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Let’s be honest, 5 tools aren’t nearly enough to cover what marketing experts should be using. Seriously, a simple Google search nets 100’s of free and paid marketing tools in dozens of categories. Narrowing down the list can be a cumbersome and insignificant task. But, after I thought about it, even though I frequent dozens of the top 100, five of the top marketing tools stand out and should be used by everyone (IMO).

So, without further ado, I submit my top 5:

Google Alerts

Where do you go to find marketing trends? Forbes? HubSpot? AdWeek? These are all great starts…if you have 1-2 hours of free time. If you are like me, however, free-time is not something you have much of. And certainly, not while you are at work. But, everyone in marketing needs to be staying up to speed in the latest tools available. What better way is there to stay up to speed than to allow the world’s largest search engine to notify you when updates are available?

Bonus: set delivery times for specific time of day/week so the news can be part of your to do list.

Speaking of to do list…

Rescue Time

It’s Friday, payroll is due, and your calendar has just as many cancelled meetings as it does actual meetings. Additionally, that meeting on Tuesday ran long and the meeting on Wednesday was shortened to add a last minute strategy change. All the while, daily requirements keep adding up and your to-do list has a ton of checks-offs yet even more boxes to do. Keeping up can be daunting even for those well-organized. Thank you Rescue Time. This one-stop shop keeps a 3 month history (for free), of the time logged emailing, surfing the web (ugh…I mean, researching), and using applications.

Bonus: this app works cross platforms and integrates with your PC and mobile devices.

Speaking of cross platform…

SpyFu

If you are in marketing and don’t appreciate the value of PPC yet, ‘Hi. My name is Roger and I’ll be working with your clients within a year.’ Today’s marketing efforts must focus on empowering the user. IAB says 26% of desktop users turn on ad blockers. The biggest reason for ad blockers? Experience and privacy.

marketing tools for advertising

SpyFu changes the world of PPC—the tactic outperforming your banner ad by 1000x. Not only will SpyFu give you a list of keywords (like every other keyword tool on the market), but it gives—for free—the analytics behind the stats. Why settle for knowing that your advertising agency should use ‘picture ads’ as a keyword when you can know your competitor is spending $32,000/month on Google AdWords while getting $6M in SEO value. Or that a prospective business client has a $20,000 advertising budget. What does the mean for marketers and their tools? It means everyone has access to the information they need to sell, advertise, market, and generally make your life better. Isn’t this the goal of marketing?

Bonus: rated best for SMB by PCMag

Speaking of SMB solutions…

HootSuite

Every digital marketer knows balancing social platforms is a must. After spending a few hours this week putting together my monthly media schedule, it’s now time to go in my calendar and set reminders. At 10 tweets per day and 15 Instagram posts, it takes just as long to set my calendar as it does to find and share relative content. Fortunately, HootSuite has my back…and yours, and yours, and your clients, and more. That’s because HootSuite, unlike their biggest competitor Buffer, best integrates multiple accounts on the same platform.

With tools like HootSuite (or Buffer if you’re so inclined), everyone in marketing has the tools to be successful in social media. In fact, by the time you couple these tools together, every marketing professional has no excuse for being uniformed, losing time, guessing, and not socially active.

Bonus: they are all free marketing tools!

Speaking of free

And

While researching this topic, I found hundreds (seriously, and, and, and, and, see what I mean). There were so many, I wanted to leave the 5th to you. What is one marketing tool in your tool belt everyone should be using? Let us know below and if we like it, we’ll send you some swag to match your awesomeness. And, go.