top online marketing tools
As a follow on to last weeks blog post showing over 50 Ways to Promote your Small Business for Free, I had a lot of people asking “how” to actually do some of those things. To help with this process, I’ve given my personal top online marketing tools (in no Particular Order).
It’s going to be hard to top my love for Canva so this is the first of my top online marketing tools. I am not a graphics designer by any stretch but create the majority of the graphics for my site and social media using this brilliant tool!
Design is done in 4 easy steps:
– Choose your Canvas Size (they have one to suit pretty much everything – so you don’t need to figure that out for yourself
– Pick a Template
– Change Colours, Fonts & Images to suit your Look
– Download to JPEG, PNG or PDF
I’ll certainly be talking more about Canva in the future, but if you haven’t tried it yet, it is a MUST!
2. Place It
Place it has an awesome library of different graphic mock-ups you can do. So say you want to superimpose a PDF you’ve created onto a tablet screen, you can do that here! Or you can create mock-up signage, books and even apparel. Simply choose an image from their big library, upload the picture you want superimposed and it does the magic for you!
3. Pic Monkey
For slightly more advanced editing such as creating collages or adding effects like airbrushing, backgrounds and frames, Pic Monkey is a great free and easy to use tool.
A great simple to use resource to choose your brand’s colour palette. Either use their random generator or browse through 100s of different combinations until you find one that suits your brand style.
5. Free Stock Photos, Fonts & Other Design Elements
Ok, technically not “one” resource as great photography that suits your brand can sometimes be a search. But here’s a list of great sites where you can get free photos and icons.
Unsplash: www.unsplash.com – Good General Range
Death to Stock Photo: deathtothestockphoto.com/ – Subscribe to their emails to get photos emailed to you monthly
Stock Snap: stocksnap.io/ – Good General Range
Free Nature Stock: freenaturestock.com/ – Specialise in Nature Photos
Realistic Shots: realisticshots.com/ – General Range
Life of Pix: www.lifeofpix.com/ – A lot of Nature Photos
Gratisography: gratisography.com/ – General Range
Public Domain Archive: publicdomainarchive.com/ – General Range
Travel Coffee Book: travelcoffeebook.com/ – Travel Photos
Foodies Feed: foodiesfeed.com/ – Food Pics
MMT mmtstock.com/ – General Range
Cupcake: cupcake.nilssonlee.se/ – General Range
Google Fonts: www.google.com/fonts
Font Squirrel: www.fontsquirrel.com
1001 Free Fonts: www.1001freefonts.com
Icons DB: www.iconsdb.com – Some require attribution but there are plenty that don’t. Bonus, you can customise to suit your brand colour)
A Big Mix
Graphic Burger: graphicburger.com – Flat lay images, vector images and mockups
Creative Market: www.creativemarket.com – Their online store isn’t free but if you subscribe their email list they send out different freebies often featuring fonts, icons, photos and even website themes.
Social Media & Email
Pre-schedule social media posts on Twitter, Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn, Instagram or YouTube from one simple to use interface. The free account allows you unlimited posts to 3 different social media accounts.
Alternative: Buffer. Also, have a free account, I’ve just not tried it personally to provide a proper recommendation on it but from what I hear it’s all positive.
Pre-schedule Instagram Posts. I’ve found this a bit more user-friendly for Instagram than Hootsuite, mostly because you can press enter when creating your comments. You can also crop the images directly from their interface. The free account includes 30 posts a month.
Bit.ly allows you to simple shorten links for your website so they are easy to fit into social media posts (although Hootsuite does shorten links to ow.ly as well so you have both options.). Bit.ly also provides analysis on click through rates and shares on any links you create.
One I haven’t yet tried myself but is high on my to-do list, and the reason I didn’t try it before now is because it sounded too good to be free! But turns out it is. IFTTT (If This, Then That) allows you to connect multiple online accounts and create “recipes” so that for example anytime you post to Facebook your Post will appear on Twitter. Or if you publish a Blog Post on WordPress it will automatically send it to Pinterest. The list of integrations is huge and go beyond just online marketing so it’s definitely worth exploring
MailChimp is a brilliant email list management tool that allows you to curate a list of subscribers and create beautiful emails to your list using their simple to use templates. And it’s totally free for lists of less than 2000 subscribers (so long as you don’t need to use automation).
Alternative: Mailer Lite. Again, not one I have used personally but I have heard good feedback on it from others. MailerLite is free for up to 1000 subscribers and includes automation and landing pages.
11. Google Analytics
Probably nothing new to most of you, but I can’t go past websites without mentioning Google Analytics. This is the best way to see how many visitors your website has, where they come from (both geographically and online), what are your most popular web pages, how many conversions you are getting and so much more.
To get started, visit analytics.google.com and follow their instructions for linking to your site.
12. Google Webmaster Tools
Another staple that is worth checking out. This is where you can look at the overall Google search performance of your website, upload your sitemap and see what external websites link to yours.
13. SEO by Yoast
For those of you on WordPress, SEO by Yoast is a fantastic tool to help improve the SEO performance on your site. You can edit the page title and description to how you want it to appear in Google Search Results. Additionally, it grades your pages SEO based around the main keyword you want to focus on.
A great little site that has someone visit your web page and look through it, all recorded for you to see and hear. Depending on the backlog you will receive a link to a video recording (I got mine back within just a few hours). It’s quite an interesting exercise to see what a random member of the public thinks!
15. Portent Title Maker
A nifty little website that helps you “generate” catchy blog post titles. Simply enter your topic and refresh the suggestions until you find one you love.
General Productivity & Business
Evernote is another one of those “must haves”. Basically, it is an online note & notebook manager that you can access from anywhere. It’s brilliant for blogging as you can create drafts on their, organise them into categories and then update or edit them from any device (your computer, phone, tablet or just through their browser). It’s also brilliant as just a catch all for those ideas you come up with when you are out & about or in the middle of the night.
Another one you probably are aware of but still worth a mention. I love dropbox as a way of sharing information across to my clients or simply just storing important documents and photos in the cloud.
Another new tool I’ve come across that I am in love with! Grammarly is an extension for Chrome that checks your grammar for you! So handy for when you are writing your website content or posts or even just your email! Saves the worry of needing to re-read your content 5 times and still miss your mistakes!
Join.me is a great resource for those instances where you think it would just be so much easier for someone to see your screen as you are doing something rather than trying to describe it to them over the phone or by skype. Once it’s installed on your computer all you need to do is start sharing and send the URL to the other person for them to put into their browser!
20. Google Docs
Since upgrading to a new computer, I haven’t had access to Word or Pages and have found I have been able to do most things I need to do right from in Google Docs! The bonus is that with anything I create and send, anyone can open it without needing special software.
And Since we’re talking about Free Resources…
I should mention my new Small Business Resource Library full of worksheets to help you with you branding, website, target market and more. Click here to get access.