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24 FREE Tools I Use Every Day

I get this question all the time… what tools do you use to make marketing (easier, faster, better).

Here is a list of 24 tools I use for everything from creating graphics to competitive analysis.

PSSST>>>If you want even more tools (and a handy print out), check out the free printable guide at the end of the article with 30 FREE Tools.

Social Media Scheduling

Buffer. Easy to use. Integrates via plugin with Chrome so it’s really easy to add content to your social accounts. Up to 5 social media accounts are free. Hootsuite offers a free tier that I also use – but Buffer wins because of the simplicity of the Chrome extension.

HootSuite. I use the free level of the package – three social profiles, basic analytics, scheduling – but will probably have to upgrade to a paid plan at some point. I like the card setup of the dashboard. Pinterest not available without a third-party app.

Hubspot Social Media Scheduling Template. Easy to use and forces you to write and plan your social media posts. Excel spreadsheet with tabs for each platform.

Graphics creation:

Canva. Quick, intuitive, and flexible. Dead simple to download. Tons of built-in templates for social, eBooks, graphics, and general publishing.

PicMonkey. Need more of a Photoshop-type app? PicMonkey lets you edit, add text, filter, crop, and more. A bit of a learning curve, but reasonably intuitive.

Adobe Express. A little like Canva with pre-made templates. They have made changes to the editor (out with the style-wheel and in with a blank canvas-type editor) that make it more user-friendly. Free and paid tiers.

Free Stock Photos:

Pixabay Images that you can use anywhere – even for business – and no copyright issues.

Pexels  I have to admit that this is my favorite site. Seems to be less “stock image” than other sites.  You can sort by “trending” or “new” I like their search function and their “trending” sort. I try to find images that aren’t trending – who wants to use what everyone else is using?

Unsplash seems to have a little different selection than other sites – heavier on the landscape and architecture. Great if you are creating quote of the day images for Pinterest or Instagram.

Burst sorts into categories like Fitness, Fashion, Business, Music that make is easier to quickly find what you are looking for – and discover related images. Hosted by Shopify.

Freestocks also sorts by category and tags. Nice selection of food and animals but they have a broad collection in general.

FoodiesFeed is perfect for food-based blogs. Not as large in absolute numbers – but very well curated.

New Old Stock are public archive historic photos. Scroll and discover or search (not intuitive – little magnifying glass in upper right). I like stumbling across random photos of people to spice up my blog posts.

Kaboompics seems to emphasize interiors, architecture, and abstract work. Nice selection of out of the ordinary photos.

PikWizard has lots of gorgeous food and landscape shots as well as some not-run-of-the-mill people shots doing things besides sitting around tables looking at charts.

Monitoring and Checking the Competition:

Google Alerts: Yup. Google is great at monitoring. Set up the alert on your name, website, social accounts – whatever you want. Fine tune it to hear the news you need to hear.

SimilarWeb lets you deep dive into any website and see where they get their traffic, rank, competitors, and more.

Google AdWords. Want to find keywords around your product or service? Google AdWords has a Keyword Planner that lets you search for words and key phrases.

Google Trends: Find trending topics from Google search. View trends in various industries, by country, or search for the topic of your choice.

Social Mention: A simple search box does a deep dive into whatever you’re searching for in blogs, microblogs, bookmarks, images, videos, and questions. Your search results show Sentiment (positive, neutral, negative), keywords, top users, hashtags, and users. You can sort by date or source and choose the timeframe to search.

Follow A Chrome and Firefox extension as well as a stand-alone app. Follow lets you see the traffic, visitors, marketing and more of any website. Great learning tool to understand how great companies are using the internet to manage and expand their brand.

Semrush. Want to see the keywords your competition is ranking for? Links? Ads? Semrush will let you peek under the hood. The free version limits some of your options and number of searches, but for most casual users, the free tier is plenty.

SpyFu has a lot of the same info as Semrush. The free search bar on the main page gives you the “big picture” results. You need a paid account to dig down.

Alexa lets you get a global view of site traffic and reach as well as the “Alexa Rank” of the sites worldwide. No free tier, but you can get a 7-day free trial.

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