You're a small business owner who needs to start marketing it to customers, but you're not an expert, and you can't afford to hire an agency or employ a dedicated staff member; sound familiar?
Don't fear. While it's always a good idea to work with professional marketers and communicators to make sure you set things up the right way and get great results from the start, doing your own marketing isn't always as hard as it looks, especially when you have the right tools.
Here's a list of our favourite free marketing tools to help you get started without breaking the bank.
Graphic designers hate Canva. They don't hate Canva because it's a lousy piece of software. Designers hate Canva because it makes basic graphic design work so easy that even the most tech-scared boomer can make beautiful documents in minutes.
Canva is the perfect tool for creating social media tiles, workplace posters and even reports.
Canva is free to use, but a lot of the nicer images and templates come at a cost - just $1 US. You can also upgrade to Canva for Work for more features. We did, and it's been well worth it.
Are you looking for beautiful images? Unsplash is one of the best copyright-free stock image repositories on the internet.
The photos are young, vibrant and cute - a world away from the stock images you're used to. There are no stiff business people and awkward groups on this image site.
If you're not using email marketing, we suggest you start ASAP.
We know the hype around social media, but we're here to say email is tried, tested and here to stay. In fact, email is still to this day the best converting sales channel of all the marketing tactics out there.
MailChimp is the gold standard for creating amazing emails; it's easy, flexible and the help centre is one of the best on the web.
MailChimp extensive template gallery is a great place to start, and new templates are easily bought from all over the internet.
Best of all, you can measure your success and use the data to grow your sales and engagement through the roof.
MailChimp is getting better by the day. It recently introduced tools to make social media ads and landing pages. Plus its automation brain makes reaching your audience at the right moment a walk in the park.
Marketing isn't about swanning in a fluffing about with the press releases or liking a few Facebook posts. Marketing is about data. And how do you get reliable data about your customers? You ask them.
SurveyMonkey makes creating questionnaires simple with its drag and drop platform and handy survey templates.
Best of all it collates the answers and even puts the data int handy little graphs so you can see trends and make business decisions based on logic and fact.
Buffer is a social media management tool that will help you streamline your social posting and free up your time to work on other parts of your business.
While some people think social media planning and scheduling is easy, to do it right takes time and research especially when you're using more than one social media platform.
Leveraging a tool like Buffer will help you increase your followers; engage your audience, and build your brand.
The benefit of Buffer is its ability to let you connect multiple accounts to one dashboard, schedule posts ahead of time - including Instagram posts, and analyse the success of your posts.
Buffer’s free plan is perfect for new businesses looking to grow their social presence, but if you're looking for something more robust, you might want to consider one of their upgraded plans.
We're copywriters at heart, so we couldn't write a list about free online tools and leave our favourite, Grammarly.
In our eyes, Grammarly is the most fabulous online grammar and spell checking platform on the world wide web.
It checks for all the essentials: incorrect spelling, grammatical mistakes and poorly written sentences but it goes above and beyond by making suggestions and checking for plagiarism.
It does get a little overzealous when it comes to writing in the passive voice and suggesting alternative words, but we can forgive it for trying to be a bit too helpful at times.
If you write a lot, invest in the paid version, it's well worth it.
Which tools make your marketing life easier?
These are just a few of the free online marketing tools that make our life easier. Do you have any others to add? Let us know in the comments.