Inbound marketing has come a long way since HubSpot’s CEO coined the term back in 2005.
Today, inbound marketing is, in many circles, not even called “inbound marketing.”
It’s just marketing.
Yes, traditional and outbound techniques are still used, but there are few highly successful organizations today that are using them extensively. They are almost always combined with an inbound play.
Since inbound marketing is so broad and all-encompassing, it’s little surprise that the world of inbound marketing tools is, to say the least, a little overwhelming.
I mean, we researched this article to bring you the best of the best, and we still came up with a “brief” list of 26 tools.
To help you choose the best software solutions for your tech stack, we’ve divided up our list into different categories, starting with content production, the backbone of most inbound marketing campaigns.
Inbound Marketing Tools For Content Production
Content marketing and inbound marketing are so deeply intertwined they might as well be synonyms.
They aren’t, but here’s the thing:
Inbound doesn’t really work without content.
You need content for social media posts, email marketing campaigns, webinars, and even to attract visitors to your site via SEO.
Naturally, the list of content-related inbound marketing software solutions is longer than all others. We’ve got 10 for you.
ClickUp is a project management software solution.
It’s where you’re going to orchestrate all of your content workflows, communicate and collaborate with freelance content creators, and maintain and manage content calendars.
In part three of our “Building A Content Factory” series, Developing Content Operations, we dove into blog writing workflows and how to use a solution like ClickUp—or an alternative like monday.com, Asana, or Trello—to manage content creation.
Automation is a standout feature for ClickUp.
You can automate things like the creation of task checklists, program routing rules, and create automatic notifications when a given action takes place.
Positional is a toolset for SEO and content teams.
It's similar to alternatives like Surfer and Clearscope in that you can use it to optimize content for search engines.
We use Positional for that exact purpose (it's probably part of why you found this article), but it also has a few other cool features, such as keyword research and clustering functionality, as well as an AI content detector.
One of our favorite features is Positional’s Content Analytics. This allows you to see user heatmaps to understand where readers are navigating away from your content, as well as core metrics like bounce rates.
Semrush is another SEO suite, though it is more commonly used for the research and competitive monitoring aspects of SEO content creation.
It's one of the big three in this space, sharing the limelight with Ahrefs and Moz.
We like Semrush for its Keyword Magic Tool.
You plug in a keyword idea, and it spits out a bunch of related keywords that people are actually searching for, along with data on monthly traffic and keyword ranking difficulty.
This is a solid feature for finding new keywords to add to your SEO content calendar.
Canva is an online graphic design tool.
This was a real game-changer a few years back. Before Canva, you had to shell out hundreds of dollars for something like Photoshop.
Canva is much more usable and way more affordable—they even have a solid and genuinely usable free version.
You—or your content creators—can use Canva to create custom images, graphs, cover images, and infographics, either for your written content like blogs or for social media posts.
Canva also has a bunch of pre-designed templates, taking design work off of your plate and making it easy to create professional-looking images without having a professional designer on board.
Grammarly is the most well-known of all spelling and grammar checkers.
What a lot of people don’t know, however, is that Grammarly is much more powerful than that.
Yes, it will tell you if you spelled something from or formulated a sentence with bad grammar. But it can also provide recommendations for making content more concise or otherwise more readable.
It can identify tone of voice, mood, and attitude, helping you stay in line with brand guidelines.
Grammarly also has a ton of integrations, so you can use it directly within content creation tools like Google Docs or Notion or on social media platforms like X and Facebook.
Letterdrop is another tool we use for our own inbound marketing efforts. We use it for two things:
- Content management
- Social amplification
In Letterdrop, you can draft a new piece of content (or copy it in from Google Docs), do some search optimization and internal linking, and publish it directly to your CMS (if you’re on Webflow).
Where things get really cool is Letterdrop’s automated social amplification feature.
Every piece of content we publish gets automatically shared on LinkedIn, and we can also have our team like and comment on posts without having to actually jump on the social media platform.
Riverside is a remote podcast recording tool.
We use it to capture video and podcast content when we’re speaking with subject matter experts over video.
Riverside offers really high-quality audio and video recording functionality, as well as some cool additional features like:
- AI social clip creation
- Show notes
It also has a built-in editing suite, though we use Capcut for video editing.
Capcut is our preferred all-in-one video editor.
Once we’ve recorded a podcast or webinar with Riverside, we upload it into Capcut for fast and free video editing.
Capcut has a ton of AI editing features such as video upscaling, to improve detail and resolution in your video content.
Then, there’s the standard functionality like filters, transitions, and auto-captions.
Vidyo.ai is a super helpful AI-powered solution for turning long-form videos into shorter-form clips for repurposing across social.
For example, we use it to throw in a podcast episode or webinar, then ask it to spit out clips that we can use to accompany a post on LinkedIn promoting the full video.
Vidyo.ai has a few other cool features to help amplify your video marketing, as well:
- SEO optimized captions
- Direct posting to social
- Animated subtitles
- Virality prediction score
Wistia is a video hosting platform.
