One of the joys of a startup marketer working for a startup is being lean—you can evaluate what works for your team and what doesn’t based on data and make decisions quickly. But being lean also means maximizing the most out of limited resources. As your startup invests in tools to help it market and communicate effectively, take a look at the following resources, all available at no or low-cost to your company.
Master Search Engines
For many startup marketers, brand awareness begins with SEO. Your search engine presence and domain authority determine so many facets of your marketing mix, not limited to better search engine visibility and even ad costs.
Google Search Console, formerly Google Webmaster Tools, is a free and essential app for startups. Search Console shows how a company’s information appears in Google searches—you can see what keywords searchers use to access your site, how your site looks in search, how to use structured data for better results and where to find site errors that could adversely affect your search ranking. Bonus: Search Console is free.
For marketers with a little more budget and an interest in diving deep into search metrics, Moz might be a better solution. Moz Pro allows marketers to track search performance across several major engines, monitor inbound links and target opportunities for link building, optimize pages for peak keyword performance, even analyze potential keywords to see how they’ll perform for you. Moz also offers competitive insights—you can track domain authority, inbound links and search performance. Does it work? When we at Persio began using Moz, we had a domain authority in the single digits. By implementing solutions that we found in our Moz data, we boosted that number by 300 percent in the first month. After a 30-day trial, Moz costs $99 per month.
For those interested in AdWords, but frustrated by Google’s Keyword Planner, consider Keyword Tool. Using Google auto-complete data, Keyword Tool shows marketers up to 750 potential long-tail keywords related to their topics, and offers similar information for searches on YouTube, Bing, Amazon and the iOS App Store. The pro level offers the ability to sort and rank keyword results and see search volume, competition and potential CPC costs for each keyword—the pro version can run $48 to $88 per month.
Pictures That Really Say 1,000 Words
Finding the perfect illustration or image to enhance your written content no longer has to be the expensive and maddening prospect it was even a few years ago.
Don’t have a Getty Images budget? It’s ok. You can find beautiful stock images at a fraction of their cost. Death to the Stock Photo sends a free pack of modern, high-quality stock photos to list subscribers each month. Premium subscribers can access and download archived packs for $15 per month. StockSnap.io is a database of thousands of free photos, all under the Creative Commons CCO license, allowing modification and publication without permission. The disadvantage to both is that if you need a highly specific image, it can be hard to find.
Infographics are hot in content marketing right now, and thanks to Piktochart, you don’t have to be a graphic design wizard to make one. Piktochart offers a variety of templates with drag-and-drop elements for infographics, posters, presentations and more—including customizable icons and the ability to upload your own assets. We’ve used Piktochart successfully as a sales tool, to create content for our own blog, and even in earned media placements, bringing plenty of traffic to our site. Piktochart is free, although more bells and whistles come in at the monthly Lite ($15) and Pro ($29) levels.
If you’re revamping your site and need inspiration, be sure to sign up for Crayon, a free site created for marketers by marketers. You can browse landing pages, web redesigns, pricing pages and more and even filter them by your CMS, industry type, or placement on lists like the Fortune 500 or Inc. 5000. Want to show off your own work? You can easily add your own pages to inspire your colleagues.
Getting media as a startup can be tricky, particularly if you lack resources to pitch your company’s story to trade or news organizations. Enter HARO—Help a Reporter Out. Subscribers add a company’s information to HARO’s site and select the lists they want to subscribe to, including Business, Finance and High Tech. Three times a day, subscribers receive short requests from reporters and bloggers to serve as a source for a topic related to their product. Obviously, the breadth of requests can vary and your company’s messaging may not fit into requests. Premium subscriptions allow you to filter opportunities by keywords and more for $19 to $149 per month.
Making it Easier to Do More with Less
“Do more with less” is a standard refrain in marketing, but it’s particularly important to follow this adage with startups. One of the things early stage marketers need to do is test and learn very quickly. These tools provide a broad range of functionality with limited risk or commitment, so you can find out what works (or what doesn’t) to support your goals and put your focus into what matters most: growing your startup’s profile and customer base.
Using these tools and techniques will make the job easier for a startup marketer!