The list of tools, software, and digital resources marketers have at their disposal continues to grow. According to Scott Brinker’s 2016 marketing technology landscape, 3,874 organizations are represented in today’s marketing technology ecosystem, compared to about 2,000 last year and 150 in its inaugural version in 2011.
And this graphic represents mostly commercial tools and software, requiring licensing or subscription fees.
What about the free resources for digital marketers, especially those marketers strapped for budget?
If you find yourself asking this type of question, you’re not alone. The good news as marketing technology continues to evolve, there are even more free resources out there than ever before as well.
Looking to jumpstart your next digital marketing initiative with new ideas and resources?
Here are 14 tools and resources, that are all free or provide limited free access. Our team uses all of these resources, almost every day, to support and drive campaign success for clients and our own organization’s online marketing program.
Übersuggest is a free alternative to the popular Google Keyword Planner, providing keyword ideas organized alphabetically and visually based on preference.
Why Übersuggest is valuable: Keyword research is the backbone for well-developed search engine marketing programs. Übersuggest provides a comprehensive alternative for proofing existing keyword strategies and searching for new ideas as well.
FaqFox is an online tool that scrapes websites and web pages for questions related to specific target keywords and themes.
Why FaqFox is valuable: By uncovering questions related to key topics and phrases, marketers can develop more targeted ideas for blog posts, articles, and strategic content marketing assets and campaigns.
Jing is a free application that allows users to capture anything on the computer screen, as an image or short video, and even share the material through IM, email, or social media platform.
Why Jing is valuable: Jing makes it easy to create simple screenshots, annotations, and even short video for capturing and demonstrating information. We use this resource regularly in presentations, deliverables, and for graphics used in blog posts and contributed content (including this piece!).
Copyscape provides a free plagiarism checker for finding unauthorized copies of web page material online. The organization also offers commercial solutions for preventing content theft and fraud; from vendors and for an organizations’ own original work.
Why Copyscape is valuable: Ever wonder if other organizations online are stealing your copy and content or if the copy purchased from a vendor or contractor is truly original? Copyscape provides an easy solution for checking up on important material and making certain it is not being plagiarized or digitally repurposed without authorization.
Rapportive offers a free Chrome and / or Firefox extension, which integrates into Gmail, to uncover social media profiles associated with a given email address, as well as connections you may already have between parties.
Why Rapportive is valuable: It might seem a bit creepy but Rapportive can be invaluable for connecting with key contacts across social platforms and performing influencer research; be it through LinkedIn, Twitter, or Skype, amongst others.
SEOBook’s free rank checking tool allows marketers to check and export target keyword rankings in Google and Yahoo! search results.
Why SEOBook’s Rank Checker is valuable: While I rarely advocate rank checking as primary SEO performance metric, quickly obtaining a list of keyword positions can be important from time to time. Just try to get too carried away with keyword ranking as a sole measure of SEO success (please!).
Contaxio allows marketers to inspect, annotate, and export their Twitter network, in an effort to improve engagement and communication initiatives.
Why Contaxio is valuable: By providing a simple way to annotate, tag, and download a Twitter network, marketers can make better decisions on who to prioritize and communicate with, in accordance with broader digital marketing objectives.
BuzzSumo allows marketers to uncover the type of content that resonates best through social media platforms, based on keywords, social shares, inbound links, influencers.
Why BuzzSumo is valuable: BuzzSumo provides insight into how well almost any form of content or website does across social media platforms and what type of websites link and provide influence; updated on a daily basis. A paid subscription unlocks more in-depth insights and information.
SEMRush is a competitive analysis tool primarily focused in SEO and PPC-related information and performance metrics.
Why SEMRush is valuable: Similar to BuzzSumo, SEMRush offers a limited amount of free insight as well as paid subscription options for more comprehensive results. That said, the free version still offers enough information around paid and organic keywords, competitors, and digital marketing metrics to remain relevant in most preliminary analysis scenarios.
IFTTT (“If This Then That”) is an online service that allows users to create simple conditional statements, called “recipes”, triggered based on actions and updates from applicable platforms (like Gmail, Facebook, or RSS).
Why IFTTT is valuable: IFTTT is a simple way to stay up to date with relatively routine productivity tasks such as brand mention alerts, publisher updates, and email reminders and notifications. For digital marketers, it helps automate tasks and save time in manual processes.
Convert word documents to clean HTML removes extraneous HTML code that can sometimes appear when copy / pasting a word document (or other RTF document format) into a CMS like WordPress.
Why Convert Word Documents to Clean HTML is valuable: If you’ve ever tried to copy / paste more complexly designed word documents directly into a CMS, you’ve most likely experienced issues with formatting and layout. This free application helps clean up the HTML code behind the scenes that impacts design the ability to update design effectively.
MobileTest.me is a free resource for testing website usability and appearance across a range of smartphone & tablet device emulators.
Why MobileTest.me is valuable: Used in coordination with Google’s Mobile Friendly Testing Tool, MobileTest.me provides an easy way to visually inspect mobile usability across a range of device types.
Xenu’s Link Sleuth is free for download software application that checks a website / web address for broken links. Xenu’s Link Sleuth also performs verification on normal links, images, frames, backgrounds, and local image maps.
Why Xenu’s Link Sleuth is valuable: This application is a bit more technical but deserves mention because it aids in diagnosing errors and mistakes in site development. This can be critical when websites or sections of websites are updated, redesigned, or migrated from one location to another.
Another more technical resource, the Pingdom Website Speed Tool is a free application that helps digital marketers identify issues in load times for a web page / website.
Why Pingdom Website Speed Tool is valuable: Page load speed has become a more critical factor in site performance based on both the increase in mobile device usage and platform-specific recommendations and developments. Used in coordination with Google’s Page Speed Testing Tools, Pingdom helps marketers identify specific issues and bottlenecks which may impact site performance for end-users.
I would be remiss to not at least identify the suite of free Google applications (outside of those previously mentioned) digital marketers have at their disposal. While Google Analytics is an obvious must have, don’t forget Search Console, Google’s Structured Data Testing Tool, and the Google Webmaster Channel.
Looking for even more free resources?
My colleague Ryan Young wrote a post a while back highlighting 20 online tools (some of these included) the our team regularly uses in their digital marketing efforts.
The team at Moz takes it one step further, with an interactive list of 100 completely free SEO tools, broken out by challenge and general SEO objectives, which include free and paid options, along with free trials to consider as well.
Did I miss one of your personal favorites? I sincerely hope not but shoot us a message on Twitter (here or here) and let us know!