Top 10 Paid Digital Tools and Why You Need Them

Coin Stack

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Research shows that 98% of business leaders believe digital marketing is important to their organization’s success. In addition, 90% plan to increase their spending in this area in 2020.

Do you feel this way? If so, does your budget reflect it?

Successful digital marketing requires a commitment across all areas of your business. It means investing in the tools and technologies required to help your brand stand out in the online space, one blog post, website click, and social media share at a time.

Thankfully, there is a bevy of digital marketing tools designed to help you do just that. In a previous post, we shared the top free SEO resources available online. Today, we’re sharing 10 of the top paid solutions that are worth the expense!

1. SEMRush

You don’t want to piecemeal your digital marketing strategy. To achieve the insights and visibility you need to make the right decisions and attract the right audience, you need a program that can do it all.

This is where SEMRush comes in.

This all-in-one tool is chocked full of resources designed to help you maximize your Search Engine Optimization (SEO) efforts. It’s especially beneficial when you need to perform keyword research and competitor analysis. While it’s best to spend some time on their website and explore the tools for yourself, some of the top features you can expect from SEMRush include:

  • Organic competitor research
  • Advertising research
  • SEO writing assistant
  • Cost-per-click (CPC) maps
  • Display advertising tools
  • Product listing advertising tools
  • Backlink opportunity identification
  • Advanced keyword research (including long-tail)
  • In-depth site traffic analysis
  • Industry market explorer
  • Domain comparisons

In addition, you can also leverage SEMRush to perform a complete technical SEO audit. There are three pricing tiers to choose from, and each one includes a free trial. Take advantage of the offer and spend seven days exploring everything the tool has to offer. You’ll need them.

2. Moz

You’ve heard of the SEO giant with the funky name, but what is Moz all about?

Self-marketed as an “all-in-one SEO toolset”, Moz provides a substantial amount of free SEO tools that successful marketers should already be using. These include:

  • Domain SEO metrics
  • Keyword explorer
  • Link explorer
  • Moz Bar (Chrome plug-in)
  • Domain analysis
  • Local search metrics
  • MozCast (Google algorithm monitor)

If that sounds like a ton of resources, it is. The Moz Bar plug-in is especially helpful, delivering instant search, social and page metrics for any URL on the web.

However, don’t stop there. The real magic comes when you pay for a Moz Pro plan. When you do, you’ll gain instant access into the most granular data available to help your site succeed. With a few clicks, you can track your rankings, perform advanced keyword research, optimize your pages, crawl/audit your sites, and uncover valuable link opportunities.

3. HubSpot

When it comes to inbound marketing, HubSpot is king.

Serving as more than an SEO tool, it can also act as your Content Management System (CMS), as well as your Customer Relationship Management (CRM) solution. In addition, it’s also a go-to resource when you need to out-perform your competitors in the following realms:

  • E-mail marketing
  • Social media marketing
  • Blogging
  • Landing page development


As you work on each tool, HubSpot also lets you set and track important Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) so you can see exactly where your efforts are paying off, and where you need to improve.

When you’re ready to grow your traffic, leads, and sales, this platform delivers. There are four main “hubs” to choose from to get started, including the:

  • Marketing hub
  • Sales hub
  • Service hub
  • CMS hub

Each individual hub is loaded with tools that fit under that umbrella. For instance, the Marketing hub includes automation, lead management, social media, SEO, Calls-to-Action, advertising, Salesforce integration and more.

Start with the free (that’s right) HubSpot CRM hub, and expand from there!

4. Ahrefs

Is your website traffic looking a little lacklustre?

If so, Ahrefs is ready to help you kick it up a notch. This comprehensive SEO tool is the savvy marketer’s must-have resource for all things keyword research.

Ahrefs has advanced performance data for around 150 million keywords in the U.S. alone. It also lets you research keyword performance in 150 other countries, which is a critical resource for global business leaders looking to expand their reach.


In addition to keywords, it’s also an ideal resource when you want to keep a closer eye on your competitors. You can easily find who’s linking to them, where their content ranks, which pages get the most traffic, and more. While many other tools on this list allow you the same insights, there are a few actions that you can only perform at Ahrefs, including:

  • Perform keyword research for 10 search engines (beyond Google)
  • View the estimated number of clicks on each search result
  • Check out the estimated monthly organic search traffic for top-ranking pages
  • View backlink growth (or decline) over time
  • View click distributions for individual keywords

For the full list of unique SEO features only available at Ahrefs, check out this post.

5. Canva

Studies show that visitors will form an opinion about whether to explore or leave your website after only 50 milliseconds.

While no one should judge a book by its cover, that tiny timeframe doesn’t give them much choice. Before they explore your content and click on your links, your visual design is the first thing they’ll notice.

Are you still rocking graphics that make your website look straight out of 1995? In this case, a professional web designer can help revamp your site from the inside out, optimizing your:

  • Layout
  • Navigation
  • Site speed
  • Mobile-responsiveness
  • Technical and on-page SEO

When you’re ready to create the branding components that define and enhance your visual design, there’s Canva.


This intuitive, drag-and-drop design platform makes it easy to create stunning images for your website and digital marketing campaigns. With the Canva catalogue, you have full access to a wide selection of pictures, icons, shapes, and fonts.

When you’re ready to amplify your branding efforts and create an eye-catching logo, this is a great way to do it. You can also leverage Canva to create one-of-a-kind presentations, social images, CTA buttons, and graphs.

While you can access a majority of these features for free, it’s worth paying for the paid Pro or Enterprise plan. These higher tiers offer you greater customization, branding opportunities, and collaboration control.

