7 Free Digital Marketing Tools Every Startup Should Use

Venturing into a new business, starting it up and then making it work can be difficult. As per

Venturing into a new business, starting it up and then making it work can be difficult. As per surveys most of the startups fail despite continuous efforts. It isn’t like startups cannot make it big; they sure can. However, the chances are fewer than we can imagine despite using a number of marketing tools and other gimmicks.

Call it luck but not every other cab service gets the privilege of becoming the world-renowned Uber (Bafna). Making it big or even making it work requires plenty of hard work. There are over 28 million small businesses running in the US alone, with such a huge number, everyone is looking for something that gives them the edge over the other (Patel).

What Is The Need for Digital Marketing Tools?

Most small business owners or startups look for strategies that may help them out and give them a competitive edge. Around 80 percent of startups fail within the first 18 months, and you certainly don’t want to be among them.

We no longer live in a world of ignorance and Internet is one thing that cannot be forgotten under any circumstance. It is crucial to have a strong digital presence otherwise the chances of failure rise. As a startup, you need to have a marketing plan for social media from day one. This isn’t something that you can leave for later.

These strategies need to sync with the search engine optimization, and you must be able to get the most out of the technological advancements (Patel). Each penny counts, and as a startup, you need to utilize it carefully. In order to market your brand or business effectively, you need help from marketing tools. Luckily, we live in a digital world, and most marketing tools are free of cost. So, you don’t have to worry about spending extra money on marketing (Miller, 2016).

What startups are mostly concerned about is that they make the most out of every dollar that is going into the business. Building your online reputation and promoting your brand can be a little expensive and this is where most entrepreneurs get shaky and avoid investing in it. However, if you look in the right directions (Alton, 2015), you would be able to find the right tools without worrying a bit.

Startups always find it difficult to manage their finances when it comes to investing in online marketing and sales (Baburajan, 2017). People who are just starting, feel like tools are a luxury that not everyone can afford; however, we believe that these very tools can save a lot of time without costing you a fortune.

Top Digital Marketing Tools

Here are 7 free digital marketing tools that every startup must be familiar with:

1. Google Analytics

This is probably one of the top free Google tools available. You can only know its true importance after using it. Google Analytics should be an integral part of your marketing strategy right from the beginning. It should be included in your digital marketing strategy without a second thought. As a startup, you need to focus on every visitor’s activity.

You can add Analytics code in hardly a few minutes to your website without much hassle (Patel). Adding the codes to the website allows you to track your visitor’s activity just like that. Although many people believe that this tool is merely used as a traffic tool, however, the fact is that it has a lot more to offer. This can have a huge impact on shaping your future marketing strategies.

You can do a lot with this tool if you know where you are headed. This tool allows you to see the origin of the generated traffic (Patel). By looking at the statistics, you may be able to figure out that a specific social media campaign was attracting a lot of traffic and maybe later you can shape your future campaigns accordingly.

Let’s say your marketing team figures out that most of the activity is coming from iOS devices, don’t you think it will be easier to change the target perspective and push ads on iOS more (Bafna)?

While we are at it, let’s talk about another example. When you look at the data, there are certain keywords that seem to be doing better than others (Patel). So, shifting your focus towards these newly found ‘useful’ keywords and incorporating them into your content will turn out to be beneficial for your business.

Google Analytics is one of those tools that you cannot ignore. This should be a part of your digital marketing campaign right from the beginning. Collecting data and reviewing it is extremely important.

2. MailChimp

Email marketing is crucial for many businesses if they want to succeed. While Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, and YouTube are the main platforms used for brand development you are bound by the limitations. You have lesser control over the consumers, and it becomes difficult to run them through a funnel (Miller, 2016).

Do you have an estimate of the number of emails sent each day worldwide? We bet you don’t. Approximately 205 billion emails were sent in 2015 in a day. This means that nearly 2.4 million emails were sent per second adding a total of 74 trillion emails in a year (Bafna).

More than 80 percent of B2B (business to business) and B2C (business to consumers) companies use the email marketing technology (Patel). Emails provide a form, in which businesses and customers can develop a good relationship that may end up with effective leads. MailChimp is an excellent choice for an email marketing tool that is free of cost for basic features.

MailChimp offers a complete e-mail management that will make your life much easier. The free package provides you with over 40 features. These may include social media sharing buttons, personalized contact forms, templates for professional emails, etc. Other than that, you can easily send 2000 subscribers around 12,000 emails (Alton, 2015). You think your business is growing and you need a bigger plan now? No problem, upgrade to the business package.

You may ask, why Mailchimp when there are plenty of other options. Well, this tool has managed to claim its spot as the number one email marketing tool available worldwide, and there are a couple of reasons behind that. MailChimp has over 12 million customers (Patel). Firstly, the company started back in 2001 when most businesses were not even using email marketing. Secondly, you can quickly and easily find the answer to all the question with the self-service support options. Lastly, not every company has over 2,000 subscribers and sends 12,000 emails monthly. There are many cheaper MailChimp alternatives available but MailChimp also offers a free plan for smaller companies for them to test out their services.

