The $0 Marketing Stack: 41 Free Options to Popular Paid Services and Tools - Inanstech

 


The $0 Marketing Stack: 41 Free Options to Popular Paid Services and Tools

What tools do you use to get your online marketing work done?

Can you do all the same work of a digital marketer, and do it for free?

The list of tools you use—often referred to as a marketing stack—probably covers a variety of different uses and needs, everything from social media marketing to content to email and lots more.

Is it possible to have all these great tools without paying a cent?

It was a fun challenge to come up with a way to build a $0 marketing stack, to find free alternatives to popular paid tools and services. I’m grateful for all the amazing companies out there that offer such value for so little. Here’s the list I came up with for free alternatives to paid tools. I’d love to know what you think!

free marketing stack

What’s in the stack?

The $0 Marketing Stack: Free Alternatives to Paid Tools

For a quick overview, here are the tools I found that seemed to be great, free options for some popular paid services.

  1. Buffer
  2. Canva
  3. Google Analytics
  4. Hotjar
  5. Simply Measured
  6. Open Site Explorer
  7. Charlie
  8. HubSpot Email Marketing and HubSpot CRM
  9. WordPress
  10. Crowdfire
  11. Medium
  12. Wistia
  13. SumoMe
  14. Segment
  15. Peek
  16. Google Scholar
  17. Google Trends
  18. Blog Topic Generator
  19. Content Idea Generator
  20. Readability
  21. Hemingway
  22. Onpage Optimization Tool
  23. After the Deadline
  24. Readability Test Tool
  25. Save Publishing
  26. Followerwonk
  27. Latest.is
  28. Tweriod
  29. Must Be Present
  30. Conversation Score
  31. Wolfram Alpha Facebook report
  32. LikeAlyzer
  33. Fanpage Karma
  34. Facebook Page Barometer
  35. Quicksprout
  36. Website Grader
  37. SharedCount
  38. Newsle
  39. Rapportive
  40. MentionMapp
  41. Down For Everyone Or Just Me?

1. Social Media Scheduling: Inanstech

buffer

Great, paid options if you can swing it: Sprout Social, MeetEdgar

Perhaps our best time-saving tip for social media marketing is scheduling posts ahead of time for your social profiles. You can batch the social media marketing process: Do all your curating and composing all in one go, then spread those updates out across the next day or week.

How we use Buffer: The forever free plan at Buffer lets you connect a profile from each network (one from Facebook, one from Twitter, etc.) and to schedule ahead 10 posts for each network. If you share three posts per day, that means you can stay three days ahead all the time.

We’ve found a lot of value in the hand-picked content suggestions (thanks to Courtney who finds all that great content!), which are easy to read then add.

Also free:

  • Hootsuite (free for your first 3 social profiles)

2. Design: Canva

Canva

Great, paid options if you can swing it: Photoshop, InDesign

Over 2 million people trust Canva to help with creating images for social media, blog posts, and practically any other use you can imagine.

How we use Canva: The optimized sizes and built-in templates make it fast and easy to create tall pictures for Pinterest, rectangular ones for Twitter, square for Facebook or Instagram, and any size in between. We find Pablo (another free alternative) to be great for Twitter-sized images of 1,024 pixels by 512 pixels, and Canva to work really well for all else.

Also free:

3. Real-time Analytics: Google Analytics

Google Analytics real time stats

Great, paid option if you can swing it: Chartbeat

Google Analytics does pretty much everything in terms of tracking the traffic to your website. It’s a huge, monstrous amount of info, generously given away for free.

How we use Google Analytics: As a social media marketing team, we appreciate the ease with which we can see traffic from the different networks (Acquisition > Social > Network Referrals). We can check the engaged reading time by looking at Time on Page. And for the real-time stats of who’s on our site right now, we can simply click on Real-Time > Overview.

Also free:

  • Go Squared (free for the first 100 visitors and 1,000 data points)
  • MixPanel (free for 25,000 events per month)

4. Website optimization: Hotjar

Hotjar analytics

Great, paid options if you can swing it: KISSmetrics, Crazy Egg

Let’s say you’re curious how your visitors are actually using your website—where they click, how far they scroll, etc. Tools like Hotjar can show you exactly what your visitors are doing, via heatmaps, clickmaps, scrollmaps, and visitor recordings. Hotjar also has options to analyze your funnel and to insert messages and surveys to your visitors.

How we use Hotjar: User research can be incredibly powerful stuff. I find great value in seeing how someone interacts with blog posts. How much of the post do they read? Where do they pause? What do they click? Seeing all this information helps me design my posts in a clearer way.

