25 Must-have Free Marketing Tools for Small Businesses

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It’s great to have something valuable that costs nothing. I’m talking about free marketing tools that can help you grow without spending a penny. As an online marketer and business owner, I’m sure you are always on the lookout for ways to lower your expenses while finding better and more efficient means to run your business. So, before you invest in tools that charge you monthly fees, consider my suggestions below.   

Keep in mind that not all tools are absolutely free, or the free versions have limited features. Many offer free trials but require you to upgrade to a paid plan eventually.

I know it’s hard to choose which tools to use. There are literally tons available. It really depends on your needs. Check out each and in the process, you’ll discover the right ones for your business. Here we go!

1. Google Analytics

https://analytics.google.com/

Don’t Google without it. Okay, that sounds cheesy. But, it’s an essential tool for all online marketers. It gives a wide range of detailed information about the traffic to your website to help you make the right decisions for your business.

You get to discover how long visitors stay on your site, what appeals to them and how far they scroll down. You can add conversion goals, funnels, ecom shopping, and test how visitors respond to your advertising (such as Google Ads) to get to your property.

This free tool offers so much more, and can be integrated into your Google advertising campaigns. I definitely suggest you start using it if you haven’t done so.

2. Google My Business

https://www.google.com/business/

If you own a business and haven’t created an account on this platform, drop everything and do it right now. One day, you’ll be thankful you did.

Google My Business allows you to profile your business in Google local searches. If anybody is looking for services your provide in your town or city, you’ll definitely want to be listed there. You can also add your business to Google Maps.

It’s more than just a listing, though. You can also interact with customers, encourage reviews, link to your ad account (why else would they make this service free?), and post public updates. Any pizza place worth their cheese will have a Google My Business account.

3. Google Trends

https://trends.google.com/

According to this, “Covid-19 testing near me” was one of the top searches of 2020 in the U.S. Maybe your product won’t rank as high as coronavirus now. But, you could find out how it fares at any time.

This tool helps discover how keywords, products and topics are trending. It’s a 0 to 100 scale, with 100 being peak popularity and 50 meaning half the popularity over time. It’s all relative to the term, and you can compare to other terms, products and concepts.

Are you considering selling fidget spinners? Check out Google Trends first to see how it’s trending (hint: don’t!) The tool is fantastic for finding emerging trends, seasonal items, related topics and queries, and products or niches past their prime.

You can also learn where in any part of the world your terms are most popular, narrow it down to region, and compare years past to the past day. Finally, you can search for trends in Google Search, Images, YouTube and other sources.

This is a tool I use 100% of the time when doing market research.

4. Google Keyword Planner

https://ads.google.com/home/tools/keyword-planner/

The uber-tool for keyword research for decades. You need to sign up for a Google Ads account now, but after setting up an ad, simply pause and turn it off. You now have unlimited access to their keyword planner.

Use it to find the number of searches for your keyword phrase, find hundreds or thousands of other related phrases, and download all this juicy data into your personal spreadsheet. Oh, and if you want to do Google Ads, it will tell you the average cost of them. You can also use this cost data to find out how valuable your keywords are. The higher the cost, the more competition but also the more valuable they are (that is, the more a searcher is ready to purchase something.)

Now, why does Google offer so many useful, free services? Well, it’s a great way to get you to consider setting up a Google Ads account (wink wink, see Google Keyword Planner), which after all these years is still their primary source of income. It also gives you incentive to keep their company top of mind when doing searches, and using Google Chrome when browsing. A great trade-off, I say!

5. Google PageSpeed Insights

https://developers.google.com/speed/pagespeed/insights/

You don’t have to look further if you need to know how fast your web pages load. If you want to rank high in search engines, your load speed shouldn’t be more than 3 seconds. Using this tool is the first step in the right direction.

Other Google Tools:

  • Google Mobile-Friendly Test. More online searches and purchases are made from mobile devices now. It only takes less than a minute to test your website.
  • Google Forms. If you’re running a survey, hosting an event or collecting e-mail addresses, use this tool that offers many options.
  • Google Drive. A fantastic alternative to Microsoft Office, and is accessible anywhere, on any device. Pretty well all our documents, spreadsheets and slides are made from Google Drive. As well, you can store all your data here
  • Gmail. Of course. Free email. Who doesn’t use Gmail?
  • Google Alerts. Do you want to get notifications every time your brand or keywords are mentioned online? It’s easy to set up and use. This tool sends you an e-mail, but results are only limited to what Google tracks.

6. Mention

https://mention.com/

You could say this tool is a much-improved version of Google Alerts. Need to track your keywords or brand on social media? Google Alerts will only find mentions of you within Google. Mention’s free plan offers monitoring on 3 social media accounts and 1 username.

7. Facebook Page Insights

https://www.facebook.com/help/268680253165747

If you have a Facebook Page, this is a valuable tool if you want to learn more about your followers. You can better understand their behaviors while on your page. You get data, including the number of clicks on your contact info and CTA buttons. Take note that Community Group Pages don’t have Insights.

8. Facebook Audience Insights

https://www.facebook.com/business/insights/tools/audience-insights

Get to know much more about your audience. Aside from their demographics, you discover the type of content that appeals to them. You can also find out the same information about your competitors’ followers. This is a must-have tool if you are creating Facebook Ad campaigns (that’s what it was built for), but it is also a fantastic tool for general market research. I suggest you use this tool if you place ads on FB.

9. Canva

https://www.canva.com/

This is a graphic design program for everybody. You don’t have to be tech-savvy to use this platform. Before making a call to a graphic designer, sign up and try using Canva.

