, contacts, notes, meetings, automated emails, and more. The tool integrates with HootSuite, to further simplify your social media efforts.
Price: Free Trial; Business plan from $15/month/user
Billed as the #1 marketing platform for Twitter, you know SocialBro is a must-consideration for Twitter power marketers. The idea behind this online tool is to optimize your tweets to post at times your fans are actually listening, instead of letting your best efforts fire off into the oblivion of the Twitterverse. SocialBro calculates optimal tweet times, based on your specific followers, and also helps you identify influencers, analyze the competition, track your performance, and much more.
Price: Free account (5,000 social contacts); Basic account from $13.95/month
Social Engage knows that getting the most out of social media boils down to one thing: your audience. Leverage their interest and engagement, and you’re golden. So how do you do that? Social Engage makes the process easier, with robust social demographic analysis tools that track your audience demographic and their behavior. You can set up special features, like website invitations to follow on social media, to further improve your social reach.
Price: Free Basic account
If your social media presence is restricted to Facebook and Twitter, check out TweetDeck. Like Buffer and Hootsuite, this tool, available via app or the web, connects your social media accounts in one place. It’s only for the above-mentioned Facebook and Twitter, but that can be a good thing: it’s simpler and easier to use than some of its fuller-featured counterparts.
If you use Pinterest for marketing, Viraltag (formerly Pingraphy) is about to make your life easier. This Pinterest management tool was created specifically for brands, with a focus on saving hours every week with proper platform planning and pin implementation. The tools simplify the entire Pinterest process, from discovering pinnable content, to picking your favorite display image, to optimizing your text, to scheduling pins. You’ll also gain access to analytics with actionable insights, so you can improve your Pinterest efforts.
File Sharing/File Management
Box is an excellent file sharing solution for marketers who collaborate on files with many revisions. This cloud-based tool ensures that no one overwrites the newest version with an older revision, making for fewer headaches and greater collaborations. Not to mention, saving you the aggravation – and many hours – of having to rewrite a lost version. Like other file-sharing solutions, Box is guaranteed secure.
Price: Free Personal account; Starter account from $6/user/month
Dropbox needs very little introduction, given its prevalence and popularity. Suffice it to say, this file-sharing tool – available via web, desktop, and mobile – has seriously simplified remote file access and sharing. Keep your folders private or open them to be shared with coworkers and clients. Saving or updating a file is as simple as dragging and dropping into Dropbox. (Get it?)
Price: Free Basic account; Pro account from $9.99/month
Here’s another one that you’ve already heard of: Google Drive is a central location to share documents, spreadsheets, and presentations. Unlike Box and Dropbox, Google Drive offers more than simple file sharing (although it does that, too): the service also makes for easy sharing within the Google office suite. With large file limits, easy sharing, and super simple collaboration, this is one of the most popular timesaving tools for marketers today.
Basecamp is a heavy hitter in the project management universe, thanks to years of happy clients. This cloud-based project management service manages your projects from A to Z, with easy task assignment, document collaboration, file sharing, project discussions, calendar implementation, and more. Basically, it’s the online equivalent of a finely tuned, collaborative office, where everyone communicates perfectly and gets things done on time, every time.
Price: Free Trial; Pricing from $20/month
The Mavenlink promise is to go beyond basic project management, and this popular application manages to do just that. Mavenlink performs everything you’d expect, like task management and file sharing, and adds on project tracking both within your agency and with clients (!). Other robust features include time and expense tracking – because you know some clients will ask – as well as the ever-handy, game-changing task assignments to your clients.
Price: Free Demo; Contact for pricing
If you’re looking for a simple but powerful tool to manage your own projects, without client involvement, Trello is the solution. Organize any project into a convenient board, where you can add cards to record progress, add reminders, update your notes, and more. It’s very easy to use and, unlike many other project management tools, is completely free.
General Productivity & Organization
When it comes to productivity, there are a lot of tools that don’t quite fit into the above categories. There are apps to help you organize your calendar, or better understand your contacts, or consolidate your passwords, or create to-do lists, or… well, you get the drift: tools, apps, and services that will save you time and boost productivity. These are our favorites.
Have you ever heard of the 30/30 rule? It states that when you’re struggling to finish a particularly challenging task, commit to just 30 minutes of hard work. Then, take a break – switch to another task, grab a bite to eat, read a book – before coming back to finish the original task. The 30/30 app is the perfect way to implement this strategy, helping you manage your tasks, ensuring you work (and break) hard, and guaranteeing you stay on track.
Any.do is all about getting things done. Say goodbye to disorganization (and its accompanying anxiety) with this awesome app, which encourages planning and organization with clear to-do lists: Today, Tomorrow, Upcoming, and Someday. It’s a simplified but incredibly effective way to prioritize your marketing, so you work better.
Price: Free Basic account; Premium from $2.99/month
If you’re like most marketers, your email inbox is overflowing. Absolutely, positively bursting with email. You don’t want to create any more work for yourself, and neither does Asana, an awesome team-working tool. This web app makes it easy to collaborate with clients and other marketers, with nary an email sent: just log in and organize your tasks, questions, comments and conversations from the app.
Price: Free Basic account; Pricing from $50/month
From the makers of Any.do comes Cal, a calendar app that’s as awesome as its to-do list counterpart. If you’re fed up with your phone’s built-in Calendar, this intuitive upgrade gifts you with an aesthetically pleasing, easily organized, and hard-working alternative. Organize your work life for greater productivity and better results.
