As a business owner, you’re always looking into what can bring you sales. While executing your core competency is essential to ensure your business’ success, another equally important factor is to know how to market your business effectively. The competition is fiercer than ever, so every competitive edge can make a difference. There are many free marketing tools out there but only a few have an impact on your business.
Marketing Tools in a Nutshell
Businesses typically use marketing tools to develop, market and promote their products/services. Companies use various marketing tools to communicate their story, stimulate customer interest and motivate action.
Marketers, even newbie marketers, would naturally turn to popular search engines to do their research. However, in reality, this alone is insufficient as you’ll need marketing tools to assist you better.
There are many types of marketing tools that exist for different reasons. Some focus on purely advertising, market research while others spy on their competitors.
The tools you use would highly depend on your primary goals and objectives. That said, most would use a combination of various types of marketing tools at the same time to achieve that optimum effect.
All in all, having the right marketing tools can help you build brand awareness and stay ahead of your competitors.
Free Marketing Tools That Can Help Your Business
Marketing is essential to any business, but the tools can be pricey, causing you to shy away. No worries, as you can now gain access to the benefits that marketing tools can bring you at no cost at all. Here are some free marketing tools that can help your business:
1. Google Alerts
If you want to always be in the know about the latest happenings that surround your competitors, Google Alerts is one of the best tools to do so. It is an easy-to-use tool for tracking competitor news.
Once there are new results online on a competitor you’ve set an alert for, you’ll get an email directly to your inbox.
It could be as simple as just a simple link to web pages, blog posts, or newspaper articles; whatever it is, you can stay updated whenever your competitor is mentioned on the web.
You’ll need to configure accordingly; how often you want to get alerts and where you want to search for mentions. Once you’ve successfully created your alert, it runs automatically, so each time your competitor is mentioned, you’ll know.
This saves time too. However, the information isn’t displayed in a very organized manner as it is given as a huge list.
That said, Google Alerts is great for:
- monitoring your competitors’ brand names
- gathering information on specific products
keeping track of mentions on specific content
As you know, social media marketing is the ‘IN’ thing in recent years. This is not surprising as it has shown unprecedented growth to the delight of marketers. Using a social media marketing tool to help you tap into this vast market would make sense.
Buffer can help you use social media to your advantage in a time-effective manner. You can use Buffer to schedule your posts ahead of time on social media; you can create your posts all in one go then spread such updates across the set timeframe.
The free plan allows you to use up to three channels with the basic features included; you can schedule up to 10 posts a week.
3. Google Analytics
Google Analytics is a free tool that you can use to perform real-time analysis of your business data all in one place to help you make smarter decisions.
It helps you track your website activity and engagement. Also, it tells you how well your SEO strategy works and gives you in-depth information about customer demographics.
4. Social Mention
To stay ahead of your competitors, you need first to know what your competitor is doing. One way is to listen in on your competitors’ social media activity; you need to know what’s being said about your competitors and the people who are mentioning them so that you can get in on that action.
Social Mention offers free real-time social media search across more than 100 social media platforms. It searches user-generated content (blogs, images, videos, comments, and others) for mentions of a company or keyword.
Just key in your competitor’s name, product, or any keyword. You’ll obtain a snapshot of real-time data to find out the individual mentions and their sources.
Yes, you can track and analyze all the times that your competitor was mentioned on a social network.
You can then target these sources to drive traffic to your website, generating quality backlinks (incoming links from other websites).
Social Mention’s sentiment analysis lets you know the overall feel of something positive, negative or neutral, which helps especially when you’re deciding on a specific product to be released. For example;
- to do a real-time social media search based on any keyword you put in
- to track and analyze competitor’s activities on a social network
- to perform sentiment analysis
Google stresses much on quality content; therefore, all marketers want to create content that attracts engagement. BuzzSumo shines when it comes to content marketing. It is handy when it comes to analyzing your competitors’ content. Just enter the domain of your competition and see what content is performing best for them.
You’ll be able to find out your competition’s most-talked-about content on social media and a specific topic’s most engaging content shared on social media.
This helps you analyze the top-performing content topics so that you can step up your game.
BuzzSumo offers both free and paid versions. The free version comes with certain restrictions, so if you need more, you’ll need to upgrade the plan. BuzzSumo’s free version allows you to:
- identify the best performing content on a specific domain in the past year
- search for popular topics
- obtain sharing statistics for Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, and others
- obtain information on content length, content type, and more
Most marketers consider visual marketing essential to their overall marketing strategy. However, visual marketing is also seen as one of their biggest challenges.
Fortunately, there are tools to help make the process of creating images much more manageable.
