Stretch Your Budget: Free Tools

So many marketers in higher education are celebrating today. It’s July, and that means it’s a new budget year (at least for those on a fiscal year and not a calendar year). Cue the celebrations!

Budgets in higher education are tight. Very tight. And with more expected of marketing teams, additional budget dollars have not always happened at that same rate as additional tasks are added to the needs.

If your budget is like mine, you have seen increases in funding. However, you’re very interested in increasing what you can doe with your budget. That means you want to shop smart and certainly want to capitalize on free where you can,. The focus on trying to do more marketing work with the same amount of budget is the inspiration behind today’s post.

I wanted to share my list of free tools that exist to help marketing and communication professionals do their jobs. There is a huge list of options out there, but these are my “go-to” sources for inspiration, ideas, research, and data.

Free Tools to Consider

  1. CASE Circle of Excellence Winners — This is a list of winners each year in the CASE Circle of Excellence. It’s a great idea to find unique approaches, get inspiration on how to tackle problems, and see incredible print designs that can help your team continue to elevate. Best news, the awards happen annually, so new inspo is always added.
  2. AMA Freebie of the Week — This resource has become a new favorite of mine recently. The American Marketing Association offers a freebie of the week if you’re a paid member. The content varies but it ranges from budget spreadsheets, content strategy worksheets, to free webinars. It’s a great way to grow your toolbox, and while not everything is relevant, the list of helpful tools is pretty impressive
  3. RNL Student Reports — RNL offers a plethora of yearly higher education reports. These reports provide insight about how specific audiences research colleges, what timelines matter to these audiences, and how they expect to be communicated with. They are annual and are a great tool to help in developing your marketing strategies.
  4. Google Trends — This free tool allows you to see how certain terms and phrases are searched on google. Additionally, it allows you to compare the phrases to see what phrases are most popular. This can help you better align your university product (and your website content) with what people naturally search for. It can also be a game-changer in buying keywords.
  5. Keyword Planner — These are free tools that allow you to see how frequently certain keywords related to your university and its programs are searched, and the cost required to target them. My personal favorite is the Google Keyword planner, but you do need an ad account to use it.

There are so many other free resources too, so it was incredibly difficult to just pick my top five. I’m curious what are the free resources that you and your team can’t live without?

%d bloggers like this: