If you are thinking of starting a business, or if you already own one, have no doubt: We are living in one of the best times to be an entrepreneur. Cheaper, better technology has enabled the rise of small-business owners by dropping barriers to entry, speeding distribution channels and lowering overhead.
This is the case no matter whether it’s a startup like Uber or a new dry cleaner down the street, small to midsize businesses are on the rise and are trend is here to stay. The number of “solopreneurs” rose 12.5 percent from 2011, according to a study by MBO Partners, a business services company. By 2019, the number of people who derive all or part of their income from independent work will grow “from 30 million today to nearly 40 million,” according to MBO Partners projects.
The rise of the sharing economy, the growth of smartphone use and the accompanying app explosion have combined to drop the cost of budgeting, tracking sales, human resources and about any other business service you can name. This economical trend has contributed also to the appearance of free online tools dedicated to aid the formation of small startups that need a professional online presence to compete against other startups in their niche.
We share with you this list of 10 marketing tools that you can use for free to boost your online marketing strategy.
1. Due – Time Tracker for for budgeting, invoicing, and payments projects.
Due is a free tool for marketers that offers a time-tracking app to assess how much time is spent on each marketing project. This helps your organization budget time appropriately and increase productivity. Along with the time tracking tool’s capability to help you calculate billing time, it also offers an invoicing and payments platform, which is an ideal way for freelance marketing talent to bill clients for their work.
2. Buffer or Hootsuite – Social media management.
Buffer is a social media management tool that will help you streamline your social posting efforts. We already know how powerful social media is for your marketing initiatives, but leveraging a tool like Buffer will help you increase your followers; engage your audience; and build your brand.
The benefit of Buffer is its ability to let you connect multiple accounts to one dashboard; schedule posts; create drip campaigns; and analyze the success of your posts. Buffer’s free plan is perfect for new businesses looking to grow their social presence, but to unleash the full power of the software, you might want to consider one of their upgraded plans.
While Buffer is a great tool for scheduling posts, Hootsuite really taps into the central social management platform.
Its free plan allows you to sync three social media profiles, which is a great place to start for most entrepreneurs. The benefit of Hootsuite is its ability to let you quickly respond and post across all your social profiles in one easy-to-use dashboard.
3. Blog Topic Generator.
If you’ve run out of ideas for blog posts, Blog Topic Generator is the tool for you. Simply enter three keywords, and you’ll instantly receive a week’s worth of blog topic suggestions. While it’s not a perfect system, it’s certainly a helpful starting point for combatting writer’s block.
4. Grammarly – Proofreading and Post Writting Assistance
Human editors and spell checkers are still required, but are not enough from a marketing point of view. Grammarly automatically spell checks anything you write or publish in an internet browser. The application can be downloaded as an extension on your web browser and be used everywhere apart from Google Docs.
5. Evernote – Essential organization App.
When it comes to marketing your business, organization is critical. Ideas may come to you at any hour of the day. If you’re not able to organize and prioritize your notes, you may not be able to capitalize on opportunities.
Evernote will help you capture ideas, inspiration and trends, all while storing it in one easily accessible location. You can access it on your phone, laptop or tablet, making it the perfect tool for finding and storing content ideas, market research, brainstorming and competitive analyses.
6. SurveyMonkey – customer feedback survey tool.
SurveyMonkey is one of the most popular free online survey tools. Surveys are a good way to collect consumer information, engage customers, uncover trends and secure tangible insights on your business. SurveyMonkey’s software is incredibly simple. In just a few minutes, you can design, create and publish your own business survey. Additionally, you’ll be able to analyze the results in the backend.
7. Mailchimp – Mass Email Marketing.
Email marketing is imperative to the success of most businesses. While building a brand on platforms like YouTube, Facebook, Instagram and Twitter are important, you’re limited to the constraints of those channels. This makes it particularly difficult to move consumers through a funnel and provides you with relatively little control.
However, email provides a more intimate interaction between brand and consumer by offering you the tools you need to control effectively nurture leads. Mailchimp is an excellent free email marketing tool and one of the easiest for newbies to learn.
8. Sniply – growth hacking tool.
When you’re using social media regularly, you should also be sharing content from other, reputable experts in your industry. Sharing other influencers’ content will help you build trust with your audience, supplement your content, and also help build rapport with those relevant industry experts.
Sniply is a powerful tool that allows you to attach a call-to-action on every piece of content you share. Because the content you are sharing lives on a website that you don’t control, there is very little chance that the user will visit your site after reading the article. However, Sniply allows you to put a inbound button or CTA into a frame that the article sits inside. Thus, giving you some control of the platform and perpetuating traffic from the non-affiliated content that you share.
9. Use Scraper to extract content from web pages.
Scraper is a chrome extension that lets you easily pull content from a web page and export it into an Excel spreadsheet. It’s a perfect way to extract contact information or competitor’s data. Once you have this data, you can use it to create cold-email lists, content topics, and other data-driven marketing tactics.
10. Google’s Trends
Google Trends is one of the best and most versatile tools available for marketing research. It is the marketing equivalent of the Leatherman or Swiss Army knife. If you could only use one SEO tool to develop an Internet marketing campaign, this product would be a serious contender.
Google trends shows shows how often a particular search-term is entered relative to the total search-volume across various regions of the world, and in various languages. With this data, you can identify what people are searching for at an specific time frame, and create a strategy according to your business niche.
*Extra: Branding and Image
Although you can use free tools to generate logos and stationary graphics for your small business and startup, we recommend that you seek assistance as image and branding will probably be one of the most important aspects for your marketing strategy success. Check out our Professional Design Service focused of small and medium businesses for a cheap way to generate high quality graphic material you business needs for a successful marketing campaign.