With many of us now working remotely during the lockdown, there has never been a more important time for companies to invest in online marketing. However, we understand that many businesses across the country are working with tighter budgets and time restrictions in the wake of coronavirus. 
Reaching your audience online – whether through your website, via email, or on social media - is one of the best ways to communicate with customers during these difficult times, showing them you are still operating and providing value. 
 
To help you out, we have compiled a list of our favourite online marketing tools – all of which are free to use – that we feel many small businesses could benefit from. 
 
If online marketing is new for you, these resources can help take away a lot of the time and effort that goes into producing professional campaigns and monitoring the performance of your digital assets. 
 
Take a look at our top free tools to level up your online marketing during lockdown: 
 

1. Canva 

Canva is an easy-to-use design platform that can help you quickly create professional marketing images from a range of free templates. Use this to create social media graphics, flyers, gift cards, presentations, business cards, and more. 
 
Creating visually impactful marketing materials is especially important as these are far more likely to engage your audience, which is why 80% of marketers use visual assets in their marketing
 

2. Trello 

Trello is a great tool for keeping your projects organised. You can create boards and add cards for each task in a simple-to-follow structure. It's a collaborative tool, so your whole team can access the relevant info and track the progress of different tasks - and what’s more, you can upload documents and message other members, so everything is in one place and easy to find. 
 
During lockdown, this makes allocating tasks so much easier, without the need for endless Zoom calls! 
 

3. Ubersuggest 

This all-in-one SEO (search engine optimisation) tool is provided by online marketing expert Neil Patel, and is ideal for finding keyword suggestions and content ideas for your website. 
 
In light of coronavirus, Neil has now rolled out even more features to the free version. These include full access to historical data, more keywords, and expanded competitor reports. 
 

4. Google Analytics 

This is an absolute must for managing your website's performance. Use Google Analytics to learn which marketing methods are driving the most traffic to your website, which website pages are performing well, and where improvements can be made. 
 
You might find that during the COVID-19 pandemic, your visitors are engaging with different parts of your website compared to before. Google Analytics helps you to keep track of these trends and create content you know your readers will find value in. 
 

5. Google Search Console 

Google Search Console is great for keeping tabs on your website's SEO performance - you can use it to monitor and maintain your rankings in Google Search results. 
 
There is no time more important than now to have a strong online presence. Google Search Console allows you to check for website errors as well, ensuring you are always putting the best version of your brand forward. 
 

6. Mailchimp 

Mailchimp is one of the best free email marketing tools out there. Use it to create professional looking email campaigns to send to your subscribers, with plenty of easy-to-use templates to choose from. 
 
After all, email marketing is likely to stand the test of time, as it remains an extremely effective method for interacting directly with highly engaged customers. 
 

7. Bitly 

No one likes seeing excessively long links in social media posts - they look messy and take up precious space. Bitly is a popular link-shortening platform that can help your social media marketing go further.  
 
Shorten URLs in your posts to make links smaller and more clickable, and then track click-throughs using the tool. Try it when you next post a promotion on social media to keep track of its success. 
 

8. Hootsuite 

Are you finding keeping on top of posting on every social media platform overwhelming during lockdown? 
 
Luckily, Hootsuite is a brilliant tool for managing your social media content. You can schedule posts in advance for any social network, keeping your brand active online whilst freeing up valuable time. 
 

9. SurveyMonkey 

SurveyMonkey is perfect for gathering feedback and ideas from your target audience. 
 
Create detailed surveys to share with your customers and send them out via email, mobile, web, or social media. 
 
If your business typically trades through a brick-and-mortar shop, sending out surveys could be a useful way of determining how best to move your business online, and what your customers want to see from you. 
 

10. IFTTT 

IFTTT (If This, Then That) will provide you with endless ways to improve your processes. 
It allows you to automate actions between different tools to save you carrying out tasks manually, making it easier to work smarter and market more effectively. 
 
Some of these automations include automatically posting your Instagram posts to Twitter and getting alerts for your first meeting of the day. During lockdown, this can be especially useful if you are operating with a reduced workforce or find you are spending too much time on routine tasks. 
 
Hopefully, you have found a few tools to help you take your online marketing to the next level, during this period of social distancing and beyond. 
 
Of course, online marketing can seem a little daunting at first, but if you start by investing a small amount of time each day, you are likely to find that your efforts really make all the difference to your business during these uncertain times. 
 
If you are using this time to completely rethink your online marketing – particularly your website – then we can help. We offer hassle-free web design services with ongoing support, and our choice of website packages come complete with plenty of options to boost your online marketing by integrating popular tools such as the above. 
 
Get in touch with our friendly team today to learn more about how we can help you step up your online marketing now and in the future. 
 
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