Starting your own small business from scratch can be a challenging task without the right resources. Especially if you are trying to achieve your goals on a very limited budget. Today, I have compiled a list of my favourite free marketing tools for small businesses. They are great for companies that don’t have a Marketing department nor dedicated agencies to help them manage all that’s going on.
Also, just a quick disclaimer before we move on. A couple of the links on this blog post are affiliate, which means that I will make a small commission if you end up purchasing after clicking.
So, without further ado, let’s go!
27 Free Marketing tools for Small Businesses
Of course, I can’t do a list of free Marketing tools without mentioning Canva at the very top. Anyone who knows me knows that I am a huge fan of this tool. And I can’t stop recommending it enough! And no, they are not paying me to do that (unfortunately… 🙂 ).
Anyways, Canva is a graphics design platform (affiliate link) that makes it ridiculously easy for anyone to do hundreds of designs without having any experience in Photoshop, Adobe Illustrator or any other tool. They have plenty of templates for:
- Social media campaigns, including Facebook, Instagram and Twitter;
- Your presentations (when PowerPoint just isn’t doing it for you);
- Flyers, posters and infographics;
- Event invitations and brochures;
- Blog and social media posts;
- Photo collages;
- Magazines and book covers;
And even animated social media! Among others, of course. You can even create your logo, business cards, and basically your whole corporate identity. Which can do the trick if you are just starting, and you can’t afford to hire a graphic designer to do the whole project for you.
Obviously, I am not saying that Canva is a substitute for graphic designers. After all, they are experts in their field, and a tool will never substitute someone with a creative mind, ideas, and hands. But hey, if you can’t hire one, you have to start somewhere, right? You can always upgrade later.
What’s also great about Canva is that you can just drag and drop images, and replace them easily within the template.
Canva also has a paid plan. It allows you to do really cool things like establishing a brand kit that includes your colours, logos and fonts, to have on hand when you need them:
You can try it for free for 30 days!
2. Google Analytics
If I were in a deserted island and only had to choose one free Marketing tool for my small business (yes, I know this doesn’t make much sense), this would undoubtedly be Google Analytics.
In fact, you might already be familiar with it. But if you aren’t, it is my Marketing duty to show it to you. If I don’t, it would mean that I haven’t done my job well enough.
Google Analytics is a powerful web analytics tool that helps you track and analyze the traffic that comes to your website. It collects data by tracking users coming from organic search, paid search, referrals, e-mail campaigns and direct search. And, after that, it compiles it into meaningful reports that help you understand your visitors’ behavior.
Google Analytics is 100% free, and it is an absolute must if you want to understand the traffic that’s coming to your website. And more importantly, what channels that you are investing in are the ones that convert the most.
With Analytics, you can understand fun things like:
- What countries your web visitors are coming from;
- The electronic devices that they used to search for you, such as mobile, desktop or tablet;
- What are the most visited pages of your web;
- Your biggest traffic sources;
- The engagement of your visitors with your web;
And of course, much more! You can also build customized reports, and integrate Google Analytics with campaign tools such as Google Ads.
3. Yandex Metrica
There’s only a few things that Google Analytics can’t do. But lucky for us, there is Yandex Metrica to give us a helping hand when this happens!
Yandex Metrica is developed and supported by Yandex, the most important Russian search engine, and the fifth biggest in the world. Its market share accounts for 65% in Russia.
Yandex Metrica is an analytics tool with very similar features to those of Google Analytics. However, it has two important and really interesting ones that Analytics doesn’t:
It allows you to record the sessions of your web visitors (of course, anonymously). This way, you can see their exact behavior on your website, which pages their visited, and where they clicked (or tried to click but there wasn’t a link).
You can also see their date and time of visit, how many minutes or seconds they spent on each page, and if they ended up converting. It is a great way to extract additional data to help you understand user behavior.
Another awesome feature that Yandex Metrica has is their heatmap tool. A heatmap helps you discover the exact sections of your page that drive the most attention, and whether it has any blind spots that people never go to. It also shows you those places where a lot of people try to click because they are expecting to find something behind them.
