Is your marketing budget being slashed?  Don’t fear – we’ve compiled 5 free software and online services to help your marketing team do more with less. Stay tuned for Part 2 of this post next week, when we’ll give you even more free tools.

Photos and Video

Free photo editing with Picnik on – Many savvy companies host their photos of their apartment communities on because it’s free online storage.  If photos are properly captioned and tagged they can provide SEO benefits to the sites where they are embedded.  However, many users are unaware that Flickr includes a free photo editing tool called Picnik that allows users to edit photos by cropping, resizing, improving exposure and even adding text overlays and borders.  Think of it as free photo storage and a replacement for basic Photoshop functions all in one.

Converting video formats with Super – Super© is a universal media player and encoder that gives you the power to convert videos from the camera format to one that can easily be displayed online such as Flash or Quicktime.  Very powerful, but not intuitive. However, if you’re willing to experiment, this software is worth the time to learn how to use, just to have a universal video converter available.

Page Layout and Design

Scribus is free, open-source software that gives creative pros the power to create press-ready layouts of marketing material like brochures, flyers and web graphics.  If your company won’t spring for a software license for a state of the art layout program, Scribus may get you through a few tight quarters of operating results.

Media Syndication

Send photos and videos to all of your social media accounts at one time with Pixelpipe – Pixelpipe is a free service (still in beta) that takes photos and videos that you upload once, and distributes them simultaneously to your accounts on over 40 different social media sites including Facebook, Flickr, Picasa, YouTube, and Vimeo.  They can also post on ten different types of blogs (WordPress, LiveJournal, Blogger etc.), and upload via FTP to your own website.  If you’re experimenting with social media placement, or trying to leverage The Long Tail, Pixelpipe can save you lots of effort, and speed the tedium of placing assets across the web.

Web Analytics

Google Analytics is a free web tool that provides sophisticated tracking of your web traffic – what sites referred it, what keywords they used to search for you, and time-series data about your web activity.  It can tell you how long people stay on your site, the most popular pages and the geography of your visitors.  Google Analytics provides a free way to start measuring your web traffic and the effectiveness of your advertising in driving visitors to your sites.  GA requires a small bit of code on your website to work, but it is a flexible and powerful tool.

*Caveat to the user – may of these tools aren’t supported by a big, responsive corporation with lots of resources, and in most cases you’ll need to figure out their workings on from a wiki or an online support group – or from your previous experience with similar tools.

IN OUR NEXT POST… We’ll cover 5 more marketing tools, including free web sites, presentation software and file storage options.  Stay tuned!

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