This post originally appeared on J&R Journal.
As a small business owner, it’s always handy to find free digital marketing tools that will boost business and improve your marketing efforts. There are a host of tools we return to again and again at J&R and we thought it would be helpful to share them with all you hard working small business owners. Take a look at our selection of free digital marketing tools and see which ones are the best fit for you. And if you find them handy, be sure to share your thoughts with us @jnragency on Twitter and LinkedIn.
Whenever we do a post on digital marketing tools it’s almost inevitable it will feature Canva. As a small business it really is the best design tool when you can’t afford a graphic designer on staff and you want to create quick design assets.
Here’s what we use Canva for on the regular:
- Feature blog post images
- Instagram posts (correctly sized)
- Cover images for client-facing documents
- eBooks – like our snazzy content marketing guide
Try it for yourself and get creative. It makes creating digital assets easy and will vastly improve the content going into your social feeds.
Speaking of your social channels, Bit.ly is your new best friend. Nobody likes a long, illegible URL so make sure you keep it short and sweet with Bit.ly’s link shortener. If you opt for their paid version you can even track the analytics of your link and see how it’s performing. However, for us freebie fans, Bit.ly’s freemium version makes your links look much more user-friendly and your social posts look neat and tidy.
A long-standing staple of digital marketers, Google Analytics is an absolute must for tracking your online presence. Google Analytics allows you to track all of the visitors that land on your website.
Here’s what we use Google Analytics for on our own (and client) websites –
- Finding out where people are coming from (organic, paid, social media, direct)
- Finding out how long they’re spending on content
- When and where they leave the site
- What they search for when they’re using site search
- Which keywords drive them to our site (if used with search console)
By getting hard data on your users you can measure and refine the work you’re doing, helping to create a stronger plan for next time around.
There are lots of free social media tools you can use for your small business, but we’d highly recommend Buffer as a starter for ten. Its interface is easy and it’s a damn sight better looking than its popular counterpart Hootsuite.
Here are a few ways Buffer can help your small business:
- Free scheduling for up to 3 social profiles for all the big hitters (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn and Google+)
- Planning your social content a week ahead at a time, giving you chance to focus on other areas of your business
- Promoting content from your company blog
- TOP TIP: Add the browser extension and it makes scheduling content that bit easier
5. Moz toolbar
If you’re focused on improving your site’s search engine optimisation (SEO), first read our post on 7 quick SEO wins, THEN download MOZ’s toolbar. It helps you to uncover a heap of helpful things about your own site and your competitors’ sites as well
We use MOZbar to find out about:
- A site’s domain authority (DA) – to see how good a quality site it is
- A site’s spam score (to see if links pointing towards the site are harmful etc.)
- How we can better optimise a page for a particular keyword with its page optimisation tool
Whilst Freedcamp isn’t exclusive to digital marketers, it is a tool we use every day to stay on top of our projects. We always recommend it to small businesses as it’s essentially the free version of its more expensive cousin Basecamp. If you want a lot of the functionalities of Basecamp without the $99 a month price tag, Freedcamp is your software of choice.
FreedCamp is how we run our business’s day-to-day operations as well as our client projects. Here are some of the ways we use it to stay on top of things:
- Keeping conversations all in one place on a project
- Transferring documents and banking them all in one location
- Creating task lists with subtasks to keep our tasks on point and specific
- Using Kanban workflow to understand where a task is up to
- Spotting potential chances to upsell services if a question keeps recurring on a project
Becoming stuck trying to find relevant content for your audience? Give Feedly a go. Essentially acting as an RSS feed, Feedly is a great tool for curating content, instead of creating it from scratch.
Feedly enables you to see all of the content from the channels that add value to your business, or your customers, in one space. Then, thanks to your handy Buffer extension, you can schedule content straight into your social channels without having to go jumping around the internets tracking it down.
Which tools do you use?
Got a tool you’re personally offended isn’t in this list? No need to send an angry tweet, send us a recommendation instead @jnragency. Don’t forget to subscribe to our newsletter as well and you can enjoy lots of other helpful content just like this post.