3. HubSpot

HubSpot claims to be the all-in-one marketing solution for all the right reasons. When it comes to CRM software, sales, and marketing; all you need is HubSpot. Keeping the marketing funnel in the right order should be your top priority, and HubSpot helps you out with the following without any worries (Patel):

  • Blogging
  • Analytics
  • SEO
  • Email
  • Social Media
  • Marketing Automation
  • Website
  • Calls-to-Action
  • Landing Pages
  • Lead Management

As you can see the tool has everything covered so you can relax. This can be the main reason why most businesses turn to HubSpot. Technically when you have everything that you need in the same place, you don’t have to switch tools or apps in order to achieve the desired results.

HubSpot is mainly used for inward bound marketing, but if you set it up correctly, it can even be used for automating the workflow (Bafna). The tool helps in drawing in traffic, managing it, exporting data and using the data for key insights, understanding the lead progression and track customer activity at the interaction points with the help of the inbuilt CRM.

The idea is to attract potential customers to your brand and then ensuring that they receive top of line services. HubSpot will help you establish your name and diminish all your digital marketing problems.

4. Buffer

Social media has become an integral part of any startup’s success. If you have been dissed by online users, trust us no matter how amazing of a company you are, no one will put their faith in you. So as you start signing up for different social media platforms, you need to find new exciting ways to connect with the audiences (Bafna).

Smartphone users sign up for at least 5 social media apps on an average. For brands that spend time and resources on building their social media reputation and maintaining it, it is essential that they plan their social media strategy beforehand.

Buffer is among the amazing marketing tools that will help you in streamlining your company’s social media strategy. Buffer is a platform primarily used for scheduling and publishing social media content (Bafna). If it were not for the tools like Buffer, posting several times each day on 5 or 6 forums who have been hectic. As you start to optimize, Buffer helps you in maintaining that presence.

The importance that social media presence holds cannot be measured easily. Buffer helps in streamlining the social media posting efforts. With the help of Buffer, you can easily increase the number of followers, connect with the audience more and build your brand from the ground up (Miller, 2016).

The feature that attracts us the most is that the Buffer dashboard allows you to connect multiple accounts. You can easily schedule posts, create campaigns and then analyze its success. If you are a startup, then Buffer’s free plan is an excellent choice for you to improve your social media presence.

5. Charlie

If you are a digital marketer, you would know how crucial it is to keep customer and client information safe and at an arm’s length. Most of the time, businesses find it difficult to manage this information in their system, so it becomes essential for them to take help from a third party application. One such tool is Charlie that provides you with the necessary information before your meeting. So, technically you will know everything about potential clients or customers before you even meet them (League, 2017).

To define Charlie, we would suggest that you can call it an address book which stores all the important details and information of a person including their full names, phone numbers, social media profile links, interests, biographies, etc. The only thing that you require is their email address, once you have that your work searching is done (League, 2017). This tool in specific is ideal for those who are looking into making some sales, closing a deal or approaching a new client. Knowing what might catch the opposition’s attention is always an excellent sales pitch.

6. Evernote

Digital marketing is not that difficult if you look at it however it does require a lot of organized brainstorming (Alton, 2015). For marketing, being organized is crucial, and marketing tools can come in really handy. Ideas can pop into your mind at any time. If you aren’t able to prioritize and organize your notes, then you might not be able to cash on all the opportunities (Miller, 2016).

The Evernote can be accessed from your phones, tablets, and laptops without any hassle. It will store every idea, inspiration, and trend in a single easily accessible place.

7. Canva

Creativity holds the topmost priority when it comes to posting online as you need to catch the viewers’ attention. A foolproof method of increasing user engagement is by posting beautifully designed interesting content. Thus, Canva is one of the best marketing tools to help non-designers make designs look professional (Bafna). Canva can be used for doing a lot of things especially if you are a startup and want to engage people with your content.

You can make a poster, social media posts, flyers, logos, brochures, letterheads, posters, blog graphics, and presentation background, etc. with Canva. The tool has a free-to-use option that offers a lot of features. The paid plans, on the other hand, has unlimited features.

As per the CMO Council, 60 percent of the marketer’s time is set aside for digital marketing. Using tools that make digital marketing easier means you will save energy and time and while doing all the tasks. These were 7 of the most useful free digital marketing tools that every startup must know about.

Bonus Tool! Lumen5

Lumen5 is an online video maker that turns text into stunning social media videos in minutes. It does this automatically by analyzing the text through AI and putting the best music, video, and images together accordingly.

Lumen5 - The Fastest Video Maker for Social Video Marketing


John Kopanakis

About John Kopanakis

John is a co-founder of Mentionlytics supervising Business Development and Business Processes. He is a Professor of Business Intelligence with interests in Data Analytics and Innovation.