Yandex Metrica is definitely an awesome and completely free Marketing tool for small businesses. In fact, they don’t even have a paid version. You couldn’t pay even if you wanted to!
I love the fact that you can use their session recording and heatmap features for free. The reason why is because these tools are almost always paid, and you would have to pay for a long-term subscription to use them.
Another great alternative is Hotjar, but it is only free if you want to collect data from no more than 5,000 pageviews for day. For more, you would have to purchase a subscription plan.
4. Content Idea Generator
As I already explained in my article 10 basic Marketing terms that are more simple than they seem, Inbound Marketing is all about the content. And the value that you provide to users to make them want to reach for you voluntarily.
For this reason, Portent’s Content Idea generator is a great tool for helping you create and spice up your content. It is especially helpful for coming up with awesome titles for your blog posts. As a hobby blogger, I often have a really hard time thinking of a title that is not only optimized for Search Engine Optimization, but also catchy.
The tool also gives you some great tips on how to improve your title even further after it has generated it automatically for you.
You only need to write down your topic, click on the arrow button, and voilá! You get fresh ideas instantly. If you don’t particularly like them, just continue clicking until you are satisfied with your job title.
5. Website Grader
- Page size – is your website light and fast to load (or not?)
- Page requests – are there too many HTTP requests that are slowing it down?
- The speed of your page – how many seconds do your pages take to load?
- Mobile-friendly – does your website have a responsive design that adapts to different devices?
- Viewport – can you control your page width and scale on different device types?
- Security – do you have an SSL certificate?
The Website Grader will also give you an approximate evaluation of your Search Engine Optimization:
- Page titles – are the titles of your pages shorter than 70 characters? Do they repeat keywords?
- Meta description – are you using clear meta descriptions that contain keywords, and are shorter than 300 characters? (otherwise, they won’t fit on every device)
- Headings – are you using headings to break down your content into easy to understand sections?
- Sitemaps – do you have a sitemap to help users navigate your website easily?
This tool is great for getting a good idea of where your website is at the moment when it comes to performance. After all, optimizing the performance of your site will not only increase traffic, but will also generate more leads, and help you get found on Google more easily.
And of course, this tool will also give you some tips on how to improve the sections that aren’t scoring well.
A lot of people might argue that Yoast is not exactly a Marketing tool, but rather a plugin. Which is true – it is a plugin that you can download for free and install on your WordPress.
However, I definitely believe that only someone who is an absolute expert of Search Engine Optimization wouldn’t need this tool. Even after an year of blogging, I still use it religiously to ensure that all my articles follow the recommended criteria for good SEO and readability.
So, I think that every small business that want to ace their SEO strategy should use it. Of course, Yoast has a paid plan, but I think that the free one is excellent for a starter. It helps you:
- Optimize for a selected keyword or phrase by telling you exactly where to place it;
- And also, how much (keyword density) – your keyword should not appear too much nor too little;
- Write great meta descriptions that include your focus keyword;
- Keep your SEO title width within the recommended length;
- Control the use of image alt attributes;
- Ensure that you have enough internal and external links;
And a lot more!
As you can see from the image above, Yoast works like a traffic light. It marks your good scores in green, your good-enough, but improvable ones in yellow, and the bad ones in red. I highly recommend that you keep everything in green! This way, you make sure that you follow the best practices for optimizing your website for search engines.
Yoast will also help you keep track of how readable your page or blog post is:
In other words, if it’s easy to follow through the text, or it’s difficult and unreadable. And although readability is not precisely an SEO requirement, it is great for making sure that your content is user-friendly. And that your audience will actually get value from it.
AnswerThePublic.com is an awesome keyword research tool that’s really useful when it comes to both SEO and SEM.
So far, you have probably noticed that when you type something on Google, the search engine gives you suggestions based on what other users are searching for:
Well, instead of having to type multiple search terms on Google to try and collect all suggestions, Answer The Public does this for you. For free. It gives you a complete and visual report on hundreds of suggestions that you could use for your content or campaigns.
Including questions, prepositions, and comparisons:
Of course, as with the majority of free Marketing tools on the list, there are also paid premium plans. But I think that the free one is quite good as a starter.
