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August 28th, 2016
Comments Off on Three Top Online Marketing Counsel For Your Online Company – Internet Ad Sales (press release)

Three Top Online Marketing Counsel For Your Online Company – Internet Ad Sales (press release)


Three Top Online Marketing Counsel For Your Online Company
Internet Ad Sales (press release)
Now might be the time if you have actually never ever considered SEO training. You are probably feeling the have to cut expenses because of the economic downturn, so SEO training can show you some low-priced and highly efficient internet marketing ...

August 27th, 2016
Comments Off on GE and Cisco face off over industrial IoT | VentureBeat | Cloud | by … – VentureBeat

GE and Cisco face off over industrial IoT | VentureBeat | Cloud | by … – VentureBeat


VentureBeat

GE and Cisco face off over industrial IoT | VentureBeat | Cloud | by ...
VentureBeat
Corporate giants are in an all-out race to dominate the widely coveted Internet of Things (IoT) landscape. Today, eight companies with market capitalizations ...

and more »
August 27th, 2016
Comments Off on 6 Predictions For How IoT Tech Will Affect Online Marketing And SEO – Forbes

6 Predictions For How IoT Tech Will Affect Online Marketing And SEO – Forbes


6 Predictions For How IoT Tech Will Affect Online Marketing And SEO
Forbes
We've got a few major technological developments competing to be the next major tech revolution, akin to the rise of the Internet a few decades ago. Virtual and augmented reality are contenders, but an even bigger phenomenon may be the Internet of ...

August 26th, 2016
Comments Off on Facebook to introduce header bidding solution for its Audience Network

Facebook to introduce header bidding solution for its Audience Network

In recent years, Facebook has established itself as a real competitor to Google for ad dollars, and now the social networking company is planning to pursue programmatic more aggressively with a header bidding solution that will bring Facebook’s Audience Network to publishers.

Header bidding is a programmatic technique that allows publishers to offer their inventory through multiple ad exchanges before they serve up ads from their ad server.

It is commonly used with Google DoubleClick for Publishers, which is only currently integrated with Google Ad Exchange.

By using header bidding and allowing their inventory to be offered through other exchanges first, such as AOL, AppNexus, Rubicon and Yieldbot, publishers can increase their yield, sometimes by significant double-digital percentages.

A threat to Google?

In effect, header bidding provides a way for publishers to auction their inventory to the highest bidder across exchanges.

Because of that, header bidding is seen as a huge threat to Google, which is responding. But it’s unlikely that it will be able to put the cat back in the bag and equally unlikely that its arch rival Facebook would team-up with Google when it can use header bidding without offering Google something in return.

According to AdAge, Facebook’s header bidding solution will focus on mobile publishers, and could be ready for launch in September or October.

When launched, publishers will have the opportunity to plug into Facebook’s Audience Network, which was launched in 2014 as “a new way for advertisers to extend their campaigns beyond Facebook and into other mobile apps.”

The Audience Network is effectively Facebook’s answer to AdSense, and although the company still generates the majority of its revenue from ads displayed on its social network, it says the Audience Network is the second largest mobile ad network.

FacebookAudienceNetwork1

By embracing header bidding, Facebook could extend its reach with publishers, upping the ante in its battle with Google to be the dominant ad player on the web and mobile.

While Facebook’s wealth of user data gives it an interesting angle to play vis-à-vis targeting, it’s foray into header bidding initiative isn’t a sure bet.

As AdAge notes, Facebook shuttered its LiveRail video ad exchange earlier this year and has cut back on its Atlas ad server and measurement platform. These are reminders of the fact that Facebook, as powerful an ad player as it is, still faces challenges in growing its ad business outside of its walled garden.

August 26th, 2016
Comments Off on Facebook to introduce header bidding solution for its Audience Network

Facebook to introduce header bidding solution for its Audience Network

In recent years, Facebook has established itself as a real competitor to Google for ad dollars, and now the social networking company is planning to pursue programmatic more aggressively with a header bidding solution that will bring Facebook’s Audience Network to publishers.

Header bidding is a programmatic technique that allows publishers to offer their inventory through multiple ad exchanges before they serve up ads from their ad server.

It is commonly used with Google DoubleClick for Publishers, which is only currently integrated with Google Ad Exchange.

By using header bidding and allowing their inventory to be offered through other exchanges first, such as AOL, AppNexus, Rubicon and Yieldbot, publishers can increase their yield, sometimes by significant double-digital percentages.

