Marketers have a lot of plates spinning at any given time. Different online channels, different content types, different audiences, different KPIs and OKRs…there’s just no way to do it all without some type of help. Chances are, you’re already using some type of digital marketing software, even if it’s just what’s built-in to WordPress or Facebook. But it may be time to go bigger and better.
According to the Salesforce 2021 State of Marketing Report, the most used digital marketing software includes customer relationship management (89% respondents use it), marketing analytics (88% respondents use it), and marketing attribution tools (83% respondents use it). In this article, I cover those digital marketing software solutions and more.
What Is Digital Marketing Software?
Digital marketing software refers to a range of tools and platforms designed to assist businesses in planning, executing, and managing their online marketing efforts. This software encompasses a variety of functionalities such as analytics, social media management, email marketing, search engine optimization (SEO), content creation, customer relationship management (CRM), and advertising campaign tracking.
Salesforce CRM is a powerful digital marketing and sales software that supports the entire customer journey, from initial contact to a successful purchase. At its core, the software is a cloud-based software solution that helps businesses manage their customer relationships for discovery to conversion.
Why I Picked Salesforce CRM: Salesforce CRM helps companies automate lead generation, sales tracking, customer service management, and analytics reporting. Users can create product details and track which are performing best, based on item category, period, buyer, or other data, and construct a report with actionable insights.
Marketing teams can collect data from multiple sources, such as click-throughs, website visits, or social media interactions, and centralize it for easy access by relevant employees or departments. Sales representatives can use the system to track leads or follow up on potential customers.
Salesforce CRM Standout Features & Integrations
Features include lead management, contact management, sales opportunity management, workflow automation, email integration, reports and dashboards, mobile accessibility, customizable home screen, file sync and share, sales forecasting, territory management, account and contact management, opportunity tracking, task and event tracking, collaboration tools, analytics, customer service and support, marketing automation, appexchange ecosystem, ai-powered insights.
Integrations include Google Workspace, Slack, Quickbooks, MailChimp, LinkedIn, Docusign, JIRA, HelloSign, Code Science, Active Campaign, and Dropbox.
- Robust feature set
- Scalability and customizability
- Flexible and comprehensive integration system
- Steep learning curve
- Not appropriate for small businesses
HubSpot Marketing is a comprehensive marketing software that helps businesses grow their online presence through inbound marketing. HubSpot Marketing offers advanced tools for customer segmentation and personalization to maximize each campaign's effectiveness.
Why I Picked HubSpot Marketing: HubSpot Marketing gives businesses the ability to manage their entire customer journey from start to finish. The software includes features like SEO optimization, content creation, email marketing automation, social media management, and A/B testing capabilities.
You can create engaging forms that capture leads with ease with its form builder tool. The software includes a lead-scoring feature that helps businesses prioritize the most valuable leads in their database. It also allows users to automate certain processes such as follow-up emails so they don't have to manually send out messages every time someone visits their website or fills out a form on their landing page.
HubSpot Marketing Standout Features & Integrations
Features include email marketing, inbound marketing, social media management, marketing automation, SEO tools, content management system (CMS), landing pages, lead management, analytics and reporting, blog and content creation tools, call-to-action (CTA) builder, ad tracking and management, Salesforce integration, customer relationship management (CRM), and A/B testing.
Integrations include popular eCommerce platforms like BigCommerce, Magento, Shopify, Stripe, and WooCommerce, as well as with CRM platforms like Salesforce and Microsoft Dynamics CRM.
- Up to 1,000 automation workflows (Enterprise plan)
- Some features are available for free
- Industry leader in the marketing software space
- Numerous features can take some time to master
- Pricing structure for multiple products is a bit complex
Campaigner is an email marketing platform that helps businesses create, send, track, and analyze their email campaigns. You can set up automated sequences based on customer behavior or create time-based triggers that will send out emails at predetermined intervals. This helps ensure that your messages always reach the right audience at the right time.
Why I Picked Campaigner: Campaigner has a drag-and-drop email builder that allows users to quickly create high-quality email campaigns with ease. The builder offers several different template options so that brands can customize the look and feel of their emails. Users can also add images, videos, and other content to make their emails stand out from the competition.
Campaigner allows users to easily segment customers based on demographics such as age or location and target them with tailored campaigns that are sure to resonate with them. It also has a built-in CRM which helps companies keep track of customer interactions for a better understanding of customer behaviors and preferences.