Next on our list of free Marketing tools for small businesses is Mailchimp.
MailChimp is a US-based Marketing Automation platform and an email marketing service. Its features include:
- Audience tools – such as CRM, audience dashboard, filters for advanced email marketing segmentation, personalization tools, and multiple integrations so you can pull our your customer event data. You can also create lookalike audiences based on your own data to increase the probabilities of reaching your target customers.
- Brand tools – you can create your own website, register a domain name, and launch branded, multi-channel campaigns. All this without the need for any coding skills.
- Campaign tools – with Mailchimp, you can also create email lists, launch email campaigns, and create high-converting landing pages. You can also publish organic social posts, and design and send postcards to your audience.
- Insights – and of course, you can’t do any of this without having a good analytics tool to show your results. Mailchimps’ integrations and insight tools help you understand your audience better, and learn what content resonates with it.
As far as the pricing goes, the company gives you all the basics for free. For example, the free plan gives you:
- Up to 2,000 contacts in your Marketing CRM;
- The creation of 1 audience;
- Up to 30 days of custom event data;
- Content studio and basic templates;
- Site analytics;
- Single-step automations;
- Tags, segmentation, behavioral targeting and an audience dashboard;
And more, making it perfect for small businesses that are just starting up with their Marketing strategy. As your business starts to grow, you will probably have to upgrade. But for now, you can check here everything that the free plan includes.
9. LinkedIn Ads
Another thing that some might argue is technically not a tool is a secret tab that shows you the LinkedIn ads of your competition. Yes, that’s right! And of course, it’s not secret because LinkedIn hides it from you. On the contrary; they created it with the idea of being as transparent as possible with their advertising.
However, not many people know about its existence. So, I am here to tell you about it.
If you want to see the ads of your competition, just go to the Company page of your competitor. And then, on the left column, you will see the Ads tab:
From this tab, you will be able to see all ads in any format that your competitor launched in the last 6 months. This is a great exercise if you are advertising on LinkedIn and are looking for some inspiration. Or just want to know what your competitor is doing.
Also, if you need more inspiration for your LinkedIn ads, you can check my compilation here.
While we are still on the topic of competitor analysis tools, another great platform with some free features is Adbeat.
Of course, they have a set of pricing plans for those who want to access their advanced competitive intelligence tools for display advertising. Which are somewhat pricey, although I am sure worth it (I haven’t used the paid plans of the platform).
However, they also have a basic, free access that allows you to see the display ads of your competitor, and the details of their advertiser’s profile:
It is definitely an awesome add-on to our list of free Marketing tools for small businesses.
No matter the size of your business, one of the most important things that any Marketing tool should be is scalable. After all, practically any company is created with the goal of growing. So, as the company grows, the platforms and tools that it’s using should be able to grow as fast to keep up with it.
In that sense, I think that Hubspot is a very good tool with a free plan for a starter.
HubSpot is a platform for Inbound Marketing that helps you automate your Marketing and Sales processes. Some of their services include:
- Marketing Hub – a set of tools for growing your traffic, increase lead conversion, create content, and generally executive an efficient Inbound strategy.
- Sales Hub – features that will help you automate your sales outreach, track your pipeline, and create email templates, among others.
- Service Hub – a customer service software that will help you close more tickets while providing better attention to your customers.
You can get started with all of these hubs for free. However, if you need more advanced or personalized features, you will have to upgrade to a paid plan.
Hubspot also has a completely free CRM tool that allows you to:
- Keep and manage all your contacts in one place;
- Track interactions and conversations;
- Schedule emails and appointments;
- Manage your entire sales funnel from a single, visual dashboard.
Semrush (affiliate link) is a comprehensive online visibility management platform. It provides a variety of solutions for Search Engine Optimization, SEM, content, social media, and competitive research, among others.
Some of their most interesting tools include:
- Keyword Magic Tool – an easy and intuitive tool for making better keyword research;
- Keyword Gap – allowing you to compare the organic positioning of up to 5 domains;
- Backlink analytics – helps you analyze the backlinks that are pointing to your website.
