The Guide to Inexpensive (and FREE!) Digital Marketing Tools


Estimated reading time: 3 minutes

Often times, one of the biggest challenges for small-to-medium sized business as it relates to digital marketing is finding affordable and effective tools to help execute, deliver, and measure marketing initiatives.

In response to this issue, we’ve put together a guide to inexpensive and free digital marketing tools. For any given marketing activity (website analytics, email marketing, social media management) there are a number of great options to choose from. Often, the tricky part is in weighing desired functionality and affordability.

First, let’s dive into defining a few terms you’ll see in this guide:

A marketing technology stack is a grouping of technologies that marketers leverage to conduct and improve their marketing activities. The goal is to make difficult processes easier, measure impact, and do more with less.

Marketing automation refers to human-free processes that are triggered by a users’ action. An example would be a series of emails that are automatically sent to a contact after they register for an upcoming event.

Analytics typically refer to digital statistics and apply to things like: websites (visits, geography, time spent on site), email (open rates / click through rates) or landing page forms (conversion rates).

An opt-in is when a person voluntarily signs-ups or subscribes and gives a company permission to communicate with them via email. Users typically opt-in to eNewsletters to stay in the know with a company they like, or to receive some sort of incentive such as discounts or content (eBook/white paper).


For the purposes of this post, we’ll break our guide into 3 parts:

1. Website Tools

Google Analytics

What It Does

Google Analytics measures traffic and user behaviors on your website. It contains tons of website intelligence to help you understand not only which areas of your website are the most popular with your users, but also which devices they’re using to view your website, and which browsers they’re using on those devices, to name only a couple.

Key Features

  • Insight into the number of visitors to your website (daily, weekly, monthly, custom)
  • Source of visitors (Google/Bing, Social Media, Direct, Banner Ad, etc)
  • Goal Attribution
  • Mobile vs. Desktop Visits
  • Geographic Breakdown
  • Search Terms (Internal and External)

Setup Difficult:

Cost: FREE

Google Analytics Traffic Location Report
Google Analytics Traffic Location Report
Google Analytics Channel Traffic Report
Google Analytics Channel Traffic Report

Optinmonster icon

Optinmonster

What It Does

OptinMonster is website lead generation tool designed to increase your email subscriber list.

Key Features

  • Create customized opt-in forms to attract new email subscribers
  • A/B testing of opt-in forms
  • Exit Intent Technology that triggers forms when a user indicates intent to exit a page
  • Pop-Up, Sidebar, and In-Line opt-in forms
  • Built-In Conversion Analytics
  • Page-Level Tracking

Setup Difficult:

Cost: From $9/month to $29/month (Annual)


2. Email Marketing Tools

Mailchimp

What It Does

Mailchimp is an email marketing tool that enables you to build a subscriber list and then communicate with them via one-off emails and automated, trigger-based lead nurturing campaigns. Mailchimp’s interface is extremely intuitive and the email design tool enables non-designers to create great looking messages.

Key Features

  • Subscriber List Management
  • Custom Subscriber Properties
  • Email Marketing
  • Drag-and-Drop Email Design & Personalization
  • Embeddable Subscriber Sign-Up Forms for Your Website
  • Automation
  • Email Reporting & Analytics (sends, opens, clicks)

Setup Difficult:

Cost: Between FREE and $199/month*

*The free version of Mailchimp includes full functionality. The only caveat is that it’s capped at 2,000 subscribers, after which, you’ll need to upgrade to a paid account.

Mailchimp Email Template Selector
Mailchimp Drag-and-Drop Email Designer

Zapier

What It Does

Zapier is a tool that connects all of your marketing applications via their API and enables automated, multi-step processes, called “Zaps” between them.

Key Features

  • Integrations for all major marketing technologies
  • Multi-step Automations
  • Task History for Troubleshooting Zaps
  • Ease-of-Use
  • Great Support

Setup Difficult:

Cost: Between FREE and $299/month

Zapier Connected Applications (Examples)
Zapier Multi-Step Zap (Example)

Hopefully you’ve found this guide helpful. Keep in mind that there are several high-quality and affordable digital marketing tools. Hubspot, for instance, is a powerful all-in-one tool that encompasses email marketing, landing page creation, social media management and more.

The tools mentioned above were selected with the small-to-medium sized business in mind, where ease-of-use, features, and affordability were the top priorities.

Looking for a recommendation for a specific type of digital marketing tool? Let us know below in the comments.

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