Chances are, you didn’t start your business because you were excited about marketing. And yet, here you are, running a Facebook page, sending out emails, updating your website and more.
If you feel like you’ve been thrown into the deep end, don’t lose hope! Our team got together and created a list of seven tools and resources to make your marketing efforts easier and more effective. (And, no, we’re not sponsors for any of these tools. We just love them and hope you will, too!)
- Hemingway Editor: For clear, compelling writing
Did you know you should be writing at a sixth-grade reading level to reach customers? It’s not because they can’t read at a higher level. It’s that they have thousands of messages vying for their attention every day. They don’t have time for each one, so only the most compelling and easiest to read get through.
So, how do you make sure your writing is on the right reading level? We recommend the Hemingway Editor. This free, online app not only grades your writing but also shows you exactly what you need to do to improve it. It highlights when you’re using too many adverbs or too much passive voice. It highlights hard-to-read sentences and gives suggestions for how to simplify phrases.
You might worry that writing at a lower grade level will be too simple for your readers. But a low-grade reading level doesn’t mean childlike content. In fact, we ran this entire piece through Hemingway to make sure it reads at a grade six level.
- Unsplash: For beautiful, free images
We generally advise against using stock photos, but sometimes you just don’t have the resources for a photoshoot. In these cases, Unsplash is a great asset. The site has over 1 million free, high-quality images. You can sort by categories and keywords, and creators add new images every day.
When you click on a photo, Unsplash will show you how many times it’s been downloaded. This knowledge can keep you from using the same photos everyone else in your field is using.
It also helps to be specific in your search. For example, if you search “doctor,” your first results will likely be the most popular images. They’ll be overused and generic. Instead, type terms like “doctor holding clipboard” or “doctor examining patient.” These searches will give you more tailored results
- Mailchimp: For easy, drag-and-drop emails
Simply put, Mailchimp makes email easy. It has a drag-and-drop email designer so you can make classy communications without professional design skills. The analytics functions show which emails your customers like and how they’re engaging. It allows you to expand beyond email with landing pages, sign-up forms and social media. And you can start for free with up to 2,000 contacts.
In Mailchimp’s paid platforms, they provide email and landing page templates, testing options and 24/7 support. But the prices are still affordable, starting at $11 per 500 contacts. So, if you’re looking for an email program with usability and your budget in mind, Mailchimp is a great place to start!
- CoSchedule Email Subject Line Tester: For higher open rates
If you’re going to invest in an email strategy, you’ll want some killer subject lines. CoSchedule’s email subject line tester uses years of data to help you create them.
You type in your subject line, and CoSchedule gives it an overall score. Then it breaks down which words you’re using that increase or decrease opens. Is the subject line too long? Too short? Should you add an emoji? What will it look like in people’s inboxes? CoSchedule has the answers.
After you read their tips, go back to the top of the page and write a new version. CoSchedule lets you see the scores of every subject line in your current session, so you can easily play with all your options.
- HubSpot Academy: For learning core marketing strategies
Tools are only so useful if you don’t know how to use them strategically. HubSpot Academy teaches beginners about email marketing, blogging, social media and more. Each lesson is broken down into short video segments, with an occasional worksheet. And at the end of the module, you’ll take a short test to make sure you’ve understood the material.
The program is provided for free by the digital marketing platform HubSpot. They have a whole team creating new lessons — and updating old ones — so you’re always learning relevant information.
- Canva: For every kind of design template
Need a new email header? Trying to create social media graphics? Designing a presentation for potential clients? Trying to do it without a graphic designer? Canva is the place to go.
This platform has templates for just about anything you might want to create. Start with a blank canvas in the right dimensions, or use one of the designs they’ve already created. Then, personalize your design with your company colors, logos, uploaded photos and custom text. The free version includes over 250,000 free templates and hundreds of graphics. However, it only costs $120 a year to update to the premium package with even more features.
- Google Analytics: For analytical reports on your website
Are people actually visiting your website? Google Analytics is the easiest way to find out. This free program lets you see traffic patterns on your site, including which pages are visited most, how long people stay on them and where they come from in the first place. If lots of people are finding you through Facebook, you can know. If people are coming to your site and quickly bouncing away, you can know that, too.
Google Analytics is a powerful tool that experts spend years learning. But you don’t have to be an expert to use the basics. This helpful guide can get you started, and you can also learn through the Google Skillshop.
Marketing your business can be a challenge, but with the right tools and a willingness to learn, you can succeed. And when you’ve grown to the point of needing a marketing team, we’d love to work with you!