ven businesses with big budgets and fully-resourced teams can benefit from free marketing tools. For smaller businesses, they are essential. So, we’ve put together a list of the most impressive freebies that we’ve tested for all those curious marketers and owners out there.
If your website isn’t performing well, regardless of the size of your organisation, your top line will be compromised. High bounce rates and low conversion ratios are the most common symptoms of a poorly performing website. To diagnose whether the problem is technical or not, use the following two tools:
The HubSpot-powered Website Grader is a simple but very insightful tool which will give you a simple breakdown of the performance of your site and areas that need improvement. All you need to do is type in your URL - and away you go! Some things aren’t always what they seem when it comes to website performance, though. So, while the Website Grader is good, it won’t always give a 100% accurate picture. For example, your page speed might look very slow, but for visitors to your site, it might be quite fast. It depends on the first meaningful “paint” of your website. For example, a visitor might jump on your site and see the page straight away. What they don’t see, though, is the remaining page loading a little slower. From a user perspective, your website speed will, in fact, be fine. To be on the safe side, test your website speed using Google PageSpeed Insights.
Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)
There are a number of tools available that can tell you how optimised your website is for search engines. We recommend using a few different tools, as they each provide slightly different data. The two we recommend – which are paid, but allow you to audit your site for free with some limitations – are SiteChecker and DiiB. You can also check out The Hoth to access loads of free SEO tools.
Customer Relationship Management
There are many, many free CRMs out there, so if your needs are simple and you don’t need to upgrade to additional features, then free is the way to go. HubSpot offers a free and easy to use CRM, as does Zoho (maximum 3 users). The CRM you choose will depend on what you want it to be able to do at the time you need to upgrade, and what your likely budget will be. HubSpot is predominantly for sales, marketing and services. It’s intuitive and a pleasure to use, and it integrates with most other applications. The downside is that it’s expensive to unlock all of the features. Zoho is less intuitive to use, but it’s significantly cheaper. Additionally, it offers a full suite of solutions including accounting, finance, HR, websites, custom apps, email, operations (warehousing, supply chain, etc.), virtual meetings, Microsoft Office equivalents, and more. Zoho is a full ERP, which means it has something for every part of your business management. Basically, if you can think of it, Zoho has an app for it.
MailChimp is excellent for email distribution and offers a lot for free. HubSpot has also just released a freemium email distribution tool. Like CRM, the solution you choose should be driven by what you want from it in the future. Using email as part of your strategic sales funnel will reduce the burden on your salesforce, so make sure to implement it into your sales and marketing activities. If you're looking to pay a little extra for email automation, you might want to check out ActiveCampaign which is inexpensive and really easy to use.
Social Media Scheduling
Planning your social media publishing in advance means that you can free up a lot of time. You can connect your company pages and your personal pages to a scheduling tool and spend just a couple of hours each week preparing your social calendar. Then you can sit back and relax! Hootsuite and Buffer both offer up to 3 connected social accounts (so you could use one for your company Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter and the other for your personal pages) and up to about 30 scheduled posts at a time. Depending on how frequently you post, that could keep you going for a month!
If you're looking to upgrade, you might want to consider newcomer ContentStudio which is inexpensive and includes additional features such as trending content and influencers.
Design & Wireframes
There is a reason why this company is only one of two (at the time of writing anyway) Australian unicorns - and that’s because it’s brilliant. Canva, which you’ve likely heard of, offer a freemium version of their design software. They are constantly adding cool new features and templates, so if you’re not already using Canva then we recommend you get onto it!
These free (or inexpensive) tools will help even the smallest business step up their marketing initiatives.