When it comes to marketing, you want a whole arsenal of tools at your disposal, not just one. Each tool covers a different area and helps you meet a different need, whether it’s scheduling your social media posts, generating content, or managing your website. But even if you have a good spectrum of tools, it doesn’t have to be overwhelming: marketing tools are available now which are designed for even the most tentative beginners to use. Don’t worry about being a pro at graphic design or C++. The only thing you need to worry about is planning your overall marketing strategy.
Building a toolbox of marketing gadgets doesn’t have to be expensive, either! All of the tools on this list are free and simple to use. Check out these six easy tools to get you started.
For Social Media Scheduling: Buffer
There are so many reasons to use a social media scheduler, and that’s why this is first on the list. Once you start scheduling posts ahead of time, you’re freed up to add so many angles to your strategy: you can ensure each post is polished, rather than rushed. You can plan out an aesthetic strategy so that your posts are more eye-catching and thus more likely to get audience engagement. You can develop a strategy that incorporates different types of posts, from familiar ones that appeal directly to customers, to behind-the-scenes posts, to purely informational re-posts. And, of course, you save time by doing all your scheduling at once, instead of signing in and out of profiles all day.
We chose Buffer because it’s straightforward and allows you to schedule ahead 10 posts for each social media platform. But different tools have different advantages, and it’s worth digging around a little to find the right scheduler for your particular business. For example, while Buffer is free and has an easy-to-use content scheduler, Sprout Social provides keyword and hashtag monitoring—but that’s only available if you have the budget.
For Website Platform: WordPress
Sure, you can throw thousands of dollars into hiring a web designer, and then spend eons going back and forth tweaking the page. But if you’re in the early stages of your business, or you know that your website needs are fairly simple, WordPress and the free templates offered there can get you a long way.
WordPress has become so popular because it’s a fast and easy way to create a landing page. Kind souls have also put up dozens of free and customizable designs, templates, and plugins that allow you to customize your page until it looks professional and meets your specifications, without having to spend a cent. And best of all, it’s simple: you can make a website without knowing any HTML or having any experience at web design. No wonder it’s become the most popular online publishing platform.
For Generating Leads: Hubspot
HubSpot has a free version which offers a pop up tool that we’ve found wildly useful and easy to put in practice. The tool quickly gathers email addresses from your website, and then gives you useful data. When a lead submits a form, the tool automatically pulls in contact info including job title, social media profiles, and more. The tool can also show you how the lead arrived at your website, and will remember them if they come back later.
This allows you to send personalized emails, using a handy drag and drop tool. It even includes live chat, so you can meet your audience with a strong front-facing customer service presence. Not bad for a free tool.
For Design: Canva
The rise of Canva has meant anybody can make graphics—not just those with illustration skills or who are familiar with InDesign. You can create images for social media posts, your website, or print media in the snap of a finger. You can even make data visualization graphs in minutes, turning raw data into an appealing graphic that is also easy to understand.
If you’re creating a design, you just search for the graphic or photo you want, choose a font, and then use Canva’s drag and drop tool to make a design. Voila! You’ve made a collage or even a web mockup in minutes, no experience of expense necessary.
For Data: Google Analytics
A bit less exciting than instantly creating graphics or websites, but data is invaluable. Google Analytics has a mind-bending amount of information available to those who know how to interpret it. You can see traffic from different networks, check average reading times, and even see real-time statistics about who is currently viewing your website. You can also get information about geographical area so you can learn where your customers are located.
All of this means you get free info about your advertising return on investment while tracking your visitors according to dozens of dimensions. You can measure the results of campaigns in real-time, compare the data to past campaigns, find out which advertising strategies are effectively directing traffic your way, and much more. Google Analytics is one of the more complicated tools on this list, but it’s worth spending a couple hours familiarizing yourself with its channels—you’ll get back the effort you put in tenfold.
For organization: Trello
Trello has become an enormously helpful tool that your team can use to better manage projects. Being on the same page with your teammates saves a huge amount of time and energy. You can review and edit posts on a shared board, and organize by column and color code so that a quick scan will keep you up to date on project progress.
In that way, Trello is basically like a white board with lists of sticky notes on it, but you can attach photos and documents to the sticky notes. Also, the whiteboard can be access from anywhere, at any time, via your phone. See? Super easy, super useful, and you can get started for free.
These are some basic tools that you can orient yourself with in just a day or two. It might seem overwhelming, but don’t worry—you’ll be off and running before you know it.