Campaigner Standout Features & Integrations
Features include email automation, advanced segmentation, dynamic content, A/B split testing, detailed reporting and analytics, integrations with various platforms, responsive email design, social media integration, 24/7 customer support, list management, transactional email capabilities, landing page creation, and GDPR compliance tools.
Integrations include Shopify, Magento, Adobe Analytics, Surveytown, and Google Analytics. More can be unlocked through Zapier but this requires an account and may incur additional charges.
- Advanced segmentation and testing
- A/B testing and optimization
- Robust email marketing and automation
- Slightly cluttered and confusing user interface
- Limited native integrations
Textedly is a text message marketing platform that allows businesses to send bulk SMS messages to their customers. It's designed to help businesses communicate with their audience more effectively, whether it's for promotions, updates, or reminders. The platform is easy to use and offers a variety of features to help you create and manage your text message campaigns.
Why I Picked Textedly: Textedly makes it easy to get started with SMS marketing and provides all the tools you need to create successful campaigns. You can easily import your contacts, create custom groups, and schedule messages to be sent at specific times. Textedly provides businesses with the capability to create personalized text message marketing campaigns that target specific customer lists.
With features like merge tags, businesses can dynamically insert customer-specific information, such as names or purchase history, into their messages, creating a personalized touch. Textedly offers scheduling options, enabling businesses to send messages at optimal times throughout the day, like lunch hour, after work, or on weekend.
Textedly Standout Features & Integrations
Key features include mass texting, scheduled messages, auto-reply, two-way messaging, text-to-join keywords, MMS messaging, link shortening and tracking, detailed analytics and reporting, unlimited subscribers, customizable templates, segmentation and targeting, mobile coupons, drip campaigns, and compliance management.
Integrations include Slack, Salesforce, Hubspot, Intercom, Pipedrive, Shopify, Mailchimp, Facebook Lead Ads, Google Sheets, Google Docs, Google Calendar, WordPress, Zoho CRM, Helpscout, Twitter, and others. You can unlock further integrations using Zapier, but that requires a separate subscription and may incur additional costs.
- Targeted & personalized messages
- Opt-in compliance
- Robust analytics & tracking features
- Shoppers sometimes hesitant to give out phone numbers online
Canva is a user-friendly graphic design platform that empowers individuals and businesses to create professional-quality designs with ease, even without prior design experience. Canva offers a vast array of customizable templates for various purposes such as social media posts, presentations, posters, and flyers.
Why I Picked Canva: Canva stands out as a powerhouse tool for marketers due to its user-friendly interface, extensive template library, and versatile design capabilities. Marketers appreciate Canva for its simplicity, allowing them to create stunning visuals and marketing collateral without the need for graphic design expertise.
Canva offers collaborative features, enabling marketing teams to work together on projects in real-time, streamlining the design process and ensuring consistent branding across all materials. With its affordable pricing plans and the ability to create eye-catching visuals for any marketing campaign, Canva has become an indispensable tool for modern digital marketers.
Canva Standout Features & Integrations
Key features include drag-and-drop design tool, vast library of templates, photo editing capabilities, custom font uploads, collaboration and team sharing options, brand kit for consistent branding, print product ordering, social media graphic creation, video editing tools, content planner, animation maker, free and premium design elements, integration with various apps and platforms, cloud storage, and interactive presentations.
Integrations include 150+ third-party applications, such as Brandfolder, Dropbox, Edgar, Flickr, HubSpot, Later, Mojo AI, Moovely, OneDrive, Pinterest, Slack, Shopify Sync, and others. Additionally, you can use its API and webhooks to create custom integrations.
- Pro plans include brand management tools
- Includes training and learning resources
- Basic plan is free to use
- Best shapes/templates are locked to paid plans
- Only does design, very niche
Google Analytics is a powerful web analytics service offered by Google that allows website owners and marketers to track and analyze their website traffic and user behavior. By adding a small piece of code to their website, users can gather valuable insights into how visitors interact with their site, including data on visitor demographics, popular pages, and referral sources.
Why I Picked Google Analytics: Marketing teams can utilize Google Analytics to track and analyze various metrics such as website traffic, visitor demographics, popular pages, bounce rates, and conversion paths. By understanding how users interact with their website, marketers can improve user experience and tailor content to specific audience segments.
