Lo and behold—your free digital marketing tool kit has arrived. 

At Big Leap, we believe having the right tools is crucial to helping you build the holistic marketing strategy you deserve. But of course, finding them can get pretty gnarly, which is why we’ve done it for you.

We’ve organized our digital marketing tools into six categories: 

  • Keyword Research 
  • Website Analytics 
  • Content Management System (CMS) 
  • Email Marketing 
  • Social Media Management 
  • Customer Relationship Management (CRM) 

Each category comes with recommended tools that fall into three tiers:

  • Free (ideal for start-ups)
  • Affordable (ideal for mid-sized/growing companies)
  • Expert (ideal for well-established companies looking to grow) 

Many of these tools offer incremental upgrade paths, so we made sure to outline them below. 

Ready to dive in? If you have any questions as you’re reading through this, don’t hesitate to reach out to us. Our digital marketing team is here to help. 

1. Keyword Research

What Is Keyword Research?

Keywords, or search queries, are the words, phrases, and questions your target audience is typing into the Google search bar. 

Why Do You Need Keyword Research Tools?

Keywords are the linchpin that helps you get seen online. To be relevant and visible to your target audience, you need to incorporate those keywords into your site’s content. 

Take a look at these SEO stats (a little secret—keywords play a large role in all of these!): 

Free Tools

1. Google Search Console

Google search console

Google Search Console is Google’s very own free search engine tool that helps you measure and troubleshoot your keywords. 

You can see what queries/keywords your site is currently ranking for, which is a great starting point to seeing how and where you need to tweak your strategy.

What You Get
  • List of keywords your site is currently ranking for 
  • List of keywords your individual site pages are ranking for
  • Engagement (clicks & impressions) your keywords have been receiving via search results

Learn more about Google Search Console

2. Google Trends

google trends

Another great free keyword tool to add to your research is Google Trends

It pulls up local and global real-time and daily search trends happening on Google. You simply enter a search term/topic and Google Trends offers helpful analytics.

What You Get
  • Keyword interest over time 
  • Keywords interest by subregion 
  • Related topics
  • Related queries/phrases

Learn more about Google Trends.

Affordable Tools

1. Moz Keyword Explorer

moz keyword explorer

If you’re looking for a more comprehensive keyword tool, check out Moz Keyword Explorer

What You Get
  • Ability to analyze keywords by search volume
  • Tools to generate and save keyword lists
  • Data export capabilities 
  • Competitive keyword analysis 

Moz Keyword Explorer is free with a limit of 10 free searches a month. After that, there are payment options available.

2. SpyFu

Another affordable keyword research tool that comes with competitor analysis is SpyFu. With their basic plan, you get unlimited access to the data you want. 

What You Get
  • Unlimited keyword search results
  • Unlimited keyword group results
  • 5K weekly tracked keyword rankings 
  • Small domain SEO report 

SpyFu’s Basic plan starts at $33 a month

Advanced Tools

1. SEMRush’s Keyword Magic Tool

SEMRush’s Keyword Magic Tool is just one of SEMRush’s suite of online tools. So if you’re looking for a multitude of SEO/online tools to supplement your keyword research, get started with their Pro plan (ideal for freelancers and start-ups with limited budgets). 

The Keyword Magic Tool offers keyword analytics, which can level up your research and strategy. 

What You Get
  • Ability to run SEO, PPC, and SMM projects with 40+ advanced tools
  • Insight into keyword volume, keyword difficulty, and more
  • View your competitors’ traffic, rankings, social media results, and more
  • Ability to sort and filter keywords by topic

SEM’s plans start at $119.95 a month.

2. Website Analytics

What Is Website Analytics?

Website analytics evaluates your site and visitor performance. More importantly, it collects data, so you’ll learn what’s working and what isn’t to steer you in the right direction.

Why Do You Need Website Analytics?

Data-driven decisions are key in conquering your goals. After all, how would you know something is working without actual data to prove it? 

Free Tools

1. Google Analytics (GA)

GA is a free site analytics tool by Google. It’s the go-to platform for many marketers, because it’s backed by Google and offers packed features. Google Analytics gives you what you need to adequately measure the performance of your site, products, and more. 

What You Get
  • Insight into site’s performance (traffic, clicks, etc.)
  • Insight into visitor activity (number of users, session duration, etc.)
  • Info on visitor demographics
  • Real-time reports on your site
  • Guidance on optimization tactics 

Learn more about using Google Analytics.

