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!
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.
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.
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. 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.
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, click maps, scroll maps, 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.
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.
Simply Measured’s reports are these:
Twitter Follower Report
Twitter Customer Service Analysis
Facebook Fan Page Report
Facebook Content Analysis
Facebook Competitive Analysis
Facebook Insights Report
Instagram User Report
Social Traffic Report
Traffic Source Report
Google+ Page Report
Phew! That’s a lot of reports!
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