16 free marketing tools to help you run your business

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Whether you’re just starting out or an established business, it’s important to have a marketing plan in place to grow your client base, maintain long-lasting relationships, and ensure your brand evolves with time and is always represented in the best light.

We highlight sixteen first-rate marketing tools that won’t cost you a penny to use, and could help improve the way you do business in a number of ways.

1. Grammarly

Prevent typos, spelling mistakes and punctuation errors in emails, documents and social media posts, which could affect your business’ credibility. Simply install the Grammarly app on your computer, to save you time and embarrassment.

2. Survey Monkey

Collate customer feedback, test ideas, conduct opinion polls and run research campaigns. Learn more about the market you operate in, and if your clients are truly satisfied in order to make improvements to your business.

3. Google Drive

Store all your files and photos securely on the cloud on Google Drive with 15gb of free storage. Google also has its own free versions of text, numbers and presentation documents (Docs, Sheets and Slides which are very similar to the Microsoft versions and convert easily). Do your work directly online in Google Drive and it will autosave every few seconds, meaning you’ll never lose anything again.

4. Gmail

Another great free tool from Google is Gmail. Again you’ll get 15gb of free storage, you can use your own domain email address and synchronise through IMAP or POP to use across your other devices.

5. MailChimp

A great tool to use for your email marketing, and for capturing and storing data for marketing in a GDPR compliant way. There are lots of pre-made design templates you can choose from for really smart emails. You can also create bespoke landing pages for campaigns and split test different content and subject lines.

6. Unsplash

Sourcing professional looking images for blogs, social media posts, newsletters and your website can be tricky or expensive. Unsplash is one of the best websites out there where photos are free to use as you wish without requiring crediting (but it is appreciated). 31 other free stock imagery sites can be found here.

7. Canva

Canva is a free online graphic design tool with thousands of templates for you to pick from. The simple functionality lets you easily create logos, posters, infographics, ebooks, flyers, adverts and brochures, although an eye for design is still required!

8. Google Keyword Tool

Even if you’re not planning on advertising on Google you can use their Keyword Tool to research what people are searching for online and to find trends (if searches for a term are increasing over time).

You could use this information to find target keywords to improve your website’s SEO or for market research – for example, are the number of searches for accountants in your area going up or down over time?

9. SERP Robot

SERP stands for search engine ranking performance and this free tool will let you instantly check the Google position of your site or other websites for specific keywords. This will allow you to improve the health of your website, and see what your competitors are up to.

10. BuzzSumo

With BuzzSumo you can find the best performing content for any topic and the key influencers in your industry. You can use this information to build relationships with them, in order to get them to help promote your content.

11. CoSchedule Headline Analyzer

If you’ve spent time writing a blog or article, then make sure you give it the best headline possible to drive traffic, shares, and to appear higher in search results.

12. Medium

Think of Medium as being able to do for your blog what Airbnb can do for your spare room. Set up an account and re-publish your blog posts via Medium to access a huge new audience. It’s also worth making copies of your blogs as LinkedIn articles.

13. Buffer

Social media channels like Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram and YouTube are excellent platforms for building networks and sharing content. With Buffer, you can manage all your social media channels in one place, creating and scheduling posts, replying, and analysing performance.

14. Trello

Trello is a user-friendly online project management tool where you can build boards, lists and cards to help organise and prioritise tasks and collaborate with other team members.

15. Evernote

Pitched as ‘the best note taking app’, Evernote is a good place to store ideas, web clippings, lists and mood boards.

16. Doodle

Doodle takes the pain out of organising meeting and events to fit in with all the attendees’ plans. Quickly create a poll, send everyone involved the link and they can let you know what times and dates they can do – then you can pick the most suitable one.  

Sophie Cross is the Editor of Freelancer Magazine and a freelance writer and marketer at Thoughtfully.

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