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The 17 Most Critical Inbound Marketing Tools

Posted by Loree O'Sullivan

Blogging. Email. Landing pages. A/B testing. There’s a ton of components required to run inbound marketing correctly. All of these marketing actions require user-friendly tools. While investing in an all-in-one marketing software is typically the most cost-effective and efficient way to integrate your strategy, it’s still possible to manage inbound without HubSpot, Marketo, Eloqua or alternative solutions.

In this blog, you’ll learn about the most critical tools to run an end-to-end inbound marketing campaign. If you’ve got the budget and you’re eager to take your strategy to the next level, we’ll also address some advanced tools for inbound pros.

1. CMS

A content management system is a website management tool for end users which allows the creation, editing, and archival of website pages. HubSpot, Wordpress, Drupal, and Joomla are four well-known examples of CMS that marketers use for website management and blogging.


2. Website Analytics

Marketers only know what they can measure. Website analytics measure site visitors, traffic sources, time on site, bounce rate, and a number of other critical site metrics. Popular options include HubSpot and Google Analytics.

3. Keyword Research

Keyword research tools analyze how well your website ranks in search for key phrases and terms, and how stiff your competition is for industry keywords. Some sharp keyword research tools can even recommend terms with the highest potential. Marketers commonly use HubSpot, Google Adwords or Google Trends, or Wordstream.

4. Email Marketing Platform

Email marketing platforms, at a bare minimum, send emails to your contacts. The best tools also facilitate list segmentation, compliance with FTC regulations, A/B testing of emails, measurement, and more. Mailchimp, MyEmma, and HubSpot are popular choices.

5. Workflows

Workflows are a form of marketing automation, which facilitates the delivery of tailored communications to your company’s leads for nurturing purposes. By customizing the timing and content of your email marketing, you can remain in touch with your contacts until they’re ready to engage with a member of your sales team. HubSpot, Constant Contact, and InfusionSoft all handle lead nurturing communications.

6. Landing Pages

Landing pages is a common functionality of advanced CMS, which allows marketers to build optimized, custom pages and lead generation forms to deliver premium content offers to new leads. This is a standard feature in HubSpot, and a simple add-on in CMS platforms like Wordpress.

7. A/B Testing

Running marketing experiments on your landing pages, calls-to-action, and other elements of your website can allow you to identify friction in your conversion paths. Platforms and tools that rule when it comes to A/B testing for optimization include Unbounce and HubSpot.

8. Social Media Management

If you’re scheduling social media posts in one place, responding to comments in another place, and measuring analytics in a third location, you’re probably working too hard. There’s an abundance of tools available for centralized, total management of your social media presence, including HubSpot and HootSuite.

9. Lead-Scoring

Qualifying your new inbound leads requires business rules. For any brand, introducing as much automation as possible in this process is critical for efficiency. Qualifying leads through a combination of publicly-available data, interest, and other factors is most effective. HubSpot, Pardot, Eloqua, and EverString are four tools with sophisticated lead scoring capabilities.

Other Highly-Beneficial Inbound Marketing Tools

10. Broadcast

Having the ability to broadcast videos and webinars to your prospects can be an invaluable form of lead generation, nurturing, and customer outreach. Google Hangouts is undoubtedly the cheapest option (it’s free!), and many brands are looking to integrate free broadcast apps like Periscope and Meerkat. GoToMeeting/GoToWebinar is another popular option.

11. Image Compression

Marketers need the ability to seamlessly resize their photos for blog and landing page uploads, to deliver visual content without slowing down page load speeds on desktop and mobile devices. There’s a few options, but Compressor.io is one of the most efficient.

12. Note Taking

Your brand needs the ability to create and share documentation, including editorial calendars, brand strategy documentation, blog ideas, and resources for future custom content. Evernote is among the most popular choices.

13. Mind Mapping/Visual Note-Taking

Many of us are visual thinkers and learners. Having a mind-mapping tool in your inbound marketing toolbox can be a great asset for team meetings, client conversations, and brainstorming. MindJet is simple and easy for almost anyone to pick up.

14. Graphic Design

While you’re hopefully lucky enough to have a graphic designer on-staff who’s proficient in Adobe, you should still adopt a few simple graphics tools that are easy for your marketing team to use. Canva, Over, and PicMonkey are three free platforms that can be used for quick generation of custom blog graphics or simple infographics.

15. Offer Analytics

If your brand is a champion at publishing content offers, you may consider a simple integration to gain more insight into how your leads are interacting with your offers. Docalytics is one popular choice for PDF analytics, and it’s easily integratable with HubSpot, Marketo, Salesforce, and Pardot.

16. SEO Tools

If you have the bandwidth to take a deeper dive into SEO, investing in dedicated SEO tools can provide additional intelligence for competitive analysis, social media trend monitoring, and site improvement recommendations. Moz and RavensTools are two popular options for comprehensive SEO improvements.

17. Productivity Tool Integrations

If your company is working with email, an in-office chat solution like Slack, Basecamp, and a number of other tools, it’s probably worthwhile to consider integrating these platforms. Zapier is easy-to-use, low-cost, and has enough integration options that you’re almost certainly covered.


While this list isn’t a comprehensive overview of everything a marketing team needs to succeed wildly at inbound, it’s certainly a great start. A fantastic, all-in-one inbound marketing software, plenty of persistence, and the right productivity tools is typically enough to help you begin generating high-quality leads.

What are your favorite tools for managing inbound marketing? Share your secrets in the comments!

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Topics: inbound marketing

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