2021 Marketing Tech Stack
Here are 40 of my favorite tools & technologies for running digital marketing campaigns in 2021 🚀
8 Competitive Intelligence Platforms 🕵️
Reverse-engineer growth strategies - SimilarWeb provides analytics estimates for third party sites; it's handy for figuring out the relative size, traffic mix, geographies and ad networks for a given site or industry. I recommend using the Chrome Extension version so you can easily inspect data as you browse.
Identify & compare search trends - Google Trends provides high level insights into what people are searching for around the world. You can figure out which trends are transcending borders and which are breaking out or fading away. I find this tool is most useful when you have a benchmark in mind to compare / contextualize your results.
Monitor 'brand curiosity' using Wikipedia - This traffic inspector is a bit like Google Trends, except for Wikipedia searches. I use it as a proxy for tracking brand interest, as traffic typically spikes right after a person or property gets a lot of press or social engagement. This is particularly useful when you're trying to evaluate the impact of international press coverage, or measure the effects of an indirect marketing initiative for a large brand.
Track down a domain owner - if it's publicly registered, WhoIs will help you find the registrant's contact info.
Snoop a site's tech stack - use BuiltWith.
Export data from other sites - this Scraper Chrome Extension makes it quick and easy to pull structured data at scale.
Understand the mobile app landscape - I use AppAnnie to monitor charts, spot opportunities and reverse-engineer the growth strategies of top iOS and Android apps.
Subscribe to App Teardowns - Once a week, AppFigures sends out a free breakdown of a popular app's growth strategy. It's a great reminder to stay up-to-date on an ecosystem that's constantly evolving.
9 Free Copywriting & Design Services ✍️
Generate Copy that converts - CopySmith uses Open AI to generate compelling copy for Google Ads, Facebook Ads, Product Descriptions & more! You will need to review and refine your text, but this tool saves time by giving you a solid foundation to edit.
Simplify your writing - Simply paste your text and Hemingway will offer suggestions to help you express yourself more clearly. Whenever possible, I try to write at a Grade 7 level.
Design professional mock-ups - Figma is a free & easy-to-use design tool for creating mockups and prototypes. From Facebook ads to mobile UIs, there are lots of free design templates to choose from.
Edit photos for free - PhotoPea is a browser-based design tool that offers many of the same features as Photoshop. Hard to believe one lone developer built this by himself.
Download icons for free - Noun Project offers all the vector icons you'll ever need to get a new idea off the ground.
Design professional logos - My friends Ade & Richard built Hatchful, which allows anyone to generate a professional logo and export it in common file types / sizes.
Generate avatars with AI - If you're tired of using stock images for design projects, "this person does not exist" generates a new human each time you refresh the page.
Expand your font library - with Google Fonts.
Find color codes in seconds - with Colorzilla's Chrome Extension.
8 Social Media & Comms Hacks 📣
Browse active Social campaigns - Want to see what ads your competitors are running? Facebook's Ad Library lets you see what copy and content other brands are running across different geographies on Instagram, Messenger and beyond.
Keep up with the memes - While it's not exactly a tool, KnowYourMeme is a valuable cultural library for anyone running a Marketing team in the 21st century.
Monitor social sentiment - The opposite of love isn't hate, it's indifference. Brand Watch allows your team to keep tabs on conversations about your brand and campaigns across platforms.
Keep tabs on other brands - Beyond tracking mentions of your own brand, SEM Rush makes it easy to keep tabs on others with their suite of monitoring tools.
Create gifs in seconds - GIPHY Capture allows you to capture screen recordings of any size and turn them into web-friendly gifs.
Build a chat bot - Use ManyChat to bring your own Messenger bot to life. These are great for answering common questions, distributing new content and learning more about your users.
Search the 'YellowPages' of Tech - Gmail extension ClearBit is perfect for figuring out who you need to talk to at another company. Just type in the role or title you're looking to reach, and it'll let you know who to connect with, on LinkedIn and beyond. I always add tools like this to my personal gmail account, to reduce the risks associated with third party tools. If you run out of ClearBit credits, you can also use RocketReach to find contact info.
Optimize your outbound emails - Buzzstream is a CRM for PR outreach that helps you keep track of who you've already pitched, which subject lines are resonating, add more.
6 Ways to Track Analytics & Insights 📈
Access analytics in one click - Google's Page Analytics Chrome Extension is one of my most used tools. It overlays click data onto your own web pages and allows you to see user engagement stats, traffic trends and more — all without clicking into a new tab.
Increase conversion rates - Run A/B tests on landing pages at scale. Optimizely is a user-friendly option for those who can't code, so you can run multiple experiments quickly and confidently.
Generate heat maps - CrazyEgg is less robust (and less expensive) than Optimizely, but it's perfect if you want to learn where users are (and aren't) clicking on a given page.
Record sessions to spot trends - If you want to take your heat maps to the next level, HotJar records user sessions so that you can watch cursor activity and deduce where users are dropping off.
Chat with your users - Sometimes raw data fails to provide the insights your team needs. Drift is a fun tool for chatting directly with your users (or readers) to better understand where your product (or content) is falling short. There are lots of ways to use a tool like this, but I personally have found it most valuable on dead end pages, like a "no results found" page.
Monitor app analytics at scale - Branch is the perfect tool for tracking user activity and optimizing your conversion rates within a mobile app.
3 Tips for Virtual Events 💻
Host virtual conferences - HopIn is a browser-based event platform that offers key features like custom user permissions, live chat during events, and breakout rooms.
Increase event attendance rates - Virtual events often have a lower conversion rate than real events but widgets like AddEvent can help bridge this gap. Their embeddable tools allow users to sync a calendar reminder (via Google, Apple, Outlook and more) right after they've signed up or bought a ticket for your event.
Run virtual retros - Since the pandemic started, Miro has become my favorite tool for group brainstorming and other collaborative rituals.
6 Search Engine Optimization Tools ⚙️
Analyze backlinks and keyword strategies - While it's technically an SEO tool, Ahrefs is also helpful for PR research and figuring out which sites and journalists have historically covered certain topics or brands. You can also use it to uncover the search engine ads that other companies are running, what keywords they're bidding on and what landing pages they're driving paid and organic traffic to. This has consistently been one of my favorite tools for years.
Check keyword volumes - KeywordTool.io offers a simple way to check keyword volumes (and competition levels) across Google, YouTube, Amazon and beyond. It's also helpful for finding content / keyword suggestions, and for sizing up brand or influencer partnership opportunities.
Optimize your content for SEO - Once you know what keywords you want to rank for, Ryte can help you figure out how much content you'll need to write and which related themes & keywords you'll want to weave in.
Check Domain Authority - Moz has lots of features but their free Domain Authority Tool is one of my favorites. If you want to check a website's 'internet cred' (particularly useful for blogs or press), then this is the tool to use. The higher a DA score, the better.
Preview your SERP Content - Writing meta titles and characters can be confusing, because the character limits are based on pixel width and not character length. I've had to rewrite many metas because they ended up getting cut off once published. Use this SERP tool to preview how your metas will look when users see them in Google Search Results
Refine your ASO - App Store Optimization is essentially SEO for mobile apps. Tools like SensorTower are handy for optimizing the organic and paid keywords you target for the Apple and Google Play Store.
👀 Looking for something else? ProductHunt is my favorite place to find new marketing tools and tech.
Note: This list reflects my personal opinions about tools I have used for a wide range of projects for various employers and side projects over the years.
This list is not endorsed by (or a reflection of my work at) my current employer, Shopify.
This list is not endorsed by (or a reflection of my work at) my current employer, Shopify.