For most small business owners, digital marketing can seem like an effort reserved for companies with big budgets and big names. It’s such a broad area – how are you supposed to learn it all?
We are here to tell you that you don’t have to learn every aspect of digital marketing. A basic understanding and some handy free tools can help your business and brand go a long way. We have put together some basic guides on SEO and PPC, so if you’re new to it all – that’s your place to start.
And below you can check out our rundown of some of the best FREE digital marketing tools out there.
Let’s jump in!
Track your site’s visitors
The first step of your digital marketing journey should be to install Google Analytics. This free tool allows you to closely monitor website traffic and the behaviour of that traffic. At first glance it can look daunting, but trust us when we say the basics of analytics are pretty easy to get your head around. Google have put together an easy to follow guide here: https://support.google.com/analytics/answer/4553001?hl=en – this should help you get the basics down.
With it, you will be able to track how many people have visited your site, how they found you, what pages they visited, how long they hung around for, where they left, and pretty much every other metric you can think of.
We would go as far to say that this is the most useful tool on the list. With it, you can make informed, educated decisions on the areas of your website and marketing strategies that need improvement.
Google Keyword Planner
Make keyword research easy
Optimising your website and making it relevant is important. Equally important is keyword research. There are a few tools out there that help you find keywords with search volume, but none do it quite as well as Google’s own keyword planner.
Sure, it has been designed for use with AdWords, but it works just as well for SEO purposes too. It can help provide you with keyword ideas, give you an average search volume per month, and an estimate of the competition around that keyword.
Google PageSpeed Insights
Is your website fast enough?
Ever found yourself waiting forever for website to load up?
Puts you off returning to that site, doesn’t it?
Make sure your site is up to speed using Google’s PageSpeed Tools (the last Google tool on the list, honest!). All you have to do is hit the ‘Run Insights’ button, pop your URL in and Google will return with a speed rating for both mobile and desktop.
Anything in the red is bad; anything in the green is good. The best thing about it is that you will see recommendations on how to improve that rating. From optimising images to minifying your CSS.
Some of the recommendations are quite advanced, so it’ll be worth discussing the trickier improvement recommendations with your web developer.
Honourable mention: Pingdom
Pingdom really breaks your sitespeed data down, offering a much more detailed insight than Google’s offering. The data isn’t quite as user friendly as the PageSpeed tool, which relegated Pingdom to ‘Honourable mention’ status.
One feature worth trying on Pingdom though is the ability to test your site every day. You just sign up, and if your site goes down or incurs problems, you will get an email notifying you straightaway!
The very best in email marketing
MailChimp is the email marketing client of choice for thousands around the world. Making it even better is the fact it offers a comprehensive ‘freemium’ service for start ups allowing up to 2,000 subscribers and 12,000 emails per month.
‘What does it do?’ we here you ask. With Mailchimp you can use template designs and tools to create emails that look great with tracking features baked in, allowing you to measure the success of your email marketing campaign from start to finish.
Take control of all of your social media channels
It is only now that businesses are truly starting to understand the importance of social media. A good social strategy can propel a business’s sales and brand identity no end. But there are a lot of social sites out there, and managing an effective strategy can take up a lot of time. Something small business owners don’t always have an abundance of.
Hootsuite allows you to create social updates and posts ahead of time and schedule them for the coming days, weeks, or even months helping you stay active on social media while you’re busy running your business.
Find out what type of content will yield the best results
This free tool makes content marketing a much easier beast to tackle. Using it, you can pick a topic or keyword and ask it to scan social media sites like Twitter and show you what types of content received the most engagement.
You can then use this information to pick your angle when creating content and discover who is sharing the type of content you’re creating.
It removes all the guess work from content marketing so that you can focus on creating content that will be both useful and sharable.
Good image editing software that doesn’t cost a dime
Most people think that good image editing software has to cost the Earth. Companies like Adobe have done enough to cement this view. Thankfully, it isn’t quite true.
Pixlr Editor allows you to do basic image editing work online completely free of charge. You can edit layers, adjust image size, create banners, design graphics, and so much more. It even has some pretty nifty filters to give your images a unique look.
Get real people to test your site… for free!
Sometimes all you need is a second opinion. With Peek, you can get exactly that. This user testing service offers three evaluations for free. Just enter your website’s URL and then the team at Peek will send a random tester to your site.
It’s a great way to get a fresh pair of eyes on the website’s design and layout. Someone who can judge the navigation and functionality without bias. And it doesn’t cost you a thing.
Well worth a try if you have recently launched a new website!
HARO (Help a Reporter Out)
Get yourself a banklink from a quality source
HARO connects journalists with sources. It’s a super easy way to get some juicy backlinks to your site. Using HARO journalists will post ads (like a weird dating site) requesting info, stats, or quotes. If it’s relevant to your industry and you provide something good, you’ll be rewarded with a mention in the piece or a link!
Good linkbuilding couldn’t get any easier.
Don’t let poor grammar hurt your business
You’d be surprised at how many businesses send out communications to clients and leads littered with grammatical and spelling errors. Two things which can cost a business’s image dearly.
Grammarly is a handy tool that you can bolt on to Chrome to scan your text for any errors. It doesn’t change them automatically, but gives you a little notification if it thinks you should change it.
It isn’t always right. But it’s a great tool to highlight those sneaky typos!
Take your digital marketing efforts to the next level
These free tools should help get you and your business started online and while they don’t offer all the functionality of their priced counterparts, each and every one of them is worth a look-in.
Looking to take your marketing efforts up a gear? Add People have a wealth of experience providing a range of digital marketing services to businesses just like yours. Social media, link building, and content creation – our team can help you take your business to the next level.