Digital marketing is becoming ever more popular.

With COVID shutting down business shops and people preferring to buy from the comfort of their own home on their mobile devices, it is now more important than ever to ensure your digital marketing strategy is up to scratch and that you are using the right tools to measure your digital marketing campaigns.

Digital marketing takes a number of different forms, SEO, PPC, CRO and Social media – it is important that you tie all your activities across these platforms together as part of a fuller digital strategy with clear goals.

This article is all about doing that, you’re going to learn exactly what digital marketing is, why its important and then discover the best free digital marketing tools to help you achieve your goals.

Whether you are new to marketing or already running a marketing campaign and want to get more return from your investment this free digital marketing tools guide will provide you with all the necessary tools to get the most from your digital marketing.

Let’s take a look at what digital marketing actually is.

The definition of digital marketing from Investopedia: “Digital marketing is the use of the Internet, mobile devices, social media, search engines, and other channels to reach consumers.”

Digital marketing comes in many forms.

There’s Content marketing, there’s SEO, there’s Pay Per Click (PPC), there’s social media marketing, there’s remarketing and for each of these methods, there’s numerous tools out there to allow you to get the most out of them.

The aim of all of these different platforms/tools/social networks is for you to laser focus in our ideal prospect and get your advert seen in front of them for the lowest/most reasonable customer acquisition cost possible.

Chapter 1 - What is digital marketing - Explained

Different digital marketing activities have different benefits:

SEO – Google is the most popular search engine and people searching and finding you and actively have some sort of intent whether that’s research, enquiring about a service or looking to purchase a product.

PPC – Allows you to dial in your advertising, especially on Google to specific search terms in specific regions and control your budget.

Social Media Marketing – Allows you to narrow down even further than Google AdWords and target people by gender, age, location, interests and many more whilst building up look-a-like audiences to further help your social media marketing campaigns.

Content Marketing – Evergreen content that when presented and written properly will help keep visitors on your website for longer, provide them with the answer to their questions and be easily shared across social media – Content Marketing can server you well into the future, just like this blog post!

Digital marketing activities also have a downside!

SEO – It can be expensive, very competitive and you are at the mercy of the Google algorithm.

PPC – Can be expensive and eat into your budget if not managed correctly.

Social Media Marketing – Can be difficult to get attention in a social environment as you are trying to interrupt people to see your ads.

Content Marketing – Can take lots of time to research and write and then requires extra promotional costs.

So, each digital marketing activity has its downside but more often than not the downside can be easily negated and managed and provide you and upside that makes your downside seem like a walk in the park – when it’s bringing in new business anyway!

That’s a simple summary of what Digital Marketing actually is but why is digital marketing important to a business?

Now, lets look at why digital marketing is important.

Digital marketing is important for a number of reasons. In pre-Covid times it was important to showcase your online presence, to convey you are a real business, advertise your products, drive footfall to your shop and a simple and cost-effective way to engage with your customers.

In Covid times as we stand today, digital marketing has become even more important than ever, which is as with everything both good and bad.

This is why digital marketing is important

Let’s look at some reasons behind digital marketing being so important.

– Every business now realises the importance so every business is doing it and competing for attention and top spots in Google.

– The cost per click and competitiveness of SEO keywords will increase as more people jump on the bandwagon.

– Digital has enabled businesses to pivot and quickly adapt their business activities to survive the Covid pandemic

– It can produce quicker results albeit a little more expensive than activities such as telemarketing or direct mail.

What’s important with digital marketing is to have is as part of a fuller and well thought out strategy and not just a random one-off activity that produces no results and makes you think that “digital marketing doesn’t work” or “SEO doesn’t work” or “PPC doesn’t work and used up all my budget”.

These are very common things we hear, but when not thought out properly it’s very easy to see why digital marketing could fail.

Digital marketing is also important for a number of other reasons.

Digital marketing costs vary but it can be a very cost-effective way to acquire new customers. With the ability to closely manage your spend and track your return on investment, the cost of digital marketing makes it very affordable and very important for most businesses.

Digital marketing allows your brand and messages to be seen consistently by your audience across different platforms and for pennies per click or even nothing at all if your message is just viewed and not actually clicked!

Digital marketing, especially across a social platform like Facebook can allow you to build look-a-like audiences which will allow you to import your existing clients and have Facebook automatically build you similar audiences based upon their Facebook profile traits.

There are lots of benefits for digital marketing and they are certainly right now out performing traditional marketing activities, but that’s not to say they don’t work and can not be used in conjunction with website design and together to produce even better results.

Now, we move onto the best free digital marketing tools available, starting with the best free SEO tools available to help you get the most out of your SEO activities.

Best free SEO tools

Most SEO tools are paid for.

And with good reason as they provide and hold a ton of data and provide insights that can be worth their weight in gold.

