The internet is a fantastic way to grow your small business, but it can be a daunting place to navigate. There are so many different marketing tools out there that it can be hard to know which ones are worth your time and which ones aren’t.
That’s why we’ve put together this list of free online marketing tools for small businesses! These tools will help you get started with promoting your company online in just minutes.
The first tool on our list is an Instagram scheduler. Scheduling posts for Instagram has never been easier than with this tool—you just set up the times and dates for each post, and the tool will automatically publish them at those times. It’s perfect for managing multiple accounts or if you want to post consistently without having to sit in front of your computer all day long!
Next up: Google Docs! This tool allows you to share documents with other people in real-time, so you can work together on projects without having to worry about file versions or losing work because one person had a computer crash (which happens…). It also lets multiple people edit documents simultaneously, so if one person makes a change that doesn’t work out well, another person can go back and fix it right away without worrying about overwriting what they’ve
Free Online Marketing Tools For Small Business
One of the most exciting aspects of digital marketing is how it levels the playing field for smaller businesses and solopreneurs.
If you have an incredible product or service concept, you have plenty of affordable and user-friendly tools to reach new audiences and market your brand.
Gone are the days when a multimillion-dollar marketing budget is necessary to get ahead of your competitors. Digital marketing offers a high ROI whether you’re investing cash to outsource the job or bootstrapping by investing your own time.
Beyond the potential of great returns for small budgets, countless digital marketing tools out there can take some of the workload off your shoulders. These tools are especially valuable for small businesses that don’t have the resources to dedicate a team to in-house marketing, or the budget to outsource the work to a marketing agency.
- Some digital marketing tools are all but mandatory for tasks like researching keywords, brand monitoring, email automation, and more.
- Most tools offer both free and paid options. Some tools offer consistent freemium versions with limited features while others offer free trials of the full version. Plan a specific budget for your tools and add more as ROI comes in.
- Plan your tools based on your brand’s goals for your digital marketing strategy. It helps to have a dedicated tool for each task like keyword research, content research, and social media. However, some tools offer a full suite of relevant features to cover almost everything.
In my first CMO role for a small business, I found that thought leadership, effective content marketing and publishing consistently were the quickest and most affordable ways to achieve marketing ROI.
But we needed a way to measure the traffic gains, promote the content, capture leads, and conduct continuous research of our buyer search trends. So here is a list of the top digital marketing tools we have used as a small business to achieve 2-3X growth every year for 5 years.
10 Free and Paid Digital Marketing Tools for Small Businesses in 2021
These digital marketing tools can help you to get the biggest bang for your buck and ensure your precious time is invested wisely: automating repetitive tasks, collecting data for you to analyze and optimize your campaigns, and helping you to organize and plan your marketing activities, and more.
If you’re ready to go the DIY marketing route, these tools are a must for reaching the right audiences for your brand, creating relevant content for your audience, and nurturing leads to buy.
Table of Contents
- Google Analytics
1. Google Analytics
Google Analytics is completely free software that provides valuable insights into who is visiting your website and how they engage with it.
It’s best paired with Google Search Console – another free digital marketing tool that helps you to identify any problems on your site and optimize it for traffic.
Some of the data points that Google Analytics makes available to you include:
- The number of visitors to your site by day, week, month, or any time period you choose
- Where these visitors are coming from – referrals from other website, organic search, ads, social, or direct
- The keywords people are using in Google to find your site
- The demographics and interests of your users
- How long each user spends on your site and which pages they visit
All this information is interesting, but it’s also vital knowledge that can help you to optimize your website and marketing campaigns (while keeping your SEO efforts low cost).
For example, you might notice through Search Console or Analytics that you’re getting a lot of traffic from a keyword that you lack content covering. Write a blog post optimized for that keyword and watch your traffic and engagement levels rocket.
Getting loads of visitors from Facebook but none from Twitter? Maybe this is a sign you should concentrate your marketing efforts on your main channel.
It’s all about the insights – not just the analytics.
No matter how large or small your business is, email marketing should definitely be a part of your overall strategy.
When a customer signs up to your mailing list, they’re inviting you straight into their inbox. That’s why email marketing on average offers a higher ROI than any other marketing activity.
To get started with email marketing, you need a service that will enable you to capture emails, manage your lists, send out emails automatically or on a schedule, and analyze engagement.
