Best Digital Marketing Tools – From the Free to the Essential

Written by Katelynn Wiley

Digital marketing involves countless moving pieces and skillsets, and doing it well requires a robust digital marketing toolkit. This is a collection of the tools we use at Potluck Consulting. By using them, we’re able to manage a large portfolio of clients with services in social media, blogging, search engine optimization, and email marketing.

Every tool plays an important role and no tool is too small to mention. In fact, sometimes the little ones are the biggest time savers. Some tools are more advanced than others but no matter where you are on your digital marketing journey, we’re confident you’ll find something new and helpful here.

Best Free Digital Marketing Tools

Social Media Management Tools

Facebook Business Manager & Facebook Ad Manager

Now Called “Business Suite” on Some Accounts. Manage activity for Facebook and Instagram with way more features and precision than you get on the front end of either platform. Use this tool to create and track ad campaigns, schedule posts, look at detailed analytics, and create Facebook Pixels. Plus, if you’re working with many clients, you can manage multiple accounts from a single dashboard. The learning curve on this tool starts off steep but it’s worth the effort.

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Campaign URL Builder

Easily build UTM tracking links so that social media traffic to your website is accurately recorded on Google Analytics.

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Bitly

Simplify long links (like links with UTMs!) or use Bitlys as a simple tracking method to see how many people have clicked on your links.

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Forekast

Out of ideas for posts? Forekast is a fun calendar that includes significant upcoming dates. The calendar includes everything from national holidays to sitcom premieres and space program launches.

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News Feed Eradicator

This might be the most important tool of them all. We’re only kind of kidding. Are you easily distracted? That’s tough when your job requires you to check social media multiple times a day. Take away the temptation to scroll with News Feed Eradicator Chrome Extension. It blocks your newsfeed on Facebook and Twitter.

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Blogging & Search Engine Optimization Tools

Google Analytics

You can connect any website to Google Analytics for free. It’s a remarkably adaptable tool that tracks all activity on your website. Use it to see how many people are visiting your site, how they’re getting there, how they behave once they arrive, and much more.

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Yoast SEO WordPress Plug-In

If you’re creating blog content using WordPress, the free version of the Yoast SEO plug-in is handy. It rates your blog post for SEO and readability and makes suggestions for improvements.

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Answer the Public

Out of blog ideas? Type any topic into Answer the Public and it will pull up a list of popular questions people are asking search engines about that topic. This tool is seriously fun and very inspiring. You get two free searches a day and it’s measured by internet connection, not device. So use it wisely!

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Headline Studio (By CoSchedule)

This tool gives your headlines a score between 1-100 based on how compelling it thinks they are. Of course, you need a human eye to make the final decision but it can help to point out when a headline is too common or bla. And using it feels a bit like a fun game. (Tip: It also works great for email subject lines!)

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Title Tag Checker (By Moz)

See how your page or blog titles will appear in a Google search. Simple and handy.

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Meta Description Length Checker (By Spotibo)

Again, pretty simple but so handy. Use it to see how much of your meta description will be visible on both desktop and mobile.

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Copywriting Tools

Grammarly

This nifty plug-in that adds grammar and spellchecking to everything you do. It also goes above and beyond a normal spell checker by suggesting changes to sentence structure that will make your copy more readable.

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Hemingway App

In copywriting, simple is better. You never want people to have to work to understand what you’re saying. So the idea behind the Hemingway App is to write like Hemingway, who used simple, bold, active language. The app helps you to shorten sentences, cut out adverbs, use the active voice, and choose simple phrasing.

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Image Sourcing Tools

Pexels & Unsplash

Pexels and Unsplash are both royalty-free image sites with large image banks. There are other royalty-free sites but we’ve found that these two consistently offer the most options. When using images from these sites, there’s no fee and no legal obligation to site the artist (though it’s always nice to do).

Go to Pexels | Go to Unsplash

Nappy

Unfortunately, royalty-free image sites tend to be overwhelmingly white (not to mention straight, able, young, and thin). Nappy is a royalty-free image database with photos of Black and Brown models. There are fewer images in Nappy than Pexels and Unsplash but it’s still full of gems.