But there are some really good free SEo tools available.

free SEO tools

List Of The Best Free SEO Tools

  • Google Search Console The ultimate tool to help with your SEO campaigns. Not only will this tell you health issues with your website but it will also allow you to submit your sitemap and pages to Google as well as view all the search data for the last 12 months and see what keywords have been used to find your website.
  • Ubersuggest A free tool provide by the great Neil Patel. This tool provides keyword suggestions, areas to improve upon along with a site audit which can help you plug any holes that may be holding your SEO back.
  • Screaming Frog SEO Spider This free website crawling tool provides valuable insights for your digital marketing and SEO efforts. Whilst there is a paid version, the free version lets you scan up to 500 pages and become aware of duplicate/missing title tags, descriptions, alt tags, header tags and broken links.
  • HTML Headings Checker This free tool allows you to find the H1-H6 tags on your webpages. Header tags are very important for SEO and this tool allows you to scan your pages find the header tags and find what content is in them. This great tool also points out when you have no header tags so that you can get your web developer or SEO agency to sort them for you.
  • Marketing School Making it onto the list twice is SEO king Neil Patel. His digital marketing school podcast is available on iTunes and provides daily 5-10-minute actionable steps that you can take to keep on top of and improve your SEO campaigns.

Best free PPC tools

There are probably fewer free tools available to help with your PPC campaigns, but that’s likely because Google Ads itself provides so much data.

There are tools such as Wordstream which turn this data into digestible bits for you, but the best tools for Google Ads are listed below.

List of the best free PPC tools

List Of The Best Free PPC Tools

  • Google Ads Keyword Planner The ultimate PPC tool with all first-hand data straight from the Google data center. The Google keyword planner will scan your page, provide you with keywords and keyword suggestion groups to help you get the most out of your Google Ads campaign. Whilst it provides a lot of free data, there are really good insights such as Click Thru Rates and search volumes that can help you dial in your PPC campaign.
  • Google Trends This handy tool can help you find what keywords are trending and breaking away generating search volumes. Google trends can also help you identify search volumes as well as associated search terms to further help your PPC efforts.
  • Wordstream The Google ads grader gives you some very good free insights into hoe your campaign is performing. As well as providing suggestions to better optimise your Adwords campaign, you also get a weekly email that puts all of your data into a handy graph that details your weeks activity compared to the previous weeks.

Best free social media tools

Social media can be a great free / low cost tool for your business.

Measuring your return from social media marketing along with posting fresh content can be time consuming, but here’s some free tools that can help make that easier for you.

list of the best free social media tools

List Of The Best Free Social Media Tools

  • Hootsuite Our favourite social media tool. Hootsuite allows you for free to schedule social media posts across 3 platforms. You are limited to a maximum of scheduling 30, but this tool really does save you time and allow you to plan for the week ahead.
  • Tweetdeck If you use Twitter, then Tweetdeck is the tool you need to get the most from Twitter.
    Allowing you to manage multiple Twitter accounts, set custom lists and timelines, this is a great free tool for Twitter users.
  • Friendsplusme Is a great social tool that helps with scheduling of posts. It helps you schedule your content at the right time and grow your social media followers.

Best free Conversion Rate Optimisation tools

Now you have the tools to drive traffic to your website, it’s very important to monitor that traffic to ensure that it is of the right quality and that the traffic to your website is actually converting into new business for you.

These tools will help you run tests and further optimise your website traffic to get an even better return from your website.

list of the best free conversion rate optimisation tools

List Of The Best Free Conversion Rate Optimisation Tools

  • Google Optimizer A free tool from Google that allows you to split test your webpages to get better conversions. Integrated with Google analytics, this tool tells you which of your page versions is going to perform best to help you boost your conversions.
  • Inspectlet Inspectlet is a handy tool that not only provides heatmaps and click maps to help boost your conversion rates, but it also provides screen recordings of all visitors to your website. This helps you to not only look at data and see you have a problem but to see the problem you may have first-hand. By watching these recordings, you can see where visitors are clicking and what they are doing and go in and fix it.
  • GTMetrix A great tool to improve your page speed and test how quickly your website loads at different locations. GTMetrix gives you an insight to the elements which are causing your website to potentially load slowly and grades you a score out of 100%. Remember, studies show that the quicker your site loads, the better your conversions are likely to be.
  • Tiny PNG As with GTMetrix, the faster your site loads the better and one of the biggest things that often increases site load time is image file size. Tiny PNG compresses JPG and PNG images without losing too much of their quality. This handy little tool is great for image compression which in turn can help your page speed and conversion rate.
  • Google Page Speed Insights Google page insights is another free tool from Google that will boost your conversion rates. Giving you a score out of 100, Google Page Insights let’s you know some key metrics relating to your desktop and mobile page speed. The tool now also shows Core Web Vitals, which are a new metric set to be a part of the page speed score at some point during 2021.
  • Chaport Another way to boost your conversions is to use a live chat system. This handy free live chat system is light on resources, meaning it won’t slow down the speed of your website and also allows for offline messages to be taken and emailed to you. It is also mobile compatible which helps with converting those mobile website visitors.

Best free Digital Marketing planning tools

Here’s some bonus tools to help you plan your digital marketing campaigns.

Planning is absolutely key. It helps you deliver consistent content and allows you to tie your content in to real life events to really connect with your audience.

The tools below will help you achieve this.

list of th best digital marketing planning tools

List Of The Best Free Digital Marketing Planning Tools

  • Blog topic generator A free tool from Hubspot that will help you come up with topics for your blog content. All you have to do is enter up to 5 nouns and the software will output up to 5 different headlines you can use for your blog topics.
  • Content idea generator This handy tool works similar to the blog topic generator, except if you have no ideas or nouns to insert, you simply enter your topic and it throws out a headline for you which you can use as inspiration for your next blog post.
  • Sprout Social This handy little guide from sprout Social details how to create a content calendar that will allow you to plan ahead for all your social media campaigns.

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