No matter how tough times get, your business can’t make it good without marketing to acquire clients or customers. But great marketing doesn’t come free, or does it?
With uncertain future and tight budgets, startups can’t afford to waste money on ineffective tactics thus unpaid marketing is the only option left. Free marketing solutions not only provide financial relief but they also empower companies to communicate with customers and set a better outreach.
Several companies, from tiny startups to massive enterprises have created free marketing options as good as the market-leading paid versions. Small businesses have a unique advantage -many tools with paid versions offer free functionality to companies under a certain number of users. If a free tool earns you enough new business during this down period to shift you to an upgrade, it is probably worth the price anyway.
You don’t have to drive your company into the red to take advantage of great marketing tools. Let’s have a look at some of free marketing assistance already available:
Research, Reports and Consultations
Knowledge is power, especially when it comes to marketing strategy. Big companies spend millions of dollars on original research to learn about their customers, clients or audiences. Small businesses often don’t have the capital to hire consulting firms for custom projects. However, they can still conduct surveys and access the latest knowledge for free.
There are many free survey tools available in the market which can help you to learn more about your target audience or existing customer base. SurveyMonkey is one such online platform that allows users of its free plan to send surveys. These surveys can contain up to 10 questions and be sent to an unlimited number of people (though you can only view 100 responses in the basic plan). Google Forms, while not quite as robust as SurveyMonkey in terms of utility, offers a great alternative, especially for businesses already using G Suite.
You don’t always have to do the research yourself. Several companies that have shelled out big bucks for critical knowledge are willing to share. Hawke Media, for example, put together an extensive report on the effects of the coronavirus pandemic on e-commerce businesses. It’s also offering free mini-consults to help businesses chart a course forward in these unprecedented times.
A good CRM doesn’t just help you track and manage contacts. With the right tool you can optimize your sales pipeline, analyze your marketing performance, automate communication and make life easier for customer-facing employees.
Small businesses don’t need to write fat checks to Salesforce or Microsoft to take advantage of CRM capabilities. Several companies offer robust CRM solutions for free, no strings attached, to small businesses and entrepreneurs.
HubSpot’s free CRM product is the most popular free option – and for good reason. With no limit on users and up to a million contacts, you can scale your business without worrying about hitting a cap. For smaller teams or people comfortable working with Gmail, Streak provides a clean and easy extension. With just a few clicks, you can enjoy a powerful CRM from your own inbox.
Email Marketing Starters
Speaking of emails, email marketing tools make effective communication simple. Free tools have everything you need to design, track, and manage email campaigns and content. If you decide you need a little more juice, email tools typically cost far less to upgrade than other options.
For people with highly designed dreams  and a lack of HTML skills, Sender makes it easy to create eye-catching emails from scratch or from a template. With the free plan, you can talk to 2,500 subscribers and send 15,000 emails per month. However, paid plans offer more benefits, so if you like the tool but have a bigger subscriber list, you can upgrade for a song.
Likewise, Sendinblue’s free plan send 9000 emails per month to unlimited contacts and advanced reports, you can however upgrade to more robust plan for a little money. Mailchimp’s free plan integrates seamlessly with lots of third party tools, thanks to its wide footprint. Startups could use these tools by spending little or no money and get audience.
Social Media Amplification and Scheduling
Social media platforms, especially Facebook, have lots of built-in tools that marketers and small businesses can use for free. Sometimes, though, you need something a little more robust. That’s where free social media tools can fill the gap.
Crowdfire’s free plan supports LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. You can only schedule 10 posts per account at a time, but you get unlimited access to curated articles and images to help promote your brand.
Buffer’s best-of-brand social media engagement and scheduling tool offers a free 14-day trial for companies that need more features and are willing to pay for them I’m future.  However, Buffer charges separately for analytical and publishing tools, so be mindful of that if you expect to get the whole suite on the cheap.
Thanks to improving internet speeds, reliability and mobility, video marketing has become one of the most effective channels for marketers. Highly produced videos can cost millions but some popular efforts of the past few years cost nothing but a smartphone and five minutes of a creative person’s time.
Tap into the power of video marketing with Wistia’s free offer. With this tool, you can record three videos anywhere – keeping prospects on your pages instead of sending them to YouTube and entertain an audience of up to 250 channel subscribers. The option works better for marketers who expect to use video sparingly because Wistia paid plans start at USD 99 per month.
Consolidate the power of video marketing and social media by using Instagram Stories and Facebook Live to communicate to your audience. People love behind the scenes glimpses of their preferred small businesses. Real, unfiltered moments develop associations and strengthen relationships with your faithful clients and make them feel like part of the team.
This is just a sampling of the wide universe of free marketing tools accessible on the web. Exploit channels like Medium and WordPress to expand your content marketing. Likewise, Google Analytics can provide free insight of traffic and your website’s performance.
Do a little digging and you are sure to find a free tool that will help you connect with your audience, clients and customers.
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