Miscellaneous

14 must-have tools in your marketing stack

Shane Bliemaster
Shane Bliemaster

There are many marketing tools out there, and many varying options to choose from. So how do you choose which tools to use for your business? Any new company beginning to build its marketing stack can find itself burdened by a long, tedious trial and error process. The process often involves shortlisting a set of tools, learning how to use them, getting buy-in from the team and proving their value. Building the right stack the first time isn’t easy but it will save your marketing team time and money.

Why are tools important?

A good marketer must be able to work autonomously whenever possible. When a marketer needs to ask a developer to build something, send an email, or track a campaign, it slows down an otherwise thriving business. Having the right tools in place, especially ones in which a developer is unnecessary, will give your marketing team the power to move quickly and test new, original ideas in the marketplace in the shortest amount of time.

In order to get the best results, a marketer must constantly test landing pages, run copy tests, launch new campaigns, and communicate with customers in unique ways. The tools below, and SaaS (software as a service) in general, came to fruition to fill a massive market need. Marketing tools allow businesses to effectively cut costs and scale marketing quickly and efficiently without development overhead and time. Each of the tools below address solutions that could have been developed by an in-house developer, which would have taken months. Instead, due to market demand, they exist for all marketers and marketing teams to use as they grow their business.

Because this is an incredibly important part of how your team markets and grows your business, I’ve decided to share some of the tools I’m using at Nutshell to scale our efforts.

What we use at Nutshell

Google Analytics

marketing-stack-google-analytics

Yeah, of course. GA is mandatory for any business with an online presence. Google is constantly making it better and easier to use. The data provided is invaluable, and is a first step in understanding your customers and sales funnel.

Ambassador

marketing-stack-ambassador

Have you tested YouTube or blog influencers as an affiliate channel? If not, you should! Ambassador allows you to quickly and easily set up your affiliate channels, adding immediate value to your bottom line without the overhead development cost. With Ambassador, you can test affiliate marketing as a channel in no time.

Optimizely

marketing stack optimizely

We use Optimizely to run all of our a/b testing. It’s flexible enough to be able to segment traffic and manipulate our landing pages and is cheaper than having a developer create landing pages full time. Optimizely allows you to quickly understand which versions of your landing pages work best, and gives you insight to make non-performing landing pages better. (Other options: Visual website optimizer, a/b tasty, Google website optimizer, Unbounce, and many more).

Crazy Egg

marketing-stack-crazyegg

Click tracking software. Crazy Egg is the tool that is inexpensive enough to keep in your marketing arsenal full-time. It’s simple. Crazy Egg tells you where people click on your page, and how far they scroll. They also have nice integrations with Optimizely that will make your life much easier by pushing your Optimizely tests into Crazy Egg so you can track clicks on individual a/b tests.

Direct Mail

Direct Mail is a very simple mass-emailing tool. We needed a tool where we could send a mass email but also bcc into Nutshell for tracking purposes. Direct Mail Mac allowed us to do just that while providing a decent set of analytics on top. Any startup that hasn’t had time to build a deeper email automation tool into their product should consider Direct Mail Mac to as a temporary way of filling that hole.

Mailchimp

marketing stack mailchimp

Mailchimp is the marketing email provider everyone knows, and there’s a reason for that. It’s good-looking, reliable, flexible, and easy to use. You don’t need a developer to set it up, and you can usually get your first email out within a day. It’s a great product that makes a lot of sense for the early stage startup. They also have a free plan, which helps keep costs down.

The only major issue with Mailchimp is their strict spam policy. As a new startup, take steps to ensure you’re very careful about who you email. If you get over a 1% spam or bounce rate, you’ll be booted from the system. Other favorite options : Madmimi, Emma, Constant Contact.

URL builder (with UTM parameters)

This isn’t necessarily a tool. URL builder allows a marketer to easily track campaigns by adding a source, a medium, and a campaign to a URL. You’ll also be able to go deeper by adding “term” and “content” tags, which helps for Adwords and Facebook ad campaigns.

Appsflyer

marketing-stack-appsflyer

We use Appsflyer to track our iOS ad campaigns. Facebook only integrated with a few tracking providers and Appsflyer is the best of those options. It allows the user to see how many of my downloads are coming from ads, and how many from organic downloads.

Nutshell

This is not just a shameless plug!  At Nutshell, we built a custom feature that allows a person to store UTM tags to leads that come in so a marketer can determine which source, channel, campaign, and content the lead came from. I can easily filter my data and find out everything I need to know about each marketing channel I’m spending money on. I can get almost every number I need to measure by channels, including LTV, CPA, conversion rate, leads won by channel, revenue, average purchase size, etc. Without Nutshell, a home-brewed tool or dashboard might be necessary to measure all of this data.

KISSMetrics

KISSMetrics allows us to get a view into how customers are using our product and what their path to get there was. As a marketer I can track how many times user comes to nutshell.com before they sign up, which ads or sites they came from, their behavior after they sign up, and which features they use the most. This allows me to tailor and optimize marketing campaigns based on where users are coming from, which features they use most, and how engaged they are with the product.

Ghostery

Have you ever wanted to know which marketing tools or advertising channels your competitors are using? Ghostery allows you to do exactly that, with a simple Google Chrome extension. To use it, just add it to your browser, and visit your competition’s website. Ghostery will then tell you which tools and ad channels they’re using. This simple tool will quell some of the fears your have about missing out on channel opportunities that your competition is using.

Microsoft Excel

The pivot table. Learn to love it. It’s your lifeblood as an acquisition marketer and the best way to get quick and clean data on the health of your marketing campaigns. Even with hundreds of tools available, you still need to learn Excel basics.

Customer.io

marketing stack customerio

This is something we’ve wanted to get in place for a while and is our next marketing initiative. When a new trial user goes through our onboarding process we want to make sure they are getting emails and tips on which important tasks they haven’t completed yet. The goal is to make the new user more engaged by getting them deeper into and more invested in the product.

Referral SaaSquatch

Building a referral program can be one of the most painful and time consuming task for any business. How do you track? What do you reward for a referral? Are there any tools available? Referral Saasquatch has allowed us to quickly get a referral program up and running within about a week. We can also test the referral fee we’re paying to both the referrer and referred. Since launching our program we’ve seen it take off and convert well above expectations.

Final thoughts

One of the great things about SaaS tools—they scale. When the market evolves, SaaS tools will evolve. When your business grows, your SaaS tools will almost always grow with you. If you’re using proprietary tools, you’ll often find yourself at a competitive disadvantage against other businesses that are using the latest and greatest technology. The only way to catch up is to continue to build and adapt your proprietary tools, which means more time and more money.

There are many other marketing tools out there to choose from that I’ve left off this list. Which tools do you use? How have they made your life easier? Add your answers in the comments below.

Try Nutshell free for 14 days and see for yourself how it’ll be an invaluable tool in your marketing stack.

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