2. Google Search Console

Google search console

If you’ve already been using Google Search Console for your keyword research, you can use this same platform to gain insight into your site’s performance. 

What You Get
  • Traffic stats
  • Info on how your visitors are finding your site
  • Insight into mobile or desktop computer 
  • Insight into the most popular pages on your site

Learn more about Google Search Console

Affordable Tools

1. Crazy Egg

crazy egg

If you’re aiming to improve user flow, consider Crazy Egg

Crazy Egg works similarly to Google Analytics in that it offers insight into your site’s performance. But it takes it one step further with conversion rate optimization (CRO) tools that help you understand how your visitors interact with your site. 

What You Get
  • Heat and confetti maps
  • Visitor recordings
  • Visitor snapshots 
  • Site editor tools 
  • Unlimited A/B tests
  • Unlimited websites

Crazy Egg ranges from $24 to $249 a month

2. Ahrefs – Lite & Standard Plans

Looking for a platform that offers all-in-one SEO capabilities? Check out Ahrefs

Their Lite and Standard plans offer a suite of SEO tools at an affordable price. 

Lite Plan—What You Get
  • 1 user
  • Traffic checker
  • Unlimited verified projects
  • Ability to track up to 500 keywords 
  • Keyword and backlink reports 
  • Rank tracker that’s updated every seven days 
  • 10,000 crawl credits a month

The Lite plan begins at $99 a month.

Standard Plan—What You Get
  • 1 user
  • Traffic checker
  • Unlimited verified projects
  • Ability to track up to 1,500 keywords
  • Keyword and backlink reports
  • Rank tracker that’s updated every five days
  • 500,000 crawl credits a month

The Standard plan begins at $179 a month.

Expert Tools

1. SEMRush

Looking for a platform that offers all-in-one SEO capabilities? Check out SEMRush. Your team will get access to a suite of tools that offers keyword research, competitor analysis, backlink auditing, website analytics reports, and more. 

What You Get
  • Website analytics reports 
  • Keyword research 
  • Competitor analysis (website traffic, ad campaigns, ad budget, and more)
  • Backlink profile monitoring 
  • Ability to run SEO, PPC, and SMM projects with 40+ advanced tools

SEMRush plans range from $119.95 to $449.95 a month

2. Ahrefs – Advanced & Agency Plans

Like SEMRush, Ahrefs offers technical SEO and keyword research functionalities to give your online strategy a more holistic approach. They’ve got Advanced and Agency plans for larger, more established companies. 

Advanced Plan—What You Get
  • 3 users
  • 1.25 million crawl credits a month
  • Ability to track up to 5,000 keywords
  • 3,5000 content reports a week
  • Competitor analysis (rankings & content)
  • Traffic/data info 

The Advanced plan begins at $399 a month.

Agency Plan—What You Get
  • 5 users
  • 2.5 million crawl credits a month 
  • Ability to track up to 10,000 keywords
  • 17,500 content reports a week
  • Competitor analysis (rankings & content)
  • Traffic/data info 

The Agency plan begins at $999 a month.

3. Content Management System (CMS)

What Is CMS?

A CMS is software that helps you create, manage, and modify content on your website. The best of all? You don’t have to be a website wiz to do this; CMS equips businesses with the tools they need to seamlessly set up and publish their content. 

Why Do You Need CMS?

A CMS:

  • Bolsters team productivity and workflow. It offers easy collaboration, where multiple users can work in it at the same time. 
  • Offers scalability. As your business grows, you can easily add new pages and themes to level up your brand.
  • Equips your site with on-page optimization. The right CMS offers SEO and user-friendly features that safeguard your online visibility. 

Free Tools

1. WordPress

WordPress runs about 39.5% of all websites online. It’s one of the most popular CMS because it’s flexible, easy to use, and SEO-friendly. Not to mention, you can get started for free!

What You Get
  • Various themes 
  • Pre-installed SSL certificate
  • Jetpack plugin suite that speeds up site performance and protects your site from scammers
  • 3 GB storage space

Learn more about WordPress’s free website builder.  

Affordable Tools

1.. WordPress – Premium & Business Plans

If you’ve tried out the free WordPress plan and want to take it to the next level, consider their Premium (their most popular plan) or Business plans. These paid options give you access to more features and capabilities.  

