How to create the ultimate sales and marketing toolkit for free
So you have an idea, you’ve created a product or service and you have a website - congratulations!
But the hardest bit is still to come, your product or service won’t sell itself.
No to worry, we’ve scoured the market to find the best value sales and marketing tools and good news - it’s actually very easy to do this for FREE!
To extend your toolkit even further, you can get a free trial of VoiceIQ here.
VoiceIQ is the perfect voice communication tool for small/growing sales and customer service teams with tonnes of system automation, all for only £20 per month.
To save you time, we have outlined the best sales and marketing software below, so have a read and start supercharging your sales.
Content Marketing Tools
We’ve all heard it, ‘content is king’ but actually creating good content that engages with your prospects and customers is very hard to get right. Of course you could outsource this to agencies and freelancers but this can be a costly option.
If such an investment is not an option there are countless articles and guides on how to create good content but the best way to start is to try a few options, review what’s worked and make tweaks to your content. Overtime you will be producing content that resonates well with your ideal prospects and ultimately be converting them into paying customers.
Here a few ideas for some useful free tools to help with your content marketing:
If you are using a website builder for your site, most will come with a robust and simple blogging platform - at no extra cost. The following builders all have blog hosting plugins which offer you all need to start blogging:
However, if you do not have a website up and running yet, that doesn’t need to stop you engaging with prospects through blogs. There are a few stand-alone blog hosting tools which can help extend your brand’s organic reach.
Medium is one the most popular blogging platforms and has a very engaged community of readers as well as excellent SEO to boost your blogs appearance in search results. Anyone can get started for free
Another effective platform for your blogs and articles is LinkedIn. LinkedIn allows you to create and post an ‘Article’ which is ideal for when you need to post something considerably longer than a normal post. Being native content, LinkedIN’s algorithms will prioritise LinkedIN articles over a post with a link to a blog hosted elsewhere. You can find out how to write a LinkedIN article here. In fact, if LinkedIN is a key social channel for you, we would recommend copying any blog content hosted on your website into a LinkedIN article as well.
And if you’re looking for inspiration as to what to post or to get a headstart with some handy templates, check out Hubspot.
Hosting a webinar is another very effective method of content marketing and is particularly useful if your business operates B2B. If you think hosting a webinar or webinar series is something for your business, remember the golden rule - don’t sell, inform!
As for webinar hosting platforms, unfortunately the options for free tools are quite limited. However, there are very familiar free tools that can serve just as well to get you started.
Skype, Google Hangouts and Zoom all offer video conferencing for free and all have screen sharing capabilities. You can create meeting room links and share this to anyone who signs up to your webinar, this can be quite a manual process but is a great starting point to try your hand at webinars. The only downside is that you will have limited control over who can join and who’s microphone and video is turned on - nothing that some polite pre-webinar announcements can’t sort.
Video is one the most powerful content marketing methods right now and can be effective for both B2B and B2C based businesses.
We have all seen the good, the bad, and the ugly when it comes to attempts at video content. However with some careful planning and effort, anyone with even the smallest budget can create engaging videos. Yes, lighting rigs, green screens, DSLR cameras and microphones can all be used to add a very polished feel to your videos but all this can quickly become very expensive.
Modern smartphones are improving their recording capabilities all the time and it is now possible to create great video content with just your smartphone. In fact, some of the most engaging videos are filmed spontaneously and hand-held so you don’t even need to worry about image stability.
Having shot your video content, more often than not it will require some cutting and minor editing (some of this can even be done on your smartphone). Both Microsoft and Apple offer free tools that will suit the majority of video editing requirements.
Finally, with 85% of videos on Facebook watched on mute, the importance of subtitling videos is growing. Historically this was a very laborious process, however You-Tube and Kapwing both offer auto-subtitling features through AI. Kapwing, also makes the process of manually correcting subtitling errors very easy. Check it out here.
Another increasingly popular style of content marketing is the production of infographics. These give interesting stats, relevant to your industry, in a visually pleasing way that encourages social sharing.
If you are not a graphic designer, which the majority of us are not, this can be quite a daunting task. However, Canva has created a very effective free graphic design tool that includes thousands of ready-made templates that can be tweaked to your needs.
Indeed, we recommend using Canva even more broadly for your social media banners, social share images, presentations, flyers and loads more. Check out their huge library of free templates here.
