You’re a small business owner or marketing manager trying to keep ahead of competitors. However, Google ads are expensive and your marketing budget doesn’t stretch far. Fortunately, you can choose from a host of free marketing tools for small businesses. Here are 50 of the best.
Content Marketing Tools
Content marketing is a powerful free marketing technique. Siteliner improves your content marketing by helping you discover things that are holding your site and content back from performing better, including identifying duplicate content, broken links and more.
Siteliner is from the company behind Copyscape, the plagiarism checker. Copyscape is another excellent free marketing tool, useful say if you want to double check whether that freelance article you commissioned is original and not plagiarized.
Article Title Generator
Ever had a mental block when it comes to thinking up click-worthy titles for blog posts and articles? Check out our Title Generator, a fun tool that helps generate dozens of ideas for creative titles. There is a built-in thesaurus.
“Emotional Value” Headline Analyzer
This Headline Analyzer assumes you already have a headline crafted. Then it helps you determine how much emotional value is in the headline. The FAQs for this marketing tool claim “the key to communication is being able to reach the client at an emotional level.”
Here’s another take on a headline generator tool: Portent. This tool is limited to generating topic ideas one at a time, so it takes a little longer to use than the Article Title Generator above.
With Optimize Book you get two awesome marketing spreadsheets. And the price is zero. They cover:
- Editorial calendar – With this template you can create an editorial calendar to bring an organized approach to content marketing, including topics, target audiences, days to schedule, and more.
- Keyword glossary – Helps you manage keywords to keep content marketing on track and make sure you don’t get too keyword heavy or light.
The Hemingway App (named with a nod to the famous writer) helps you write better. This app is as simple and easy to use as they come. Just type or paste in your text on the screen, and the Hemingway app instantly analyzes your content. It delivers color-coded alerts when you use complex and lengthy sentences, or passive voice or unnecessary adverbs. This wonderful free marketing tool is easy to use. There’s also a paid program offering additional features such as the ability to publish edited content to any WordPress site.
Did you know that YouTube is the world’s second largest search engine? One of the most popular types of searches on YouTube is anything “how to.” If your business is not yet active on YouTube, it’s time to get some video marketing content up.
With the booming popularity of podcasts and the growth in voice assistants like Alexa, Audacity is an audio editing tool that may come in handy. This open source software lets you cut and edit audio clips, and add or remove effects.
Finding it hard or expensive to update the content on your website? Or maybe you are a startup entrepreneur who doesn’t have a website yet? You could seriously be missing out on customers. Create a site with WordPress, the world’s most popular content management system. Use of the software is free. Just pay for hosting.
Edit Flow is a WordPress plugin which provides businesses with a calendar, editorial comments, and more, to make it easier for teams to collaborate within WordPress.
Online Marketing Tools
Ever notice those banners containing a special message that look like thin slices across the top of websites? An easy way to get one of those on your website is through Hello Bar. Create banners to draw attention to special offers, sign up for your newsletter or take a similar action.
Knowing how well a landing page is performing is an essential part of online marketing. Hotjar is a heat mapping app that identifies how well a page is received by website visitors. It tracks user behavior such as where the user clicks (or doesn’t), and how deep the user scrolls. From this you can determine if the page needs to be redesigned.
Generate more effective button shares, trace web traffic through heat maps and attract more customers to your mailing list with SumoMe and its suite of online marketing tools.
Answer the Public
Answer the Public is a free online marketing tool that helps businesses look up questions surrounding their primary keywords. If you know which questions the public is asking, businesses are in a better position to answer those questions through content and increase rankings and traffic to their websites or blogs.
If you have a WordPress website and want to optimize pages for search engines, the Yoast plugin is the gold standard. It makes on-page optimization easy. An added plus: by following the tool’s guidance, beginners can actually learn about SEO (search engine optimization).
Ubersuggest is a keyword research aid and one of the best free marketing tools for small businesses. It helps brands find the most relevant keywords to attract search engine traffic.
This is an extension for the Chrome browser. As you are “surfing” in Google search results it will analyze those results, such as by layering in search volume data and insights about the pages that already rank so you can see it right there on the page. The Keyword Surfer is free.
Chatbots are communication channels that consumers these days expect to see on business websites. With Mobile Monkey you can create a Messenger chatbot that pushes promotions to customers and operates seamlessly with Facebook, without any coding necessary.
Wix offers a free tool to build a website. However, it will have a Wix ad on it. If you want to remove that ad and have your site look more professional, a premium upgrade will be necessary.
Screaming Frog is a website crawler, allowing businesses to audit their website. It gathers information so you know which technical issues to fix and can make informed decisions about SEO.
This free tool has a learning curve. But if you devote the time, the insights can help achieve better rankings in Google.
Free Marketing Tools for Social Media
It may have been around for a while, but Google Alerts is still one of the best free marketing tools. Businesses get alerted to mentions of their brand name and receive notification of competitor and industry mentions. It’s a great way to see who is engaging with your content or brand on social sites and blogs — and there’s nothing to buy.
Back when we first published this article, we included Buffer, a tool for streamlining social posting tasks and scheduling them in advance. Buffer started out with a free Individual Plan. Fast forward to today and you’d be hard pressed to find a free option on the Buffer website. Buffer’s focus today seems to be on paid offerings.
Therefore, we now suggest an alternative: Zoho Social. It offers a forever free plan. Plus, subscribers of Zoho One can get a premium version of Zoho Social included in the suite for no additional charge.
Facebook Audience Insights
Facebook Audience Insights is a free marketing tool which businesses can use to view specific demographic information about their audience. Obviously you have to have a Facebook account to use it. But if your small business has a Facebook presence, it’s definitely worth digging into.
Dig deeper into your business’s Twitter analytics with Followerwonk. It also is great for finding Twitter influencers and building a community.
