thedatabank isn’t a nonprofit, but being a small, privately owned business, we don’t have a huge budget for marketing, unlike many of our direct competitors. So like many nonprofits, we rely on some awesome free tools to help us make and monitor great content. So, without further ado:
My top ten favorite free marketing tools
1. Flickr (creative commons) – Need to spice up that blog post with some great images? Flickr is my go to tool for free, amazing creative commons photos. I use them in all of thedatabank’s blog posts. Need help searching creative commons on Flickr? Social Nicole has a great how-to on her blog. And remember, it’s important to credit the wonderful people who create these images as well (you’ll find our credits at the bottom of every post). I hear Creative Commons is a great resource as well.
2. SocialShift Icon Set – It almost pains me to give this one away, but since I like you so much, I’ll tell you – this free set of social media icons is AMAZING. That’s right, it’s totally free. This gorgeous set comes with 246 icons (82 icons in 3 sizes) meeting very nearly all of your icon needs. Thank you so much to InstantShift and Manuel Lopez for providing this free resource! The set is a bit old, missing icons for instagram and pinterest, but they have done a couple updates in the past 2 years, so maybe there will be more to come!
3. Fotor Photo Collage – Want to put together a photo collage of a recent event to share online, but don’t have a designer to put one together for you? Check out this neat tool! I recently used to it share some highlights from this year’s Nonprofit Technology Conference.
4. Google Analytics – I really hope you are all using this already, but just in case some of you haven’t made the leap yet, I’m including it. Logging in to Google Analytics the first time (and second and third…) can be a little overwhelming. But there are tons of how-tos and guides out there to help you out, including Google’s own help center.
5. HubSpot Blog – Ok, so this isn’t really a free tool, per se, but there is tons of great free content in there – plus, they share sweet free tools that they’ve made and free ebooks for download. Basically, you should just make sure to bookmark this blog.
6. Grooveshark – Sometimes staying focused and being inspired to make great content requires a great playlist.I love Grooveshark, because I can plug it in and listen for free all day to playlists I’ve made or listen to a random playlist by someone else, without commercials. And, I can share playlists with my friends and co-workers. Alas, Grooveshark no longer exists.
7. SlideShare – Ah, the wonder that is SlideShare! Want to share that fancy PowerPoint you worked so hard on? Load it into slideshare and send away! If you want some of the more advanced features that they offer, they have special pricing for nonprofits.
8. Pixlr Photo Editing Services – This is a great tool where you can give pictures cool effects (much like instagram) but also do things like resize your photos. Again, our friends at SocialNicole have a great walkthrough for resizing images with Pixlr. Pixlr is a super fun tool to use. If you just want a simple photo converter tool, you can try this one.
9. My RSS Reader – I’m heartbroken that Google Reader is going away this summer, and I’m on the hunt for an alternative that I really like (so far I’m enjoying the free version of NewsBlur – but you can only have 64 subscriptions). Readers are important for me because at a glance I can see when nonprofit and technology leaders are posting new content, I can browse for ideas and themes that are inspiring, and I can quickly find great content to share on social media.
10. Microsoft Office Image Gallery – My co-worker turned me onto this little gem of a resource. Microsoft has a huge gallery of icons and images you can use for your website, all for free download. Quick, easy, and they come in beautiful selections. *UPDATE* Sadly, Microsoft Office no longer offices this feature 🙁
Well, that’s my list! I hope you found at least some of my suggestions to be helpful.
What free tools do you use? I’d love to hear what other free tools people have found.