If you’re like most photographers starting out (and even some seasoned ones), you most likely have a shoestring marketing budget. You’ve got to make every dollar count, which is why we came up with this list of our top free marketing tools for photographers. While there are also paid versions for nearly every one of these tools, the free versions should definitely suffice for anyone looking to save some money and time in 2017.
Hootsuite is a social media management tool, allowing you to add multiple profiles to a dashboard and schedule posts for the future and monitor engagement across channels. While we personally use Hootsuite because we manage dozens of profiles with their paid version, Buffer is also a great free alternative that I’ve worked with and have nothing but good things to say about.
Whether you’re just laying some text over your pictures, or creating flyers and Facebook cover photos – Canva is the best tool out there for the task. With hundreds of pre-made templates (some free, and the rest for only $1) you’re sure to find something you like (and if you don’t, it’s super easy to make something custom as well). Plus, it’s all in one easy to use web app so you don’t have to download any software.
Google Analytics is a powerhouse when it comes to the information it pulls from your website visitors. See where your traffic is originating from (both physical location and source), see where traffic drops off, and monitor your site metrics including bounce rate and sessions. It’s a must have for any website.
4. Quill Engage
While Google Analytics can be a powerhouse, it can also be a bit daunting. In comes Quill Engage – just link it to your Google Analytics account and start getting reports in plain English emailed to you on a schedule you set. It makes Google Analytics easy to understand, and it’s completely free.
Once people land on your site, where do they go? What do they do? What do they click and focus on?
As long as you’re getting less than 2,000 page views per day (most people are), than Hotjar will answer all of those questions for you for free.
“Hotjar is the only tool to truly combine analytics with feedback. By connecting the dots between these two areas, Hotjar allows you to see WHAT your visitors are doing, as well as WHY they act the way they do.” (from Hotjars site)
Ever hear the quote “You never get a second chance at a first impression?”
It’s true when it comes to websites too. If people are confused by your homepage, or don’t know what you do right away they’re going to leave.
In comes Peek User Testing. They’ll send you a free 5 minute video of someone using your site, narrating their thoughts as they go through it. This helps you determine whether your messaging is clear and concise, and whether your site is too hard to navigate.
7. HubSpot CRM
Hubspot has some really hefty prices on most of their tools, but their CRM is completely free. There’s no paid version even available, it’s all unlimited for everyone for $0. While CRM’s are often viewed as a tool for only B2B type business, photographers can get a lot of use out of this when building their sales funnel and managing follow up emails with clients. Plus, they have a Chrome extension that allows you to easily schedule & set meetings, and schedule when your emails are sent to avoid being the person that replies at 1 AM (aka me).
If you’re looking to gain some insight on how your site is fairing in the rankings, Moz’s Open Site Explorer is the tool to use. While the paid version of the tool is extremely effective, you can get away with using the free version to get some basic metrics and help you create a strategy early on. If you’re on WordPress, add Yoast for a killer SEO combo.
If you plan on competing with other photographers with AdWords & SEO on a local level, try out SpyFu for some ideas on what they’re doing. It’ll help give you a list of their keywords they’re targeting on AdWords, what they’re ranking, for their traffic and tons of other helpful information.
Interactivity on your site makes people stick around even longer, and compelling content always gets more shares. Apester helps you create polls, quizzes, personality tests, and even more that you can embed right on your site for free. I haven’t had the chance to add it to the Prosper Photographers blog yet, but I can’t wait till I can find something good to integrate it with. Expect some polls here soon.
So, what do you think of our list? What would you include on it? Let us know in the comments below!