Best Digital Marketing Tools Used By Pros (Plans, Pricing, and Uses)

best free online marketing tools

Choosing which marketing tools to use can be a confusing and sometimes paralyzing endeavor. The market is flooded with hundreds of options for every marketing task you can imagine — each with its cons and pros.

But what if I tell you that it shouldn’t be that complicated?

Today, I’ll share with you the top 10 can’t-miss tools every marketer should use to step up their game.

I have personally used these tools. So I won’t be recommending anything I haven’t tried with my clients or my business before.

1. Google Analytics

As marketing evolves, data-driven marketing is becoming the norm. We can now make better decisions and track our campaigns’ effectiveness with real-time and historical data.

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So the question now becomes: how do you gather this data? With Google Analytics.

Google Analytics gives you all the tools you need to track your website traffic, understand its behavior, and provide actionable insights.

Best alternative: Piwik PRO Analytics Suite – especially for businesses that work with sensitive customer information like healthcare.

Use Cases

There are many scenarios where GA will be of help:

  • You can track the performance of your SEO campaign..
  • Understand where your visitors are coming from.
  • Learn how long visitors are staying on your site and how many pages do they visit per session.
  • Find improvement opportunities based on bounce rate or site speed.

If you want to learn how to use this tool, Google has created a series of courses on using Google Analytics for beginners to power users.

Plans and Pricing

With the free version, you can do anything you’ll need in terms of tracking and analysis. However, for enterprise websites, Google offers it’s Analytics 360 plan for around $150,000/year.

2. Evernote

Evernote is a next-level note-taking app designed to be easy to use for both personal use and collaboration.

Thanks to its flexibility, you can use the app to:

  • Organize to-do lists
  • Create databases
  • Manage and collaborate on projects
  • Archive ideas while you browse the internet
  • Create documents with images and audio, and much more.

Best alternative: Notion.

Use Case

Evernote excels at fast cross-platform and cross-teams note-taking and brainstorming. Having it available everywhere makes it perfect for capturing those moments of inspiration and then collaborating or building upon them.

Also, you can create workspaces to connect all team members in one place. This is an excellent feature when working on design documents or software documentation.

If you’d like to try Evernote, you can start by going through their learning material. However, the tools it’s easy enough to just jump right in.

Plans and Pricing

The Evernote app has three plans you can subscribe to:

  • Basic – which is totally free but with some limitations. Still, more than enough if you just want to organize ideas.
  • Premium for $7.99/month – this is the best tear for freelancers with a lot of documentation, brainstorming, and the need for more advanced features like creating templates and adding notes to PDF files.
  • Business for $14.99/month/user – the best choice for teams. It allows you to create workspaces and to manage all data and accounts from a centralized account.

3. Hotjar

Imagine you can visualize how users interact with your website, where they spend the longest time, how far they scroll, and when they leave your site. It’s magical, huh?

That’s precisely what Hotjar is for. This software lets you create heatmaps that show you a visual representation of a user journey, record site visits to track their mouse moves, tabs, and clicks, and add feedback widgets so users can rate their experience.

Best alternative: Crazy Egg.

Use Case

If you want to optimize your site’s design and structure based on real data, Hotjar will give you all the information you need.

By studying where your users are exiting the website or the information they value the most, you can then create a redesign that doubles down on what works and rearrange or eliminate what’s not.

Want to learn how to use the tool? Here’s a link to their guides.

Plans and Pricing

Hotjar is remarkably affordable for beginners and can grow with you as soon as your needs increase. Their tiers are broken into two:

  • At the Personal Tier, you have a free plan that can track users on-demand and a plus plan that automates the process of recording user behavior. This tier is great for new sites that are not receiving a lot of daily traffic.
  • If you want to record 500+ sessions per day, then the Business Tier is the one to go. At this level, you’ll be paying between $99/month (recording up to 500 sessions per day) to $989/month (recording up to 15,000 sessions per day).

Note: it also has an agency option, so you can manage several client’s accounts, each at different tiers, from one account.

4. Docfly

Documentation is a critical component of every marketing campaign. When onboarding new clients, it’s essential that you build a clear and concise document explaining the scope, requirements, and expectations of the project.

Docfly – previously PDF Pro – is a free cloud-based pdf editor that allows you to share documents, collaborate on them, and convert them into other formats as needed. Plus, having essential documents safe on the cloud can prevent file loss and duplicates.

