YouTube Keyword Tools

If you’re looking for a YouTube keyword tool, there are quite a few options available to you. In this post, we’ll look at some of the best ones available in 2020, and how to tell which one is right for you.

YouTube is the second largest search engine in the world after Google itself. It processes more than 3 billion search queries every month.

“It’s bigger than Bing, Yahoo!, Ask and AOL combined”, according to Mushroom Networks.

And while determining whether you should focus your efforts on ranking in Google or ranking in YouTube depends on a lot of things—and it’s by no means an either or, both go hand-in-hand—it’s definitely a platform worth mastering.

TubeBuddy

One of the pioneering YouTube keyword tools that’s been around for years and continues to serve a loyal customer base.

One of the nice things about TubeBuddy is that it’s a freemium Chrome extension. So you can start playing around with it without having to pay.

One of the downsides of TubeBuddy is that their “Searches per month” estimates are typically very inflated.

Their pricing is pretty affordable, and if you have a YouTube channel with less than 1,000 subscribers you can even get a 50% discount on the Pro plan, which works out to $4.50 per month. If you pay annually, it gets even cheaper!

VidIQ

VidIQ is the other established tool for people that want to grow their YouTube audience.

You can start using VidIQ for free too, and pick higher-priced plans that better match your needs.

If you’re unsure about choosing between TubeBuddy and VidIQ, Corey Potter recently wrote up a great comparison of both tools.

Tubics

Tubics’ pricing offers an introductory pricing of $7.90 per month for creators with limited functionality. The full-featured versions are aimed at companies with bigger budgets (starting at $190 per month).

SocialBook Builder

SocialBook is a tool that can best be described as: it has potential if they keep improving the product. But as of right now, I found it to be pretty unreliable. Not all features work as advertised, and the support experience I had with them (in June 2020) was abysmal.

SocialBook Builder is a Chrome extension too.

One neat feature is the thumbnail maker—it’s pretty easy to quickly generate decent thumbnails for your YouTube videos. Kinda like ThumbnailBlaster, but baked into the product already.

E.g. showing the stats of other YouTube channels weren’t loading for me.

The numbers I got with SocialBook Builder were very off.

You can use the SocialBook Builder Chrome extension for free and then sign up for a paid plan, for either $20 per month, or $50 per month. (And like with many of the other tools, you get a discount if you pay annually.)

The best cold email software for low-volume, plain-text outreach?

I’ve been using hunter.io to find email addresses for a long time, but recently I tried their Cold Email Campaigns tool (which is in beta).

It’s really great if you want to email a low volume (I’d say anywhere from a few dozen to a few hundred) prospects, and you want to send plain-text emails.

Very simple and intuitive UI. No unnecessary bells and whistles, no noise or clutter.

It’s really focused on simplifying your cold email outreach, and to help you start building meaningful relationships with new people.

You can schedule your emails and there are certain sending limits in place. You can personalize emails with custom attributes, and add multiple gmail emails to the same account.

The product is currently in beta, but it’s a promising tool.

If you’re looking for a more scalable cold email software solution, here are some other recommended options:

  • Persist IQ
  • Woodpecker
  • Mailshake
  • Close
  • Reply.io
  • Quickmail

Password managers: Why I switched from Lastpass to 1Password

The first dedicated password manager I ever owned was RoboForm. It was great in the early days, but nowadays there are much better solutions.

A few years ago I reviewed the available options and landed on Lastpass as my password manager of choice. And that was good for a while… until Lastpass just degenerated into a super cumbersome piece of s#it software.

Believe me, switching password managers is the kind of task I’d prefer to avoid. Not as bad as a root canal treatment, but just like a root canal treatment, I’d have to experience a lot of pain before undertaking the switch from one password manager to another.

(Also, spoiler alert: migrating from Lastpass to 1Password was not nearly as painful as I imagined. Pretty much a 15 minute task for most people, unless you have some superfunky special Lastpass setup.)

Some of the main things that annoyed me about Lastpass were:

  • it wouldn’t recognize many login-pages, so you had to click on lastpass, manually find the right login, and then copy + paste the username and password into the relevant fields
  • the mobile app was very buggy (iOS)
  • I would oftentimes had to re-log in to Lastpass for Lastpass to activate filling in a form, even when just 1 or 2 minutes had passed (Chrome extension on OSX)
  • Lastpass admin interface is a pain
  • Password sharing was a mess. Oftentimes invites wouldn’t work properly. (In my account, there would be an outstanding invite, but in another person’s account, it wouldn’t show. And vice versa. Sometimes logins that were listed as “accepted” in my account wouldn’t show in the other person’s shared logins, and vice versa.)

