There have been a range of events taking place recently as part of StartUp Britain and my esteemed colleague Gareth Fryer and I ran one yesterday morning at The Marketing Store. It was about how it’s possible to use a range of digital tools to launch your startup for free / zip / nada / zero / gratis / nought pence.

A wide range of entrepreneurs attended the event (kindly organised by the Marketing Agencies Association) so we’re publishing some of the links here for reference. Please consult the relevant “help” files for each tool for specifics about how to use them. At the event we talked about best practice in using some of these tools but this is a blog post, not a book.

  • Google Ad Planner – research online behaviours and demographics for the people you care about. For many of these Google tools you’ll need to set up a Google account, also free
  • Google AdWords Keyword Tool – don’t spend anything on paid search but do use this tool to analyse what people looking for your product or service are actually searching for (go to Tools and Analysis > Keyword Tool)
  • Google Insights for Search – spot trends/patterns in implied intent (e.g. people tend to search for “bath toys” in November)
  • Facebook ad creator – ads aren’t free (or that useful) but this tool will allow you to see whether the people you care about, or that might care about you, are active on Facebook at a volume worth doing something about (like creating a FB Page)
  • Facebook Page – if there’s a potential constituency on Facebook then this is where you can easily establish a presence for your startup
  • Facebook help – if you’re a total n00b when it comes to Facebook, read these help files but REMEMBER – “media isn’t social, people are”, “people first, technology last”, “I don’t share content because I like you, I share it because I like my friends”… Be useful, entertaining, important, controversial if you like, just don’t talk about yourself all the time. Imagine you’re a guest at a house party (yeah, head for the kitchen fast!)
  • Free website for your startup – lots of ways to do this with increasing levels of complexity. With increased complexity come increased customisation options. In a rough ascending order:
  • Google Analytics –  get some. There is no point having a website without having some intel about how people are using it
  • Want to canvas opinions about your product/service/etc? Good idea!
  • MailChimp – email marketing, free up to about 2000 addresses
  • Google+ Hangouts On Air – effectively run your own video broadcast platform for invited guests or anyone who fancies attending. Record and post to YouTube etc
  • Demonstrate your expertise by answering questions:
  • Have other services sell and/or promote your products:

Lastly, here’s a comprehensive list of 150 resources for tech startups. Yes, it’s got a technology and US bias but there are still a number of useful tools, sites, etc

There are many more, I’m sure, but this should be enough to get you going.

Update: Digital Doughnut just published a presentation featuring 56 free digital marketing tools.

Photo Credit: Tc Morgan via Compfight cc