There are certain essential tools for marketing. The effectiveness of a marketing team is not only determined by the talent of its components but also by their productivity and is achieved by using the best marketing tools and the better if they are free .
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In this article I want to share the top 7 must-haves for the marketing department and their free alternatives.
All -in-one solutions , as far as marketing is concerned, are platforms that allow you to manage and automate various phases of marketing from the same interface. Thanks to these tools we have a large part of the information necessary for our business centralized in one place and we don't have to jump between platforms.
Many of these tools help with tasks such as lead management, email chain scheduling , analytics, content creation, or even social media management . Their main strength is that they allow us to have an overview of how our marketing strategy is working without losing a detailed view of user interactions with our content. Many of these tools come with tailored versions of typical sales CRMs , making it easy to track individual users.
Of all these all-in-one tools , my favorite is HubSpot . Surely this does not catch you by surprise since Hubspot is right now the benchmark in this sector. Hubspot's problem is its price: although it has a free version for entrepreneurs.
There are alternatives to Hubspot, but those that are at the same level also have high prices, although if you have few users they may be worth it, such as Infusionsoft or Sales Manago . There are free options like Mautic and it has improved a lot.
Although platforms like Hubspot and Marketo have very interesting analytics tools, none are as powerful as Google Analytics.
Analytics is a tool that many people use but very few people know how to use. Anyone is able to enter Analytics and see the basic data it provides us, but few are able to squeeze all the juice that this Google tool can give.
Analytics offers hundreds of interesting metrics based on the interactions that users have with our website or our App. But in most cases, these metrics are not as interesting on their own as in combination with other metrics. In addition, the possibility of adding objectives, views, filters and integrations with other of our platforms, make this tool essential for the marketing department.
Google Analytics can be scary, but learning to control this tool at the highest level is something that is worth investing our time in, as the results will be worth it.
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It is a great luck that one of the best task management tools for a marketing team is free. I'm talking about Trello , a web platform that allows you to organize all your team's tasks through its structure of boards, columns and cards.
The possibilities of Trello are almost endless. So much so that its use has transcended the work environment, to a personal environment – it is very easy to organize the day with Trello and once you start using it, you will not be able to stop . Although it is difficult to explain the full potential of Trello in a few lines, I will try to summarize how we use it in my marketing team.
In the table of contents we have several columns through which the tasks circulate: Column of ideas for articles, column of articles to be done, column of articles under construction, column of articles in review, column of articles done and column of published articles . The goal of each of the editors is to assign a card from the first column (each card contains a topic), and move it through the different columns (phases) until the article is done and published. It is a very orderly way of working with content, and even more so considering that there is a calendar view that allows us to see when each of the articles should be published. For us it is a kind of editorial calendar but with superpowers.
In the PR board we have the following columns: Media to contact, contacted, with accepted proposal, with article sent, with article published. Basically we use this board to work on relationships with blogs, newspapers and magazines in our sector. Our goal is to get them to publish articles about our content or product. To do this we are working on them phase by phase and moving the cards from column to column as we go. Also, if we see that a blog or page becomes a regular contributor, we add the corresponding label to take it into account in future collaborations. If a blog refuses to work with us, we put another label on it that tells us not to spend too much time with it.
Thanks to Trello we have at all times an organized vision of what is being worked on in the department, who is working on it and how its progress is progressing.
Another important aspect to improve the productivity of the marketing team is internal communication. There are many communication tools and that is precisely one of the problems; With so many channels, so many topics to discuss, and multiple team members, communications can become chaos.
The queen today for this task is Slack, which is also free, although you can use Telegram perfectly for this task or WhatsApp, but I do not recommend the latter.
In our case, we have a marketing conversation with the rest of the team members that has the following topic structure:
KPIs: In this topic we share all the information on essential metrics for our department.
Content: Here we discuss the development of eBooks, guides and infographics and share ideas for articles that improve our content strategy.
Campaign X: For each specific campaign that we launch, we create a theme. In these topics we are talking about the development of the campaign. Once it finishes successfully we archive the topic.
Off-Topic: To talk about everything that has nothing to do with the previous topics. If a topic arises that is too big to take over all the conversations on Off-Topic, we create a specific topic to release Off-Topic.
Another very interesting aspect of Slack is that it favors asynchronous communication. That is, communication in which the interlocutors do not need to be active at the same time or in the same place. You can use it whenever you want and from wherever you want, either through its web version or its mobile application. This type of communication avoids many unnecessary interruptions since it allows you to participate in a conversation only when you are available.
Another necessary tool for any marketing team is one that helps guide SEO efforts and measure results. There are many references on the market that perform these tasks: Semrush , Ahrefs or Moz are just some of them. But the best and cheapest is undoubtedly Screaming Frog .
If I had to choose one taking into account the quality-price binomial, that would be SEMrush. SEMrush features are very advanced, just to name a few:
Positioning tracking: allows you to track the positions in which our website is found for certain keywords.
Web audit: analyzes the "health" of our website taking into account the best practices in SEO and guides us to make the pertinent modifications that help improve it.
Analysis of keywords, domains, pages: they allow us to analyze any of these three elements and their behavior in Google rankings. You can analyze your own page or any other of the competition. It is really useful to know where the traffic is coming from to your competitors, get ideas for your SEO strategy and play with a little advantage.
SEM analysis: SEM analysis allows us to know the strategies followed by our competitors in Adwords. See the keywords you're bidding on, the type of ad you're using, and the positions of these ads in Google search results.
Keyword Difficulty : a very interesting tool that helps us determine the difficulty of a keyword if we want to try to position ourselves with it.
As you can imagine, a suite of SEO tools like this cannot be free and that is why the prices of these tools usually vary between €60 and €400 per month.
What would be the free alternative to this? Well, the truth is that there is not a single tool that does all this for free (at least that I know of), but with a combination of a few tools you could manage to cover a large part of these needs. For example, you could use Wincher for position tracking, Adwords keyword planner for search volume , competition, and keyword suggestion analysis, Open Link Profiler for backlink analysis, and Google Search Console to see which keywords drive traffic to your site . your website and what indexing problems your page has.
If one of the objectives as a marketing department is to capture leads, a tool that improves the capture methods of your page or blog will be very helpful.
One of the most popular alternatives to achieve this is Sumome , a suite of widgets that allows you, among other things, to launch popups to your visitors, show them forms or bars with different CTAs . I have seen up to 45% increases in the number of conversions after setting some of these widgets up to 5 minutes.
The good thing about Sumome is that its free version is quite complete (if you don't mind displaying its branding on all its widgets). There are also other interesting alternatives to Sumome such as Ice gram or Optin Monster . The key to these tools is to have them connected to your all-in-one tool , in this way all the leads you get will automatically go to email chains and other marketing flows that you have created.
Finally, we will need a tool that helps us manage our social profiles by automating the publications.
There are very interesting alternatives such as Hootsuite or Buffer , all of which are paid for, although they are really not very expensive compared to other tools focused on marketing. They are tools that in the case of having to manage several social profiles, are worth it.
You could get to automate all social networks for free with a combination of tools like Trello , Google spreadsheets , and Z apier , but they already require a higher level of knowledge and a lot more time to set up.
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- 10+1 free seo tools you should use I hope you have found this selection of the best free marketing tools and some paid but essential tools interesting. How many of them do you use? Do you know alternatives? What other tools do you think should have been included? Leave us a comment and we will publish it.