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unDraw

This one’s fun. It’s a site filled with open-source illustrations. Search for a topic to pull related drawings, then change the color by hex code to match branding.

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Canva

Make anything and everything visual with Canva. If you have an eye for design you can build custom images from scratch using an enormous library of images, graphics, and fonts. Or use their premade templates if you need a little help. They have templates for almost any digital marketing need you can imagine, including all sizes of social media posts.

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Email Marketing Tools

MailChimp

Ok, this is a short category. Use MailChimp to create, send, and track attractive email marketing campaigns like newsletters and welcome series. It’s a great choice for beginner and intermediate businesses looking for a platform that’s visually appealing and easy to use. And it’s free for one mailing list of up to 2000 contacts. Other popular email marketing services include ConstantContact, Klaviyo, and HubSpot.

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More Digital Marketing Tools

File-Sharing – Dropbox or Google Drive

Figuring out a file-sharing system that works for you is essential. Digital marketing is almost never a one-person job, so having an easy way for team members to remotely access files is crucial. For this, we say stick with the basics. Dropbox or Google Drive both work well. If you’re working with multiple clients, you might need to set up both since some people will use one and some people will use the other.

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Go to DropBox | Go to Google Drive

Coffee Ipsum

Generate filler text as placeholders on new website pages and reusable email templates. Any Ipsum generator will work but we like Coffee Ipsum because it’s classy.

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Pocket

Whatever you’re working on, keep track of web pages, tools, articles, and blogs. It works a bit like Pinterest in that it functions as organized storage for web pages. But it’s designed for saving and sorting written content, and there’s no distracting feed of suggested saves.

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Word to HTML

Are you copy-pasting from a word document into a blog or email campaign? Try it in Word to HTML first to see if there’s any code attached to the text. With this tool, you can see a visual editor and HTML editor at the same time. It’s much easier than toggling between views on platforms like WordPress and MailChimp.

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Asana (Or Another Project Management Tool)

There are a ton of moving pieces for digital marketing. So anyone collaborating with a team needs a powerful project management system. Asana isn’t the only one on the market but we think it’s the best. Assign tasks, see their progress, set goals, form teams, share files, and much more. Asana has a free version but its features are limited and won’t work for an active team. Other popular project management tools include Teamwork and Monday.

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Agorapulse (Or Another Scheduler)

If you’re managing social media posting for more than one platform or for multiple clients, a scheduler is the only way to go. There are plenty to choose from but Agorapulse has the most options for post customization, especially for Instagram which tends to be the most restricted when it comes to schedulers. It also makes it super easy to collaborate with clients or other team members using shared calendars. Other popular options include SocialPilot, Sprout Social, and HootSuite.

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Moz

Conduct in-depth keyword research for Search Engine Optimization. There’s really no way around going for a paid service if you plan to target keywords on a blog or website. Moz is easy to use, easy to understand, and offers a ton of in-depth training and education tools.

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DashThis

Analytics is kind of our thing at Potluck Consulting Company. So of course we need an awesome way to show off data. DashThis is an interactive, visually appealing report-building platform that can automatically pull data from Google Analytics, social media platforms, and a ton of other sources. We use it to create and share monthly updates with clients. It’s great for visualizing KPIs, showing the effects of ad campaigns, and summarizing progress.

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Upgrading Tools

Tons of the “free” tools we talked about here have paid versions with expanded features. If you’re getting serious about digital marketing, start testing out free tools and seeing if there are a handful you use enough to upgrade.

Hiring a Digital Marketing Agency

If you want access to agency-level tools for your business’s marketing efforts but don’t want to purchase them or learn new software, consider working with a digital marketing company like Potluck Consulting. That’s the best digital marketing tool of all!

 

If you’re looking for more resources, try this shortlist of relevant blogs for assistance + subscribe to the Potluck Consulting newsletter to get our emails. Click the blue “Newsletter” tab at the bottom of your screen.

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