5 best free digital marketing tools
If you are a marketer – especially working with digital execution – there are numerous different tools out there. The requirements of the generalist marketing function are many, so choosing the right tools, as a part of your set-up, can be vital to succeed. What tools should you be using to market your business online?
Search engine marketing, paid ads, email, affiliate, web analytics, social media marketing. The list of tools to use within the field of digital marketing is somewhat endless. In my opinion, there’s a trend in wanting to be up-to-date with all the latest tools. But is that even possible? And if so, why should you?
I am guilty of having downloaded a tool, used it for about an hour, and then never used it again. If you want to create value with marketing tools, stop chasing all the new developments, and focus your efforts on a few core tools. Without taking action – and really digging into the strengths of each specific tool – you won‘t get the sought for success.
With that minor disclaimer out of the way, we can get into my top 5 best free digital marketing tools. I have tried to incorporate a few different aspects of the marketing spectrum – taking a more generalist than specialist approach.
Competitor analysis and strategy
SimilarWeb is a website comparison tool that can be used to get insights on how similar businesses to yours have set up their digital strategy. If you are starting out and want to get a digital marketing strategy for your business, this is the tool to use. Think about a few of your competitors – or perhaps just a business you aspire to be – and type their domain into SimilarWeb. What that gives you is a large report of “behind the scenes” data that reveals the best strategies from the market you're in. For instance, how a competitor gets their website visitors, how they build and grow affiliate and media partnerships, how they approach SEO and so on. This tool will not only give you a better understanding of your market, but will also give you hands-on digital set-ups for how others are marketing their business online.
Search Engine Marketing
Your content serves an important purpose in helping your website appear on search engines for you to gain more traffic. Therefore, it is essential to match your content (whether it be blog posts, cases, articles or similar) with popular search demand. Answer the Public is a tool that allows you to find popular topics and associated topics based on the keywords that an audience is searching for. Doing these keyword analyses gives you a great fundament for SEO, which should be closely linked to your content marketing, and using the tool will probably open your eyes with word associations you did not know existed.
Website and Analytics
Every marketer that has been close to a website, know that Google Analytics is a must-have. In today’s world, we need to track, evaluate and optimize performance and analytics allows you to see how people are engaging with your website and where there’s room for improvement. For instance, a bit of key advice is to optimize your traffic for conversions. Rather than just letting your visitors enter to view content, you should think about if the content can convert them into customers. It’s not just about getting traffic, but getting traffic that creates conversion and Google Analytics, along with the right UX and copy, will help you to achieve that.
Content Marketing and design
Nowadays, basic graphic design skills are essential as a digital marketer. Instead of using a lot of hours getting familiar with heavy design software like Photoshop, you could look into Canva – a simplified graphic design tool that lets you create visual assets. While the tool is used by designers and non-designers alike, the simplicity allows you to add huge value to your business, marketing or your clients’ business. The drag-and-drop format is very easy to use and you can download plenty of different custom designs - ranging from social media posts, blog banners to infographics. You can also customize each element with different text, colors or backgrounds, so Canva really helps you to get amazing creative designs in no time.
Email marketing is a golden opportunity to scale your online business, as it drives high ROI compared to other digital marketing initiatives. Especially if you’re in eCommerce, it makes a great deal of sense to warm up leads or create loyal customers through campaign emails. MailChimp is an email marketing platform that allows you to do just that – from subscriber sign-up to email design. With their free plan, you get up to 2.000 subscribers with 12.000 emails a month. Additionally, MailChimp has a lot of cool functions including email design templates, A/B testing different emails, list management and segmentation, sign-up forms, automation and evaluation (CTR, clicks, open rate, etc.).