Wednesday, March 3Digital Marketing Journals

30 Essential Inbound Marketing Tools of 2021


There are many brilliant ways to generate and pre-qualify leads in 2021 so consider this list your resource for the best inbound marketing tools that will make your life easier and give your leads and revenue a boost! 

What Is Inbound Marketing?

Before we jump into the list, let’s start with the who, what, and how for the marketers climbing out of their outbound caverns. 

What is inbound marketing? Inbound marketing is the practice in business of attracting customers by offering quality resources and content, driving customers or clients to you with various methods, as opposed to advertising outwardly. 

Every buyer has questions as they explore a problem they face and possible solutions. Essentially, through inbound marketing, a business becomes a trusted resource that customers rely on when they need answers. 

Don’t harass prospects; engage with your future customers as a resource with content and marketing focused on delivering value.

Are you ready to learn how to fish? Or should we say, throw a grenade in the water? 

Embrace the light of inbound marketing, don’t shrink back into your outbound cave! Old methods are tried and true but turning your face blue — all that talking! All that chasing! Take a breath, and join us — inbound marketing tools are all about making our lives easier.  

“Be a unicorn in a sea of donkeys.” -Larry Kim, MobileMonkey Founder & CEO

In today’s rapidly changing market, the last thing you want to do is stop learning and innovating. 

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What Is Inbound Marketing? Examples

Many businesses employ marketing automation tools to optimize the sales funnel and conversion process to be as frictionless and effortless for the customer to find the answer they need and obtain the solution from the business.

SEO and social media are often part of any inbound marketing conversation.

Whereas with outbound marketing, also known as interruption marketing and including practices like traditional advertising, the marketer engages in tools and channels to reach a customer who may not be looking for the business’s solution. This is legacy marketing at its best and is being swept away in the age of “digital transformation”.

Let’s take a look at some real-life examples to answer the question “What is inbound marketing?”

Search Engine Optimization

SEO: This is the obvious inbound marketing example. By utilizing content marketing to write informative and helpful blog articles, you can stay on friendly terms with Google’s algorithms.

Content Marketing

Similar to the aforementioned blog articles, you want to provide valuable content across multiple channels. 

Establishing a trusted source of valuable content builds your re-engagement lists including SMS and email. 

Social Media Marketing

A multi-channel inbound marketing strategy includes your social media. Social media campaigns should tie in with your overall inbound marketing strategy. 

To put it simply, you should give away the goods in resources and data and processes and when you do, you won’t even have to ask prospects to buy — they are going bananas eagerly waiting for your solutions!

What Is Inbound Marketing Software?

What is inbound marketing software? Inbound marketing software includes a variety of apps available to businesses to help generate leads, nurture prospects, remarket, and close more deals.

The magic is in the technology — why use outdated methods when we have new tools that work exponentially better? These 30 essential inbound marketing tools of 2021 will give you something to grind your inbound teeth. 

Whether you are a seasoned lead generating machine or still wet behind the ears, there is something in this list for everyone.

Inbound Marketing Tools #1: MobileMonkey – Multi-channel Chat Marketing

Cost: Free and plans starting at $29/mo. 

If you try one new tool for your inbound marketing strategy in 2021, make it MobileMonkey, the best chat marketing platform according to Entrepreneur. 

Chat marketing campaign engagement is 5-10X higher than other channels including email marketing or Facebook posts

Chat marketing is the practice of sending customers messages on messaging channels such as SMS, website chat, Facebook Messenger, Instagram messaging, WhatsApp and other real-time chat apps. Buyers start chatting with a business through their journey of researching to find a solution, and then opt-in to ongoing messaging from a brand to receive more information. 

Opt-in is inbound and MobileMonkey offers simple SMS marketing and Messenger marketing list building and segmentation for incoming leads in many popular messaging applications.

Inbound Marketing Tools #2: Facebook Groups

Cost: Free

Foster a targeted community for lead generation with Facebook groups. This is one of the many advantages of using Facebook for lead gen. 

Inbound Marketing Tools #3: Google Analytics – Well, duh?

Cost: Free!

You could get away with just using Google Analytics and a few other free 1st party tools and probably survive in digital marketing. But then you’d be missing out on all of the integrations and fun. 

Inbound Marketing Tools #4: Google Keyword Planner – SEO

Cost: Free but you need a Google Ads account

If you want to know which keywords you should include in your SEO strategy, why not go to the source? You can do a lot with Google Keyword Planner, an essential inbound marketing tool for keyword research.

