Let’s face it, the marketing landscape of today is increasingly cutthroat and competitive. It’s stacked against the underdog – regardless of the niche you’re in, often you’re competing against massive companies and corporations that have far more resources and manpower to invest in their marketing campaigns. With most major marketing channels now highly saturated, it can feel virtually impossible to expand your audience without paying for it. However, with the use of these online tools, you can better even your odds and significantly enhance your marketing strategies. Best of all, all the tools mentioned here will cost your 0 dollars – they are absolutely free! Gain deeper customer insights, get better content ideas, optimize your posting for the best times and improve the quality of what you create, here are 16 free digital marketing tools every marketer should have.
- Google Analytics
- SEO Site Checkup
- Microsoft To Do
- HubSpot Free CRM
- AddThis Share Buttons
- Google Trends
- Google Search
1. Google Analytics
Effective online marketing is all about making use of insights. You need to know such things as the age, gender, interest, device, and location of your target audience, how they engage with your brand, what are the main sources of traffic for your site, etc.Google Analytics is a powerful free tool that can help you in this regard, granting you a vast array of useful features that track and grant useful data about your audience and site’s performance. Empowered with these insights, you update your marketing strategies accordingly.
Social media marketing is at its most potent when you are leveraging different social media channels together for a single, streamlined marketing campaign. However, any marketer will understand that going to each individual account and posting content is both extremely frustrating, repetitive and highly time-consuming. Plus, some channels may not have a post scheduling feature which may hinder your ability to publish postings at the most optimal time.This is whereBuffer comes in. Its free version allows you to schedule and publish content on up to 10 different social media channels simultaneously, including Instagram and Twitter. Marketers will also benefit from its free insight reports, allowing one to know which posts and on which platform is receiving the most engagements.
Many regular links can be really long and aesthetically unpleasing. Furthermore, because of their length, they can be very difficult to type out, memorize or distribute. Bitly is a simple and free to use service that allows you to shorten URLs for use in your marketing channels. Bitly is especially useful for social media platforms such as Twitter which limits the number of characters you can type per posting.
Graphic design is not everyone’s forte but a visual appeal is definitely a big aspect of impactful marketing. Fortunately, you as a marketer don’t need to learn the trade or hire a separate graphic designer to create awesome looking posts, just take the help of Canva.Canva is a free design app with which you can quickly create professional-quality graphics and images for use on your marketing channels. There are thousands of starting templates and assets to choose from for your designs. Plus, the incredibly high degree of customizability allows you to create visual content that’s truly distinct. You also have the option of uploading your own assets for use and all your past custom templates are saved for future use.
Bad grammar not only makes your content look less professional, it allows means that your audience is far less likely to engage with it, especially if you are trying to sell them something through it. But grammatical errors and typos are something that can happen to even the most experienced of writers from time to time. Grammarly is a free browser plug-in that helps you spot and correct these mistakes.Its advanced algorithms are surprisingly proficient at picking out the context of a sentence and don’t wrongly highlight any unconventional word you might have used just because it’s not included in the standard dictionary. Grammarly also goes above and beyond other spell checkers by providing you options to check grammar in other English variations such as British and Australian.
Hemingway is also a great tool to help improve the quality of your writing. While Grammarly takes care of your writing’s grammar, Hemingway takes care of its readability format.Readability is an extremely important aspect of your marketing content. What you’ve written might be relevant, informative and well-research but if it is hard to read for your target audience, it won’t engage well.Hemingway allows you to find the level of the complexity of your writing and recommends changes that can be made to amend it. Of course, just as with any tool, use it as a reference but as a strict guideline. Follow your intuition where you feel no changes would be better.
The first step towards optimizing your on-page CTRs and conversion funnels is to discover how visitors actually behave on your website. You could have amazing content on a page with an actionable CTA but it would still suffer because of how badly optimized it towards people’s behavior.Hotjar is a user analytics software that makes use of heatmaps, session recording, and surveys to tell you exactly how people are engaging with your website. Using its insights, you can become better aware of which sections of the page your audience focuses their most time on and where an ad or CTA placement is most likely to work.Hotjar can also be integrated into most content management systems including WordPress, Weebly, HubSpot, and Square Space.
8. SEO Site Checkup
In the case of most brands and businesses, the majority of the web traffic they tend to receive comes through search engines. This is why achieving good Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is highly essential to their overall success.Of course, with the ranking rules and criteria constantly changing on major search engines, it can be hard for even the best SEO experts to keep up with the trends and discover in which areas a website is lacking in terms of SEO.SEO Site Checkup is a nifty tool that can grade and provide you with an in-depth analysis of your website’s or page’s SEO. All you have to do is type in your website’s domain and it crawls through the site to provide you with a detailed report of it.
