Do you want tools that will grow as your business does? If so, freemium is the way to go. Freemium tools allow start-ups to use the basics needed to get things going for free, while also offering paid plans. This way, as businesses evolve and needs change, the tools can grow and adapt too. In this post, we’re going to look at five of the top freemium online marketing tools businesses can use at every stage.
Choosing the Right Tools
Before we get started, here are a few questions to ask when choosing freemium marketing tools for your start-up:
- Will the tool save you time in your day-to-day marketing efforts?
- Does the tool help you do tasks that have a direct result on your bottom line?
- Does the free version of the tool offer all of the features you need to get started?
- Will the free version’s limitation lead you to paying for the premium version? If so, would you be better off going with a non-freemium tool?
These are good questions for any business to ask before choosing a tool. They are especially important for start-ups so you don’t end up investing time into things you may not necessarily need.
Now, let’s look at some of the top freemium tools that marketers use in businesses of all sizes. I have selected these tools based on popularity, freemium or free usage options, and their unique applications throughout your marketing campaign.
Hootsuite is a powerful social media management tool that allows you to manage various aspects of your Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+, Instagram, and WordPress accounts. Through the app directory, Hootsuite offers even more solutions to connect with additional social networks and platforms beyond the defaults. This allows you to manage your accounts in easy-to-browse columns all in one place.
Hootsuite’s freemium model allows you to start with three social media accounts and basic features for free, which is more than enough to get your start-up’s social media presence moving on the top social networks. Paying for The Pro Level Plan increases your account to 50 social profiles and includes more advanced features, such as team members, advanced scheduling, unlimited RSS feeds, and additional security. Companies that need more can request a demonstration of the full-feature Enterprise Level Plan.
SEMrush is a powerful search marketing tool that allows you to research your competition’s paid search tactics, organic keyword visibility, and much more. You can use it for a variety of tasks, including backlink research, keyword research, search engine traffic volume, and previewing paid search ads.
While SEMrush does not have a freemium pricing model, I think it is an important tool because it still allows guests to perform a limited number of searches that increases once registered for a free account. A paid account gives businesses access to full reports and additional features. Larger businesses can consider a more substantial paid plan that includes access to unlimited projects, broader data, branded reports, and a larger number of users.
3. Fruition’s Google Penalty Check
Whether you know you’ve been involved in shady search engine optimization practices in the past or not, it never hurts to keep an eye on your website’s health, as far as Google is concerned. Fruition’s Google Penalty Check lets you to see how various Google search and algorithm updates have affected your website.
Fruition’s freemium model lets start-ups review the effects of Google search and algorithm updates over three months old and add up to two domains for free. Paid accounts have access to more recent data, or an option to analyze more websites.
Want to connect the social networks, apps, and tools you use for marketing and general business tasks all together? Zapier offers a service that allows you to do just that. It has the ability to integrate over 400 platforms to create custom, automated workflows. These tasks, referred to as zaps, allow you to do things like save Twitter search mentions to an SQL server database – a relational database management system. Additionally, you can post a user’s tweet to Yammer and other automations, as shown in the image below.
Zapier’s freemium model allows you to create five tasks, also known as “zaps,” for free. From there, you may buy a plan based on the amount of additional zaps you may need. If your business needs more automated tasks, you can also request more information about large corporate level plans.
Cyfe is used to track analytics and data from a variety of sources. This all-in-one business dashboard solution enables you to bring your website analytics, social media analytics, SEO metrics, and more into one shared and easy-to-read dashboard. In the example below, you can see widgets pulling in data on year-to-date revenue from Salesforce, website visitor locations and funnel paths from Google Analytics, tweets from Twitter, keyword rankings from Google, and email marketing analytics from MailChimp.
Cyfe’s freemium model allows limited usage of their platform, and you are allowed up to five widgets. To earn additional widgets, you can refer friends to Cyfe – one new widget per referral. Purchasing a premium package provides unlimited usage and complete functionality of all features, like exports and regular email reports. Enterprise level users can contact Cyfe for additional features like white labeling.
The key to finding great tools that will go the distance for your business is to ensure they cater to everyone, from small businesses to large enterprises and agencies. This means you never have to worry about outgrowing your favorite tool and start from scratch as your business scales in size. Begin by identifying areas in your marketing strategy where you think a tool might be beneficial for saving you time. From there, you can research the options to find the program that best compliments your professional needs.
*Homepage image via Shutterstock.
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