As an entrepreneur, you know that marketing is important. You also know that marketing costs can add up fast, especially once you start factoring in paid advertising and software. For entrepreneurs who are just getting started, or who are budget-conscious, here are some powerful, free marketing tools you can add to your marketing mix. Photo by Christin Hume

1. Hubspot Lead Flows

Hubspot lead flows are a great way to collect leads with non-intrusive pop-ups. There are two main ways I recommend working with this powerful tool: One is for exit intent pop-ups. Exit intent pop-ups are basically pop-up windows that appear only when a visitor goes to leave your website. You can use these to offer something amazing to your visitors. In exchange for their email address, you can get them to book a demo or intro call, or include them any other part of your sales funnel. When you use an exit intent pop-up, you’re catching people who were planning to leave your website anyway. Why not see if you can hook them in before they do? I also like working with Hubspot lead flows to create slide-in forms with downloadable content. The trick here is to make sure the downloadable content is tied to the content your visitor is looking for on your site, and is of value – i.e. that they likely wouldn’t find elsewhere. Things like templates, how-to guides, checklists, printables, etc. are great examples. Here’s a lead flow I recently created for a client, based on their tips on how to name a business. You can actually send a follow-up email to leads within Hubspot’s free version, but the functionality is limited. That being said, you can still connect your Hubspot lead flows to a few ESPs (email service providers) directly ,and send some follow-up emails that way as well. Which brings me to my next tool:

2. MailChimp

MailChimp is a super useful email marketing tool to start building your email list, and for sending newsletters and other email content. It’s really user-friendly, and the free plan has quite a few customization options available (plus you can’t beat 2000 contacts included for free!). I will admit that this tool lacks some more advanced functionality that you’d get with a more robust CRM (Customer Relationship Management) or marketing automation platform, but MailChimp has made a ton of improvements in the past few years. If you need some email functionality, basic automations and landing pages, this is still a great go-to. For example, you can actually connect your Hubspot lead flows directly to your MailChimp lists, and use this to create funnels and send automated sequences to prospects. You can use it to create some basic landing pages and simple opt-in forms for your website, blog or social media. Don’t let the simplicity of this tool fool you. It probably has more functionality than you’re even aware of! *The Mailchimp hyperlink above is a referral link

3. Google Analytics

If you’re not currently tracking your web traffic using Google Analytics, drop everything and do it right now. I’m not kidding. If you don’t know how, contact your web designer and ask them for help to install the snippet of code on your website. Even if you don’t know how to fully use this tool and plan to contract out your your digital marketing to an outside team (like us here at Wildernest!), the information contained within is so valuable and starts accumulating as soon as it’s installed.

For example:

Using the Audience menu, you can find out information about who’s visiting your website, including location, device types, gender/age (must enable this option as it doesn’t track by default) and more.

Using the Acquisition menu, you can find out where your traffic is coming from and how each source is performing. Pro-tip: when you dig into your “Organic Search” data, you’re most likely to see most of your traffic is showing as keyword “(not set)” or “(not provided)”. If you see this, just above the table you’ll notice a menu that says “Primary Dimension”. Select “Landing Page” instead of the default “Keyword” for some insights into which content is ranking best organically.

Since this is just a beginner’s post, I’ll hold off on going crazy on all of the amazing functionality that exists within this free tool. But the last major piece I want to mention is goal-setting, which you can create using “Goals” in the “View” menu under your admin settings.  You can use this to set goals like watching a video, visiting a certain page (maybe your booking confirmation page) or other custom events. Once you set this up, you can start to get a better understanding of which traffic sources are doing the best job of helping you complete these goals so you know where to focus your attention.

4. Hootsuite

If you want to easily schedule social media posts on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram and other networks, Hootsuite is your new best friend. It’s extremely user-friendly, and the free version allows you to connect up to 3 profiles and schedule up to 30 posts at a time.

5. Live Chat

Okay, this one is more of a category than a recommendation for a specific product, but having live chat for your website is a total game-changer. You can use it to send automatic trigger messages based on your visitors’ activities, track visits/chat history, collect leads, and create an easier way for inquiries to come in than your contact us form. One thing I will mention is to make sure that any live chat you install doesn’t interfere with existing content/information on your website (i.e. if you have a slide-in form on certain content, maybe keep the live chat off that page). Also, if you’re using WordPress, make sure it doesn’t interfere with any of your existing plug-ins. Some great free or freemium live chat services to check out:

Each of these has different functionalities/strengths/integrations, so I recommend doing some research to find the tool that works best for you.

This guide is meant to provide general guidance. It’s ultimately up to you to make sure that you’re using these tools in a way that is compliant with things like GDPR and CAN-SPAM.


alicia ward

Strategic Marketing Director

Niagara Falls, ON, Canada

With over 5 years in corporate marketing roles, freelance, and sales, Alicia found that building something of her own offered a level of flexibility and freedom that made the most sense with her goals and lifestyle. She loved the idea that she could create a business that she’d be able to grow wherever she went.At Wildernest, she’s working to give women the support and guidance to be the boss of their own companies and their own lives.

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