Still The Most Effective Free Online Marketing Tools In 2012

Stack Of Marketing Books On Window SillIts 2012 and the web is dominated by social media, we have more metrics than we know what to do with, and almost everything online is some variant of free.  New startups now appear every day promising more effective online marketing.  Unfortunately there aren't enough hours in the day to use every marketing tool out there.  

What follows is a list of some of the most effective free online marketing tools included in the AwareLabs Marketing Guide.  The AwareLabs team has vetted and applied these tools to achieve goals in the arenas of search engine optimization, customer conversions, and social media reach.  Aside from the basic tools like Google Analytics and Webmaster Tools, the list of effective free online marketing tools in 2012 has seen few  newcomers but they are definitely worth the investment in time.   For any time constrained business owner, these are the most effective free online marketing tools, especially in combination.

Email

Everyone still has an email account in 2012 and access to someones inbox is still the holy grail of online marketing.  Email is so effective, even super social media sites like Facebook and Twitter rely on regular email updates to keep user engaged.  The predominant online tool for email marketing is still MailChimp.  However, with the emergence of tools like Amazon Simple Email Service, many websites are running their own mailing lists and drip campaigns.

Social Media

Social media hasn't changed much in 2012, the power houses are still Facebook and Twitter.  Facebook is moving more rapidly towards engaging business, for example fan pages are now much more common.  LinkedIn gets honorable mention.  The big new splash this year has been Quora, a question and answer community.  Quora can be effective because it emails your answer to everyone that participates in a question. Google Plus is emerging as possible social media tool, so far however, its power is in search engine optimization.

Search Engine Optimization

After the big shake up, 2012 leaves us with Google and Bing as the dominant search engines.  Google has recently moved one more step ahead with the introduction of Google Plus.  In an effort to boost the value of Google Plus, the company is giving preferential search engine placement to Google Plus posts.  Which effectively puts Google Plus into the category of SEO tools.  In addition Google's recent update to the search algorithms seems to give preference to authority. Expect an explosion of informative lists linking clusters of related resources in the top Google search results.

This year marks a turning point in online marketing, as quality is being emphasized over quantity both by consumers and search engines.  This trend has set a new bar for free online marketing tools that now compete for our limited attention span.  Fortunately online users appetites for free are fueling the effectiveness of these tools in 2012 so they are worth the time investment to set up and maintain.