Most teams spend hours, even days, mapping out what to include in their marketing reports. Here are the 19 KPIs marketers say every report should include.
Marketing | Jan 20
Kevin Kononenko on August 9, 2019 (last modified on September 11, 2019) • 19 minute read
Pretty much every marketing and sales expert has a list of tasks like these that they dread all week, or all month, or always.
Usually, the worst tasks involve mindless repetition. Many times it’s because two tools don’t work with each other or because it takes 15 clicks to get to the features you need in your sales and marketing software.
Frustrated with a few of these tasks ourselves, we polled our community to learn which free marketing and sales tools have been lifesavers for simplifying these annoying processes.
A lot of these answers came from experts at marketing agencies. They have an especially large need for free sales and marketing software since they must repeat tasks like these for every single client!
In some cases, the free tools on this list have paid versions that provide even more functionality, but in order to be included in the list, the free version had to solve a real problem and be free forever—not just provide a preview or a free trial.
Without further ado, here are the 24 free sales and marketing software tools that marketers and salespeople in the Databox community are using to fill gaps in their processes:
Best free marketing software for reporting
“Databox is great if you wish to see the broad picture of your marketing activities today (and not after weeks of tinkering with hundreds of tools and connectors),” says Radek Zaleski of Netguru. “It also allows you to communicate with stakeholders very efficiently. We have used it for a short time, and we already love it.”
Free plan details: Databox has a free plan for individuals that includes three data sources, three users, and three databoards, and a free plan for agencies that includes 10 data sources, five users, and 10 databoards.
Best free marketing design software
“Before Canva, we had to rely solely on team designers to create all visual assets,” says IMPACT’s Ramona Sukhraj. “That created capacity and efficiency issues—especially when we needed something quickly (e.g. social graphics).”
“Canva allows non-designers to create high-quality, perfectly-sized visual assets for a variety of social media platforms (and their paid ads), emails, blogs, and even print ads/materials.”
“Whether you need a quick graphic for a holiday greeting or a full infographic, Canva’s library of icons, templates, fonts, etc. makes it fast, easy, and fun to do. With it, we can still present and maintain a professional, consistent visual brand without needing our trained designers to drop everything to make it happen,” Sukhraj says.
Darrell Evans of Yokel Local Internet Marketing also recommends Canva: “There are great places to find low-cost stock imagery all over the internet. But if you really want to stand out in the crowd, you must personalize those stock photos to enhance your brand.”
“In my opinion, Canva is the simplest graphic design tool if you’re not proficient with Adobe’s suite of tools. If you’re anything like me, you’ll find Canva to be a lifesaver,” Evans says.
Free plan details: Canva is completely free to use and offers tons of free templates, images, and design elements. If you want to use a premium element, you just pay a-la-carte pricing for each design you create that includes a premium element.
Best free social media software for scheduling recurring updates
“With RecurPost you can quickly schedule all your social media updates on multiple social platforms,” says Nisha Kotecha of Good News Shared. “The difference between RecurPost and other social media tools is that once you put your update in, it will automatically share it again based on the schedule you set up.”
“This saves hours each week and helps me get the most out of each piece of content created—all for free.”
Free plan details: RecurPost’s free plan includes up to three social accounts, up to 100 recurring updates, and up to 10 daily/one-off posts per account.
Best free marketing software for A/B testing
“Google Optimize enables marketers to run A/B and multivariate tests directly on a web page,” says Keith Moehring of PR 20/20. “It is extremely easy to set up one of these tests directly within the system, and the data integrates directly with Google Analytics.”
Free plan details: Google Optimize’s free SMB plan includes A/B testing, limited multivariate testing, personalization, and integration with Google Analytics and Google Ads.
Best free SEO software for monitoring organic search metrics
“For information about website performance, most people go straight to Google Analytics, but I always like to check Google Search Console as well,” says Michael J. Schiemer of Bootstrap Business.
“It lets marketers do many things that are helpful for SEO: check on the indexing status of your pages; view search impressions, CTRs, and keyword rankings; quickly and easily submit sitemaps; index individual pages; and check for crawling or indexing errors or pages that aren’t mobile-friendly.”
“There are countless other features, so it’s a great free and user-friendly tool for marketers.”
Free plan details: 100% free
Editor’s note: If you regularly check both Google Analytics and Google Search Console to monitor your most important website KPIs, grab this free SEO dashboard that consolidates and visualizes data from both Google Search Console and Google Analytics.
