There are a ton of top 10 lists out there from people who want to rehash the same old marketing tool lists over and over. I’m not going to do that. This list will give you tools that are less popular, but incredibly valuable.
What are the best tools that every marketing needs? Google Chrome, Noun Project, Sketch, Smartmockups, WordPress, Stencil, Tallyfy, Paperform, and Serpstat are 9 of the best marketing tools on the planet. These tools will help you build beautiful sites, incredible graphics, and market with unparalleled speed. Some you’ve never heard of and others you may want to reconsider how useful they can be.
As you can see, this isn’t a list of a bunch of keyword research tools or analytics tools. Sure, that’s a part of marketing, but those lists are a dime-a-dozen. This list is about lesser known tools that make your life SO MUCH EASIER. Let’s dig in to some of the best tools for marketers you need right now.
1. Google Chrome
Every marketer needs Google Chrome. And plenty of people are talking about Chrome, but they are probably talking about it for different reasons. As a marketer, you don’t need safari, Explorer, Firefox, or anything else.
You need Chrome. Why? Well, because Chrome is going to help you do the following things:
- Chrome extensions – By far the biggest reason to have Chrome. I have Chrome extensions for everything from thesauruses to competitor monitoring. I use Chrome extensions to research, save articles, set task timers, and more. I even use a Chrome extension to auto-invite people to my Facebook page after they comment or like my post. This saves me time every, single, day. There are thousands upon thousands of chrome extensions there to make your browser experience the best it can be.
- It’s super secure – That’s right, Chrome is highly secure. It’ll notify you when a site is suspicious or lacking security. Malware blocking and anti-phishing is turned on by default. Firefox, Opera, and Safari all use Chrome’s big brother: Google Safe Browsing. You’re in good hands with Chrome.
- Blazing fast performance – While you aren’t going to see a huge difference between the top browsers on the market, Chrome is one of the fastest. You’ll have excellent performance and you’ll wait milliseconds for results.
- Essential for good SEO (read more here) – We could write for days on this, but a mix of Google suggest, auto-fill, and Chrome extensions make this the best browser for SEO research BAR NONE. I use it everyday for keyword research. And yes, I prefer it over every fancy tool for keyword research.
- G-Suite Ecosystem – Google Chrome is tightly integrated into the whole G-Suite ecosystem. Everything from Google sheets to Google Drive can be accessed from Google Chrome. If you haven’t used G-Suite, it can be a game changer. It’s not just that it can replace the majority of Microsoft office products for free (for simple tasks), but it’s also a cloud based application which can be connected to other outside apps for integration and back up (ex: Zapier, Mailchimp, Dropbox, etc).
This is just one example how an awesome marketer is using G-suite to optimize his workflow.
2. Noun Project
Noun project is my best kept secret. Shhh… don’t tell everyone. What is noun project? It is the most amazing application for icons on the planet. Noun Project has thousands upon thousands of icons that you can alter color, size, and format (PNG, SVG, PDF). When ever I need an icon, I take one right from noun project on my screen.
Maybe I want a mountain? Or should I make that mountain blue. No wait, maybe I need a less realistic mountain and I’ll turn it red.
The coolest thing about noun project is not only sheer volume of icons they have, but also the ability to change all of those parameters on the fly. If you are anything like me, you need your icons ready in a moments notice. Noun Projects delivers.
There is nothing worse that me having to sort through a bunch of icon packs and mess with the file format. Gone are the days of finagling EPS files to get a single icon. With the Noun Project, I open the app, search, and drag it into my software.
This application makes my life GLORIOUS when dealing with logo ideas. I don’t always use an icon directly from Noun Project, but it’s a great place to find inspiration or use supporting elements in a logo. Hold on, I’ll make a 65 second logo starting now!
And there you have it folks. Not bad for some quick ideas. Imagine sitting with a client and pulling down ideas in seconds and dragging them into your design app.
