Like most marketers and businesses, we use a lot of tools to help us optimize our online marketing efforts. From email marketing to SEO, marketing tools help improve our productivity, but some of them can be expensive, especially for those just starting out.
In this post, we cover free marketing tools for marketers and businesses with a zero-dollar stack.
Site Analytics: Google Analytics
Google Analytics is one of the most widely used site intelligence tools in the world. It’s used by a broad range of businesses – from small businesses to Fortune 500 companies. While it may be free, it certainly provides a wealth of data that can really help any size of business grow.
Social Media Management: Hootsuite
Social media is an important tool for every business, but managing multiple platforms (and in some cases multiple profiles) simultaneously is difficult and time-consuming. With Hootsuite, users can easily manage multiple platforms and profiles, schedule and analyze posts and monitor important topics and accounts.
Social Media Scheduling: Buffer
If all you need is to quickly queue up new posts, you can’t go wrong with Buffer. Like Hootsuite, you can add a number of profiles and begin scheduling posts. You’ll also be able to analyze how well each post performed through the simple, intuitive reporting tool it provides.
Twitter Management: Tweetdeck
If your business solely focuses on Twitter, Tweetdeck is one of the best tools available online. Acquired by Twitter in 2011, Tweetdeck comes with a variety of features including post scheduling and analytics.
Social Media: SharedCount
Keeping track of social mentions can be tough given the fact that there are multiple large networks now available. SharedCount alleviates having to go through each profile separately by aggregating the data and presenting it in a single feed.
Twitter Research: Hashtagify
You can think of Hashtagify as Google for hashtags on Twitter. It is a useful tool when businesses are in the process of planning social media campaigns and gauging the quality of each hashtag. One cool Hashtagify feature is that it visualizes data for you. Instead of presenting data as a list, it shows the relevant topics and hashtags through a network map.
Social Media Research: Social Mention
If Hashtagify is Google for Twitter hashtags, Social Mention is Google for all social media. It works just like Google – type in a topic and get a list of results. What’s great about the tool is that it also provides information such as sentiment and reach of a given topic.
Formerly known as Google Webmaster Tools, the Search Console lets site owners and webmasters do a laundry list of things. From checking and setting the crawl rate, geo-targeting and analyzing rank position in SERPs.
Keyword Research: Google Keyword Planner
The Keyword Planner offers a wealth of data on different keywords along with their volume and competition level. While the data the tool provides is catered towards advertising, the keywords provide an estimate on the popularity of certain keywords.
Keyword Research: UberSuggest
UberSuggest is a great complement to the Keyword Planner. While it doesn’t indicate search volume or competition level of keywords, it provides the most auto-completed phrases which you can then use for your content.
Search Engine Optimization: Open Site Explorer
Moz’s Open Site Explorer lets users find inbound links, including the quality of the links and the anchor text that points back to your site. Aside from using it to optimize your page, you can also use OSE to analyze a competitor’s inbound links.
SEO Audit: Screaming Frog
Screaming Frog is the go-to crawl tool for the majority of the SEO industry. The free version is more than enough for the majority of small businesses and you can use the tool to audit your pages. Once your URL is in place, it’ll find broken links, bad redirects and missing meta data on your pages.
Content Ideas and SEO: Answer the Public
Answer the Public falls into two categories: SEO and content generation. Once you type in a topic, the tool generates the most queried questions people ask about a particular topic or keyword. You can then take these questions and answer them in detail.
From an SEO standpoint, the content you create and publish can help you rank whenever the question is asked. When Google begins searching for the answer, your content is more likely to rank higher if you provide a detailed answer to the question. From a lead generation perspective, this helps qualify your leads and convert them into paying customers.
Image Design: Canva
For those without any Photoshop skills (like me), Canva is a great tool that lets you create stunning images quickly. It’s quite intuitive while also offering a good amount of features that really spruce up images.
If you need images on the fly, Canva has some pre-made templates. All you need to do is choose a size for the image that you want to use and you’re off. While the tool itself is free to use, some images cost $1.00.
Images for Social Media: Pablo by Buffer
Posts with images tend to generate more clicks and reach and Buffer produced a new tool to help marketers and small business owners create stunning images. To get started, simply select the image and type in the copy that you want. You can then download the images and include them on your posts.
A/B Testing: Optimizely
If you’re looking for a tool to run A/B tests, Optimizely fits the bill perfectly. The free version offers a lot of features and should be enough for most organizations. What’s nice about Optimizely is that you can run multivariate tests on the free plan, which really helps optimize your website and sale funnels online.
Site Optimization: Google Pagespeed Insights
Google rolled out its Pagespeed Insights tool to help businesses fix glaring issues on their site. It also tells users how fast a site loads on both desktop and mobile devices. To ensure that any issues are fixed, the tool provides a list of elements that can/should be optimized and how to fix them.
Content Generation: Quora
Quora is an online forum for professionals in various industries. You can find a wealth of information and ideas by digging through the various posts and comments. What’s great about Quora is that if you post a question, industry experts and influencers can chime in to help you out.
Another way to use Quora is to respond to questions posted by others. For example, if you publish a post about entrepreneurship and stumble upon a question about what you wrote, you can comment on it and add a backlink to your site.
Content Generation: Reddit
Reddit is an online community and is quite similar to Quora. However, the difference is that Reddit’s different communities are much larger and grouped into subreddits. While the overall Reddit community is pretty diverse, it’s range of topics can make it difficult to find one related to your business.
As a tip, you can type “site:reddit.com [topic]” on Google to find a relevant subreddit. You can then use it to generate new ideas for your online marketing efforts.
Content and Competitive Research: BuzzSumo
Buzzsumo is a search tool that tracks different pieces of content shared on all social media networks. It ranks them based on the number of shares they’ve received – Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+ and Pinterest. While the free version limits your search results, it still provides a lot of data that can help generate new content ideas.
Content Ideation: Portent’s Content Idea Generator
There comes a time when you struggle to find a topic or idea for your content. It’s natural and it happens. To make things simpler, Portent’s Content Idea Generator tool comes in handy when you just can’t find a topic to write about. The tool itself is pretty simple to use – just write your topic or keyword and the tool generates a headline for you. You can also scroll through the different options to find other ideas and topics.
Subject Line Analysis: CoSchedule’s Headline Analyzer
The key to increasing click-through rates – whether on blog posts or emails – is the subject line. It’s what draws user attention and it helps when you’re able to optimize it for best results. CoSchedule’s headline analyzer evaluates your headline to come up with a score. It then breaks down the words you use and groups them into four categories: common, uncommon, emotional and power words.
Don’t be discouraged when the tool gives you a score between 50 and 60. Keep at it and over time, you’ll be able to slowly improve your headline copy.
Subject Line and Headline Analysis: AMI Headline Analyzer
The key to increasing open rate and clickthrough rates is by appealing to customers in a deep and emotional way. AMI’s emotional marketing value (EMV) analyzer grades your headlines to determine how it might resonate with readers. Depending on your headline, it’ll then categorize it as either an intellectual, empathetic or spiritual headline.
Email Marketing: MailChimp
MailChimp’s free plan lets businesses have up to 2,000 subscribers and send 12,000 emails per month. If you don’t have any HTML skills, MailChimp comes with free templates that you can use – all mobile responsive.