What are the best tools for inbound marketing — the ones inbound professionals use every day for their work?
We reached out to business owners, founders, marketers, and agency owners — people doing inbound marketing every day just like you are, asked them what tools they use and love. In what follows, we share their recommendations, and best of all, Leadfeeder integrates with many of these options via Native integration or through Zapier.
Without further ado, here’s what they said!
Multiple people I asked, said HubSpot was their No. 1 inbound marketing tool. Sheila Pantaleon, Managing Editor at Step Change, said HubSpot is her go-to tool for seeing which marketing efforts have the best ROI.
“The CRM capability helps us see a lead’s journey into our funnel. This also gives our content team an insight into what topics and types of content resonate well with our audience and create more of those, plus it enables us to create SEO-friendly blog articles and topic clusters, conversion-optimised landing pages and emails, and build and track campaigns. It also enables our Sales and Customer Success teams to know when to reach out to our prospects and leads.”
- Sheila Pantaleon, Managing Editor at Step Change
Jason Thibault, founder of Massive Kontent, recommended Ahrefs, especially in light of recent updates to the platform.
Ahrefs includes many of the same features as SEMRush, such as site audits and competitive analysis. It is perhaps best known for its keyword research and extensive backlink library.
“Ahrefs’ new (and improved) Content Explorer database allows me to track down republished posts. By listing two dates — published and republished — I can find content that is being regularly updated. This tells me that it’s both a valuable content asset and a topic I should consider adding to my queue. And using the ‘In URL’ search mode within Content Explorer allows me to quickly determine my competitors’ posting frequency broken down by month.”
- Jason Thibault, Owner of Massive Kontent
Andy Theimer, founder of FeedOtter, recommended Drift, a company best known for its conversational chatbot that helps companies communicate with their site visitors and customers.
Drift can also create automated email follow-ups based on initial sales conversations that take place on your website.
“Blog posts, customer stories, and eBooks do a great job of bringing people to the site, but I want a way to engage cold inbound visitors. We’ve been using Drift Chat Playbooks over the past months to engage with people that come in cold, asking them simple questions and learning more about them. For example, when a visitor lands on a blog post related to a major qualifier for us (company uses Pardot) we start an on-topic conversation.”
-Andy Theimer, Founder of FeedOtter
4. Open Broadcaster Software Studio
Mahi Chauhan, Co-owner of Dyonisian Writing Services, recommended OBS Studio, a free, open-source tool for video recording and live streaming.
The tool is most frequently used by gamers looking to share their gaming with the public, but marketers can also use it to share webinars, feature walkthroughs, etc. It enables you to create videos from multiple sources, such as including window captures, webcams, images, and text.
The learning curve is steep for this tool, but like many popular open-source tools, it comes with decent documentation and community support forums.
“My most successful piece of content featured multiple short clips made with Open Broadcaster Studio. The best way to interest someone in what you’re teaching them is by showing them what you’ve achieved through video.”
- Mahi Chauhan, Co-owner of Dyonisian Writing Services
Content writer and inbound consultant Abass Sahrawi mentioned Hotjar as his favorite tool — one he uses extensively to generate content ideas.
Hotjar’s features include heat maps and visitor recordings, including a conversion funnel tool which allows you to watch recordings of user’s behavior right before they drop off of your site. It also includes feedback tools, such as polls, surveys, and a way for visitors to leave visual feedback on your website or app.
“Spending countless hours coming up with the right topic idea is a waste of time and energy. That’s why I love Hotjar’s popup survey questions. They save my time and help me to better understand my audience’s needs and wants.”
- Abass Sahrawi, Content Writer
Wordable does one thing and does it well: It imports Google Docs files and turns them into drafts in Wordpress. Wordable preserves formatting and even imports tables and images, which saves marketers tons of time and headaches managing individual assets.
For Prashant Murphy, founder of Unlimitly, Wordable is a seamless part of his work:
“Wordable’s a fantastic tool that helps inbound marketers get their blog posts up and running on Wordpress blogs in no time.”
- Prashant Murphy, Founder of Unlimitly
For Corina Burri, Director of Marketing at Ofri, Streak is a simple way to keep track of leads.
Streak works inside of Gmail, keeping track of leads as they move through the funnel. It’s not as robust as a full CRM like HubSpot’s, but it can work well for smaller teams.
“Streak lets me to personalize emails directly in my Gmail Inbox. It also helps me send press releases to a larger group of journalists.”
- Corina Burri, Director of Marketing and Communication, Ofri
SEO Consultant Josh Levenson recommended SEMrush as one of his top inbound tools. Josh noted SEMrush’s ability to give insights into keywords beyond just volume and CPC metrics. It also has built-in advertising research to help you understand your competitors’ ad strategies and budget.
“SEMRush gives insights into keywords beyond volume/CPC metrics and doesn’t break the bank. I like to drill down into the keyword magic tool to understand how headterms branch off to various intents.”
- Josh Levenson, SEO Consultant
The Best Tools Are Always Improving
Even when the experts we interviewed recommended the same tool, they didn’t mention the same features. We were also surprised by how many new and updated features we hadn’t heard about yet. Whatever tools you use, it goes to show: It’s good to stay informed about the latest tools available to help you improve results in your inbound efforts.
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