It allows you to host videos on your own site rather than having to use a third-party solution like YouTube or Vimeo.
Those platforms have their own benefit in that they can help your videos get found. But you’re also at the mercy of their algorithms and community guidelines.
For that reason, we post on both YouTube and host videos on our own website using Wistia.
Some of the other unique features that Wistia offers include:
- SEO optimization functionality
- The ability to add CTAs to videos and sync that to your CRM
- Interactivity tools like annotated links
- A dedicated content management system for storing, searching, and finding video content
Inbound Marketing Tools For Social Media Marketing
Beyond the creation of the actual content you’ll publish on social media—be it video, imagery, written word, or a combination thereof—you’re going to need some form of software to manage the whole campaign.
This includes aspects of social media management such as audience creation, topic ideation, and reporting and analytics.
Here are our three favorite inbound social media tools.
Buffer bills itself as a social media toolkit for small businesses.
It’s priced accordingly—you can get started for just $6 a month—and offers a decent selection of features that SMBs and even mid-market organizations can use to make social a part of their inbound marketing strategy.
Some of our favorite Buffer features include:
- A content publishing calendar
- AI post generation
- Automatic video content distribution to multiple channels
- Deep social media reporting and analytics suite
- Customized landing pages with pre-built templates
Hootsuite is another social media scheduling and marketing suite.
What makes Hootsuite a better option (particularly for larger companies) is:
- A single inbox for answering all social media questions and queries
- A larger range of integrations with other inbound marketing tools
- Advertising capabilities across Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn
- An AI-powered hashtag generator
BuzzSumo is a unique tool in the social media space.
It's a social media monitoring tool, so you can keep track of mentions across various media channels, handle crises, respond to customers quickly, and reshare UGC (user-generated content).
Beyond that, BuzzSumo can be used to find unique new ideas for inbound marketing campaigns.
You can dig into what’s trending across different platforms and demographics, find real questions to answer in your social and blog content, get tips on how to promote and distribute your content for maximum engagement and dive into competitor activities.
BuzzSumo also has an influencer marketing suite, so you can find the right influencer for your next campaign based on real performance results.
Inbound Marketing Tools For Email Marketing
Email is a key channel for inbound marketing campaigns.
Many inbound lead generation efforts—things like gated webinars, ebooks, and guides—funnel prospects into an email cadence.
Here are our two favorite inbound marketing software tools for managing email campaigns that convert.
Mailchimp is pretty much the name in email marketing.
Yes, there are a ton of other great email marketing tools, but having been around for a while now, Mailchimp has expanded beyond simple email marketing automation.
They’re now offering features like:
- Branded content creation
- Customizable website landing pages
- Social media publishing and engagement
- Audience management and segmentation
ActiveCampaign, like Mailchimp, used to just be an email automation platform.
That’s still their core competency, but ActiveCampaign has a number of other cool features for inbound marketing.
They’ve got sales automation (like lead scoring and routing), a CRM, website visitor and event tracking, and even ecommerce integrations and features like:
- Cross-selling emails and automated abandoned cart reminders
- Personalized coupons and discounts
- An ecommerce reporting and analytics suite
Inbound Marketing Tools For Reporting, Analytics, and Optimization
With solid tools to report on the effectiveness of your campaigns, you simply won’t know what to invest more in, and you’ll probably just be spinning your wheels.
These three reporting tools, whether used separately or as an analytics tech stack, will be your perfect partner for optimizing inbound marketing efforts.
16. Google Analytics
Google Analytics is the defacto analytics tool.
The biggest win is that it's entirely free (though there is a more advanced paid version called Google Analytics 360).
Also, being Google, it obviously has great data related to organic search and PPC ad performance and integrates perfectly with other Google tools like Google Search Console (GSC).
With Google Analytics, you can map user journeys on your site, understand what’s driving traffic and what content is converting, and build automated marketing reports.
Hotjar is a website heat mapping and behavioral analytics solution.
Bit of a mouthful, but what this really means is that Hotjar helps you see what people are doing on your website, so you can further optimize.
Heatmaps show you how people navigate and click on your web pages—helpful for UX and design improvements—and screen recordings allow you to actually see how users interact with specific pages, even if they aren’t clicking on anything.
Hotjar also has some survey and interview tools for gathering explicit feedback from users and a ton of useful integrations with the likes of Jira, HubSpot, and Unbounce.
Optimizely is a website optimization solution.
This is built primarily around A/B testing, so you can try out different approaches and see what converts best.
However, Optimizely is a lot more complex than that, offering features like:
- Website personalization (ideal for account-based marketing campaigns)
- AI-generated content recommendations
- Content distribution functionality
Inbound Marketing Tools For Marketing Automation
Inbound marketing campaigns generally work best at scale, and scale brings with it repetition.
To take some (or a lot) of that draining and repetitive manual work off of your plate, you’ll want to add a marketing automation tool to your inbound marketing tech stack.
HubSpot is the granddaddy of inbound marketing tools.
