Successfully marketing your brand, products, and services in the digital domain requires you to have the right tools.
On the one end of the spectrum, capturing and analyzing data allows you to measure the success of your efforts and inform the refinement of your digital strategy.
On the other end, intelligently using tools to deploy and manage your digital efforts take the busywork out of marketing, allowing you to invest your time and energy into generating more value for your business.
It takes professional-quality tools to get professional-quality results out of digital marketing; but that doesn’t mean you can’t get valuable results out of the many free tools available online.
For businesses not yet in a position to be seeking professional digital marketing services, these tools will prove invaluable to ‘bridge the gap’ to professional campaigns, establishing a foundation you can use capture significant value from the digital domain.
From one end of the marketing spectrum to the other, read on to learn about 6 invaluable tools to establish your digital marketing foundation.
1) Google Analytics
It doesn’t matter what kind of digital marketing you’re looking to do. If you aren’t using Google Analytics, you’re probably not doing it right.
The grand-daddy of digital marketing tools, Google Analytics lies at or near the centre of every digital marketing campaign. Allowing businesses and marketers to capture and process important data concerning the behavior of those that interact with digital material, Google Analytics reveals valuable insight into the successes and failures of digital marketing efforts.
To the un-initiated, Google Analytics can be intimidating. Like any professional tool, what it gains in power it loses in simplicity; but fortunately there are ways to approach the platform that are easily accessible for anybody:
Getting Started With Google Analytics
Analytics is a powerful, intricately complex tool; but that doesn’t mean it’s difficult to use!
While getting the absolute most out of the platform generally requires the help of professionals, there are plenty of ways that non-professionals can use it to increase the efficacy of their digital marketing.
Google’s Analytics Academy offers comprehensive and easy-to-follow online courses for beginners, intermediates, and professionals alike on how to use the tool.
By following step-by-step, hands-on instruction, these course modules will take you through the process of setting up analytics for your business!
Buffer takes the work out of managing social media accounts by automating social posts, and providing a range of basic analytics on their success.
Instead of hopping from platform to platform, Buffer consolidates social media account management. The service lets you create and schedule posts long in advance across all your social media accounts; allowing you to take a ‘set it and forget it’ stance to social media management.
With no need to hop from platform to platform, and automated posting, Buffer significantly reduces social-media workload.
Automating posts across platforms not only reduces social media busywork, but provides you greater ability to optimize the value-generation of all your efforts across social media accounts.
Scheduled posting when your audience is most likely to consume, like, and share it allows you to get the most out of every post, and powerful analytics gather valuable information on audience behavior.
Insight into what, when, and how people are engaging with your content and social accounts allows you to refine your efforts and optimize the value you receive from them.
Buffer’s free accounts for individuals and small businesses are not fully-featured, but are still significantly better than the alternative of self-posting across social media accounts. Consider taking the service for a spin here.
3) Simply Measured
If you’re looking for a deeper insight into the performance of your social media posts and the behavior of your audiences, there is perhaps no better tool available than Simply Measured.
Simply Measured’s service provides jaw-dropping, easy-to-understand insight into your social media accounts and posts.
Displaying geographic heat-maps of where viewers are engaging with content, insight into who is listening to and influencing the sharing of your content, how your efforts stack up to the competition, and more; Simply Measured is an extremely powerful analytics suite for social media and content marketing.
Simply Measured offers completely free analyses of social media performance across a range of platforms.
Head to this page to perform a comprehensive analysis of either the opportunities available for your social accounts, or the efforts that are currently being taken by your competitors!
4) HubSpot Marketing Free
HubSpot Marketing Free provides a range of powerful lead-generation tools combined with insightful analytics.
With this tool, not only can you easily increase the leads your website generates, but you can equip your sales team with valuable insight on each individual prospect.
HubSpot Marketing Free lets you see what every lead your site generates does before and after they fill out a form.
The tool will tell you who your leads are, where they came from, and what they’re doing on your site, so you can be better equipped to make the sale!
HubSpot Marketing Free is, you guessed it, totally free! With no budget required, its a no-brainer for anyone looking to generate leads online!
5) SEO Site Checkup
SEOsitecheckup.com is a free and easy to use SEO analysis engine. Input any website into the search bar, and simply wait as it performs a complete analysis of that site’s SEO profile.
Your results will display not only a percentage-based evaluation of any websites sites SEO strength, but a comprehensive listing of strengths and weaknesses across the full range of criteria for solid SEO.
Grouping it’s evaluation into ‘passed checks’, ‘failed checks’, and ‘warnings, SEOsitecheckup will expose you to everything a site is doing right, everything it’s doing wrong, and everything it could be doing better with respect to SEO.
Using the free version of the service only allows for a single search a day, so we wouldn’t recommend it for exhaustive competitive analysis, but it can be used for establishing deep insight into the SEO opportunities available for your business, and analyzing a few of your major competitors will help establish an impression of your competitive landscape.
Peek is a great, free way to user-test your website and observe how an un-biased viewer interacts with it. Simply by signing up, you get a free 5 minute video of a real person using your website.
These video’s include the commentary of an industry professional, insight that can prove extremely useful to promoting a good impression of your brand, and optimizing your on-page experience for conversions.
Peek’s free version will allow you to perform the service for desktop, mobile, or mobile apps. While only a single 5 minute video, video and commentary from Peek is liable to reveal significant obstacles to conversion you might not be aware your viewers face, and expose you to opportunities you might not be aware are available to you!
A Digital Marketing Foundation To Build On
Gathering information, analyzing it, and using it is what Digital Marketing is all about; and it cannot be done without the right tools.
The free versions tools listed above are not as powerful as the ones used by the professionals, but they are still very capable of providing significant value for any business.
A risk-free way to find out what digital marketing can do for your business, experimenting with these tools can expose you to opportunities for cultivating an unfair advantage online.
Once you’ve found these opportunities, and perhaps taken advantage of a few; find out how you can take your efforts online to the next level with WebMarketers.