SMM Crisis Management Social Media Management Social Media Monitoring Tools

12 free or affordable tools for brands to survive the crisis

Alina Gorbatch
by Alina Gorbatch on April 6, 2020

During a crisis, most companies cut their budgets and halt experiments. Fancy tools that cost thousands of dollars per year (sometimes even per month!) stop being worth it. Marketers revert to spending as little as possible, even if before the tool (or the activity) proved to be a good value-for-money. Priorities change, and marketing changes with them.

Yet, if in times of a crisis a brand stops its marketing activity completely or reduces it significantly, it might simply not survive the crisis. Unless you're in a business that is about to shut down, you still need to hold customers' attention and make sure they buy your products, now or when the crisis is over. 

With the primary marketing goals and strict budget in mind, I've created a list of free or affordable marketing tools that will help you survive the crisis. 

Social media listening

Social media listening is one of those activities that cover more for less, which becomes especially important during a crisis. With a social media listening tool, you discover how much people talk about your brand (brand awareness) and what they say (brand reputation). You can find the same metrics for your competitors and measure your share of voice, which is a big part of competitor research. You can find your industry influencers and brand advocates, discover trending topics and hashtags, and “hot leads” looking for a product like yours. Finally, you can reply to the mentions straight from the app, perfecting your customer service and social selling. 

Awario

Awario is a social listening and analytics tool (yep, it's our own tool, and we are proud of it!). It monitors all major social media networks, news, blogs, forums, & the web. The tool comes equipped with:

In the more expensive plans, the user also gets team collaboration features and white-label PDF reports with all the social media analytics.

Pricing: starts at $29/mo for Starter  (when billed monthly), and $24/mo for Starter (when billed annually).

Free option: free 7-day trial is available.

Buzzsumo

Buzzsumo is a content discovery and monitoring tool. It identifies popular content on social media networks. While this is its main focus, the tool has multiple additional features:

  • Web monitoring for mentions of any keywords
  • Influencer search
  • Backlink discovery

Ultimately, Buzzsumo lets you discover social media and web insights that help create high-performing content. And then, the tool helps you promote it through influencer marketing.

Pricing: starts at $99/mo for Pro (when billed monthly), and $79/mo for Pro (when billed annually).

Free optionfree 7-day trial is available.

Social media management

Social media management lets you stay relevant during the crisis and make sure your customers don’t forget about your brand just yet. You can post engaging and educational content, schedule it in advance to save time and effort, and let the tool choose the right times for posting. You get content suggestions so that you never run out of ideas, and rich analytics to see what works and what doesn’t. 

Buffer

Buffer is a social media management app that lets you plan and publish social media content on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and LinkedIn from a single dashboard.

You can find analytics and in-app engagement features in more expensive plans.

Pricing: starts at $15/mo for Pro (billed monthly).

Free option: free 14-day trial is available.

Hootsuite

Hootsuite is a long-standing social media marketing and management platform. It's mainly used for:

  • Scheduling social media posts
  • Content curation
  • Content editing
  • Social media analytics
  • Social media monitoring

The tool also allows simple and effective team collaboration. 

Pricing: starts at $19/mo for Professional (billed annually).

Free option: free 30-day trial is available. 

SocialPilot

SocialPilot is an easy-to-use social media management tool mainly used for:

  • Scheduling social media posts
  • Social media analytics
  • Replying from one dashboard
  • Popular content discovery
  • Team collaboration

Pricing: starts at $30/mo for Professional (when billed monthly), and $25/mo for Professional (when billed annually). 

Free option: free 14-day trial is available.

Design

Designing marketing materials using fancy tools might not be possible during the more challenging times. Luckily, there are free tools that let you design almost anything: ads, websites, brochures, posters, media kits, coupons, reports, presentations, infographics, logos, and so on.

Canva

Lets you design marketing materials with minimum effort. 

Pricing: starts at $12,95/mo for Pro (when billed monthly), and $9.95/mo for Pro (when billed annually).

Free option: free version available.

Visme

Lets you design interactive marketing materials.

Pricing: Starts at $25/mo for Standard (when billed monthly), and $14/mo for Standard (when billed annually).

Free option: free version available.

SEO

SEO is an ongoing unavoidable challenge. Unfortunately, you can’t just stop doing SEO once your budget is cut: no one wants to discover their website has been moved to page 5 of Google once the crisis is over. This is why I strongly suggest trying out these free tools. 

SEO PowerSuite 

The tool has four separate apps that cover different parts of SEO:

  • Keyword research & rank monitoring

  • Site audit & on-page optimization
  • Backlink research & audit
  • Link building & management

You can choose the one or two apps you need most, or get the whole PowerSuite to cover all of SEO.

Pricing: starts at $10.3/mo for a single app (billed annually). 

Free option: free version available.

Screaming Frog SEO Spider

This is a website crawler. It crawls websites’ URLs to analyze and audit technical and onsite SEO.

Pricing: $149/yr.

Free option: free version available.

Email marketing

Email marketing is one of the oldest and still one of the most effective marketing activities. There’s no stopping email marketing even when the world is about to end! The tools below offer you a wide range of possibilities: beautiful email templates, scheduling, statistics and reporting, signup forms, simple customization, and so on.

Sendicate

Sendicate lets you create beautiful and effective emails. It has multiple features, such as:

  • Amazing designs
  • Managing messages
  • Importing and segmenting subscribers

Pricing: starts at $9/mo

Free option: free version available.

EmailOctopus

Another email tool with amazing email templates. EmailOctopus offers:

  • Easy automation
  • Sleek design
  • Smart analytics

Pricing: starts at $20/mo.

Free option: free version available.

Omnisend

Omnisend combines email marketing with SMS marketing and push notifications - all in one platform. It's integrated with popular e-commerce platforms and apps, and is generally tailored for e-commerce needs. The tool offers:

  • Professional design
  • Easy automation
  • Smart segmentation

Pricing: starts at $16/mo (when billed monthly), and $13/mo (when billed annually).

Free option: free version available.

Wrapping up

When the crises hit, it's good to have something safe and reliable by your side. In this case, a marketing tool, or a couple of them. Especially, when they are this cheap (and sometimes even free!) and complete so many goals. 

What are some other tools you'd recommend in times like these? Looking forward to your input in the comment section.

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