Inbound Marketing Tools #5: Quora

Cost: Free

Your target audience is asking questions and you have the answers. Whether you are making a name for yourself in marketing on the question-and-answer platform or optimizing your SEO, it’s free and awesome.

Inbound Marketing Tools #6: Medium – SEO

Cost: Free and paid subscriptions start at $5/mo.

Writing great articles opens doors, especially at Medium. In a nutshell, write a quality article that links back to your website or blog, and voila! — traffic. 

Inbound Marketing Tools #7: SEMrush – SEO Powerhouse

Cost: Plans start at $99/mo.

This is the ultimate tool for inbound marketers that want to leverage organic search traffic in their favor. Track keywords, analyze what keywords competitors are ranking for, view backlinks, and much more. We love SEMrush, and you will too. 

Inbound Marketing Tools #8: Ahrefs – Content Marketing & SEO 

Cost: Plans start at $99/mo.

Right up there with SEMrush, this is one of those essential tools that every marketer either has, had, or will have at some point in their career. Awesome backlink checking capabilities and site audit for driving organic traffic with SEO. 

Inbound Marketing Tools #9: Hotjar – UX Optimization

Cost: Free and plans starting at $99/mo.

This tool is incredibly useful for optimizing your user experience (UX) and click-through rates. It’s also just fun to use! Another highly recommended and comparable inbound marketing tools is Lucky Orange. 

Inbound Marketing Tools #10: MobileMonkey – SMS Automation

Cost: SMS marketing automation for just $29/mo

Not only can MobileMonkey automate drip campaigns for web chat and Facebook Messenger, but also SMS text messages! 

SMS text messages have way better results than email drips, which have been on the decline for years. 

With MobileMonkey SMS drip campaigns, you can automatically send personalized messages to each lead. The easy segmentation and automation workflows are what marketer’s dreams are made of. 

What else can MobileMonkey’s SMS features do? Onboard and send a welcome greeting to new customers, scale communications, and send your engagement and sales into freaking orbit! 

Inbound Marketing Tools #11: HubSpot – Automation & Beyond

Cost: Free features and premium plans starting at $50/mo.

The original inbound marketing platform, HubSpot is known for coining the term “inbound marketing”, so it’s a great place to start your inbound adventure. 

HubSpot isn’t just one tool or thing, it’s many, many different automation tools combined into one user-friendly dashboard-centric place. It’s a one-stop solution and even has a lot to offer under the free plan! 

This is the best choice for marketers who don’t want to jump around browser tabs or tools and prefer to have everything under one hood. 

Inbound Marketing Tools #12: JotForm – Forms That Capture Leads & More

Cost: Free trial and plans start at $19/mo.

You need a form to drive traffic to that collects valuable data seamlessly for your inbound marketing strategy. JotForm is the easiest way to build forms and includes more useful widgets than you can shake a banana at. 

Inbound Marketing Tools #13: Instapage – Landing Pages

Cost: Free trial and plans start at $199/mo.

Everyone has a favorite tool for creating landing pages. For 2021, we’re betting on Instapage for the most bang for your buck. 

It’s very similar to LeadPages, but Instapage offers complete customization for mobile. If you know anything about marketing, you know mobile is where it’s at in 2021! There is also an abundance of free templates which saves time in design. 

Inbound Marketing Tools #14: Typito – Easy Social Media Videos

Cost: Free up to 4 videos per month ($10 ea. to remove branding). Monthly plans start at $29/mo. 

Video is extremely important for engagement on social media in 2021. Are you still using iMovie to make videos? Nothing wrong with that, but there are much more efficient options, like Typito.

You can turn any article or random statistics into an optimized video with a few clicks. It’s affordable and has tons of free stock photos and videos to choose from. 

Inbound Marketing Tools #15: Mailchimp – Email Marketing for Everybody

Cost: Free with premium plans starting at $9.99/mo.

Are we biased because their logo is a monkey? Maybe. But it doesn’t matter — because every digital marketer knows that Mailchimp is a great foundational marketing tool. Plus, you can utilize it for free. Power to the chimps! 

Inbound Marketing Tools #16: Sendible – Social Media Management

Cost: Plans start at $29/mo.

Social media is obviously an important lead generation channel, and there are countless options for scheduling, monitoring, and curating content. Sendible offers great value, is less buggy than some others, and is always being updated. 

