Right now, there are more than 6,000 marketing tools available. That’s a lot of tools to pick from!
And while you’ve probably heard of the giants in this space: MailChimp, Moz, Hubspot, and the likes, there are plenty of smaller, more nimble companies ready to blow you away. It’s these companies I’d like to share with you today.
Because the bigger known tools aren’t necessarily the best choice for startups. And startup founders tend to be great early adopters. They’re more willing than the average Joe or Jane to put up with a few minor nuisances, as long as the payoffs are worth it.
It also helps that a lot of tools are freemium or offer free trials, allowing startups to experiment and find the best solution for their specific needs.
So without further ado, here are 18 (lesser-known) tools any startup can use to take their business to the next level:
Lumen5 is a video creation tool designed to make it easy to produce social content for driving audience engagements online. The goal of the platform is to allow anyone without training or experience to easily create engaging video content within minutes. Their technology enables startup marketing teams to focus on the story and narrative while relying on Lumen5 to do the heavy lifting.
Lumen5 also offers a built-in media library containing millions of copyright-free photos, videos, and audio tracks. That means that your team will have access to everything you need without having to record or purchase any digital assets externally.
Statusbrew is one of the leading social media marketing tools for big organizations and small businesses. It allows you to schedule, collaborate, and track your social media accounts.
The platform is an excellent choice for social media managers to make their workflow easier. It offers to connect the popular social media channels- Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Google My Business, and LinkedIn.
With Statusbrew you can:
- Recycle your old posts that worked best
- See all the messages, mentions, and comments in a single inbox
- Stay updated with the latest blog posts and can share them
- Integrations with Slack, Box, Google Drive, etc.
- Add your team members and grant specific permissions
- Get free stock images and other media to share on social media
- Create categories according to post types to analyze which works better
- Check different metrics on posts such as engagements, likes, comments, impressions, etc.
Social Media is a place where startups can connect with their first customers, introduce their brand’s personality, and boost their leads and sales. But social media takes time and resources to get right, something startups are in short supply of. So, what do you do?
You get SocialPilot.
SocialPilot is a simple, affordable, all-in-one social media marketing and management tool. You can schedule posts, manage your mentions, and engage with your community all from one simple interface.
It works across all social media channels with no limits on sharing. You can reply to all your comments, messages, and posts in real-time – so you never miss an opportunity to build a relationship with a prospective customer.
Being a multichannel marketing platform Sendpulse helps marketers automate email, SMS and web push notifications. What makes this platform really stand out is their Facebook messenger chatbot builder which you can use to design a chatbot for free with no coding experience.
Messenger chatbot allows users to:
- Generate leads by requesting an email address and a phone number.
- Respond to customer requests 24/7
- Schedule messages to be sent at a specific time.
- Send news and alerts from your RSS feed.
- See detailed statistics on a chatbot’s performance.
Rebrandly is a link management tool that helps marketers improve their brand visibility and link trust by shortening and branding the links that are created and shared online.
This tool also provides a detailed analytics feature that enables you to learn about who’s clicking on your links — such as what country the clicks are coming from, the most popular times and days, and what social media platform the clicks originated from.
It is a very easy tool to use with features including QR codes, link retargeting and UTM builder to name a few. You also have the option to create custom-branded URL links along with the power of remarketing in one tool.
6. UniTel Voice
Your business phone system can be one of your most powerful marketing tools. When customers call your business you want to sound professional. If it sounds to your customers like they are just calling someone’s cell phone or some random Google Voice number, you’re not going to leave a good impression.
That’s where UniTel Voice comes in. It’s a virtual phone system for small businesses that lets you set up an auto attendant with a professional sounding greeting, so you can impress customers when they call.
The best part is you and your startup team can still run your businesses from your personal cell phones, but instead of giving out your personal numbers, everyone on your team can use the UniTel Voice mobile app to make and receive calls using your business’s phone number. It’s like having your office phone built into your smartphone.
