By Paul Schmidt

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What do you have in your marketing tool belt? Each client’s goals will be slightly different. You need to use the right app for the right job. Here’s a list of 30 of my must-have apps that can help you propel a client’s digital marketing success:

Design and Development:

  1. Color Scheme Designer: Find complementary and contrasting colors that can be used for call to action buttons, images and website backgrounds.

  1. Free Stock Photos: Use this stock photography search engine to find royalty-free images to use for your next project.

  2. Flow Chart and Sitemap Design Tool: This tool is useful when designing high-level sitemaps for clients. You can also use this tool to help design and map out sales processes for clients when doing sales consulting projects.

  3. Domain Name Search: When building out a new website for a new brand, you may need to find a domain that isn’t already taken. This can be a difficult task until you use this app. This quick and easy search engine finds the domains that you can swoop up for your client.

  4. Website Code Comparison Tool: Are you in charge of making code changes to your website? Use this tool to help you highlight differences in two sets of code. This will help you troubleshoot bugs and save you a loads of time.

  5. Server Header Checker: Are you using a 301, 302 or some other kind of redirect. This app is useful for SEO and development. When working on website redesigns or helping a client overcome a dip in traffic due to a technical SEO reason, this tool will be your best friend.

  6. Wordpress Themes: Not interested in building your website from scratch? ThemeForest is marketplace of Wordpress (and other CMS) themes that start out ~$20-30. This would be useful for those that don’t mind fitting their content into an already developed template. Many of these themes are well supported so you can contact the developer if you find bugs or technical issues with the theme.

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SEO, Blogging and Keyword Research Apps:

  1. Blog Topic Generator: Looking to brainstorm a list of topics. This blog topic generator will give you over a hundred blog titles based on your targeted topic or keyword. Some of the titles won’t make sense however, this is a place to get some inspiration and catchy titles.

  1. SEO Toolbox: This collection of SEO tools is useful for one-off SEO analysis projects. My favorite tool in this box allows you to scrape the content from a list of URLs. From here you can do a client or competitive content analysis.

  2. Google Trends: This app is useful for to understand the search seasonality of your industry. If your traffic/leads dip at certain times of the year, it may be due to seasonality changes. This tool is also useful to see what kinds of topics will be popular in a few months. From you here can create content in advance and know that their will be people looking for your content when you publish it later on.

  3. Adwords Keyword Research Tool: There are dozens of keyword research tools out there both free and paid. This tool, although a bit less friendly than it used to be, continues to provide up-to-date keyword search volume data that you can use for your keyword research and SEO projects.

  4. Keyword Research Generator App: This keyword research tool is perfect when you are building out a list of topics to track or topics to blog about. The technology in this tool relies on Google’s Suggest API. This API’s public-facing functionality may be phased out soon, so use this tool while you can.

  5. Keyword Research Merge Tool: This tool is perfect for building out a keyword list when you are looking to add slight modifications to your keyword list. These modifications could include geo-specific, plural/singular or simile versions of a set of keywords.

  6. OpenSiteExplorer Link Research: What are the top pages on your website based on Link or social media data? This is hand’s down a must have app for any marketing freelancer that is working on SEO for a client. This app is also useful when doing competitive research to see what is working well for other competitors in your space.

  7. Local SEO Research: Moz’s local SEO tools allow you to see what local profile pages (i.e. Google+, Yelp, etc) are verified and are indexed by search engines. The free version provides you with this verification information, whereas, the paid version will actually help you verify some of these profile pages.

  8. Rich Snippet Analytics: Google’s search results are constantly changing. Watch the Mozcast to see changes in the types of search results. This is useful to understand areas where you could help your client rank with the type of result that stands out beyond your regular text-based SERP.

  9. Webmaster Search Console: Aka Google Webmaster Tools provides freelancers with information to help them improve their website’s presence within Google. One of the most important things any marketer can do is to submit your sitemap through the console. Another important feature of WSC is the auto-alert functionality which allows Google to send you communication when they have noticed something that is preventing them from crawling your website. Lastly you can gather some valuable keyword research and content ideas by looking through some of their reporting.