A threat to Google?

In effect, header bidding provides a way for publishers to auction their inventory to the highest bidder across exchanges.

Because of that, header bidding is seen as a huge threat to Google, which is responding. But it’s unlikely that it will be able to put the cat back in the bag and equally unlikely that its arch rival Facebook would team-up with Google when it can use header bidding without offering Google something in return.

According to AdAge, Facebook’s header bidding solution will focus on mobile publishers, and could be ready for launch in September or October.

When launched, publishers will have the opportunity to plug into Facebook’s Audience Network, which was launched in 2014 as “a new way for advertisers to extend their campaigns beyond Facebook and into other mobile apps.”

The Audience Network is effectively Facebook’s answer to AdSense, and although the company still generates the majority of its revenue from ads displayed on its social network, it says the Audience Network is the second largest mobile ad network.

FacebookAudienceNetwork1

By embracing header bidding, Facebook could extend its reach with publishers, upping the ante in its battle with Google to be the dominant ad player on the web and mobile.

While Facebook’s wealth of user data gives it an interesting angle to play vis-à-vis targeting, it’s foray into header bidding initiative isn’t a sure bet.

As AdAge notes, Facebook shuttered its LiveRail video ad exchange earlier this year and has cut back on its Atlas ad server and measurement platform. These are reminders of the fact that Facebook, as powerful an ad player as it is, still faces challenges in growing its ad business outside of its walled garden.

August 26th, 2016
Comments Off on Three exceptional examples of local social media campaigns

Three exceptional examples of local social media campaigns

Tesco has some of the best social media campaigns and so does West Jet, IKEA, and Lowes. However, these are big accounts and have mammoth budgets.

This means they also have many social tools at their disposal and have access to data and insights on what will work for them.

On the other hand, local businesses don’t have that kind of resources, and yet somehow some of them manage to impress us with their awesome social media campaigns.

Here are some examples of campaigns of local and small businesses that are rocking social media. Let’s see what makes them so good!

Red Mango

If you like frozen yogurt and smoothies, chances are you have been to a Red Mango store for their all natural yogurt and juices. Apart from their delish yogurts, Red Mango is also well-known for their social media presence.

They have over 76.4k followers on Facebook and 58.9k followers on Twitter and highly engaged followers at that! Now let’s look at some of their posts to see what they are doing right.

1) Subtle product promotion

Social media provides a great platform for brand and product awareness. However, in their bid to appear funny, witty, or human, most companies lose focus of this purpose.

If you are spending your time and resources on building a social media presence, you need to utilize it in a way that it affects your bottom-line.

We often see Tesco’s funny tweets being shared on social media. However, it is their product knowledge posts that win them their bread and butter. Red Mango is straddling the line between social and branding quite competently with their subtle product promotion posts.

red mango facebook

2) Customer engagement 

Nothing works more effectively than a visual testament to your brand’s popularity. Red Mango utilizes these opportunities quite effectively by reposting their customers’ pictures and posts from various social media platforms.

However, you need a powerful social listening tool to be able to do this. If you have many fans who vociferously show their love for your brand/products, you must invest in a social listening tool.

red mango twitter

3) Newsjacking

Whether it’s Trump vs Hillary debate or a90 movie release, newsjacking provides a great way to use trending hashtags. Even if you have planned your social media calendar in advance, make room for newsjacking as it will lead to greater visibility and affinity.

red mango dark side

Takeaway

Red Mango social media is a work of art with striking visuals and clever marketing. However, these three points really stood out when we were going through their social media accounts. You can begin by incorporating these points in your social media campaign if you haven’t already.

Ministry of Villas

Ministry of Villas is a Singapore-based travel agency run by a couple who is constantly on a run to find the best premium villas in Asia.

Ministry of Villas co-founder and CEO Alastair Loxton was recently interviewed by CNBC, which shows they are making the right kind of noise. Here are a few things you’ll love about their campaign.

1) About us section

They have a featured about us video titled Our Story. In this 2-minute video, they talk about the important bits about their business. The stunning visuals of the villas they have on offer, make their about section really great!

2) Transparent and honest

Not only do they mention the prices of most villas, so that you don’t have to visit their website to check out whether it fits in your budget or not, but also they are pretty honest about the villas.

