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Best online marketing services of 2020

Best online marketing services
(Image credit: Image credit: Pixabay)

The best online marketing services will provide an easy and accessible way to reach your target audience with your products and/or services.

Best online marketing services

However, online marketing encompasses so many different areas, from simple website design accessibility and content marketing, to SEO tools, to pay-per-click (PPC) marketing, to email marketing and social media management. And that's before we get to targeted local advertising and national trade shows and events

There is no single tool that does all of this, but there are outstanding tools that should be considered as part of building an online marketing platform. Surprisingly, some of these are free, or have free trials to test them out, though most require a subscription or other fees that can be flat-rate - or variable, as in the case with PPC - so you need to be able to balance your budget accordingly.

We've therefore compiled a list of the best tools for doing this, many of these provide information, statistics, and data, in order for you to make your own decisions based on your own circumstances. This allows you the chance to steer and direct your own marketing strategy accordingly.

However, interpreting data is one thing, being able to translate that into actionable insights can be a challenge. Even still, many such online marketing sites do offer resources to help provide advise on that. 

Ultimately, these are online marketing services you can use yourself that can deliver on three key pointers: data, insights, and communication. Handling these well is an opportunity to success.

Here then we'll feature the best in online marketing tools.

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(Image credit: Google)

1. Google Ads

The best PPC marketing tool

Huge online reach 
Integrated analytics
Takes time to balance cost

Formerly Google Adwords, Google Ads is the world's largest internet advertising network, with ads displayed across Google search results, Android apps, and third-party websites. 

Setting up a Google Ads campaign is easy with a Google login, and ads are configured to work with specific keywords and phrases. Once a daily budget is set, the ads will display when triggered. 

Traditionally this was primarily done through keyword searches on the Google search engine, or keywords used in content of third-party webpages. These days the ads work more smartly using a combination of user data and user history to make the ads more personally relevant to the user.

The result is that ads are displayed online in intelligent ways, with the key aim of encouraging viewers to click through the ad to view your product/service promotion.

One of the biggest strengths of this platform is that when paired with Google Analytics you can directly track all performance and set your pricing accordingly. However, that's easier said than done and there can be something of learning curve in finding the optimal settings to get the right balance of costs vs sales.

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(Image credit: Hubspot )

2. Hubspot Marketing Hub

The best content marketing platform

Free tier
Split testing
Custom reports
Expensive

The Hubspot Marketing Hub provides a selection of tools intended to help increase traffic, improve conversions rates, and manage scaleable direct marketing campaigns.

Campaigns are centered on the Hubspot content management system (CMS), which allows you to work through a responsive design using only drag and drop tools to set up the feature you want. It also includes suggestions for on-page SEO, as well as optimal times for posting content to social media. The CMS allows for the creation of targeted landing pages, which can be easily modified for A/B split testing. 

There are also email template and automation options, along with analytics to show which content, pages, and email campaigns are providing the best click through rates (CTR). However, it doesn't just stop at marketing, as there are integration options available, not least with Salesforce, to allow any marketing campaigns to seamlessly move into customer relations management (CRM).

There are four main plan levels available, which includes a free tier that is limited in features and is best approached as a way to test out the CMS and. The Starter tier only slightly extends this for $40 per month, by allowing Hubspot branding removal, mobile lists, email, and optimization for mobile devices.

It's only when you really get into the more expensive Professional tier, available for $800, that most of the Hubspot marketing features really become available, not least an array of reporting and campaign management options. An Enterprise edition for $3,000 a month opens up additional tools such as custom event triggers and reporting, as well as lead scoring and SSO.

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(Image credit: Mailchimp)

3. Mailchimp

The best email marketing solution

Manage email campaigns
Data and analytics
Optimization options

Mailchimp is a dedicated email platform that allows you to send notifications, updates, offers and other direct marketing to opted in subscribers. However, rather than just sending emails it also comes with built-in analytics so you can gauge the performance of email campaigns.

It isn't just a standalone tool, either, and allows integrations with a number of other software platforms. That way you can connect with your favorite tools while running campaigns and measure the response to them. Even better, email tasks can be automated, and once you've got data in for a campaign you can use analytics to try and optimize additional campaigns for improved performance.

Mailchimp is available at three different tiers. There is a Free plan which allows you to send to up 12,000 emails per month to up to 2,000 subscribers on your list. You can set up landing pages, segmentation and tagging, and run split A/B tests to aim for maximum effectiveness. 

For the paid tiers, the Grow plan allows unlimited emails and subscribers, and opens up additional tools for use from $9.99 per month, with these tools extended further in the Standard plan. For a complete suite of email marketing tools, consider the Premium plan from $199 per month which opens up features such as multivariate testing, advanced segmentation, and targeted demographics.

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(Image credit: Ahrefs)

4. Ahrefs

The search marketing center

Comprehensive SEO toolkit
Extensive index
Advanced filtering tools
Good support

Since its initial release in 2011, Ahrefs has quickly become one of the most popular SEO tools on the market, and it is used by web developers and content creators around the world to grow their online presence.

Ahrefs boasts the largest backlink index of top SEO tools, with over 295 billion indexed pages and more than 16 trillion backlinks. Throw in an upgraded keywords explorer, tools for monitoring the competition, plus a serious amount of user documentation, and Ahrefs may be the tool you need to rank better and increase traffic. 

Ahrefs boasts a number of powerful features that help set it apart, including a proprietary web crawler second only to Google in size and speed. While price points are broadly aligned with those of similar products, best-in-class link analysis, powerful research tools, and knowledgeable user support help make Ahrefs one of the best options for understanding and improving your domain’s online presence.

Ahrefs offers four plans with monthly and annual billing. Ahrefs Lite is the least expensive option, and costs $99 per month. Standard and Advanced profiles come in at $177 and $399 respectively, while Agency subscriptions cost $999 per month. Annual billing comes with a 16% discount (two months free), while a $7 seven-day trial is available for Lite and Standard plans.

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(Image credit: Facebook)

5. Facebook

The biggest social media platform

Huge user base
Free business pages
Advertising opportunities
Data collection
Limited transactional value

Facebook is the world's largest social media network, which makes it an invaluable place to have a business presence. Luckily, Facebook make this process simple and easy by allowing businesses to set up a profile page for free. This then allows that business to more directly engage and communicate with customers and potential customers through free and paid advertising.

To help with this, you can use the Facebook Audience Insights feature which aims to give paid advertisers more data so as to be able to run better targeted Facebook adverts. This provides information on such things as demographics, Likes, location and language, Facebook activity, purchasing activity, across the Facebook platform.

In terms of marketing verticals, Facebook offers potentially rich opportunities in terms of enhancing communications to ensure good customer experiences to help better manage your brand and reputation. The advertising element along with audience insights allows your paid advertising to reach people more likely to engage with your advertising.

The one caveat is social users aren't necessarily in the transactional state of mind for making a immediate purchase, but they might be especially tempted by time-limited offers, not least discounts and coupons.