Learn about eight free tools Sandro & Liz have used & enjoy and how they can help your small business grow! Whether you’re on a budget or just want to try something new, there should be something here for you!
8 Free Marketing Tools For Your Small Business 2019
Liz: [00:00:00] OK. And the card is in here? Yes. Otherwise we could not be recording.
Sandro: [00:00:03] Yes.
Liz: [00:00:03] So I think we are good.
Liz: [00:00:07] Hello and welcome back to Liz and Sandro’s Marketing Podcast. We provide insight and advice on social media, SEO, reputation management, website development and more. Before we get into the episode, we have a very quick favor to ask. Please take a moment to show us some love with a review on iTunes. We are also on Google Podcast and Spotify by the way. However, iTunes is the only place where you can leave a review. So again, show us some love, we would greatly appreciate it. Today Sandro is going to be sharing 8 free marketing tools for your small business.
Sandro: [00:00:41] Thanks Liz. That’s right. Let’s talk free marketing tools. I love free stuff. And chances are you may too. In addition, your business may be on a budget and you would still like to grow, or you may want to try something new and aren’t sure if investing money is worth not only the time, but money. So here’s a few online products that are 100 percent free for you to try. Ones that Liz and or I have used and recommend.
Sandro: [00:01:08] So the main reason for this post is that a friend of my family’s opened a fast casual restaurant recently. And they inherited two huge screens for their menu board. And they asked me to create graphics for those huge screens. I did a lot of research and they were willing to pay for a service to beam the menu up there or to create a menu up there. But the more research I did, the more I kept coming back to PosterMyWall. That’s my first free product, PosterMyWall. Great tool. Did the graphics. 100 percent free. Great resolution. Watermark free. Well worth checking out. And 100 percent free. They do tell you you can only make x amount of edits before you have to pay. But we’ve made a ton of edits and it’s still free downloads. So check it out, PosterMyWall.
Sandro: [00:01:56] Speaking of graphics, the grandaddy, number 2 is Canva.
Liz: [00:02:01] Canva is great.
Sandro: [00:02:02] I tried the paid one but it didn’t offer me anything new that wasn’t in the free one really to be honest with you. Have you tried the paid one?
Liz: [00:02:08] We have not. But I feel like we will be soon.
Sandro: [00:02:14] The paid one lets you instantly convert to an Instagram size, to a Facebook size, to a Twitter size. But it messes it up so bad that I had to go in and redo it anyways, so it wasn’t worth the upgrade.
Liz: [00:02:25] See, I’m thinking more for organization and some branding purposes. Creating folders, uploading specific fonts for clients. Just cause I feel like things are very messy when I get in there and having a folder for each client and some specific fonts and colors all laid out, I’m thinking that could be very helpful.
Sandro: [00:02:47] I didn’t even get that far. But if you’re a small business with one font and color that you like, I guess…
Liz: [00:02:51] Yeah, if you’re, if you’re a solo business, free will be probably more than enough for you.
Sandro: [00:02:57] Plenty. I love what they give you for free. And there’s a version 2.0 coming out. I’m excited to see what that includes. 3rd product, going with graphics. We’ve talked about it in the past: LibreStock. An aggregator of free stock images from multiple platforms. You punch in the word ‘puppy.’ It’ll show you lots of free pics you can legally use for your site or for your social media from various sites. It will send you to a third site, third party site and you may have to sign up and do a bunch of stuff to get the free image, but at least you’ll be able to check them all out.
Liz: [00:03:28] I kind of forgot about that one for a hot minute. I’ve been using, what is it? Unsplash so much lately that I kind of forgot about. . .
Sandro: [00:03:34] Unsplash was actually…
Liz: [00:03:36] Are you going to talk about that in a minute?
Sandro: [00:03:37] No, I was going. . . when I was looking for free tools Unsplash was something that came up, along with TinEye. If you’re trying to figure out where, that’s like a backwards search.
Liz: [00:03:45] Oh that’s right. Yeah.
Sandro: [00:03:46] Where an image came from yeah.
Liz: [00:03:48] Yeah I forgot about Librestock. I think there was a couple times where I kept clicking on a site where I had to create a new account and I was getting so annoyed that I was like all right enough of this! Unsplash!
Sandro: [00:03:57] It is a little challenging there, but.