For instance, they are pretty forthright about the nearby construction work in the following post. With that kind of honesty, you know you won’t have a holiday in hell when you book with Ministry of Villas.

minisry of villas fb

3) Informative posts

I wouldn’t imagine myself stepping out of those exquisite luxury villas, but many would. So they share informative posts and tips that relate to travel. If you are maintaining a website and a blog, don’t forget to share all your posts on social media.

twitter ministry of villas

Takeaway

Ministry of Villas is no Airbnb but their social media campaigns and rising popularity have certainly gotten a specific section (affluent but not absurdly affluent class) of the society talking. Their campaign is a textbook example of how to play it safe on social media.

Cutting Edge Haunted House

Cutting Edge is the largest haunted house in the world and is loved by everyone for all the right reasons. With over 5k positive reviews, 160k Facebook fans and 19.3k Twitter followers, the people at Texas-based Cutting Edge Haunted House know exactly how to give goosebumps to their social media fans.

1) Post behind-the-scenes photos

They post a lot of pictures from the event, giving you a glimpse of the scary things happening at their haunted house. They also have a few videos that show what happens in the scary house and behind the scenes. If you haven’t been to this amazing place, the video can lure you to the lair by itself.

2) Inject a dose of relevant humor

It is great to be funny and witty on social media but sometimes some jokes can go awry as found by many an unlucky brand. It is important that the humor is relevant to your business. If you thought Cutting Edge campaign would be gory and scary, think again. Their campaign contains a healthy dose of funny posts.

cutting edge facebook

3) Timely updates about upcoming events

If you are not using social media to spread awareness about your upcoming events, you are missing out on a great opportunity to bring visitors to your event. Apart from advertising and local PR, it is important to keep building excitement about your event with the help of timely tweets.

cutting edge tweet

Takeaway

Every local business should learn how to pepper social media posts with humor, wit, and subtle self-promotion like the Cutting Edge. Don’t restrict yourself to a singular tone that suits your business. Bakeries can talk about unicorns and rainbows and local opticians can talk about food.

Harsh Agrawal, a blog scientist, CEO of ShoutDreams Media and contributor to ClickZ. You can read his blog here: Shout Me Loud.

August 26th, 2016
Comments Off on Five hard-hitting tips for boosting online conversion rates

Five hard-hitting tips for boosting online conversion rates

The web doesn’t have a traffic problem, but it does have a conversion problem.

Many people keep trying to attract traffic without really knowing what to do with it. Then they wonder why their business is not profitable after spending a lot of money on traffic generation.

According to data from Eisenberg Holdings, most businesses spend a meagre $1 to convert customers for every $92 they spend to attract customers. This explains why many businesses never turn a profit.

If you’re looking to spend more money on ads and traffic generation, perhaps you should reconsider your priorities; implementing a few changes can double or even triple your conversion rates.

You shouldn’t spend more money on ads until you’ve considered the following tips for boosting conversion rates.

1) Smart, segmented email marketing

A Monetate study found that email traffic converts 4.5X better than social traffic and 1.6X better than search traffic. The study analyzed over 500 million shopping experiences, and the results show that email converts more than both search and social media traffic combined.

monetate-historical-conversions-data

If you run an online business and do not use email, you’re throwing away your conversion rates; in fact, a Direct Marketing Association study found email to provide the best ROI of all marketing channels, establishing the fact that you can expect a ROI of $38 for every $1 you invest in email marketing.

However, the key to effective email marketing isn’t to just build a list and start sending emails; instead, it is important to gain understanding of your subscribers, segment your list according to subscriber interests and only send relevant emails to different segments of your list. A MarketingSherpa study found that this can boost your conversion rate by up to 208 percent.

2) Effective use of trust signals

Most people believe that all it takes to get people to take action on a website is to be very persuasive – that simply mastering copywriting skills, tweaking their button colors and offering a discount or money-back guarantee will solve the issues they are experiencing.

That’s just a part of the equation; research shows that most people who do not buy do not buy due to trust issues. In a world rife with hacks, phishing attempts and scams, no matter how persuasive you are, nobody will input their credit card details on your website.

macy's https

According to research from Econsultancy/Toluna, 48% of people will not buy from your website if they do not see a trust seal. Various case studies have also reported massive gains from implementing SSL on their website.

Before you start tweaking your copy, it’s a good idea to make sure people trust you first. If you can’t get them to trust you, no amount of persuasion will do the trick. Here are some tips to gain trust from your users:

  • Use security measures like SSL (this will allow you to use the “HTTPS” protocol, and it will also display a green security padlock in your users’ browsers).
  • Use recognized trust seals on key pages of your website.
  • Gather social proof that let people know that other people trust you; testimonials, user case studies and expert endorsements will help a great deal in this regard.