The brand pretty much invented the term inbound marketing, and having been around for years now, it’s little surprise that they run the whole gamut from a free CRM to a deep suite for customer service and support.
Where HubSpot really excels, though, is in marketing automation for the SMB.
You can get in for free or on a relatively cheap monthly plan and start automating emails, website chat, sales playbooks, and more.
You can even build and run your site on HubSpot for a single-supplier solution.
Pardot is somewhat of a legacy tool, dating back to 2007, but it's still super widely used.
This is in part because Pardot got acquired by Salesforce back in 2013, making it the defacto marketing automation solution for Salesforce-centric teams.
Aside from the obviously tight integration with Salesforce, Pardot boasts features like:
- Multi-channel marketing campaigns
- Email marketing
- Audience segmentation
- Forms for capturing warm leads
AdRoll is an ad-focused digital marketing automation solution.
While ads themselves aren’t typically thought of as an inbound marketing tactic, they are often used to supplement inbound campaigns, particularly when retargeting prospects who’ve already landed on your site.
So we’ll allow it here.
AdRolls offers ad buying and automation across display, video, and social media, can run brand-focused ads or acquisition-focused retargeting ads, and integrates neatly with popular ecommerce platforms like Shopify and BigCommerce.
Inbound Marketing Tools For Website Engagement
Many inbound marketing efforts, from social media engagement to blog content, are designed to drive potential customers over to your website.
What happens then?
You use one of these three website engagement solutions to capture attention, start a conversation, answer customer questions and objections, and capture a warm lead (or close a deal directly!)
Warmly—that’s us, by the way—is an account-based orchestration platform.
Account-based orchestration is all about surround-sounding prospects with timely, personalized, intent-based content and communications across all channels, from website chat to email to LinkedIn.
With thrown our hat in the ring amongst two other website engagement solutions (Drift and Intercom), because we, too, offer conversational website chat.
Here’s where our solution is different:
Our chat is AI-first, meaning your prospects aren’t engaging with a simple “if-then” chat workflow.
The AI engine knows exactly who they’re talking to (because the prospect is deanomyized and their data enriched through Warmly), and what level of interest they have expressed (via third-party intent data from Bombora).
The chatbot then caters the conversation to those exact needs.
And, once it's time for a rep to take over—because the prospect has demonstrated a given level of intent—the salesperson gets an automated notification via Slack and can jump into the chat live. They can even turn it into a live video call without having the prospect leave the site.
Learn more about Warmly, the account-based orchestration platform.
Drift is a pre-programmed chatbot, and they’ve started implementing a few AI features, too.
It's not a human-led tool. It's much more about high-volume traffic plays, where a small percentage of the traffic you pull to your site can be enough to feed your sales team.
At that, though, it's really good.
It also provides sales teams with engagement history and lead scores so they know who to prioritize, and provides insight into audience makeups.
Intercom is similar to Drift in that it offers a chat solution.
But while Drift hits the marketing use case, Intercom is much more focused on customer support service.
For that reason, you’ll also find features like:
- A unified inbox for managing helpdesk tickets
- An AI summary of long customer complaints
- A self-serve content repository for helping clients resolve their own issues
- Automated workflows for support ticket management
Inbound Marketing Tools For Lead Routing
All of those inbound efforts have to lead somewhere.
For most companies, the output of inbound marketing campaigns is to generate leads—prospects who’ve expressed some level of interest in your brand, product, or service.
To make those warm inbound leads make it to the right sales rep, install one of these two lead routing solutions.
25. Chili Piper
Chili Piper is the defacto inbound lead routing tool.
Essentially, once a new lead comes in from one of your various inbound marketing activities, Chili Piper figures out which salesperson the lead should go to based on the likes of territory mapping, availability, deal size, company vertical, or any other factor you plug into its automation recipes.
LeanData started off as a CRM orchestration too, primarily for Salesforce.
It allowed sales teams to plug in a bunch of “if this, then that” automation, and also to clean up their CRM, remove duplicate data, and refresh outdated account info.
Recently, they’ve rebranded a little and have started to expand their offer.
Now, LeanData is more about CRM orchestration for the revenue team whose goal is to increase sales velocity.
So, we’re starting to see features come through like:
- Lead matching and routing
- Integrations with data providers like 6sense and sales enablement tools like Outreach
- Improved user access control
Warmly: The ultimate tool for reaping the fruits of inbound marketing campaigns
We’ve just covered off 26 of the best inbound marketing software tools you can use to deliver high-quality warm leads to your sales team.
All of them have one thing in common:
They’re only tools.
Tools are only as good as how you use them, meaning your processes and workflows need to be set up in a way that can leverage all of that hard work.
Many inbound marketing teams fall over at this part. They build great engines for generating demand, but don’t really do any demand capture.
That’s where Warmly comes in, with features like:
- Website visitor deanonymization
- Data enrichment
- AI-powered emails and LinkedIn outreach
- Live AI or human-led chat
- Routing and alerts
Want to see just how big of an impact Warmly can make?