You’ve done your due diligence, looked at the numbers, written a business plan, and set up a legal entity. You’re ready to take the leap as an independent marketing consultant. Yet without corporate accounting, IT and other departments behind you, the task of running your own business falls completely on your shoulders. Good news? There are multitudes of free and low-cost online tools for marketing consultants available. Here are some of my favorites.
Finding new clients
If you’re just starting out as a marketing consultant, you might have a few clients the moment you launch your company. However, there are other ways to fill extra billable hours of your day.
UpWork and Outsource offer freelancers the opportunity to bid on hundreds of jobs. Using keyword search, you can get granular about what services you would like to bid on — Facebook marketing, email marketing, social media marketing — the job options are abundant. Both companies handle the legalities of contracting and take care of payments. All you need to do is set up a profile, submit bids, and make money.
Polished website design and hosting
Maintaining a business website allows you to showcase your services and current marketing work. WordPress is a free hosting platform that can be set up in minutes with no prior development experience. Choose from hundreds of WordPress themes that require little adjustment, or select a minimalist template and customize pages with your personal brand.
WordPress leaves the simplicity or complexity of your website up to you — all while making your business look its professional best.
Manage projects like a pro
As a marketing consultant, managing multiple clients is paramount to your overall success. Thanks to Trello, project management has never been easier. Available on your desktop or through handy mobile apps for smartphones and tablets, your to-do list is only a click away.
You can attach images, add priority labels, set due-dates to each task, and invite others to collaborate. Best of all, the cloud-based platform has a reboost free option for solopreneurs and upgrade solutions for teams.
Google Analytics anytime, anywhere
Multiple clients might provide access to their Google Analytics data so you can stay on top of their digital marketing strategy. Yet you aren’t always in front of your computer. Quicklytics is a free app download available on Apple or Android devices that seamlessly combines every client’s analytics data into a departmentalized view for easy access.
With one swipe you can see multiple properties, filter data, create custom reports, review conversions in hourly charts and see activity in real time. Fueled by data, Quicklytics helps you stay on top of your client’s website trends.
Identify your clients’ competitive advantage
Marketing consultants know they must have an understanding of the competitive landscape. A competitive analysis informs your clients who the competition is, the competitive advantages and disadvantages they might face, what advertising mediums competitors use, and at what price point they market.
With Spyfu, you have an edge on the best PPC and SEO campaigns competitors are using and can find out how much they’re spending on search advertising. By “spying” on a competitor, you can get insight into how a competitor’s marketing evolved and learn from their mistakes — all before proposing new marketing strategies to a client.
A design tool to elevate your professionalism
There will come a time when a client needs a presentation, eBook or marketing flyer. Even without graphic design experience, you can still create beautiful marketing materials using Canva.
Or, use one of Canva’s templates for faster turnaround. Canva also includes a photo editor feature so you don’t need to worry about accessing expensive editing software. With Canva, you can provide services above and beyond your client’s expectations.
Track your miles for a tax deduction
As a self-employed marketing consultant, many business expenses are tax-deductible. Driving to and from client meetings is one expense the IRS allows you to deduct. Instead of trying to remember to document your odometer miles, download MileIQ to your smartphone.
This amazing app automatically detects where you have traveled, allows you to make notes of your client meeting, and stores information with one swipe. Then, at the end of each month, download your MileIQ report for your records. You will make your tax accountant very happy.
Get feedback on your marketing plan or website
Before launching a new website or marketing campaign, get unbiased feedback. User Interviews recruits and screens participants for you, which removes the hassle of putting together a focus group on your own. Its features include customized audiences, in-person or remote participation either by phone or computer, participant vetting, and automated scheduling. Clients will be confident that your marketing strategies are spot-on if they’re backed with fact-based research.
Keep up with your marketing consultant education
Marketing continues to evolve, and there’s no reason to let new tactics and techniques leave you behind. Udemy offers marketing, SEO, PPC, writing and strategy courses, in addition to many other topics, taught by more than 20,000 instructors worldwide. Courses are affordable and, once purchased, are available indefinitely so you can learn at your own pace.
Online tools for marketing consultants
Starting a business is both exciting and scary at the same time. But with the right online tools for marketing consultants, you can avoid the obstacles that might come with solopreneurship and flourish on your own.