The only thing better than discovering a new tool that makes running your business easier is finding out it’s free to use. Here are six tools we use in our business that are completely free (or offer a free, basic plan).
Canva is the first on this list because it’s truly number one. If you’re not savvy in Adobe programs (which can be a bit much to navigate, honestly), Canva is an extremely user-friendly program for designing basic graphics, PDFs, flyers, forms, slides, printouts and more. Canva hosts thousands of free fonts, pictures, graphics and templates to spark your creativity. Of course, Canva offers more sophisticated features with its Canva Pro plan, such as brand kit creation, access to additional photos and graphics, and font uploading. Never fear: If you fall hard for Canva, its Pro plan is only $12.99 per month.
- Meta Business Suite
I’d be lying if I said I’ve never complained about Facebook/Meta’s Business Suite. It seems to change constantly. But if you can handle the occasional change, its Business Suite Planner is a great free tool for scheduling Facebook and Instagram content. Of course, it works only with Meta-owned platforms, but it's an easy way to schedule weekend or off-hours content when you’re away from the office. You can also glean insights on your posts and compare them with how similar pages are performing.
- Short form videos
Sprout Social reported that in 2022, consumers found short-form videos are 2.5x more engaging than long-form video, which makes sense; consumers do not have time to watch or listen to long-form content of any kind anymore. TikTok and Instagram Reels are free to use and don’t take long to learn. Just be careful: you could find yourself scrolling endlessly or getting trending chimes stuck in your head!
- Google Alerts (OK, the entire Google Workspace)
From Google Docs, Slides, Drive, Calendar and more, Google has truly made collaboration easier than ever. But to highlight a feature that often goes unnoticed, Google Alerts is a nifty tool that notifies you when a tracked keyword appears somewhere on the web. So if you’re monitoring a particular issue or person, set up a free Google Alert.
Keep your audience engaged by sending a free, regular newsletter using Mailchimp’s basic plan. Mailchimp can be a little finicky to learn and has its quirks, but overall, it’s the perfect tool for creating and sending a basic newsletter. You can also access insights into how your campaign (aka newsletter) performed.
Datawrapper will take your sheets of data and turn them into a beautiful, interactive chart. If your spreadsheet is already well-organized, the most time you’ll spend in Datawrapper is choosing the design. If it’s not, inputting the data will take a bit longer, but trust us, the end result is worth it.