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Best Free Digital Marketing Tools for Small Businesses 2021
We select our pick of the best free digital marketing tools available for small business in 2021. Are the free options worth your time?
In this article, we explore several free tools that are available to help you with social media scheduling, image compression, local marketing, content writing and project management. We believe each one of these apps has a strong enough free option that may be more suitable for smaller businesses to take advantage of. You may find that the premium features are worth the extra investment once on the free option, but then again, you may find the free version ticks all of the boxes
Best Free Image Compression Tools In 2021
Our favourite: Tinypng.com
Our rating: 5/5
Pros (free version)
- Supports many image formats, such as JPEG, PNG and newer formats like WEBP
- No loss of image quality but significant file size savings
- 20 files per day are more than sufficient for most people
- APNG (animated images) are also supported
- Rarely nags you to upgrade to the paid version
- WordPress and Magento plugins are available
- Panda George!
Cons (free version)
- Only reduces the size of the image but not the resolution. If you have a 4k photo, you will need to use a separate programme to change the image resolution.
Having optimised images on your website will not only provide a better customer experience and improve site loading times, but it will also help your business rank better on search engines. While some CMS (Content Management Systems) have image compression built-in, these tools are usually quite limited and don’t always produce the best results or impact visual quality. However, there is a solution to this in tiny.png, an online image compression tool that ranks amongst our favourites. Tiny.png allows you to upload and compress up to 20 images per day (max 5MB) quickly and easily without any noticeable impact on image quality. It is straightforward to use and the 20 image limit is more than sufficient for most businesses.
So What Do You Get From The Free Version Of Tiny.png?
The free version is excellent as it has a very generous allowance. Included are the following:
- 20 images per day
- Max 5MB allowance
- Upload images in a group and download as a .zip file
- Worpress/Magento plugin
What Premium Options Are Available For Tiny.png?
The premium options remove the 20 image limit and allow you to upload images up to a whopping 75MB. It also increases the number of images that can you can compress using the Magento/WordPress tool. You will also be able to obtain detailed statistics using the analyser tool.
Premium Costs For Tiny.png
Costs start at around £25 per user and a flexible plan is also available.
Best Free Social Media Scheduling Tool 2021
Our favourite free tool: Hootsuite
Our rating: 3/5
Pros (free version)
- Schedule up to 30 posts
- Supports all of the major social networks
- Still allows you to add several essential free apps from the app directory
- Recently updated and streamlined interface
- 150+ apps available
Cons (free version)
- Limited to just three social media accounts
- Other tools like Buffer and Social Pilot continue to improve and are more intuitive
If you run a small business, social media can be quite a time-consuming activity, especially if you are trying to manage your business across multiple social networks. That is where tools like Hootsuite provide a helping hand and can significantly improve your productivity. Hootsuite is a social media scheduling tool with a well fleshed out free option that is more than suitable for most businesses. It supports most of the major social networks such as Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Pinterest and YouTube.
It allows you to post and schedule content to these networks, all from a single and easy to understand dashboard. Additionally, it lets you track how your pages are performing, engage and respond to customers.
So What Do You Get With The Free Version Of Hootsuite?
Whilst the free version is quite limited, it is more than sufficient for a small business that may not have a big range of social channels. It is definitely a big step up from managing social media channels separately and the scheduling tool will save you significant time in the process. Other tools like Sprout are much more fleshed out for the larger business, but it does come at a cost. Hootsuite is a great tool to get you started in the world of social media scheduling and it is continually improving over time. The free version includes:
- 3 social media profiles
- 30 scheduled messages
- 1 user
Premium Costs For Hootsuite
The professional version is £39 per month and unlocks lots of additional features. You can have up to 10 social media accounts, unlimited scheduling, social inbox, message monitoring and a useful publishing calendar. However, if you are looking at a paid option, then other tools may be more suitable for your needs. We will shortly be producing a guide comparing the paid social media scheduling tools. Subscribe to our blog to get notified when this goes live, or join our mailing list by clicking here.
Best Free Tool For Writing Assistance And Grammar 2021
Our favourite: Grammarly
Our rating: 4 /5
Pros (free version)
- The free version is excellent for producing well-written, error-free content
- Available across many different platforms
- UK English writing is now available
Cons (free version)
- Not 100% error-free, so it recommended you still get someone to proofread your work
- Conciseness and tone detection is quite limited in the free version
I’ll confess, one of my weakest areas at school was grammar. I was great at the creative side, coming up with ideas but always fell short when putting things down on paper. But now you are reading a blog I have written and despite a few minor issues it reads well. My secret? Grammarly! Grammarly is an easy-to-use tool available through your browser and it can be installed directly on your PC. It checks your grammar in real-time and highlights any mistakes with punctuation and spelling. What makes it stand out is its ability to suggest things like different words to use, the tone you are using and highlight common style mistakes. Whilst it isn’t a replacement for proofreading, it certainly will help you write clear, concisely and get you to think about how you structure your sentences. Previously it was built with US English, but simple setting changes will have you writing in UK English in no time.