I might have saved the best part for last. The Noun Project is a software on your computer, so you can literally drag the icon into any application. I drag icons into Sketch, into Adobe, into Google, into this Blog (like above), into WordPress pages, INTO EVERYWHERE. You don’t realize how awesome this is until you have the power to do it.
So how much does this glorious little icon software cost?
I am so glad you asked. It’s $40 for an entire year. That’s right, an entire year is the cost of two fast food trips. The fact that I use this tool on a weekly to daily basis, it’s worth its weight in gold. You know, like a gold mountain.
3. Sketch App (Mac Users)
Sketch is an amazing design software. I first heard about Sketch from my UI design friends. They began migrating away from Adobe. I thought they were crazy. I mean come on, it’s Adobe—Adobe’s King.
I wrote off Sketch as a user interface design tool and kept moving. And then I took on a side project which required me to learn front-end mobile design.
What’s that fake Adobe app called again? Oh right, Sketch. It’s only $100 for the year? Fine, I’ll buy it and see what the big deal is.
Four years later I’ve not touched Adobe since. Dead serious. Sketch is the BEEEZ KNEEEZ. I could write paragraph after paragraph about how easy it is to design in this application, but I wouldn’t do it justice.
If you are brand new to design or thinking about getting a design app to make your own beginner graphics, get Sketch. If you are advanced or looking for something cheaper than Adobe, get Sketch. If you have no design skills and are looking to practice somewhere, get Sketch.
It would be a massive understatement for me to say Sketch has made my life better with design. Sketch makes designing logos, graphics, shapes, content, or any materials a true pleasure. And it’s lighting fast.
When you become proficient in Sketch, there isn’t anything you can’t design. And the coolest part is Sketch has its own marketplace of extensions, add-ons, and designer assets. It’s like Google Chrome for Sketch. Just thousands of new ideas and tools waiting at your fingertips. It’s called Sketch App Resources and it’s fantastic.
Does Sketch work for PC?
No, it does not. And I debated even putting it on this list because it’s Mac only. But it’s too good not to put it here. However, there is something out there for you PC lovers. A company called Figma has been gaining major popularity and they are like a browser version of Sketch.
Figma and Sketch feel like brothers or at least distant cousins. You can do most of the same things in Figma that you can in Sketch. It’s fast, robust, and a designers dream. What’s more is Figma is cheaper than Sketch and it’s both browser based and desktop app based.
See, I told you I had your backs. No PC bias here.
Smartmockups is an awesome software which places any graphic inside of a computer screen, smartphone, tablet, business card, coffee mug, billboard, t-shirt, or wherever. The options are endless.
If you’ve ever wondered how to put an image inside of an image without it looking distorted or a mess, then you need Smartmockups. Or, maybe you know your way around Photoshop, but doing this task is a serious chore. You need Smartmockups.
I can take a simple image and put it in anything I want with picture perfect accuracy. If I design a new mobile interface, I can place it in a mobile app for product brochures.
Or maybe I have a cool logo I made that I want to place on a hat for a client to see. Remember Rusty Hats?
Let’s say I find an adorable picture of a pug. You know the one I’m talking about—where they look like a little wrapped up Ewok.
Well, I can take this image and put it in anything I want in seconds. Let’s make a fun little Pug-Ewok gallery. I can put this little guy in a DSLR camera screen, in a mobile phone, or on a book cover.
And this will all take me about 45 seconds. I’ll spend more time looking for the right setting than I will placing the image. Smartmockups software does it for me. And did I mention that the settings and props are all part of the package? There are 1700 different products and scenes you can place graphics inside of. 🤯🤯🤯
How much does Smartmockups cost?
It’s very affordable. You can get up to 200 free mockups for $0 per month. For $9 per month you get unlimited mockups, the desktop app, integrations, and more. The plans for $19-$39 do even more.
While this isn’t a software I use everyday, when I need it’s function, it saves me loads of time. Not to mention, it’s a great creative tool. Sometime putting a picture in a picture makes a graphic come to life.
If you are a product designer or a UI designer, you need this tool like yesterday.