They offer also other cool features that can give your marketing a boost, such as:
- Toll Free Numbers
- Custom Vanity Numbers
- Free Voice Talents
- Call Tracking
- Call Recording
- SMS Texting
- And More
7. SE Ranking
SE Ranking is an SEO tool that includes useful functions for startup founders and marketers, first and foremost they offer a competitor research feature, which allows you to see what keywords and content your competition is targeting.
They also offer social media management functionality, perfect for when you’re looking to get started with social media, but don’t have a lot of time or resources to dedicate to it.
SE Ranking is ideal for small businesses looking for an all-in-one tool covering SEO, content and social functionalities. It’s also suited for agencies, as it offers multiple accounts, white-label, and sub-accounts.
In our own experience, using SEO to generate organic site traffic is one of the most important/cost-effective marketing channels for startups.
Good customer communication means good customer service. Both are vital to building your brand.
In fact, customer service is the top indicator of company trustworthiness, especially when you’re an unknown startup. Because of this, you need a reliable communication channel and even in 2020, email is still your best bet.
With its low-cost, high-reward record, email remains a perfect fit, plus user-friendly email service providers like Campaign Monitor are ideal for startups. Plus, you can try Campaign Monitor for free.
If you’re a small business owner, you may handle email alone or with a basic email service provider (ESP). This can be effective, but as professional needs grow, finding the right provider becomes more complex.
You may find yourself needing to graduate from DIY tactics or basic services. Comprehensive tools and reliable support will become necessary as your business grows.
With a long history of helping both experts and newbies, Campaign Monitor has a massive, easy-to-use toolset.
As there is no such thing as a dull moment in a startup’s life, busy marketers who are looking to make emails quickly will appreciate Campaign Monitor’s email templates and drag-and-drop solutions, which let you customize buttons, copy, and images instantly.
However, if you’re accustomed to building your own emails from scratch, Campaign Monitor can help you do that, too with resources for developers and designers.
As both a quantitative and qualitative research tool, Remesh is a platform designed to help startup marketers get into the minds of consumers.
The intuitive chat platform empowers you to have a dynamic conversation with up to 1,000 consumers at once. Participants are able to submit open-ended responses in real-time, and the platform’s artificial intelligence then analyzes, understands and segments audience responses as they happen.
The data is then displayed in data dashboards generated in minutes, enabling startup owners to plan, run, and analyze session insights in a matter of hours from start to finish.
10. Right Inbox
More than 250,000 professionals use Right Inbox every day to increase their email productivity.
Right Inbox is a chrome extension that supercharges your Gmail account with email scheduling, a great feature for startups that work in different time zones.
Set up the email and Right Inbox will automatically send your emails at the appropriate time for the timezones you’re working with.
Save yourself some time, escape from periodic tasks with the recurring email feature. This is a tremendously powerful tool to ease your workflow and concentrate on more important tasks in your startup.
Startups are always looking to increase productivity and squeeze more results out of the resources they have.
Often, productivity gains can be found in the simplest places: where you can eliminate tasks that are repetitive or time-consuming.
In content marketing, if you’re a prolific writer, you probably spend a lot of time uploading drafts into WordPress. It’s repetitive and boring, and over the period of your writing career, it’s incredibly time-wasting.
Wordable lets you skip that part of the job so you can focus on the more meaningful aspects of content creation and promotion as it lets you upload Google Docs to WordPress, fully formatted and styled, in a few simple clicks.
You can also cleanly upload images as well as use HTML in your posts.
It’s a huge time saver if you use WordPress.
Creating brand awareness can be a challenge, one great way to get more eyeballs on your product is to create strong banners.
Bannersnack a cloud-based, professional banner maker with which you can create fully responsive banners that will look perfect on all screen sizes, on any device.
Bannersnack lets you design display ads in every shape or format: you can create HTML5 animations, add videos, links, or embed your own custom code.
It’s pretty intuitive to use. You can start from scratch or choose a template, and you can make your banner unique by adding animations, interactive elements, and powerful Call-To-Actions.
To create one you can drag and drop images, text buttons, and other visuals to create your perfect banner. To top it off, the banners are compatible with all major ad networks.
