Let’s not fool ourselves. As online marketers, our job is not always a walk in the park — even if we do sometimes get to do it from home or far-off, remote places. Between answering many client and internal emails, keeping up on every-changing technology and strategies, working on that next one-of-a-kind campaign that hits it out of the park, or simply communicating internally across the coasts, we are always looking for a way to just...make life easier (and make us smarter)! Between the remote working team at First Page, we compiled our extensive industry experience and busted out a useful list of top-notch tools that we use daily or monthly and won’t break the bank. Check ‘em out!
First Page is a bicoastal team that I run from my home base of Belize. For my team to communicate properly when we're all remote, and to keep our clients projects running smooth when they're also remote, we need a slew of tools. Here are some of the things we use every day and week to get our job done from the Americas...
Asana is how our team collaborates, tracks project status, communicates (instead of email), and manages the slew of projects we have going for all of our clients. This tool is a massively easy, intuitive but innovative way to project manage. It has even replaced our chat tool and has transformed the way our team works.
When it comes to organization and to-do lists, this is the app we used before Asana. For team collaboration and project management, we recommend Asana. But, Trello is also a great tool to create your own lists to track all your to-dos. It can also be used as a bookmarking tool to save things such as a great website with content you might need to refer to often. Your board is customizable and can be shared with colleagues that might have some responsibility for your to-do items. Trello can also be used both on your phone and computer.
We use this tool for our entire content production — to stay organized, give additional structure and content briefs, edit, and produce the content. It has a built-in tool to help you assign roles and tasks to colleagues or clients, and can migrate your content into your CMS system such as WordPress. It’s much better and less expensive than 90 percent of what’s available on the web now (such as Contently, Skyword, NewsCred, Zeyrs, etc.). This tool is perfect for managing blog content in addition to projects like landing pages and website redesigns.
Cost: You can start with a 30-day free trial. Monthly subscriptions start at $79, all the way to $259, with varying features. You have the choices to pay yearly, as well (right now they’re offering two months free with an annual payment plan!).
Find sources for content pieces in a couple clicks from top media outlets such as TIME, Mashable, Wall Street Journal and more.
Cost: The basic subscription is free. Otherwise monthly subscriptions are anywhere between $19 and $149 per month.
This tool is based on the Pomodoro productivity technique. The tool works in conjunction with Trello to track your time spent on each tasks and to give appropriate mental breaks. It helps you speed through tasks and stay on track, which is important when working from home.
“Can you send me your availability for the next few days so I can put a meeting on your calendar?” A phrase commonly asked between two people outside of the same organization with different email clients. We love this tool, as it eliminates the hassle of that extra communication, as well as double booking, by allowing you to see a calendar of a person who uses a different email client. Depending on the plan you choose, there are a ton of features, such as meeting notifications, customizable automated reminders, metrics and GoToMeeting integration. Whenever your teammate or client needs to have a quick chat, they have the ability to schedule it using this tool.
Cost: Your basic subscription is free, Premium starts at $8 per month per user, and Pro starts at $12 per month per user.
Want to impress prospective or current clients? Replace your PDF proposals, quotes and presentations and create beautiful website proposals instead. This tool helps you develop interactive and mobile-friendly web pages in place of your current strategy. The best part — you can create modules like 'About Our Team' or 'Our Agency Philosophy' that can easily be used again in future proposals. I haven't won every single client I've pitched to, but every single prospective client has remarked about how impressed they are with my proposal.
Cost: A yearly subscription starts at a mere $39.
Great for hiring, or finding freelance writers for a client project or finding jobs for yourself. This is a great platform for small businesses looking to do, for example, an SEO audit or website redesign. I lean toward using CloudPeeps instead of UpWork or other "freelance marketplaces" because the freelancers tend to be high-quality with impressive backgrounds, and I spend less time digging through applications to find the right person.
Cost: Pricing per month varies depending on whether you are an entrepreneur ($0), business ($49) or enterprise ($249).
This is one of our top choices for a Google Chrome extension. We love this tool specifically for its ability to take screenshots — including the entire page, select and scroll, delayed page and more.
G Suite (formerly Google Apps)
Widely recommended and known, but still the best option for email and Cloud storage, in our opinion. It's easy for those who work with me to add a First Page calendar to their own Google Calendar view, or sync a new email.
This tool keeps us in constant contact with each other (even though we're located all over the world), and with our clients. We use Asana for most everything, but if we need an immediate response from a teammate, we go to Slack. We also use this for informal chatting and to allow our clients to reach us exactly when they need to for a quick answer.
Cost: Anywhere from FREE to $12.50 per user, per month.