Best alternative: after using Docfly for so long, I genuinely believe this is the best software you can use right now.

Use Case

I use DocFly to create contracts for our team members to read and sign without having a license themselves and store all sensitive information that could get lost in a computer crash. Saving us a lot of time and headaches.

It also helps us be less paper-dependent and reduce paper waste, which is now more valuable than ever.

Although it is straightforward to use, here’s a list of features and how to use them.

Plans and Pricing

DocFly has a simple pricing structure with only two options:

  • Get a license for $7.44/month or
  • Pay the full year, and save 50% for $47.88.

All plans come with 10GB of storage.

5. ClickUp

Project management software it’s a critical tool for collaboration. Especially now that we are all working from home, having a central place to add tasks, share information, and track our projects’ progress is fundamental.

What separates ClickUp from the rest is that it is a genuinely all-in-solution for project management. It has everything you’ll need to break down projects, create and assign tasks, track progress and time, and build a custom board to visualize team performance at a glance. (Read ClickUP Review)

Best alternative: if you want something more straightforward but powerful, Asana is the way to go.

Use Case

ClickUp has templates you can use right away for projects like marketing, content creation, development, design, employee onboarding, and more. Just create a new space with a template and start breaking the project into smaller tasks.

Assign every task to a team or person, and they can take it over from them.

Within the task, people can add comments, subtasks, track time, add priorities, and more.

It has a little of a learning curve, but they have built a big video library in the ClickUp youtube channel that goes over every feature and scenario.

Plans and Pricing

ClickUp pricing structure is pretty simple:

  • The free plan lets you add guests and members for free and create unlimited tasks. However, you’ll have limited automation, custom fields, and dashboard functionalities.
  • The unlimited plan costs $9/month/user and unlocks a world of integrations and dashboards.
  • The business plan costs $19/month/user; it adds more advanced views for projects and unlocks all dashboard features.

I recommend that you start at the free plan to get a feel for it and if it’s a good fit, then upgrade to the unlimited plan.

Unless you have +25 team members, you won’t need to upgrade to the business plan any time soon.

6. Grammarly

Content creation is the base of almost all modern marketing, and without good grammar and syntax, content wouldn’t be the same.

However, content creation can get quite expensive. Content needs to be written, edited, proofread, and published.

To shorten the line of production, the Grammarly app behaves like a content editor companion. It can reduce proofread times, provide editing suggestions, and make it easy for writers to create good content.

Best alternative: Linguix writing assistant.

Use Case

Grammarly integrates with almost every platform, including Google docs.

Download the chrome extension or download it to your PC/Mac and start writing.

Plans and Pricing

Grammarly has three different pricing categories, and you can save around 30% by purchasing the yearly plan – which, if you are serious about writing, it’s the one I recommend.

  • Free plan – it is suitable for testing but if you really want to step up your writing game, then upgrade ASAP.
  • Premium plan – it starts at $11/mon for the yearly subscription.
  • Business plan – this one lets you add team members and manage subscriptions within one admin account and create style documents.

7. Discord

Communication can easily be the number factor for success – or at least in the top ten factors.

Discord is a multiplatform app that allows you to communicate in real-time and asynchronously with people worldwide.

Although the app was initially designed for gamers. Nowadays, Discord has added unique features like voice chat rooms for +50 people at the same time and an efficient channel organization system, making it a highly capable communication solution for all users.

Unlike their competitors, you’re able to send voice messages through Discord, which is a time-saver.

Best alternative: if you’re looking for a more “business” tool, Slack is your best option.

Use Case

After creating your discord account, you can then create channels for different teams and projects. Then set the rules for the channels (like privacy and permission levels) and send invites to the rest of the group.

The software it’s intuitive to use, so it won’t take long for the team to get used to the efficiency of just going to a voice chat channel and start brainstorming.

Plans and Pricing

Discord is totally free to use, but there’s a paid version called Nitro that enhances software capabilities like increasing file size limits and HD videos.

8. CanIRank

No marketing tool stack is ready without an SEO tool for keyword research, content strategy, growth tracking, and competitor analysis.

The reason I recommend CanIRank software instead of others is because of its AI capabilities.

Once you connect CIR to your website, the software will audit your site to provide you with content opportunities, link building opportunities, improvement suggestions, and actionable tips to rank above your competition.