Mailchimp is an ideal choice if you’re just starting out or if you are running a small business. Mailchimp’s basic service is free until your list hits 2,000 subscribers. It offers the main functionality you need without making managing your email marketing too complex.
Plus, Mailchimp now offers a slew of features and digital marketing tools (some under paid plans):
- Segmentation and personalization
- Landing page builders
- Form builders
- Audience insights
- CRM tools
- Predictive insights
There’s no question. You must maintain a presence on social media to remain competitive in the marketplace. You also probably already know that social media can be a huge time sink, even if you’re using it purely for marketing purposes rather than endlessly scrolling.
Luckily, you have digital marketing tools available to cut down on this time inefficiency, like Hootsuite.
Hootsuite provides a central management platform for all your social media channels and allows you to schedule posts in advance so you can get all your social media content for the coming weeks or months ready in one session.
You also get advanced reporting tools to see which of your social media campaigns are working most effectively and use this data to calculate ROI.
You can also track mentions of your brand and manage responses, all in one dashboard.
Hootsuite also offers tools for promoting your social media posts through the platform now as well.
Your content strategy shouldn’t consist of wild stabs in the dark as you cover topics you think your audience will engage with.
That’s why 60% of B2B brands with the most successful content marketing have a documented strategy. Meanwhile, only 21% of the brands with the least successful content say they have a documented strategy.
To be successful in content marketing, you need to do your research properly, and this is why BuzzSumo is one of my favorite content marketing tools.
BuzzSumo shows content that is trending across social media based on searched topics. Following your search, you can analyze the results that are returned to see what’s so appealing about them and to get ideas of subjects to write about.
But BuzzSumo is moving beyond just basic content research and viral posts. Today, BuzzSumo offers tons of digital marketing tools like:
- Keyword research
- Influencer search
- Topic-based social media feeds
- Content analysis
- Crisis management
- Brand monitoring tools
SEO is a fundamental of online marketing and it’s important to get right. Not only should you make sure your site is structured properly and optimized for mobile, the content you produce must also contain relevant keywords that you have a good chance of ranking for in search results.
You need a special digital marketing tool to find those relevant keywords and start your search. You have several options available from the free Google Keyword Planner, to more complex suites of tools like SECockpit.
The more advanced digital marketing tools get quite expensive, with monthly subscription fees starting at $100 or more. However, options like KWFinder offer affordable, accurate, and useful insights at a perfect price point for small businesses.
Just put in a seed keyword and the tool will come back with hundreds of suggestions, search volume data, trends, and a ranking difficulty score for each word or phrase.
Mangools, the brand behind KWFinder, offers plans for individual tools or its full suite which includes a backlink tool, website analysis, SERP watchers, and more inside each one – along with a nice browser extension.
If you’re running multiple campaigns across numerous marketing channels, not only is it a huge challenge to manage them all, but you also have to figure out exactly what’s working and where to make improvements.
HubSpot is an all-in-one marketing software solution that enables you to bring all your different marketing channels together, and optimize for more traffic, a higher conversion rate, and better ROI.
The tool includes optimized templates that are ideal for creating landing pages along with other features like live chat and user action events which ramp up your engagement and convert more visitors into customers.
Other features of HubSpot include:
- Content optimization tools
- Optimized landing pages
- Email templates
- Marketing automation
- Lead management
- Social media management
The full version of HubSpot has a hefty price tag but small businesses on lower budgets can get started with their free or basic package.
HubSpot has also made the switch from an inbound marketing tool to a complete CRM platform, now offering free and paid sales hubs, customer service hubs, and content management (on top of the free/paid marketing hub).
However, the complete content management platform is only available in paid versions.
You need visuals to keep your audience engaged.
For example, you could use quality photos to keep your readers interested, come up with motivating quote graphics, visualize complex data with colorful graphs, and create highly engaging infographics.
Now, what if I told you that there is an awesome tool that will help you create original, visually appealing content in just a few minutes? Of course, I’m talking about Canva!
Canva keeps evolving, offering more graphic design tools and templates all the time: social media, infographics, marketing posters, business cards, eBooks, and anything else you could possibly need.
And Canva’s free templates (and entire freemium version) are actually useful too!
Use photos already featured on the site, upload and polish up your own images, or even create brand new ones.