Best free PPC keyword research tool
“Google Keyword Planner is great for researching keywords and outlining a PPC campaign based on the results,” says Mary Jo Preston of Stream Creative. “It tells you about the competition for keywords, provides keyword search volumes, and helps you establish the budget needed for a PPC campaign.”
Free plan details: Anyone with a Google account can use Google Keyword Planner for free, even if you never run Google Ads. However, users that run Google Ads regularly get more accurate search volume data.
Best free marketing software for SEO audits
“Screaming Frog SEO Spider is one of the best (if not the best) SEO audit tool available,” says Andrew Vinas of T-3. “It makes it easy to do a comprehensive audit of your clients’ websites to maximize SEO effectiveness.”
“As it crawls through every page of your site, it develops a roadmap so you can understand what needs to be done, what needs to be improved, and what needs to be fixed!”
Free plan details: Download the free version of Screaming Frog SEO Spider to crawl up to 500 URLs to identify issues like broken links, redirect errors, hreflang attributes, duplicate pages, and more.
Best free SEO keyword research tool
“Ubersuggest is a free SEO keyword research tool that allows you to enter the main keyword you want to optimize for,” says Kevin Williams of SurgeStream. “Then, the tool provides you with related keywords, search volumes, CPC data, and competition data. The best part is that you can export the results to a CSV file.”
“For a free SEO tool, it is fantastic. It saves you a lot of time, and the results are very detailed and can lead to many keyword opportunities you didn’t think existed before.”
Free plan details: 100% free
Best free marketing software for finding ways to expand your content
“Marketing revolves around content, and as digital marketers, we are always looking for content ideas,” says Adam Rowles of Inbound Marketing Agency. “AnswerThePublic helps us find topics and questions people are searching for online.”
“AnswerThePublic is brilliant for finding long-tail keywords and understanding more about what exactly your customers are searching for,” says Richard Owens of First Five Eight Media.
“Once you submit a keyword, a comprehensive view of questions related to that keyword is displayed. This provides great insight into what questions people are asking related to your selected topic, which makes it a fantastic tool for content marketing,” Owens says.
Free plan details: AnswerThePublic is free for throttled use of the tool with no login or account required.
Best free SEO software for checking the competitiveness of search queries
“MozBar is a browser extension that gives you instant metrics on any web page or search engine results page you’re viewing,” says Michael Rand of Market Veep. “It lets you view page and Domain Authority and compare link metrics across multiple pages while viewing a search engine results page.”
“Basically, it gives you a quick view into how awesome—or not-so-awesome—a website or web page is in terms of SEO. We like to use it to look at competitor’s websites and then use it on our own so we can dream about having as many backlinks as they do,” Rand says.
“MozBar is a must-have tool for any real-time data junkie,” says Linda Kyzar of Stream Creative. “I put it to use daily for link building strategies and competitive analysis.”
“Right from SERPs, you get an immediate snapshot of authority scores, spam scores, backlinks, keyword difficulty, and more for each result on the page. This instant access lets me know what I’m up against, on the spot.”
“Its on-page analysis tools allow you to highlight internal and external links and review page elements (title, H1, meta, etc.) without having to view page source. I use it more than anything else in my research process,” Kyzar says.
And Jennifer Villa of TANK New Media says that MozBar is also great for viewing search results for keywords in different geographic locations:
“One client sells products in Minnesota and South Dakota, so when I Google search ‘storage sheds’ from my location in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, it’s not an accurate reflection of what people are finding when searching on devices in those other states.”
“With MozBar, I can set up Google, Yahoo, or Bing city-based targets so I can see specifically what users are seeing when they search in their geographic areas,” Villa says.
Free plan details: 100% free (though Moz Pro users get a few additional MozBar features like keyword difficult scores and page optimization suggestions).
Best free SEO software for WordPress sites
“The Yoast SEO plugin is the best tool there is for optimizing a WordPress site,” says Ryan Howard of HeadsUp Marketing. “It allows you to add page titles, meta descriptions, and more—along with easy-to-follow recommendations for optimizing your page or post.”
“It’s a must-have for helping your WordPress website rank higher in search engines.”
Free plan details: The free version of the Yoast SEO plugin lets you edit SEO title and meta descriptions for every page on your site, get a readability score, check for duplicate content, create a sitemap, and more.