Lame you say? Think again. There are two reasons every marketer needs WordPress in their life: writing and leveling up.
Writing is a huge part of every marketers life and WordPress gives you a platform to do so. Sure, you could write on Linkedin, Medium, Facebook, or any other platform that you don’t own—but I wouldn’t. You don’t own it.
If you are truly committed to writing and creating content, you should own the content. If you write all of your articles on a platform you don’t own, well, you aren’t building an asset, you’re building someone else’s asset. Medium and Linkedin are monster platforms because of your free time and commitment to populating their platform.
Your ability to monetize your audience is limited on a platform you don’t own. You’ll be restricted in your ability to sell your own products, how they look, how they are displayed, how you charge, how you process, and how you track the user flow. None of this seems like a big deal, until YOU’RE A BIG DEAL.
And while most would say that writing for the sake of writing makes you a better writer (it’s true), I’m suggesting writing because it’s asset building. The more you write, the faster you’ll write, and the more people you’ll be able to help. The more people you are able to help, the bigger your platform grows, and the more opportunities will knock on your door.
Just last week I was offered a marketing job because of the work I do on this blog. I didn’t accept the offer, but the beauty is that this blog gives me the ability to pass things up instead of always seeking things out.
Leveling up simple means building a new skill. Being that WordPress powers 75 million websites, it’s a great skill to learn.
In fact, when I search for jobs on indeed with the keyword “WordPress,” it returns 6,757 jobs. Now that’s demand! And, you’ll notice that writing and WordPress takes the top two jobs. Level up Baby!
Leveling up in WordPress can mean different things to different people. To me, it will allow you to level up in a few different ways.
- WordPress competency – You’ll become proficient in WordPress in no time. Once you know your way around creating blogs, pages, and making changes in the dashboard—Wordpress is a breeze. Not to mention, being able to build a website in a moments notice is huge.
- Design chops – Writing blogs is one thing, but making your website look like a million bucks is a different skill all together. WordPress design plugins and themes have expanded in the last few years at an incredible pace. You can build INSANE websites on WordPress that look and feel like a marketing firm did it for you. My favorite way to do this right now is to use Beaver Builder, Astra Theme, and Ultimate Beaver Builder Tools. SOOOO GOOD! You’re welcome.
- Work ethic – Building a blog takes serious effort. Don’t think you can write 20 posts like Brian Dean and rank all over the web. There are outliers and then there’s us. Assume you are “us”. Start writing today and keep going until you see traffic. Want a bullet proof method? Write 1500 words per day for 12 months on non-competitive keywords and watch magic happen. I virtually guarantee your success.
Stencil is an incredible image editing tool for marketers that require quick editing. I think of it as a swiss-army-knife of image editors. In general, it gives you an enormous repository of images and ready-made graphics that you can manipulate at lighting speed. I’ve created graphics in a few minutes that looked amazing.
Now I know there are a ton of other graphic suites out there. And there is one you are probably using now. I get it. But Stencil is an amazing tool you should take a closer look at. Here are some common objections:
Is it as robust as photoshop? Of course not. But it doesn’t need it to be. That’s not it’s purpose.
Does it have as many images to choose from as Shutterstock? Nope. But the images are free.
Is it as good as Canva? Probably not in total number of tools, but it beats it in other areas—like your wallet.
What Stencil lacks in total tool set, it makes up for in usefulness. For starters, it has a free version. Who doesn’t love free? The next step up is only $9. That’s a few coffees a month. It’s cheap and it does A LOT!
Why Stencil is amazing
- Edit photography lighting fast
- Create graphics in minutes
- Resize to any social media image size automatically
- Publish to social media channels automatically
- Hundreds of thousands of free images to choose from (included)
- You don’t have to pay per image like Canva ($$$)
- WordPress plugin to create images in your editor (game-changer)
- Inexpensive. Yah I know, we already mentioned that.
I wrote a bit more about Stencil here and other tools.
Tallyfy is a task/process software that helps you build repeatable steps with ease. It does this so well, it’s become indispensable to my business. It’s that good.
