19 Free Tools to make your #DigitalMarketing Easier

19 Free Tools to make your #DigitalMarketing Easier

I have used or still use every one of these tools and can recommend them.

Graphics & Photo Editing Creation

  • Canva – There’s no reason on earth why you shouldn’t be using this. I use the paid version because I get more options I need, like multiple team members and brand colors.
  • PicLab – This little tool is good for photo editing and graphics – and works on your phone. ( Apple Store & Google Store )
  • BeFunky – I like to modify existing photos using cool filters and effects. This one makes it ridiculously easy.

Video Recording

  • Screencast-o-matic – I’ve been using this since 2012. I keep coming back to it because it hits the sweet spot between “Simple” and “Powerful.”
  • Loom – My top choice for Quick & Dirty videos. Does a good job of capturing screens and webcam at the same time.

Slideshow Videos

  • Animoto – Quick & easy slide-show video creator. I used it till I found this next one.
  • Automagical – this one is my preferred tool right now. I can make slide-based presentation videos up to 2 minutes. And they charge by the video rather than by the month. I really like this one. (I made this video with it.)

Automatic Social Media Posting

  • Buffer – If you need to schedule posts to social media, especially across multiple channels, you need a scheduler. I’ve used Tweetdeck and Hootesuite as well, but I prefer Buffer.
  • Quuu – Quuu will automatically create up to 6 posts for up to 3 social media accounts. The best part is that the posts are curated by Real Live Humans. I like it so much, I signed up for their advanced service Quuu Promote to get my own articles into that mix.

Video Conferencing

  • Zoom – These guys are the Big Dogs in video conferencing. For small businesses, the free version is more than enough.

Event Scheduling

  • FaceBook Events – I don’t think I need to say anything about this. You know how to find it.
  • EventBrite – I really like the additional options EventBrite provides. The free stuff is great, and the paid is even better.

Live Video Marketing

  • Facebook Live – More facebook stuff. No additional comment needed.
  • Periscope – This is twitter’s live video marketing tool. It’s not easy to start using, but it is totally worth it.

Automatic Appointment Scheduling

  • Calendly – I like to offer people the opportunity to schedule with me without me having to do any of the work. (Who doesn’t like getting other people to do the work for them?) Calendly is my favorite choice, but there are plenty of others out there.


  • Mailchimp – The free version supports up to 2000 names and 12 outbound campaigns a month. (I think that’s accurate; I’m doing this from memory now.) I pay for it because (a) it’s worth it and (b) I need it. But I started with the free version and it did fine for me for a long time.

Get Organized

  • Workflowy – This is another tool I have been using for years. It’s an outliner that works the way the old ThinkTank outliner worked. (Yes, that is a reference to The Time Before Windows.) I use it to help me organize my thoughts, take notes on meetings, track activities. If you don’t love it, I’ll give you double your money back.
  • I Done This – This is basically a souped-up task list. I like it because I can just quickly jot down what I just did, then look back and see, “oh yeah, I got stuff done.” Of course, it also lets you jot down your “To Do” list, and anything undone rolls forward to the next day. I keep this one permanently opened on my browser.
  • Trello – I really like the KanBan style of project management. Easy to see at a glance how a project is coming along. I’ve never needed more features than the free version provides.

What free tools do you depend on? Let me know.

The Loyalty Formula

The Loyalty Formula

Before we discuss the loyalty formula, answer this question: Is your business a gerbil wheel or a flywheel?

A flywheel demands a lot of energy to get up to speed. But once it gets going, all it needs to keep it going is an occasional light shove in the right direction.

A gerbil wheel demands a lot of energy too. It never develops any momentum on its own though. It spins only when the gerbil is running.

And if you’re the business owner, then guess what?

You are the gerbil.

Isn’t it time to graduate from gerbil-hood?

Every startup begins life as a gerbil wheel business. You want to become a flywheel business as soon as possible.

A flywheel company has loyal customers, customers who buy from you over and over again.

(Read the rest on  on Startup Grind.)

What are the scientifically sound ways to make an impact on your audience? Learn How to Craft an Irresistible Persona.


Cult Your Brand Bibliography

The Abolition of Man – C.S. Lewis

Lewis explores the essential place meaning has in the life of every man, and describes the emptiness of man bereft of meaning. This is essentially the state of the people we are communicating with in our markets today.

The Art of Plain Talk – Rudolf Flesch

In this classic book on communication, Flesch explains how people connect with people rather than abstractions like a company. When that connection is made, then communication is enhanced.

The Cluetrain Manifesto – Levine, Locke, Searls & Weinberger

This work is important in two ways”

1. It is an excellent example of a manifesto. Read it and absorb it to grasp the structure and feel of a manifesto.

2. The authors recognized early on that loyalty was going to be lost in the networked markets. They accepted that loss as inevitable. I disagree.

