In a world where the most powerful corporations are paying huge marketing teams top dollar to implement and experiment with every marketing tactic out there — How are small businesses supposed to compete??
I know it’s not easy getting your brand out there in a digital ocean of lost content. But it is possible. That’s the beauty of the internet. If you know how to use it right and you put quality work out into the world, your customers will find you. Your voice is just as loud as any other.
I’ve compiled this list of 10 free marketing tools you can use to make a big impact on your business even with a small budget. All of these tools are free. Some of them have higher-tier paid options, but you might find that the free versions fully accomplish your goals.
These are the tools I would recommend you use to help market your business and gain traffic to your website, product, or service.
Note: None of these are affiliate links and I am not paid by these companies in any way. These are simply the tools I use on a regular basis, and tools I recommend to friends and family members who are running their own businesses.
10 Marketing Tools for Your Small Business
Let’s get this one out of the way. If you’re not using social media platforms to connect with your customers and be found, then go do it. Right now! Create a business profile, get your name and logos out there, and start interacting with your customers. It’s free, it’s very easy to figure out (ask your kids for help), and it’s a no-brainer. Get your business on social media. 🙂
All of these social platforms now offer some excellent analytics tools for business profiles. Be sure to take advantage of those! They are great listening tools.
MailChimp is the world’s leading email marketing platform. It allows you to send marketing emails, automated messages, and targeted campaigns. You’ll even get detailed reports to help make your marketing efforts more effective.
The free service allows you up to 2,000 subscribers and 12,000 emails sent per month, with paid options going up from there. Templates and design options included in the free plan allow you to create beautiful newsletters to match your brand’s look and feel. Their responsive email templates make your newsletters mobile ready too!
MailChimp has a great reputation with small businesses looking for a simple but complete email service. They have a great blog too, so make sure and check that out.
Here’s a recent article from their blog: What’s Your Email Marketing Plan?
Not a photoshop pro? Not a problem! Canva has millions of images, tons of photo filters, icons and shapes, and hundreds of different fonts to choose from. With Canva, you’ll have super simple tools to create beautiful:
- Social media posts for Pinterest, Instagram, Facebook, etc.
- Flyers and invitations
- Blog graphics
- Cover photos for your social media pages or website
- Menus and more
Many of the features in Canva are free and you can use their professional images for only $1; and did I mention it’s crazy easy to use? And it’s fun too! Promote your next sale or host a giveaway on social media using appealing images and graphics from Canva. You’ll be looking like a design pro in no time.
BONUS – Pablo
I like to use Pablo and Canva together. Pablo has some beautiful images to select from and Canva has the customization tools I need for my desired look.
4. Google Drive
At first, I was confused by google drive.
Now, I couldn’t get my work done without it. I use it to write just about everything. And it’s essential for projects I’m working on with our team here at Employers Resource.
With hundreds of free templates, fonts, smart editing and styling tools; it has become my favorite tool out of this entire list.
Google drive isn’t just a marketing tool. You’ll probably find that you use it for multiple aspects of running your business if you don’t already.
When you write content for your site or social media, do it in Google Docs for their simple formatting tools and an easy way to collaborate with others.
Create colorful charts and graphs with Google Sheets or beautiful presentations with Google Slides. All these applications are combined with Google Drive and you can even access and continue working on your documents from anywhere: your work desktop, phone, iPad, home computer, etc.
Anybody you want will be able to see your content and make suggestions or leave comments. You can see their work as they do it. Or you can keep it private so only you can see and make changes.
One of the best parts is you don’t have to worry if someone is using a Mac vs. a Windows machine anymore. Google Drive works anywhere!
As a small business owner, social media is important. It’s free, easy to use, and reaches a lot of people (ideally).
But, sometimes it’s difficult for your posts to get noticed in the massive amount of content that’s published every minute. So what can you do?
You don’t want to spend too much time or resources on this. After all, it’s hard to know what return you’re actually getting from your social media efforts. I suggest you make it as easy as possible and Hootsuite helps you do that.
With Hootsuite, you can easily manage multiple social networks such as Twitter, Facebook LinkedIn, and Google+ from one simple dashboard.
You can schedule your posts ahead of time and engage with your audience from one simple dashboard. You’ll also get some tools to help you measure your growth so you know what’s working and what’s not.
Hootsuite is an excellent marketing and social media tool that will help you make the most of your efforts without wasting your time.
BONUS – Buffer
Buffer is very similar to Hootsuite. People usually just find their own personal preference. For an in-depth comparison, take a look at this article.
Answer The Public is a neat tool I was recently introduced to when I felt a little writer’s block and couldn’t come up with good topics for our blog. It’s completely free and will really help if you plan to write content for your blog, website, or social posts.
Just type in a keyword related to your business and the tool will auto-suggest an amazing selection of related questions and topics for you to pick from.
That’s about it. It’s free, it’s easy, and they’ve got a really cool video too.
Once you’ve got a topic you want to cover (maybe with help from Answer The Public), Portent’s will help you come up with the perfect title.
Don’t succumb to clickbait headlines (that’s spammy). But I know how tough it can be to come up with a great headline. You want to get the point across without giving it all away, be entertaining and informative, but not too long, all at the same time. Portents will help.
Not much of a writer? Not a problem! We all struggle to create clear, concise writing from time to time. I use the Hemingway App every time I write a piece of content for our marketing team. You can write directly on it or paste your text in, and the tool will show you where you can improve.
This personal (and free) editor will show you complex sentences you need to simplify or even cut out, it includes a word counter, readability score, and points out unnecessary adverbs. Even experienced writers use this one.
If you have a website, get yourself set up with a free account on Google Analytics. This service will help you track the traffic on your website and gain insights from your customers. Don’t get intimidated! This tool is made for the casual user and will grow with you as you get the hang of it and want more in-depth information.
Google Analytics will identify poorly performing pages on your site and tell you how long viewers are staying. This information can help you spot improvement opportunities in your site without having to hire your own professional.
BONUS – Google Webmasters free tools
Wistia is your friendly neighborhood video platform. Video is all the rage in the marketing world and it’s a great way to get your content seen on a quick and user-friendly platform.
Once you create a video, you need a place to host it before you can share it on your site and social media profiles. Wistia provides more customized control for your business than other platforms. With Wistia, it’s easier to keep viewers on your page after the video has played. Once you add your video, you can customize settings like adding a call-to-action button or an email capture form. This tool also offers some great analytics information on your video and viewers like how long they watched and where they paused or clicked next.
The internet has created an excellent platform for small businesses to launch their product or service from. It might seem intimidating to get out there, after all, there is a massive amount of other small businesses and big corporations to compete with. But, if you really want it, you can make it happen. The internet gives us all an equal chance to turn our ideas into a thriving business. Know your goals, create quality content, and make it visible to the world with these tools. Good luck!