3) Cater to mobile users

For many people, the magic solution needed to boost (even double!) conversion rates is to optimize the mobile experience they serve their users.

Do you know that Facebook makes over 80% of its revenue from mobile users? Now it’s easy to say, “But Facebook mainly has mobile users!” or, “People mainly use social media on mobile devices!” but your business also probably has more mobile users than you know of.

Recent research shows that there are now more mobile internet users than desktop internet users. If you’re not properly catering to mobile users, then you’re most likely losing half of your sales.

Catering to mobile users go beyond just having a mobile-friendly or responsive website; your checkout page should be responsive. Your emails should be responsive too – research shows that 75% of people instantly delete emails that are not mobile responsive.

The key is to make every part of the experience your users go through seamless irrespective of what device they are using to interact with your online business.

4) Use data-informed blogging

It’s 2016, so we know that every smart business should be blogging already. However, do you just “blog”? Apparently not. If your idea of blogging is to setup a blog, add content to it and promote your content, then you’re most likely doing it wrong.

If that’s simply how you approach blogging, you’re most likely wasting your time, efforts and money invested in blogging. The key to successful blogging is to use a data-driven approach. Here are some tips:

  • Ensure your blog regularly features your products and offers: this makes it easy for blog readers to cross over to your site and is the only way to get real ROI from your blogging efforts. You can do this by linking to your blog in the sidebar, inside articles, in the navigation bar and in other key places on your blog.
  • Write quality, comprehensive content: we’ve always heard that quality trumps quantity, and research agrees; several studies, including one that analyzed over 100 million articles, found that longer content, usually of 2,000 words and above, will get more shares, backlinks and both short and long term traffic.
  • Write a LOT of content: just as quality matters, quantity does too. Available data from Hubspot show that businesses that publish 16 or more blog posts monthly get the most ROI from blogging. According to the Hubspot study, by publishing 16+ articles a month you’re likely to get 4.5X more leads and 3.5X more traffic compared to if you publish less than four articles a month.

5) Address shopping cart abandonment

According to data from Baymard, the average documented online shopping cart abandonment rate is 68.64%. If we’re to interpret this data literally, it means at least 68 people who get to your checkout pages – who have considered buying from you – will eventually quit.

Colourful_shopping_carts

Now, this is very alarming because these are people who already decided to buy from you, who have expressed interest by heading over to your checkout page. Exactly why do these people quit? Well, we will have to rely on data again – research shows that:

  • People abandon a web page due to site speed issues
  • People abandon a cart due to shipping costs
  • People abandon a shopping cart due to payment processing issues
  • People abandon a shopping cart due to payment processing issues

Fix all the above issues, and you will have persuaded a major percentage of abandoners to return. Research also shows that shopping cart abandoners spend 55% more when remarketed to, so you might want to give remarketing a shot.

Robert Mening is a sales and marketing consultant who has helped thousands of people start their own blogs. He’s the creator of the Website Setup blog project.

August 25th, 2016
Comments Off on Rand Internet Marketing Announces Partnership With Vinculum – Digital Journal

Rand Internet Marketing Announces Partnership With Vinculum – Digital Journal


Rand Internet Marketing Announces Partnership With Vinculum
Digital Journal
Rand Internet Marketing, a professional website design, development, and web marketing company based out of South Florida, has partnered with Vinculum Solutions, a global software company enabling the eCommerce ecosystem with SaaS based ...

August 25th, 2016
Comments Off on Programmatic advertising: what’s the difference between good and bad data?

Programmatic advertising: what’s the difference between good and bad data?

Over the last decade, marketing has drastically shifted its foundation from innate intuition to calculated analysis. It shifted from an art form to a science.

Strategies are now driven by unprejudiced analysts instead of committal creatives. More importantly, strategic data insights give each marketer the ability to provide the best experience possible for the customer.

Yet one area of digital consistently lags behind the rest. As disruptive and momentous as the data revolution has been, digital advertising has been slow to embrace it.

Twenty years ago, advertising was the most data-driven industry in the market. It utilized demographic data through publishers to identify target markets. The problem is, many digital advertisers haven’t evolved since then. They’re still relying, in many cases, on demographics.

They’re content.

And as we all know, no brand can settle in the digital age; it’s a constant evolution. Marketers probably tell their kids bedtime cautionary tales about the brands that lost their edge because they stopped moving forward. The list is long.

