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Marketing Tools We Love
Marketing Trends

Marketing Tools We Love

These days there are a remarkable number of tools available to marketers to help make our jobs easier and more efficient. Sorting through everything out there, however, can be a time-consuming exercise in trial and error. Our teams have tried lots of them over the years. To help save you time, we’re sharing a few that we’ve come to rely on for everything from help concepting and researching to putting the finishing touches on a project.

Tools for Research
Since our work, particularly in our digital marketing discipline, requires a great deal of background knowledge our teams take advantage of a few different tools for research. Some help us identify keywords and other topics for our ads and content development. Others show us how website pages are performing so we can make UX and content changes that benefit users. Some of our most-used tools for research are: 

SEM Rush and Google Ads Keyword Planner help us out when we need to conduct keyword research for things like digital ad targeting or developing SEO-optimized content. They all offer deep insights into trending search terms, related questions, and other information that helps us develop smart strategies for our clients. 

Ispionage offers us insights into what our clients’ competitors are doing with their digital advertising. That information helps us form a smart strategy when it comes to everything from messaging to media placement. 

SparkToro is another way to access audience information. It can be used for keyword research but we tend to rely on it more for insights into where our audiences are spending time. That information helps us shape digital media plans that go beyond the basics and tailor our strategies to our clients’ audiences. 

Crazy Egg, Screaming Frog, and Microsoft Clarity are tools that help us see how a website is being used. When we’re starting on a website redesign one part of our early research and discovery phase is understanding how visitors are using the current site. Using these tools, we can generate heat maps and visual indicators of where users are clicking, how far they’re scrolling, and more. This information helps our UX designers see what features visitors use most often. It also tells us what the site may be missing. For instance, if users keep trying to click an image expecting it to be clickable and it’s not, that’s information our team can use when reimagining the site design. 

Tools to Help Collaboration
We use a few different tools that help us collaborate internally and externally with our client partners, and you’ve probably heard of and used most of them before (waving at you, Slack and Basecamp). But two that we’re fans of lately that you might not have tried yet are Trello and Usersnap.

Trello is a project management tool that our CID content team and dev team use to help collaborate and organize steps in a project. They use the tool for differing reasons — the content team uses it as an editorial board while the dev team uses it to track progress on their projects. But the fact that something so simple can serve two fairly different teams is a huge plus in our book. We love how deep you can go with checklists, file sharing, and more even in the free version.  

Usersnap lets us do quality assurance testing on websites and landing pages right on the site itself instead of using a spreadsheet or other more cumbersome document. Because we can take screenshots and add notes in the tool, it’s easy for everyone on the team to flag issues and be certain the people responsible for fixing them know exactly what to do and where to do it. 

Tools to Make Your Writing Sharper
Even if your main job description isn’t copywriter, you can probably benefit from one or all of these tools to help your writing be clearer, more accurate, and more understandable. 

Grammarly is a browser extension that automatically checks your grammar as you write anywhere online. It’s generally fairly smooth to use, although it can get a little laggy occasionally. (But who among us, right?) You can also enter your text into a field on their site for a quick check if browser extensions aren’t your style.

Hemingway App promises to help you write clearly and boldly, like the man himself. If you feel like your writing is too wordy or are having a hard time getting to the point of something and just want help smoothing it out it’s a good way to get a second opinion or additional suggestions for how to edit your work.  

Tools for Polished Presentations (& More)
Keeping people engaged in your presentation is an art form. It’s a bit of a balancing act, so when we find a tool that helps us keep our audiences even more interested in what we’re sharing of course we have to check it out. 

Loom is a platform that lets you create video presentations and other content that looks polished and professional. It’s great for making team presentations, engaging client leave-behinds, or as a way to shake up your digital content — especially content that usually tends toward more static presentation (like a blog post, for example).

Tools for Sketching It Out
When we — writers, strategists, basically anyone who’s not a designer — have projects that need a designer’s touch eventually, we often use basic design tools to help rough out what we’re thinking. Then, when it is time to formally bring one of our art directors on, the time we spend collaborating is a lot more productive for all of us thanks to having a visual reference to start with. 

Figma lets users easily swap out design components to create web pages and other layouts. Our digital strategists like to use this tool to plan out elements of a landing page or to figure out how they want a presentation to flow before working with our designers to make the final deliverable. 

Canva is a user-friendly design tool that lets you design just about anything you could need or want, from websites to print pieces. We’d never use Canva in place of our talented designers, but it is a powerful tool to help us sketch out ideas. Our writers often use it to get a rough idea of how a headline or body copy could look in an ad or social graphic, for example.

Go Analog
Sometimes taking a break from digital tools is just the thing to spark some inspiration. Just about everyone at CID has at least one favorite notebook or sketchbook that we use to scratch out ideas. It also gives our eyes a break from looking at screens for a little while. (I’m a fan of Paperage notebooks. They’re like Moleskine, but much more affordable.)

And, while our office is a hybrid workspace, we do like to meet up in person for quick touchbases when we’re in the office together, or with clients for longer workshops and strategy sessions. 

Is there one we’re missing out on? Let us know what your favorite marketing tools are at your organization.

Have us put all of our digital tools to work for your organization. Contact CID now.

Rebecca Rick

Rebecca Rick

Senior Content Strategist + Copywriter

Creative. Strategic. Crategic? (We'll workshop it.) Rebecca's part of our award-winning marketing & strategy team where she turns ideas into words and words into content.

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