We know times are hard at the moment with the cost of living crisis looming large and as a result, many businesses are looking to cut costs. Often the first thing to go for small businesses when outgoings need to be reduced is marketing and whilst this may seem like a quick fix for reducing those costs, it can actually be detrimental to your sales and engagement with customers. If you aren’t talking about your business and letting people know what's happening how are they going to discover you or keep in the loop?
It may also be time to have a bit of rethink if previous marketing efforts have been unsuccessful or if you are finding yourself running dry on ideas and if you are looking to save time and money but keep your marketing efforts going why not check out the fantastic list of free tools we’ve put together below?
HubSpot has a wide range of useful tools on offer many of which come at a price however, it does offer a free handy CRM (Customer Relationship Management) tool and best of all it won’t require you to put your credit card in to sign up! Tools like these are great for managing customer data as well as interaction with current customers and potential ones. It comes with a few free features including lead management and tracking, and pipeline management. It even has integrated email marketing although we advise looking into a few of the other marketing platforms that offer free tools before jumping in including Sendinblue and Mailchimp depending on business size.
HubSpot is also known for its how-to guides so they do a great job of guiding you through the process of getting to grips with their CRM but it's also worth checking out their blogs too for some great tips and tricks! Overall it's a great little platform with some helpful free features to explore as standard especially if this is your first time using a CRM platform.
Ubersuggest is a tool that we talk about a lot in our webinars and in-person workshops and for good reason too! We’ve always said that research is key to building a strong website and social media presence as well as understanding your audience. By registering to Ubersuggest for free you’ll be able to access their daily rank tracking, SEO tool and personalised SEO suggestions. You are slightly limited though as you’ll be locked to three daily searches available and you won’t have full access to full features but like HubSpot it's a great free tool to use when researching content and keywords.
🧠 Answer The Public
We know that sometimes the hardest part of writing a piece of content whether that be a blog, website copy or social media post is generating ideas and that's where Answer The Public comes in! It's completely free (with 2 free searches a day) and allows you to type in a word or phrase and it will generate questions people have been asking about that subject, helping you not only generate ideas but also meet your customer's needs too!
✍ Portent Blog Generator
Another fun one for generating ideas, this one is so simple - just pop in your subject and it will generate blog titles for you! You can refresh as many times as you want and change your subject too. It’s also really good at generating list post ideas - which Google really likes when it comes to ranking! If you like an idea you can save it or jot it down and feel free to change the phrasing to fit your brand.
🔗 Backlink and Domain checkers and Google Analytics
Backlink and domain checkers are a great way to see how your website is performing from a glance. A backlink is when another website external to yours links back to you. There are plenty of backlink checkers out there but this is the one we tend to recommend. It’ll give you a domain rating, a number of backlinks and a list of referring pages and that site's domain rating. We know backlinks influence domain authority and ranking so if you have very few backlinks or a low domain rating score (you’ll start at one as default) then it might be time to reach out to other businesses and look for opportunities to guest blog!
Of course, you won't want to be solely relying on this checker - make sure you are using Google Analytics to track website traffic and performance. If you are unfamiliar with Google Analytics you can check out our helpful blog here.
📈 Google Trends
If you want to stay ahead of the curve and jump on the latest trending topics that relate to your industry, Google Trends is a great way to explore that. You can type in words, topics or phrases and see the interest of users over that time, which parts of the country (or world) are talking about it and some related topics and queries to help with content generation too.
Canva’s free basic plans are great for those wanting to start out with graphics when it comes to their marketing and social media content. If a relevant image is paired with a snappy bit of content it’s more likely to stand out and readers are more likely to engage. What’s more when an image is paired with information people retain 65% of the information three days later - that's a whole 55% more than if you didn't have an accompanying image! Canva allows you to create branded graphics to a long list of different dimensions depending on the platform you are making them for and generates some great free imagery to use too.
📅 Free scheduling tools
Now, there are a myriad of scheduling tools out there from Buffer and Hootsuite to Facebook and Instagram's own native scheduling tools through respective apps and Meta Suite. A lot of scheduling tools out there have free trials and plans so you can dip your toe without paying an arm and a leg. That said it can be hard to narrow down which is right for you and your business depending on the social media accounts you are running, the features you need and the number of users who will need to be connected. If you want to learn a bit more about the range of social media scheduling tools that are available we’ve put together a list of some of our standouts in our previous blog.
Hopefully, this list has given you some inspiration to continue your marketing efforts in these turbulent times even if they just help to keep you ticking over. If you are ever in need of any further digital marketing support in the future or just don’t have the time please don’t hesitate to get in touch and learn how we can help! 😊