For any startup, the right marketing tools can make all the difference. With so much competition in the marketplace and new startups launching daily, standing out can feel nearly impossible. Creating and executing a cohesive marketing campaign can be the edge that gives your startup a leg up.
It goes without saying that marketing can be tough. For startups and entrepreneurs without big budgets to work with, tapping into free or functional resources is a must, especially when you’re in the early growth stages of your business.
With so many platforms and programs vying for your attention, how do you know what marketing tools really make a difference? Which one solves a unique problem you’re facing with your business? How can these tools really help you succeed?
That’s where our research comes in. We’ve searched the internet for free or low-cost tools that can help boost your marketing plan.
Hubspot is a marketing automation tool that helps capture leads and manage the sales and marketing process. This all-in-one program allows users to do everything from creating landing pages and managing client communication to assisting in increasing traffic to your website.
For a new business, nothing is as essential as growing your audience and developing unique ways of attracting them to your website. Hubspot helps with that, using a combination of drip email marketing campaigns, landing pages, and data analytics to optimize your sales and marketing performance.
For solo owners that might be doing it all on their own, and don’t have a lot of marketing experience, Hubspot provides support. It suggests SEO ideas, schedules social media posts for when they’ll have the most impact, and designs attention-grabbing call-to-actions.
If you’re operating with a small team, Hubspot is an excellent way to stay organized and consistent.
Similar to Hubspot, Mailchimp helps to automate the email marketing process and offers insightful data analysis based on your customer’s interaction with your content.
It’s one of the leading email marketing platforms, providing everything from drag and drop layout designs to social and advertising integrations.
You can create campaigns based on your individual customer profiles and easily track how they’re performing with Mailchimp’s data dashboard. It’s great for a growing business because of the tiered plans. It’s free for users with under 2,000 subscribers with plenty of opportunities to upgrade your account as your subscribers grow.
For data-driven entrepreneurs, Google Tools offers the insight needed to understand where a marketing campaign stands.
When it comes to managing data on a limited budget, Google has created several tools that serve as an excellent jumping off point. While Google is not as in-depth as some other analytics platforms, it’s an excellent place for small businesses to start learning about their users and diving into data while they build up to something bigger.
Here are a few of the free tools that Google offers:
Google Analytics (GA)
GA is a great way to track how your visitors find your business and interact with your website.
It helps you understand how your marketing, content, and products are performing in the grand scheme of things. That way, if something isn’t working, you can make changes that will attract more attention.
GA also makes it easy to share your data with others. If you’re working on a joint project or have multiple people tracking campaign performance, this all-in-one tool can be the center of your workflow.
Google Tag Manager (GTM)
If you’re planning to use retargeting ads or want to follow customers that show interest in your product, GTM is an excellent tool.
It allows you to deploy tracking pixels (marketing tags) in your website or app without having to do work within the code itself.
For entrepreneurs that aren’t coders, the benefit of GTM is that you can manage the whole process without looping your developers in. You have the freedom of implementing and managing tags whenever you want.
Google Keyword Planner
Another helpful tool for a growing business is the Google Keyword Planner. This free tool lets do two things:
- Find keywords that help you reach potential customers
- Understand how your chosen keywords are expected to perform throughout the lifecycle of your campaign
The best thing about this tool is the data it puts at your fingertips, including average monthly searches, competition, and top of page bid (low and high ranges).
While it doesn’t give you as many suggestions as the more robust keyword search tools, it’s enough to provide a starting point when you’re on a strict marketing budget.
The keyword planner can be hard to understand at first, but luckily, there are a lot of opportunities to learn about the process with a simple google search.
If you’re in the process of launching a business, you probably don’t have a graphic designer you can lean on all the time.
But on-brand content that catches the eye is critical from the start. That’s where Canva can help.
This online tool provides templates, fonts, stock photography, and symbols you can use to build everything from business cards to flyers and social media banners.
It’s easy to use, unlike spendy Adobe products that take a fair bit of training, much of Canva is drag and drop. Beginners or graphic designers alike can get started fast.
Canva can be a huge help as you start to launch a content marketing campaign or want to build an online presence that speaks to your brand.
The platform offers a lot of these resources for free. If you want more, you can upgrade at any time for a low monthly fee or buy one-off assets to complete your design.
There’s no point in creating content if you don’t have anywhere to share it. Social Media is a must have for any growing business. It’s a place to engage with your customers and educate people about your product offering.
Building a social media strategy can be daunting. But platforms like Hootsuite and Buffer take a lot of the organizational issues out of the process.
You can schedule posts for all of your social media platforms from one central location. As soon as you schedule something, it puts it on your social calendar, so you can see an at-a-glance look at what’s coming up.
Once it’s scheduled, Hootsuite will automatically post it or alert you that a post is due. Basically, it keeps track of your social media calendar for you.
Not only that, but you can manage feedback, responses, and customer questions all from one place.
Hootsuite and Buffer both come in tiered services depending on what you need. There’s an option that fits any budget (yes, even free), making it a go-to for many small businesses.
Without the right marketing tools, your strategy can dissolve into an inconsistent mess. Take a step back and assess what isn’t working with your workflow and what you need to fill that void.
Once you know the pain points, you can start implementing tools that simplify the process. The great thing about many of these options is that they offer a free version, making it easy for businesses at any stage to get the tools they need to make any marketing campaign a success.