Free marketing tools for small businesses

   

There are many free marketing tools that offer a free trial and then a subscription service after the trial ends. Here, I focus on the genuinely free tools to help you automate your marketing efforts and give a professional look and feel to your marketing output.

MailChimp

The new business package is free, with no time limit and allows you to send branded emails to 2,000 subscribers and up to 12,000 emails per month. You don’t need coding experience to build an email and you are able to set up automation rules with a free account, meaning that you can trigger email sends based on the rules that you set up. With a reporting dashboard, you are able to see what interactions your emails have received in order to optimise your future emails to maximise on performance.

Reachmail

Offering a free start up package that allows you to store 5,000 subscribers and send up to 15,000 emails per month. There are free email templates available that allow you to build upon what is already there and brand your emails appropriately. This service also has a reporting dashboard that allows you to track performance. There are added extras, as with all ‘free’ systems out there, the basic package should be sufficient for a small business.

Buffer

This scheduler allows an individual to post across Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+ and Instagram for free, as long as you only register one login per platform. If you have multiple Twitter handles then, unfortunately, you are not able to use the free package. Under the free option, you are unable to assign multiple posters, but you are able to schedule 10 posts at a time. If you are looking to post Pinterest or really do need to schedule across multiple handles then you will need to upgrade to the £8 per month option.

Tweetdeck

Tweetdeck allows you to schedule posts for Twitter and is free to use providing you have a Twitter account. You can manage all of your Twitter activity from the dashboard.

Socialoomph

A free Socialoomph account allows you to manage your Twitter scheduling in one place and offers additional tracking to Tweetdeck. You can track keywords allowing you to carry out social listening. This platform allows you to manage 5 Twitter accounts in one place.

MavSocial

MavSocial allows one user to schedule across 2 accounts on Facebook and Twitter at one time. You are limited to 10 posts per day per network. No reporting is available as a free member so you will need to carry out reporting in the individual platforms.

Pexels

Delivers a whole host of free to use images that can be used anywhere, including commercial use. These are high quality, lifestyle images that don’t have the look of standard stock images.

Pixabay

A spin-off from Shutterstock. Pretty much anything you find in Shutterstock has been recreated here and all are free to use for commercial purposes.

Flickr

Flickr is full of picture galleries that can be used for multiple purposes. Make sure you check the usage terms of each image, these are not all for commercial use and may require attribution statements.

Wikimedia Commons

Public domain images held in the familiar layout of Wikipedia. This site gives you a lot of information about the image, including the GPS coordinates of the image location. Check the licencing information before using these images.

Unsplash

These striking images are free to use and have no licence restrictions. There aren’t many business options, in terms of image content but the images here wouldn’t look out of place on Instagram and have the wow factor to stop you scrolling.

PublicDomainPictures

This site gives you the option to pay the photographer for use of their image or download for free. When you look at any image, it tells you how many times it has been downloaded for free, the paid for option gives higher resolution, however, the free version seems absolutely fine to me.

Canva

Great for resizing, overlaying text and basic layers or icons. This tool is sufficient for creating social media posts or basic web banners. If you have a house font that you use on all of your branding then you may need to pay to upload this, or you can scroll through the font options to find a similar font in the pre-existing list.

Sumopaint

A basic form of Photoshop, allowing you to carry out the basic photo editing functions i.e. adjusting saturation and tones, creating layers, adding text, resizing images etc. I have used this system for years, as it’s web-based, it allows you to edit images quickly with no pre-installed software, however, you are shown adverts around the margins of your artwork, these aren’t invasive so they don’t really get in the way.

Gimp

This is free to download photo editing open source software that provides tutorials on all aspects of using the software, from the basics all the way up to adding scripts.

FreePD

Not the most beautiful or easy to use site but every track on here is free for use for any purpose. Click the genre of music you are after in the menu on the left and work your way through previewing each that looks like a fit. Click the download icon once you’ve found the track for you.

Free music archive

Again, not a beautiful site, you can either use the search bar at the top and filter for keywords or work your way through the genres, in any search results you will see a list of licence options, this allows you to filter by how you need to use the track. Check the licence guide in the top menu, the usage information is quite straightforward in the guide.

Kizoa

This web-based program allows you to create a 1GB, 1 minute 600p video for free. If you need to make longer videos then you can sign up as a member and pay a one of membership cost of around £25 for lifetime membership. You can use pre-existing templates or start from scratch.

Biteable

Well, what is there to say? Here’s a super cheesy video that shows you all of the features that was made using the program. The free option does seem to include a watermark but this can be cut using a free online video editor (just search free online video editor) or Adobe Premiere Pro.

Stupeflix

This is the tool that I tend to go for when creating short videos, it’s a case of dragging in your pictures, clicking the drop down and selecting your transition between frames and adding a music track. It’s quick and easy but you end up with a Stupeflix frame at the end of the video that you might want to crop out.

Animaker

This free package allows you to create videos that are no longer than 2 minutes and you can export a maximum of 5 of your videos per month. Anything you create on the free package does not give you commercial rights.

Mouseflow

In addition to your web analytics, Mouseflow allows you to see what your web visitors are really up to on your site, you can look at how far someone scrolls, where they click and heat maps of activity on your pages. The free plan allows you to track up to 500 page views per month on one website. You can view the behaviour on your site in a video format so that you know what changes you need to make to encourage conversion.

Hotjar

Hotjar does all of the above and allows you to collect data on 2,000 web views per day. The functionality is no different from Mouseflow so it’s just a matter of preference and how much traffic you are receiving.

HubSpot

You can store all your sales, prospects and contacts in HubSpot, for free! It takes the admin out of sales, which can only be a good thing. Everything is stored in one place allowing you to manage up to 1 million of your business contacts, tasks and deals with little effort. You can invite others into your HubSpot so that you can allocate clients to another member of your team.

HubSpot marketing

A popup for your site that asks visitors to subscribe, once they have done this, you are able to track their behaviour and have quality conversations with them. Here is HubSpot’s video on the process to explain more.

Blogger

Publish your blogs to your unique blogspot url and choose from a selection of templates. Google AdSense serves ads on your content so you have the ability to earn advertising revenue on your blog posts too. Track your engagement and audience demographic with the reporting dashboard.

Medium

Medium allows you to quickly and easily create a blog to an existing audience that is waiting for your story and allows you to track analytics and generate subscribers.  It’s more of a blogging social network than a free marketing tool.

About the Author:

Jemma Davis-Smith

With over 10 years’ experience in Digital Marketing including Paid Social Media, PR, Web Design, Content Management and SEO, I have a vast knowledge of best practice and possess an excellent understanding of all marketing disciplines. I’m keen to unearth the best-kept secrets to ensure that marketing isn’t out of reach for the small and independent businesses out there.

Get in touch with Jemma.

1 Comment

  • Maheswaram Satyanarayana

    It is really very fascinating to find that so many small business tools are offered free to help progress of the upcoming freelancers and data entry workers , It is like an expert lending his helping hand to the entry level freelancer/data entry worker for mutual growth. Thanks

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