Everyone loves a freebie, right?
The good news for marketers and small business owners is that when it comes to free digital marketing tools, there are a huge number of resources available to make your life easier (and cheaper).
When you are starting up a new business, or operating on a limited budget, getting the most out of your marketing efforts could mean the difference between success and failure.
Chances are, growing your business online will be a huge part of your strategy, so taking advantage of some great free tools is a no-brainer.
The tools below can help with everything from SEO to social media, content, web design, PPC and email marketing.
1. Google Analytics
Probably the first tool you should consider for your digital marketing strategy. Google Analytics tracks and reports on website traffic.
By inserting a small snippet of code into your website you can find out all sorts of information about the people who visit.
This includes things like the device and browser they are using, where they are and the language they speak, how many pages they look at and whether they’ve visited before.
You can compare like for like periods to see if there are ongoing trends, or find out if a particular piece of content resulted in greater traffic.
Knowing how and where people both enter and exit your site can help to identify flaws in your site layout, or poorly performing landing pages. As with all data, it is what you do with it that counts!
2. Keyword Planner
Another tool from the helpful folks at Google, the Keyword Planner (formerly known as the Google Keyword Tool) is primarily designed to help users with their PPC AdWords campaigns.
It can also be used to help with SEO efforts, but there are other tools out there that do this just as well.
If PPC is going to form part of your digital marketing strategy, being able to find new keywords, analyse trends and plan your budget is essential.
Once you’ve created a plan and a budget, you can share it with others, and turn it directly into an active campaign.
When you are spending money on advertising, having a plan beats making it up as you go along.
MailChimp has been around for a long time (since 2001 in fact). If you plan to get involved in some email marketing, and let’s face it, you should, you can’t go wrong here.
It’s only free if you have fewer than 2,000 subscribers, which makes it a great option for start-ups and small businesses.
If you’ve got more than this I’d hope you aren’t too worried about paying!
You can use it to create sign-up forms, newsletters, landing pages, remarketing ads and more. With a host of templates available and simple integration with a wide range of other platforms (e-commerce, social media, WordPress), it really does make life easier.
An online community of SEOs and digital marketers, Moz is an all-round goldmine of tools, resources and information.
With a starting aim of bringing integrity and transparency to the search marketing industry, Moz has become one of the go-to sources when it comes to understanding this fast-paced field.
Whilst the focus is clearly on SEO, blog topics and resources also cover many other areas of digital marketing.
In addition, access to seminars, webinars and a huge archive of educational blog posts (plus the famous Whiteboard Friday videos) makes Moz a must for those looking to hone their SEO skills.
Rather than a specific digital marketing tool, Trello is an online collaborative workspace. It allows teams to manage and organise projects, with a simple card based system.
When teams can often be working remotely, Trello enables simple collaboration through a visual system that anyone can use with ease.
If you are working on a digital marketing project internally, it can help people to keep track of task lists, share content and have input.
If you are looking for a way to keep your digital marketing activities organised and bounce around ideas in a collaborative way, internally or externally, Trello does the job.
6. Screaming Frog SEO Spider
Probably the tool with the coolest name on this list, the SEO Spider from Screaming Frog is a website crawling tool.
Using this software, you can quickly emulate the actions of a search engine crawling a URL (up to 500 in the free version).
Presenting the results in real-time, the SEO Spider enables you to quickly analyse data about a number of key on-site SEO factors.
This could include broken links (404 errors) and redirects, poor page loading speeds, meta descriptions or page titles that are too long.
Using the SEO Spider, you can quickly identify areas for improvement and get to work on them.
Another one that isn’t just used for digital marketing, Canva is a web based graphic design tool.
The free version is perfect for start-ups and small businesses, and uses an intuitive drag and drop interface, making great looking graphics accessible to all.
With templates for social media, advertisements, and general web friendly graphics, Canva lets you create amazing visuals without the need for a professional graphic designer (and the costs that incurs).
Across the digital channels, you can to make sure that your brand image is professional and consistent no matter who is working on it.
Aside from digital, you can also use it for business cards, presentations, leaflets and so much more.
Champions of inbound marketing, HubSpot offer a range of software solutions, including CRM, Sales and Marketing.
If you are looking to implement an inbound marketing strategy for your business, the free version of their marketing software is a great place to start.
With a simple integration into platforms such as WordPress, you can create workflows and advertisements, forms to capture leads, and get access to tracking data.
Much like Moz for SEO, the HubSpot site is also a great resource for blog posts, how-to’s and all-round inbound knowledge.
Social media is now an integral part of digital marketing for any business. When left with the option of doing it all yourself, or outsourcing it to someone else, the choice is often to neglect it or not do it at all.
This is because social media can seem like a time and energy-sapping activity. Using Hootsuite, you can manage your company’s social media activity across multiple platforms with ease.
The free version only allows for management of 3 profiles, but this is certainly enough to get started.
With a dashboard enabling you to schedule posts and perform basic analytics, the free Hootsuite plan helps you to avoid falling down the social media rabbit hole.
One of the biggest challenges if you are starting a business or marketing on a budget, is finding high quality imagery for your website and other digital platforms.
Unless you are a talented photographer, this generally doesn’t come cheap. At the same time, we’ve all seen those websites that have horrendously obvious, free stock photos – cheesy, boring and repetitive.
The good news is that there are a few sites offering great, free to use stock images (some require credit so always best to check).
My personal favourite is Pexels. Here’s an example from the site, because Tigers are awesome.
A Poor Marketer shouldn’t Blame their Tools
So there it is. There are tools in in this list to help with SEO, social media, content, PPC, graphic design, email and inbound marketing.
They certainly won’t make you a better marketer, but they will help you to be more efficient, focused and consistent in delivering the digital marketing strategies you choose to help your business grow online.
I’ve limited the list to 10 tools, simply because these are some that I have tried and liked. However, this is by no means exhaustive – feel free to comment and suggest other tools you have used or would recommend!