Have you ever spent valuable time trying out a new online marketing tool, only to find that it doesn’t have the features you expected, or the learning curve is higher than promised or the customer service is shady? Yes, of course you have. Me too, and I’d like to save you at least a little bit of frustration by sharing some of my favorite marketing tools that cost less than 10 bucks.
1. Toggl: A time-tracking tool that isn’t a time-suck
I used to use a timesheet tool that required at least an hour a week for data entry. I would generally enter all of my time on Fridays, trying to remember what I spent my time on throughout the week. It was cumbersome. It was inaccurate. It was annoying. These days, I’ve graduated to Toggl, a stopwatch-based app that could not be easier to use. Toggl’s timer will track how much time you spend on a project and produce reports at the end of the month. This has not only helped with time management, but also with billing and pricing. I know exactly how much time each part of a project took my team to complete, providing me with a reference to accurately scope similar projects down the line. Price: Free, with advanced features offered at $5 per user/month
2. Pixlr: An intuitive, easy online photo editor
Pixlr is a simplified — yet still very powerful — online photo editor in the vein of PhotoShop. Pixlr allows you to open photos from your computer or via a url. You can perform simple tasks such as changing an image size or more advanced edits involving layers and masks. Price: Free!
3. Schedule Once: OK, sometimes twice. But still easy.
Pet peeve: exchanging a dozen emails in order to schedule a conference call. Ugh. The worst. Schedule Once solved that problem for me by allowing people to grab time on my calendar without all the back and forth. It also has another welcome benefit: When clients or colleagues book time on my calendar, it’s a gentle reminder that my time is unfortunately finite. Price: $5/month for most features
Want to see Schedule Once in action? Click the button below to schedule 20 minutes with me for a free evaluation of your website.
4. Sidekick: Spy on your email recipients
Sidekick is the perfect name for HubSpot’s email notification tool. Like any good second-in-command superhero, this tool gives you the right information at the right time. It whispers in your ear while you’re out saving the world and says, “Psst. Your prospect just opened the proposal you emailed for the third time today. This might be a good time to call and close the deal.” Price: Free for basic or $10/month for unlimited notifications
5. Unsplash: Un-stock photos
Let’s be honest: Stock photos suck. Yet, we have to use them from time to time, mainly because we can’t consistently produce great photos to accompany our content. Luckily, there are photographers out there contributing to sites such as Unsplash. Here, you’ll find artsy landscapes, city scenes and even business scenarios. The photos are gorgeous, unique and, best of all, completely free for commercial use. We get plenty of positive feedback on Game 7’s website photos, and many of them came from Unsplash. Price: Free
6. Trello: Organize and prioritize
Trello can be used for team project management, but I love using it to organize my own to-do lists. It’s super simple to view and prioritize everything you need to get done. I move each task from “do this week” to “do today” to “doing now” and finally (yay!), “DONE.” But you can customize your lists in any way you choose. Price: Free for individuals
7. Canva: Design for marketers
Not a designer but need to design? I’d like you to meet my bestie Canva. This online tool provides easy-yet-stunning templates for common graphic needs such as Facebook ads, text-overlay Instagram posts and photo collages. The results will look professional and custom, even if you’re a design rube. Price: Free for individuals
8. Hotjar: Spy on your website visitors
Stop guessing how users interact with your website. With Hotjar, you can record how visitors’ mice move, how far they scroll down the page and which buttons they click on. Really folks, you don’t know how powerful this data is until you see it visually. I’ve used it to double conversion rates with simple design tweaks. Price: Free for a basic account
9. Buffer: Social media in seconds
Hopefully you’re not posting individually on each social network, right? Of course not. Most marketers use a social publishing platform such as Buffer, Hootsuite, SproutSocial or MavSocial. Any of these platforms will save you time when planning and scheduling out social posts, but personally I like the simplicity of Buffer. Price: Free for basic or $10/month for a few more features
10. Google Forms
OK, so you’ve probably used Google Forms before, and this number 10, so I know you’re thinking I’m just getting lazy. I’m not, I promise! No? There are certainly fancier form and survey tools out there, but if you need an easy way to collect information and store it, a Google Form will do the trick. I use Google Forms for job applicants, client surveys and project sign-offs, among other things. Price: Free!