Our Favorite Tools for Marketers
Marketing is a dynamic combination of art and science. There is the creative side and the technical side. The best marketers combine both. At Coal Creative, we take advantage of several programs and apps that make our work a little bit easier.
Here’s a little secret: just about anybody can access basic versions of the tools. If you’re building out a marketing program for your own business, you can stay on track using project management, internal communication and design tools with little to no cost.
We’ve cultivated a list of some of our favorite tools for marketers.
Slack is the messaging platform that we use at Coal Creative. It is organized by channels, which allows you to segment conversations. For example, we have Slack channels for each collaborator to keep the various departments updated and engaged. It’s a good place for quick communication, making it the de facto water cooler of the remote-work age. We often use the direct messaging and huddle options for one-on-one discussions. Huddles are voice or video meetings, directly from the Slack platform.
Slack has a free version as well as several paid tiers.
There are many email marketing platforms out there. They all have different strengths and features. We are big fans of MailChimp. If you’re using email marketing on a pretty basic level, the free version of MailChip is an excellent option. The free version allows for 2,000 contacts and 10,000 sends per month, which is more robust than most unpaid email marketing services.
The premium version of MailChimp has many additional features that make targeted marketing easier. It allows you to segment lists, personalize messages and manage drip campaigns. MailChimp also provides analytics, which helps us make decisions about future campaigns.
Social Media Tools
Hootsuite is a social media manager’s greatest tool. It allows you to schedule posts on multiple platforms in one place. Hootsuite integrates with Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, Pinterest and WhatsApp Business. With Hootsuite you can pre-post, engage with users, manage ads and monitor trends. There is also an analytics feature that can help you understand what’s working and what needs to be tweaked.
Hootsuite dropped its free version in favor of several paid tiers. They offer 30 day free trials for the professional and team packages.
Meta has a one-stop tool for posting on Facebook and Instagram. Facebook Creator Studio allows you to schedule posts and track performance on multiple Facebook pages and Instagram accounts. Advertising is also built into the tool. A bonus for marketers on a budget is that Creator Studio is free.
At Coal Creative, we have a talented team of designers and artists who create all of our graphics — from newsletters to posters and websites to social media posts.
If you don’t have access to designers or need quick, professional-looking graphics, Canva is a good substitute. Canva has thousands of templates to help you create social media posts, brochures, presentations and even merch like t-shirts and stickers.
There is a free version of Canva as well as their paid professional accounts.
Staying on task, especially when managing multiple projects at once, is a challenge across industries. Technology companies have jumped at the chance to solve that problem. Here are a few project management and list-making programs that our team finds helpful.
Coal Creative uses Asana, a web-based platform, to assign and manage tasks. That said, our team identified several other similar tools that small business owners and DIY marketers will probably find more robust and user friendly.
Clickup is a customizable project management program. It allows teams to organize and segment various projects. It is designed with efficiency in mind, bringing project management under one roof. It allows for basic lists and complex workflows.
There is a free version of Clickup that the company recommends for personal use. On the business side, there are several pricing options depending on the size of your team.
Notion is another project management program with a robust note-taking system. With Notion, you can organize your projects and docs in one place in a format that is helpful for you. Notion also uses wikis to place the context of a project next to your daily work.
There is a free personal version of Notion as well as a paid program for teams.
Kanban boards are a popular framework for organizing work. Trello uses the concept of a board to put all the information about a project on one screen. The dashboard shows who is working on what with full integration of documents and photos.
Trello offers a free plan for individuals. More features are available for teams at a monthly rate.
Some final thoughts
If you feel inspired to take on your own marketing program, start by identifying what you want to achieve, then figure out what you need to get there. Since most of these tools are free, there’s no risk in experimenting with them.
On that note, make sure the tools you choose give you solutions, not stress. Each should solve pretty obvious problems. If not, keep looking. The good news is, you typically don’t have to look far to find something that adds value to your marketing initiatives.
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