Times are tough, but if you’re willing to roll up your sleeves and dig in, you really can get something for nothing. Here’s a quick roundup of marketing tools that have robust free versions. The team here at Carepass uses all of these tools in one form or another.
- Social Media
Now, in a bit more detail:
- HubSpot offers phenomenal professional marketing solutions, most of which are indeed quite pricey, but the free tool I’ll guide you to is their CRM (Customer Relationship Management), which is a way to manage your contact list, and it’s free forever no matter how big your list grows. In truth, I think it caps you at a million contacts, but if that’s you, this post probably isn’t much help. (Conversely, if you have a huge contact list and the concept of a CRM is news to you, stop reading and email me right away.) A proper CRM lets you get your contact list out of Excel and into the cloud. HubSpot also integrates with everything, so if you have a contact form on your website, you can have that feed directly into your CRM automatically so you never have to think about it. They even have Outlook and Gmail integrations so you can easily add contacts from your email provider.
- Canva is a design tool for non-designers with all sorts of features, but mostly it’s used to create more engaging social media posts. The free version of the tool is amazing, with thousands of templates; hundreds of design types like social posts, presentations, even things like business cards. The paid tier gives you access to more templates and pro features that help you manage your brand, but you’ll get some serious mileage out of the free version.
- Social media platforms are all free, and you’re wise to be using them. That’s often the best way to easily interact with your community of loyal followers at no cost, and they can all be customized to become extensions of your brand.
- Mailchimp is a leading email marketing platform that lets you build and send simple campaigns to your audience for free. The free tier caps you at 2,000 contacts and 10,000 monthly email sends, but you can get creative using HubSpot to segment your list and import your best 2,000 prospects into Mailchimp. Again, you just have to dig in a bit. This is a great way to send a free weekly email to your list.
- Drift is simply awesome. If you have a website, you can add a “chatbot” to the bottom corner of the page that engages visitors when they’re on your site. (You can tell it how and when to engage them.) Drift then notifies you as soon as a visitor responds to the engagement, letting you pick up the conversation as a live chat. It’s an incredible way to differentiate yourself and connect in real-time with people who have shown a clear interest in what you offer.
I hope one or more of these tools come in handy. Leave a comment if you have additional free tools that have been effective for you or if you have other best practices to share on free marketing for childcare providers. I’m happy to help if you have questions about these tools.