Essential Digital Marketing Tools for Building on a Budget

In times of market unrest or uncertainty, it is often difficult to rely on acquiring new funds from the bank and marketing teams must be more agile than ever. This can mean shifting resources, taking on additional responsibilities, or working on a lean budget to continue to drive demand. Whether this is impacting your business, or if you are a new company trying to establish yourself and build a presence, building on a budget doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice capabilities in your marketing strategy. Here’s my top list of tools for building on a budget.

1. Hubspot

One of the most well-known brands that gets mentioned in the free marketing tools category is Hubspot. As a base of operations offering a full CRM with unlimited contacts, it’s hard to argue against Hubspot as the premiere freemium tool.

Not only do you get a full-featured CRM, but you are also exposed to limited functionality to a myriad of other free tools. Included in the free tools are webforms and bot tools to help you capture leads and add them to your CRM. You will also find an email marketing tool to help you connect with your database of prospects and customers captured by your forms and bots. Then there are the sales tools to help you track meetings, deals and build your pipeline. And when you are fortunate to convert those prospects into customers you have support tools to help create support tickets to keep them happy.

2. Miro

Whether you need a brainstorming or standup session with pleasant music, a complete lifecycle journey mapped, GTM strategy planning and more, Miro has you covered. While there are many mind mapping and flow building collaboration tools on the market today, I’ve listed Miro at the top because of the scope of their free plan. While Miro does have a strict limit of 3 boards, your ability to add objects to those boards is not limited by things like the amount of objects on your board, meaning that you can draw everything you need within their board limits. This is great because it gives you the freedom to fully scope out a new process or workflow. Plus with their own template library and user-contributed template libray called the Miroverse, the possibilities of what Miro can offer you can be seamingly endless.

3. Notion

A recent addition to some of the best free tools on the market is Notion. Like Hubspot, Notion provides you with access to multiple tools from a single user interface. Within this interface lies workspaces where you have the ability to manage much of your operations including calendars, project and task management, a wiki, and on top of all this you can integrate with other tools like Miro to combine mind-mapping into your business operations or go-to-market planning.

This tool as the capability to help drive your marketing team by structuring your onboarding, building interactive brand guidelines to keep your look, feel and tone consistent, and even organize your recurring meetings or ideas for a pitch deck or leadership roundtable.

Part of the allure of Notion is the extensive user community, including its raving fans, that has contributed to an endless amount of templates, both free and paid, that can help you get started with Notion with little time wasted.

4. Leadfeeder

Ever wanted to know who was visiting your site? Was it the audience you intended that you are tracking in your analytics, or was it just garbage? Those are among the questions that LeadFeeder looks to help you solve. While more expensive tools on the market will give you insights into buying signals and intent, you need to start somewhere. And with 100 identified companies from the last 7 days you can look to see if accounts you are targeting are reaching and engaging with your content.

5. Mouseflow

If you are looking at building a tech stack and Hubspot is on your list, there is no better UX research tool for your website than Mouseflow. Like many tools in its category, it allows you to watch session replays, view heatmaps from your pages, and uncover friction that goes beyond what you may get in a web analytics tool like Google Analytics.

What we like about Mouseflow better than its competition is its integration with Hubspot. Mouseflow offers two unique abilities that you can integrate with Hubspot. The first is a forms integration. With this integration you can see how far your visitors are progressing with their form submissions and see what fields are causing friction that is preventing submission. The other is an integration to be able to link Hubspot IDs with the session replays to see how particular visitors are engaging with your site. As you build out your ability to track who is visiting your site and form target account lists this will later become an invaluable asset to have at your disposal.

6. Looker Studio (formerly Google Data Studio)

Looker Studio makes an appearance on our list most notably because it provides a powerful reporting system to bring together your data from Google Analytics, Google Search Console, and outside sources to be able to visualize your data to help you make informed decisions. Reports can be generated as charts, graphs, tables, maps, and more. You can even create custom fields with custom calculations to extend the data already being collected by your systems. And when you run out of ideas and need inspiration for a new dashboard or report, you can head over to the Looker Studio Gallery to find the perfect starting point for your next reporting objective.

7. Moz – free SEO tools

As a name that has been synonymous with SEO for many years, Moz has provided professional SEO tools to perform site audits to local tools to help you manage your local listings for better visibility and ranking. Even with a powerful set of tools to grow into, Moz offers some free tools to help you get your foundations set and start to build out an SEO strategy.

Moz’s free SEO tools includes features to help you perform limited keyword research, competitive research, domain analysis, online presence review, and a link explorer to uncover link building opportunities for your website.

This is only the beginning…

While these names can begin to help you with your digital strategy, these tools only scrape the surface of the vast martech stack that exists including free tools to help with your strategy. Having worked many years in marketing operations, it’s not about the right tool to get the job done, but it’s about finding the right tool for your team that gets the job done. If you invest in a tool that does not meld with the strengths of your team, you can often struggle to get the full benefit of the application. Digital tools are here to support and empower you to attract, engage, and retain your audience by delighting them at all stages of their customer journey and can do things from helping grow your digital presence, to managing your social identities, orchestrating customer journies, distributing your content, and automating operational tasks.