Scheduling can be a helpful must-have or the mind-numbing, anxiety-inducing bane of your existence. Opt for the former with Doodle, a schedule tool that helps you organize large groups for virtual meetings, business lunches, brainstorming sessions, and other get-togethers. Log in to Doodle to create group polls regarding current schedules, so you can find the best time when all are free; then, actually schedule your event without the typical back-and-forth that’s guaranteed to get your teeth grinding.
Price: Free Trial; Pricing from €29/year
41. Dragon NaturallySpeaking (PC) & Dragon Dictate (Mac)
Dragon NaturallySpeaking and Dragon Dictate are powerful voice-recognition tools for PC and Mac, respectively. They’re also a productivity miracle, if you spend any amount of time away from your keyboard. In essence, Dragon is a dictation and transcription tool that turns your spoken words into typed words. You can literally write a blog post as you treadmill or pen an email while you wait in traffic. With Dragon, there is no downtime unless you want downtime.
Price: From $99 (PC) or $199 (Mac)
In the busy world of marketing, a minute or two here and there can really add up – to hours saved, to be specific. Enter EasilyDo, an app that promises to shave a few minutes off your tasks with razor-sharp precision. Simply set up automated tasks, from automatically adding emails contacts to your address book (and deleting duplicates), to keeping your boarding passes handy, to getting directions to your next meeting. No more wasted time as you try to do these things manually; instead, your phone works as a precision machine to keep you productive, on time, and hassle-free.
Marketers love lists, which is why we also love Evernote. Love. It. Evernote keeps you organized with cloud-based lists, which you can change online, from your desktop, and via mobile app. Mark ’em up with images, voice messages, website links, labels, reminders, and more, and you’ll understand why we’re so passionate about this incredible tool.
Price: Free Basic account; Premium from $5/month
Flexadex may not have the flash and pizzazz of other entrants on our list, but this powerful tool will soon join your – dare we say it – Rolodex of must-have tools. In a nutshell, Flexadex is online contact management. In practice, it eliminates the need for fat binders and unruly wheels packed to the brim with business cards. Oh, and since it’s searchable by any field, you can forget about thumbing through in alphabetical order.
Price: Free signup
If you often find yourself with too many bookmarks and not enough time, Instapaper comes to the rescue. We think of this handy tool as a mobile file folder packed with articles, blog posts, and other media we want to read – our favorite resources for keeping current in marketing. Once you bookmark something, it’s available anywhere and anytime, wherever you have an Internet connection.
Price: Free Basic account; Premium from $2.99/month
Think of Mynd as a calendar + personal assistant – a personal calendar on speed, so to speak. This powerful app automates your life and saves you bucket loads of time: it integrates all your calendar apps (and various calendars, e.g. personal and professional, within a) into one central app; it provides at-a-glance overviews for everyday; it not only directs you to your meetings, but also tells you when you need to leave to arrive on time; it auto-finds and auto-dials your conference calls; and so, so much more.
Price: Free Basic account; Premium account from $2.99/month
OneCard is an incredible business contacts tool that works everywhere you find yourself doing business. In addition to digitizing business card information, we love the fact that OneCard works with no app required: sure, it’s accessible via smartphone or tablet, but you can also use OneCard from a computer. You can even share your contact details by email, social networks, URL, text message, or – get this! – QR code. Fancy!
Price: Free Basic account; Pro from $12/month
There’s nothing like the message, “We’re sorry, but your username or password is incorrect.” to make you want to tear apart your keyboard in an imitation of the Incredible Hulk. It’s even worse for marketers, who manage dozens of social media accounts, client blog logins, site logins, and more: it’s password galore. Add in different password rules – capital letters here, symbols there – and you have a recipe for oodles of different passwords and plenty of frustration. Passpack saves the day, your time, and probably your sanity by securely saving your usernames and passwords online, where you and your team always have access.
Price: Free Basic account; Pro from $1.50/month
If you think that work-life balance is a myth, the problem likely lies with your time management. RescueTime is designed to help workhorses limit their time in the office (or behind a screen), with helpful time alerts (you’ve already been on Facebook for 30 minutes!), analytics (you spent 42 minutes on your morning email), and highlights of the day’s accomplishments, among other features. Think of it as a time tracker that married a gentle reminder tool, specially crafted for workaholics (and the easily distracted).
Price: Free Basic account; Premium from $9/month
Projects with lots of moving parts can be difficult to coordinate. Kanban Tool is a simple, intuitive, and easy to use online kanban board which allows teams to see exactly what everyone is working on. Kanban tools allows teams to collaborate in real time and assign tasks with ease giving visibility to all actions.
Price: Enterprise €6.5 per user / month; Team €3.5 per user / month
51. Website Blockers (StayFocusd for Chrome, WasteNoTime for Safari, and LeechBlock for Firefox)
We’ve all made the mistake of jumping down the time-wasting rabbit hole to Facebook or other favorite websites. If it’s a recurring problem for you, website blockers are an easy, free and very helpful solution: they literally disallow you from visiting certain sites (you choose) at certain times (you choose). In other words, these tools cut the distractions and boost your results by forcing you to be productive. Hey, admitting weakness is half the battle!
Written by Cóbhan Phillipson
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