Best free marketing automation software
“HubSpot Marketing Hub is a starting point for those new to HubSpot,” says Gerry of Strategic IC. “At a high level, it is a lead capture, contact storage, and analysis tool that allows users to capture, track, and convert leads with features like contact forms, conversion popups, lead flow tools, and lead tracking and analytics.”
“You can use HubSpot to streamline and automate sales and marketing,” says Sarena Brown of SalesHub. “You can set up campaigns, schedule blog posts, automate social, set goals, generate leads, automate email workflows to nurture leads, book meetings, and close—all in the same tool!”
“We recommend this tool for new websites that are looking to convert website visitors into leads and nurture their contact database with email marketing,” says UNINCORPORATED’s Ian Evenstar.
Free plan details: HubSpot’s free CRM includes several free Marketing Hub features like forms, email marketing, ad management, conversational bots, and more.
Editor’s note: Easily track where your most qualified leads are coming from with this free HubSpot Sources Report dashboard from Databox that shows what marketing source generated your leads and where those leads are in the funnel.
Best free email marketing software
“This free email tool allows you to create lists and send emails to specifically selected lists,” says Andrew Chao Daongam of Bethink Marketing Consulting. “You can also use personalization tokens so that it’s customized to each person as much as possible.”
“It also has forms you can embed into your website so that you can grow your number of subscribers. It’s a great tool for those who are looking to get started with email marketing.”
Free plan details: Mailchimp’s free plan includes unlimited marketing emails for up to 2,000 subscribers.
Best free marketing software for project management
“Trello is, at its core, a project management tool,” says Revenue River’s Casey LeBrun. “It allows you quickly organize tasks as cards onto a board where you can track what’s being worked on, who is working on it, and how far along that task is.”
“Each card has a place on the board, and once that card is ready for the next stage, you move it to the next appropriate list. Assign due dates, make comments, add members, and attach files or checklists to get the most out of this tool. Power-ups can also help you customize Trello to meet your objectives.”
“When you need a simple, visually appealing way to organize ongoing tasks, share updates with a team, or even build a team of Instagram contributors (Trello image uploads maintain full quality), Trello is the reliable and user-friendly choice,” LeBrun says.
“Trello allows for a lot of versatility in how you use it, allowing you to have one platform for managing your marketing team—or even your whole business,” says Julie Ewald of Impressa Solutions. “There are more robust systems out there, but they’re just overkill in smaller organizations like ours.”
Free plan details: Trello’s free plan comes with unlimited personal boards, up to 10 team boards, and up to 10MB per file attachment.
Best free marketing tool for tracking what you’re spending on software
“G2 Track is a game-changer because it connects to your accounting or payment systems and shows you all the SaaS products you use (even those you forgot about), broken down by cost, time, and subscription terms,” says Eric Quanstrom of CIENCE.
“We’ve implemented this tool and were astonished—no, flabbergasted—at the volume and breadth of tools adopted inside our growing organization. Seeing them all in one place, and having an accounting process for them, is positively brilliant.”
Free plan details: G2 Track’s free plan comes with unlimited spend tracking, monthly spending reports, smart alerts, and tracking for up to three departments and budgets.
Best marketing software for editing content
“Grammarly proofs any content you’re writing for spelling and grammar errors,” says Weidert Group’s Jessica Janda.
Grammarly’s browser extensions will spell- and grammar-check anything you’re writing online—Google documents, Twitter posts, emails, etc. And if you want to proofread your offline content in applications like Microsoft Word or Outlook, you can download one of the tool’s native desktop apps.
Best marketing software for competitive intelligence
“SimilarWeb gives you insights into the traffic sources for a particular website and the ability to list and compare competitors of that website,” says Nigel Williams of TryWebFree. “I used to use Alexa but found SimilarWeb to be more accurate.”
Free plan details: SimilarWeb’s free plan includes five results per metric, one month of mobile app data, and three months of web traffic data.
Best free marketing software for learning more about your website visitors
“LinkedIn Website Demographics is a free tool that allows you to see the demographic data of your website visitors that have LinkedIn accounts,” says Bill Peatman of Alaniz Marketing.
“You get data on their job titles, seniorities, industries, locations, and more. You just have to enter a code snippet as you do with Google Analytics to get set up.”
Free plan details: 100% free
Editor’s note: Want demographic information about the people who are following your company on LinkedIn, too? Grab this free LinkedIn Demographics Overview dashboard to get a visual, shareable overview of the industries, job roles, seniorities, and more of your company’s LinkedIn followers.