Now the switch to 1Password was something I postponed for a long time, mostly because the one time I had used 1Password, I found the app to lack clarity and be somewhat confusing.

But now I realize that this was solely because I had become so used to Lastpass (I’ve been a premium customer for 4 years), that anything with a very different UI would require some familiarization at first.

In terms of feature-to-feature comparison, I think both apps are pretty much on par. There’s nothing I could (and wanted to) do in Lastpass that I can’t in 1Password, and vice versa.

For a more extensive and in-depth comparison, check out this Lastpass vs 1Password comparison by the Zapier team. (They arrived at a different conclusion, and if it weren’t for my repeated struggles with making Lastpass work robustly and fast, I’d agree with them.)

Competitors.app

I’m a huge believer in the power of learning from your competitors. Once you’ve identified companies that are targeting the same audience you’re going after, and they’re doing it well… doing a bit of detective work can be immensely valuable.

But it can also be immensely time-consuming, especially when it comes to staying on top of what they’re doing.

Fortunately, there’s software to help you minimize the time-consuming, tedious busywork, so that you have more time for high-impact meaningful work.

One of these tools is an app called competitors.app.

This app makes it easy to keep an eye on changes your competitors are making. Some of my favorite things about it:

  • Monitors changes to the website, or when additional pages get added
  • Monitors SEO optimization (e.g. when a competitor changes the meta description or title of a website)
  • Monitors Google PPC ads of your competitors and alerts you of changes
  • Monitors Facebook ads of your competitors. Seeing how your competitors are spending money can be huge for insights!
  • Monitors their keyword rankings (including historical changes)
  • Gathers newsletters and trial onboarding emails (basically, all the emails that your competitor sends out, with the exception of those emails that exclusively go out to paying customers, since they obviously can’t sign up as a paying customer for every product. But if your marketing efforts are primarily focused on new customer acquisition, then that’s not a high priority anyway, so all is fine.)
  • Monitoring reviews
    Honestly this is a huge feature. This app goes out to 60 different review sites and gathers all the reviews they have in one place so you can check them out. That alone is worth the price of a subscription if you ask me.

A realy crappy free keyword competitor tool

They also have a simple keyword competitor tool that you can use for free, but tbh I think that does more damage than good.

I tried it and the results it returned where abysmal. In one instance it didn’t return any results at all, and in another instance it returned a handful of keywords that will make anyone who’s ever used any kind of competitive keyword research tool just close the tab and walk away.

I get that they’re putting the page out there on the site so it can gain some traction on Google, but I wonder if they’re not doing themselves a disservice. If I’d be a prospect arriving at their website cold, and I’d try out that free keyword tool, I’d draw the conclusion that their own app is probably of similar quality and not sign up.

(Which would be a huge mistake, because the app itself is pretty dope, and much better than that weaksauce keyword tool.)

Their pricing is reasonable and starts at $9.99/month:

They also offer a 15-day-free trial, which is neat, and if you’re at all interested in learning from your competitors, I’d definitely encourage you to sign up and play around with it.

Visual website scraping tool: AnyPicker

This is a relatively new but pretty neat tool if you want to occasionally scrape website data, but aren’t technical. It makes scraping data relatively easy through a Chrome plugin you can use to visually identify the data you want to scrape from a website.

There’s a free version that will suffice for many marketers that only occasionally need to scrape website data, a full-featured 7-day free trial, and a monthly and annual premium plan.

Try AnyPicker or learn more here.

(I discovered it through ProductHunt, where it became the #1 Product of the Day recently. If you’re curious what other founders, marketers and makers think about the tool, check out the comments on PH.)

INK – AI-powered text editor with SEO optimization tips

If you’re writing a lot of content and have a firm grip on SEO fundamentals, this won’t be a game-changer, but it still can be a useful tool to streamline your content creation process a bit.

INK is basically a SEO-friendly text editor with a distraction-free mode. (And btw, it also checks your grammar and spelling.)

If you’ve been toying around with a few SEO-writing tools in the past and they all failed to impress you, this is one tool worth checking out, because it definitely is above and beyond any of the text editors with built-in SEO features that have been available on the market so far.