This can take you from purchase to action faster than other tools.

Best alternative: if you’re looking for a more traditional tool, Ahrefs is the best in its class.

Use Case

I use CIR to simplify keyword research. It suggests the keywords that your website has a higher probability of ranking for and generates a report on your competition and what you need to do to rank above them.

Also, CanIRank excels at finding link building opportunities. Its AI scrapes the internet looking for the best fit for relevant and high-quality links for your website, finds unlinked mentions, and finds out what link building strategies your competitors are using.

Plans and Pricing

Starting with CanIRank is free for one website. This plan is especially recommended for new sites.

For more complex projects, CIR offers three software tiers that grow depending on the number of websites and reports you need:

  • The DIY individual costs $49/mon, lets you manage one site, and generate five keyword reports per day.
  • The DIY pro costs $79/mon, lets you manage seven sites, and generate 20 keyword reports per day.
  • The DIY agency costs $299/mon, lets you manage 25 sites, and generate 80 keyword reports per day.

9. Canva

Canva is a powerful yet easy to use image editor that allows you to create beautiful designs in minutes. It is perfect for small businesses that require great graphic design and efficiency at the same time.

What separates Canva from its competitors is its library of templates, videos, graphics, illustrations and photos, and collaboration capabilities.

Because it is a cloud-based software, team collaboration is easy. Making creating content faster than ever.

Best alternative: I would have to say that Photoshop is the best alternative if you want to create highly complex editings, but 99% of the time, Canva is a better choice. If you’d like to explore other options, here’s a list of the best image editors available.

Use Case

The best use case for this tool is definitely social media marketing. Creating posts for all social platforms is fast and effortless.

In the paid plan, you’ll be able to schedule your post directly from the tool, saving you money on additional content scheduling software.

Plans and Pricing

If you’re a solopreneur, then the free version will be more than enough for you. You’ll have plenty of options to create your presence on social media.

With that said, you can also upgrade to two different paid plans to enjoy more features:

  • The pro version will add you four seats (so five team members in one account) and give you access to advanced tools like the background remover and one-click resize tool for $19.95/mon.
  •  The business version costs $30/mon/seat but allows you to build fully flesh design documents, brand guidelines, and more.

10. Copper CRM

If you’re still using spreadsheets to gather and organize customer data, it’s time for you to set up a CRM software.

Copper CRM is a customer relationship management software that integrates with google suite, transforming your team’s Gmail into a fully functional CRM.

You’ll be able to create pipelines, attribute sales, monitor lead interactions, and build workflows and playbooks in one place.

The best part of this CRM is that if you know how to use G Suite, you’ll know how to use Copper.

Best alternative: if you want something with more functionalities, Hubspot can be the best choice for you. However, it has a steep learning curve and can get expensive really quickly.

Use Case

If you are already using G Suite for company emails and collaboration, Copper will integrate into your workflow in no time.

You can use it for both lead and customer support, add notes to contacts, look at historical data, and organize your workflows to close more deals.

One note, though, I recommend this CRM for service companies like marketing agencies. If you are thinking of building a CRM for eCommerce, you should be looking for solutions like MailChimp or Drip.

If you want to learn how to use CRMs to scale your business, Copper has built an in-depth library of resources around marketing and sales and how to use their tools to grow your business.

Plans and Pricing

Like most CRMs, Copper structures its pricing by seats:

  • The basic plan starts at $25/mon/seat but has a limit of 3 seat tops and 2,500 contacts.
  • The professional plan costs $59/mon/seat, has unlimited seats, goes up to 15,000 contacts, and unlock email automation features.
  • The business plan offers everything from the professional plan, plus has unlimited contacts. It costs $119/mon/seat.

When it comes to marketing tools, you need to remember that they are only as good as those that use them. It’s your knowledge and skills to take these tools and create outstanding campaigns that grow your clients’ businesses.

With that said, there are three things you’ll need to pay attention to while choosing your marketing software:

  1. Integrations
  2. Ease of use
  3. Scalability

Your tools need to work together and grow alongside you without overcomplicating your workflow.

Now it’s your turn. Did I leave out a tool you consider essential for marketers? Let me know in the comments. I’m eager to learn from your experience.

Happy marketing!


Elodie Castillo is the Content Operations Manager at Softonic, the leading global software and app directory.

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