As a freelancer, irrespective of whether you are a design whiz or a Python genius, you have to market your services effectively. Your target audience should be aware of the value you add. That’s the key to building a steady stream of potential customers or clients.
But sadly, ‘marketing’ is way down on the priority list for most freelancers. A study by ContentWonk found that only 20 percent of the freelancers surveyed got clients through their website despite 70 percent of them having a website. This highlights the glaring lack of marketing efforts from the side of freelancers.
Remember, we live in an age where 81 percent of consumers conducts online research before buying. That means your website must have relevant content, an impressive UI, and most importantly, you have to market it well.
If lack of time is what’s stopping you from marketing yourselves effectively, then don’t worry. It can be solved. In this blog post, we’ve listed down some of the top-rated free marketing tools that will help you automate, simplify, and streamline your marketing workflows.
Top 10 free marketing tools for freelancers
1. Hootsuite — manage your social media accounts seamlessly
Being a freelancer, you must know that social networks are a great place to reach and interact with your potential clients. But, with so many of them around, maintaining a presence on all of them is hard.
That’s why you need HootSuite, an all in one social media management tool.
Three ways Hootsuite can make your freelancing life easier
- You can schedule and automate posts across all your social accounts including Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, LinkedIn, Instagram, Pinterest, and more. This way you can draft all the posts, add it to Hootsuite, and get back to your day-to-day tasks.
- Hootsuite helps you streamline the content curation process by creating search streams, shared content libraries, and content schedules. This saves you from having to disrupt your work day for content curation.
- With Hootsuite, you can track how your social media campaigns are doing from one place. You won’t have to visit each platform to find out how each campaign is doing.
You can integrate Hootsuite with over 250+ apps, including the likes of Asana, Zapier, Flipboard, and many more.
They do have a free plan that is limited to 3 social profiles. Paid plans start from ₹1260 per month.
4.1/5 (G2Crowd), 4.5/5 (Capterra)
iOS, Android, Web app
2. MailChimp — step up your email marketing efforts
As a freelancer, email marketing success can’t be achieved overnight. You have to start working on it weeks in advance before you send your first batch of emails. There are multiple steps involved here, from list building to testing and optimising your campaigns. You can’t possibly do all this on your own.
The best way to manage your campaigns is to implement an email marketing tool like MailChimp. It makes it easier to build email lists, set up campaigns, and find out what’s working and optimise your campaigns.
Three ways MailChimp can make your freelancing life easier
- MailChimp lets you set up landing pages and sign-up forms, and embed them on your website seamlessly. This way you can start collecting email addresses of interested visitors within no time.
- You can create professional looking email campaigns with their drag-and-drop email designer, which lets you save and edit images.
- Set up automation to create drip series for different situations — when someone signs up to your email list, when someone downloads a resource from your website, when you publish a new post on your blog, and so on.
MailChimp’s analytics and optimisation features are amazingly helpful. It lets you perform A/B tests and list segmentation, find out how your subscribers are interacting with your email marketing campaigns, and personalise them further by timing, message, and predicted demographics.
MailChimp has a free version, that lets you add 2000 subscribers and send 12000 emails per month. The paid version starts at $10 per month.
4.3/5 (G2Crowd), 4.5 (Capterra)
iOS, Android, web app
3. Medium — share your ideas with the world
One of the best ways to establish your credibility as a freelancer is to create content that is highly relevant to your target audience. But, when you are new, you most probably won’t have a website or an audience.
You can overcome this roadblock by making use one of the most popular publishing platforms around, Medium.
Three ways Medium can make your freelancing life easier
- Medium offers basic analytics features that will help you understand the source of traffic, how visitors are interacting with your content, and how popular it is.
- Medium lets you customise essential SEO Page elements such as URL slug, meta description, and title of your blog post.
- Unlike other content publishing platforms, Medium is straightforward to use. You can do basic formatting, add pictures and videos, create your own publications, let people follow you, and much more. What’s more, it has 60 million unique readers per month.
You can earn money from your Medium articles by signing up for their Partner Program. Once you sign up, Medium’s curators will review your posts. If they find the content good enough, they will start recommending it to relevant readers across their website, apps, and email digests.
They have a free plan which should be adequate for you. In case you want unrestricted access to exclusive stories, their pro plan is priced at $5/month.
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9.6/10 (financesonline.com), 4/5 (firstsiteguide.com)
Android, iOS, web-app.
4. Wix — create websites using designer-made templates
As a freelancer, building an online portfolio is a must-do. It will help showcase your skills, create awareness about your service, and more. However, often building a website is an overwhelming and time-consuming activity.
You can simplify the whole process with Wix. It lets you create websites from designer-made templates.
Three ways Wix can make your freelancing life easier
- Wix gives you access to nearly 500-designer made templates, saving you the trouble of having to do everything on your own.
- With Wix’s simple drag and drop based website builder, you won’t have to write a line of code to build a professional looking website.
- It gives you access to basic SEO features to ensure your website get found on Google.
Wix lets you add a blog and a portfolio to your website painlessly, making it very easy to showcase your expertise.
The base plan is free for all. The premium plan starts at ₹ 70/month. You will get 10GB storage, unlimited bandwidth, and much more.
4.2/5(G2Crowd), 4.5/5 (PCMag.com)
Windows, Android, iOS, Mac, Web app
5. Wufoo — create and integrate forms to your website
Imagine you have built a great website and added a lot of helpful content, now what do you do next? You need to a means to collect contact details (email addresses, phone number, or social media handles) of those visitors who were impressed with your website.
That’s where Wufoo comes in handy. It will let you build simple lead generation forms and integrate them to your website. This way you can build an email list of interested parties and potential clients.
