If you’re new to the world of digital marketing or have been thrown in abruptly due to the pandemic, the prospect of choosing what digital tools and software to use may be overwhelming. With a huge variety of choices at your fingertips and new ones popping up everyday, it can seem as if the digital landscape is forever changing. That’s because it is.
As a digital marketing expert, I’ve come across and tested many tools over the past few years. A few have truly stood the test of time and continue to help Team Sauce remain productive and communicate effectively, even during a time when we can’t meet face-to-face. I’ve curated a list of great tools and software solutions that work for us so that you don’t have to do the research. I feel confident these would be useful for any team. The tools span from productivity and communication, to design software and digital marketing tools.
The great news is a few of them offer free versions or allow you to use a variety of tools within the software for free! If you prefer to test out the usefulness of this software for yourself and your team before shelling out the cash, you’re in luck! So if you’re in desperate need of some guidance when it comes to useful digital tools and software, you’re in the right place!
Download your own free template here!
Companies in general love to push the value of productivity and refer often to its importance, but nobody seems to be able to crack the code when it comes to streamlining it. This is because what may be true for one company may not be for another, but it’s important to the success of a company nonetheless. Though there may be different forms of motivation and ways to increase productivity, there’s one universal truth: there needs to be a way to organize and track it efficiently. That’s where Monday.com comes in.
Monday.com is a project management software that allows teams to easily digitally organize projects and be productive as a team. By allowing all team members to visualize who is working on what, it creates a transparent and efficient way to stay organized. Monday works off a system of boards, groups, and workflows, allowing your team to easily keep track of and organize your projects by assigning them to individual team members. There are many ways to use this, but Sauce separates active clients by boards, breaks down projects by group, and sets individual tasks with workflows.
The great thing about Monday is that it’s fully customizable, and when I say fully, I mean you can customize each board, group, and workflow with different names, colors, and blocks that make sense for your team. The blocks customization alone makes this tool worth it. There are nearly 30 different blocks used to create columns within your workspaces that all accomplish different things. A few examples include the “People” block which allows you to assign team members to a task, the “Progress” block which shows how close a task is to completion, and the “Date” block which is a simple yet effective way of setting specific deadlines for tasks.
These features would be enough for any reader-type learners out there, but the visual customization that Monday offers takes the cake for those who are visual learners like myself. Not only does the software organize task workflows by column, but it allows the user to assign colors and has a variety of animated features that represent them.
Here’s an example of a project group and the workflows within that group.
You can see that statuses and colors have been assigned to different blocks in the workflow, making it easy to visualize a team member’s progress on that project.
I mentioned before that there were also animated features within Monday. One of the more extra ones that I find to be a fun (and effective) tool used to visualize a project’s progress overall is the llama farm. It’s exactly what you think it is. The llama farm has tasks represented by brightly colored llamas animated to walk across your screen, and sometimes, even hula hoop. This feature may seem ridiculous, but it’s a fun way to rally your team and visually show the status of your current projects.
Organizational and communication tools are extremely important to productivity, but where does that leave your team for content creation? What will your team use to make social media graphics and the ads they so strategically planned out in their workspace software? While I am trained in and absolutely recommend having a design specialist on your team or hiring a company with a specialist who knows the Adobe Suite, this may not be possible for your business currently or you may be looking to add additional tools to supplement traditional design software. For those who are looking for an alternative or an addition, Canva.com is for you.
Canva.com is a simplified design software at its core, but it offers its users so much more than that. The main appeal of Canva is the fact that, with the use of its pre-made, drag and drop templates, you don’t have to be a designer to create graphics for social posts, posters, ads, and presentations, but that doesn’t mean that as a designer, you won’t want to take advantage of its easy to use interface. As I mentioned, I am a trained graphic designer and proficient in Adobe Suite, but I enjoy using Canva to create quick, eye-catching graphics, especially for social media and online advertising.
Canva has a variety of tools you can take advantage of in its easy to use workspace. These include pre-made templates ranging from digital collateral, like social media posts and newsletters, to printable designs like posters, business cards, and brochures. It has its own stock photography gallery with a huge selection of photos which you can purchase individually for a dollar or, if you own the paid version of Canva, use for free. This might be a good time to bring up that, yes, you can use a huge portion of Canva’s tools for FREE.
Additional features like a wider range of file formats for download, the ability to create a brand kit with your project’s fonts and colors, the ability to post directly from Canva to social media, and the ability to set up a presentation (like you would in PowerPoint) and present are all great features that Canva offers beyond that of a traditional design software. Needless to say, if you need a tool to create something and beyond, Canva’s got you covered.
As a marketing company, Sauce has tested and evaluated a number of marketing platforms throughout the years. For us, there are many factors that should be considered when choosing one. A good digital marketing software is like the base of a pyramid when it comes to the tools needed to successfully, well market your business, and should come with all the bells and whistles that will make your business a success. For this, there is one platform we trust and use, for our clients and for Sauce, and that’s HubSpot.
HubSpot is considered the big kahuna when it comes to CMS platforms for what it offers and is truly a one-stop shop for all of your digital marketing needs. From automation and lead nurturing to websites and social media, HubSpot does it all and makes it easy to connect all the pieces in your digital marketing efforts and get great results!
There are several packages with different pricing models that HubSpot offers with varying amounts of tools included in each. So, depending on what your business needs are and the goals you’re looking to reach, there's a package for you.
If you’re just starting out, a great way to dip your toes into HubSpot’s CMS tools is to sign up for the free version. Sauce implements HubSpot’s free tools all of the time for clients who are looking to track and build leads, but who are not necessarily ready for anything more than that. In the free version, you can still take advantage of HubSpot forms, email sends, tracking and much more all while not paying a cent.
For those who are looking for more than what the free version can offer, the possibilities are endless. Looking to automate your lead nurturing campaigns? HubSpot’s marketing automation tool called Workflows, allows you to create simple to highly complex automated email sends, notifications, and deal assignments. Need a way to manage your social media accounts and posts all in one place? You won’t have to worry about logging in and out of individual social media accounts if you use HubSpot’s social media management system. Having trouble getting people to actually FIND your business? Using HubSpot’s Content Strategy tool, you can easily optimize your content with the keywords and connections necessary for potential clients to find your business online.
There are so many tools that HubSpot offers that I won’t be able to get to them all in this post, but here is a list of a few that I love and ones that Sauce uses everyday for us and for many of our clients:
Whether you’re new to digital marketing or have been at it for years, it can be overwhelming to comb through the list of software and tools that is growing exponentially everyday. Even as a marketing agency, we agree that it can be frustrating to find ones that get the job done, but it can also be exciting to discover new ways to reach your business goals. The tools mentioned above are those that I feel Sauce could absolutely not do without and that have contributed to both our success and to the success of our clients. If you have any questions or are interested in implementing a software as robust as HubSpot to reach your company’s marketing goals, feel free to reach out — we would be happy to help!