A constant challenge for any entrepreneur (apart from fighting the darn clock, and pesky procrastination bleurgh) is spreading the good word far and wide about their business venture; I say this from experience. As a business owner myself, I’ve worked with entrepreneurs in multiple industries globally on their marketing strategies. For context, I started as a digital marketer. I then moved into a consultant capacity as my business grew -- this means I can help even more entrepreneurs grow their businesses. Wooo!
One common theme I’ve noticed over the years is a desire to keep marketing in-house either due to budget constraints or personal preference. But there is also confusion regarding how to start alongside those ever-present time constraints. As such, I’ve dedicated my blog to discussing resources and tips for a cost and time-effective approach to in-house digital marketing with a specific focus on social media and blogging.
And that, dear reader, is the focus of this article.
I want to share some excellent free marketing resources for entrepreneurs who wish to take an in-house stance on marketing. Even if you do outsource your marketing to an agency, freelancer, or virtual assistant it always helps to have a behind-the-scenes glimpse. 😉
On that note, it’s time for an epic knowledge download.
Pretty much every facet of digital marketing is so much more effective with imagery, especially social media and blog content. Images, be they photos or graphics, catch a browser’s attention and break up text helping to keep said attention. As there is such a demand for imagery within digital marketing, other fantastic entrepreneurs just like you have supplied a solution.
You can find a plethora of free design resources for Entrepreneurs for personal and commercial use, including downloadable graphics to level up your social media and blog content. If it’s photos you’re after, there are sites dedicated to license-free stock images for business use -- Unsplash and Burst via Shopify are two personal favorites of mine.
Digital Design Software
Now you know where to find the necessary ingredients you can use free digital design software to put them all together. There are quite a few options out there; however, from personal experience, I highly recommend Canva. I used this as my chosen design platform since I started blogging alongside my day job, and I’ve never looked back.
I have the premium version now but used the free version for ages before finally upgrading. Canva is super easy to use because it comes with a variety of existing customizable templates. There are templates for social media graphics, including posts and cover images sized to every specific platform, and plenty of other visual content.
To get started, choose a template and then customize it with your brand colors and information. You can upload external design resources (like the ones above), or use the existing photos and graphics available within the app.
Social Media Schedulers
Social media schedulers are an epic way to beat the clock and share content without even having to be at your desk. So you can be killing it in a team meeting and all the while your latest epic content is going ‘live’ via the socials.
**Inserts brief side note** You can also schedule blog posts ahead of time using the schedulers in WordPress and Wix. You can probably do this for other content management systems, but these are the ones in which I have hands-on experience. Anyway, back to social media scheduling, folks.
As a digital marketer, I gravitated towards Buffer.com. Because I managed quite a few accounts I mixed and matched Buffer’s basic free plan (3 social channels, ten scheduled posts, one user), Facebook’s inbuilt scheduler, and Tweetdeck for Twitter. My reasoning? I could then manage multiple client platforms for free. Woohoo!
More on Buffer
As you’re likely only managing your businesses’ social media, you can stick to Buffer. For this approach, I would recommend choosing the social media platforms that best suit your target audience. Consider where your ideal customer is most likely to spend their social media scrolling time.
**Inserts another brief side note**As a general rule, it’s always better to run 1 or 2 social media channels well, rather than run every single platform but poorly.
Some example content schedules for weekly post scheduling are:
- 3 per week, between 3 social media channels with one to spare
- 5 per week, between 2 social media channels
Digital Marketing Training
Whether you’re a solopreneur looking to take a DIY approach to digital marketing or require some training for an employee, there are some high-quality options available for free. Firstly, there are plenty of people in the blogosphere like yours truly who love to write about all things digital marketing. And there are also free digital marketing courses.
A few years back, I completed the ‘Fundamentals of digital marketing’ free of charge through Google Digital Garage. The course is a useful introduction to the basics of digital marketing, the information is easy to digest for beginners, and the 26 modules are painless to work through. I was already privy to a lot of the info, but I still learned some excellent new tips and came away feeling much more confident in my work.
Google Digital Garage also offers free face-to-face workshops, I’ve never been to one personally, but I’ve heard fantastic feedback about them!
More Freebies for the Road
Before officially ‘signing-off I would like to do a quick blast of a few more free digital marketing resources for you to investigate further.
For keyword research, try free tools like Ubersuggest or Google Trends. To keep your content polished and error-free, or to write in different English variants try Grammarly -- the web browser add-on is compatible with popular social media platforms/schedulers and content management systems like WordPress.
Check the in-built social media metrics/insights available via a platform or through your chosen scheduler to see what is working and what isn’t. You can also check the analytics through WordPress or Wix to see what blog posts perform well, and what people are searching for to land on your website. All of the above will help you evaluate your digital marketing strategy so you can keep what works and change what doesn’t.