Today, no matter what your product or business is — a new café, a piece of software, hand-crafted jewellery — you’ll likely want to devote time and money to digital marketing. Email marketing, social media, and online advertising all fall under this umbrella.
For many small business owners and entrepreneurs, digital marketing can be one of the most daunting aspects of launching a new venture. If you have little to no budget, hiring a professional is probably out of the question. And even if you can afford one, it’s worth having at least a baseline level of knowledge to ensure you understand what you’re paying for and what can realistically be delivered. This uncertainty about how to execute means that too often, new businesses either ignore digital marketing altogether or, even worse, give it a half-hearted attempt.
But digital marketing can actually be a godsend for those with limited budgets. When done well, it’s a cost-effective way of reaching new customers, keeping in touch with those who are already loyal, and building your brand.
Fortunately, there are heaps of free resources online that can help you on your digital marketing journey as you build up your .sydney site and give your business a polished, professional feel. Here are some of our favourites.
Learning the basics
Google’s Digital Garage: If you need to get a handle on digital marketing, Google’s free Digital Garage is a great place to start. You can choose from lessons in 23 different topics, unlock different badges as you move through levels, and even earn a certification, all for free.
Hubspot’s Marketing blog: Hubspot is a customer relationship management software, but their blog features excellent content for would-be marketers, filled with tips, tricks, and the latest in online trends.
Tools to create
Canva: Create designs for different social media platforms, stylish documents, and materials like flyers and menus with the granddaddy of graphic design tools. Canva comes pre-loaded with tons of free templates and fonts, and its drag-and-drop design means that no design experience is necessary.
Hootsuite: Manage your business’s Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn accounts from one central hub. Schedule posts in advances, keep tabs on what industry keywords are trending on Twitter, and more with Hootsuite.
Piktochart: Sometimes, it’s easier to tell a story visually, and Piktochart can help with that. Thousands of icons and images are available to help you create powerful visuals with no design experience.
Bit.ly: Long, unwieldy URLs are so 2009. Shorten things up with bit.ly. The free site also keeps track of who has clicked on your link, where they’ve come from, and more.
Google Alerts: Set up an alert anytime your business or a company of interest is in the news. This is a great way to stay on top of what’s happening in your industry and jump on timely news bait.
Keyword Planner: Google’s free AdWords Keyword Planner allows you to discover words or phrases relevant to your business. Use them to brainstorm content and better plan your Google AdWords spend.
Instapage: Make landing pages that convert with Instapage. Start with a free template and then customise with your own images, logos, and copy.
MailChimp: More than just an incredibly simple-to-use email client, MailChimp allows you to automate much of your email marketing, get robust analytics on the campaigns you send, and even design social media ads. It also integrate with other programs, like Shopify, so everything works seamlessly.
Later: If your business is on Instagram, Latergram is a great app to have. It allows you to schedule posts in advance, drag and drop previews to give your brand a consistent feel, and track analytics.
Campaign URL Builder: Another one by Google, this URL builder quickly creates UTM codes, allowing you to easily track what campaign is driving clicks.
Inspiration and Organisation
Really Good Emails: Find inspiration in other folks’ well-executed emails. Both user-submitted and curated by the team, featured emails have an explanation of what made them really good and come from a variety of industries; they’ll help get your creativity flowing.
Evernote: Ever see something really good online and hope you don’t forget about it? You need Evernote. This handy browser plug-in allows you to clip articles or certain parts of a webpage. Add tags and notes for easy finding later, and access everything through the app as well.
Trello: Keep track of various projects, documents, and who’s doing what with this handy collaboration and organisation tool. You can create boards, assign people to projects, attach any relevant files, and archive old items to review later; it’s particularly useful when you’re working with clients or team members in a different location