Not everyone likes to receive emails after hours or on the weekend! Send client or employee emails early in the morning, even if you're working at 2 a.m after spending all day at the beach, so people won't be disturbed or catch on to your abnormal remote working routine.
Cost: A basic subscription is FREE, but limited to 10 emails per month. Unlimited emails start at $4.99 per month and up.
This is our number one as a tool for SEO/content. It helps you learn more about your competitor’s rankings and determine what you need to do to outrank them. We especially love their “Keyword Explorer” tool, which provides thousands of keyword suggestions, keyword difficulty scores, keyword suggestions and much more. We use this to create our clients' monthly content calendar, and we regularly see keywords and posts jump into the first page of Google.
Cost: Monthly plans begin at $99, up to $999, depending on the features and amount of users you need. Annual billing is also an option, with two months free.
Answer the Public
This is another great tool for keyword research. It pulls all preposition and question phrases for a topic to help you advance your rankings. Then we usually plug all of these suggestions into AHREF to pull keyword difficulty and search volume, which helps us eliminate some and keep the phrases that could work.
A digital market intelligence platform that compares website traffic statistics and analytics to help grow your market share. You can benchmark against your competitors and industry, understand consumer intent and journey, plus much more.
Cost: FREE for some data, but request a quote for specific needs.
You can manage and access your tasks anywhere with this tool. You can also share with colleagues, family, and friends.
An app that allows you to create and edit videos. It has many editing tools, such as filters, sound removal, text editing and animated video effects. New tools are added monthly.
Cost: One year license starts at $39.
CoSchedule's Headline Analyzer
Headlines are your one shot to get a reader attracted to your content. We found a tool that will help you produce better headlines that will help drive traffic, shares and search results. And, their analysis is backed by data, such as word balance and reader scannability.
Cost: As a solo marketer, you can score this tool at $39/month. There are also options for growing marketing teams, professional marketers, and marketing at scale.
One of the best “non-cheesy” stock photography websites out there. It has over 30,000 free stock photos, with the goal of adding at least 3,000 newly-licensed photos each month. These photos are beautiful and can be used for blog images or other content pieces. The tool allows for a Photoshop plugin, as well as a Chrome extension and more.
Guest Post Tracker
Guest blogging is a great way to build your brand’s presence and create additional content. But, it can be complicated and hard to track what is live and what isn't, or where you've pitched and if they’ve used your materials. This free tool lists websites that can be used as outreach for guest blogs but also allows you to track guest posts you've submitted.
Perfect to count the amount of shares, likes and more on third party content you might have placed on partner blogs, affiliate sites or media sites such as Inc.com or Fast Company.
Cost: Monthly plan starts at $40, with the most advanced program being $450.
Those email subject lines matter! This tool takes industry standards and rates your subject lines out of 100 (being most effective). It will tell you how you can improve your subject lines if your ranking is below 100.
Effin Amazing Tools UTM Builder
A tool to track URL clicks, such as guest posts placed on other websites that you would otherwise not have access to those metrics. The tool focuses on new customer growth, conversion rate optimization, and last but not least, analytics and metrics.
Litmus help you build, design, test, and analyze your emails; my favorite feature is the email preview tool, where you can see what your email looks like in dozens of email clients.
Cost: Try it our for free for a seven days, or sign up starting at $79 a month.
Edit, resize, and optimize animated GIFs to help improve the loading speed of GIFs in the inbox.
Tinypng.com – Compress .png and .jpg files for your site and emails without losing quality — I typically see a 70 percent reduction in file size, meaning these assets will load 70 percent faster for my visitors and subscribers.
With the mass amount of content out there now, how can you avoid developing similar to content to someone else’s? Try Grammarly. You can drop your content in the tool, and it will scan the web for similar/same content that would appear as plagiarism and flag it for you. You can also drop content pieces in the tool to help edit for grammar. Simply add the extension to Chrome or download the native app to your computer.
Cost: FREE. Or you can get the Premium account for $11.66/month. With the premium subscription, you get features such as punctuation and contextual spelling and sentence structure checkers.
This app helps you write clearer. It’s a simple text editor with proofreading features that highlights things like lengthy and complex sentences and common errors.
Cost: $19.99 for the desktop app.
This app helps you create and design your email signature. This is great specifically for freelancers working for multiple companies.
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These top inbound marketing tools can be great alternatives for costly software programs. Most of them are free, or at a low cost, which allows you to focus on executing for your client, instead of purchasing tools that cut into your production budget. Before you commit to a new tool or software, don’t be afraid to try some of these out first (especially the ones with free trials)! Let us know if we missed something you think is a must-use for other remote teams and digital nomads.