Three ways Wufoo can make your freelancing life easier
- Wufoo lets you build forms quickly with its simple drag and drop-based builder.
- It gives you access to an extensive collection of themes and templates. So, you don’t have to worry much about the ideation part of it.
- Wufoo lets you customise the copy of your forms to the minute of details. This way you can customise copies for potential clients as well as existing clients.
Wufoo forms can easily be integrated onto any websites irrespective of which website builder was used to make them.
Wufoo’s free plan lets you build five forms, receive 100 entries per month, and more. The paid plan starts at $14.08 per month.
4.1/5 (G2Crowd), 4.5/5 (Capterra)
Android, iOS, web app
6. Canva — create professional looking images by yourself
As part of your marketing efforts, you have to often create promotional images for your website or social media. And you will have to do this time-consuming activity irrespective of whether you are from a design background or not.
Thankfully, you have Canva to help you out. The app saves time by helping you quickly create professional quality banners, charts, infographic, and more.
Three ways Canva can make your freelancing life easier
- Along with almost 8000+ design templates, it allows you to upload your own photos and use them in your promotional images. This way you can create images that perfectly reflect your brand, the services you offer and the target audience you cater to.
- With Canva, you can meet all your design needs in one place — it lets you create everything from blog cover photos, infographics, ad banners, to business cards.
- Canva enables you to save your files and assets on the cloud, this way you can work on any device you want. You also don’t have to worry about losing the pictures you worked so hard to create.
You can create or edit pictures using a simple drag and drop based interface. It is easy to understand and use, unlike your typical professional editing software.
The basic plan is free forever. You will get features such as 1GB of storage space, access to 8000+ templates, ability to upload and edit your own images, and more. The paid plans start $12 .95 per month.
4.7/5 (G2Crowd), 4.5/5 (Capterra)
iOS, Android, Web app
7. Detective by Charlie — supercharge client research
Clients like it when you send project proposals that are highly relevant and cater to their needs exclusively. This means you will have to research thoroughly before drafting the proposal. Sounds laborious?
Not with Detective by Charlie at your disposal, it will automate your entire client research process.
Two ways Detective can make your freelancing life easier
- Detective provides you detailed overviews of potential clients, this way you can make your pitch emails much more personalised.
- Their browser extension makes it easier than ever to do client research. All you have to do is just type in the client’s name to get all the details.
Sifting through the whole of internet to find client information is tedious and time-consuming. You will have to spend way too much time on searching and compiling. With Detective, you can get all the data you need about clients in one place.
8. Soapbox by Wistia — produce great videos in an uncomplicated manner
1.9 billion of YouTube’s total users are active logged-in users. Furthermore, almost 100 million hours of videos are watched on Facebook every day. Simply put, video consumption is at an all-time. So, how do you take advantage of this as a freelancer?
Use Soapbox by Wisitia; this browser extension will allow you to record, edit, and share videos.
Three ways Soapbox can make your freelancing life easier
- Soapbox lets you effortlessly create everything from presentations to pitch-decks by yourself without any professional help.
- In case you are creating explainer videos, you can make use of its split-screen feature to record your desktop screen and webcam at the same time.
- You can add branding elements to your videos such as the player colour, CTAs, customised landing pages, and more.
The basic version of Soapbox is free, whereas the paid plans start at $300 per year.
4/5 (G2Crowd), 4.5/5 (Capterra)
9. SEO PowerSuite — get your website optimised for organic traffic
The best way to bring people to your website is to make sure it can be found on Google and other search engines. For this, you have to continually optimise your website and its content according to your target audiences’ preferences.
SEO PowerSuite will make the search engine optimisation process much more comfortable with its powerful keyword research and rank tracking tools.
Three ways SEO Powersuite can make your freelancing life easier
- The application helps you monitor search rankings for different keywords. This way you won’t have to track how your website or content is performing manually. What makes it better is that you can further filter it to find location-specific rankings.
- When you are from a non-SEO or development background, performing website audits can be a hassle. With PowerSuite, you can perform website audits in seconds, while showing you what and how to optimise at every step of the way.
- With its link analysis feature, you can explore and learn how a successful freelancer in your niche is going about link building. You can then use that data to shape your own link building efforts.
SEO Powersuite supports 18 popular keyword research tools including the likes of Google AdWords Keyword Planner and SEMRush. This will help you find out relevant keywords that you can easily rank for.
With SEO PowerSuite’s free plan, you have access to almost all the features, but you won’t be able to save your projects.
4.6/5(G2Crowd), 4/5 (Capterra)
Windows, Mac, Linux
10. Zest.is — marketing knowledge delivered to your browser
Zest is not a marketing tool as such, it is more of a content aggregator tool to stay up-to-date with the latest happenings in the marketing space. As a freelancer, you might not always find time to sift through articles and find relevant ones. That’s when this tool will come in handy.
Three ways Zest can make your freelancing life easier
- Zest only delivers high-quality content that is shortlisted by a group of marketers.
- After you install the browser extension, you will get a list of top articles every time you open a new tab. This way you won’t have to subscribe to newsletters or open an app to find useful content.
- Zest sorts all of the content using tags such as content marketing, email marketing, branding, and so on. You can select the labels of your preference to filter the content further.
Zest lets you follow individual authors or blogs of your liking. This way you can access their content as soon as the moderators approve it.
It is free.
Time is the most critical asset for freelance professionals. Because you can precisely calculate how much every wasted second is costing you. At the same time, a freelancer is expected to do everything from responding to client emails, writing project proposals to updating their portfolios by themselves. Handling all this simultaneously can be overwhelming.
It doesn’t have to be — adopt the marketing tools that fit your needs and demands. They will stop the wasted seconds from piling up.