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Bob Ruffolo

By Bob Ruffolo

Sep 23, 2015


Marketing Strategy
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Marketing Strategy

How to Bootstrap Your Inbound Marketing With These 44 Free Tools

Bob Ruffolo

By Bob Ruffolo

Sep 23, 2015

How to Bootstrap Your Inbound Marketing With These 44 Free Tools

how-to-bootstrap-your-inbound-marketing-with-these-44-free-toolsYou don't have to have a big budget for your Inbound Marketing to make a big impact.

You simply need some direction and a lot of sweat. 

While we work directly with businesses of all sizes, we understand that some companies aren't in the best position to hire an Inbound Marketing agency -- and if that's the case, we don't want you to.

Small businesses that are strapped for cash are better off learning the basics of Inbound Marketing and handling the bulk of the work themselves until they start generating revenue.

Once you've built up some momentum, then you can hire an agency to take your Inbound Marketing to the next level for you.

The added bonus from learning Inbound Marketing yourself is that you'll have a clear vision of what you want to accomplish and you'll be able to communicate that with the agency you hire. (Plus, you'll be able to spot the good agencies from the bad ones.)

I'm going to warn you, there is a lot of material to go through in this article. It's very easy to feel overwhelmed when you first get started because you'll be shocked at how advanced these strategies can get, but don't panic. 

Take a deep breath and focus on one thing at a time. You only need to worry about the fundamentals for now. Don't even bother reading through the advanced stuff until you have a clear understanding of all the basics and before you know it, you'll know how to bootstrap your Inbound Marketing.

Now pour yourself a tall cup of coffee and dig in! (and make sure to bookmark this page for later)

Free Content Marketing Tools

Content Marketing is the core of Inbound Marketing and the two terms are often used interchangeably, although technically content Marketing is a subset of Inbound Marketing. All of the categories listed here are important, but understanding content Marketing is an absolute necessity.

The Beginner’s Guide To Content Marketing by KISSmetrics

Key takeaways:

  • Understanding the flaws of traditional advertising
  • In-depth introduction to content Marketing
  • The advantages of content Marketing over traditional advertising
  • Best practices for effective content Marketing

The Definitive Guide to Content Marketing by iDoneThis

Key takeaways:

  • How to use content Marketing as a PR strategy
  • Building a community with content Marketing
  • How to get your content featured
  • Company culture as your content Marketing differentiator

The 7 Elements of Inbound Storytelling: How to tell a remarkable story and stand out. by IMPACT Branding & Design

You will learn how to:

  • Set your brand apart and be unique
  • span>Identify your brand's story
  • Develop a story that resonates with your buyer persona
  • Create a consistent brand message

A 52-Installment Content Marketing Course by Copyblogger

Key takeaways:

  • How to combine great content with great copywriting
  • How to use content Marketing to make money
  • Tips for improving your writing in terms of quality and speed
  • Content Marketing case studies

Content Marketing Glossary by Curata

All of the words, terms, and key influencers that you need to know to succeed in content Marketing.

Content Machine: “Use Content Marketing to Build a 7-figure Business With Zero Advertising.” by Dan Norris

This is a free Kindle eBook that shows you:

  • 9 proven frameworks for successful content Marketing
  • How to generate your first 100 content ideas and turn them into winning content
  • How to exit yourself from the process and scale a content Marketing machine

212 Blog Post Ideas by Digital Marketer

Blog post ideas based on the following goals:

  1. Be useful
  2. Be generous
  3. Be entertaining
  4. Be timely
  5. Be human
  6. Be promotional
  7. Be controversial
  8. Be engaging

The Advanced Guide to Content Marketing by Quicksprout

Key takeaways:

  • How to plan your content for maximum productivity
  • Content writing secrets of professional writers
  • Templates for quick and easy content creation
  • Overcoming common content Marketing roadblocks

The Advanced Tactics for Mastering Attract, Convert, Close & Delight by IMPACT Branding & Design

You will learn:

  • The strategy behind executing attract, convert, close, and delight
  • The specific tactics that drive success for each of the four Marketing actions
  • How to implement a successful strategy built around the inbound methodology

Effective Blog Content MindMap by Lauren Holliday

This is a great visual tool to help you come up with effective content ideas.

Content Marketing Stack by Nicolas Nemni

This is a curated directory of content Marketing resources and tutorials that are very useful.

