In today’s blog post, I thought it would be good to go behind the scenes and take a look at what marketing and design tools I use. Some of these are free and some are paid, I have included the cost of each one for you.
First of all, let me just start by saying that when you are marketing your business it’s important to have a clear plan. You should know your USP (Unique selling point) already as well as your audience. If not, do some market research and try to find a niche that fits your brand. It’s essential that you differentiate yourself from other businesses otherwise you’ll just get lost in a sea of competitors. When you’ve done that, you need to pick the right tools for the job. Don’t wing it. Consistency is key. Choose your marketing and design tools and create templates that can be re-used. Not only will this save you time, but it also ensures that every single video and image is on brand and consistent.
For me, this is especially important. As a web developer, I don’t have any physical products to promote. I rely on the quality of my work and the designs I produce for social media to market my services. Here are some of the marketing and design tools I use everyday.
Canva – FREE (Pro £10.99)
When it comes to creating eye-catching designs it doesn’t get much easier than this! Canva allows you to create professional design work for social media and physical products through an easy to use drag and drop interface. There are 1,000’s of templates to choose from, which you can edit however you like. The best part about Canva is it makes it easier for small businesses to manage their brand without having to hire an expensive marketing agent or designer.
Inside the editor, you can upload your own images and videos. The image library also has another 60 million stock images to choose from! As if that wasn’t enough, Canva also boasts a range of features to apply eye-catching effects and animations to your work. I use this tool to create most of the graphics for my website and social media channels. If you want a few examples of what Canva can do, I suggest you go check out my Facebook and Instagram.
I’m a Canva Pro Affiliate. If you’re interested in Canva you can sign up for a 30-day FREE trial, and use my affiliate link to get discounted pricing. You can also add 4 extra people to your plan at no extra cost!
Smart Mockups – FREE (PRemium $14)
Smart Mockups is the perfect tool for quickly showing off your product designs to the world (or a client). It has a range of templates from packaging, clothing, tech, and social media. The interface is simple and easy to use, just drag and drop your images into the template and the website does the rest. You can customise the product colour, background image and even add your own branding to the mockups. Another great tool that allows small businesses and sole traders to effectively market their content, without breaking the bank.
To get started with Smart Mockups just create an account. There is a free version with a limited amount of templates and customisation options. However, unless your a large company this probably won’t be an issue. Optionally, you can upgrade to the premium tier to unlock extra features when you need them. I use this whenever I’m working on a website for a new client and to show my work on social media. The quality of the designs is exceptional and will make your business look extra ‘professional’. Head over to my portfolio for a look at a few mockups I’ve created using this tool.
Adobe Creative Cloud – PRICING VARIES
A software package that needs no introduction. Creative Cloud is used by designers and artists all over the world (and almost all big brands). Consisting of over 20 apps, this is easily the most powerful set of tools on the list. The downside is you need to spend a bit of time learning the basics before jumping in. For the most part, I use Adobe After Effects, Lightroom, and Photoshop. Combined, they allow me to create stunning studio-quality animations, videos, and graphics that other tools can’t beat. I tend to use Canva more just because it’s so simple, but for more complex graphic design work this is my go-to.
I won’t go into everything that Creative Cloud has to offer here as I could dedicate half a dozen blog posts to the topic. If you want to find out more, head over to their website or search for examples of professionals using Creative Cloud on YouTube. Keep in mind that Adobe products can be quite expensive, so consider whether you can afford this option before committing your time and money to it.
Google Site kit – FREE
If you’re working on a WordPress website and want to integrate Google’s services with it, there’s a plugin for that. Downloadable from the plugin menu, Google Site Kit allows you to easily integrate Google Search Console, Pagespeed Insights, AdSense, and Analytics. You can then view all of your website’s data right from the WordPress dashboard. It also allows you to join the Google Display Network and place ads on your pages. This is essential for bloggers who want to begin making money from their platform. When setup, Google will automatically place adverts in empty spaces around your website. You can customise this to exclude certain pages (such as your home page) to make it less intrusive on the user experience.
These are the main marketing and design tools I use every day to create professional-looking graphics and grow my business. What do you use? Comment below, I’d love to hear!