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I’m sure you’ll agree that using free marketing tools makes a lot more sense than the alternative:
Paying for an enterprise solution and then crossing your fingers that the team actually uses it.
That’s because investing in a variety of different martech tools can be so darn expensive.
And so, you need some free options that can help get the job done.
Luckily for you, I’ve put together a list of 14 different free marketing tools you can try out for your business.
Excited? Then let’s get started.
Why You Should Start Using Martech Tools (If You’re Not Doing So Already)
Did you know:
The martech market grew by over 13% in 2020, with over 8,000 different companies getting involved in developing solutions for every corner of your marketing strategy.
(Take a look at this map of all the different solutions, courtesy of Scott Brinker at chiefmartec.com.)
Now, I’m sure you’re wondering:
How is it increasing despite 2020 budget cuts?
And it’s because CMOs are allocating more marketing spend than ever to technology solutions.
While overall marketing budgets decreased over the pandemic in 2020, but over 2.8 percent of overall company revenue is now spent on martech.
That’s because martech tools help make sense of your customer data while also increasing your team’s efficiency and effectiveness.
It’s a fact: the right solutions help you automate processes and free up your team’s time to focus on more strategic tasks.
But before you start investing serious money in paid solutions, you should check out these free (or freemium) options.
And to make it easier for you, I divided the tools by different areas of your marketing strategy:
14 Free Marketing Tools You Can Start Using Today
If you were a fan of NPR’s Serial podcast, I’m sure you’ve heard of these guys before.
(The “mail…kimp?” ad they ran on the podcast went viral.)
But MailChimp can do a lot more than generate a funny meme – the people behind the platform developed an incredible tool for businesses to easily create and automate successful email campaigns.
First off, their reporting is just amazing.
Take a look at this dashboard:
The report tells you everything you need to know about an email campaign and it’s performance.
And the best part?
It’s 100 percent free for up-to 2,000 subscribers.
That’s pretty reasonable for most small businesses, especially when just testing new tools.
And if you need to upgrade, MailChimp’s prices are very reasonable: their “Growing Business” package starts at $10/month.
If you’re looking to test a great alternative to MailChimp, give Benchmark a try.
Like MailChimp, the platform is completely free up-to 2,000 subscribers, but Benchmark offers 250 emails per month for free.
They also include some simple-to-use design tools to help you customize the look of your messages.
Here’s a look:
Wondering which tool to go with?
According to Sally Jones, it completely depends on your email marketing experience.
As she explains over on We Rock Your Web:
“We do recommend Benchmark for email marketing newbies over MailChimp. Benchmark’s customer support access and reputation are better than MailChimp, which could make all the difference if you’re new to email marketing programs…MailChimp gets our vote for more seasoned email marketers, or if you just need a bit more bang for your buck. MailChimp’s advanced features have the edge over Benchmark’s; you get unlimited image hosting, and they offer significantly more integrations/apps (and a powerful developer API) compared to Benchmark.”
Search Engine Optimization
There are a number of free tools out there to help you boost your rank in Google’s search results page (SERP).
And the first two actually come from Google:
3. Google My Business
Almost any guide to improving local SEO starts the same way:
Make sure you optimize your Google My Business (GMB) profile.
And that’s because GMB gives you the ability to rank high in Google SERPs without doing any content marketing.
Google also shares some invaluable data about how your customers are finding your business:
4. Google Keyword Planner
This free tool makes it easy to find the right keywords for your content.
And it’s so simple to use.
Just plug in a few phrases or words related to your topic, focus in on your audience and the tool tells you what keywords to consider.
Google Keyword Planner also integrates directly with Google Ads, so you can build campaigns directly from within the tool, too.
Another great keyword finder that offers 750+ keywords for free.
Keywordtool.io prides itself on using Google’s autocomplete feature to generate the best long-tail phrases for SEO optimization.
And you don’t even need to create an account to use it:
Buffer offers a lot of the same functionality, but with a few additional benefits.
First, you can have one social profile per platform (so one Twitter account, one Facebook, etc.).
Second, Buffer offers better options for social automation, making your workflow that much easier.
So, Which is Better?
Meenakshi Krishnan gives a pretty thorough breakdown of the two platforms on Jeff Bullas’ blog:
“[P]lanning and executing on an effective social strategy can be time consuming if you don’t leverage the power of automation and scheduling tools. With just a few surface-level differences, Hootsuite and Buffer both provide great options for achieving exactly this. If you’re working with a large team, HootSuite is probably your best option. But if you’re only managing a few social profiles and want to stick to a small budget, Buffer might be right for you.”
BuzzSumo helps content marketers find relevant content and influencers to help promote your content.
Their free version has most of the same features of premium upgrades, but you’re just limited in the number of results you can see.
This is one where – if you’re finding the value in using it – an upgrade may be worth the money.
8. Google Data Studio
Here’s another category where free tools are pretty scarce.
Luckily for you, Google Data Studio offers a lifetime free version – no free trial, no expiring contracts – but with the caveat that you have to set everything up yourself. They also integrate with some free and paid connectors to your different digital channels. However, even if a connector does cost you, there’s almost always a free version available.
9. HitFilm Express
Is a video editing platform that can be incredibly helpful for brands interested in developing video content to distribute to clients.
The free version gives you access to their video editor and the ability to do just about anything you need. Unfortunately it’s not cloud software, so you’ll need a computer that can handle editing.
This 100 percent free platform helps you write crisp, clear copy that “makes sure that your reader will focus on your message, not your prose.”
The self-described “spellchecker, but for style” costs nothing to use and can easy elevate blog, email and website copy to a new level.
Made famous over the course of the 2020 pandemic, is Zoom.
Zoom only supports up to 40 minutes per meeting in their free version, so it’s really best for team meetings with remote employees or small webinars with select, targeted customer segments.
But, the platform is free, easy to use and customizable: you create your own “room” with your own URL you can send to clients.
12. YouTube Live
Google’s “Hangouts on Air” used to be a favorite webinar hack for smart marketers on a budget.
But in late 2016, Google got rid of the platform and converted to YouTube Live.
You can create an event, schedule it for the future and allow unlimited users to attend – all for free.
(Here are instructions in case you’re interested.)
By now, I’m sure you’ve heard of the team chat tool, Slack.
But did you know the free marketing tool platform is completely free for up to 10,000 messages?
Pretty amazing, right?
That means you can get your entire team up and running on the platform to really test the value before spending a single dollar.
Honestly, I don’t know how these guys do it.
You can create unlimited boards, lists, cards, checklists and have unlimited members completely for free on Trello.
Sure, the upgraded versions include better integrations and cool features, but if you’re looking for a basic tool to manage project flow, Trello is an amazing option.
It doesn’t make sense to spend a bunch of money on solutions that you don’t know your team will actually use.
Try these free marketing tools first, and then pay to upgrade wherever you’re getting the most value.
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