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Free Digital Tools For Small Businesses and Startups

01 April 2017 | 0 comments | Posted by Che Kohler in nichemarket Advice

Free digital tools for small businesses

Let's face it getting your site out there and in front of enough relevant people takes time, money, data and expertise and we don't always have the luxury of all four at our disposal. For a small business or a lean startup saving on costs and boosting productivity is always a top priority. In this article, we pick out what we think is the best tools start-ups should consider using for the various tasks that encompass running and marketing your website.

Create a digital arsenal for your website that will not only show you instant growth but also help you collect data that will become hugely important as you scale up operations. Sign up and familiarise yourself with these 15 free tools and it will make your life a whole lot simpler.

1. Social media management

Hootsuite is a widely-used social media management tool which allows you to manage and coordinate multiple social networks, schedule posts, track analytics and keep tabs on certain keywords and hashtags via its ‘streams’ feature. The free version allows you to connect up to three accounts, or you can upgrade to one of its paid accounts for more features.

Sign up for Hootsuite

For more social media management tools check out our article Post Management Systems

2. Email marketing

MailChimp is a favourite tool of thousands upon thousands of digital professionals across the world. Why? Well, this cheeky email marketing company has one of the most generous free plans in the industry, offering you up to 12,000 emails to 2,000 contacts every month.

Sign up for Mailchimp

For more email suite options check out our article 5 Free Email Suite Options

3. Task management

Based on their 140,000 customers and 1.4 million users, Asana is one of the most popular project management apps available—and best of all, it’s free (for up to 15 users). Users love it and the reviews speak for themselves, Asana maintains a 4.5/5 overall score with 1,300+ reviews on Capterra.

Sign up for Asana

4. User Experience

If you're a site owner and have the what if I did this suspicion but don't have the technical knowledge to implement or the time to do it then Optimize is for you. Setup is a bit complicated but once you get going its drag and drop approach to A/B testing will have you falling in love. Optimize will make it easy to discover the most engaging customer experiences. You can test different variations of your website and then tailor it to deliver a personalised experience that works best for each customer and for your business. How this tool is free, I don't know but let's not question it and enjoy the fruits it bares.

Sign up for Google optimize

5. Site analytics

This will probably be the tool you spend the most time in and the most powerful tool you'll ever use for free. Google Analytics is a simple service you can install on your website to record how many visitors your site receives, how they found you, what pages they viewed, where they exited your site, how long they stayed, whether they’re new users and pretty much every other metric you can think of. When you think about it, it’s unbelievable that Google gives this service away for free.

Sign up for Google Analytics

6. Reporting

Google Data studio helps turns your data into informative dashboards and reports that are easy to read, easy to share, and fully customizable. These dashboards can be made with a variety of data sources from excel sheets, Google sheets, Google Analytics and much more. This powerful visual reporting tool allows you to tell great data stories to support better business decisions.

Sign up for Data Studios

7. SEO

Much like Google Analytics, Google Search Console is a must-have resource for webmasters. First of all, it is free to set up and run on your website and with it, you can monitor your site’s performance, identify any issues, submit content to be crawled, check on your mobile-friendliness, view the searches that brought users to your site, and much more besides.

Sign up for Search Console

8. Link building

OpenLinkProfiler is one of the few free tools that offer backlink analysis. You can check backlinks, their count, influence score, anchor texts and more. This tool has been great for finding link opportunities and how to one-up my competitors.

Sign up for OpenLinkProfiler

9. Content marketing

Whenever I have to decide what topics to write on I'll have a look at Buzzsumo. This site gives you insight into what’s most popular in your specific industry and you can get a feel for what drives viral appeal. Giving you an idea of what the trend is around and how better to structure your content for maximum amplification.

Sign up for Buzzsumo

10. Market research

Quora is the underdog in marketing and has been the got to and best-kept secret by SEOs for years. The platform has become fresh and more user-friendly as of now ( 2017). Quora is no longer littered with ads or low-quality content and is now a place people ask questions seriously and discuss topics of interest while looking for real answers.

This gives us a lot of windows into the minds of what people who are interested in your niche are looking for and asking the internet for. This can give you a great springboard to create content that answers these users questions. Create content that you feel will satisfy these questions and then test your content by posting it on Quora threads as well as on social media. Some people may be shy to ask but there are be those who are still looking for these answers.

Sign up for Quora

11. Competitor analysis

SimilarWeb is a useful tool for keeping tabs on your competitors. Using its free search tool, you can dig up stats on any website or app, including its rank globally, within its leading country, and within its respective category. You can also source information like traffic by country and sources; search and referral traffic and more.

Sign up for SimilarWeb

12. Customer feedback

Market research and customer feedback is a vital part of every growing business. Businesses always have some need for collecting qualitative data. You may be launching a new product or collecting feedback for an old one or would like users to rate your service which this tool can execute with ease. Survey Monkey’s online surveys are easy to build, setup and integrate with just about any website. 

Sign up for SurveyMonkey

13. Banner designs

Canva is such a versatile tool, this free visual content creation tool is a must in the age of the visual web. Canva helps you create attractive visuals for everything from social media graphics to presentations, banners, blog graphics, landing pages and business cards without having to do a photoshop course.

Sign up for Canva

For places to source images for banners to use on Canva check out our article 36 Free Stock Photo Sites

14. Infographic designs

Piktochart is a very popular tool for creating infographics. It is really easy to use and has other features that are great to use along with other types of visual content like presentations and posters. Its drag-and-drop interface is really simple and the results look slick and professional so no one will even suspect you're not a graphic designer. :)

Sign up for Piktochart

15. Live Chat

Zendesk chat formerly known as zopim is a universal live chat application that is easily installed on most sites and allows users to instantly connect with you via a live chat application widget on your site. It's great for customers who may have questions about your site or are struggling with your site like making a purchase or completing a form. Having a live chat function also helps you quickly eliminate issues, receive instant customer feedback and be proactive with your customers.

Sign up for Zopim/Zendesk

16. Task and team management

Organising creative projects can leave you with a mess of journal entries, emails, text messages and can leave you frazzled especially when you're a one-man-band. Creating clean visual boards helps many startup owners declutter and focus on tasks at hand. Milanote is a great tool for organising without the need for sticky notes since by design, it feels a lot like working on the wall in a creative studio - visual, tactile and sometimes a bit messy - Milanote is a great fit for designers who work in teams remotely.

Sign up for Milanote

Tools of the trade

What do you think of our selection? Do you think there are better alternatives or any free tools that should get a mention? Let us know in the comments section below

Contact us

If you want to know more about digital marketing don’t be shy we’re happy to assist. Simply contact us here

Tags: Content Marketing, digital strategy, email marketing, How to, Tools

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