Premium Plan—What You Get
  • Ability to earn ad revenue 
  • Access to Premium themes
  • Video capabilities 
  • Google Analytics integration

The Premium plan is $14 a month

Business Plan—What You Get
  • Free domain for one year
  • Advanced SEO tools 
  • Access to 50,000+ plugins
  • Automated site backups and one-click restore 

The Business plan is $25 a month

2. Drupal

Though Drupal is a free CMS, you do need some web development experience to fully leverage the power of this platform, which is why we’re targeting growing businesses for this software.

Drupal is known for their flexible taxonomy system, making it easy to manage sites with large amounts of content. 

What You Get
  • Content authoring
  • Built-in user access system
  • 44,000 modules to choose from (includes SEO tool integration)
  • Thousands of free themes

Expert Tools

1. WordPress eCommerce Plan

Have an online shop? Well you’re in luck–WordPress has an eCommerce plan that offers various payment and shipping integration options. 

What You Get
  • Google Analytics integration 
  • Advanced SEO tools 
  • Payment acceptance from 60+ countries
  • Integrations with top shipping carriers
  • Premium design options for online stores

The WordPress eCommerce plan is $45 a month.

2. Hubspot – Professional & Enterprise Plans

Hubspot offers Professional and Enterprise CMS plans. Their CMS software comes with Hubspot’s CRM (we’ll get into this later) already built-in, which means you can create customized site pages, emails, and forms based on contact criteria.

Professional Plan—What You Get
  • Drag-and-drop editor
  • Various site themes
  • Multi-language content creation and testing 
  • SEO recommendations & optimization 
  • A/B testing 

The Professional plan starts at $300 a month

Enterprise Plan—What You Get
  • Serverless functions 
  • Partitioning 
  • Site performance monitoring 
  • Additional brand domain
  • Adaptive testing
  • Up to 200 currencies 

The Enterprise plan begins at $900 a month

4. Email Marketing

What Is Email Marketing?

Email marketing is a digital marketing strategy that uses email to promote your brand’s products and services.

Why Do You Need Email Marketing?

Eighty percent of professionals say email marketing drives customer acquisition and retention. 

Email marketing is essential to fostering and maintaining relationships with your leads and customers. Better yet, email marketing does wonders for your bottom line—for every dollar spent on email marketing, you can expect a $42 return

Free Tools

1. Mailchimp

Mailchimp is an easy-to-use software tool that allows you to build and send emails to your contacts. 

What You Get
  • Up to 2,000 contacts (limited to 1 group/audience)
  • 10,000 sends a month (daily limit of 2,000)
  • Basic email templates to choose from
  • Creative assistant (gets to know your brand and creates designs for you)

There are also other website tools the free option comes with like a website and form builder. 

Learn more about Mailchimp’s free plan.

2. Hubspot Email Marketing

Hubspot has a free email marketing platform that comes with a drag-and-drop editor and ready-to-use templates. 

Especially if you’re already using a Hubspot tool, like their free CRM platform (we’ll dive more into this later), using their email marketing tool is ideal—you can centralize your contact database and track performance in one place. 

What You Get
  • Various email templates 
  • Drag-and-drop editor
  • Personalization tokens (for your subject lines and content)
  • A/B tests
  • Analytics to assess email performance (opens, clicks, etc.)

Learn more about Hubspot’s free plan.

2. SendPulse

SendPulse offers over 130 email templates to choose from. With a reputed support team, SendPulse can get you started on the right foot with your email marketing journey. 

What You Get
  • Up to 500 subscribers
  • Up to 15,000 emails 
  • 3 addresses & 1 domain for the sender’s address
  • 3 automation flows

Learn more about SendPulse’s free plan

Affordable Tools

1. Mailchimp – Essentials & Standard Plans

If your lead generation efforts are paying off, Mailchimp’s Essential and Standard plans are affordable options that can accommodate your growing contact list. 

Essentials Plan—What You Get
  • 3 audiences
  • Up to 50,000 contacts
  • Behavioral targeting 
  • 100+ email templates
  • Pre-built automation journeys (maximum of 4 journey points)
  • Email scheduling
  • A/B testing 

Mailchimp’s Essentials plan starts at $9.99 a month (price varies depending on the number of contacts). 

Standard Plan—What You Get
  • 5 audiences
  • Up to 100,000 contacts 
  • Pre-built automation journeys (max 100 journey points)
  • Customer-coded email templates
  • Send time optimization 
  • 24/7 access to email and chat support

Mailchimp’s Standard plan starts at $14.99 a month (price varies depending on the number of contacts).

2. SendPulse – Standard & Pro Plans

SendPulse’s Standard and Pro plans are good email marketing tools growing businesses can lean on. Here’s a quick breakdown of each. 