The Ultimate Guide to Creating Content That Converts by WPCurve

Key takeaways:

  • Copywriting and conversion best practices
  • Understanding relevancy
  • Content creation best practices

Free Social Media and Content Promotion Tools

Yes, content is king, but you still have to promote your content if you want people to read it. These resources will cover everything you need to know about social media, as well as other forms of promotion such as guest blogging.

The Beginner's Guide to Social Media by Moz

Key takeaways:

  • The value of social media
  • Social media best practices
  • Social media metrics and ROI
  • How to find the right network for your brand

Tune Up Your Social Media Marketing: The Do's and Don'ts for Success by IMPACT Branding & Design

You will learn how to:

  • Generate engaging, more shareable content
  • Attract followers and extend your social media reach
  • Drive landing page conversions through link sharing
  • Identify the most profitable social platforms for your company

Distributing Content Marketing – The Complete Guide by Iris Shoor

Key takeaways:

  • Promoting you content on Reddit and other voting websites
  • The difference between guest posting and republishing
  • Q&A websites

Take Your Social Media to the Next Level by IMPACT Branding & Design

You will learn:

  • How to integrate social media into your busy schedule
  • If you're capable of producing the results your company needs
  • The value of partnerships to your overall campaign

Advanced Content Promotion Checklist and Guide by Process Street

Key takeaways:

  • The promotion process
  • Blogger outreach
  • Posting on forums and in groups
  • How to reverse engineer your competition's promotion strategy

Guest-Blogging: How to Become a Contributor to Major Publications by Bob Ruffolo

Key takeaways:

  • Why you should contribute to major publications
  • How to land a guest post
  • Editor pitch email template

The Ultimate Guide to Advanced Guest Blogging by Moz

Key takeaways:

  • Finding guest posting opportunities
  • Developing an outside-of-the-box guest post idea
  • Developing the content

HubSpot Social Media Blog by HubSpot

HubSpot is the first to break news regarding social media -- their blog is a must-read to stay informed with the latest news and updates.

How to Use Instagram for Business by IMPACT Branding & Design

You will learn:

  • How to use Instagram to make the most of your photos
  • A comprehensive instructional on how to set up an account
  • How notable brands have seen success using Instagram
  • Marketing strategies for how to reach your target audience through Instagram

How to Use Vine for Business by IMPACT Branding & Design

You will learn:

  • How Vine works and why you need to be using it
  • Detailed instructionals on setting up and using Vine
  • How brands are using the app successfully
  • Examples of how you can use Vine for your business

How to Use Snapchat for Business by IMPACT Branding & Design

You will learn:

  • How Snapchat works and why it's valuable
  • Step-by-step tutorial on how to register and get started
  • How brands are employing Snapchat as a Marketing tool
  • Specific examples of successful Snapchat Marketing

How to Dominate Your Competition Using LinkedIn by IMPACT Branding & Design

You will learn:

  • The results LinkedIn produces that other social networks can't
  • Proven methods for creating brand awareness using LinkedIn
  • The secrets behind building a profitable network

Free Search Engine Optimization (SEO) Tools

Search engine optimization allows you to increase your organic traffic -- the traffic you get from search engines like Google.

The Beginner's Guide to SEO by Moz

Key takeaways:

  • How search engines work
  • The basics of design and development for SEO
  • Keyword research
  • Myths and misconceptions about SEO
  • Measuring and tracking success

The Advanced Guide to SEO by Quicksprout

Key takeaways:

  • Site speed and performance
  • Advanced data research
  • Link building techniques
  • Search verticals

The Beginner's Guide to Link Building by Moz

Key takeaways:

  • Why link building is important
  • The types of links (good and bad)
  • Link building tactics
  • Advanced link building tricks

How do I rank higher in search engines?: Answers to your most common SEO questions by IMPACT Branding & Design

You will learn:

  • The most important factors that determine your search ranking.
  • How long it takes to improve your search ranking. 
  • Answers to some of the more technical questions about inbound links, title tags, and duplicate content. 

Free Lead Generation and Lead Nurturing Tools

All of the resources listed so far have been helpful for lead generation and lead nurturing. However, the following resources are more specific and in-depth.