Best free chatbot software for small businesses
“Capturing folks in a moment of intent is critical,” says Chris Handy of ClosedWon. “Drift is a messaging app for your customers and prospects that lives on your website. I believe it’s the best chat app user experience on both sides.”
“The mobile app allows us to take conversations on the go. This is a gamechanger for bringing sales teams into the conversation with prospects already on the company website.”
Free plan details: Drift offers a free plan for individuals that comes with live chat, profiles and calendars, and mobile apps.
Best sales and marketing software for creating videos
“Soapbox by Wistia is a great free tool,” says Tyler Pigott of Lone Fir Creative. “It’s very easy to create simple videos to embed on your website or use as a sales tool in your emails.”
“I was up and running in like three minutes and have seen great results from including videos in my email signature.”
Free plan details: Soapbox’s free plan includes unlimited videos that you can export to your Wistia account (but cannot download).
Best free software for finding out what technologies websites are using
“Built With’s Chrome extension allows me to quickly review businesses’ digital marketing footprint and the technology they use,” says Brendon MacDonald of Yello Veedub. “This allows me to make an educated guess on their digital marketing strategy and the level to pitch prospects our services and products.”
“As an agency, I always find it extremely helpful in my sales process to be able to assess a prospect’s tech stack,” says Nettly’s Thorstein Nordby. “Do they use a certain marketing automation tool, CRM, retargeting tools, or CRO tools?”
“If they have plenty of tools running on their website, it tells me that they are investing in marketing and they are probably constantly looking for more opportunities to improve. This makes my prospecting job easier, and it helps me to assess how mature a client is.”
Free plan details: 100% free for individual site lookups.
Best sales software for adding LinkedIn details to HubSpot CRM
“Before LinkedHub, I was using a vendor’s proprietary software that was costing $165 per month, and it didn’t integrate with HubSpot,” says Susie Kelley of Spot On. “Linked Hub is messaging software for LinkedIn that integrates with HubSpot.”
Free plan details: 100% free
Best free video conferencing software
“Zoom is the ultimate communication tool,” says Joe Jerome of Brand Builder Solutions. “At a free level, it supports conference calls, video calls, screen sharing, ability to make recordings of video and screen shares, and more.”
“It’s a full product even as a free tool, but it just has a time limit per call. That time limit was 40 minutes when we started using it. But you could just start up another meeting right away. Even the free version supports the Zoom app on your phone so you can take a video call from your car.”
“Today, you need to be able to do face-to-face business without being in the same room, the same city, or even the same country. There are tools that do this, but none are as easy as Zoom. Zoom has allowed us to do high levels of collaboration with teams, partners, and our family of customers with ease.”
Free plan details: Zoom’s free plan comes with unlimited one-on-one meetings, plus group calls with up to 100 participants with a max meeting time of 40 minutes.
Best free CRM software
“HubSpot CRM is a fantastic free tool for early-stage startup founders, freelancers, and if you’re the only salesperson on the team,” says Stefan Kollenberg of Backpack Content Marketing.
“It tracks all of your customer interactions and allows for some minor automation, along with email template creation, meeting scheduling, and many other useful features!”
“I set this up at my last job to manage our enterprise sales funnel and currently use it to track my leads as a freelance consultant—both times proving to be very easy to use and helpful,” Kollenberg says.
Ironpaper’s Jonathan Franchell also recommends HubSpot CRM: “When HubSpot launched its CRM, I immediately fell in love. It’s clean, simple, and fast. It has helped my team organize our very dynamic sales process and spend more time focused on action and spending time with buyers.”
“Since converting over to HubSpot CRM, we have seen far fewer leads and deals fall through the cracks. Our response rates for leads has improved by a factor of three. Plus, we now spend more quality time discussing creative strategy around our sales process based on data, as opposed to guesswork,” Franchell says.
Free plan details: 100% free
Editor’s note: Grab this free HubSpot CRM dashboard for an even more detailed view of your sales pipeline that you can display on a TV in your office or use for client reporting.
Are you using a tool that costs more per month than you can really justify? If so, it’s probably worth checking around to see if there’s a freemium product out there that does the same thing.
In recent years, freemium has become a popular acquisition model for SaaS businesses, so there’s a good chance that you might be able to cut the costs of premium tools from your budget by adopting newer software that offers a free-forever plan.
Originally published in February 2018, this post has been updated with recent screenshots and pricing information for each recommended tool—and to remove any software originally listed that is no longer available or no longer free.
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