Cross-posted from LinkedIn

Tech startups exist because they have the audacity to believe they can use technology to do something better than larger companies with more resources and bigger budgets. The only way they can compete is to create more efficiency, speed, and innovation.

As a Marketing guy at a startup, I often have conversations with other marketers about what tools we use. The following is a good starter list of Marketing tools for startups:


  1. Google AdWords – I have a love/hate relationship with AdWords. 90% of incoming leads converting from AdWords campaigns are total garbage. Sales people tell me constantly that people signing up for a B2B product have no memory of submitting a landing page form from an AdWords campaign, and there are widespread accounts of click fraud from AdWords. However, no ad platform will give you better insight into the types of content people are searching for, the difficulty of ranking, and how popular a term is than AdWords. I’m also a fan of rapid iteration, and AdWords lets you see how a campaign is faring in nearly real-time, allowing you to adjust.
  2. Bizo – They were just acquired by LinkedIn, so I’m not sure how they’ll continue to operate, but Bizo is an ad platform that puts your display ads in front of a previously identified audience. Think of retargeting without someone ever visiting your site to get a cookie.
  3. LinkedIn – LinkedIn ads have been a total dud for me. They take forever to get any impressions, clicks are expensive, and conversion is zero. However, the targeting and eyes are there. I’ll add this to the “there’s an opportunity, needs more research” category.


  1. Google Analytics – Free, dependable, and gives you 95% of what you need to report on aggregate site stats.
  2. KissMetrics – Google Analytics tells you what’s happening. KISSmetrics helps you optimize it.

Anonymous Account Identification

  1. LeadLander – Lets you see which companies have visited your site even if they haven’t converted.
  2. Visistat – Apparently they give you contact information on anonymous visitors to your site. Haven’t tried them yet.


  1. Salesforce.com – SaaS pioneers and CRM leader, Salesforce.com is the de-facto CRM for startups. It connects to many of these other tools and systems, and is where sales should live.
  2. Close.io – New guys on the block competing with Salesforce.com by including click-to-call, automatic email tracking, making salespeople spend less time entering data. I’d try them if I were just starting out, but they lack integration with Marketing Automation providers at the moment.


  1. Olark – Adds the “Questions?” chat box to your website whenever a designated operator is signed in. Allows you to chat with your site visitors and see which pages they’ve visited.

Design/Development Work

  1. oDesk – A huge directory of freelancers from designers to developers. I’ve used them several times in the past for short development projects.


  1. Litmus – Lets you see how your email will look in any email client and browser, checks for spam words, gives optimization tips.
  2. Yesware – Email for salespeople. Track opens and clicks, get alerts when things happen.


  1. Meetup.com – Use meetup to create a local group interesting to your target market. Just don’t be too salesy.

Landing Pages

  • Unbounce – Dead-simple, great looking landing pages that are focused on conversion. Unbounce connects to many of your other systems (like Salesforce.com), letting you push unbounce conversions to your CRM.
  • Optimizely – Automatic A/B testing for landing pages.

Marketing Automation

  1. Marketo – I’ve used Marketo for years, and it’s my favorite software of all time. It works flawlessly to capture leads via forms, score them through behaviors, and send segmented emails. It’s part lead capture, part lead nurturing, part email automation, lead prioritization and scoring, and analytics. I can’t recommend Marketo enough.
  2. Act-On – When I first joined MineralTree, we needed to update our website quickly and had no lead capture forms in place. I knew I couldn’t get Marketo up and running in less than a week and found Act-On. A lighter version of what’s available in Marketo, Act-on had 80% of the features at a much lower cost. I could argue both sides, but at an early stage startup with few inbound leads and a small database, I would start with Act-On.
  3. HubSpot – I can’t leave HubSpot off any list about Marketing Automation. The only problem is that I haven’t used the product in years, and am not qualified to compare them to the others. However, I’d strongly recommend adding them to your list of vendors to evaluate if you’re looking for a Marketing Automation product.

Planning/Time Management

  1. Mingle – Thinking of making the switch to Agile Marketing? Mingle will let you prioritize your backlog and select which items you’ll complete in your next sprint. Free for teams under 5.
  2. Asana – Great tool to manage tasks.


  1. ZoomInfo – Find contacts at your target accounts. Integrates with salesforce.com.
  2. NetProspex – Find contacts using the technology you support.


  1. ZipRecruiter – Add your job post once, ziprecruiter distributes it.


  1. Moz – Check keyword difficulty, ranking, and compare your target keywords to competitors’ rankings.


  1. HootSuite – Manage all social profiles from one interface.

Stock Images

  1. Shutterstock – Huge database of images for your website and blog posts.

Web Hosting

  1. ASmallOrange – My favorite web host. Reliable, affordable, and responsive when you need them.

Video Hosting

  1. Wistia – Video hosting that gives you the most control.


  1. GoToWebinar – Easy to use webinar host with salesforce.com and Marketo integration.

Feel free to suggest your own. I’ll add to the list. (Cross-posted fromMarketingStartups.com)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *