In this round-up article, we have listed the 23 must-have SaaS tools that help startups grow in the competitive industry. These tools are tried, tested, and recommended by industry experts. Before checking the list, let’s understand a few essential points about SaaS.
Software as a Service (also known as SaaS) is a software licensing and delivery model that allows users to use cloud-based apps using their internet connection and web browsers anywhere. You don’t need to install them on your PC. Moreover, you don’t have to invest in buying high-configuration PCs for your team.
SaaS tools help you save your time, and they are scalable, of course! Another benefit of SaaS is its ease of integration with millions of apps and APIs. Besides, you can see the SaaS market size research and statistics here.
Best SaaS Tools for Startups and SMBs for 2023:
Ahrefs is our favorite SaaS marketing tool for content marketing. Its subscriptions start at $99 per month, which is reasonable given all of the tools included in the platform. It also offers a 7-day trial for $7. We use Ahrefs to identify interesting content topics, do keyword research, and identify backlink targets. One of the most effective ways to generate content ideas using Ahrefs is through competitive analysis. You can enter any domain and see their top web pages by traffic and backlink volume. This is a quick way to identify content that similar businesses have proven to work.
Once you pick your content topic, you can use Ahrefs to identify target keywords. Ahrefs’ keyword explorer tool inputs a keyword and returns corresponding information such as search volume, keyword difficulty, and an estimated CPC. It also returns related keywords. Ahrefs also allows you to do a content gap analysis that identifies numerous keywords that perform well for your competitors but not your website. Finally, you can use the Ahrefs backlink database to identify targets for backlink campaigns. The websites that have already linked to similar content are more likely to link to your new content.
Ahrefs most significant shortcoming is that it limits the number of keywords returned in its reports. The $99 monthly subscription only returns the top 10 keywords for any content gap analysis, for example. There’s not much you can do about these limits other than purchasing a more expensive subscription or going with a different tool like SEMrush.
Dale Johnson, Co-founder of Nomad Paradise adds “For any SaaS company looking to create an effective content marketing campaign, I highly recommend adding Ahrefs to your set of tools. Ahrefs excels in its in-depth analysis of your competitor’s website and posts in Google rankings. Ahrefs allows you to identify low-competition keywords that you can write and create content for. While showing the current top-ranking articles and how authoritative the host websites are.”
With Ahrefs, you can make accurate decisions about what you’re going to write about and understand the precise keywords and key phrases needed for Google to rank that content. Plus, it can also uncover keywords/content ideas that may be too competitive, saving you time and resources to explore other focused content to get you consistent traffic.
Ahrefs can also phrase-match, provide you with keyword reports, give you in-depth insight on competitor websites, and many more options. Ahrefs allows you to do content marketing with focus and intent and not just throw a random selection of articles on your blog, hoping rather than knowing, they can potentially rank in the top 1-3.
See Also: What Is a SaaS Marketplace?
Canva is one of the best, most intuitive SaaS-based design tools I have used. You can create professional designs in a matter of minutes as long as you have a vision. Even if you don’t, it offers numerous templates to help you experiment and come up with your ideal product. Canva is also great because it has different design dimensions that customize various social networks much more effortlessly.
As a SaaS expert, I know how much a good design contributes to the overall impression of your product. People often focus on the marketing strategy too much, neglecting the basic package they’re trying to promote.
Pros of Canva:
- highly intuitive
- offers numerous pre-designed templates
- customized designs for a variety of marketing platforms
Cons of Canva:
- certain functions are not available in the free version
- the mobile app does not always function well
- team collaboration within one design is not so easy
A free version of Canva allows you to create all kinds of designs only with fewer available elements. The Pro version is also quite affordable, with plans starting at 12.95$ per month for individual use and 30$ for an enterprise plan.
We see more and more marketers turning to SEO and using SEO tools that allow them to have a clear vision of the strengths and weaknesses of their sites. OnCrawl is one of those tools. This award-winning technical SEO platform helps you make smarter SEO decisions by combining your content, links, log files and search data at scale so that you can open Google’s black box and build an SEO strategy with confidence.
As an SEO crawler, log files analyzer, and third-party integrations platform, OnCrawl generates actionable dashboards to support the entire search engine optimization process and helps improve your rankings, traffic, and online revenues. Another of our core values is customer support.
We have a whole team of SEO experts to assist our customers and help them further their SEO challenges. The pricing starts at $69/month and is based on the number of URLs to crawl. OnCrawl offers a 14-day free trial, so you can crawl your website and analyze the reports for free.
— Laura Bony, Head of Sales North America at OnCrawl
Being a digital marketer myself, Grammarly is my go-to SaaS digital marketing tool. I don’t use it because I suck at spelling, nor do I have too many typos! I like how it proofreads my work and gives suggestions on how to make my thoughts more cohesive. The thing about Grammarly is that it can proofread virtually almost everything; it does come in handy if you are a blogger, a student, a freelance writer, or even a job seeker.
Generally speaking, this is for anyone who wants to make sure that whatever they write is error-free and to get more confident in their writing abilities. So what do I like about it? It’s convenient to use. First, download the Grammarly extension on chrome. You can then paste your texts on the textbox, and voila, Grammarly will give you suggestions to make the content more substantial and unified.
Another thing I like is its accuracy overall. If you’ve only started writing, this tool might be your pal because it is excellent in pointing out corrections or perhaps things you might have missed.
Lastly, I like that I can build my custom dictionary. As we all know, British, Australian, or American English use some slang that other English speakers might find odd. These are the words that, unfortunately, Grammarly cannot recognize. It’s fantastic that I can add it to my custom dictionary, so I don’t have to dismiss the suggestion every time.
Well, as with any other tool, there is one thing that might still bug you. Even though it is accurate overall, it still has plain wrong suggestions, and they just don’t make sense. The bottom line here is that in the end, after all the work done by Grammarly, you still have to do a final proofread to make sure that everything is on point.
To add, I first had the free version, but it only checks spelling and grammar. I think it’s too limited if you are using it professionally. I then opted for the paid version, which is $59.95 quarterly or $139.95 annually – which gives me additional features like vocabulary suggestions, and most importantly, a plagiarism checker!
It also helps identify more grammar errors. Perhaps it distinguishes more complex grammar mistakes rather than just the easy patterns. In the end, no proofreading tool can magically turn your work into a masterpiece, yes it does help, but in the end, you are the mastermind of your work!”
We’ve found Moz to be a valuable tool for SEO and optimizing blog posts. Moz offers a browser extension called Mozbar, which is great for prospecting backlinks and getting a quick, high-level view of the authority of other websites. Another key feature is the Moz Link Explorer.
This tool lets you assess the health of your website’s backlink profile by viewing inbound backlinks, DA, etc. For those interested in a more granular analysis of on-page SEO factors, the On-page Grader included with Moz’s Pro (paid) edition has been super helpful for us.
6. Mirabel’s Marketing Manager
Harboring in a sweet spot between a robust platform and an affordable marketing automation solution, Mirabel’s Marketing Manager is a must-have SaaS marketing tool in 2021. Our full suite includes the basics redefined, such as workflow automation, website visitor tracking, and thorough analytics and reporting. It’s also home to email marketing unlike any other.
Connect with a segmented target audience using our simple Email Builder, bulk-verify email lists with our brand-new verification tool, and improve your sender reputation with our Reputation Dashboard.
Mirabel’s Marketing Manager also explores competitor analysis to improve keyword ranking, website traffic, and social media marketing strategies. Measure your Moz link authority and view domain links next to the competition.
The huge benefit to Mirabel’s Marketing Manager is its powerful and efficient capabilities are comparable to big names like HubSpot and Salesforce, but its affordability makes it approachable for the everyday company. Five users, one website, and 10,000 contacts will cost you $299 per month. To find out if Mirabel’s Marketing Manager is for you, we offer a free demo.
— Kelly Jacobson, Digital Marketing Strategist at Mirabel Technologies
Conversify is an excellent SaaS marketing tool for Linkedin. It allows you to list contacts you would like to connect with using Linkedin Sales Navigator. You can then send out automated messages to that list, up to four of them. This means you can reach out to hundreds of people without having to look up contacts individually and add them separately. Some connections will choose not to add you, but many of them will.
This works great for local marketing. You could potentially target every chiropractor in your area or every chiropractor across America, for example, and sell your local marketing services to them. You could do this across thousands of verticals, thousands of individual professionals, or thousands of small businesses in your niche. The possibilities are endless.
However, the real key is to make sure the list you create is targeted, so it does take time to go through advanced search options, but this method works, and this SaaS software helps.
Ubersuggest is a fantastic, simple keyword research and competitor analysis tool focused on helping you execute a content marketing and SEO strategy for your SaaS website. The main features of Ubersuggest include:
- Type in a competitor URL and see all the pages and keywords that drive the organic traffic
- Get related keywords from a single “seed” keyword
- Get content ideas from top-performing content for a given keyword
- Track your organic search rankings
- Conduct an SEO site audit
- View backlinks for any domain
Pros of Ubersuggest:
- Simple and intuitive
- Affordable compared to other SEO tools
- Does its job effectively
Cons of Ubersuggest:
- No in-app customer service
Free trial for the free version (limited data), $29/mo for the individual version, $49/mo for the Business version, and $99/mo for Enterprise/Agency version.
Timetoreply is the ultimate email analytics tool that is universally compatible, providing in-depth insights into email volumes, reply times, and activity for individual and shared mailboxes. It supports tracking for G Suite to Outlook and everything in between, making it the most comprehensive and secure solution available.
With real-time reporting, customized scheduled reports, and API integration, along with advanced filters to help you make sense of your most important customer and lead emails, Timetoreply offers the most actionable data and comprehensive metrics in the market.
Unlike CRM tools that only offer analytics on marketing emails such as open rates and click-throughs, Timetoreply focuses on the performance of your sales or service teams in responding to leads and clients, and exactly how that impacts revenue. These are the analytics that every business should be tracking but often overlook. In fact, studies have shown that agents who respond within an hour are 7 times more likely to close a deal than those who take 2 hours to respond.
Timetoreply is the price-performance leader in the email analytics space and comes with free support, a full-feature free trial, and a free demo, without requiring any software installation or credit card. With its unmatched compatibility, security, and comprehensive metrics, Timetoreply is the ultimate solution for businesses looking to streamline their email communication and enhance their revenue growth.
— Tarah Darge, Head of Marketing at Timetoreply
PerformLine is the only SaaS platform that provides omnichannel monitoring of your brand across all major marketing channels—the web, calls, emails, messages, and social media from one single platform. When crafting a marketing strategy, compliance is often overlooked, but, complying with regulations is a critical part of any successful campaign, especially for those in highly-regulated industries. Failure to meet regulatory obligations can result in hefty penalties and damaged reputations.
The PerformLine platform automatically monitors for, discovers, and flags content that could pose potential compliance risks across multiple representatives, including sales reps, partners, third parties, influencers, or anybody else posting about your brand. Once the content is flagged, you’ll get an alert so you can review and remediate directly within the PerformLine platform. You then get detailed reporting and insights that can be shared throughout your organization.
Best of all, you don’t have to be a compliance expert to start using PerformLine. The platform comes with ready-to-use rulebooks that cover all major regulations and guidelines for your specific industry. You also receive a thorough onboarding process and have access to a dedicated Client Success team to help you optimize your account and rules. Plus, the rules are 100% customizable to monitor for things like accurate descriptions, correct disclosures, logo usage, brand proximity, and more.
— Ashley Cianci, Director of Demand Generation at PerformLine
Online customer journeys show companies where website visitors go, what they do on a specific website, and how all that affects conversions. Perhaps LiveHelpNow is not a very convenient tool and not the first thing one thinks about when it comes to marketing tools. But live chat software can assist companies in keeping potential customers on their web pages, assisting them in their journeys, and increasing conversions.
Pros of LiveHelpNow:
LiveHelpNow software serves as a channel of instant communication between the business and the website visitor. It allows a business to greet every visitor to the website in real-time, answer clients’ questions, and guide them through the website, laying the groundwork to convert inquiries into sales.
Additionally, live chat software comes with features such as visitor behavior tracking, a ticket management system, FAQs, and even the ability to communicate with visitors via text or connect with them via phone. All these tools aid the promotion of the business.
Live chat improves customer satisfaction as it provides an opportunity for personalized communications with every visitor. This makes a business stand out from the competition. And there isn’t a better way to market a company than to have more happy customers at the end of the day.
Cons of LiveHelpNow:
The only possible con of this SaaS tool is probably its cost. However, LiveHelpNow live chat software comes with flexible pricing. The cost of the tool ranges between a mere $20-$50 a month, making it affordable to virtually any business.
— Natalya Bucuy, Digital Marketing Manager at LiveHelpNow
SurferSEO is one of my favorite tools for simplifying content marketing. It’s a correlation tool that will let you quickly identify what qualities and keywords help pages rank on specific queries. It’s effortless to set up, allows you to exclude pages that aren’t relevant easily, and integrates with Google Docs. It unifies a lot of tools into a single place. You no longer need to have a tab open for Yoast and Ahrefs for competitor analysis.
Best of all, if you’re running a large operation, its simplicity makes it easy for onboarding. SurferSEO is one big time saver for producing quality content. Sadly, it isn’t a “buy your way onto the SERP” kind of tool. You’ll still need to make sure that your content answers search queries effectively and that your on-site SEO is flushed out and taken care of.
13. Text Request
Text Request is a business text messaging software that you should use in 2023. Here’s why. Imagine you’re a small business owner and 80% of your opportunities to bring in revenue and create happy customers disappeared.
How would that feel? It’d be terrible! But that’s exactly what most SMBs are experiencing because their customers avoid phone calls and ignore emails. Leads go cold, upsell opportunities disappear, you miss online reviews, and customers forget about you.
Meanwhile, texting is the #1 preferred communication channel, and 9 in 10 want to text with businesses for sales, service, updates, and more. Text Request bridges the gap so you can get that 80% of opportunities back. We give you an online dashboard to manage text messaging professionally as a team, so you can do things like:
Generate more leads from your website (with our SMS Chat)Close more sales (100% average customer increase)Earn more online reviews. Share promotions that drive conversions with 99% open rates and 50% click-through rates. You can schedule and confirm appointments (cut no-show rates in half) and more.
Key features of Text Request include:
- 2-way/conversational messaging
- Mass messaging
- Peer to Peer Texting
- SMS Chat (webchat)
- Picture Messaging
- Team collaboration features like typing notices, signatures, name stamps
- Permanent records of messages for security and compliance
- Custom groups (lists and segmenting)
- Chrome extension with click-to-text from all web pages
- API + Integrations
— Kenneth Burke, Director of Marketing at Text Request
14. Promo Video Maker
Promo Video Maker is a simple cloud-based video creation tool that gives you access to hundreds of video clips and music, you add the text and your video is done and ready to go. In a SaaS business or any business, it is important to work leaner and smarter. We always look for applications that are marketing-effective, easy to use, easy to implement, and cost-effective.
Short videos can be very effective in getting your message across, but they can also be very time-consuming and expensive. We came across Promo Video Maker over two years and find it easy to use and has very affordable pricing packages.
Promo Video Maker Pricing:
They run a lot of very good promotions; you need to check with them before purchasing.
- Annual Basic: $39/month. 36 premium Clips. Unlimited Video Downloads. No Promo Watermark
- Annual Standard: $69/month. Unlimited Premium Clips. Unlimited Video Downloads. Your Watermark. Manage 1 Brand
- Annual Pro: $249/month. Unlimited Premium Clips. Unlimited Video Downloads. White Label Sharing. Manage up to 10 Brands. Reseller Rights.
Features of Promo Video Maker:
- Videos can be used on Websites and Social Media Platforms
- You can add numerous video clips to a video
- Easy to add text
- Hundreds of templates
- Video Library (free or premium)
- Image Library
- You can upload your own images, graphics, and music
- Customer Support is excellent
- You can upload your voiceover video track
- Additional tools
My favorite lead generation tool as a business owner is hunter.io. I use Hunter.io to help me find anyone’s email address in seconds. What I do is put together a list of URLs of my ideal customers and upload them to the hunter.io website.
Then they provide all the email addresses that are associated with each one of those URLs. I use it weekly and have found that it is incredibly quick, and helpful and I like how the pricing tiers work. They have everything from a free version to a starter ($49/month) to a growth ($99/month) to an enterprise ($399/month).
16. Google Analytics
If you run an online business or website, one of the best tools you can get is Google Analytics. Not only is this SaaS tool absolutely free, but it is also built by Google and is very simple to integrate into your website.
There is no reason not to have Google Analytics connected to your site, even if you aren’t sure what to do with the data right now, Google will store data once you implement it, so you can always go back to learn more from the data later, or hire someone to help you.
Google Analytics is one of the most important tools that any marketing department should be utilizing frequently. Google Analytics gives us the ability to track various metrics to see how our online marketing and SEO strategies are working. We can also track how successful a campaign was through Google Analytics. With GA, I can see how much organic traffic my site is receiving as well as paid search, backlinks, and how successful my social media strategies currently are.
One of my favorite tools in Google Analytics is the customer engagement tool. This feature lets me see how my site visitors are interacting with the various content I have on my site. I can see the average bounce rate, time on the page, click-through rate, and the average time someone stays on my website before going to search for something else.
This is beneficial when we are creating our dog guides and blog content because we want to know what type of content we have that our customers are loving and what content we have on our site that very few people are engaging in. Understanding these metrics through Google Analytics will result in a more knowledgeable business with a stronger online presence.
Also Read: Best Front-End Web Development Tools
When looking for the best solution to better understand your target audience behavior, customer journey, and how to align your brand voice properly in terms of acquiring the right customers and reshaping your campaign impact, then Latana is the tool that’s definitely a must-have.
This tool brings audience monitoring, tracking, and conversion to a whole new level using its advanced data science by providing an extremely low error margin. Use these insights to better shape how your brand is perceived and what campaigns make the most sense. In addition, it offers in-depth competitor analyses to better understand where and how your brand is placed.
Pros of Latana:
- Highly accurate results, personalized marketing data, audience segmentation, easy-to-use, self-thought, propelled brand awareness insights.
Cons of Latana:
- It might be a little pricier for smaller budgets and doesn’t integrate with many apps
— Joy Corkery, Content Marketing Lead at Latana
We recommend using the SMS solutions of MessageMedia for effective and efficient marketing campaigns. The web portal is easy to use, plus messages can be sent directly from existing CRMs via our integrations. SMS cuts through, too; 90% of texts are read within 90 seconds. There are countless customizable SMS use cases, including competitions, loyalty programs, and promotions.
Marketers can send up to one million messages in a single burst without sacrificing personalization. Customer databases can be segmented, auto-replies can be created using trigger-based rules, and opt-in campaigns can be set up with dedicated numbers. 2-way SMS allows businesses to keep the conversation flowing, so contacts can continue to be nurtured wherever they are on their journey.
For those who are new to SMS marketing, our customer service team is full of knowledge, experience, and patience. They can guide users as they create mobile landing pages, customize opt-out keywords, and export their post-campaign reports. We currently have more than 50,000 global customers across several industries who are enjoying our SMS solutions.
We offer four pricing options to suit different sending needs, from small businesses to enterprise levels. The Monthly Basics plan starts at $39/month, which features the must-haves without the bells and whistles. We also offer a free trial of our platform, which includes 25 free credits.
— Amanda Ranville, Chief Marketing Officer at MessageMedia
The go-to marketing software of my choice is definitely ClickFunnels. It has almost everything someone looking to sell a product online needs. First of all, this software has a sales funnel builder tool that helps you create customizable landing pages and sales pages without any coding. It also has a built-in autoresponder that can help you collect leads from your website.
The last tool I’d like to mention is an affiliate management app that you can use to set up an affiliate program for your products and let other people promote them in exchange for a small commission. The reason why I really prefer this software is that you don’t get just the tools, you also get free courses from top marketers like Russell Brunson, Jay Abraham, Tony Robbins, and others.
Pricing goes from $97 for beginners up to $2,497 for advanced, already-established businesses. With their most expensive plan, you get access to their inner circle and 24/7 phone support.
— Bogdan Krstic, Founder of ImGeekz
I highly recommend SEMrush as an incredibly useful SaaS tool for marketers that are looking to strengthen their brands and websites online. Their toolkit is split up into different useful sections including SEO, social media, competitive research, and content marketing.
I personally like using the SEO and content marketing toolkits as they provide actionable insights into how I can create unique content that will engage my audience. It’s also useful to see what features are included in different plans, and I was able to get a subscription to suit all of my needs.
Before I did this, I activated a free trial option which was very helpful to have an initial look around and get a feel for all of the different features within the tool.
