Affordable marketing tools
You’re a new or small business, and you’re looking to save as much money as possible – you’re not alone. Hundreds of companies have popped up to help entrepreneurs or companies on a budget to expand their marketing efforts without breaking the bank. Some of these tools require time and money, others are quick and free, all are worth checking out:
3 new inexpensive smartphone photography tools to drool over – give your smartphone a kickstart and market better through simple photography, whether on instagram or your blog.
How to add animated gifs to your site without overdoing it – Speaking of your blog, there are free ways to add subtly moving images to your site to make it more memorable and less cheesy (seriously, nix the cheesy). Go play around with some of these animated gif creators and check out the examples to find inspiration.
Send gorgeous cards by mail from your phone – Sincerely is an app that lets you pick amazing cards on the fly and send them right away – they add the postage, your note, and all, without any lame stock photography or old designs. Try sending a card a day to your top clients and prospects and see what kind of return your thoughtfulness gets you.
Use Canva to create presentations, blog images – if you suck at design or aren’t a professional, we insist that you go check out Canva to spice up your marketing, be it digital or physical.
Spend $20 on creating a simple, customized YouTube video – if you’re just getting started on video or are embarrassed to show your face on film, Vidspoke hires a spokesperson and gets you started right away. This tool is best for beginners.
Affordable explainer video creation for small businesses – Wdysd.com offers explainer videos, tailored for new or small businesses to better express what your brand does. You can then use these videos on your site, on social networks, on YouTube, and so much more. Take a complex offering and summarize it in a way any passerby can understand. Ca ching!
YouEye analyzes videos of real people using any website – go pay a few tiny dollars to see how people interact with your website – this is much deeper than A/B testing, it is a test of where actual eyeballs land, and then you can watch video of it to verify. Cool!
Piktochart is a simple online infographic creator – it’s no secret that creating original content for Pinterest, Instagram, Google+, Twitter, Facebook, and so forth, is a win, but how do you come up with content? Offer your most commonly asked questions of clients as an infographic and share it across the web, or create an infographic with data you’ve collected and sat on over the years (milestones, sales, etc.).
Seeker is an affordable alternative to traditional market research – you can get to know your potential clients and reach new markets without breaking the bank. Go poke around this site and see if it’s a fit for you. UPDATE: Seeker is apparently no more, so we’ll add another new tool at the end of this story.
Kanga Room Systems are affordable pre-fab studios, cabins, and sheds – if you don’t want open a new office, or you just need a home office but you don’t have the space, look into an affordable pre-fab space. There’s a lot you can do with a small space, just check out the photos and you’ll be inspired.
Share office space, save rent with PivotDesk – maybe a loner space isn’t your style, but you don’t have a huge team to open up grandiose offices. Go halvsies with another company that also has a small team but needs to save on overhead. Genius!
Hit up the SBA for free business advice – your taxpayer dollars are going toward the Small Business Administration, and you should know that they offer a ton of counseling, classes, and other resources that are free. This is a no-brainer.
Google offers free tools and opportunities to entrepreneurs – you can get a mentor, AdWords credit matching, and networking online and offline. They are always adding free opportunities for budding entrepreneurs and small businesses, and you should not pass these chances up.
Square launched a full point-of-sale system – if you take credit card payments for anything, you should check out what Square’s up to. This payment system doesn’t require that you buy a ton of fancy equipment, yet it functions as effectively as many advanced sales systems. On the cheap. Seriously, go look.
Offer your team benefits on a small budget – benefits are the name of the game these days, especially if you want to attract younger talent, and keep your existing talent on board. Find out how to offer them without breaking the bank.
This Photoshop template for Facebook cover photos – the layout changed on Facebook late last year and many brands are still not taking advantage of the unique marketing experience, be it on your personal or professional Page. Get creative, dig into the inspiration gallery, and try on a new cover photo for free.
This free repository of email designs can give you insight into what your competitors or other industries are doing in their email marketing without your having to subscribe to each one. Use it for inspiration not only visually, but pay close attention to their calls to action to improve your own.