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10 great free (or almost free) digital marketing tools

We’ve talked amongst ourselves, and here are ten of our favorite digital marketing software tools that will cost you nothing, or close to nothing, to learn and implement. They might not all be applicable to your business, but I’m willing to bet that at least a few will tickle your fancy.

SOCIAL MEDIA

Tweetdeck logo1. TweetDeck

Twitter’s acquisition of TweetDeck a few months back should be validation enough that this one is here for the long haul (whatever “long haul” means in a web marketing world where everything changes daily). TweetDeck is a pretty powerful tool that lets you manage a number of different social media accounts from one place. Want to post something to Twitter and Facebook, but not LinkedIn? Or maybe from two different Twitter accounts at once? TweetDeck is your answer. The software also supports Foursquare for anyone in the location-based social media world. COST: FREE

Awe.sm logo2. Awe.sm

Ever wonder what kind of footprint your social media sharing efforts are actually leaving? What’s working and what’s not? Awe.sm can at least start to give you an idea. This software allows you to create custom shortened URLs to replace any links that you’re sharing on your social networks, and backs it with data that you can then analyze. For example, if you find an article of interest to your audience, you can post it on Twitter and Facebook with different short URLs that can each be tracked separately. You’ll learn how many people clicked them and shared them with others through retweets or reposting. Most importantly, you can learn which bits of your shared content have generated real interest. Awe.sm also allows you to add custom share buttons to your blog posts or website content to make those shares trackable. COST: Starting at $15/month per user

AddThis logo3. AddThis

Similar to Awe.sm’s custom sharing buttons, AddThis let’s you put share buttons for Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+ and other social platforms on your website or blog. Its analytics software then allows you to track the activity generated by those who share your posts by clicking the buttons. COST: FREE

Klout logo4. Klout

“Klout measures influence online.” How many people are your social media posts reaching? How much are you influencing the actions of those who are exposed to your posts? How influential are THOSE people? These are the main ingredients of Klout’s secret sauce that ultimately determines your Klout Score. So how is this useful to you as a marketer? In an interview with Forbes, founder Joe Fernandez described the Klout Score as “your social credit score”. As a marketer, you can use this information to figure out who in your audience is a true influencer online. From there, it’s up to you to decide what to do with the information. COST: FREE

EMAIL MARKETING

Campaign Monitor logo5. Campaign Monitor

This has been one of our favorites at Gorilla 76 for a while. Campaign Monitor is an email marketing software that, in their words, allows you to “send beautiful email campaigns, track the results and manage your subscribers.”. Features include the ability to create targeted lists of subscribers, add email capture code to your website or blog, and view analytics that let you literally see who is opening your emails and what they’re clicking. Powerful stuff. Though you can use some of their pre-designed templates, Campaign Monitor is at its best when you work with a designer to customize a template that visually integrates with your website. COST: $5 per send + 1 cent per recipient (unlimited monthly plans exist as well)

CUSTOMER RELATIONSHIP MANAGEMENT

Highrise logo6. Highrise

A great product from an incredibly smart company called 37 Signals, Highrise is a very simplified CRM tool. If you’re a Salesforce user or a company tracking hundreds or thousands of new business leads, Highrise might be underwhelming. But if you’re a small or medium-sized company looking for a central location to store contact information, notes from meetings with these contacts, business leads and estimated values of these leads, Highrise could fit the bill. The software also allows you to create tasks to follow up with people at a chosen date and/or time. COST: Starting at $24/month

WEBSITE MONITORING AND KEYWORD RESEARCH (HAIL, ALMIGHTY GOOGLE)

Google Analytics logo7. Google Analytics

If you have any responsibilities in the process of website development or management at your company and you’re not fully-immersed in Google Analytics, you have permission to close this window click here immediately. Google Analytics allows you to look at almost any kind of website data imaginable, including how many visits your site is getting, what pages people are looking at, what sources are driving traffic to your site, what keywords people are searching in Google that are resulting in new visits, geography of your visitors, time spent on site and on specific pages, what percentage of visitors are coming from mobile platforms vs. desktop, and on and on and on. The key to Analytics is understanding WHAT metrics matter to your business. The data is overwhelming and not even useful unless you’re able to pinpoint what you’re trying to accomplish with your site. When you know the answer to that, you can measure and adjust your site accordingly. And heck, if you need assistance strategizing, I know a company or two that are pretty darn good at helping you figure it out! COST: FREE

Google Trends logo8. Google Trends

In their own words, “Google Trends analyzes a portion of Google web searches to compute how many searches have been done for the terms you enter, relative to the total number of searches done on Google over time.” Translation: Google is giving you market intel on popular keywords searches for free! So you might want to use it. COST: FREE

Google Webmaster Tools logo9. Google Webmaster Tools

Another free gem from Mr. Google, Webmaster Tools helps you improve the visibility of your site in searches. The software helps you identify barriers to Google recognizing your specific site and what searches are driving traffic to your site. It also allows you to submit a site map to help Google better understand how your site is organized. The end result? SEO improvement and great reports to share with your boss. COST: FREE

Google Places logo10. Google Places

While this one is important to any business in our opinion, it’s particularly important to businesses that are locally-centered. How it works: Create a profile at google.com/places, enter descriptive information about your business (product or service offerings, location(s), hours, etc.), and then start asking for customer reviews after transactions. People trust reviews more than they trust ads, and people also like to have their voice heard online (thanks, Facebook and Twitter). Because Google owns this one, of course they’re going to give it some serious play in search results. It’s easy and it’s free, so there’s no reason not to use it. COST: FREE

There are obviously plenty of other great tools out there – both alternatives to the above and tools that serve different purposes. We’d love to hear from you about what you’re using and how you’ve found success.

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