66 affordable and effective marketing tools for startups

Hannah Brice Written by
Hannah Brice

Every startup owner or budding entrepreneur will embark on a journey that involves making decisions about marketing, usually fairly early on in the process. If you want to be the next big brand, people need to know about your products and services, but how do you go about choosing which methods to use and drawing up a strategy that won’t take years or cost millions to achieve results? If you’re chomping at the bit, and you can’t wait to see orders flocking in and takings rising day on day, working with a startup marketing agency can provide a solution, but it’s also a good idea to check out these 66 tools that will help to make marketing a breeze. All are affordable, current and helpfully categorised below as follows:

Generating leads

You’ve got a brilliant product. The next step is to shout it from the rooftops and seek out interested parties. These tools will help you increase lead generation:

1. Leadfeeder: a visitor tracking tool, which can help you see who has been looking at your products. You can then try and find the likely contact within that company on social media to follow up!

2. Sales Navigator: part of LinkedIn, this tool lets you pull together all the people you’d consider to be leads (as they stand on LinkedIn) and monitor their activity without being connected with them. That was you can get to know what they care about and make your first approach more successful.

3. Verify-Email: type in and verify any email address

4. Typeform: an engaging survey tool that you can customise and add to your site for all vistiors to capture information or contact details
Typeform homepage

5. Wisestamp: An email signature design tool, you can add in links to sign up pages and social profiles to too

6. Hubspot: Not only are its marketing courses and resources very helpful, but it also provides CRM, marketing and sales tools for free

7. Autopilot: Automation of the customer journey for lead nurturing

8. Insightly: a cloud-based CRM that helps you to convert more leads (free trial available)

9. Boomerang: a simple scheduling tool designed to help you create email leads. You decide when emails are sent and received so you won’t put off prospects by emailing them late at night.

Creating great content

If you’re au fait with marketing jargon, you’ll probably know all too well that ‘content is king.’ If you’re not the next William Shakespeare or J K Rowling, fear not. Here are some creative tools to help you generate and share exceptional, engaging content:

10. Hemingway: a grammar tool that helps you eliminate complex language, identify errors and make your content readable and digestible.

11. Grammarly: Another tool for spotting errors, as recommended by content writing trainer Claire Winter.

Grammarly homepage

12. Listly: a free platform that gives you access to a plethora of lists. Good for generating content ideas

13. Portent: a useful tool for conjuring up original content ideas and titles

14. GoodEmailCopy: a handy tool that gives you access to good content examples

Good email copy homepage

15. Medium: one of the web’s most popular blogging platforms that enables you to share inbound content and build your influence

16. Apester: a free, interactive tool that allows you to create quizzes and fun games to vary your content and make your web pages more engaging

17. Piktochart: a great visual content tool that enables you to design infographics and virtual posters

18. Adobe Spark: a free online and mobile graphic design app to help you Easily create beautiful images, videos, and web pages. Crowdville – the product and service testing company – loves this.

19. Canva: a visual content tool that you can use to create anything from banners to social media images. Kind2, which makes soap free and PH balanced shampoo and conditioner, Coffee and Kin, which makes compostable coffee capsules, and Vegan Apron which makes vegan recipe boxes all swear by it!

20. Pexels: vast supply of free stock images

21. Pixabay: free stock image provider

22. Unbounce: design customised landing pages for new startup campaigns

23. Wetransfer: creating a lot of imagery. video and downloadable content? Manage the creation and approval process without using all the space on your mail server by transferring large files via this site.

24. Tinypng: Shrink png or jpg files for social media and content sharing

25. I Love PDF: as above but for pdfs

26. Recordit: Whether you’re producing a product demo or explaining to your team how to do  new process, this tool will record your screen.

27. Storyblocks: For an affordable monthly fee, get all the footage, backgrounds and After Effects templates you need to create incredible videos. It also has an audio and image library.

Storyblocks homepage

28. Dissolve: For one off purchases, rather than a monthly commitment, Dissolve will give you the stock footage or imagery that you need.

Analytics and data

Once you’ve got a campaign up and running, you can’t rest on your laurels. Analytic tools enable you to keep track of your progress, monitor your performance and see how far away you are from achieving your objectives. In-depth data analysis can provide you with valuable information about specific elements of the campaign and enable you to make changes or improvements. Examples of excellent analytic tools include:

29. Google Analytics: Google’s Analytics tool enables you to access all kinds of information about who is visiting your website, where traffic is coming from, and which pages are most popular

30. HotJar: provides visual interpretations to enable you to track and evaluate user behaviour

31. Userinput: This company lines up real people to review your site and record their feedback on it.

32. LuckyOrange: a useful tool that gives you real-time data related to your site visitors from recordings of their activity and a dashboard of who they are (and where they’ve come from) to polls and heatmaps.

Lucky Orange homepage

33. Buzzsumo: a content analysis tool that allows you to look at social shares and the popularity of different posts on your website and the pages that belong to competitors

34. Bitly: a free link-shortening and tracking tool that gives you a broad spectrum of visual traffic data interpretations (and you can custom brand the links if you’re willing to pay)

35. Quill Engage: if you find Google’s data a little more baffling than basic, this is the tool for you. It will analyse your Google graphs and tables, giving you information in plain English.

36. SimilarWeb: ideal for keeping an eye on the competition, this tool enables you to ascertain data related to any website

37. SurveyMonkey: got a list of survey participants, prepare your questions on this site and send the link for completion.

38. SEMrush: This provides a wealth of tools and data analysis to help you beat your competitors in the marketing game, such as providing you with the keywords they are bidding for. SEO consultancy Slingshot swears by it.

Email marketing

A marketing agency for startups will actively encourage you to try and build an email contact list and notify potential customers about your business via this popular channel of communications. If you’re looking to step up your email marketing campaign, these tools will come in useful:

39. Mailchimp: an online marketing tool that enables you to organise subscribers, monitor results and send mail

40. Snip.ly: a handy tool you can use to add a bespoke pop-up link to curated content you send your network to help convert them back to you.

41. MixMax: Find out when people opened and read your emails. Schedule meetings easily with functionality that tells people when you’re free. Apply several signatures. Store multiple email templates. Draft and send later. Email will never be the same again.

42. Klaviyo: email software that allows you to send out customised, targeted emails to up to 250 contacts for free

43. Mailcharts: monitor your competitors’ email campaigns with this sneaky tool

Mailcharts homepage

44. Art of Emails: free email template database

45. Really good emails: As above but design ideas.

46. Campaign Monitor: Create and send beautiful marketing emails and then measure their impact with this handy tool.

Social media

Getting social can bring serious rewards in the 21st century. To get started, check out:

47. Facebook Audience Insights: You’re not doing facebook properly if you’re not advertising. This ad tool enables you to target specific audiences based on demographics, interests and behaviours.

48. Hootsuite: a hugely popular social media management tool that makes it easy to regulate and monitor campaigns across an extensive network of sites. PR and Marketing agency Unhooked loves this one.

Hootsuite homepage

49. Tweetfull: A great way to increase relevant twitter followers is to do tactical following whereby you follow your competitors followers in the hope they follow you back. As it’s a very time consuming process, Tweetfull can do it for you, leaving you time to do more important things.

50. Buffer: Schedule weeks’ worth of social media content on all of your social media profiles at once with this handy and affordable too.

51. Social Bee: This tool does the scheduling for you so you never run out of posts. Just categorise your content and let it do the rest of the work for you.

SEO

The top of page 1 on Google has become the holy grail for startup owners. To achieve this mantle, you’ll need to craft and implement an effective SEO campaign. To help you reach the dizzy heights, add these tools to your digital arsenal:

52. KeywordTool.io: use accurate search data to identify suitable keywords

53. Yoast: a free WordPress plugin that helps you optimise your web pages for SEO purposes

54. Google Search Console: a must for SEO beginners, this tool gives you access to a host of useful features including mobile-friendly checks and analysis of site performance

55. Google Tag Manager: a free tool that allows you manage and deploy marketing tags (snippets of code or trackingpixels) on your website (or mobile app) without having to modify the code. The online pharmacy just for men Mens Pharmacy say it’s a must.

56. SEO Site Checkup: a one-stop-shop for your website’s SEO needs, this analytic tool will give you a score out of 100 and highlight areas for improvement

57. Ahrefs: An incredible site for nailing a backlink drive. Find out how to steal backlinks from competitors and rise up the rankings onto page one of google.

Ahrefs homepage

58. SiteGuru: This tool checks your website for faults and issues and it’s free.

Other

These tools don’t really fall under any of the above headings but they’re very handy for marketing too!

59. Moneypenny: Even if you’re a business of one, let your customers think you have a PA or receptionist with this call answering service.

60. Slack: Hold one on one instant messaging chats or group conversations with your team with this easy to use tool.

61. Asana: a work management platform teams use to stay focused on goals, projects, and daily tasks. This one comes highly recommended by international PR and marketing agency True Six and Calla Shoes, the shoe designer for bunion sufferers.

62. Toggl: To track time spent with different clients or on different tasks, this app and web-based tool will keep you right. Web design company The Wheel Exists recommended this one and we love it too.

Toggl homepage

63. Airtable: For creating flexible checklists, organising collections or ideas, and managing customers or contacts all in one place. Comes with templates and you can share with friends and teammates and always see their latest changes. Personal Stylist Tracy Hooper uses this to keep organised.

64. Clear Focus: An app to help you stay focused and be more productive. This was recommended by lifestyle and parenting blogger Sincerely Essie

65. Evernote: Capture and prioritise ideas, projects, and to-do lists, and sync them across all devices so everything you need is always right beside you.

66. Primer: This app from Google gives you bitesize lessons in everything you need to start ad grow your business. And it’s free.

Where to start

Yes, there’s a lot here. And even though they’re all affordable, if you rush ahead and subscribe to all 66, you’ll find yourself under financial pressure very quickly. What you need to do first is determine where your areas of focus are by building a marketing strategy or finding an expert to do it for you. With that, you’ll be able to work out the types of marketing you need, and then you can try the right tools above.

Good luck!