But there’s light at the end of the tunnel for digital advertising. Programmatic’s ascendance has opened a path forward to evolve from the era of Mad Men to the age of Silicon Valley. Although, data points run a broad spectrum of quality.

Data is quite similar to making sausage: you don’t often know what you’re getting and there’s good quality in some, but there are also some shady practices to dupe the unsuspecting buyer.

You get what you pay for with quality and you need to unpack the data to see what you’re buying.

The majority of data in digital is currently unrefined, broad and hard to action – it’s filler. Marketers need to avoid that data pitfall within the digital sphere.

Technology computer digital data code background

Bad data

Most of the unrefined data that brands utilize to target consumers digitally is considered third party data. It’s the data that publishers love to offer brands based on their readership.

Third party data, in essence, is demographic. It’s your age, your gender, what you read, where you live, and while demographic data is better than no data, it’s often a false promise that looks glamorous when presented, but lacks in execution and results.

In other words, demographics are filler, they can help plug cracks in your customer view, but they will never give the information necessary to execute a successful campaign.

Let’s consider a quick example of third party’s downfall. Let’s say you and I have some similarities in our demographics and preferences. We are both 54-year-old males, we live in the same city and we both subscribe to a sports publication.

While it may seem like we have a lot in common, what can we truly correlate from those identifiers? We may be the same age, but where the Rolling Stones might be more aligned to my age, I might actually listen to the same music as today’s 15-year-old kids.

We may live in the same city and have similar jobs, but that doesn’t mean we both wear suits and shop at Brooks Brothers.

With third party, there are no actionable insights to draw conclusions on behavior. If marketers want to have a true view of their customer, they need transactional data to be the foundation.

Great data 

There are two forms of data that are reliable and actionable for marketers – first and second party. The important difference between good data and fluff is that with good data, there’s a retail action performed by the customer.

It is based on transactions; the only measurable form of data marketers can develop strategy around.  A transaction is a sign of intent; it provides guidance on what the customer is looking to buy. If we can build up enough of a history with transactional data, the patterns emerge.

First-party

First party is data collected through your brand based on transactional history and account preferences.

It’s your data; nobody else can use it unless you’re selling. It’s by far the best form of data to market against, but it is somewhat limited to re-targeting since the consumer has already purchased with your brand.

Within a strategic mindset, first-party data is going to be amazing for current customers – its value as a retargeting tool is unparalleled, but it’s not as useful with acquisition. Focus on up-selling and increasing return frequency. Use it to drive product newness and seasonal initiatives.

Second-Party

Second-party data is where things get really fun for marketers.  It’s the type of data that’s going to support all of the acquisition objectives for the season.

Second-party data is usually going to be transactional, as well. The difference between first and second-party, is that second-party data is collected from another brand.

In essence, we can take first-party data from other companies and market against it as if it were our own. This form of data is also available through an exchange and it avoids some of the filler you get from aggregators that don’t have as much clarity into what you’re buying.

So instead of focusing on whether or not potential customers live in the same city, or subscribe to the same publication, marketers should be focused on finding like-minded brands with a similar customer base.

Abstract matrix computer background for your design

In the next example, let’s use second-party data. Let’s say we are running acquisition for a high-end chain-store fashion retailer with an AUR between $70 and $90.

It makes much more sense to harness the transactional data of J. Crew, or even Pottery Barn, than it does to target 54-year-old men that live in the same geographic area. There are more similarities between the consumer base and we also know intent since they have purchasing power.

In the end, what marketers want to target is an actionable lifestyle, not passive demographics.

The rise of programmatic is one of the most exciting developments for the digital sphere. It opens a new window for advertisers and it is already shaking the foundations of how publishers operate.

If programmatic is to evolve and have continued success, it needs to follow the path email, CRM, loyalty and site-marketing have taken of utilizing actionable, reliable, first and second-party data to prove out acquisition and investment.

Marketers need to know what’s in their data and trim out the filler to provide continuous, data-driven ROI for their brands.

August 25th, 2016
Comments Off on 40 free digital marketing tools to grow your business

40 free digital marketing tools to grow your business

If you’re just starting out with a business, or looking for tools to help you grow, there is a huge array of digital marketing tools, platforms and services available online.

But if you have a small budget to work with or you aren’t sure which are the right tools for you to be investing your money into – or maybe you just want to bolster your digital marketing without spending too much – then how can you narrow your options down?

To help out, we’ve put together a hefty list of 40 free digital marketing tools that can help you grow your business, in every area of marketing: from email to events, content to social media.

