The top free marketing tools for busy marketers
Written by Elizabeth Hughes
Last updated: 27/06/2017
Marketing is a constantly changing game; if you don’t keep up with the current trends and coming changes you may find yourself suddenly falling into obscurity, and not knowing how you got there!
Rest assured that there are a myriad of different techniques you can utilise to stay on top of your game, but if you’re a marine business owner who’s not a marketing expert by trade, it can be quite daunting and confusing trying to get to grips with all the different components. Luckily, there are plenty of free tools available to help you to keep on top of everything, so that your marketing efforts don’t stagnate and you can proactively adapt and succeed.
We’ve compiled a list of the best free marketing tools below to get you started and to help you meet your marketing objectives.
Top free marketing tools for busy marine marketers
Free social media and email marketing tools
Schedule 10 posts in advance for each social media platform with Buffer’s free social media scheduler. You can connect Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+ and Instagram accounts, and post to all from on one easy-to-manage platform. Buffer allows you to mass upload content, and either choose certain times you want each post to go out. Or choose pre-set times for each platform and let Buffer schedule and post automatically. Choose where and when you want posts to go out, then sit back and let Buffer do all the posting.
You can use Followerwonk to analyse the demographics of any twitter account – both who they follow and who follows them. This can be useful when it comes to identifying influencers to target with your content. Analyse your own page, or dig deep into your competitor’s following to find out exactly who is following who, what they are talking about, where they are, when they tweet and more.
An absolute must for businesses wanting to utilise Facebook in their social media strategy. You can find out exactly who your followers are, what content they best engage with, when they are online and how many people you reach with your posts. Find out more about the power of Facebook Insights here.
Hootsuite compiles all your social media channels into one easy-to-manage platform with easy-to-view feeds. You can see, schedule and manage posts for all your platforms in one place, track keywords, mentions and direct messages, and watch activity on all your different pages, giving a quick snapshot of what's going on across your social channels; from posts to comments and mentions and direct messages.
Recent research from Reuters and Pew Research Center shows that more and more people are using Facebook as their main source of news and information, but also that audiences have short attention spans and get bored easily. Likealyzer works to analyse the success of your Facebook page to give you tips on how to improve your strategy, to complement Facebook’s own insight function. Insights Likalyzer gives advice on when you should post to engage your users, what type of content you should post more of and how you compare to pages similar to yours.
MailChimp makes building email newsletters and keeping in touch with your database easy and efficient. You can automate your emails, create stylish designs, guarantee automatic unsubscribes, create segment lists and see reports on how each campaign has performed.
Creative content marketing tools
A handy tool for those of us who struggle with the complexities of language, Grammarly can be added on to Chrome, Microsoft Word, and many email programmes to highlight any grammar or spelling mistakes. You can also double click any word to receive some more exciting replacements.
Content inspiration running dry? CoSchedule offers both a marketing calender to organise your content, and a headline analyser that helps you to write an impactful headline for your new content. By analysing the type of words you use, the structure of your sentence and the style of headlines that typically do well, CoSchedule gives your headline a score out of 100 so you can tweak that headline to perfection.
Analyze what content performs best for any topic or competitor and find the key influencers to promote your content with Buzzsumo. Discover content, monitor and track brands and topics, find influencers and get insights on your content. Plan and research heart’s content to make the most out of your content.
Free tools for creating and manipulating images
As audiences are demanding more visual content, it’s important to convey information in interesting and eye-catching ways. With Piktochart, you can make your own infographics with pre-made components allowing you to simply slot them altogether.
With Canva, you can find design templates, content graphics, print outs, letterheads, media kits, invitations and banners, to name a few. Create entirely new designs, or tweak pre-existing designs to suit your brand and purpose.
If you don’t have the budget or expertise for Adobe’s Creative Suite or other similar design programmes, Pixlr allows you to resize, tweak and filter pictures, all from your browser. This simple tool makes editing swift and simple, for when you want to make a quick few changes.
Free SEO and keyword tools
Moz Open Site Explorer allows you to research backlinks, find link-building opportunities, discover potentially damaging, rank-impacting links and monitor anchor text. You can suss out who are the authorities on the web, who they link to and who links to them, so that you know who the big influencers are, allowing you insight to make sure your links are up to scratch. The free version presents you with limited data in comparison to the paid option, but it is still very useful.
Keywords Everywhere offers a free browser add-on that gives you monthly search volume, cost per click (CPC) and competition data for keywords on sites such as Goole and Ubersuggests. You can make a list of favourite keywords to keep track of, and see the value in every search you make. Read more about keywords and phrases here.
With Google Trends, you can see how many times people have searched a certain key term over time, where those searches were from and how they compare to other terms. It also forecasts future popularity, allowing you to succcessfully optimise your website and target your marketing efforts for the future.
Google Search Console helps you to monitor and maintain your site's presence in Google's search results. For businesses owners, it's important to learn all you can about how your site is performing in search engine results pages (SERPs) so you can make important business decisions about your site and achieve better conversions. Learn more about Google Search Console here.
Screaming Frog offers a free tool that helps with your SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) efforts. It has many invaluable functions to help you to find broken links, errors and redirects; analyse page titles and meta data; discover duplicate pages; and more, helping you to climb up the rankings. Discover eight simple SEO tips for beginner's here.
The MozBar browser add-on allows for quick digital insights for competitor and outreach analysis alike. This extension gives marketers instant metricswhile viewing any webpage or SERP, including domain and page authority markers. You can create custom searches by selecting a search engine, country, region or city. You can also find and highlight keywords on a page, check all links on a page to see how they work, and discover if the links are internal or external.
An increasing number of online users are browsing the internet on variety of devices, all-the-while expecting them to work properly and respond quickly. As such your website needs to work seamlessly on mobiles, tablets and desktop computers to avoid chasing off potential customers with a difficult site. With Google's PageSpeed Insights you can identify ways to make your site faster and work better on each platform keeping your users on site.
Google Analytics is a marketer's must-have tool. With Google Analytics you can better understand your website's user characteristics and behaviours, evaluate the performance of your content and products, process and share masses of data and reports, and get unique insights about the workings of your site in a manageable way. Read our guide to getting started on Google Analytics here.
Free tools for competitor analysis
If you have some hot competition, you’ll love SpyFu. Here you can enter the URL of any competitor to see which keywords they are targeting with their webpages. You can also find insights into which keywords their marketing team is bidding on, how many clicks their marketing efforts are achieving, when they first began ranking on Google, and who their top competitors are.
If you want to know everything that’s going on in your industry, then you should absolutely be using Google Alerts to get updates sent directly to your inbox. Start by setting up a Google account, then simply create alerts for keywords that you’d like to follow, then whenever something gets published relating to your alert Google will send it over, so you can know everything that happens when it happens. You can add your business name to keep an eye on coverage, include competitors and/or general industry keywords.
Free tools for improving user experience (UX)
The free version of HotJar allows you to capture videos of up to 100 organic users in action as they navigate your website, giving you and your marketing team invaluable insight into the ways in which your users use (or struggle to use) your site. You can also create heatmaps and funnels, a very useful tool for improving conversion rates and usability!