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15 Free Or Cheap Marketing Tools For Small Business

Updated: Nov 27, 2023

There are so many marketing tools for small businesses to explore and so little time.


Trying to figure out the best marketing tool for the job to be done and then how it overlaps with other tools you may already have seems like a never-ending process. Sometimes it feels like it would just be easier to keep doing everything the “old school” way rather than learn to use a new tool that may or may not make a difference.


Here’s a list of marketing tools that I think are great for small businesses. I truly believe that everything on this list helps you be more productive and efficient, which means you can invest all of your precious time in making sure that you are constantly having a fucking point. All of these tools have a free version or are relatively low-cost.


TL; DR:

Grammarly:

It’s a grammar and spell-checker but it’s also a writing assistant that enhances the quality of your marketing copy by providing suggestions to make your writing more clear and concise. I’m a fan. You probably already have it installed, but if you don’t, go ahead and install Grammarly now. There’s a free version so there’s no reason not to.


Canva:

While I typically recommend that you leave graphic design to the professionals, those running a small business may not always have that luxury. Canva is a great tool for us non-graphic designers who need to crank out some creative assets. It’s a versatile tool and the free version packs a pretty big punch. There are tons of images and template options. Plus, it’s great for repurposing assets you may already have that need to be resized, need minor modifications, etc.


RecordIt:

Sometimes, it would be so impactful and helpful if you could just walk a customer or prospect through a few screens on your computer and record it. RecordIt is your free, simple solution. Download RecordIt here.


Dropbox:

You may find that you need to transfer large files to individuals outside of your organization. Dropbox is great and the free version allows you to do this easily. Plus, if you’re currently storing important documents on your personal computer, that’s a risky plan. If your computer crashes you could lose all of your files. It’s also inefficient if you need to collaborate or share files with others. Dropbox has plans that let you easily store, share and collaborate depending on your needs.


Bitly:

Bitly has several very handy - and free - solutions. For example, sometimes you cannot provide an inline link or link an image when you’d really like to (I see you Instagram). Most deep-link URLs are long and cumbersome so you’ll want to shorten it vs post an entire URL. Many also use a Link In Bio solution on Instagram to help bridge the linking gap on that platform. You might also want to use a scannable QR code in several situations. Bitly can help you with all of this.


Buffer:

Buffer helps you organize and schedule social posts and monitor engagement. They have a free version that makes it a good option for a really small business. You can plan out and batch all of your upcoming social media posts and schedule out posts. This allows you to be efficient with your time while still being present by “dripping” content when it’s most relevant to your audience.


Google Analytics:

Everyone with a website should have Google Analytics. It tells you how much traffic is coming to your site, where they are coming from, when they are visiting, what pages they visit, how long they stay on each page, the path they are going through on your site and so much more. Plus it’s free.


Hotjar:

Hotjar is another website tool that does incredible things. With Hotjar, you can see what users do on your specific web pages with heat maps and session recordings. This allows you to make user experience modifications if users are missing key information, getting stuck in various locations, etc. You can also add tools such as surveys to various pages to gain additional insights. And, like many other tools on this list, there is a free version of Hotjar.


HubSpot:

Hubspot has some free resources that are pretty fucking amazing. The free HubSpot version allows you to send emails with easy-to-use drag-and-drop templates, manage and create segmented lists, create lead gen forms, create landing pages, install a chatbot on your website and more. Just their free learning resources and blogs are worth having an account IMO. When your business grows and you need more features, they have paid options to level up.


ClickUp:

ClickUp is a great project management tool for marketers. I found it game-changing when it comes to reviewing documents and creative assets. My marketing team and I used to mark up PDFs, email revisions back and forth and then “stare and compare” to make sure the designer or copywriter caught all of the notes. ClickUp dramatically increased efficiency, output and reduced frustration by housing projects in one location and streamlining the number of versions and emails going back and forth. Here’s a ClickUp demo.


ChatGPT:

Everybody has their opinion about ChatGPT and AI tools overall. While I don’t think you can outsource the hard thinking that needs to go into your work, it’s undeniable that tools like ChatGPT can speed up the process and provide inspiration. Whether you’re writing web copy, an email, a blog or a white paper, often one of the hardest jobs is just getting a draft on paper to start working with. ChatGPT is great for this. Plus there's a free version so why not get the assistance?


Ahrefs:

Ahrefs is a powerful SEO tool. It lets you research keywords and phrases that are important to your business. You can see how often that phrase and other related phrases are searched in various search engines. You can check out the web pages that are most often visited as a result of those searches. You can also research your own and competitor's websites to understand the organic keywords that are currently driving to various pages and track your search engine rankings. You can also research issues that need to be resolved on your site, analyze backlinks and more.


What Makes Great Products Great:

As the only book on the list, I love "What Makes Great Products Great" by Jeff Callan. There are so many great marketing books, but this one is set up more like a boot camp to enhance your overall knowledge and skill. While it’s highly focused on product management, it illustrates how the product (physical or your service) is at the center of your entire business and is an integral aspect of marketing.


Your own HFP hard copy project planner:

While I’m a big fan of electronic tools, calendars, and organizational systems, I personally like a physical planner. I don’t use it to track specific appointments and what I’m supposed to do every minute of the day - I use my online calendar for that. I use the physical planner to keep all of the tasks I need to think about, follow up on and complete physically in front of me throughout the week. At the end of the week, I go through a cleansing and organizing process of creating the next week’s view. I also like to keep specific project notes in one place to refer back. Explore the selection of available project planners and journals here.


Midjourney ai:

Ok, this is admittedly not the simplest tool to use and it has a learning curve, but the visuals that you can create in seconds make it worth it for those who need or want to create original art inexpensively and quickly. Midjourney is an AI tool that takes your written command and creates unique art in various styles, and sizes. The Midjourney website is a little intimidating (at least to me) and it doesn’t even do a great job of telling you what it can do. This YouTube video does a better job. I don't believe there are free Midjourney plans but you can try it out for a month with no commitment relatively inexpensively.


So, there you have it—a collection of productivity tools that are poised to help you have a fucking point every day. Leave comments and let me know other free or cheap marketing tools that you love. It’s time to level up. You’ve got this!


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Guest
Oct 30, 2023
Rated 5 out of 5 stars.

I thought ChatGPT could be hard but I'm shocked at how easy it is to use.


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Guest
Oct 27, 2023
Rated 5 out of 5 stars.

Great list!

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