Running a non-profit or social venture is not without any challenge, and managing a budget for content marketing software can be daunting. Fortunately, there are affordable and even free alternatives that will enable you to produce and promote your content.
For Simple Graphic Design – Canva
Canva is a cloud-based graphic design package that caters to non-designers. It comes with numerous preloaded templates and allows you to create infographics, social media banners and many more in minutes. Canva’s user interface is unique and intuitive: you can drag and drop images and vectors, add text and apply filters through a simple editor that even a small child would understand. If there’s any indication of its success, marketer extraordinaire Guy Kawasaki is currently Canva’s Chief Evangelist. The application comes in a free version that offers access to most functionalities. You can buy premium images and vectors for $1 USD each or upgrade to the premium version (about $10 USD a month) which provides resizing and collaboration options.
For Social Media Management – Zoho Social
Zoho social is a great alternative to Hootsuite to manage your social media accounts. The free version comes with publishing and scheduling features you’d expect from the best applications. Paid versions start at $10 USD/month and also come with “SmartQ”, which will automatically schedule your posts to go out at a time when most of your audience is likely to view them.
For Documents – LibreOffice
One of the most successful open-source initiative ever, LibreOffice is a cross-platform, multi-format office suite. This free alternative to Microsoft Office comes with word processing, spreadsheet, presentation, database management, vector graphics editing programs and more.
For Advanced Graphic Design – GIMP
If you need a graphics package with more horsepower than Canva then consider trying GIMP, a free open-source image editor for Mac OSX, Windows and Linux. It is similar to Photoshop in many ways.
For Writing Help – Hemingway Editor
Hemingway Editor (also commonly referred to as “Hemingway App”) is a proofreading tool that is available in two iterations: cloud-based (free) and Windows/Mac OSX Desktop ($10 USD one-time payment). Any text you input or copy/paste will be proofread automatically; the level of language is analyzed and given a school grade which is useful for marketers to cater to specific personas with varying educational levels.
For Email Hosting – Zoho Mail
As a content marketer, it is crucial to establish and maintain authenticity. Hence, as an organization, if you are going to communicate with the public at large you absolutely need a branded email address (rather than a generic webmail account such as “firstname.lastname@example.org”). Zoho Mail is another great product from the Zoho company. The free account allows you to connect your custom domain name bought at any registrar to Zoho’s mail service and create 25 unique email addresses such as email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org; etc … Premium versions which start at $2.5 USD/user/month allow multiple domain hosting.
For Customer Management – Hubspot CRM
Once your organization become more established, a CRM (customer relationship management) tool can help by classifying leads by persona and nurturing existing customers. World renowned marketing and sales software company Hubspot is offering a free version of its CRM to the general public, which is quite a steal since comparable products can cost several hundreds of dollars per year.
There are many free and affordable alternatives to established, mainstream software. This allows content marketers on a budget to remain competitive and stay in the game.