As an entrepreneur trying to get your small business off the ground, you probably don’t have a huge marketing budget. You may even choose to handle your own promotional efforts. Fortunately, several top-notch free tools are currently available to reduce stress and make your marketing efforts more effective, even if you’re coming to the marketing game with zero marketing experience.
Hassle-Free Graphic Design
As the advertising and marketing space becomes more crowded, beautiful graphics are essential to help your business stand out online and in print. Social media platforms such as Instagram and Pinterest demand great images, and research shows that customers engage with image posts at rate that’s an astonishingly 650% higher than posts that contain only text. If you’ve ever struggled to learn Photoshop or find the funds to hire a graphic designer you know how difficult it can be to create fantastic visuals for your business.
Enter Canva, a free online graphic design tool. This powerful, drag-and drop interface makes it easy to design custom images for social media, websites, blog posts, and more. Not a designer? Canva also offers more than 50,000 templates—many of them free—to get you started. Other great features include free stock photos, illustrations, charts and icons. A no-cost Canva account gives you access to all their free features as well as inexpensive upgrades, such as $1 premium stock photos. The paid Canva for Work account lets you save brand color palettes, add logos and upload custom fonts.
Effective Headline Writing
Nothing grabs your visitors’ attention like a compelling headline. Great headlines are digital marketing’s secret weapon, making users more likely to click on your link, boosting your web traffic and building brand awareness. The free CoSchedule Headline Analyzer can help you write better titles for your web pages, blog articles, social media posts and advertisements. It’s a breeze to use Headline Analyzer by CoSchedule — simply enter your title and click "Analyze Now." The tool gives your title a score out of 100 based on the number of common, uncommon, emotional, and power words. It also analyzes the length of each headline and provides tips for improvement.
The Headline Analyzer is free, and CoSchedule also offers paid plans that include editorial calendar planning tools, content management, social media post scheduling and marketing campaign management.
Fast Website Analysis
Your small business website is one of your most important marketing tools. It’s your online calling card and your main informational hub, with your URL appearsingon nearly every piece of marketing collateral, including brochures and online advertisements. If you’re not a web expert, it can be difficult to know if your site is performing well. HubSpot Website Grader, a free analysis tool, takes away the confusion.
To use Website Grader, choose an important page of your website, such as a landing page or a sales page, and enter the URL. The tool analyzes the page based on performance, mobile optimization, search engine optimization and security. Even better, it provides a detailed explanation of each section and provides useful links with step-by-step instructions to help you make improvements. If you feel overwhelmed, a "What should I do next?" section offers a list of high-priority steps. While the Website Grader reports are free, the paid version of HubSpot’s Marketing Platform offers more advanced tools, including options for lead optimization, landing pages, SEO and more.
For many small businesses, free tools are sufficient when improving marketing efforts. As you grow and gain experience on each platform, you’re in a good place to decide whether the paid versions are worth adding to your business budget.