Photoshop is the most used design software. However, it’s very pricey. This is where the open-source program GNU Image Manipulation Program, aka GIMP, comes in. It is a serious contender to Photoshop’s advanced tools and free to download for Mac, Windows, and Linux.
With GIMP, you can do just about anything, including layer editing, advanced edits (local adjustment, blemish/color correction, object removal), painting tools, cloning, selection, and enhancement.
You won’t face file formats compatibility issues – GIF, JPEG, PNG, TIFF are all supported.
Also, a massive community of developers and artists have created plugins, which can help extend the features for GIMP, making this a highly adaptable program.
To help with your business, you need to know who is linking to your competitors. Then, you can construct a more effective way to get in on the action too. There are lots of tools that provide great backlink analysis, but they are mostly on the pricey end.
OpenLinkProfiler is a free powerful tool from SEO Profiler. It is deemed to be one of the best for quick backlink analysis, and it’s pretty simple to use too.
OpenLinkProfiler comes with free and paid versions. The free version allows you to:
- track the backlinks to your competitors’ sites
- see which pages have the most unique links
- see which industries link most often to your competitor
- know the types of links used
- identify the top anchor text used by the inbound links
Bear in mind; this free version comes with some limitations in the number of results available and how you can view them. As such, if you need more features, you’ll need to opt for the paid plans.
Sendinblue is a powerful French email and SMS marketing service specially designed for businesses. It is packed with powerful functionalities such as email newsletters, email marketing automation, SMS campaigns, a wide variety of integrations, Customer Relationship Management (CRM) tools, social media ads, landing pages, live chat, and more.
Sendinblue excels in its personalized marketing automation feature that allows you to send unlimited emails to a targeted audience based on their behavior.
Also, there are segmentation options available to help your business say the right information to the right person and various templates to choose from for your transactional emails.
Overall, its email builder is easy to use and has excellent email deliverability performance to boost your marketing campaigns. Sendinblue comes with free and paid versions. You get to send unlimited contacts for the free version (up to 300 emails per day).
If you need more, you can look into their paid plans which are fairly priced.
9. WordStream Free Keyword Tool
As you know, Google stresses using strategic keywords, affecting search engine optimization (SEO) results. As such, you’ll need to know where your competitors are achieving success with keywords, especially for pay-per-click ads.
WordStream Free Keyword Tool is excellent for this and is one of the best SEO and Paid Search Data tools.
All you need to do is type in what you need, and you’ll get a report that has:
- the top ten keyword suggestions (including long-tail keywords)
- Google search volume for the keywords
- Allows you to filter by industry or country
You can also input your email to get more information for free, including:
- the keywords competition level
- the estimated cost-per-click
- complete list of keywords
You can also use the Negative Keyword Tool and the Keyword Grouper for free. The former looks into which keywords to exclude from Google Ads campaigns to avoid unnecessarily wasting money.
The latter helps group similar keywords, making it easy for you to use them in content and search marketing.
Even though you don’t get recommendations to help you with social media advertising, all in all, this is a great marketing tool that can get you the relevant information you need for free.
You’d want to do traffic analysis on your competitor’s overall web performance so that you can get a better gauge of where you stand. Also, it is crucial to analyze their monthly traffic, which channels bring in the most visitors, and where these visitors come from. SimilarWeb is great for this.
Input the website of your choice, and you’ll get an overview of their traffic. When you scroll down, you’ll get more useful information.
Look at the traffic sources, and you’ll be able to figure out which channel is the most impactful. In short, you get solid organic searches with no charges at all.
Bear in mind that your competitors can get ahead because they use better tools. This is because better tools translate to better automation and scalable, more robust systems, which leads to a leaner and more efficient business.
BuiltWith is incredible as it provides a free, behind-the-scenes peek at the technologies that empower any website you input into its search box. Simply put, it gives you a complete technology profile of any competitor’s website.
All you have to do is input the site of your choice. This will give you a high-level technical overview of how it tracks its visitors, manages its website content, and even converts qualified leads.
As such, you can quickly identify the hidden tools that your competitors are using or uncover blind spots for technologies you can use that they may have neglected.
An alternative to BuiltWith is the WHSR spy tool which also offers a similarly helpful tool that can help reveal any website’s infrastructure and web technology information, so feel free to check this out too.
Marketing tools are essential to any business growth, and most of them are pricey, thus causing many to shun away from using them. You don’t need to anymore as many free marketing tools can help your business grow and gain the competitive advantage that every business wants.
Feel free to explore the list above and try them one by one; after all, they’re free. Regarding which tool works best for you, this would highly depend on which type of competitive data is relevant and makes sense to your business now.
This guest post is written by Jason Chow.