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3 Best Marketing Tools for 2021

Here at Splendid, we love digital marketing tools that help us take our clients to the top of their industry. 

While digital marketing tools will only help execute a proper strategy (they won’t do the work for you), the right technology stack really can help you blast past the competition.

It would be pointless to try and cover the thousands of digital tools available to marketers today, so in this post we’ll examine three of our favorites that span some of the most important areas of digital marketing: analytics, SEO and testing.

Many of you may have heard of or used our top picks before, so let’s just get into the nitty-gritty of exactly what makes each tool a must-have for any forward-thinking marketing team or agency.

1. Hotjar: Conversion Optimization

Hotjar is a behavioural analytics tool that gives you deep insight into how your users really experience your site or app.

It might actually be the best tool you can find out there right now to help you detect optimization opportunities and slay your conversion KPIs. 

HotJar Recordings: Squash those costly bugs.

Whether it’s easy-to-miss design flaws, an error that’s preventing people from completing your forms correctly, or plain old development bugs, unattended errors may be costing you thousands of dollars. 

That’s where HotJar recordings come in – they are the perfect tool for post-publication bug stomping. They let you see actual recordings of your users on your site as they move, explore, convert, or mostly tellingly, click around furiously without doing any of the above.

By watching actual users navigating your site or app, you can spot pain points (such as target areas that are too small), conversion bottlenecks (like form validation errors), and opportunities for enhanced user experience that will fatten up your bottom line.

Hotjar vs Google Analytics

Think of it like this: Google Analytics gives you the bird’s eye view from 1,000 meters – the big picture of all your traffic, where it’s coming from and where it’s going, whereas Hotjar recordings give you the worm’s-eye view.

It lets you delve deep into the hows and whys of conversion optimization. 

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More Hotjar Features

Heatmaps: A great content-auditing tool that lets you see where users are clicking on your site and how far down they’re scrolling. 

Feedback: An unobtrusive questionnaire tool that you can use to ask your audience a series of questions when they visit your website. 

Surveys: A full-blown survey tool to gather critical information from your customers or prospects.

Whether you’re an enterprise or a small business, if you use Hotjar, you’re half way to figuring out how to increase conversion rates.

2. Ahrefs: Everything SEO

Many digital-native businesses live or die by the quality of their SEO. Skilled search marketers, whose job it is to help these companies thrive online, rely mostly on digital tools to make sense of what is often a complex, fluid environment.

Ask any accomplished digital marketer today what the best product for SEO, rankings and organic traffic is, and all fingers will likely point to Ahrefs, which has quietly overtaken Moz as the bonafide titan of SEO.

Ahrefs: What’s It Used For?

Ahrefs is the most comprehensive tool you can find for everything SEO. From on-page SEO optimization to SERP rankings, Ahrefs as you covered.

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Track Your Ranking Progress

Whenever you create content for your site or your blog, you’ll do so with a few keywords in mind. And naturally, you’ll want to know whether you’re hitting or missing the mark. 

The thing is, ranks fluctuate over time. So, sometimes, it might be a month or two before your content starts ranking for the keywords you’re targeting, while at other times, you may find yourself on the first page for keywords you were never chasing in the first place.

Knowing where you rank for different search terms is the very essence of SEO. And Rank Tracker will help you see that.

It’ll also help you discover the new paths your audience takes before they land on your site. 

Site Audit

On-site SEO is often considered the most basic element of any SEO plan. On-site or on-page SEO has the most clearly defined rules, and lends itself well to the “checklist” approach.

Ahrefs’ site audit crawls every page on your website, then gives you an overall SEO health score, flags potential SEO issues, visualizes important data in charts, and provides recommendations on how to improve your score.

Keyword Explorer

Ahrefs’ Keyword Explorer tool is excellent for generating new keyword ideas. 

Simpy punch in your seed keywords and wait for Ahrefs to spit out synonyms, related terms you never even knew existed, and search volume for each of its suggestions.

Compare this to ye old faithful Google Keyword Planner, and you’ll find that Ahrefs gives more focused and relevant results. 

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Tracking Backlinks

Is your SEO strategy delivering the backlinks you need? If you’re not entirely sure, Ahrefs can give you a detailed view of it all.

One of the many useful features of Ahrefs; Site Explorer is the ability to filter your view by your top performing content. If you guest-post, you’ll be able to see which sites give you authoritative backlinks so you can better hone your content strategy. 

Snooping On Competitors

Ahrefs’ Positions Explorer shows you your top competitors, then lets you check the keywords they’re ranking for. If you know you’ve got the edge on your competitors in terms of domain authority, you can use Positions Explorer to learn which keywords they’re ranking on the front page for. 

With a little creativity and some writing prowess, you can not only increase your own visibility, but leapfrog your competitors for terms they’re currently ahead of you on.

Generating Fresh Content Ideas

Tools like BuzzSumo are great for finding topics in your niche that you should cover.

But, if you’re already paying for an SEO tool, you’d expect that as a built-in feature to avoid paying for two similar services. Content Explorer is that feature within Ahrefs.

When searching “content marketing” in the Content Explore, you will find that not only do you get a whole lot more results, but that the results are leaps and bounds more interesting and relevant than the meager selection you might receive from some of Ahrefs’ competitors like Moz.

For further analysis, you can quickly download the top 1,000 results, which is perfect for data-driven content analysis, like finding the most popular keywords in titles or exploring which headline formulas get the most shares.

If you drive sales online, Ahrefs’ dizzying array of tools can help you elbow your way past the competition and onto the summit of the SERPs. 

A trial is available for just $7, by the way. What a glorious time to be alive.

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3. Google Optimize: Split-Testing

To increase the performance of your site and your landing pages, you’ll need to test your way to success. While it’s important to know UX best practices and the latest design trends, they aren’t always going to work for your users.

To test your campaigns effectively, you’ll need: a good set of KPIs, access to data, and a good conversion rate optimisation tool to run your variations.

For marketers who already have a good grip on web analytics, Google Optimize helps take your optimizations to the next level.

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What Is Split Testing?

Otherwise known as A/B testing or multivariate testing, split testing is a way of testing two or more versions of web pages, or permutations of elements of a web page, to determine which version works better.

For example, you can test two entirely different pages, or mix and match various headlines, CTAs and images to see which variation delivers the highest number of conversions. 

How Does Google Optimize Work?

The Google Optimize editor is an easy to use layer on top of your landing page. You can click different areas of text, images, or CTAs to edit, or simply dive right into the code for more nuanced changes.

From your settings, you’ll be able to set different rules for which segments of your audience see the different variations. You can set filters for specific regions, device types, browsers, or dozens more segments.

Inspiration For Your Tests

A quick google search will return many examples of tests you can take inspiration from.

Netflix helpfully documents many of its testing processes in intricate detail.

Although you don’t need (and wouldn’t be able to replicate the sophistication of) Netflix’s testing model, you can learn a lot from their scientific approach to maximising engagement.a

Actually, Tom Cleveland’s substack has an informative look at how the New York Times tests its headlines which you should definitely check it out. 

Google Optimize helps you challenge some of your own assumptions and uncover often counterintuitive results. By continuously repeating the process, you’ll be able to increase your conversion rates, and become a better, more experienced, and more well-informed marketer.

Wrapping Up 3 of The Best

Marketing your business can be a challenging endeavor at the best of times.

It all starts with sound vision and strategy. After that, great execution depends a lot on using the right tools for the job. 

We hope you’ve found this list helpful and that, if you’re not already using them, you’ll look at incorporating the tools we’ve discussed to help you take your digital efforts to the next level.

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