If there are processes that you repeat over and over again, and then find yourself explaining these steps to clients or co-workers, Tallyfy can put these processes into a digital task-list and deliver the information automatically. This will all happen while you do other things.
On top of this task management, Tallyfy can also be initiated through API’s, Web-hooks, and automation. Not sure why I mean? Well in my business, if I close a specific type of sale, Tallyfy is automatically notified and sends an email to a team-member to begin the on-boarding.
There is a 19 step on-boarding process in my Tallyfy account that is required and each step is detailed out. Once certain steps are completed, Tallyfy notifies other parties that they are up-to-bat. It’s like the ultimate assistant.
And because all of my processes are detailed out, I can integrate new team members without missing a beat. I have Tallyfy work-flows for training new staff or educating new clients. I have Tallyfy for grocery shopping and holiday planning. It’s that good.
If you use forms on your website, stop using whatever you are using and switch to Paperform. I’m dead serious. I’ve tried them (Contact Form 7, Gravity Forms, Ninja Forms, WPForms, Caldera Forms, etc) and they aren’t even in the same universe. Typeform, if you are familiar, is its closest competitor, and it’s still not even close.
Paperform makes creating forms SIMPLE. As in, the first time you use Paperform you’ll be making forms like a pro. It’s presentation is beautiful and you and your clients will look like seriously polished.
You can create conditional logic for your questions. You can create multiple choice with images as buttons. You have a ton of styling options. You can accept payments inside of your form. Redirecting is a breeze. Sharing is a dead-simple. Paperform can be embedded anywhere and even used as a landing page. It integrates with a dozen apps and hundreds more if you have Zapier. The feature list is exhaustive.
We use Paperform on nearly every website we build. It’s rock solid. We’ve even used the technology to build mobile apps. I can’t recommend it highly enough.
This following form is Papeform doing what Paperform does best.
I mean, what else can we say? This form took 5 minutes to put together.
Okay, I had to include one keyword research tool in this list. If you’ve read any of my other articles on keyword research, you’ll know that I stand by my position that you don’t need them to be successful.
With that being said, I do like Serpstat. It’s a really good keyword research tool that packs a lot of value for the money. It’s FAR cheaper than other over-priced keyword research tools. Interestingly, it also gives you really cool features that others don’t provide.
My favorite Serpstat features:
- Related keywords
- Keyword ideas
- Site analysis
- Easy-to-read analytics
- Top competitor pages
- Tree view
- PPC analysis
While I really like Serpstat, this blog is about honestly, and so there are some things I don’t like about Serpstat as well:
- The keyword research can be way off
- The estimated traffic can be way off
- The keyword result time can be slow
- Some of the search results don’t populate competition
- They are raising prices slowly by steadily
Now, if me saying the keyword research can be off and the estimated traffic can be way off makes you pause—don’t be alarmed. This is EVERY tool on the market as well. If they say otherwise, they are lying. Google isn’t giving any keyword software company exact data. They are giving just enough data for everyone to make educated guesses. This is a fact.
Keyword softwares are merely selling you on the fact that they believe they “guess” better than everyone else. And with that, I believe that Serpstat offers other value beyond their guesses that make their software attractive. You don’t need it, but it’s a good tool.
Do I need expensive software tools to market well? Heck no. I’ve known marketers who kick butt with a bunch of free tools. Many of the tools in this article are free or have free versions. You shouldn’t buy a single software until you’ve squeezed every last drop from the free versions. Most of the time, you can hack together multiple softwares to accomplish your job.
What is the best social media marketing tool? There are a million, but if I had to pick one, I really like PromoRepublic. Sure, Buffer/HootSuite/Zoho/Edgar are enterprise quality suites that can take care of all your social media posting. But, PromoRepublic will do 90% of what the big boys do at a fraction of the cost. And, they have a few features like auto-pilot posting, advanced image creation, and a cool scheduling calendar. Try the free version, I think you’ll like it.