This is partly a refreshed and updated version of the excellent list of 50 digital marketing tools to grow your start-up put together by Bryan Eisenberg last year, and incorporates many of his picks as well as suggestions from the comments section. If you know any great free tools that have been helpful in your own digital marketing efforts, please suggest them in the comments!

General sales & marketing

Hubspot

Hubspot is an inbound marketing software platform, much of which is free to use. Its free sales software allows you to build email templates, a shared library of sales content and documents, integrate with Gmail and Outlook, schedule emails and more.

Hubspot also offers a free Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software which integrates with it. If you’re minded to upgrade, the Pro version starts at $50 per person per month. (Suggested by Luke Hamon)

Sniply

Sniply is a very interesting tool which lets you build custom calls to action (CTAs) and add them to content that you share. As long as the page you’re sharing supports iframes, you can create your custom CTA button and message and add it in over the page, which only the people who access your link will be able to see.

SumoMe

SumoMe boasts a powerful suite of marketing tools, including content analytics, an email scroll box, contact form, image sharer and more. The free version gives access to all of SumoMe’s apps, plus more features like A/B testing are available to Pro subscribers, starting at $20 a month.

Ampervize

If you aren’t sure where to start with digital marketing tools, a free report from Ampervize could give you a springboard. Based on your responses to a couple of simple questions about your business, it will produce a tailored report recommending marketing providers and the areas of marketing which are most likely to deliver results.

Ampervize recommended providers

Cyfe

Cyfe is an all-in-one dashboard for managing your business tools online. Add widgets for everything from advertising tools to blog platforms, email tools, SEO and social media to manage them all in one place. The free version supports up to 5 widgets, or you can upgrade to premium for $19/month.

Email marketing

Boomerang

Boomerang is a free app for Gmail, Outlook and Android with a range of email management tools. It integrates easily with your inbox interface to add features like email scheduling, snoozing, read receipts and follow-up reminders.

I use this all the time simply for email scheduling and read receipts, and Boomerang has developed some more advanced features aimed at businesses, including – most recently – an AI assistant which helps you to craft the perfect email, launched just this week.

Boomerang respondable

MailChimp

You’ve probably come across MailChimp in your travels (especially if you’ve ever listened to the podcast Serial), and there’s a good reason why it’s so popular.

Completely free for up to 2,000 subscribers and 12,000 emails per month, it’s an easy option for small businesses and groups to get to grips with newsletters, with built-in signup forms, templates and free data insights to track how your email marketing stacks up against your industry.

Klaviyo

Klaviyo is an email marketing software which helps you send out personalised and targeted emails, and is free to use for up to 250 contacts and 500 email sends. The free accounts also include A/B testing tools, integrations, segmentation and a drag-and-drop responsive email creator.

Structured Data Markup Helper

Schema.org is a type of structured data markup that you can add to emails in Gmail to enable some great interactive marketing features, like auto-adding to Google Calendar, one-click reviews and RSVPs and integration with search.

Google’s Structured Data Markup Helper does all the hard work of coding for you, and all you have to do is highlight the relevant part of an email and select from the drop-down menu to mark it up. For more information on Schema.org for emails and getting started, check out how to add Schema.org markup to your email marketing.

A screenshot showing the Google Structured Data Markup Helper for emails.

Hiver

Hiver is an email collaboration tool designed to help you work more efficiently using shared accounts. Track tasks, access shared mailboxes, write notes, assign emails to team members and mark them completed when done. The free version supports up to 3 users, or you can upgrade from $6/month to work with larger teams.

Content creation & curation

Apester

Apester is a handy free tool for creating interactive content like quizzes, which can liven up your content marketing with some fun and engaging pieces. We’ve been using it here at ClickZ and Search Engine Watch to power challenges such as ‘How well do you know these 25 SEO abbreviations?‘ and ‘Can you decipher these marketing and business buzzwords?

Piktochart

Piktochart is a popular and easy-to-use tool for creating infographics, along with other types of visual content like presentations and posters. Its drag-and-drop interface is really simple and the results look slick and professional.

Canva

Canva is another versatile, free visual content creation tool – and in the age of the visual web, you might as well have all the tools you can at your disposal! Canva helps you create attractive visuals for everything from social media graphics to presentations, banners, blog graphics and business cards.

canva

Listly

Listly is a fun and free platform for curating and sharing all sorts of lists, on any topic from film to technology, education to marketing. Other users can follow your lists and upvote their favourite items to make them rank higher. I’ve curated the tools in this article into their own Listly, so feel free to comment and upvote your favourites!

