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December 10, 2019

Digital marketing: the essentials for 2020

Digital Strategy

As we reach the end of the year, we’re going all out to offer you the most in-depth articles on digital marketing. Today, we’re going to give you an exhaustive overview of the applications you really need to be using if you’re active in the wonderful world of digital marketing.

For this list, we’ve worked using categories. It’s not just about applications to boost your SEO, but also all those that will allow you to work to the best of your ability!

So, happy reading! Feel free to use the comments to share the names of any apps you use and which we might not have mentioned.

#1 Online visibility     

In digital marketing, your website is the cornerstone of your digital strategy! You need your own domain name and a cloud platform on which to host your website.

If you’re feeling enterprising and want to create your own website without having to do all the coding, Thomas Frank has an excellent tutorial on his website. Alternatively, our partner TBNT can take care of everything for you.

WordPress is the prime platform to use to build websites. There’s a free and a premium version. The strength of both versions lies in the many plugins which allow you to create stunning “shop windows” without needing to write a single line of code. Some of those we use most frequently are Real Simple SSL, Updraft, WP Super Cache, Ninja Forms and MonsterInsights.

WordPress also has some excellent integrated SEO tools, such as meta descriptions in Google search results. The platform is the ideal option to allow you to create a content strategy using a blog.  [MP1]

If you prefer more commercially aggressive solutions which are specifically intended for this purpose, Clickfunnels or Shopify will do the job perfectly.

#2 Speaking of SEO…

Everyone knows that doing digital marketing without using the tools offered by Google Analytics is like trying to do a one-handed headstand or have a bath in the desert… difficult!

Many of the articles on our site discuss Google’s tools: for example, in our complete article on SEO tools, we talked about Keyword Planner, Ubersuggest and Search Console. When it comes to local SEO, we use Google My Business (see here).

Google Analytics also allows you to track your conversions, which is fundamental in our area of work.

Lastly, we use Google’s tag manager, still with a view to measuring the impact of the actions we take with regard to our digital strategy.

#3 Take your website and posts to the next level: graphic design tools

Whether you’re a full-time digital marketer or digital marketing is just one of the tasks that falls within your remit, you need to know the basics of some graphic design tools.

If you don’t have much spare time to dedicate to it, Canva is the perfect tool for you! This drag-and-drop tool allows you to create beautiful posters in just a few clicks. For infographics, try Piktochart.

If you have an affinity to photography or IT, Photoshop and Gimp are the tools you need. The learning curve may be slightly slower, but these tools will still allow you to bring your ideas to life… with no limits!

For content to get your teeth into, try Freepik, Unsplash or Pexels, which offer photos, vectors and other free formats, which makes them great alternatives to Adobe Stock or Alamy.

After you’ve created some stunning visuals, don’t forget to reduce their size to avoid slowing your website down. To do this, you can use tools like TinyJPG.

#4 A winning content strategy 

To write good content, you ideally need adequate tools. Microsoft Word is the best-known and most efficient word processing software, but Open Office is the free, open source version.

Hemingway is an app which lets you correct the syntax, grammar and style of your sentences. After all, there’s nothing worse than reading a blog article that’s full of mistakes!

To boost your content in terms of SEO, Yoast is your go-to tool. It helps you to analyse your article, title tags and meta descriptions based on your keywords.

#5 Communicate with your clients

What’s the number one rule to boost interaction with your clients? Communicate! You have two options for this. Either your company has a complete CRM solution like Salesforce, Odoo or SAP, or you don’t have the resources to afford one of these and so use a dedicated app instead. This is where Mailchimp comes in. It’s without doubt the easiest solution for managing your mailing lists.

On your website, tools like Intercom allow you to initiate a dialogue with your clients, whether they want to ask a question or speak to an agent. Simple tools like this, much like Facebook’s Messenger bots, let you create a personalised relationship with clients from their first visit to your site or page.

#6 How can you stay organised with so many things to do?

Does one brain (yours, to be precise) not seem sufficient to help you manage all your projects? If so, Evernote can help by acting as an extension to your brain, allowing you to store, scan and pin texts and other documents from as many different sources as you can imagine. It’s perfect to help you stay organised, thanks to the tags and notebooks found in the app.

We just mentioned SalesforceIf, as we imagine, your business revolves around sales, it’s vital to have an excellent method in place to manage your client pipeline. So it’s goodbye to Excel and hello to software that will really allow you to monitor and measure your interactions, sales, prospective clients and actual clients. If you have time to spare to learn the basics, which is made much easier thanks to Trailhead, its training platform, Salesforce could change the way you manage your business.

For teams, Trello is the tool that will help you to complete all your projects successfully. Try it, it’s free! And to communicate with those working on your project, you can’t beat using a chain in Slack to avoid clogging up your personal WhatsApp or Messenger or filling your inbox with an endless stream of emails. Reserve the latter options for your clients!

#7 The apps you simply have to use

We couldn’t finish this article without mentioning social media. Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn and Snapchat are vital, depending on your industry, for communicating and engaging with your clients.

They don’t just enable you to interact with them, but also to develop your ad campaigns. As we’ve pointed out multiple times, social media advertising [MP1] is one of your best weapons for digital marketing. Facebook’s Ads Manager and LinkedIn’s Campaign Manager are, without doubt, two of the tools we use most!

Advertising on social media allows you to bring potential clients to your website in a very targeted way, but also to do retargeting[MP2] , that is to specifically target users who have already interacted with your brand.

We also use tools like Hootsuite and Buffer to determine when is the best time to post and to schedule posts in advance according to their organic reach[MP3] . Meet Edgar is one of the newest tools in this area, and it’s impressively easy to use.  

To analyse leads on our sales site that come from social media, Google Analytics is once again our preferred tool.

Lastly, sites like Hashtagify allow you to analyse the latest trends in hashtags so you can increase the impact of your posts.

#8 And finally… tools for search engine advertising (SEA)

Google Ads’ campaign manager (formerly AdWords) is without doubt the flagship tool in this section. But how does Google Ads work? Take a look at our article to find out more.

We also analyse the optimisation score and conduct A/B testing using Optimize.


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Guillaume Duckerts is a writer, freelancer and specialist in information and communication technologies.