Google Analytics also allows for A/B testing, enabling marketers to experiment with different strategies and determine which ones yield the best results. While many analytics tools offer standard reports, Google Analytics empowers users to create tailored reports and combine various metrics and dimensions, allowing marketers to visualize data in ways that are specifically relevant to their goals.
Google Analytics Standout Features & Integrations
Key features include real-time analytics, audience insights, traffic and behavior reports, conversion tracking, custom reports and dashboards, segmentation, acquisition and channel reporting, flow visualization, user and event tracking, integration with google ads and other google services, multi-platform tracking, custom dimensions and metrics, ecommerce reporting, site speed analysis, and mobile app analytics.
Integrations include Shopify, WordPress, Facebook, Zendesk, and Marketo, plus others, as well as additional Google solutions like Google Ads, Google Cloud, Google Play, and Google Ad Manager.
- Tons of ways to sort and segment audience data
- Works in tandem with other vital Google tools
- Free to use (basic version)
- Steep learning curve for new users
- Frequent updates means constant re-training
Drip is an ecommerce-centric digital marketing software solution with multichannel campaign management, abandoned cart touchpoints, and post-purchase campaign templates. Drip can handle both email and SMS marketing and charge you based on the number of contacts in your system and the number of messages you send monthly.
Why I Picked Drip: Drip stands out as a powerful digital marketing software with its emphasis on automation, segmentation, and advanced product marketing capabilities.The platform provides a visual workflow builder that enables users to easily set up automated sequences based on customer actions, such as abandoned cart reminders, post-purchase follow-ups, and personalized drip campaigns.
Drip has advanced customer segmentation capabilities, which allows businesses to create highly targeted audience segments based on various criteria, including behavior, purchase history, and demographics. This level of segmentation enables businesses to deliver personalized and relevant content to specific customer groups, improving the effectiveness of their marketing campaigns.
Drip Standout Features & Integrations
Features include email automation, multi-channel marketing, segmentation, personalized content, behavior-based automation, visual workflow builder, detailed analytics and reporting, integration with e-commerce platforms, custom conversion tracking, lead scoring, sms notifications, third-party integrations, A/B testing, email campaigns, one-off emails, and dynamic content.
Integrations include over 100 digital tools and apps, including Shopify, Magento, WooCommerce, Big Commerce, any custom online store, Facebook Custom Audiences, Gobot, Thrivecart, WisePops, Chargify, DRift, E-Junkie, PayPal, and others. A paid plan with Zapier will get you even further, unlocking hundreds more connections. Drip is a perfect solution if you need a digital marketing solution that speaks to all of the other tools in your tech stack.
- Heavy ecommerce focus for those who need it
- Tons of integrations
- Powerful automation systems
- Not great for non-ecommerce businesses
- Learning curve for new users
Sprout Social is a leading social media management platform tailored for businesses and organizations aiming to enhance their online presence and engage with their audience effectively. It provides features for social media scheduling, content publishing, audience targeting, and performance analytics, allowing businesses to plan, execute, and analyze their social media strategies.
Why I Picked Sprout Social: Marketers can utilize Sprout Social to schedule and publish content across various social media platforms, ensuring consistent and timely communication with their audience. The platform's social listening capabilities allow marketers to monitor brand mentions, track relevant keywords, and gauge customer sentiments.
Sprout Social also offers robust analytics and reporting tools, allowing marketers to measure the performance of their social media campaigns, track key metrics, and identify areas for improvement. The platform facilitates collaboration among marketing teams, streamlining workflows and ensuring cohesive messaging across different channels.
Sprout Social Standout Features & Integrations
Key features include social media management, unified smart inbox, publishing and scheduling, analytics and reporting, social listening, customer relationship management (CRM), team collaboration tools, content calendar, automated workflows, response rate and time analysis, competitor and performance benchmarking, paid social media campaign management, message tagging and categorization, custom URL tracking, and integration with various social platforms.
Integrations include Slack, Dropbox, Shopify, and Google Analytics.
- Comprehensive social listening and monitoring
- Robust social media scheduling and publishing
- Easy to learn and use
- Limited integrations
- Reporting features could be more customizable
Thanks to their memorable audio ads (“mail…kimp?”), Mailchimp has become one of the most well-known email marketing tools around. Their generous free plan means that almost every digital marketer has tried them out at least once.
Why I Picked Mailchimp: Mailchimp has grown into an all-in-one marketing platform that offers custom domains for websites and stores; design tools for emails, social ads, landing pages, and postcards (with AI-powered design assistance); audience management tools; and marketing campaign automations.
