There are so many digital marketing myths and one of them is that it’s expensive, but I’m here to tell you that it doesn’t have to be. If you have the time to put effort into creating strategic campaigns and actioning them, it is possible to achieve great results. Plus, there are so many free tools out there to give you a helping hand!
And… That’s exactly what I’m going to write about today. Free tools! Who doesn’t love free stuff??
I’m not going to lie, not all the best tools are free. As an agency, we do pay for some incredibly intuitive tools. However, there are some great tools out there that can help you build a digital marketing strategy that works and they’re totally free!!!!
So, let’s get started…
Image editing tools – Great for creating a professional-looking brand!
In his latest blog post, Dale Bonsor went through some great tools for editing images for blogs and social media posts, five of which are free to use. Take a look here >
Along with these tools, there’s another image tool we use quite frequently called GIMP. Now, don’t get the wrong impression. It’s nothing sordid. It’s an image manipulation tool, much the same as Photoshop, which is another great tool that we use, except this one, is completely FREE!
Smart & savvy social scheduling
When your building a brand, getting social is imperative. Not only does social media allow you to connect with your audience and build a community, but it also provides ample PR opportunities and enables you to effectively manage your reputation. But, it’s easy to get social fatigue. You run out of things to say and you get writer’s block.
Creating a content calendar and regularly publishing news items and blogs should provide you with plenty to talk about but it can still be a struggle. So, rather than staring at a screen and wondering what to post each day, set time aside once or twice a month and put write a handful of posts that can be published intermittently over the coming days and weeks.
By setting time aside, you can get your head properly into it, check out your competitors and discover news items that you can share with your followers.
To schedule the posts, use a tool such as Hootsuite. You can connect three social channels and schedule up to 30 posts at a time.
In between scheduled posts share what’s going on in your business in real-time. Give people insights, tips and advice when it comes to mind. It’ll help you keep things fresh and topical.
Easy & efficient email
You may hear some people say that email is dead, but if you have an engaged community and customer base, the opposite is true. Sending carefully crafted emails out to your subscribers on a regular basis can increase your brand’s reputation and increase conversions.
MailChimp is a great email marketing tool. Their free plan gives you all the basics you need, including professional-looking templates that you can customise to reflect your branding. You can only add up to 2000 contacts, which is fine to get you started and there’s plenty of upgrade options. What’s more, it provides great analytics reports that detail the performance of your emails, along with details of people you’re most engaged with your content and essentially may be worth giving a call!
Copyright and protect your content
If you’re taking the time to write unique content for your website and blog, make sure no one is taking advantage and copying it. I’ve often been browsing the web, looking at competitors or our client’s competitors only to find that something reads incredibly familiar.
So, if in doubt, use a tool like Copyscape to see if anyone has used your content and if they have, either ask them to change it or in some cases, you might be able to ask them to link back to your site as the original source.
Proofing & editing your own content
When reading your own content over and over, it’s easy to miss spelling errors or even duplicated words. A favourite of mine is writing “the the” and what’s more annoying is that the usual spell checker on Word doesn’t usually pick it up, because in fact it’s spelt correctly.
So, a while back, I tested a tool called Grammarly. Adding it to Chrome is free, so you know whenever you write something online it’ll check it for you, and it’s actually quite accurate. As a writer that was something I didn’t initially want to admit, but if it can help someone else, I’m all for it.
Obviously, if you can have someone else read over your content, that’s the best solution, but this can definitely help.
Get your business in the press
Getting your business in the news is like the holy grail. But, to get in the press you’ve got to have something newsworthy to share – this could be about your growth, an achievement, support of a charity or it could be information you’ve gathered from a study you’ve conducted, for example.
There are loads of free survey tools you can use including Google Forms and Survey Monkey. You can use the data you collect to create an infographic, guide or whitepaper and then contact relevant publications about it to see whether they’d like to share it with their audience.
Another way of getting in the press is to sign up to services and tools such as HARO (Help A Reporter Out). Once you’ve set up the sectors you want to receive notifications about, you’ll get requests from journalists direct to your inbox. Many of these will just require you to provide details about your experience and to provide any insights or recommendations.
You could also have a look at what your competitors have done to get in the press and find publications that are likely to take the stories and press releases you have to share by checking out your competitors backlink profile using the Moz Link Explorer tool. Discover where they’ve been featured and reach out to the writer to see whether they’re working on anything that you can provide insights on or if they’re willing to receive your press releases.
Monitor & engage with web traffic
Ever wondered who is actually on your site looking at you, your products and services? As the saying goes, “You can’t manage want you don’t measure”.
Adding Google Analytics to your website will enable you to see where your website traffic is coming from, and essentially what strategies are and aren’t working. You can find out what pages people are viewing and what they’re most interested in, along with what they’re not so interested in. What’s more, if you set up goal tracking you can monitor where your leads and sales are coming from, too.
Two other great tools are HubSpot and Leadfeeder. Both offer free accounts that enable you to identify companies that have been on your site. It’s not always accurate, but in many cases, it will find their website, which then allows you to look on LinkedIn for the marketing manager or business owner, connect with them and reach out to them.
Finally, if you haven’t got live chat on your website, get it on there! Drift is a free WordPress add-on that allows website visitors to ask you questions in real-time. You can hook it up to your computer or your phone, whatever works for you. What we do find is that the majority of messages come through either in the evening or weekends, so it’s worth considering keeping the chat functionality open. Alternatively, you can have it on during working hours.
The list could go on and on, but if you know of an awesome free tool that you think deserves to be featured, let us know. Tweet us at @QuibbleContent