13. Survey Anyplace
Disclosure: This is our tool, but we are convinced that it deserves a spot in the list of lesser-known tools 😉
Survey Anyplace is an online tool to create engaging surveys, quizzes, and assessments.
The use of interactive questionnaires is a great way to make your existing content more engaging and increase conversions. According to research, interactive content generates twice as many conversions as passive content.
Survey Anyplace offers the following features to create a great, interactive experience:
- Question Skip, to direct participants to relevant follow-up questions
- Text only screens, to return information to the participant and make the experience more conversational
- Embed code, to put the questionnaire in your website
- Custom final screen and scoring depending on the answers on the questions
An interesting – more recent – feature is the ability to automatically send a personalized PDF report to the participants with the answers they gave when they took the questionnaire.
Have you ever gone to a restaurant simply because you saw a line stretching out the door?
You might not have known anything about the place, but the crowd alone told you they are doing something right. If you trusted the crowd as a sign that the restaurant is good, and hopped in line, I’d bet you enjoyed your meal.
Proof takes this real-world concept of social proof and brings it to the digital realm. When a visitor comes to a random website, they don’t necessarily know why they should trust it.
- Are other people buying?
- Is the site legitimate?
- Is an item going to sell out soon?
By displaying recent activity notifications to visitors, Proof able to play on this a fear of missing out while adding trust and authenticity to your pages. Our software displays real data (the recent purchases, signups, and other user actions) on the front-end so that visitors are encouraged to take action while on your site.
The software is quite easy to install (no engineering team required) and can help boost your startup’s conversion rate when collecting leads, getting demo registrations, and selling items.
Every startup is focused on growing sales and conversions, improving its position in search engines, and outperforming the competitors. This is where the tools come in handy.
Nightwatch an SEO tool designed to monitor and analyze your website’s performance, make smarter decisions and make sure your website is growing with a healthy and steady speed.
With Nightwatch you can:
- Discover, track, and segment keywords and backlinks
- Visualize your data on flexible graphs to see your progress
- Perform site audits and spy on your competitors
- Get automatic notifications about new ranking opportunities
- Create customized drag-and-drop progress reports for yourself or your clients
- Integrate Google Analytics and Search Console to have all your traffic data in one place
Nightwatch offers competitive pricing adjusted to the needs of small business owners and startups; subscription starts with as many as 100 keywords.
Adding social media feeds to your website used to mean a bunch of ugly iFrames that don’t match your website style and break mobile responsiveness.
But with Juicer, you can add a single aggregated feed of all your social media posts (or only specific hashtags), perfectly integrated and styled to match your website.
Juicer.io is notably less expensive than it’s competition, for example, better-known competitor Tint charges $600/month to do what Juicer does. Juicer is free for up to two social media accounts and it’s most expensive package sits at 99$/month for 15 accounts — which makes it a perfect starter package for startups building their social media presence.
One of the biggest challenges for startups is building links. A great way to build links naturally is to share good, visually strong content.
Venngage is an easy to use infographic builder that will help you build such content.
Even the most design-inept individual can create stylish content for websites, presentations, ads, social media use and much more. There are templates for a wide range of projects including infographics, reports, posters, promotions, and social media images.
Leadsurance offers an insurance marketing automation platform that freelance marketers and agencies can not only resell to their clients but can also white label and manage under their own brand.
Managing custom WordPress sites, online reviews from many platforms and multiple social media channels for clients, alongside dozens of insurance integrations and automation tools has never been easier. Becoming a Leadsurance partner gives you access to marketing experts and tools that will help you grown your marketing business.
This list could go on and on. There are at least a dozen alternatives for every major digital marketing tool. I’m not saying you should use all of these lesser-known tools, but definitely give the tools you currently lack in your marketing arsenal a try.
Voilà. These are my top 17 ‘lesser-known’ tools to make your content better, your life easier, and your startup grows faster.
Do you use any other lesser-known tools you can recommend? If so, tweet us @startuppile.
Editor’s Note: The article is part of the blog series Grow Your Business brought to you by the marketing team at UniTel Voice, the virtual phone system priced and designed for startups and small business owners.