Hammer Marketing Hacks: Digital Tools We Swear By
Hundreds of platforms and software applications beckon businesses and brands, each promising to bolster marketing outcomes.
Choosing the right ones can be daunting, especially for companies looking to build a MarTech stack – a collection of technologies that 1) takes care of all-encompassing marketing processes and needs, and (2) integrates seamlessly.
For our Hammer Marketing team, choosing digital marketing tools carries added weight for another reason: They’re not just for us. Because we serve dozens of brands, these tools impact our clients’ business outcomes, too. It’s sort of like picking a school for your kid. The choice has a direct bearing on their future, whether they realize it or not.
And so, with no further ado, a few of Hammer Marketing’s go-to, time-tested MarTech tools – and a little about why we love them:
We say “Redbooth” so often here at Hammer that you’d think it was a coworker’s name.
Familiar with Asana, Trello, or Basecamp? Redbooth’s gist is the same. It’s a web-based project management system – a designated spot for project and task tracking – with reliable alerts, tags, and transparency. Redbooth got Hammer’s vote in 2015 and has cemented itself as the backbone of our day-to-day operations for a few reasons:
- Redbooth is super easy to use. Its intuitive interface lets users more or less jump right in. Because we invite vendors and even clients to collaborate with us on Redbooth, this is key.
- Redbooth keeps a backlog of campaign ideas – a huge plus for marketing, where the name of the game is continual testing. Run campaigns, optimize the underperformers. Throw new ideas into the testing mix. Agility is our advantage, and Redbooth helps.
- Archived tasks remain searchable. Perfect for team members like me who want to hide an item the moment it’s complete but still keep it in easy reach.
Email continues to play a leading role in most brands’ marketing strategies. The more an email provider can do, the more time it saves a marketer. So why not choose an ESP – email service provider – that also offers customer relationship management (CRM) and is a customer data platform, or CDP (the place where all customer engagement endpoints – Facebook, in-store, website, email, etc. – are merged into one cross-device, cross-platform source of truth)?
Hammer’s go-to is HubSpot. Beyond mastery of features mentioned above, HubSpot scales super easily. It’s not unusual for Hammer clients to grow from a few hundred to a few thousand email contacts in a few months, and HubSpot is up for the job. Even more, HubSpot offers near-endless integration capacity, ie. plays super nicely with other tools.
Our ESP first runner-up? Klaviyo – a stellar email builder whose dynamic content blocks can’t be beat.
My colleague Fred Zahradnik, Hammer Marketing’s Search Engine Specialist, swears by Semrush, an all-in-one site technical analysis services suite that helps with online visibility and marketing insights. A marketer’s Swiss Army knife, Semrush aids SEO, PPC, SEM, keyword research, competitive research, PR, content marketing, marketing insights, and campaign management. However, its complexity means it’s not for everyone. Here’s Fred’s take:
“In my experience, Semrush’s monthly subscription fee and intricacies makes it better suited for agencies like Hammer than for most of our client companies. But for multi-client agencies, it really is gold. Semrush lets us understand virtually every dimension of SEO for our clients, and its top differentiator is how it interprets those results. Basically, it shows us what’s really important and actionable within the sea of data so we can evolve accordingly. As we do, Semrush’s graphs and charts clearly track progress over time.”
Screaming Frog is a spider website crawler that detects SEO problems or areas for improvement. Screaming Frog isn’t just reliable; it’s fast. It sweeps for all important on-page SEO parameters, and provides a downloadable spreadsheet for search and further analysis.
Of note: You do need to know what you are looking for in order to use Screaming Frog effectively, so it’s not for businesses with no prior SEO experience. But for professional SEO toolkits and specialized digital marketing agencies like us, Screaming Frog is a must-have.
Crazy Egg is the digital (and legal!) equivalent of hiring James Bond to spy on website visitors. Its heatmaps go beyond analytics, letting you see exactly how visitors used your website: Where they lingered and what they clicked, all displayed visually so you can sidestep dense Google Analytics data.
Results are easily sharable with clients and are super helpful for CRO (conversion rate optimization), landing page optimization, even product pages optimization. Our Hammer Marketing design team uses Crazy Egg data almost daily.
Crazy Egg isn’t the only heatmap option, however, we prefer it over its competition because it’s easy to set up via Google Tag Manager (more on Google Tag Manager in a moment).
Get Yoast or go home! Yoast SEO – a WordPress plugin – is Hammer Marketing’s go-to for making sure clients’ website content and keywords appeal to the SEO gods. Put another way, Yoast helps sites achieve the ultimate goal: Higher rank on Google and other search engines. Hammer splurges for Yoast SEO Premium, but the free version is quite robust. Through easily configuring title tags, meta descriptions, and site maps, Yoast makes up for some drawbacks in certain site coding and content.
Ditch spreadsheets, clunky email threads, and endless browser tabs in the quest to create (and get buy-in on) your social media calendar. Loomly social media management platform is designed specifically to accommodate the many hands that touch most social media accounts and to streamline content approval. Loomly has saved the day (and some weeknights and weekends) for us on multiple occasions when last-minute changes would have been cumbersome in the hands of other tools. Loomly doubles as an asset library, too!
For most reading this, Google Analytics is a no-brainer. Still, we’re surprised by the number of prospects we meet who don’t know about or use Google Analytics (the free version or the paid Google Analytics 360).
For the uninitiated:
Google Analytics is an essential measurement tool that lets you look under the hood of your website. Use it to track and analyze website traffic and visitors. You gain access not just to the number of visitors, but which sites they’re coming from, how much time they spend on yours, pages they click on, and more. User demographics like age, gender, and geographic location are also available.
Of course, like all things essential digital, the learning curve is constant. Google Analytics recently forced all users to switch from Universal Analytics to GA4. We’ve been busy helping our clients make the transition to the new platform, which isn’t 100% ironed out yet and has glitches, but shows huge promise. GA4 offers insights on what kinds of files users are downloading, top-engaging pages, purchase funnel specifics broken down by demographic, users’ journeys when visiting a site, and much more.
Another Google Suite product, Firebase lets our in-house team build, grow, and measure apps for our clients. Firebase also lets us measure ads’ KPIs on those apps and games, providing reports on metrics including downloads and user engagement. As we always say, if you can’t measure, you can’t succeed.
Google Tag Manager
We saved our current favorite for last:
Google Tag Manager (GTM for short) is a tag management system that pairs beautifully with Google Analytics 4, enabling you to set up, store, and manage any variety of trackers on a website.
With GTM, various events that you track (ie. user actions) can be enriched with various parameters (ie. descriptors of the tracker). Example: Lead submissions can feature multiple parameters like the source or the user (a referrer website or an ad), the form ID, the form name, the type of user, and more.
Whatever your customization, it’s all conveniently sent to your Google Analytics reports.
Beyond these benefits, GTM is also great for centralizing all tracking in one place – a huge win when websites have hundreds of trackers, and in cases like ours, when an agency oversees dozens of websites. GTM’s clean tracking architecture goes a long way toward organization here at Hammer Marketing.
One unsurmountable barrier worth mentioning, though: Lots of new browsers now block certain analytics tracking, making the future relevance of certain trackers unclear.
That’s A Lot!
Got all that? One look at this rundown and we’re reminded that the digital marketing life really is a constant juggle! If you’d rather have experts select and leverage digital tools for your business, talk to us today.