If you're aiming to set up your own marketing then get familiar with these tools. They're all free or not expensive at all. By using them you will notice that by combining some creativity and effective best practices that marketing doesn't have to be hard! If you'd like some assistance on them just drop me a message and we'll be in touch.
The tools below should cover marketing aspects like: your website and SEO, brand design, email, CRM and some social media.
1. Design with Canva
If you’re aspiring to do your own design work, you want to have a look at Canva. It combines a user-friendly interface with complete templates and seemingly endless supplies of shapes, frames, graphics, and even photos. Of course, you can also upload your own materials.
The premium plan for real fans allows extras like downloading without a background or even as animated files!
You know that annoying feeling when you’ve created a fun design and it doesn’t fit the screen it’s meant for? Arrrgh. Well, no more.
Placeit seems the have a template for everything from TV screen to iPhone. Give it a try.
3. Pick your palette with Coolor
Even if you don’t need a new color palette... this website is really fun. Or maybe I’m just slightly in the autistic spectrum. Coolor lets you match colors on a palette by starting with one or more colors and hitting the space bar to getting matching ones. After you’ve found yourself a suitable palette you can simply export it and you’ll have a PDF that you can copy into your brand book.
4. Get your new free font at FontSquirrel
Fonts are actually a big part of your branding because all of your copy will show it, obviously. At FontSquirrel, you can easily select free fonts and it also does a good job in explaining a bit about the differences and how to match types.
I’m not completely sure this belongs in the list but get this one. This application is the best thing that ever happened to my writing. You can implement it Microsoft office, email, your browser, and even your phone. Use this tool to make sure all your marketing copy is mistake-free!
6. Noun Project
Icons, icons, icons and guess what? More icons.
Noun Project has as they say: “Icons for everything”. Nothing I need to add that description, right?
7. Leverage your network with LinkedIn
Everyone with a career and the ambition to build his or her network is probably already familiar with this tool. Its basic version is free and open to everyone.
But there’s a difference between simply having a profile there and actually using it as an effective sales tool by applying their advanced searches to find the right people and also discover new topics for your content.
If you or your company are willing to spend a few, you might even consider their commercial products for sales and recruitment aka Sales Navigator and Talent Acquisition.
Hootsuite is a management tool which comes in handy if your juggling different platforms and don’t want to spend too much time managing each ones separately. The free plan allows for 3 accounts from big players like Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube and up to 30 scheduled posts at a time.
See what content is being shared the most on common social media and see who is doing a good job on those topics. Obviously, knowing what content is popular will allow you to steer your own content plan in the right direction.
10. Keep track of your prospects with Hubspot CRM
Hubspot’s CRM will get the job done for any small company. Of course, there’s an option to upgrade to get additional functionality but in its most basic form it already allows you to maintain a database of contacts and companies and keep track of the leads that you’ve gathered. The best thing about the system, in my opinion, is that you can just start doing your thing straightaway because it’s just so darn simple.
11. Display your stuff with Wix or Wordpress website building
Did you know the first website ever was launched in 1991 by Tim Berners-Lee? I wonder if he ever thought that building a website would ever be as easy as it is today.
This is what it looked like:
Of course, you won’t get away with a page like this these days but thank god for technological advancement. With both Wix and Wordpress you can grab a template you like or start from scratch and design it yourself. Big difference with how real web developers do it? You don’t need any knowledge of coding. We call this visual website building.
12. Dive into your website data with Google Analytics
After developing your own website, I bet you want to check up on how it’s doing all the time don’t you? Well, just activate Google Analytics and get started.
Analytics is perfect to see how many people are visiting certain pages on your website and how they behave. There’s so much data available that you probably want to stick to a couple of key metrics at first like the Acquisition overview, Bounce rates, Traffic Sources and Flow, Conversions, and Exit pages.
Tip: don’t beat yourself up if it takes a while before you get a decent number of hits.
13. Find keywords with any tool you find when googling ‘free keyword tool’
Almost all keyword research tools get their data from the source: Google. It shouldn’t be a surprise because Google has developed itself exceptionally well to predict what people are looking for. If you think about it, you can get your suggestions in the search bar as well because it literally shows you ‘What people are also looking for’.
To keep it simple I use this: Suggestion Keyword Finder. Just put in some keywords you’re aiming at and it will give you suggestions which you can instantly download and add to your research.
14. Google trends
One of the other many many many many tools that google has to offer is their Trends section. Use it to see what people everywhere are searching for (on google) and how interest have developed over time. For example, input some of the terms into Google Trends that you feel might be good topics for content writing before putting in unnecessary hours.
15. Title maker
Once you’ve written that killer piece of content, all you need is a striking title.
Not feeling to creative? No worries, try using Portent’s free title maker tool. And remember that a good title is the first step to convince a possible reader to click on your article.
16. Get an SEO check a Woorank
You may be writing great articles and providing awesome thought leadership content but that doesn’t mean you’ll be hitting it in SEO rankings yet. Besides content, your website also has to be structured well and contain proper meta-data, headings, title tagsm it needs to be mobile responsive and user friendly in general.
That’s a lot right? Well, Woorank provides you with a neat checklist on what and, more importantly, how to improve it. Good luck!
17. Spy on the competition’s website with Spyfu
Sometimes you come across a competitor website and you wonder how many traffic they get. Well, you’re in luck. SpyFu’s analysis tool lets you in on all the secrets to the success of your arch nemesis. At the very least, you can see if they get a decent amount of traffic and the keywords they rank for. The free version doesn’t give you a very elaborate picture but, in any case, it’s a great place to start.
18. Mail away with Mailchimp
Mail may not be the booming marketing tool that it used to be but that sure doesn’t mean that is can’t benefit your business; especially considering that Mailchimp is free for startup companies (at least until a certain number of subscribers). It offers an easy platform to send bulk emails, keep track of segmented lists, and allows for automated emails. It’s all nicely laid out and the design is responsive.
19. Grow your list at events with MC Subscribe
If you’re using mail than you need to grow your subscriber list because it will decline over time and you want your audience to grow obviously. Online you can use hosted signup forms but what to do with all those business cards? Instead of gathering paper (only to throw it away later), have your visitors at events fill out digital forms on an iPad. Afterwards, they receive an email to confirm and they’ll be added to your selected list GDPR proof.
App-store: MC Subscribe