Many startups are cash-strapped when they start out. This can be a problem when you need to grow fast.
Fortunately, there are plenty of free marketing tools that can help you get started. Such tools may be open-sourced or a limited version of a more expensive product. Whatever the case, you can carry out all the marketing activities you need to when you first launch with free tools.
I’ve compiled a list of 11 free marketing tools every startup needs to know about in order to grow their business online. You won’t want to miss these! So without further ado, let’s get started with our first tool on the list.
1. A free social media management tool
One of your most important marketing tasks will be to manage your social media accounts. A free tool that you can use for social media management is Hootsuite or Buffer. These tools give you the ability to track all of your social media channels in one place.
You can use a social media management tool to help you:
- Track your brand mentions
- Schedule and publish content
- Analyze your social media analytics and more
A tool like this will help you stay on top of your social media content while tracking its performance. You’ll keep your social marketing consistent and stay in touch with your audience.
2. A free email marketing tool
Another great marketing tool that startups can use is email marketing. This involves sending out emails to customers or prospects in order to promote your product or service. There are plenty of free email marketing tools available, like Mailchimp and others.
These free email marketing providers let you gather a few thousand contacts and send many thousands of emails a month for free. For most freelancers and startups, that’s more than enough.
With a free email marketing tool, you can focus on building your audience and email list first. Once you scale up, you can opt for a paid service.
Email marketing is important as it places you in direct contact with your audience. With a free email marketing tool you can:
- Build an email list
- Build relationships with customers
- Generate leads
- Drive sales
- Collect feedback and drive any kind of communication you like
3. A free CRM tool
CRM stands for “customer relationship management”. It’s critical because it helps you to keep track of your customers and their interactions with your company. This is important as it allows you to better understand their needs and how you can serve them. There are plenty of free CRM tools available that you should explore like Zoho or HubSpot CRM.
With a good CRM tool, you can:
- Store customer data
- Track customer interactions
- Analyze customer behavior
- Generate reports
You can use such reports and data analysis to personalize your interaction with your customers. Doing so is critical if you want your small startup to grow fast and win loyal customers.
4. Online design tools
You’ll also need some tools to help you with your design work. After all, first impressions matter and a well-designed website or logo can help you win over potential customers.
There are plenty of free online design tools that you can use, such as Canva, Adobe Spark, and Affinity for image editing.
These tools are critical for your to create social media posts, blog headers, videos, and more.
If you can’t afford a designer and need to create your own designs and graphics, then working with free design tools will help you realize your marketing goals.
5. Free SEO tools
SEO or Search Engine Optimization is the process of optimizing your website so that it appears higher on search engine results pages (SERPs). It’s a critical marketing activity that helps your content appear as a top search result. In the long run, it will save you money and bring traffic.
However, it can be an expensive activity for new and small startups. That is if you try to carry out in-depth optimization. You can work with free SEO tools to start with but make sure to upgrade to paid WordPress SEO plugins and other tools to get the best results for your business.
Some free SEO tools available that can help you are Google Search Console and Bing Webmaster Tools. Major products like Ahrefs also allow you to track basic details on their platform for free.
Some of the things that you can do with SEO tools include:
- Track your website’s performance
- Diagnose and fix errors
- Research keywords
- Monitor your backlinks
- Identify slow loading time
- Track redirects and errors and much more
6. Google Analytics
It’s worth mentioning Google Analytics as a standalone tool because it’s so ubiquitous. It’s a completely free tool that provides you with insights into your website traffic. It helps you to track where your visitors are coming from, what they’re doing on your website, and more.
This information is important as it allows you to make informed decisions about your marketing strategy. You need to use Google Analytics to measure your website’s performance in general. You’ll be able to diagnose problems and make data-driven decisions with analytics reports.
However, setting up this tool for your website can be hard. Try a lite version of a Google Analytics plugin for your website. You’ll connect your Analytics account to your website easily and start collecting information.
7. A free project management tool
As your startup grows, you’ll need to start working with a team. This means that you’ll need to use a project management tool to help you keep track of everyone’s tasks and progress. There are plenty of free project management tools available, such as Asana and Trello. Use these tools to create and assign tasks, track your work progress, save files, and communicate with team members.
8. A meeting scheduler tool
You’ll also need a meeting scheduler tool to help you coordinate meetings with your team or clients. There are plenty of free meeting scheduler tools available but try a tool like Calendly, to begin with.
Use these tools to schedule one-on-one meetings, team meetings, client calls, and more. Doing so will help you automate the process and save time. And it’s especially great when meeting people in different parts of the world. You won’t have to worry about time-zone planning or going back and forth setting dates and times.
9. Web scraping tools
Web scraping tools allow you to collect data from websites. This is important as it allows you to gather data that you can use for your marketing research. There are plenty of free web scraping tools and extensions available, such as Scraper and ParseHub.
It’s critical to use web scrapers to gather information about trends, customers, and more since trying to do so manually is time-consuming. And you’ll be more likely to carry out mistakes.
A web scraping tool is useful for getting information in an affordable way to grow your business.
10. Google Drive
This is another free tool by Google that everyone gets when they sign up for a Google Account. It gives you access to online storage, where you can save documents, spreadsheets, presentations, and more.
You can also use Google Drive to create and edit documents with your team in real-time. This is useful for collaborating on marketing plans, brainstorming ideas, and more.
Today, virtually all businesses use Google Docs and Google Sheets to create and share content. And to do work collaboratively. Long gone are the days when you would create a file using Microsoft Word and then upload it as a separate file in an email.
You can use Google Drive for free with your personal email. However, it is recommended that you invest in Google Workspace as you scale up. You’ll get more storage space and other benefits.
11. Free online courses
Marketing isn’t just about doing. A great portion of your marketing efforts should focus on learning what’s new and staying updated with the latest marketing trends.
One way to do this is to join marketing networks and communities. Another way is to take online courses to improve your skills. Fortunately, there are plenty of free online courses that you can take to improve your marketing skills. You can join online newsletters and or check out educational resources that product websites provide for customers.
For example, OptinMonster has an OptinMonster University to help you improve your conversion rates. Hubspot Academy, Google Digital Garage, and Facebook Blueprint are a few examples of great brand-created online courses.
Udemy also provides a number of courses for free or really cheap. Most of the courses are self-paced, which means you can take them at your own convenience. And some of the courses offer certification upon completion, which looks great on your resume.
But a bigger reason to take up online courses is to be part of a community with like-minded people and marketing leaders. You’ll build your experience and knowledge of marketing faster.
No matter what stage your startup is in, it’s important to use marketing tools to help you grow your business. Fortunately, there are plenty of free marketing tools available that you can use to get started.
I hope this list of free marketing tools was helpful. Get started with using them to grow your business today!