Standard Plan—What You Get
  • 3 users
  • 5 addresses, 3 email domains (sender’s address)
  • 10 email automation workflows
  • 5 saved segments
  • A/B testing

SendPulse’s Standard plan starts at $6.40 a month (price varies depending on the number of contacts). 

Pro Plan—What You Get
  • 10 users
  • 20 addresses, 5 domain (sender’s address)
  • 50 email automation workflows
  • Unlimited segmentation
  • A/B testing

SendPulse’s Pro plan starts at $7.68 a month (price varies depending on the number of contacts). 

Expert Tools

1. Mailchimp – Premium Plan

If you’re an email marketing pro who needs more customization, Mailchimp’s Premium plan may be the answer to your prayers. 

What You Get
  • Unlimited audiences 
  • Up to 200,000 contacts 
  • Advanced segmentation 
  • Customer journey builder 
  • A/B testing
  • Prioritized phone support

Mailchimp’s Premium plan begins at $299 a month.  

2. SendPulse – Enterprise Plan

SendPulse’s largest plan is the Enterprise plan. This plan carries advanced and unlimited features that can benefit large companies. 

What You Get
  • Unlimited users
  • Unlimited addresses & domains
  • Unlimited email automation workflows
  • Unlimited segmentation
  • Unlimited A/B testing

SendPulse’s Enterprise plan begins at $10.75 a month (price varies, depending on the number of contacts). 

5. Social Media Management

What Is Social Media Management?

Social media management enables you to plan, schedule, and publish content on your social platforms.

Why Do You Need Social Media Management?

With a social media management software, you can operate your social accounts in one place, allowing you to plan ahead, schedule posts, and collaborate with team members. 

Free Tools

1. Buffer

If you’re fairly new to social media management, several software companies offer free plans. Buffer’s free plan is great for beginners who want to get a feel for social media management and determine whether using a software is right for them. 

What You Get
  • 3 social media accounts (Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Twitter, and/or Google+)
  • 1 user 
  • 10 scheduled posts 
  • Access to a 30-day history of published posts with basic analytics

Buffer offers a total of five paid plans. We’ll go more into detail on them in a bit.

Learn more about Buffer’s free plan

2. Hootsuite

Another great social media management tool for beginners is Hootsuite’s free plan. It’s a good option to dip your toes into social media automation and make the necessary upgrades thereafter (their next plan is the professional plan – this is for one user). 

What You Get
  • 1 user
  • 2 social media accounts
  • 5 scheduled posts 
  • Access to their online Help Center

Learn more about Hootsuite’s free plan.

Affordable Tools

1. Buffer – Premium & Business Plans

Enjoyed your experience with Buffer’s free plan? Get more of your team members involved with their Premium and Business plans

Premium Plan–What You Get
  • 2 users
  • 8 social media channels 
  • 2,000 scheduled posts
  • Calendar view of your posts

Their Premium plan is priced at $65 a month. 

Business Plan–What You Get
  • 6 users
  • 25 social media channels
  • 2,000 scheduled posts
  • Calendar view of your posts

Buffer’s business plan is $99/month. 

Learn more about Buffer’s Premium and Business plans

2. Hootsuite – Team Plans

If you tried out the Hootsuite free plan and are liking it, as your business and team grows, consider upgrading to their Team plan

What You Get
  • $129/month
  • 3 users
  • 20 social media accounts
  • Unlimited posts
  • Message inbox 
  • Permission settings that manage team access/roles
  • Ability to assign posts or comments to team members

Hootsuite’s Team Plan is $129 a month.

Learn more about Hootsuite’s Team plan

Expert Tools

1. Buffer Analytics

If you’re looking to maximize your social media strategy, Buffer offers analytics tools. Their analytics platform allows businesses to measure their performance, build customized reports, and gain recommendations on how to grow their reach. 

Buffer’s analytics platforms offers two plans:

Pro Plan—What You Get
  • 8 social channels 
  • Analytics (performance overview, hashtag performance, etc.)
  • In-depth social analytics 
  • Guidance on strategy 
  • Unlimited custom reports

The Pro Plan is priced at $35 a month. 

Premium Plan—What You Get
  • $50/month
  • 10 social channels 
  • Analytics (performance overview, Instagram story analytics, etc.)
  • Guidance on strategy 
  • Unlimited custom reports 
  • Report white labeling 
  • Shopify integration 

The Premium Plan is priced at $50 a month. 