Inbound Marketing Tools #17: Sprout Social – Social Media Management

Cost: Plans start at $99/mo

Sprout Social has arguably carved itself out as the Cadillac of social media management software. Not surprising that the only drawback is that it’s a bit more costly than others at $99/user/mo. 

The reporting alone is worth it. Plus, it’s practically bug-free whereas some of the more economical options are glitchy.

Inbound Marketing Tools #18: Yoast SEO – WordPress

Cost: Free and premium plans start at $89/year. 

Yoast SEO makes on-site SEO optimization easy as banana cream pie. If you are using WordPress, you should have the Yoast plugin installed for the post or page audit.

Inbound Marketing Tools #19: Zapier – Automate Everything

Cost: Free and premium plans start at $25/mo. 

We love automation, don’t you? Zapier integrates with almost everything and is super easy to boot! You have a use for it, guaranteed. 

Inbound Marketing Tools #20: Trello – Agile Project Management

Cost: Free and premium plans start at $12.50/mo.

Keep projects under your thumb and orderly with Trello. A trusted standby for a simple agile workflow To-Do, In-Progress, and Done project management board. 

Inbound Marketing Tools #21: Ubbersuggest – SEO

Cost: Free trial and plans starting at $29/mo.

Another solid choice for SEO insights, competitive research and link research feature. Plus a handy extension for Chrome. 

Inbound Marketing Tools #22: Tailwind – Pinterest Powerhouse

Cost: Free and premium plans start at $15/mo.

Many marketers who found glorious Pinterest results with Board Booster were left hanging when the popular app shut down. Lo and behold — Tailwind has the same capabilities in a more robust GUI. Drive massive traffic with Pins using Tailwind’s scheduling feature and more. 

Inbound Marketing Tools #23: MobileMonkey – Customer Support Tools

Cost: Free! 

MobileMonkey OmniChat customer support inbox lets you help your customers with whatever messaging apps they already use. 

The OmniChat inbox streamlines all of your different customer’s chat channels into one support inbox. One log in, one browser tab, one inbox – no more jumping from platform to platform trying to respond to every customer!

Be there for your customers first, every time. If your competition is utilizing chatbots and you aren’t, they are answering questions and providing faster relief and support.

Upgrade your customer service toolset and stay top of mind with the magic of MobileMonkey’s automated customer journey. 

Inbound Marketing Tools #24: Slack – Teamwork

Cost: Free and premium plans start at $7/mo.

Slack has become a household name, especially since the mass office exodus to WFH due to the pandemic. This is one of the best inbound marketing tools for collaborating with your team remotely. 

Inbound Marketing Tools #25: Grammarly – Write Better Content

Cost: Free and premium plans start at $30/mo.

What’s an SEO strategy without proper grammar? Sloppy. You can bet that Google will penalize you in SERP so take a moment and let Grammarly proofread your content. 

Inbound Marketing Tools #26: Feedly – Curating Content

Cost: Free and premium plans start at $6/mo.

Feedly is one of many fantastic inbound marketing tools that keeps tabs on trending articles on various niche topics you predefine. Get more engagement on curated social content by linking to hot articles. 

Inbound Marketing Tools #27: Calendly – Appointment Scheduling

Cost: Free and premium plans start at $8/mo.

As your funnel fills at the top, you will want to automate to the bottom by simplifying client calls, demos, and appointment scheduling . This is the most versatile tool to fill the empty spaces on your calendar with leads. 

Inbound Marketing Tools #28: PandaDoc – Proposals and Contracts

Cost: Free trial and plans start at $25/mo. 

There are plenty of options for sending proposals and e-signing contracts. PandaDoc has a slick interface, can shorten your sales cycle, and integrates with many other inbound marketing tools.  

Inbound Marketing Tools #29: Wistia – Video Content

Cost: Free trial with pro plan starting at $99/mo

An inbound marketing-focused video tool! Wistia will give your videos cutting edge engagement with data-driven videos. 

Inbound Marketing Tools #30: TypeForm – Capture Leads

Cost: Free and premium plans start at $35/mo. 

Its slick one question at a time format improves your prospects’ user experience and reels in more leads! Another solid choice if you are looking for something beyond Google Forms.

How Do You Use Inbound Marketing?

Now go out there and create awesome content across the web! Make a mark for yourself, and grab these tools along the way as needed. 

Take note of how each tool complements each other differently. It’s up to you to find the perfect blend of inbound marketing tools for your tech stack.

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