The Complete Guide to Lead Generation by Entrepreneurial Insights

Key takeaways:

  • What lead generation is and how it works
  • Types of lead generation
  • Tactics for lead generation

A Beginner's Guide to Inbound Lead Generation by HubSpot

Key takeaways:

  • How to qualify someone as a lead
  • The mechanics of lead generation

The Marketer's Buyer Persona Kit: Everything you need to research and create your personas by IMPACT Branding & Design

Learn how to:

  • Identify the right customers for research
  • Ask the right questions during persona interviews
  • Easily format your buyer persona research

The Complete Visual Guide to Lead Generation by The Daily Egg

Key takeaways:

  • Identifying and scoring leads
  • The seven core stages of lead generation

Inbound Lead Management 101: Accelerating sales with technology by IMPACT Branding & Design

Key takeaways:

  • Integrating your CRM
  • Selecting the right contact properties for your goals
  • Segmenting your contacts
  • Completing contact profiles (through Progressive Profiling)
  • Determining if your leads are sales qualified
  • Using sales acceleration software

The Definitive Guide to Lead Nurturing: A Marketo Workbook by Marketo

Key takeaways:

  • Lead nurturing basics
  • Advanced lead nurturing
  • Calculating the ROI of lead nurturing

The B2B Marketers Checklist for Accurate Lead Scoring by IMPACT Branding & Design

You will learn:

  • How HubSpot's lead scoring tool works.
  • The criteria and behaviors you should be scoring.
  • Tips for organizing lead information and behaviors based on importance.
  • How to develop a point scoring system

Free Marketing Strategy Tools

The biggest and most successful brands didn't get to where they are by accident. You need to have a strategy.

The Beginner's Guide to Online Marketing by Quicksprout

Key takeaways:

  • Building your Marketing framework
  • Developing your brand story
  • Foundations of conversion optimization

The Digital Marketer vs. the Traditional CEO: How to Coexist and Grow Your Business by IMPACT Branding & Design

This guide includes:

  • A story detailing the common relationship between managers/CEOs based on real conversations. 
  • For Marketing managers – How to sell your boss on new practices and technologies. Also, understand the way your boss perceives value and learn how to provide him with it. 
  • For CEOs – How to embrace the generational gap, implement new technologies, and empower your managers to make great decisions.

Marketing Stack by Ben Tossell, Mubashar Iqbal, and Daniel Kempe

This is a curated directory of Marketing resources and tools.

Selling Your SaaS: How the most successful companies grow by IMPACT Branding & Design

You will learn:

  • The pillars of a strong revenue model
  • Tips for raising funding (from real investors)
  • How to ensure product/market fit 
  • How to create powerful Marketing messaging 
  • How to position your product in the marketplace
  • Advice on building a reseller program

7 Apps Every Marketing Strategy Needs by IMPACT Branding & Design

You will learn:

  • Why mass media Marketing is broken
  • Insight from Millennial Marketers on the elements that affect their buying decisions. 
  • How to adapt your strategy to the changes in consumer behavior.

Bonus Resources

Inbound Certification by HubSpot

HubSpot created this free comprehensive Marketing course for anyone to take that covers the core elements of the Inbound Methodology.

The Essential List of Startup Marketing Resources by Ryan Gum

A full list of resources for startups that covers:

  • Copywriting, Branding, and Positioning
  • Content Marketing
  • SEO
  • PR
  • Advertising
  • Email Marketing
  • Social media Marketing
  • Conversion rate optimization
  • Analytics and metrics
  • Workflow
  • Growth
  • First customers

Ultimate Website Launch Checklist by Process Street


  • Content
  • Design
  • Testing
  • Marketing
  • Tracking
  • Technical details

Marketing Library by HubSpot

The BEST free library for Marketing resources online. Subjects include:

  • Agencies
  • Analytics
  • Blogging
  • Content Creation
  • Ecommerce
  • Education
  • Email Marketing
  • HubSpot Software
  • Inbound Marketing
  • Inbound Sales
  • Lead Generation
  • Marketing Automation
  • Media
  • Mobile Marketing
  • Nonprofit
  • Other
  • Partner Content
  • PPC
  • PR
  • SEO
  • Social Media
  • Viral Marketing
  • Website Design

Free Assessment:

How does your sales & marketing measure up?
Take this free, 5-minute assessment and learn what you can start doing today to boost traffic, leads, and sales.