Liz: [00:03:59] But there were some good images. And it’s free! And also let me add this, I do think sites like Unsplash and from what I was seeing on Librestock, those were decent stock images. I get frustrated searching iStock, and Depositphotos and it’s just page after page of awkwardly staged, corny stock images. Like, I’m not going to use any of these. They’re unnatural. I don’t think they tell a good story. Yeah, I’m over that.
Sandro: [00:04:32] Next up, maybe you can help me out with this one also Liz: Mailchimp, Forever Free. We’ve talked about the importance of your email list, Mailchimp helps it grow. And coming up on events season for me, I’ve got a bunch of events coming up I’m helping with. And I love the fact that Mailchimp integrates with Eventbrite and lots of WordPress plugins. So Mailchimp – free. Great way to build your email list and utilize emails whether you’re just starting out, or well into your email game. It works. They do have paid plans. But I’ve never used the paid plans. I know you’re more of an email marketer.
Liz: [00:05:09] Yeah! And I’m, actually now that we’re chatting, I’m trying to think if I still have anyone on the free plan. I don’t know that I do.
Sandro: [00:05:16] I know it gets rid of the logo at the bottom.
Liz: [00:05:18] I think for us it’s been more of an issue with list size, and then wanting to also take advantage of the autoresponder feature. I think that pushed us into the paid accounts.
Sandro: [00:05:31] I think it’s 2000, the maximum.
Liz: [00:05:34] Correct.
Sandro: [00:05:35] If your email list goes over 2000. I do love that you can still track links. You can create buttons and you can track who clicked links and you can utilize it all on the free plan.
Liz: [00:05:46] There’s a lot of great features just there in the free plan. For sure.
Sandro: [00:05:50] So the next two, the next one I’m going to group two into one. It’s scheduling software. So Buffer for scheduling tweets, we’ve talked about many, many times. You can schedule up to 10.
Liz: [00:06:01] Is there a free version of Buffer?
Sandro: [00:06:03] Yes. I think you asked me this previously. Yes, you can schedule up to 10 free at a time. Whatever times you want, all for free.
Liz: [00:06:11] I don’t think I knew that. I think because I have been paying for it for so long.
Sandro: [00:06:15] Me too. It’s just one Twitter account.
Liz: [00:06:18] And that’s probably why I just ignore it.
Sandro: [00:06:20] Yeah, you can do for 10 bucks and month you can do 12 Twitter accounts. So that’s worth it. But if you’ve only got one Twitter account and you can do 10 at a time and you’re okay with that, totally free and fantastic.
Liz: [00:06:31] Yeah, I do prefer Buffer over Hootsuite personally. I just feel like it’s a little more intuitive to use. Easier to navigate.
Sandro: [00:06:39] Agreed. And Hootsuite was my next one I was going to…
Liz: [00:06:43] We actually have a paid Hootsuite account as well. And that’s only because the Buffer account that we have, the next jump up is so significant. Expensive, yeah price-wise that I was just like, you know what, let me just pay for a Hootsuite account even though we don’t love it. We’re just in their scheduling. Just like, get it done.
Sandro: [00:07:06] Well, I’m saying use Buffer for free for Twitter and use Hootsuite for free for Instagram. Cuz I like Hootsuite’s Instagram a lot. Later.com is, I think the best Instagram but it’s 10 bucks per account. Not free, zero free accounts. Whereas with Hootsuite you can get three Instagram accounts for free. It does limit you to 30 posts per month, but that’s plenty I think. So. 100 percent free – Hootsuite for Instagram. 100 percent free for Twitter – Buffer.
Sandro: [00:07:33] 3 more. Dropbox. Can’t even think of a world without it these days. There are of course other services but this one is just used by everyone, whether you’re on Windows or a Mac or Android or iOS, it just works. It’s simple. You get two and a half gigs of storage for free, which is plenty when you’re sharing documents. We even share videos.
Liz: [00:07:53] Love it. And I have…well, actually no, I think I have upgraded a couple accounts at this point just because we have team members and all kinds of stuff going on. But I love Dropbox. I moved away from Google Drive just because I was having issues with files disappearing and did a little bit of research and found out that it was a known issue that Google wasn’t correcting. This was several years ago, so maybe it has been fixed but I was like, I cannot afford to have spreadsheets just disappear. So, moved over to Dropbox.
Sandro: [00:08:24] Let’s talk about some of the good Google stuff. I know there’s a lot of free Google products.
Liz: [00:08:28] There’s a lot of great ones.