Perhaps you just want to automate your social media by generating new posts from an RSS feed. Dlvr.it is a good tool for this. With the free version you can post up to three times a day to two different social platforms, from up to three different RSS feeds. Dlvr.it offers something many other social tools do not: the ability to automate posting to your Google My Business listing, Pinterest and Slack pages, and automatically add hashtags.
Tweetdeck is a Twitter dashboard that allows you to manage, update, and monitor activities on multiple Twitter accounts. It is excellent for participating in Twitter chats because you can follow conversation around the chat hashtag, and also see reactions to your posts all on the same screen.
Schedule social posts in advance from a single user dashboard with Hootsuite. Hootsuite started out with a generous free program. However, today it has limited features. The paid offerings target enterprises and can carry a hefty price per month, especially if you want reports. But if you are a beginner business owner, the free plan eases you into a social media management tool.
Pocket helps you put all your reading in one place. It’s a bookmarking service that is ideal for mobile reading.
Feedly is a feed reader. With it you can stay up to date on feeds of content from other sites in one spot, without having to visit each site. Use it for competitive research, content marketing purposes and more. There is a free basic plan enabling you to follow up to 100 sources.
A call-to-action encourages readers to take the next step. Sniply is a free marketing tool that adds your call-to-action to any web page, meaning you can engage with followers through every shareable link. The free plan starts you with 1,000 clicks per month, but larger sites can upgrade.
Visual Marketing Tools
If you’re looking for copyright free images to enhance the content of your blog posts and marketing campaigns, head to Pixabay. The site has over 1 million free images.
Pexels is another site where you can find stock images that are free to use without copyright restrictions. You can also find some stunning stock video footage – no need to buy it.
Layout from Instagram
Layout is a free Instagram app that allows users to combine multiple photos into one single image.
Pablo by Buffer
Ever wonder how entrepreneurs create those wonderful quote images and motivational cards to share on social media? Pablo by Buffer is one of those free marketing tools for small business that helps do that.
You can upload images or use the ones already there. Then simply type in text to include using the helpful platform. The output is beautiful images designed to pop!
Shopify Logo Maker
Don’t have a logo yet? Use the Shopify Logo Maker to create this vital marketing feature. Small business owners can design eye-catching logos and no design skills are required.
A free basic plan is available for Post Creator, which helps users created branded social media posts containing images. You can use Post Creator from any device and on multiple social networks.
Making content stand out and get noticed is an essential part of digital marketing and one that can be achieved with Canva. From ads to social media images — this free graphic design resource creates stunning visual content.
Have you ever wanted to generate an infographic, with statistics and eye-catching graphics? A custom infographic from a pro would be terrific, but the price can be hundreds to thousands of dollars. If that’s not in your budget, try Venngage, an infographic maker.
Several team members here at Small Business Trends use Irfanview as a free alternative to Photoshop to resize and edit images. It’s great for adjusting colors and effects in stock images to make them uniquely your own. And it does much more. Learning it can be a bit daunting, but in about 30 minutes you will know enough to do basic editing. Around for over 20 years, Irfanview is still 100% free.
With WeVideo you can create customer testimonials, video ads and more to give your business a boost. The free plan limits you to lower resolution SD videos of 480p and five minutes per month. But that might be sufficient for your needs if all you expect to use it for is the occasional social media post.
The long-established saying that an image speaks a thousand words still bears some truth today. Mazwai users can choose a Creative Commons video clip they want and download it for commercial use. They must, however, credit the video producer.
Other Free Marketing Tools
Help a Reporter Out
Use Help a Reporter Out to garner publicity. Called HARO for short, the service helps connect you with journalists looking for sources. Use it to get yourself or someone in your company quoted in magazines, newspapers and websites, and pull in valuable free publicity.
HARO offers a basic free level, along with several paid levels. The free version will give you a fire hose of emails everyday. The paid programs offer targeted alerts and upgraded search capabilities.
Capture, organize and share notes with this small business marketing tool. Collaborate with employees, suppliers and clients using Evernote.
MailChimp is a free marketing tool that many business owners just starting out use to create email marketing campaigns. Create and send to a house mailing list of up to 2,000 contacts. For larger lists you must upgrade.
SurveyMonkey is hailed as being one of the most popular free marketing tools available. As the name implies, you can use it to create online surveys to understand your customers better and be more effective.
With Typeform you can create beautiful, intuitive forms to collect data from visitors. You can even create simple online surveys. The free platform lets you collect up to 100 responses per month.
Create free ad mockups to go on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram and other social sites with the Ad Parlour. This useful marketing tool means you can see what your social and PPC ads will look like prior to putting time, money and effort into creating campaigns.
Trello is a card-based collaboration tool that helps you organize marketing tasks and responsibilities among teams. Set up boards, invite others to your boards, create checklists and more.
Do you ever set up conference calls with customers? Or do video meetings with your remote marketing team to work on your business plan? If so, a free Zoom account gives you the ability to hold group meetings for up to 40 minutes long. Or you can do unlimited 1-on-1 meetings. And do them all by phone, auto or video on your computer, or a combination.
Data Miner Scraper
Don’t waste valuable marketing time collecting contact information the long way. Use the Data Miner Scraper extension for the Chrome browser to extract content such as contact details from web pages. Export it into an Excel spreadsheet.
One Page Marketing Plan
One last bonus tool: our one page marketing plan. Small business owners, get your planning done fast and easy. The ROI will be worth the small effort.
Have we missed any of your favorites? If you’ve got any free small business marketing tools to add to the list, please let us know!
Editor’s note: since first publishing this article, we have updated it to replace certain tools that are no longer free or were discontinued.
Tools image via Shutterstock; screenshots from Small Business Trends More in: Marketing 101