Most importantly, you don’t need to have any graphic design experience to create high-quality graphics. With its easy-to-use drag and drop features, Canva arms you with a wide range of photo editing options, color palettes, font combinations, effects, and custom image sizes.
While old-school SEO was all about building backlinks, modern SEO practices are focused on understanding the search intent of keywords you can actually rank for, and building relevant and organic backlinks from authority sites.
With quality links leading to your content, search engines will know how authoritative and trustworthy your website is. That’s why off-page backlink analysis is the backbone of your digital marketing strategy.
Now, even with a plethora of amazing tools, Ahrefs is the one and only for many digital marketers.
With Ahrefs, you can do competitive analysis and see the keywords your competitors rank for in organic search results, find the best keywords ideas, access your backlink data instantly, find content relevant to your niche, keep track of your desktop and mobile keyword rankings, and get alerted whenever one of your competitors gets or loses a backlink.
Ahrefs has improved much over the years, now offering comprehensive tools for:
- Website analysis and backlink profiles
- Keyword research
- Website auditing for keyword gaps and performance issues
- Rank tracking to follow your performance over time
- Content explorer to stay on top of your niche
In the world of digital marketing tools, the success of any project hinges on the ease of communication between teams. That’s why you should invest in easy-to-use software that provides your team with uninterrupted interaction and data sharing.
One of the most popular team collaboration platforms is Slack. This sweet tool has won the hearts of many digital marketers thanks to its simple data sharing and easy message search options.
Most importantly, Slack can integrate with all major project management, office management, sales, productivity, design, and developer tools, making it easier for you to stay on top of every aspect of your digital marketing campaign.
What use are all the hours you spend researching keywords and topics worth if you don’t properly optimize your content? Even the best of us forget things once in a while.
Yoast is one of the best digital marketing tools for optimizing content for SEO because they offer an awesome free version. Yoast will tell you where to place your keyword, how to improve readability, and perhaps most importantly, let you know what you’re doing wrong so you can improve.
With the paid versions, you can add related keywords, search for semantic keywords within the plugin, get instant internal link suggestions, insights, and more.
Try the free version of Yoast for a while to familiarize yourself with the features and audit your site’s content. When you’re comfortable, upgrade to the paid version to boost your content even further.
best online marketing for small business
There is no denying: Digital Marketing completely changed how companies fight for the audience’s attention in the last years.
Investing in online marketing for small businesses is democratic and brings a lot of benefits.
With the right tools, you can create a low-cost strategy that demands only a small team to work, and have a big return in reach and awareness.
However, if promoting a brand on the internet is easy, it also means that there is a lot of competition. In this article, you will know more about:
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- Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
One of the most powerful ways of bringing constant visibility to your brand isn’t paid.
This might sound a bit strange since mass media advertisement has been the main way of being seen for so long.
But no paid ad today is as strong as seeing your website, product, or content at the top results when a consumer googles a related keyword.
Being well positioned in search engines is a way of getting organic traffic and building trust — since it is the first contact a person has with your brand.
After all, if your website is there, it means it is worth it, right?
The techniques, actions, and tools that make your brand climb those spots are called Search Engine Optimization, or SEO.
Its goal is to make Google recognize value and relevance in what you have to offer, so it favors your brand when users search for some specific keywords.
Thus, SEO is essential when it comes to Digital Marketing for small businesses.
How a small businesses can do it
Being at the top in search results isn’t paid, but SEO itself demands some investment, especially in the effort.
If you are small, the best thing to do is to work with a reduced scope and grow from there.
Your main approach will be getting smart about keyword planning. SEO is about user intention, content production, and link building — all of that around the words that are most likely to be searched by your buyer persona.
With a lower budget, you can begin with less common and more specific keywords. If you sell phones, for example, betting in the word “phones” isn’t the best strategy.
There will be a lot of companies, some of them really big, fighting for that spot. So how about finding more specific terms to work with?
Learn more about your persona and try to think like them. How would they search for a product they are interested in? What would they type?
Data intelligence can be the key to finding your niche.
SEARCH ENGINE OPTIMIZATION
- Content Marketing
Using content to promote your company is always part of a great SEO strategy. But it is much more than using the right keywords.
Producing relevant, useful, and attractive content is how your brand builds identity, personality, and authority.
Content Marketing involves planning and sharing posts, articles, news, videos, and any sort of subject that talks directly to your audience.
