Having been on three digital marketing courses in the past two weeks (because even seasoned marketers need to keep up with digital trends!), I’ve found some super useful, free online tools out there that more SMEs, charities and social enterprises should take advantage of.

My top three are listed below. Sign up to my e-newsletter for more marketing tips, reviews and guidance.

Google Test My Site

What does Google Test My Site do? Google Test My Site allows you to enter any website address to check its mobile-friendliness (how well the content adapts to a smartphone screen), mobile speed (the time it takes to load on a mobile) and desktop speed (the time it takes to load on a computer).

How does Google Test My Site help my business? Within a few seconds, Google will give you scores out of 100 for each category, and by clicking on ‘view the details’ or ‘see what to fix’, Google will provide a traffic light coded list of things that are good, things that could be improved, and things that need immediate attention. This list can be emailed to you so that you can pass it on to your web developer or host. However, if – like me – you don’t have a web developer, the email from Google includes links to useful ‘how to’ guides to help you boost your score, and ultimately improve your ranking in Google Search.

Canva

What does Canva do? Canva is a free online design tool which helps you create both digital and offline promotional materials. It provides templates for all sorts of images and documents, from a Facebook cover photo, to letterhead, to infographics, and many things in between. The correct dimensions for standard items are already programmed in and you can select pre-existing designs or create something from scratch.

How does Canva help my business? I would never undervalue the design profession; an online programme could never deliver the customisation, expertise and flair that a trained Designer can. However, Canva is perfect for SMEs, charities and social enterprises who need simple, professional-looking materials on a budget. The templates save you time as you don’t have to worry about the initial format or sizing; they help you stay on-brand with the ability to add your own logo, images and colour palette; and you can download your designs as high quality PDFs to send straight to your printer.

Asana

What does Asana do? Asana is a simple, online project management tool. Created by Facebook’s Co-Founder, it has a nice interface which is extremely user friendly and aesthetically pleasing. Asana is great for project management in general, but in relation to digital marketing, it allows you to plan content for your blog and social media channels, delegate tasks to team members and track progress. Tasks can be displayed in list form or as a calendar – perfect for getting both an holistic and detailed view of what needs to be done and when.

How does Asana help my business? Content is a real buzz word in digital marketing; just check out how important it is in Smart Insights 2017 digital trends graph. The stark truth is, if you don’t take content seriously, your business, charity or social enterprise is going to get left eating digital dust. Google algorithms are set up to favour websites that regularly update content, and an unloved social media channel suggests you’re not interested in engaging with your followers, and are not going to stimulate word of mouth. However, having worked for a small charity and a social enterprise, I know how tricky it is to create a coherent content strategy, generate and gather quality content and have the resource to deliver it properly. Big companies may have a role entirely dedicated to managing the twitter feed; that just isn’t feasible for you. So, share the responsibility across your team. Invest time upfront in setting up processes, guides, training and policies – but then, use a tool like Asana to co-ordinate manageable tasks for multiple staff members to carry out.

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