Marketing your business online can be an expensive affair. On top of paying for social media marketing, search engine optimisation and content, you could also be tasked with graphic design, web design and photography – and those things can take a huge chunk out of your marketing budget. Luckily, there are hundreds of websites offering free digital resources such as royalty-free images, graphics and other useful content that you can use to create a positive first impression when marketing your business. We’ve put together five of the best below.
The internet and copyright
Before we start with this list, a quick word of warning. When creating content, particularly for commercial purposes such as marketing your business, it’s essential that you follow copyright laws. All images, graphics, text and other multimedia content that you use in your promotional efforts, whether that’s on your website or on social media, must belong to you or be copyright free.
Make sure you own or have permission to use any form of content online before you publish it. Familiarise yourself with Creative Commons and apply its policies to everything you create, never assume ownership of content from third party websites and always read the terms and conditions of all resource websites before taking anything. You should also be sure to credit every artist, author and creator of content that you use, edit or refer to – after all, it’s only fair.
Now, let’s get right into it – five of the best websites offering free digital resources for use in your digital marketing efforts.
Photography can be one of the most expensive and time-consuming parts of any digital marketing exercise. Not only do you need to prepare your studio, office or shop for a shoot, but you need to hire a freelance photographer that you can rely on, or take the pictures yourself and hope for the best. Unsplash offers truly free images that you can use for whatever purpose you desire. Edit them into a fancy infographic, use them as part of your Twitter and Facebook header images or stick them front and centre on your website’s homepage – it’s up to you.
The best part about Unsplash, other than the fact you have access to thousands of free images to use for your digital marketing, is that the images are of fantastic quality. Many follow a cinematic or Tumblr-esque theme and give you the freedom to edit and tailor them around your brand. One great idea is to download some of your favourites, that are relevant to your industry, and use them on Instagram and Snapchat to encourage potential customers to find out more about your brand.
A picture tells a thousand words, and having the right images to go alongside your written content can be important – especially when designing key pages of your website such as your services pages. Flat Icon is one of the most useful resources for any web designer, marketer or graphic designer. The site is home to thousands of free-to-use icons and vectors that you can use on your website. From social networking logos that you can download and use to link to your pages, right through to industry-specific sets, like these wedding icons that you can use to demonstrate the products you offer and the services you deliver.
In fact, we use Flat Icon a lot here at Muffin. Many of our blog posts feature icons that allow us to create attractive, professional-looking images for our content and social channels without having to hire a graphic designer for every job. Which leads us to our next resource…
Visual content is an important part of marketing your business online. And, with 37% of all digital marketers claiming that visual content is the most important part of their marketing efforts, it makes sense that you stand up and follow suit. Canva is one of the most valuable tools for any small business owner – it can save you thousands of pounds and allow you to propel your business, without spending a penny.
A graphic designer can be expensive. Typically, you can expect to be charged around £100 for a couple of social media graphics; hundreds more if you want them to design you a logo, an infographic or an ebook. Canva takes away the cost of graphic design entirely and allows you to create your own stunning graphics for use on your blogs and social.
Whether you’re looking to create a Twitter post, a letterhead, an infographic or even an attractive banner that you can use on Google AdWords and Facebook Ads, Canva is the ultimate tool for you.
The majority of the features on the website are free-to-use, but extras, such as additional fonts, graphics and images, are available to purchase on a per-item basis, usually for less than a pound or two at a time.
Not all of the free digital resources we’re listing today are downloadable. HubSpot, a company offering inbound marketing and sales software, is home to thousands of free tutorials and helpful resources that you can use to enhance your digital marketing efforts.
The HubSpot marketing blog is updated daily, featuring valuable insights from some of the world’s most successful and influential digital marketers. The best part about this blog is that, whether you’re new to marketing or you’ve got a decade of experience under your belt, you’ll always learn something new and find ways to develop your own marketing efforts. The blog consists of videos, infographics, tutorials and in-depth features, and is backed up by a mailing list that boasts more than 300,000 subscribers.
There’s a whole host of websites offering free fonts that you can use to design logos and create graphics for your website, with some of the most popular being 1001freefonts and DaFont. While you can certainly pick up a decent-looking font that you can use for free and without credit, these fonts are often generic and have been used by thousands of website owners and marketers over the years. Using them can make your brand look generic and out of touch if you’re not careful.
If you’re looking for a new font for your business, then instead stop by Behance, a graphic design portfolio website where some of the world’s most celebrated digital designers come together to share their latest works. Many designers offer their custom-designed fonts for free – with popular choices including Fibre, Womby and King Basil. Look around and find a font that works for you, but be sure to give the original author credit if you do decide to use any of their fonts.
Wrapping up: free digital resources for your website
With the five free digital resources that we’ve suggested above, you will now probably see that digital marketing doesn’t have to be an expensive affair. By taking advantage of the vast and generous free resources that have been made available to you and following copyright laws by the letter, you can create incredible visual and written content that your customers will love – without having to cut into your all-important marketing budget.
Make sure that you try out all of these tools to see how they can work for you, and do your own research into alternatives if they don’t fit your needs. After all, they won’t cost you a penny but could make you a lot of money when it comes to promoting your brand. Good luck!