  10. Website Crawler: Xenu Link Sleuth is a free web crawling app that helps you track down broken links and a bunch of other issues that could affect your SEO. The only caveat is that Xenu only work on Windows. If you’re looking for a Mac Version, check out Screaming Frog. It’s not free but it’s a powerful tool that a freelancer would find value from.

Market Research:

  1. Census Data: Look through troves of information from the US census. This information will help when providing data-backed recommendations for clients.

  2. Bureau of Labor Statistics: Understand how the job market is playing out across industries. This data is useful when building out your buyer personas and targeting your campaigns towards the right audience.

Lead Nurturing and Email Marketing:

  1. Email Marketing Benchmarks: How is your client’s email marketing program compared to industry competitors? Mailchimp releases stats yearly on open, clicks, bounces and more. Use this to provided recommended goal targets for your email marketing projects.

Social Media:

  1. Social Sharing Search Engine: Buzzsumo is one of the coolest tools out there. This app allows you to see what kind of content (based on a topic) performs the best on social media channels. Here’s a practical way to use this tool: If you are trying to brainstorm the format of content for an upcoming campaign, type the topic into Buzzsumo and see which piece of content received the most Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Google+ shares.

  2. Social media shares measurement: You may want to see what kinds of content is resonating on social based on the other competitors in your space. SharedCount allows you to enter in a list of URLs from a domain and see the # of social engagement each URL received.  This tool is also helpful if you are reporting on your own social media efforts across your client’s site. On a monthly basis, show the client, which new blog articles or ebook landing pages received the most interaction across social.

  3. Social media dashboard: This one is a little obvious. Hootsuite allows you to monitor and manage your social media channels in one central place. Even the free version of this app is used by many marketers.

Website Analytics:

  1. Google Analytics: The most skilled marketing freelancers know GA like the back of their hand. Google analytics is a free analytics platform that allows you to track basic information like visitors and website conversions and more advanced intelligence(i.e. # of clicks you got on your interactive ROI calculator).

  2. HubSpot’s FREE lead generation and analytics tool: Leadin from HubSpot provides you with analytics and lead generation tools. This tool is great for working with client’s that may not be able to afford HubSpot but need some basic analytics on their site to understand website traffic and lead intelligence information. Leadin’s magic lies in the fact that it is using the same HubSpot technology to provide you with valuable marketing and sales insights.

Marketing, Design and Development Outsourcing:

  1. Cost-efficient design and development: For marketing freelancers looking to build a web app, website or get some design help, Upwork is the marketplace to go. This marketplace will put you in touch with individuals around the globe that can help you on your next project. You can also become a freelancer if you are looking for additional jobs to take on.

  2. Audio Transcriptions: Repurpose your webinars, podcasts, telephone interviews or public speeches into text. You can then use this for blog snippets, slideshares, or social posts. This is a top quality service that will allow you maximize the amount of value you are getting from your audio/video-based content.

  3. Graphic Design, Logos and Branding: 99Designs is the perfect marketplace for marketers looking to for one off graphic design projects. 99Designs can build you a logo, visual style guide, t-shirt design and pretty much anything you can think of that requires some graphic design talent.

  4. $5-dollar Jingles: Last but not least is Fiverr. Fiverr is a marketplace that provides you with VERY cheap access to people willing to help you with one-off small tasks. Marketers can get jingles, voice-overs, animations and many other creative deliverables that you could offer your client. Keep in mind, you get what you pay for.

What are your favorite cheap or FREE digital marketing apps?

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Paul Schmidt

About the author

Paul Schmidt is a strategist at SmartBug Media. He works with clients on SEO, analytics, lead generation and inbound marketing strategy. He recently co-hosted an SEO webinar series with the HubSpot Academy and spoke on social media strategy at the HubSpot Inbound conference. His past clients include: Travelers Insurance, Unilever, and the SABIAN Cymbal Company. He previously worked as a HubSpot Consultant as well as with a Boston-based search marketing agency. Paul studied percussion in Las Vegas and got his MBA in marketing in Boston. Read more articles by Paul Schmidt.