9. Microsoft To Do
Every day, marketers have to juggle through a whole list of different tasks for different channels and even different sets of target audiences. All of this can lead to a lot of confusion and it’s easy to miss out on some tiny but highly important details in the midst of it. Plus, an idea can come at any moment’s time but you always risk forgetting about it the next day.Microsoft To Do is a free cloud-based task management app that can help you stay more organized with your work. Keep taps of ideas, trends and your work anywhere as the app works on your phone, desktop, and tablets. It also allows you to share tasks and schedules on a list with others by inviting them through email.
Every good marketer knows the value of email marketing. Even today, the average ROI from this channel is an amazing $38 for every $1 spent. Whether your business model implies merchandise selling or earning through advertisements, few other mediums provide such potent means of garnering conversions.Email marketing is also an effective means of keeping customer retention, which we all know just how important it is for a business’s long-term success.However, manually sending emails can be frustrating, especially if you are doing so through the default domain email hosting. Plus, there are few options to customize and enhance the mailing content, resulting in less engagement.While there are plenty of free email marketing tools out there, we deemedMailchimp to be the best of the lot. It is in three areas that it probably shines the most in – its ease of use, list of useful features and easy integration with most major online platforms such as WordPress and Zapier. With MailChimp, it is very easy to set up professionally crafted email campaigns for your business but it allows you to do much more. With it, you can also set up landing pages, create ads for Facebook and Instagram as well as grow your audience using pop-ups and sign-up forms.
11. HubSpot Free CRM
Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software allows you to track your customers in real-time, find out where they are on the buyer’s journey and be better informed of what actions need be implemented to move them further through the sales pipeline.Most CRM on the market tend to be expensive and generally not designed with small businesses or starting entrepreneurs in mind. ThisCRM from HubSpot is one we’ve discovered that is really worth recommending. It has all the essential features you need to help your sales and marketing team achieve greater customer success. It’s easy to use, features no data caps and is absolutely free but best of all, there is no hidden catch!
12. AddThis Share Buttons
There are tons and tons of Share plug-ins and add-ons on the web today, some of whom are so good that it was really hard to pick the best one. Personal preference would naturally vary so if you are fine with any other share add-on, you can stick with. This is simply just our recommendation.AddThis Share Buttons is a simple link sharing add-on you can add to your website. It provides, plenty of customization in how and where you want your share buttons to be featured. This includes not just floating and in-page options but also pop-ups, banners and sliders.
13. Google Trends
People’s interest in particular topics rises and fades with time and effective marketing campaigns flow with it. For instance, Game of Thrones was a big deal not so far back but if now if you want to construct a marketing campaign that relates to it, you’re not going to much engagement because interest in it has considerably waned sense.As the name implies, Google Trends allows you to search and gain visual insights about trends online. Not only can you gain information about trends and topics relevant to your niche but also compare different ones together and see which one people are most interested in.You can even refine your searches further by such variables as country, time, category and even search type (e.g. video, news, images). You are also represented with information on related topics and searched keywords for it.
14. Google Search
When it comes to keyword research, the Google search engine itself is a very potent platform. Its auto-suggestions can help you find the relevant queries that people are searching for. It also shows you other searched keywords that relate to your main one. Search results can also help you find the type of context for which websites are being ranked for a given keyword. For instance, If I search the keyword ‘Protein shake’, you’ll find that most of the search results related to its recipes and products. This is the type of content you would want to aim for if you are wanting to target your ranking for the above-mentioned keyword.In addition, through it, you can also gather useful insights for bettering SEO of newer search formats such as visual and voice search. In the case of the former, you can use ‘search by image’ to find what kind of related images rank highly. Meanwhile, in the case of the latter, its ‘People also ask for’ section can allow you to determine what type of questions you should address in your content to improve its chances of being used as a snippet or as a reference by an A.I assistant (e.g. Siri and Alexa) to user queries.
Effective communication and teamwork are vital to ensuring the success of any marketing campaign. But, as the lockdown due to the on-going Coronavirus pandemic highlights, situations might occur where the team may not be able to meet together for extended periods of time.Zoom is a free app that allows you to create online video conferences for up to 100 participants. It is notable for its ease of use and quality of its service. Zoom works on all types of clients including browsers, tablets, phones, and desktops so there is never the worry of any member of your marketing team missing out because of hardware issues.
With so much to do and so many projects to attend to on any given day, it can be easy to lose track of the time and waste much of it on tasks that are of low-priority. Due is a free tool that helps you keep track of the time you spend on each marketing project and thus, stay more organized. This app is especially useful for freelance marketers because, aside from its time tracking capability, it is also a powerful payment processing platform, allowing you to quickly invoice and process payments from clients.
Which of the above-mentioned marketing tools have you used before? Know any free marketing tool yourself that you think should be mentioned on the list?
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