Also free:

5. Reports: Simply Measured

twitter followers report

Great, paid option if you can swing it: SumAll Reports

Simply Measured offers enterprise-level analytics and management for big brands and their social efforts. It has a wide array of free tools for the rest of us, too.

Among Simply Measured’s reports are these:

  1. Twitter Follower Report
  2. Twitter Customer Service Analysis
  3. Facebook Fan Page Report
  4. Facebook Content Analysis
  5. Facebook Competitive Analysis
  6. Facebook Insights Report
  7. Instagram User Report
  8. Social Traffic Report
  9. Traffic Source Report
  10. Google+ Page Report
  11. Vine Analysis

Phew! That’s a lot of reports!

How to use Simply Measured: Each of these reports costs no money, although Simply Measured will ask for a Twitter follow or a Facebook mention in exchange for the free report. You can save loads of time in pulling reports from this one location as you seek to gain insight on where your social media efforts have been going lately. They’ve got all six major social networks covered: Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, Instagram, and Pinterest.

Also free:

6. SEO: Open Site Explorer

Open Site Explorer

Great, paid option if you can swing it: Moz Pro

is a great free tool for checking your domain and page authority and also for checking how many links you are getting and from which source. You can also check your competition. But the free version only gives you 3 reports per day. Signing up offers unlimited reporting on all your links, keywords and competitors.

How to use Open Site Explorer: Plug your blog’s URL into Open Site Explorer to see the high-level stats like page authority and incoming links. You can also click over to the Just-Discovered tab to see recent links and Top Pages to see which pages on your site get the most links.

Also free:

7. CRM: Charlie

Charlie app

Great, paid option if you can swing it: SalesForce

A lot of the best CRM tools (Customer Relationship Management) help you stay abreast of your current and future customers. Think of a futuristic address book. The best ones are loaded with features and information. Charlie is a bit of a quick-and-easy hack to get to know a person really well.

How to use Charlie: Intended as a tool to help you prep for meeting new people, Charlie gives you a full run-down of a person—social media profiles, biography, interests, big news, etc.—by looking at your upcoming calendar or running an email address. If you’re wanting info on a single person ad-hoc, simply enter their email address into Charlie, and they’ll tell you everything.

Also free:

8. Lead generation and pop up tool: HubSpot Marketing and HubSpot CRM

HubSpot Marketing Free

HupSpot Marketing Free allows marketers to easily generate email leads from their website with a free pop up tool.

How to use HubSpot Marketing Free: You can gain a lot of great information about your leads from HubSpot Marketing Free. This pop up tool quickly gathers email addresses from your website and provides key data points like employer and which pages your leads have visited. And if you’re wondering which pages are converting at higher rates than others, it can help with that, too.

Great, paid option if you can swing it: Cirrus Insight

Also free:

9. Landing Pages: WordPress

WordPress pages

Great, paid options if you can swing it: Unbounce, LeadPages

For those who are running their website or blog via WordPress, perhaps the fastest and easiest way to set up a landing page is simply to create a new page. If you blog with WordPress, the blog content you create falls into Posts. The static content for landing pages—“Download our ebook,” “Sign up for our webinar,” etc.—can be made quite easily via Pages.

How to use WordPress: Build a new landing page in WordPress, and use this as the focal point of your social media ad campaign or your social media updates. Certain plugins like WooDojo even let you hide the content in your sidebar for particular pages, which could be a great option for minimizing the look of your page.

Also free:

  • Unbounce free plan (includes Unbounce branding)

10. Twitter management: Crowdfire

Crowdfire

Great, paid option if you can swing it: Crowdfire premium

Twitter has been so generous to open up its app to developers to make some really great tools. Sure, you can manage your Twitter profile directly via Twitter (an always free option), or you can try out tools like Just Unfollow, which allows for bulk sorting and filtering of your followers, along with insights into the demographics of the people in your audience.

How to use Just Unfollow: One way that many experts recommend to keep your Twitter following count in line with your Twitter follower count is to routinely check to see which accounts are following you back and to remove the ones that aren’t. With Just Unfollow, you can do this quickly and easily all from one page—and even whitelist the unfollowers whom you’d like to keep following.

Also free:

11. Blogging: Medium

Medium

Great, paid options if you can swing it: Ghost

It feels a bit funny to list Medium as a tool (it’s really more of a network or social media site), but when it comes to starting a new blog as cheaply and quickly as possible, Medium can’t be beat.

How to use Medium: Many young startups kick off their blog at Medium, where they enjoy a built-in audience from the start and have networking tools to help their content spread. Plus, one of Medium’s newest features is an email newsletter where you can automatically get in touch with people who follow you by sharing your latest articles.

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Inans Tech: The $0 Marketing Stack: 41 Free Options to Popular Paid Services and Tools - Inanstech
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