There are numerous templates for your social media covers, brochures, invitations, flyers, infographics, logs presentations, and much more. The free basic plan can serve most if not all of your needs. What you can do with Canva as far as graphic design is concerned is only limited by your imagination.

10. HitFilm Express

https://fxhome.com/product/hitfilm-express

This is one of the top-rated video editing software available today. It’s user-friendly and provides a wide selection of tutorials. Designed for beginners, the free version is updated regularly. You have the option to add paid features, but these may not be necessary at all.

If videos are part of your marketing mix, be sure to try this out.

11. MailChimp

https://mailchimp.com/

If you want an automated e-mail marketing platform, this is one of the better options. The free plan allows you to send 10,000 e-mails or newsletters to 2000 recipients.  You also have access to its CRM program, which can help you improve your relationship with your customers.

12. Zoom

https://zoom.com

Everybody now knows what Zoom is, for good (virtual meetings and webinars anywhere, anytime!) or for bad (virtual meetings and webinars anywhere, anytime!)

Zoom gained popularity because of the pandemic forcing people to work at home, but it was used previously for marketing webinars and business meetings. Its free plan provides a lot of essential services. There is no trial period, so you can use this for an unlimited time.

13. Screaming Frog

https://www.screamingfrog.co.uk/seo-spider/

This is one great website crawler that provides SEO audits on your website. You can detect redirects, broken links and errors with the free version. Screaming Frog indexes your webpages, ensuring these will show up in search results.

The free version only allows crawling for 500 URLs, which might definitely be enough for you.

14. Grammarly

https://www.grammarly.com/

Do spelling and grammar still matter online? Yes, they do! And not only does it matter, it is vital for modern web optimization. Clarity is one reason to make sure your content is readable and error-free. A single mistake is forgivable. A ton of these will tell you’re visitors they’re dealing with an unprofessional business. Worse, people will think you’re a scammer.

15. Kaspersky Cloud Security

https://www.kaspersky.com/downloads/thank-you/free-antivirus-download

If you’re on a budget, this is one of the best options if you want free anti-virus software. In fact, it’s better than its many paid competitors. You get protection from malware and phishing. There’s support for both iOS and Android devices, but no customer service.  

16. Answer the Public

https://answerthepublic.com/

If you’re wondering how you can connect with your audience using conversational language, this is a great listening tool you can use. With a few words in your query, you can find out what people are searching for online, and how they interconnect. Phrases that include who, what, where and why will appear in search results. This will help you tailor-fit content relevant to your market.

17. MobileMonkey

https://mobilemonkey.com/

Since I’ve already mentioned conversational eCommerce, chatbots are quickly becoming essential tools for digital marketers. Answering inquiries and solving problems in real-time can be hassle-free with automation. As of today, you can use this tool for free.

18. Pixabay

https://pixabay.com/

Finding photos is always a challenge. There are countless stock photo websites, but you have to ask permission or pay a fee to use these. Not just that, but standard stock photo websites have images that look … well, like boring stock photos!

This site provides you not only with copyright-free images for both personal and commercial needs, but most images look less “stock” with more natural-looking settings and people. Not everything is on Pixabay, of course, but with a little imagination, you will find pictures that are suitable for your web content.

If you want to look at another free alternative, try Unsplash.

19. Wix

https://www.wix.com/

This is perhaps the most popular free website building tool right now. Wix offers plenty of templates and designs.  You don’t need to upgrade to a paid plan if you don’t mind the ad at the top of your website. This is not as visible on mobile devices, though.

Aside from website building, this platform offers free web hosting. You’re allowed 500MB of cloud storage and a bandwidth of 500MB. Once you create and publish your website on Wix, hosting is automatically set up. Your site gets SSL protection and is regularly backed up.

20. Buffer

https://buffer.com/

Try this out if you regularly update your Instagram, Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn accounts. It helps you add content based on a pre-determined schedule. A free account allows you to set in advance 10 posts for three channels. A browser extension can be added to your desktop or your mobile device. You also receive customer support from the platform and its own community.

When you sign up for Buffer, you will have to enter your credit card for a trial 14 day pro plan. After this, you can downgrade to the free plan.

21. Trello

https://trello.com/en

If you want to get tasks done promptly and efficiently, this is a great free tool for you.  There’s no time limit on its free version. It helps you manage projects with the use of boards, lists and cards. Perfect for teamwork, it doesn’t cost you to add users. The paid version adds more features and views.

22. Keyword Tool

https://keywordtool.io/

According to reviews, this is the best alternative to Google’s Keyword Planner. This tool generates 700 plus long-tailed keyword suggestions. As you likely know, long-tailed keywords are more specific and granular, which helps you better research and connect with your target market.

23. Ahrefs

https://ahrefs.com/backlink-checker

Need to know who is linking to you? Analyze your backlinks with the free service provided by this tool. You receive a detailed report that includes the number of visits to your backlinks’ websites. You could also research your competitors’ backlinks and much more.

24. Panabee

https://www.panabee.com/

At a loss of what to name your new online business? Are all the great domain names already taken? Panabee is a great way to search for available domain names and names for your business, app, or social media account.

There are many domain name generators. We like using Panabee because it gives lots of creative ideas for names that are taken (“drop the second letter”, “mix the syllable”), and gives lots of related terms.

25. SEMRush Title Generator

https://www.semrush.com/title-generator/

We often find ourselves at a loss on a killer headline that would appeal to our customers. This Monty Pythonesque title generator is a fun way to find suggestions. On many occasions, I got titles that were genuinely unique or witty.   

What tools do you use now? Do you have some free tools you’d like mentioned? We would love to hear your thoughts in the comments section below.

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