Learn more about Buffer’s Pro and Premium Analytics plans

2. Hootsuite – Business & Enterprise

For more established and larger businesses, Hootsuite offers Business and Enterprise plans. These plans offer larger capabilities that help companies level up their social strategy. 

Business Plan—What You Get

With their Business plan, you can: 

  • Register 5-10 users
  • Connect 35 social accounts
  • Set up a content approval workflow 
  • Have 24/7 priority support with multilingual coverage

Learn more about Hootsuite’s Business plan

Enterprise Plan—What You Get

If you’re not getting the customization you need, consider Hootsuite’s almighty Enterprise plan. It offers scalable tools hand-picked by their partners. 

With Enterprise, you receive the Business Plan features but with specialized add-ons such as: 

  • Custom solutions 
  • Quarterly business reviews
  • Ad spend for more visibility of posts
  • Team performance reports

Learn more about Hootsuite’s Enterprise plan

3. Sprout Social

Sprout Social enables you to schedule and post content across multiple social networks. 

What You Get
  • A social calendar, so your team can get a bird’s eye view of what’s being published and promoted 
  • User-level permissions, so you can grant or deny access for specific tasks
  • Message tagging that allows you to categorize posts/messages based on your business objectives and workflow
  • Performance reports to see how your accounts are performing
  • Competitor analysis to see where you stand against your competitors

Plans range from $99 to $249 a month after a free 30-day trial. 

Learn more about Sprout Social’s plans

6. Customer Relationship Management (CRM)

What Is CRM?

Let’s think about the big picture now. In other words, are all of your marketing strategies proving effective? How are your customers doing? How’s your sales funnel looking? CRM helps you keep a good eye on all this. 

CRM is a software that manages your relationships and interactions with prospects and customers. It helps you stay connected with them and flags opportunities that can boost your profitability. 

Why Do You Need CRM?

Having a CRM allows you to store and access real-time, customer data in all one location. With this, you can gain insight into their experience and make the right adjustments to your strategy.

CRM tools have brought businesses: 

Free Tools

1. Hubspot CRM

Hubspot’s CRM is designed to get you the tools you need to nurture your customer relationships. With their free package, you can take control of your lead generation, sales pipeline, and customer service. 

What You Get
  • Contact deal and task management
  • Email tracking and engagement notifications
  • Meeting scheduling
  • Live chat
  • Ticketing 
  • Sales quote generation

Hubspot’s free CRM package includes unlimited users and room for up to 1 million contacts. It offers many integration options, making it easy to transition and access all of your data in one place. 

Affordable Tools

1. Salesforce CRM Essential Plan

You’ve probably heard of this cloud-based software. After all, Salesforce is one of the most popular CRM tools out there. 

If your business is rapidly growing, start out with their Essential plan. It offers their complete CRM for any size team.

What You Get
  • 10 users 
  • Automatic data capture
  • Lead management 
  • Case management 
  • Customizable reports and dashboards
  • Salesforce mobile app

The Salesforce Essential CRM plan starts at $25/month. Their price depends on the scale of your business and how many users you have. 

Expert Tools

1. Hubspot CRM Add-Ons

For an extra fee, you can add on additional service tools to your Hubspot’s CRM to give your marketing strategy the holistic and comprehensive attention it needs. 

What You Get
  • Marketing hub: The marketing hub allows you to execute email marketing, landing page analytics, social ads, and more.
  • Sales hub: The sales hub enables your team to stay on top of all prospects and customers via contact, deal and task management, email tracking and notifications, and meeting scheduling. 
  • Service hub: The customer service hub offers help desk tools to offer your customers the first-class support they need. This includes features such as ticket creation bots, live chat, and team emails. 

Adding these hubs onto your CRM platform can help you find better ways to track team performance and collaborate. These add-ons begin at $50 a month

2. Salesforce CRM – Enterprise Plan

Offering comprehensive sales and service coverage, Salesforce’s Enterprise plan is their most popular CRM platform. 

If you’ve used their Essential plan and are finding you need more customization, Enterprise may be a good fit. You get all the capabilities the Essential plan offers but with bigger and better added features. 

What You Get:
  • Lead registration and scoring 
  • API & automation
  • Work order management 
  • Advanced reporting features

The Enterprise plan begins at $175 a month

Accelerate Your Growth with Big Leap

There’s always room for improvement. If you need help with any of these digital marketing tools or want to ensure you’re choosing the right ones, reach out to our team. With over 10 years of experience helping organizations like yours amplify their online strategy, we’re ready to help you succeed.

Janet Lee