What Does The Free Version Of Grammarly Include?
The free version is excellent and comes with pretty much everything you need. I have used the free version of Grammarly as a tool for five years before taking the plunge and upgrading to the pro version! It pretty much has everything you need to write straightforward, mistake-free content.
Best of all, you can install Grammarly everywhere you may write (Gmail, Chrome, desktop, smartphone). Full features include:
- Grammar, spelling and punctuation
- Conciseness checker (limited on free)
- Tone detection (limited on free)
Premium Costs For Grammarly
To upgrade to premium costs start at around £11 per user for personal use. Business use starts at £12.50 per month per user and comes with several business-related quality of life features, such as style guides, dashboards and centralised billing. One gripe with this is that the business package is only available if you have more than three users, which means smaller businesses with two content writers will miss out on the business features. We hope Grammarly will rectify this in the future so smaller firms can also take advantage of the business package (without paying an extra £12.50 for no additional benefit).
Best Free Tool For Project Management 2021
Our favourite: Trello
Our rating: 4 stars
Pros (free version)
- Incredibly easy to use
- Great interface
- Unlimited users, lists and cards
Cons (free version)
- Limited reporting functionality
- Only one powerup
- Max ten boards
If you are working on big projects, then having access to a feature-rich project management tool should be top of your priority list. Trello is a well-known kanban board tool that offers just that. With its intuitive interface and powerful features, it makes managing complex projects a much less daunting task.
Best of all, the free option provides access to a generous amount of features, which may be more than enough for some businesses.
How Does Trello Work?
Trello uses a board layout which is a series of vertically arranged lists and cards. The lists can be things you want to remember or, most importantly, the stages in a process (e.g. draft/approved). Each list contains cards (see picture), which essentially represent tasks that need completing (e.g. post content to blog). To move a completed task (card) to the next stage, you click and drag it to the following list.
What About Trello's Premium Options?
If you find you are fully utilising Trello, you crave additional functionalities or reach the board limit of ten. The premium option provides unlimited boards, advanced automation and power-ups (add-ons like more complex fields). However, you may find the free option alone is more than suitable for your needs. Check it out by visiting:
What Are The Costs Of Tello Premium?
Business-class is around £9.99 per user, per month if paid annually. An enterprise version is also available, which starts at approximately £17.50 per month. Note that pricing may vary depending on your location, time of the year and other factors such as special promotions.
Best Free Tool For Local Marketing 2021
Our favourite: LoudLocal!
Our rating: 5/5 (but we would say that!)
No free marketing tool would be complete without a mention of our great free local marketing report tool. At the click of a button, generate a report that tells you precisely what factors impact your local search presence. And here it is:
What do you get with the free version of the LoudLocal marketing report tool?
The Free Local Marketing Report From LoudLocal Includes:
- Local business listing report – showing how your business appears across over 30 different directories
- Review and rating report – see at a glance how your business performs for reviews across both Facebook and Google
- Links and website authority – find out who links to your website and how much domain authority your business has. Domain authority is crucial as it determines how your company ranks on Google and Bing
- Onsite SEO report – get insight on how your business performs for key website factors such as speed, content and much more.
What About Premium Options From LoudLocal?
The free local marketing report should provide you with a significant amount of data to make big improvements to your business online. However, if you are craving more functionality, ongoing local reports and one to one support, then our local marketing packages may be right up your street. We offer three different package levels, which should give you everything you need to master local search marketing.
How Much Do LoudLocal's Premium Packages Cost?
Packages start from £36 per month if paid annually. We offer a basic package that is ideal for businesses that are a little more hands-on. At the same time, our mid-full tiers (Louder and Loudest) come with one to one support from a trained digital marketing professional. Check out our packages by clicking here.
Best Free Digital Marketing Tools - Conclusion:
As you can see, there are a wealth of free tools available that will significantly improve productivity, help you gain more insight and get better at marketing your business online. Whilst each of these tools comes with a premium option, you may find that you never need to reach for your card!
Got any comments or suggestions of your own? Add your comments in the box below or fill in the form to get in touch with us directly. Thanks for reading.
We hope you enjoyed reading this guide. We will shortly be producing a “part 2” in which we explore free tools for design, analytics, email, online storage and marketing insights. Subscribe to our blog or join our mailing list to get notified when this goes live.