7 Ways to Use Free Tools to Improve Your Digital Presence – Small Business Trends
If you’re a business owner, blogger or freelancer, chances are, you engage in some form of digital marketing for your business. You probably never intended to, and you certainly weren’t trained for it, but somewhere along the line, you figured it out because you realized your business would be dead without it. Kudos for that, marketing in today’s world is no easy feat.
But if you’ve fallen into the trap of ‘I just don’t know what to do anymore’, you’re not alone in that either.
With the prevalence of tools that have popped up over the past few years, and all the marketing and business blogs telling you about a million new opportunities, it can be difficult to figure out where to start.
How to Benefit from Free Digital Marketing Tools
So here’s some help. Here’s a list of some of the best ways you can use amazing tools, which have gotten some brilliant buzz over the past few years, to amp up your marketing this year and send your business skyrocketing to success. The best part – you can use them all free for as long as you need!
1. Use Better Keywords
If you’ve ever been guilty of creating content that you think is great, only to publish it and realize it’s not catching on, there’s a very good reason for that.
While you may have a general idea of what type of content your customers crave, it’s important to know exactly what keywords they’re searching for. Otherwise, you could have the best content on the Internet, but no one will find it.
One of the most overlooked areas of digital marketing is learning the right keywords to target your ideal customers. Ubersuggest is a completely free tool that lets you search the keywords you know to see how they are performing online, and provides alternate keyword suggestions that you probably never thought about before.
This way, you can have a comprehensive list of the best keywords for your business and brand, and use it all year round to create content, advertising and other material that’s sure to get attention.
2. Write Effective Emails
If you’ve ever dreamt about having a database of awesomely-written and beautifully-designed emails for inspiration at your disposal, then Really Good Emails is going to change your life, because that’s exactly what it is.
The good folks at RGE (as they call it, for short) flood their own inboxes so we don’t have to, then compile the screenshots of best of the best emails for your perusal, any time you want, for free.
Simply search for the ideal category in their left dropdown menu, and you’ll be shown a range of emails from some of the most loved brands worldwide.
You can also submit emails that you think are worth featuring, subscribe to their newsletter to get inspiration in your inbox weekly and check out their Legal Mumbo Jumbo just for kicks. Promise, you won’t be disappointed.
3. Make Your Site Rank Higher
You’re probably no stranger to search engine optimization. Yet, even with years of exposure, even the pros get SEO wrong sometimes, so don’t feel bad if you feel a little lost on how to optimize your content to get ranked and go viral.
We all need a little help when it comes to SEO and if you have a WordPress website, Yoast SEO is some of the best help you can get.
Once you install Yoast’s SEO plugin on your site, it will help you optimize every page and blog post on your site by helping you select keywords (this is where Ubersuggest comes in handy), craft the perfect snippet for search engines and even customize what people see when your post is shared on social media.
Most importantly, Yoast gives you a standard checklist of all the best practices for a good web page, and automatically checks your content to tell you what’s perfect and what you should change to put your best foot forward.
4. Create Eye-Catching Graphics
While it’s a fairly new tools on the market, Canva has garnered a lot of attention in a short time – and for very good reason!
For the majority of business owners and marketers who are not design-savvy, Canva is the perfect solution for getting high quality, attention-grabbing graphics without slaving away on Photoshop.
Canva’s whole mission is be the one-stop shop for everything design for businesses. Not only does it provide template sizes for the various types of designs one might need – from an Instagram image to a business report – it also offers several pre-designed templates made by top designers so you can literally change the text and voila, instant graphic perfection.
While Canva’s free account provided more than enough features for the average person’s needs, the extra features on Canva for Business (which cost $12.95 per month) can easily make it the only graphic design tool most small businesses will need.
5. Get Your Content Noticed
If you’re looking for anything from design templates to premium fonts to website themes, Creative Market is one of the best places on the web to get it. But one little-known fact about Creative Market is that it gives away some of the best stuff in the marketplace for free!
That’s right. Free. Every single week, Creative Market offers six of the products in its marketplace for free. As long as you have an account, they can be yours with the click of a button.
Of course, Creative Market gets to choose the Free Goods of the Week, but if you play your cards strategically, over time, you can amass a wealth of designs that you can use to give your digital business assets a professional polish, without paying a hefty price tag.
You can even use the templates and images you get from Creative Market in Canva to make your brand even more unique and impressive.
6. Automate Social Media Content
Buffer is another tried-and-true marketing tool that’s been around for some time but still worthy of buzz due to its constant improvements.
Most recently, the social media scheduling tool announced its latest update – automated Instagram posting. For a long time, due to Instagram’s restrictions, users of Instagram could only schedule posts on third-party tools, and get an alert to manually post from their phones at the specified time. Once Instagram loosened up those restrictions, Buffer became one of the first tools to get on board and offer the feature to its customers.
Nowadays, Buffer offers the ability to schedule posts for the six most popular social networking platforms – Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, Pinterest and Google+.
As with other freemium model tools, Buffer’s free account offers just enough to make it perfectly suitable for many small businesses that only have 2-3 active social media accounts and schedule posts every few days. However, if you need something more robust, Buffer’s Pro plan is only $15 per month and allows you to schedule unlimited posts for as far into the future as you dare to dream.
7. Improve Your Marketing Knowledge
One of the most important things to know about marketing is that while the tactics are changing constantly, the foundation of marketing remains the same. Yet very often, non-marketers find themselves winging it, relying on blog posts cobbled together from various media and basing their entire plan on whatever platform happens to be hip in the moment.
While winging it sounds like a heck of a good time for most things, marketing isn’t usually one of them. Knowing the basics of marketing can help you to develop great strategies built on solid principles, no matter the tools you have at your disposal, not the platform that’s currently in season.
One of the best places to get a university-level education of the foundation principles of marketing is Coursera. Every course on Coursera is taught by top instructors from the world’s best universities and educational institutions, and includes videos, written material and quizzes to test your knowledge every step of the way. Plus, they have a wide selection of marketing courses to choose from.
While you’re required to pay to get a certificate for the courses you study on Coursera, you can actually ‘audit’ the entire course and have access to all the material for free, which is all you really need if you’re learning for yourself or your own business.
Let’s Get Started!
One of the best things about this list is that each item is unique. They all work in tandem, but you can pick anyone that excites you most and give it a shot, and continue implementing the others as you get more comfortable.
One thing’s for sure – you really can’t go wrong with taking advantage of the free opportunities on this list. There’s little to lose and so much to gain. So go ahead, take a shot! Your business will thank you for it.
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