Sandro: [00:08:29] Google Gmail, Google Docs, Google My Business, Google Keyword Planner to name a few. But the far and away my favorite free Google product is…can you guess?
Liz: [00:08:38] Oh, um, Google Data Studio?
Sandro: [00:08:41] Oh, I forgot about Google’s Data Studio. That is a great free product, you’re right.
Liz: [00:08:45] That I truthfully haven’t explored enough.
Sandro: [00:08:47] My favorite all time Google free product is Google Analytics. There’s a lot of paid ways for you to look at the traffic on your website and lots of paid ways to see changes in what’s happening and what people are doing when they come to your website. And I’ve seen articles talking about all these paid ways you can do it. But even all those articles, just like me, come back to the fact that Google Analytics is far and away the best way and it’s 100 percent free.
Sandro: [00:09:17] Sure it can be confusing the first time you’re in there and you think you need like a Rosetta Stone or need the Torah to work it. But there’s a lot of help out there. There’s a lot of premade reports made by third party products that are free to help you. It’s great for beginners. It’s great for advanced things. There’s new things, there’s ways you haven’t even thought of to use it. It’s fantastic. And it integrates with everything. Eventbrite, everything.
Liz: [00:09:35] Now, the free reports that I have tested, and I may need to go back and look at this with some fresh eyes. But at one point I set up some free reports for clients and I got immediately frustrated because I didn’t feel like it communicated the data that I wanted. And they were like, set and it was a template that you couldn’t edit. You know, it spit out these stats and that’s what they got in their inbox and clients were like, hyper focused on that and I’m like, “No, no, that’s not…we don’t need to pay attention to that, we need to pay attention to this.” I thought it created a lot of confusion.
Sandro: [00:10:10] Yeah, I believe the premade ones you cannot change. But that’s where Google Data Studio comes in. So everything is there at your fingertips. It’s all free. But you do have to do a little bit of work to get probably what you want.
Liz: [00:10:21] Yeah. So at this point for me though, I look at other you know, there are other tools out there that track hits and sessions or whatever they call a session. And I mean, I can’t even read them at this point I’m just, Google Analytics is so ingrained in my brain that that’s always what I go back to.
Sandro: [00:10:41] And finally – Grammarly.
Liz: [00:10:44] Interesting.
Sandro: [00:10:45] It’s a free way to check the spelling, the grammar on your website. A friend of mine has a vegan cooking website and he published I think, 32 pages as soon as the website hit and I went through it for him and found over a dozen misspellings he hadn’t caught. There are paid versions, but the free version works pretty darn well.
Liz: [00:11:04] I tried the paid version actually and was thoroughly unimpressed. But as we were just talking about this before we started recording, I took multiple grammar courses. I just think it’s hard for a machine to reach that level of AP style detail that I’ve been trained in. So if you are not strong at grammar and proofreading, oh my gosh, yeah it can help tremendously. It could catch typos left and right and I think that can be very helpful. But for me, I was getting frustrated. Things were being underlined and pointed out and I’m like, no, I did that. You know, I wrote that a certain way for a reason because I follow AP style.
Liz: [00:11:42] One quick one that I mentioned to somebody just the other day I just thought of, if you’re running a simple contest on Facebook and use likes or comments as an entry and you have to pick a winner randomly, we use Woobox. W O O B O X. They have a free service to pick winners randomly from Facebook posts. It’s kind of hidden in there but it’s easy, it’s in there. If you have a contest and you have 20 or 200 comments or entries and you’ve got to pick one of them randomly and you’re like, ugh. Woobox just randomly picks one and boom that’s it. So those are my free choices.
Liz: [00:12:15] I love these. I use almost all of them.
Sandro: [00:12:20] I made a list of like 25 to be honest with you. These are just 8. I figured like, it included Yoast, there’s tons of free plugins.
Liz: [00:12:27] Yeah, Yoast. Well, we could do a whole separate episode on free plugins. Our top free plugins. Yeah.
Sandro: [00:12:32] But I thought these 8 were great for everybody to start. Especially with the Canva, and the Dropbox, and the Mailchimp, and the Librestock, and the PosterMyWall. All pretty cool.
Liz: [00:12:42] I like it. Awesome! Well, thank you for compiling this list. More to come on this topic it sounds like. Thank you for joining us. Don’t forget to subscribe on your favorite podcast app. Again you can find us on iTunes, Google Podcast and Spotify. We are also on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Show us some love, we’d greatly appreciate it and we will see you on the next episode.