Email Marketing Tools
Email marketing is still thriving, despite the prevalence of social media marketing, email remains highly effective...if done properly.
Building your email list is one the biggest challenges and the best thing to do is regularly push out engaging and relevant content for your target audience. Make sure to provide an easy way for new website visitors to sign up to your mailing list and be clear how doing so will benefit them.
Once you have your list and it’s beginning to grow, it’s important to design emails that will stand out and be memorable for all the right reasons.
One way is to get creative with the text formatting features provided by your email sending application, however more often than not, this can end up looking pretty terrible. Stripo is a free drag and drop email design and templating tool that makes it very easy to create beautiful looking emails, ideal for newsletters and transactional emails. You can check it out here.
If your email list is less than 2000 contacts, you can use one the most powerful email marketing platforms for free. Mailchimp’s free tier, gives you all the features you need to design, segment, send, analyse and integrate your email campaigns.
Although not essential, a CRM is a key resource for any sales and marketing team. Without a CRM, deal tracking, campaign effectiveness and commission tracking becomes a very tedious task.
As with any tool, there are a range of application providers, ranging in cost and complexity. However, for small teams, there are plenty of free options that offer robust CRM solutions.
At the most basic level of CRM, cloud spreadsheeting tool Airtable provides free templates for deal tracking, customer tracking and campaign tracking. These require a small level of customisation and learning to realise their full potential but when deployed correctly can be just as effective as any CRM. Take a look at Airtable’s CRM template here.
For a more powerful and elegant solution, Hubspot offers a completely free basic CRM with some amazing features:
- Reporting dashboard
- Company insights
- Deal tracking
- Pipeline management
- Email tracking & notifications
- Prospect tracking
- Meeting scheduling
- Live chat
Hopefully, with all your new content marketing, your website will be generating a lot more traffic. It’s very important to make sure you engage these visitors and convert them into qualified leads.
There are many tools available to achieve this and many website builders will come with a multitude of plugins for chats, form submissions, newsletter sign ups and much more.
However, if you are still not satisfied, these free tools can help boost your website conversion rates.
Calendly, again with a very good free option, allows prospects to view a calendar and book in calls/demos with you and your team. With calendar integration and lead capture forms, this can become a highly valuable tool for your sales team. No need to send countless emails trying to arrange a time for a call-back!
Effective sales and marketing is impossible to achieve without performance tracking. In order to understand where your sales and marketing efforts are most or least effective, every touch point needs to be carefully tracked.
When you send an email with a new blog, you need to track who clicked which links, which pages they visited on your website, how long they spent on each page, which CTA’s they completed and much much more.
Google Analytics is an incredibly powerful free analytics tool that tracks your entire website activity and traffic sources. Before you get started, take a look at the Google Analytics Academy to make sure you get the most out of it.
Getting all these new sales and marketing tools is a brilliant step in the right direction. However, getting all systems to ‘talk’ coherently with each other can be a logistical nightmare, not to mention extremely time-consuming.
Thankfully API integration tools exist that connect all of these systems, without the need for any coding knowledge!
Zapier is the leading tool in this domain and a significant amount of automation can be achieved on it’s free tier.
Communication and Task Management
So with your new marketing and sales toolkit now in full flow, you’re all set to start growing your team. Making sure everyone knows what they are doing and when, is a fundamental to continuing the success of your revenue generating machine.
There are gazillions of free tools out there to make workforce and task management, much much easier.
For general team communication, Slack is the clear market leader. With channelised topics, calling, video conferencing and a multitude of integrations, Slack’s free tier is a very powerful communication tool, great for office-based and remote teams.
Whilst a lot of your sales and marketing efforts can be achieved through less direct channels such as email and live chat, it is inevitable that a voice channel will soon become a necessity. With over 50% of buyers preferring to speak over the phone, a robust voice channel will set your business apart.
We believe that cutting-edge technology shouldn’t be accessible only by the richest and largest companies. So we built VoiceIQ to offer a powerful yet, simple to use, voice platform for businesses of every size.
VoiceIQ is a cloud-based softphone with live call coaching, automation and market-leading integrations, powered by AI.
With VoiceIQ and the free tools mentioned above, your business could have a revenue generating machine ready in a matter of hours. Try VoiceIQ for free here.