We’re always looking for new ways to boost our productivity, learn from our prior endeavours, and optimise our business strategy. Yet running a business can be pretty demanding, and when it comes to streamlining your approach, it’s hard to know where to start.

But don’t worry, because we’ve put together a list of six fantastic tools that can help you power up your marketing game in 2018, and give your business what it needs to compete with the best in the ever-expanding world of digital commerce.

1. Salesforce

We’ll start with Salesforce because, if we’re honest, so should you. Marketing themselves as a “customer success platform”, this CRM solution is a great option for businesses of all sizes, but is particularly helpful for new startups which are still finding their feet.

The Salesforce Essentials package comes with a free trial so you can see if this platform is for you. Its main advantages are its range of customer experience solutions, from email marketing optimisation, to social media management and facilitating the resolution of customer queries.

It is built around scalability, so if you find the platform gels with your needs, then it should continue to be suitable even as your business grows. In-app tutorials will show you the ropes, and even if you don’t stick with it, you can pick up some useful guidance that can be applied to other CRMs and similar tools in the future.

2. Socedo

If you’re in the B2B market, then Socedo could be the tool you need. Its AI-driven marketing solutions are aimed at business growth via automated lead generation. Using keywords selected by you, the application will search for qualified leads on social media, and automatically follow those that are appropriate.

If these leads show interest in your business, they will then receive a message inviting them to engage with your business directly, usually via a link to a designated landing page. Socedo also enables you to split-test your campaigns, and collect essential insights about your audience, helping you to accurately score leads, and focus on those with the greatest potential for your business.

3. Leadpages

As you already know, marketing is all about attracting and converting leads, and a great landing page can significantly increase your success.But what does a winning landing page look like? And what happens if you have no web design experience, nor anyone to handle that aspect for you?

Leadpages offers a range of free landing page templates that you can build upon for your website. They are all designed with mobile-responsiveness in mind, and cover a variety of industries, so there will almost certainly be something there to inspire you.

They also offer a number of very useful services, from A/B testing, to Facebook Ad tracking, so you can keep an eye on the success of your marketing campaigns, and optimise accordingly.

Image Credit: Screencap from LeadPages

4. Sumo

Focusing on website growth, Sumo comes with some unique features that we have found to be extremely useful. For example, the app enables you to track the behaviour of visitors to your website using “heat maps”. These are visual representations of where users click on your website, and how often.

This means you can redesign your layouts to boost click rates, and move important features, such as your CTAs, into prime locations on the page. This can not only increase readability and improve the customer experience, but it should ultimately mean more clicks, more conversions, and a greater understanding of how to optimise your website for your audience.

January 2019 : Since writing this article, the Sumo Heat Maps service has been discontinued. An alternative service that provides a very similar suite of functions is available from Plerdy

5. BuzzStream

When you are spending out on advertisements, you want to know that you will get the best possible return on your investments. As such, you need something that not only helps you find the best people to target with those ads, but also track the success of your campaigns.

BuzzStream does all of this, and even presents the information in a beginner-friendly, easily-absorbed format, that means you can see at a glance where your campaign is succeeding, and where it might need work.

Some of the key features you can benefit from include profile building, database segmentation, link monitoring, and project management. Plus, you can even try it out for free, in a 14-day trial.

6. MeetEdgar

We have to admit, the main reason we love MeetEdgar is the logo. Who doesn’t want a tiny octopus with glasses to manage their social media content? On a more serious note though, this automated content delivery system can save you a huge amount of time, while simultaneously keeping your social media accounts active and interesting.

All you need to do is input when and where your audiences are online, and Edgar will post the right pieces of content at the right time, to maximise reach and engagement. You can even arrange for your evergreen content to be automatically reshared in the future.

By boosting your brand’s visibility, you can secure more click-throughs to your website, greater familiarity with your audience, and with any luck, more conversions as a consequence.

It’s especially useful for any ecommerce brands who are making the most of social media as a sales channel in 2018. Use it in conjunction with your Facebook ads to align your organic and paid social strategies for maximum sales and brand uplift.

Image Credit: Screencap from MeetEdgar

These tools are all great choices for automating your workflow, and boosting your business growth. But don’t stop there; the web is full of innovative apps, tools, and advice that can help you supercharge your business as it battles its way to the top in 2018.

This list covers the tools we found to be best suited to our needs, and useful across a range of applications. Yet everyone is different, and you may find that your working style gels better with alternative solutions. Try a variety of options, and then cut back to those from which you are getting the most benefit. Many of these tools are free, or at least come with a free trial period, so it makes sense to branch out and find the ones that work best for you.