Having trouble getting enterprise software approved? Looking for better solutions for collaboration while working remotely? Here’s a quick look at 6 marketing tools that either have free tiers or that are relatively inexpensive. Some of these you’ll use forever, some you may only need until corporate comes through with that gigantic suite of tools that’ll take a while to learn.
Collaboration tools for your marketing team
Miro is an online whiteboard tool that allows multiple members of a team to contribute and collaborate on brainstorming, planning, or any of those meetings where you wish someone was taking better notes. The free tier has a ton of great features and with a little creativity in how you use it, this could be all you need. At the free level Miro allows anybody with the same email extension to be added as a team member, meaning you can all view and edit your boards at the same time. Start a conference call, log in to the board and get to it. There are a ton of free templates available to structure your conversations and the freeform method is pretty easy for even novice users to pick up.
Gather is a clear response to the loneliness, isolation and lack of true collaboration many are experiencing during remote work. It was also clearly built by people who remember 32-bit game consoles (GenXers unite!). Gather allows you to create the office space of your virtual dreams, complete with presentation spaces, meeting rooms with shared whiteboards, private areas, outdoor spaces and your own desks. Video and audio is smoothly integrated so chats, meetings, and presentations feel natural. There are a ton of avatars to represent you and your coworkers while you’re in the space. Simply walk your avatar around and have those little impromptu hallway chats you’ve been missing. Or get lunch together, play a game, or hang around for happy hour. The free tier accommodates up to 25 people. The office builder is a little tough to get the hang of, so maybe give that task to one of the aforementioned GenX video game geeks and get back together–while still not having to put real pants on.
Feedback and surveys made easy
Sometimes the big guys are the big guys for a reason. When it comes to an affordable, reliable, featurerich tool for conducting internal or external surveys, SurveyMonkey is still the King Kong. Depending how many folks you need to survey, the lowest pricing tier should be ample, giving you up to 10,000 responses for around $350 a year.
If your budget is more limited and your firewall will let you access it, Google Forms is a great tool for collecting information or getting feedback. Use it to collect content topics from the team in a much more organized way than email or Slack. Collect sign-offs on policies or tasks, or just see what everybody likes on their pizza.
Data visualization that won’t break the bank, and might not make you cry
Really wish you could get your manual internal metrics, email metrics, website data and LinkedIn stats all in one place without paying a ton? DataBox allows you to pull data from all kinds of sources and visualize in semi-customizable charts, graphs, and lists. If you’re willing to sacrifice a day to do a little manual work you can set up a Google Sheets integration with Zapier to push custom data to DataBox and update your views each time you change a stat. Doing that should keep you on the free tier. The added bonus is that trying it out will force you to find an efficient way to get to all your meaningful information in the first place.
If you are really on a budget you’re probably using some form of MailChimp + other bits to make your marketing automation work. And that’s a great solution. However, if your organization is a little more complex and the ability to send emails, build custom landing pages, integrate with (or provide) a robust CRM, plus track everything you can think of at the individual lead level sounds amazing, you’ve probably dreamed about HubSpot or some other platforms that would get a $$$$ rating. Or, you’ve tried to make use of what’s built into your existing CRM and decided it just wasn’t going to work the way you wanted.
Thankfully, there’s another option. SharpSpring does all of the above and more. And if you partner with a SharpSpring agency (full disclosure: we are one), you’ll get all that power for a cost that won’t make your C-suite think you’ve lost your mind. Even better, it’s easy enough to deploy SharpSpring for use with just a few (or one) campaigns and then stop.
So there you have it. A few tools that can make your marketing planning, collaboration, and execution a little easier, and a lot more efficient without blowing your budget. Good luck out there, let us know if we can help–martech stack challenges are one of the many puzzles we like to solve.
During her career crafting creative Beth has conceptualized, designed, developed, strategized and overseen the building of brands, campaigns, and creative platforms for large corporations as well as for dozens of regional and local companies in every sector including financial services, manufacturing, retail, medical, and non-profit. This range of experience with clients of all sizes has honed a specialization in brand management and application of master brand strategy across channels and tactics. With a background in psychology and sociology she brings both a researcher’s behavioral approach and an artist’s instinct to her work.
Beth specializes in designing outstanding, strategic creative that ties into business goals and communicates the client’s message clearly and distinctly in their unique voice.