Mailchimp is a great option for those of you who don’t have a dedicated graphic designer on your marketing team. They really make building aesthetically pleasing digital marketing content so easy. This can save you from looking amateurish in a sea of beautiful online content. With its intuitive drag-and-drop editor, businesses can effortlessly create visually appealing and professional email templates.
Mailchimp Standout Features & Integrations
Features include email marketing, automation workflows, audience segmentation, landing pages, sign-up forms, social media ads and posting, reports and analytics, A/B testing, transactional emails, content studio, integrations with various platforms, customer relationship management (CRM), personalized product recommendations, dynamic content, marketing calendar, and mobile app.
Integrations include QuickBooks Online, Shopify, Stripe, Yelp for Business, LiveChat, SimpleTexting, Zendesk, WordPress, Mixpanel, Firebase, and other software options.
- Easy audience list segmentation
- Robust analytics and reporting features
- Easy to use
- Multivariate testing locked to Premium plan
- Lean customer support
Adobe Marketo is a hefty digital marketing program with a price tag to match but it really is worth its weight in gold. This incredible comprehensive digital marketing software integrates nativesly with other Adobe programs you might already be using: Photoshop, InDesign, After Effects, and Lightroom.
Why I Picked Adobe Marketo: Marketo excels in supporting the design elements of marketing campaigns by providing robust features and functionalities that enable businesses to create visually compelling and engaging content. One key aspect that sets Marketo apart is its intuitive drag-and-drop editor, which empowers users to easily design and customize emails, landing pages, and forms.
With Marketo, you’ll get audience behavior tracking, automated marketing campaigns, channels-vs-revenue reports, sophisticated customer journey flows, and content management and personalization. Marketo is also great for digital marketers working solely in a MacOS/iOS environment, as Adobe products have always worked seamlessly with Apple hardware and software.
Adobe Marketo Standout Features & Integrations
Features include lead management, email marketing, consumer marketing, customer base marketing, mobile marketing, revenue attribution, account-based marketing, web personalization, marketing analytics, cross-channel engagement, social media marketing, marketing automation, sales insights and analytics, ad targeting and personalization, predictive content, and integration with various CRM and digital platforms.
Integrations include Salesforce, Microsoft Dynamics, Netsuite, Oracle, SugarCRM, Seamless Connections, WordPress, LinkedIn, Facebook, Citrix GoTo Webinar, Magento, Eventbrite, NetSuite, SOAP API, Google AdWords, FunnelEnvy, Wistia, atEvent, Cvent, Hootsuite, and other tools you probably already use.
- Comprehensive marketing automations
- Advanced reporting and analytics
- Scalability with other Adobe software solutions
- Outdated user interface
- Steep learning curve
Best for improving customer lifetime value
14-day free trial
|From $25/user/month (billed annually)||Website|
Best for tracking campaign results
30-day trial + free plan available
Best all-in-one email marketing software
30-day free trial
Best for text message marketing
14-day trial (50 msg free)
|$26/month (500 msg)||Website|
Best for marketing graphics design
Free plan available
Best free website analytics
Free to use
|Free to use||Website|
Best for ecommerce marketing
14-day free trial
Best for social media management
30-day free trial
Best for email design beginners
30-day free trial + free plan available
Best enterprise marketing software
How I Picked The Best Digital Marketing Software
When selecting software for this list, I considered several factors to ensure a comprehensive and well-rounded evaluation. I began by defining the criteria that will be used to assess the software, such as features, user-friendliness, scalability, pricing, customer support, and reputation.
I then conducted thorough research to identify a wide range of potential candidates and compare them based on the established criteria. I explored user reviews, expert opinions, and industry reports to gather insights on each software's performance, strengths, weaknesses, and overall suitability. Here are the primary comparison criteria I focused on.
What counts as marketing software? Features and niche specialties change from software to software but to be included on this list they must cover these core functionalities.
- Helps businesses plan, create, execute, and manage marketing campaigns across various channels; it provides tools for campaign creation, scheduling, and automation
- Enables businesses to gather data related to their marketing efforts; it provides insights into campaign performance, audience behavior, and conversion rates
What key features should all digital marketing software have? What features are nice but not mandatory (and may come at an additional cost)? Here are my thoughts.
- Marketing Campaigns: The ability to plan different marketing campaigns and include/track different components in each.
- Audience Segmentation: Critical for modern-day marketing, you must be able to divide and conquer your audience based on strategic indicators (age, gender, sales history).