From Dawn to Decadence – Jacques Barzun

On one level, this is merely an extraordinarily well-written history of Western cultural life from 1500-to the present. On another level though, you can read it as deep insight into the true nature of human beings. Cult Your Brand is designed to appeal to what is fundamental in humans.

God’s Debris – Scott Adams

If you want to successfully Cult Your Brand, you have to look at your market in a completely different way than the received wisdom of our ancestors tells us we should. This little book will jolt you out of your preconceived worldview, which is an essential place to start.

The Ghost in My Brain – Clark Elliott

This is a stunning, first-person account of traumatic brain injury, its after-effects and – most importantly – recovery from it. Recovery from TBI is something the “experts” have long said was impossible. Clark Elliott – and a couple of dedicated doctors – proved that the experts were wrong.

This book is important because it demonstrates the plasticity of the human brain and also gives an inside view of the “Fast Brain/Slow Brain” duality we discuss in the course.

How to Build a Flying Saucer After So Many Amateurs Have FailedT.B. Pawlicki

It is astonishing how swiftly impossible barriers fall once you decide that they are not impossible. This entertaining (and difficult to find) book is sub-titled “Adventures in Speculative Engineering.” Another excellent nudge to get you looking at the problems of branding, loyalty and persuasion from an entirely new angle.

How to Fail at Almost Everything – Scott Adams

Adams describes the multiplied power of building what he calls a “Talent Stack.” and shows how systems beat goals.

One more example of the power of stacking several of the branding elements, and the power of context over content.

Influence – Robert Cialdini

Cialdini’s magnum opus is considered the bible in the art, science and psychology of persuasion. He shows that humans are largely defenseless against the rights sorts of persuasion. That’s why Cult Your Brand not only works, but works even if you know it is happening.

Introducing Neural Linguistic Programming – O’Connor & Seymour

The field of NLP is controversial to say the least. However, this book will give you a good overview of the science, (or at least the application of the theory.) Among the most rewarding insights is that many psychological problems can be cured by changing the context of thinking without ever bothering to change the content. This is a principle central to Cult Your Brand.

Learned Optimism – Martin Seligman

Seligman demonstrates the specific steps we can take to convert our own thinking from pessimistic to optimistic. Another example of the “hackability” of the human brain.

Loyalty Programs Can be a Waste of Money – Stanford

(Online – Stanford.edu) Summary of research findings.

Made to Stick – Heath & Heath

This is actually a marketing book, but is a worthwhile read because the authors get close to stumbling into the core of the Cult Your Brand insights. A good foundational book for learning how humans respond to particular types of communication.

Man’s Search for Meaning Victor Frankl

At the core of the Cult Your Brand insights is the axiom that humans have an internal drive to have answers to The Big Questions. Aside from being the preeminent work in the genre, this is also an extraordinary, life-affirming story of triumph over unspeakable suffering.

The Nature of Loyalty – Kleinig, John, “Loyalty”, The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Fall 2013 Edition), Edward N. Zalta (ed.)

Scholarly and philosophical discourse on the nature of loyalty.

The Power of Names – Religion & Mathematics – Loren Graham

(Online – Philoctetes.net) Scholarly discourse on the history and power of naming. The power of the ideas presented here have direct application to the creation of your Persona.

Publish a Manifesto – Jerry Michalski

(Online – Forbes.com) Concise overview of why and how to create your own manifesto.

Reddit review of Primal Branding – throwawaycomedian95

This is the book review that led to my, “Aha!” moment. It is a review of Patrick Hanlon’s Primal Branding. (I haven’t actually read the book, but the review was enough to bring together in my mind everything I’d been researching for the previous two decades.) I’m sure I will eventually get around to reading the book.

Stealing Fire – Kotler & Wheal

Creating loyalty in your target audience is a matter of creating a state change in their minds. This book reviews the state-off-the-art in state-change today. Enlightening and exciting.

That Hideous Strength – C.S. Lewis

This work of fiction is an expanded treatise on Lewis’s book The Abolition of Man. If you prefer fiction to non-fiction, read this instead of The Abolition of Man.

Thinking Fast and Slow – Daniel Kahneman

Kahneman won the Nobel Prize in Economic Science for his astonishing work in cognitive science. He demonstrated conclusively the “two brains” model we use in Cult Your Brand. This book is the layman’s version of his research findings.

The True Believer – Eric Hoffer

At the core of Cult Your Brand is the understanding that people are attracted by context far more powerfully than content. This is the work where that concept was first explained.

Trust Me, I’m Lying – Ryan Holliday

A chilling example of how the internet has made customers easier to find but harder to keep. If you doubt that you need to Cult Your Brand, this book will open your eyes.

The Wisdom of Crowds – James Surowiecki

It turns out that “wisdom” is often resident to a greater degree in groups of people, than in single individuals. This book helped to free my mind from the cultural bias of individual rationality. (Besides, it’s just cool to learn about the origin of the “Guess the Number of Jellybeans” trick.)