Some of the main pros:
- New features added regularly
- Incredible customer service
- Supports third
- party integrations
- Useful toolkits for marketers
Some of the main cons:
- Vast volume of the tool features can be overwhelming
- Can be considered pricey
I recommend SEMrush as my go-to SaaS marketing tool. I’ve been using SEMrush Pro for over a year and I was recently introduced to SEMrush Guru. SEMrush is a content marketing platform that helps you do keyword research, find blog topics, optimize your content, measure the impact of your content, and more.
The features of SEMrush Guru include a content calendar for planning, unlimited topic generation, a content audit tool, and more. As much as I love the great features (like the Keyword Magic Tool), I really love how the company builds community around content and SEO.
The pros for SEMrush are ease of use, good customer service, and the many SEO, content, and marketing features. The cons include the steep jump from the Free plan to the Pro plan ($99.95/month) and the limited features in the Free plan.
The Guru plan is $199.95 per month and the Business plan is $399.95 per month. My company’s and our clients’ content and organic search rankings have steadily improved since we started using SEMrush. It helps give us a roadmap for our content efforts, and it helps us improve our content after it’s written.
— Chris Craft, SaaS Marketer, and Chief Editorhief at InspireFirst
Act-On is a leading growth marketing automation software that marketers actually love to use. Its drag-and-drop, easy-to-use interface allows professionals of all skill levels to design and execute dynamic campaigns and make smart, data-driven decisions. The suite provides a variety of services like lead segmentation, event-triggered emails, content creation, interactive reporting, and beyond.
Unlike most automation platforms, Act-on offers active contact pricing so marketers spend on what moves the needle, not inactive databases. This solution is perfect for marketers who want to stop shoving leads through the funnel and start growing their business, building customer loyalty, and engaging around their offerings.
— David Greenberg, Senior VP of Marketing at Act-On
My number one SaaS marketing tool is Webeo. We use it to personalize the content on our website based on their IP address and associated industry.
The business I work for (www.ciphr.com) sells SaaS HR software to SMEs. There are many sectors where we perform particularly strongly, including education, charity, and finance.
For each of these sectors CIPHR has developed specialist functionality that helps HR teams in that niche to solve particularly painful problems eg. safeguarding of children for the education sector, volunteer management for charities, and regulatory compliance for the financial sector
When we’re able to identify a website visitor’s industry (based on their IP address) and can match it to one of these key sectors, we don’t just display the generic HR software messages, we personalize it so it’s relevant to their industry. This includes mentioning the specific features, referring to “schools” rather than “companies” in our copy, changing images, and including customer logos and testimonials from the same sector.
In split tests, our average conversion rate of visitors served the personalized content improved by 90% vs those matched but not personalized.
I have been working with the PickFu team to optimize their website and app for almost a year now and have never seen such a diverse tool. The reason I would recommend this tool is it allows you to gather market research from objective users based on their demographics, geographic and psychographic information. For brands or start-ups, this information is a critical determinant of success (whether your target audience will resonate with your logo, product, designs, etc.
PickFu doesn’t just help eCommerce companies, it can also be used for authors, designers, brand marketers, and pretty much anything else on the web or mobile. You can even use it as an objective tie-breaker (if you have a disagreement and you want the opinion of 50+ random individuals.
PickFu is an online marketing research tool that helps entrepreneurs poll users based on their geography, demography, and psychology. Rather than buying ads or trusting your gut, you have access to hundreds of individuals who will be honest and use their own biases similar to your user personas.
Main features of PickFu:
- Basic Polls: This is where you ask an open-ended question or two and you need responses quickly. If you need to test one or two things, or need a tie-breaker.. this is the pool to use.
- Head-to-Head Polls or Ranked Polls: With a head-to-head poll, you’d have between 2 and 8 concepts, and you want the respondents to help you pick a winner. Alternatively, if you want a ranked poll, you’d have 3 to 8 concepts, and you want the respondents to rank them by preference.
Pros of PickFu:
- Feedback quickly
- Can really narrow down with the segmentation targeting
- The quality of feedback is extremely high and detailed.
Cons of PickFu:
- With a lot of questions, it can become quite expensive
- Need to have a formed hypothesis and an actual tiebreaker, if not you’re just wasting your money.
— William Chin, Web Consultant at PickFu
Hope you liked the list of must-have SaaS tools recommended by the industry experts. If you have any questions or suggestions, please use the comment box below.