- A/B Testing: Marketing is all about experimentation + testing, testing, testing—marketing software must be able to launch, track, and compare strategies.
- Social Media Marketing: Nowadays, if you don’t have socials, you don’t exist so digital marketing software must include some element of social media marketing.
- Lead Generation: Being able to bring in new leads is one of the bigger components of digital marketing; bonus if the tool can track and optimize captured leads.
- Notifications: Ability to send custom alerts for website issues, sinking metrics, or even just campaign milestones.
- SMS and/or Email Marketing (optional): You may be looking for a multichannel tool that can handle all of the above, or maybe something focused on one channel will do.
- Marketing Automation (optional): You may want to “set-it-and-forget-it” for some marketing tasks, or you might not. This may come with an additional cost.
- SEO Tools (optional): You might have a different set of tools for this but, hey, it doesn’t hurt if your digital marketing software has this built-in to some degree.
"Digital marketing software" can mean so many things. Facebook is a digital marketing tool, but so are AHREFs and Mailchimp. They all perform wildly different functions, though. So what I look for in digital marketing software is that it has a specialty, it has a niche. I want to be able to look at the homepage of the tool and know immediately what it purports to do well. How can this software help with marketing? What area of marketing does it handle? Does it excel as a tool in the specialty it claims to cover? These are all the things I consider.
You've probably noticed by now that there is no way you will choose just one digital marketing software from this list. You will most likely need something for planning and collaboration, something else for social media management, something for SEO, and so on. Software integrations are crucial because it means all your disparate tools can speak to one another and share data seamlessly. I love it when tools have pre-built, native integrations but an open API or connections through a tool like Zapier works, too.
Whatever marketing plan you are working on, you need to be able to measure its success. Digital marketing software should come with built-in campaign analytics tools, customizable data dashboards, and easily shareable reports. This will look slightly different depending on the software in question, but it's a feature I expect to see in some capacity. It can range from super simple (X number of users saw your post on Instagram today) to more in-depth (you achieved % completion for # custom KPIs this month).
The best part of digital marketing software is how much manual work it can take off your plate. Marketing automation is the use of software and technology to streamline, automate, and measure marketing tasks and workflows, enabling businesses to increase operational efficiency. Think about automated email workflows, for example. You might set up an automation that sends a welcome email to a new customer without you having to lift a finger. I look for automation capabilities in every software I review.
When choosing what digital marketing software to invest in, you are probably going to want to look around and ask yourself 1) what tools are competitors using and how are they using them, and 2) what technology are customers currently engaging with, and how? Here are some stats that will help orient your decision-making:
- Nearly 90% of people are likely to give transparent brands a second chance after they’ve had a bad experience (The CMO social media trends round-up)
- Consumers are 2.4 times more likely to say that user-generated content is more authentic than brand-created content
- There are now 80 million shoppers using social commerce (buying products from inside a social media app), an increase of 25.2% between 2020 and 2021
- 82% of consumers want brands to prioritize people and the environment and sustainability
- Gen Z is now the largest generation on social media, with 50% reporting daily usage
- The apps gen Z use the most include YouTube, TikTok, Instagram, and Snapchat (Comscore, 2023)
- In 2021, personalized content was 60% more likely to encourage repeat purchases (The CMO B2B marketing trends round-up)
- Data from December of 2022 indicates that 69% of US users were on LinkedIn daily
- Podcasts have emerged as a leading channel for B2B content, with 43% of decision-makers in business reported using podcasts to access business-related content
- 72% of Millennials and Gen Zs follow at least one influencer online
How to calculate the ROI of digital marketing software?
What factors influence the ROI of digital marketing software?
What are the benefits of digital marketing software?
What are the different types of digital marketing software?
How much does digital marketing software cost?
Other Marketing Software Reviews
Marketing software comes in all shapes and sizes, from social media platform management to website and product reporting. You'll probably need several tools to cover the whole gambit of needs. Here are some other software review lists that I recommend checking out:
- Social Media Management Software: Keep all of your social pages active and organized with these social media marketing tools.
- Marketing Calendar Software: Visualize when campaign content is coming due and who is working on it now.
- Marketing Collaboration Software: Keep your marketing team aligned and in touch, no matter where they are in the world.
According to Hubspot, 91% of marketers in 2021 were confident that the programs they invest in are directly influencing revenue for their company. So the question is: Are you ready to join them?
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