Triberr

Triberr is one part content sharing platform, one part influencer marketing platform. If you’re a blogger or content creator, you can use it as a platform to share content with a network of fellow content creators, and join groups for specific interests and topic areas – think of it like LinkedIn groups.

If you’re an agency, however, you can also use Triberr to conduct influencer marketing campaigns. You can prepare a campaign for influencers to apply to, set a budget, digital assets, goals and more. While you do have to pay the influencer(s), everything else is free to use with no other fees.

Social media

Socioboard

Socioboard is a social media management platform for businesses and brands, aimed at helping them with lead generation, customer support, marketing and engagement. You can connect up a range of accounts including Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and LinkedIn to manage them from a central dashboard. The free version offers scheduling features, CRM and reporting tools for up to 5 profiles. (Suggested by Rupak Som)

Socioboard

Hootsuite

Hootsuite is a widely-used social media management tool which allows you to manage and co-ordinate multiple social networks, schedule posts, track analytics and keep tabs on certain keywords and hashtags via its ‘streams’ feature.

The free version allows you to connect up to three accounts, or you can upgrade to one of its paid accounts for more features.

TweetReach

TweetReach is a great tool for analysing the reach of any username, hashtag or keyword, estimating how many impressions it has made and how many individual accounts have been reached.

The free version only gives a snapshot of the past 100 tweets, so to get a more detailed analysis, you would need to upgrade to one of the paid options – or you can take multiple snapshots to build up a picture over time.

socialmention

socialmention allows you to search for any word, phrase or hashtag to see where people are using it across the internet. It’s useful for keeping tabs on a hashtag campaign or brand name beyond social media, as it also covers blogs, bookmarks, images and videos. You can also see whether people are using your term in a positive or negative context, its level of reach, and whether users are mentioning it repeatedly.

socialmention

Simply Measured

Simply Measured provides a selection of free reports you can use to analyse various social media accounts, including Instagram, Twitter, Facebook and Google+. Even more in-depth is its Social Traffic Analysis, which works in conjunction with Google Analytics to give an overview of your site’s social traffic, presenting it in a visual and easy-to-read format.

If you want to go further with social media tracking and analytics, don’t miss our list of nine free tools for measuring social ROI!

Video

Instagram Video

Facebook, Snapchat and Twitter all have their video offerings, but Instagram is still, as Christopher Ratcliff wrote in his piece on the best branded Instagram videos of 2016, “one of the best places for brands to experiment with short form video”.

Instagram video has all the filters you’ll be familiar with from uploading photographs, plus a choice of ratio and now a full 60 seconds to play with. You can shoot directly within the app or upload and trim an existing video.

Wistia

Wistia is a video hosting service for businesses, which came highly recommended by local SEO expert Greg Gifford in his Brighton SEO presentation on going beyond local SEO. It provides detailed analytics, engagement graphs and heat maps to show exactly how users have interacted with a video. The free option only supports three videos, but you can upgrade from $10/month to one of its paid options.

Powtoon

Powtoon is a free tool for creating animated marketing videos, explainers, animated infographics, or even videos and presentations that you can share internally within your business. The free account allows for videos of up to five minutes, with a watermark and outro. (Recommended by Deepak Gawas)

powtoon

WeVideo

WeVideo is an online video editing and collaboration tool, with cloud storage, a music library and editing on-the-go with a mobile app. The free version allows for five minutes of video publishing in 720p, with watermark.

Events

Eventbrite

Eventbrite is a widely-used and effective event hosting platform which allows you to create an event, invite attendees, manage tickets and registrations and promote your event to a wider audience. While it’s only free if your event is free to attend, there are fairly low fees for paid tickets, which you can often pass on to buyers as part of the event registration.

Lanyrd

An extensive social discovery platform for professional events, Lanyrd is great both for publicising your own event and finding other events at which to network, learn and make contacts. It allows attendees to share videos, slides and podcasts after the event, with remote tracking features so that anyone who couldn’t make it can follow along remotely.

lanyrd

Slideshare

Slideshare is an important complement to any event – the most convenient way to share and save presentation slides after an event has taken place, and a great platform for reaching a business audience.

AppsGeyser

AppsGeyser is a free tool designed to let you easily create an Android app. You can use it for any purpose, but it would be particularly useful for an event where you’d like to create a one-use app that will keep attendees connected and up to date, without a lot of expenditure.

