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Digital marketing covers such a broad spectrum of activity that it’s very difficult to stay on top without the help of tools and apps. Time is money and marketing software helps to get the job done much more quickly than if you tried to do it manually. Thankfully, there’s a whole host of free marketing tools out there if you’re trying to be mindful of outgoings.

Many of the tools we use daily have a free trial option. Using free marketing software trials allows you to see if the tool helps you achieve your goals. It also gives you time to consider if it’s worth upgrading to a paid option or works well enough on the free version.

Here, in no particular order, are the top seven free marketing tools we use every day with a short list of pros and cons:

1. Canva

Although we recently upgraded to the paid version of Canva, the free version has served us well for several years! Canva is a piece of design software that doesn’t require you to be a graphic designer to create visually-pleasing images for your social media or emails.

Pros of the free version:

  • Allows you to create unlimited graphics for all manner of platforms and purposes
  • Access to 8000+ free templates and 100+ design types, so you don’t have to know about technical design, such as composition rules or font pairings
  • Access to hundreds of thousands of free photos and graphics so you don’t have to separately hunt for free stock images on a separate tab (you can just search and drag!)

Cons of the free version:

  • Limited storage means you have to keep an eye on how much you save to the account
  • No access to the branding kit that comes with the Pro account which isn’t a deal-breaker if you’re just using Canva for your brand
  • You can’t upload fonts so if branding is important to you, consider the upgrade
  • No access to Pro images but there are plenty to choose from in the free library

This is a brilliant web-based piece of kit for any small business and is one of our favourite free marketing tools. For inspiration, check out our post, sharing five of the best ways to use Canva for business.

Canva Dashboard

2. Tailwind

Possibly the most underrated of the free marketing apps. Did you see our recent post on using Pinterest for business? If so, you might have seen us mention Tailwind before.

Granted, there’s a cap on usage in the free version. But it’s a fantastic tool for checking if a Pinterest presence is beneficial for your business.

To save you creating pins every day and uploading them, Tailwind allows you to do this in bulk to save you time. It also chooses the best time to post, based on your account’s engagement, and then churns out your posts automatically at these times.

If you commit to using all 100 pins and upload many pins in one go each week, you should see an impressive spike in your Pinterest analytics. At this point, if the increase in content brings in more revenue, you might consider upgrading to a paid account.

Pros of the free version:

  • Allows you to try the software with no time limit
  • Links to your Pinterest account and suggests post times based on the account’s stats
  • Automatically posts so you can upload in bulk at the start of the week

Cons of the free version:

  • Only lets you upload 100 pins
free marketing tools

3. Planoly

Planoly has been a complete gamechanger for us recently! If you’re a visual thinker, you might consider this the king of free marketing apps.

Planoly is a piece of web-based scheduling software for Instagram and allows you to see what your grid will look like when your future posts go live. If your Instagram aesthetic matters to you and your brand, Planoly is the way forward. You can move posts around to achieve the perfect grid visual, upload your caption and hashtags, and schedule for auto-posting.

We use this platform all the time, and it’s helped us fine-tune our Instagram aesthetic (you can follow us here on Instagram if you’re curious).

Pros of the free version:

  • You can upload as many as 30 posts per month for forward bulk planning
  • There is no time limit to the free version
  • You can link to your Pinterest too
  • It posts automatically on your behalf at the time you choose

Cons of the free version:

  • You can only link to one Instagram account
  • You can’t schedule video stories in advance 
  • It doesn’t choose an auto-time to post based on your engagement

4. Hootsuite

Admittedly, we use the paid version of Hootsuite because we manage social media for many clients (you can find out about our social media service here). But, if you’re just looking to schedule social media for one brand, the free version of Hootsuite is super handy as a trial. 

Hootsuite has been our go-to scheduling platform for all channels. Until recently, we used it for Instagram too, which works fine but lacks the visual component offered by Planoly. With Hootsuite, you can choose between a list or calendar view to help you stay organised when scheduling social posts in bulk. Perhaps not the most comprehensive option in this list of free marketing tools, but helpful nonetheless.

Pros of the free version:

  • Allows you a no-obligation trial period to see if the platform suits your needs
  • Gives you a chance to compare with other platforms
  • Offers a way to practise scheduling social media posts if you’re new to it

Cons of the free version:

  • Only allows three channels
  • Only one user has access
  • Capped at 30 posts

5. Slack

This doesn’t exactly count as an example of free marketing tools as it’s not limited to marketing, but it’s worth checking out. Since lockdown, we needed a way for the whole team to stay in touch using a central platform. We signed up for the free version of Slack, and it’s been a raging success.

You can set up multiple channels for different projects and invite the relevant team members to them. It keeps casual correspondence in one place and creates a forum for efficient group chats without hundreds of unnecessary meetings! It’s a winner in our books.

So, if you work in marketing and liaise with designers, developers, content teams and SEOs daily, Slack might be the answer.

Pros of the free version:

  • Unlimited channels for projects
  • Your whole team can use it
  • No time limit

Cons of the free version:

  • Only saves the last 10k messages
  • Doesn’t support guest accounts if you wanted to collaborate with another Slack workplace
free marketing apps

6. Unsplash

If you’re tired of cringe-worthy stock images but don’t have the money to splash out on Shutterstock, Unsplash is the perfect alternative. It’s a free stock image platform that doesn’t charge royalties and only features high-quality photos. 

You don’t need an account, can use as many images as you like, and there’s no paid version, so you get full access to everything Unsplash offers!

free marketing software

7. Grammarly

We started using the free version of Grammarly last year and were so impressed that we upgraded to a paid version.

If you’re not a confident speller or your grammar has seen better days, Grammarly can help you out. Of course, we would always recommend brushing up your writing skills, but Grammarly is a good safety net. You can either use it by copying text into the browser version, by installing an extension into your browser, or by downloading it to your desktop and allowing it to work in your word processing software.

Check out our blog posts with tips for proofreading and how to fix common copywriting mistakes to help you hone your writing skills.

Pros of the free version:

  • Picks up spelling mistakes and basic grammatical errors
  • Can be installed as a browser extension
  • Can be used on your desktop

Cons of the free version:

  • Doesn’t spot complex grammar issues
free marketing tools

These free marketing apps help us work effectively and efficiently, facilitating creativity and organisation! Did we miss anything out? Let us know in the comments section below.