Certain features you can only enjoy in the paid versions of Canva include:

  • One-click design resize
  • Advanced team member controls
  • Built-in workflows
  • More than 60 million premium stock images, photos, graphics and videos
  • Ability to upload your own fonts and logos
  • Custom templates
  • Template locking control
  • 24/7 Enterprise-level support

In addition, the number of templates at your disposal is amplified. While the free plan offers you 8,000 free templates (impressive on its own), that number jumps to 60,000 free templates for the Pro plan.

6. Google Ads

When you want to advertise your business on the Google Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs), Google Ads is the way to get there.

Formerly known as Google AdWords, this platform allows you to invest in your digital marketing campaign via a pay-per-click or pay-per-call structure. Using the integrated Google Keyword Planner, you can research the specific keywords you want to include in your ads and other online content.

Google Ads

Then, you can bid on those keywords, setting budget caps that determine how much you’ll spend. If you win the bid, your clickable ad will appear on Google SERPs, ultimately driving more traffic back to your website.

This tool is ideal for ramping up interest in your product or services, especially if you’re competing within a highly specialized or local niche. For instance, when you want to rank quickly for “best nail spa in Austin”, you could spend months fine-tuning your local SEO strategy and try to climb the SERPs organically. Or, you could bid on this long-tail keyword and appear at the top of the first page, growing your numbers at a quicker rate.

7. MailChimp

Are you one of the 93% of B2B marketers who use email marketing to distribute content? Even in the B2C space, 80% of professionals believe that email increases customer conversion.

Gone are the days when you could press “send” and deliver a generic, blanket email to everyone who opted into your email newsletter and expects a good response. Today’s customer expects personalization and customization at every turn.

Unless you plan to craft a unique message for every person on your list, you need a robust email marketing platform like MailChimp.

Mail chimp

Designed to help you create, execute, and analyze your email advertising campaigns, this service offers scalable, tiered plans that can easily accommodate any size organization, from small startups to Fortune 500 enterprises. With MailChimp, you an:

  • Manage email list subscribers
  • Segment subscribers
  • Send blasts or targeted emails
  • Create email drip campaigns
  • Automate routine tasks
  • Customize email sign-up forms
  • Create custom reports
  • View click-through rates and success rates
  • Track all of your emails
  • Ensure campaign transparency

You can design your campaign around one of the tool’s pre-designed templates. Or, you can create your own custom templates as required. You can also keep up with your campaign’s performance via the built-in analytics and reporting tools.

8. Hootsuite

It’s no secret that social media marketing is a must-have for your business. Yet, it’s important to approach it correctly.

Chances are, you don’t have the time to sit down and create a new blog post from scratch every time you’re ready to make an impression online. Rather, you should have a content strategy in place that allows you to create a backlog of posts and schedule them a few weeks out.

Yet, let’s be honest. Even taking the time to write a blurb about your content and share it across the myriad social media platforms can be cumbersome.

Some posts work better on Instagram, while others are best suited for Facebook, requiring you to tweak your content accordingly. Then, there’s the issue of posting at the right time to attract your target audience.


Hootsuite is a social media management platform that helps you work smarter, not harder, at your posting efforts. With this tool, you can:

  • Schedule your posts ahead of time
  • Find compelling social media posts and images to curate and share
  • Promote your best-performing content
  • Monitor and respond quickly to comments
  • Analyze the impact of your social media efforts
  • Calculate conversions
  • Track brand mentions

Once your team members create approved content, it’s stored in a cloud that’s accessible around the clock for social media posting needs. From there, you can create and schedule multiple posts at once, and breathe a little easier.

9. BuzzSumo

Staring at a blank screen and wondering what kind of content will resonate with your audience? BuzzSumo knows the answer.

Anyone can head to the website, type in a topic or URL and see a list of three associated online articles. BuzzSumo crawls the web and social media feeds to see what people are saying and sharing about the topic at hand. You can also see social media metrics associated with every piece of content, including:

  • Facebook engagement
  • Twitter shares
  • Pinterest shares
  • Reddit engagement
  • Number of links
  • Evergreen score

From there, you can use these ideas to spark your own creativity, helping you captivating blog posts, social media posts, or email newsletter blasts. The only problem? You’ll need more than just three articles for inspiration.

With a paid BuzzSumo plan, you can unlock a virtual treasure trove of relevant content.

This advanced research and monitoring tool can help you generate high-performing content that converts. You can also identify influencers in your niche that can be viable partners for your brand.

10. Asana

Your best digital marketing efforts could be for naught if your teams are operating in silos and communication isn’t flowing.

A collaboration and workflow management platform like Asana can help get everyone on the same page. With this intuitive and highly visual system, you can keep your teams connected and organized, no matter where they’re working.


A few of the many tasks you can perform with this tool include:

  • Organize your work into shared projects or Kaban boards
  • Break work into manageable tasks and subtasks
  • Assign a clear owner to every task
  • Organize tasks into sections and columns
  • Connect forms to projects
  • Assign due dates and due times to every task
  • Set project milestones
  • Add attachments to projects

With this resource in place, everyone on your digital marketing team can work together more easily. This is especially helpful if you have disparate employees working from different locations.

Leverage These Digital Marketing Tools and Soar

Whether you’re at the helm of a fledgling startup or a multi-million-dollar enterprise, online advertising is one step you can’t afford to skip. Thankfully, there are both free and paid digital marketing tools that make this process easier than ever before.

While the programs and platforms on this list might require both up-front and ongoing costs, the benefits and ROI they can provide your organization are well worth it.

With these tools at your fingertips, you’re ready to direct more traffic to your website and optimize your SEO efforts. Along the way, we’ll help you make the most of your efforts and improve your odds of success. Using tools to analyze isn’t the only way to learn; there’s also groups, forums, and online communities devoted to website design and development.

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