- CPC Map – find out what is the average Cost per Click in your niche across different regions;
- Keyword Difficulty – helps you understand and evaluate the competitiveness of your keywords;
- Site audit – with this tool, you can check your website’s overall health and SEO issues.
Of course, SemRush’s free plan will only get you the basics, but I think they are totally worth it! You can always upgrade later if you need more comprehensive and advanced data. With the free plan, you also only get an unlimited requests per day.
Mention is a social media and web monitoring tool. It enables companies to listen to the conversations that are happening about them on the internet. Mention has tools for:
- Social media monitoring – for identifying trending topics, getting insights on your audience, and identifying influencers;
- Brand management – allowing you to understand brand perception and monitor crisis situations;
- Competitive analysis – to help you stay ahead of the competition and get insights on their social media content;
- Media monitoring – with this tool, you will be able to monitor Facebook, Instagram and Twitter in a way that’s visual and easy to understand.
The free plan includes 1 alert, 250 mentions, 3 social accounts and one username. After that, you have different subscription plans depending on your needs.
When it comes to Digital Marketing, a lot of Marketers will have to do simple editing things to accommodate banners, reduce image sizes for blog posts, crop out a logo, and others. In another words, things that are way too simple to need Photoshop, but a bit more complex than your good old Paint.
For these adjustments, BeFunky is a great tool that gives you the basics for free. Of course, if you need more advanced features such as colour replacement or auto enhance, you might have to upgrade. But if you only need to do some basic editing, BeFunky is definitely a way to go!
With the rise and popularity of social media in the 21st century, it has become practically impossible to reach your target audience without having a social account on at least 1 channel.
In fact, as a small business, you will probably need to manage at least 2 social accounts. The majority of your potential clients probably live on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and even LinkedIn. So, you will need a tool to save you time and make account managing easier.
Hootsuite is a Social Media Marketing and Management tool that allows you to:
- Publish your posts all at once across different social platforms;
- Create custom streams of social content;
- Automatically schedule posts for those times when you are not going to be at the office;
- Track and prove social Return on Investment through comprehensive reporting;
- Manage tasks and assignments;
- As well as find and filter conversations related to your company.
With the free plan, you get up to 3 social profiles, 30 scheduled users, and 1 user account. After that, you will have to upgrade.
Hootsuite is one of the most popular free Marketing tools for small businesses that want to manage their social media strategy.
16. Google Alerts
Google Alerts is a completely free tool that allows you to monitor the web for interesting content. All you need to do is type down the search term or topic that you are interested in, and your email address. This will enable Google to send you the latest results about this topic. Such as web pages, newspaper articles, blog posts, and others.
17. Make my Persona
Make my Persona is a 100% free tool created by Hubspot for Digital Marketers and small businesses that are just starting their journey. It allows you to get a better understanding of what a buyer persona is, and more importantly, how to create one.
This tool is great for visualizing the semi-fictional representation of your ideal customer. This way, you will be able to allocate your team’s time and resources, and improve your digital campaigns’ segmentation.
18. Google Analytics Campaign URL Builder
Another awesome platform from our list of free Marketing tools for small businesses is Google Analytics’ Campaign URL Builder.
It allows you to add campaign parameters to your URL so you can get a better understanding of your traffic in Google Analytics. This way, you will know exactly what campaigns or channels are driving more conversion, so you can focus your efforts on them.
To build your URL, just follow the instructions as you fill out the form shown above.
Trello is a task management tool that helps small businesses organize their projects and get things done in a more efficient way. It is also perfect for Marketers, especially in companies where campaigns or other Marketing projects are handled by third parties.
It lets you organize your tasks by creating columns and cards, and move them easily from one place to another as their advance in the process.
They have a free plan that is really good for a starter. After that, if you want to add more users to your dashboards, you can always upgrade.
20. Moz Link Explorer
Of course, there can’t be a list of free Marketing tools for small businesses without mentioning Moz.
Moz is a really powerful platform for Search Engine Optimization. In fact, they were the first ones to introduce the concept of domain authority for websites.
Some of their free SEO tools include:
- Keyword explorer – a tool designed to help businesses with their keyword research;
- Link explorer – which gives you helpful insights about internal links, external links, and domain authority;
- Moz bar – a tool that helps companies examine and analyze social and page metrics;
- My online presence – with this tool, you will be able to see how your location appears on local search engines and directories;
- Free domain analysis – get SEO metrics concerning top ranking pages, competitive analysis, keywords, and more;
- Location audit – if your business has over over 100 locations, you can request a free audit to evaluate the quality of your local listings.
You can check all of Moz’ free tools here. Of course, keep in mind that they have a daily limit; after that, you will have to upgrade.
21. Google Data Studio
We already know that Google has a lot of tools for Marketers (and not only!). However, Google Data Studio deserves a special attention on our list of free Marketing tools for small businesses.
You see, having data is one thing, but understanding it and visualizing it is completely another. After all, why do you need data if you are not going to do anything with it? And we all know that raw information is usually not easy to digest, especially if you are not an expert in the field.
Well, Google Data Studio allows you to pull data from different sources, such as Google Ads, Google Analytics, Big Query, and Google Sheets, among others. Once the data is processed, you can use it to create beautiful, interactive and smart dashboards so you can make better business decisions.
And the best part is, these dashboards pull data in real time, so they will always be up to date with your latest results.
If you need more information on how to get started with this tool, check Hubspot’s Ultimate Guide to Google Data Studio in 2020.
22. Screaming Frog SEO Spider
Screaming Frog SEO Spider is a website crawler tool that lets you crawl multiple URLs in order to audit their SEO results in real time. It can help you find broken links, discover temporary and permanent redirects, detect duplicate content, and analyze meta data, among others features.
Their free version includes:
- A crawl limit of 500 URLs;
- Site visualizations;
- Detection of broken links, errors and redirects;
- Analysis of page titles and meta data;
- An audit of hreflang attributes;
- XML sitemaps generation;
- Meta Robots & Directives review;
- Discovery of duplicate pages;
You can also compare the free version to the paid one here.
23. Blog Ideas Generator
One of my favourites from our list of free Marketing tools is Hubspot’s Blog ideas generator.
It is perfect for small businesses that need some extra help on coming up with creative blog topics and titles. You just need to enter your topic and up to 5 nouns, and it will automatically generate some ideas for you. Here is what I got from typing down the words “tree, apple, and branch”:
Of course, not all of the ideas are going to make sense. However, the good news is that you can use this tool with as many topics as you want. Or request a year of blog ideas by filling out a form with your data.
This tool is very simple, but really valuable when it comes to Search Engine Optimization. Especially if you are striving to position on the first pages of search engines like Google.
Basically, what Wordcounter.net does is that it lets you paste any URL that you want, and it will return the number of words on that URL. For me, it has been extremely helpful to get an idea of how long my blog posts should be.
Of course, a longer post doesn’t necessarily mean that you will position on the first page of Google. However, Backlinko did a study on 1 million search results, and they found that the average first page contains articles that are at least 1890 words.
Also, if you do the check yourself for a specific keyword, and find out that all articles on the first pages contain at least 1500 words (for example), you should try and beat at least this benchmark.
25. Headline Analyzer
Next on our list of free Marketing tools is CoSchedule’s Headline Analyzer. Its purpose is to evaluate and score your headlines with the purpose of increasing their effectiveness and Click Through Rate (CTR).
It also gives you some great tips on how to write powerful and attention grabbing headlines!
Asana is a great tool that helps you create projects, distribute tasks to your team members, share attachments, set due dates, and write down comments for your colleagues to see.
It helps you visualize your goals, break them down into specific milestones, and see how well you are doing with your time management. Maybe you will find out that you could have completed a lot of your projects in less time if you had organized your team efficiently.
If you are looking for a free image editing tool for your social media channels, Stencil is a great option for that. It helps you create social media graphics and highly compelling ads by choosing from over 1,000 templates (and more than 2 million stock photos).
The free plan of this tool includes:
- The possibility to save up to 10 images per month;
- Limited photos and icons;
- The upload of up to 50 images;
- You can also create up to 10 collections and send 10 Instagram SMS per month.
Wrapping it up
Congratulations! You are now packed with the essential free Marketing tools to boost your business efficiently even if you are on a budget. Good luck!