Marketing a small business requires wearing a lot of hats. Running the day-to-day aspects of your company likely already has you wearing enough to test your headgear balancing skills. And have you been to a millinery (a hat store) recently? Hats can be expensive!
But while there may be no such thing as a “free lunch,” no one ever said anything about free hats. Some of the biggest names in online marketing offer the basic version of their easy-to-use products as free marketing tools, and they’re extremely useful for any small business. We’ve listed our favorites here with an overview of how they’ll help your business and what you’ll get for free.
This free service provided by the ubiquitous search engine is basically essential for anyone doing business online. Using Google Analytics is one of the first steps in marketing your business online and it’s a tool you’ll put to use frequently.
So what exactly does Analytics do? Here are some of it’s basic functionalities:
- Measuring web traffic in real time
- Social media reporting
- Conversion reporting
- App and mobile device tracking
- Performance measurement
Basically, Analytics gives you a report card of your site’s performance and breaks it down into specific metrics so you can see what you’re doing well and what you need to improve. It also tells you about the users visiting your site, both where they come from and what they do when they get there. If you’re looking to improve your website or step up your marketing game, Google Analytics is the place to start. It can also help you improve your company’s local SEO.
While you could pay for their premium service, Analytics 360, and get access to everything the platform has to offer, most small business owners will probably balk at the price tag of $150,000 annually. Yeesh. Fortunately, Analytics offers enough free marketing tools that small- and medium-sized companies won’t even need to think about paying for 360.
Want to create designs for your business but don’t know where to start? Check out Canva, an all-in-one design tool for those without graphic design experience. You’ll be creating professional-looking designs for your business in no time.
Canva offers access to stock photos, graphics, and perhaps most importantly, design templates. These are sorted by size and project type, so simply pick what you want to create – a brochure, a poster, a Facebook ad, etc. – and you’ll have dozens of customizable designs to choose from. Then you can add text, upload your own graphics or photos, and download your design or have it printed.
While you can upgrade to a paid subscription and get access to more tools and resources, you can still get a lot of value out of Canva for free. Canva also gives you access to quick and easy tutorials that teach the basics of graphic design so your projects will look even more professional.
Email marketing is a powerful tool for both brick-and-mortar and online businesses. And when it comes to capturing emails, Sumo is the way to go.
But it doesn’t stop at email capture; their suite of tools gives you several ways to interact with customers. Sumo can help you direct users to the best parts of your site and give them the means to share it on social media. It can also act as a sign-up portal for webinars or giveaways.
All you have to do to get started with Sumo is install and activate the software. Sumo also works with WordPress, meaning it’s easy to integrate into your existing site or build into a new one. Sumo is free to use, but you can always upgrade to a Pro account for more functionality. A pro account also removes Sumo branding from it’s tools.
Sumo helps you collect email addresses from your users. Mailchimp lets you put them to use. It’s the easiest way to put together email campaigns that look great and, more importantly, convert customers.
Like the other tools in this list, Mailchimp is built to be user-friendly. You can build one-time emails to send out to your subscribers or create automated email campaigns, which is great for targeting customers. If you have several campaigns or audiences, Mailchimp’s organization features can keep you from getting your projects mixed up.
Email campaign creation and organization are what Mailchimp is known for, but it can actually be a one-stop shop for all of your online marketing needs. It can help you find a domain and build a website, create surveys, launch social media campaigns, and more. Mailchimp is free to use, but offers paid subscriptions that can give you more customer support as well as increased control over your campaigns.
Our second simian-themed tool is designed to help you gather feedback and data. As the name suggests, SurveyMonkey lets you create surveys and other forms. It also helps you process the results you gather so you can make data-driven decisions.
Using SurveyMonkey’s tools, you can make review forms and get feedback from your customers, your employees, and anyone whose opinions make an impact on your business. Once you have the results, you can give them context by comparing them with SurveyMonkey’s global averages. Pair it with Google Analytics and you’ll have a formidable data arsenal!
Like the other tools in this list, the basic version of SurveyMonkey is free to use. However, if you need in-depth support, more branding options, or team collaboration, you’ll need to upgrade to a paid subscription. The free services will probably meet the needs of many small businesses, but upgrading your plan is worth considering if you’re able to put the feedback to use.
What are your favorites?
A lot goes into running a small business, but tools like these can make your job easier and even help you grow without costing you a cent. Are there any free marketing tools that you consider essential for your small business? Tell us about it in the comments!