This kind of marketing isn’t only about information, but also timing and presentation. What, how, and when you write are points to take into consideration.
How a small businesses can do it
For small service and eCommerce companies that can’t invest in sheer volume, the center of the strategy should be a blog.
There, you can share how-to guides, tips, ebooks, and everything useful to help a lead consider a product you sell. For example, your product is Kodi. You can make a detailed overview of all the versions, so the customer can know what is Kodi Build and make a choice.
Frequency is important, so try to have at least 2/3 blog posts a week. You can use social media to boost your content’s reach and mix new pieces with reposts to keep your persona engaged.
But the main thing you should strive for is being honest and offering reliable information that helps.
When a brand starts to become known as an authority in a specific field, it sticks to the audience’s mind.
Even if the consumer isn’t buying anything now, they will remember you when the time comes in the future.
- Social Media Marketing
We talked about social media as an amplifier, but it should not be treated simply as a way to share and boost visibility. As everyone in those networks, your company is there to build relationships too.
Social Media Marketing is focused on the personification of your brand. You should be available for answering questions, as well as interacting with people and subjects that are inserted in the same universe as your business.
How a small businesses can do it
It is always good to have someone dedicated to this role in the company — either an employee or an outsourced professional. Social networks demand constant interactions and following of trends.
But it is never that easy. Maybe you don’t have the team or the budget for it. What to do then?
Again, it is time to be strategic. Investing in tools that automate and aggregate social interaction can be a good solution.
Separating small intervals throughout the day to check profiles is also a great idea.
Even if money is short, it is the right place to spend it. Social Ads are attractive, engaging and can help boost your lead generation in these channels.
By the way, Instagram is proving itself especially rewarding for this strategy.
- Local Search
If your business has a physical attendance, Google my Business has become a great channel for your brand. You can use this tool as a location-based marketing effort.
How a small businesses can do it
Adding information about your company on Google my Business is easy and simple. There, you can share your contact information, your website, and even info about what you sell.
But the main focus here should be on user-created content: ratings, opinions, and photos. When a client posts those on Maps, they are included in your profile and shared with everyone searching for something in the area.
So you can ask for this kind of engagement on your website and via social media. You can also offer a reward in exchange, such as a dessert on their next visit if you are a restaurant.
That way, you build a complete and compelling profile for anyone in the area. At the same time, you start to build a global presence and a local dominance.
- Email Marketing
Even being invented in the 1970s, email is still one of the most prominent and used communication channels on the planet.
So it is no surprise that Email Marketing is great for businesses.
This strategy involves planning informative and engaging content combined with action-based and time-based triggers.
The idea is to create a path that deepens the relationship between a lead and a brand by being at close and constant contact, all of that without having to manually send and respond to these interactions.
How a small businesses can do it
The great thing about email marketing is: it is almost solely based on automation. Unlike Social Media, you don’t need to have someone dedicated to it every day.
But it demands a lot of planning. The ideal Email Marketing campaign takes the buyer’s journey into account and anticipates the lead’s moves from interest to purchase decision.
With the right automation tools, you can just plan the nurturing flows and let the software works by itself.
It is a great channel for small businesses, those who know their audience, and the importance of analyzing metrics.
- Marketing Solutions and Services
Our last item in this list isn’t a marketing strategy per se, but a kind of investment that is crucial for having success in all we have talked about until now.
Marketing solutions are technological platforms, automation tools, data analyzers, and social media monitors that help small teams with small budgets. So, they can manage campaigns way bigger than what they could do by themselves.
Marketing services are offered by companies with specialized talent and tools to help your business plan, execute, and measure the success of your strategies.
How a small businesses can do it
Until some years ago, it was really hard for small companies to have access to high-end solutions in marketing.
But the surge of solutions as a service has brought new power to those businesses.
Instead of big investments at once, you can now contract monthly and yearly plans that dilute costs and offer more flexible resources for your future demands.
After all, the size of your company or the budget available doesn’t matter much nowadays. As we said, what matters in online marketing for small businesses is being smart and innovative.
So, find the perfect Digital Marketing tool for your small business and start planning. By knowing your audience better and knowing how to use these channels to reach them, you are ready to succeed.
Want to know more about how to be local and global at the same time? Take a look at our special article about local online marketing!
Let us know your thoughts in the comment section below.