Here’s how INK works:

  1. You write content.
  2. You enter the main keyword phrase you’re going for.
  3. INK analyses the best-performing content piece for that keyword phrase and reverse-engineers what’s working.
  4. It then uses the analysis to score your content and provide suggestions on how to improve your score, thus improving your chances for ranking in the SERPs
  5. You can even integrate it with your publishing platform (e.g. WordPress), and publish straight from INK.

It’s clear that the makers of this tool intent to solve a problem that is worth solving: if you’re creating web content that aims to rank in Google and capture organic search traffic, currently you’re probably using different tools for different parts of the process. INK aims to create one unified platform for you, so you don’t have to switch between different tools to get the job done anymore.

It definitely has a beautiful UI/UX, which is great to see as well, since tools in the SEO space oftentimes are pretty atrociously designed.

Is INK the right tool for you?

If you have an advanced understanding of SEO, and tools like AHREFs, SEMrush, and others in that category already at your disposal, this tool won’t be able to replace your current toolset. At best, it’ll be an option to consider when you just want to crank out some quick content without having to go through the entire laborious process of researching and optimizing a piece of content from scratch. If you’re not going after a hyper-competitive keyword phrase, INK could be a valid option to say goodbye to hours of SEO research and optimization, and just keep things simple.

But if you’d self-identify as beginner or intermediate level SEO-writer, then this is definitely worth a try—not just because it’s free to use.

And if you have a team of content writers that aren’t SEO wizards, INK could be a great option to elevate the work product your team delivers.

krisp – Mute background noise during calls (great tool for remote marketers!)

If you’re a remote marketer, and you’re oftentimes working in environments that have a lot of background noise—coffee shops, co-working spaces, bars—but occasionally need to make calls, krisp is an amazing tool to make sure your voice gets transmitted clearly, but not the background noise.

Remember the first time you tried on really good noise-cancelling headphones?

Well, the first time you try out krisp on a call, and there’s background noise—whether it’s a constant ambient noise or an unforeseen dog bark—you’ll have that same delightful experience. You’ll notice that it won’t distract the other person anymore.

They’ve got a 14-day free trial, and their pro plan is very reasonable priced. Definitely check it out!

Don’t become attached to processes. Instead, adapt fast.

If you’re part of a fast-growing startup, there’s one thing that’ll be inevitable: change.

In the very early days, you can pretty much get shit done any way you like. It’s find to do things your way. Everyone on the team is wearing many hats, and oftentimes one person is basically “3 departments”. You figure things out as you go.

As your company grows, you’ll find that there are certain things you keep figuring out again, and again, and again. And it dawns on you that you could be a lot more efficient if you deliberately design a process. You do so, and while it’s mostly not fun, you’re glad some of the more mundane and repetitive things become more efficient and overall output increases.

The next stage is new team members joining, and roles becoming a bit more specialized. You make some tweaks to your beautiful processes to allow for these new people to add value, and to reflect for the new realities.

The more your company grows, the more new team members join, the more change you’ll be faced with. And the more flexible you’ll have to become with adapting your beautifully established processes.

At times this can be painful—because whenever you have designed and defined an efficient process, it’s normal for you to want to keep doing things this way. Even if you’re someone who embraces and even craves change—process change is typically not the kind of change that’s fun. Launching a new initiative, experimenting with a new marketing channel, going after a new vertical—all of these things can be exciting and fun. But process change—where it’s basically about doing the same thing you’ve been doing so far, just differently, that’s rarely ever fun.

And if you allow yourself to get attached to processes, not only will it be not fun, it will be actually painful and exhausting.

I’ve seen this to be true for many marketers. And while we probably all nod our heads in agreement and say: Yes, yes, of course. The reality is that many of us struggle with this if we don’t intentionally cultivate a mindset that embraces change around our processes.

This typically becomes really important when you’re in the messy middle—a term Scott Belsky used to define the stage when a company is no longer a fledgling startup, but not yet a big established player in the industry.

SaaS marketing strategy

It wasn’t too long ago that you didn’t really need a SaaS marketing strategy as long as you had a good enough product and put in some hustle. Nowadays however, SaaS is already a crowded space, and the competition is only getting more and more fierce. 

It’s not enough to do some keyword research, publish a couple hundred blog posts, and sprinkle in some link building outreach. Paid ads are getting prohibitively expensive if you’re not either venture-funded or have a genius-level performance marketer on your team. (And most likely, you won’t find that kind of person, because they’d be able to earn a very cushy 6-figure income working for someone else, or just do their own thing.)

So how do you go about creating your SaaS marketing strategy?