HelloSign

HelloSign is a tool for helping you to get event contracts (and other types of contract) signed by requesting electronic signatures from up to 20 different people. It uses SSL encryption to keep documents safe, and will send out an email copy to everyone who signed a document, for their records. The free version is limited to 3 documents per month from a single sender; paid versions start from $13/month and have a 30-day free trial.

Analytics

Google Analytics

Google Analytics is a must-have for any suite of analytics tools, and the best part is that it’s completely free. Google’s all-in-one analytics dashboard gives insights into different traffic sources, pageviews, demographics, SEO, social media and a wealth of other information.

To find out how to set up Google Analytics for your website for the first time, check out YuYu Chen’s comprehensive beginner’s guide. Our guide to confusing terms is also on hand to help you decipher the lingo!

Buzzsumo

Buzzsumo is a content analysis tool which gives you a breakdown of the social shares for content published to any domain, allowing you to discover the most popular and shareable content for your own website – or a competitor’s – and find out which networks your content resonates with. Upgrading to a Pro account also gives you insight into backlinks and influencers, allowing you to see exactly who is sharing your content.

Bitly

Bitly is a free link shortening and tracking tool, which monitors traffic and referrals via custom links and displays detailed analytics about clicks, location, referring websites, activity over time and more. It’s widely used by publishers and businesses alike, and has a handy tagging system you can use to keep track of links from different marketing campaigns or portals.

bitly graphs

Quill Engage

Quill Engage provides reports which explain your Google Analytics data in plain English. So if you’re feeling baffled by all of the numbers and technical terms, give a free report a go – the free version offers reports for one Google Analytics account, which you can have delivered weekly and monthly.

SimilarWeb & GetHoneybadger

SimilarWeb is a useful tool for keeping tabs on your competitors. Using its free search tool, you can dig up stats on any website, including its rank globally, within its leading country, and within its respective category; traffic by country and sources; search and referral traffic; and more.

You can also audit yourself for some insightful stats, and put your performance side-by-side with competitors to see how you can compare.

For an even more seamless process, you can also use the Chrome extension Gethoneybadger to dig up stats about any website with one click. Gethoneybadger uses SimilarWeb to pull in analytics about that specific website, displaying them in a little window in the corner of your screen.

SEO

Google Search Console

Much like Google Analytics, Google Search Console is a must-have resource for webmasters, and is free to set up for your website. With it, you can monitor your site’s performance, identify any issues, submit content to be crawled, check on your mobile friendliness, view the searches that brought users to your site, and much more besides.

Christopher Ratcliff has written a complete overview of Google Search Console over at Search Engine Watch which breaks down each individual area and how to use it.

SEO SiteCheckup

SEO SiteCheckup will give you a quick and detailed health check of your website’s SEO for free, with an overall SEO score out of 100, along with a downloadable PDF report and information on keyword usage, images, backlink authority and other handy insights.

seo site checkup

Yoast SEO plugin for WordPress

Yoast is a free plugin for WordPress to help you easily manage SEO and optimise your webpages. You can use it to set templates for, and optimise, titles and meta descriptions, enter focus keywords, and fine-tune just about everything you could want about your Google listing.

Screaming Frog SEO Spider Tool

The Screaming Frog SEO Spider Tool is a desktop app that you can install on PC, Mac or Linux, which will crawl websites and analyse them for common SEO issues, such as broken links, duplicate content and response time. The free version works for up to 500 URLs, or you can buy an annual license for £99/year, which will also unlock a set of advanced configuration options.

Google’s Mobile Friendly and Speed Test Tool

For your business to be able to compete online, it’s become imperative to have a properly-optimised mobile site. Mobile traffic has surpassed desktop web traffic for the first time in 2016, and Google’s various ‘mobilegeddon‘ algorithm updates have increasingly penalised sites that aren’t optimised for mobile. So to give your site the best chance in search, it pays to track down and fix up those issues that keep it from working well on mobile.

Luckily, Google has made this free and quick to do with its Mobile Friendly and Speed Test Tool, which will analyse and test your site for mobile functionality and also speed issues, and advise you on how to fix them. Of course, you can always beat Google to the punch with our mobile-friendliness checklist.

mobile friendly

If you want to dive into free search optimisation tools in more depth, including site health checkers, sitemap generators, keyword research tools and more, don’t miss our roundup of 26 expert-recommended free SEO tools over on our sister site Search Engine Watch.