Start with your ideal customer

You need absolute clarity on who you’re marketing to, who you’re building your product for. This requires a lot of mental and emotional discipline, because as a member of an early-stage SaaS company, you probably are able to see so many different ways how your product could benefit all kinds of people. But you need what I call ruthless focus until you’ve reached product market fit.

Your sales and marketing efforts have to be focused on the customers who are most likely to buy from you. Your positioning needs to clearly identify who those folks are. And simply put, they are the customers who care the most about the value your product delivers. You need to identify what sets these folks apart. What is it about these customers that makes them love your product more than others? How can we identify them?

Your target market is the customers who buy quickly, rarely ask for discounts and tell their friends about your offerings.

April Dunford, Obviously Awesome

In her must-read book for any serious SaaS marketer Obviously Awesome, she also shares this great thought experiment:

Suppose your company was running out of cash and if the team didn’t close a certain amount of business by the end of the month, very bad things were going to happen. What types of customers would you focus on and why? What are the characteristics of those customers that make them more likely to buy?

Who specifically would you market and sell to if you had a very limited amount of time and resources to get revenue if the survival of your company depended on it?

That’s the level of focus you want to have in the early stages of your SaaS business.

Begin […] with the smallest viable market. What’s the minimum number of people you would need to influence to make it worth the effort?

Godin, Seth. This Is Marketing

A common trap is to try to appeal to too big of an audience in the early stages of your startup.

The challenge for most people who seek to make an impact isn’t winning over the mass market. It’s the micro market. They bend themselves into a pretzel trying to please the anonymous masses before they have fifty or one hundred people who would miss them if they were gone.

Seth Godin

Hyper-focus is the big, unfair advantage you have when you enter the market as a tiny startup with large established players. It’s what the sling was to David when he faced Goliath.

SaaS distribution channels

Once you know who your ideal customer is, you got to figure out how to reach them. How can you get your message in front of the person that’s most likely to give your product a shot, and then actually gain enough value out of it to become a paying customer?

There are many ways to do that:

  • content marketing
  • paid ads
  • social media marketing
  • community engagement
  • cold outreach referrals
  • podcast guest tour
  • podcast sponsorships
  • email sponsorships
  • partnership marketing
  • integration marketing
  • events
  • and many more

It also very much depends on how you turn website visitors into customers. Most likely, you’ll offer a free trial or have a freemium product. If you have freemium offer that’s actually generating value for prospective customers, it’s a lot easier to actually gain some traction in your space—but you need to make sure that your freemium product won’t be too much of a distraction at your early-stage SaaS company from the main product you’re actually building.

Whatever distribution channels you choose, again, be very clear who your audience is, how you’re gonna get their attention, and how you’re going to earn their interest and trust.

Goals and KPIs

It’s also important that you have clearly defined goals and KPIs when you’re developing your SaaS marketing strategy. 

Some common KPIs:

  • website visitors
  • time on page
  • social shares
  • email subscribers
  • leads trial signups
  • trial-to-paid conversion rate
  • paying customers
  • revenue generated
  • MRR
  • ARR
  • CLTV
  • CAC
  • churn
  • expansion revenue growth %

Some of these are much substantial and meaningful for a business than others. E.g. social shares, time on page, website visitors—these are mostly vanity metrics. In the early days, this might be all you can go with, but you want to evolve to keeping track of more meaningful metrics as soon as possible.

Email subscribers and trial signups for example are a much better indicator of how your marketing is performing.

And ultimately, the number of paying customers, the amount of revenue you generate, the average customer lifetime value, etc are much more crucial for your business.

Pick one main KPI!

You can easily end up with an overwhelming spreadsheet that keeps track of all kinds of metrics. And in general, the closer you monitor your metrics, the better. But it can also create a lot of confusion and lead your efforts in different directions.

So it’s best to focus on ONE METRIC THAT TRULY MATTERS, and make sure that everyone who works with you knows what that one metric is at all times. 

Your goals and KPIs can change.

They aren’t set in stone, and you should re-evaluate and question them on a quarterly basis. Are these still the right goals? Are we still tracking the right KPIs? Is this really the most meaningful think for us to be focused on as far as marketing is concerned?

In the very early stages focusing on paying customers might not be the best choice. Instead, you want to focus on generating learnings and insights.

Actually generating revenue can be a secondary goal, as long as you have enough runway to stay afloat.

But there’s a caveat here too: If you generate insights just based on people who aren’t willing to pay you money, you can go astray. Ultimately, the person you should care about more than anyone else is the type of user that would get so much value out of using your product that they’d be happy to pay you money.