In the pre-2000 era, building and growing an internet business was nearly impossible. The start-up cost was so tremendous that the the only way to launch you business would have been to come up with an idea, craft a solid business plan, and raise money from venture capitalists.
And when I say money, I don’t mean a little bit. I mean a couple million dollars.
You would have needed to buy equipment and servers, build infrastructure and a data center, hire teams of people – the whole thing.
Take the history of WebVan, one of the shining examples of the dot-com boom and bust. They raised more than $800 million to build a grocery delivery service similar to Instacart, but 17 years ahead of its time. They built state-of-the-art fulfillment centers, hired hundreds of employees, and had an IPO that valued them at $1.2 billion.
A few months later, they filed for bankruptcy and ceased operations. It was too early (which often is the same as being wrong), and they crashed spectacularly.
These days, starting up a business can be done for considerably less, and the cost of failure is next to nothing. That’s because the internet has a plethora of marketing tools for small businesses that can help you do the job without shelling out millions of dollars of VC money. In fact, in a few hours, you can have a business up and running and your first customer at your virtual door by simply connecting a few SaaS tools and services together.
The same thing goes for visual marketers. You can grow your business on the cheap by using a few low-cost design tools, and it’s far easier than you’d think. Below you’ll find a complete list of every design tool any marketer will ever need. Seriously.
All tools in the list meet three conditions:
- They are free or remarkably inexpensive.
- They’ve been used by visual marketers to grow successful businesses.
- There’s no technical knowledge required.
Bookmark this post because you’ll end up coming back over and over again.
[clickToTweet tweet=”Grow your business on the cheap by using these few low-cost design tools” quote=”Grow your business on the cheap by using these few low-cost design tools”]
Designing beautiful, attractive, and engaging visuals for your website or marketing campaigns is what sets you apart from the crowd.
Canva – Another simple web-based image creator and editor. Create infographics, ads, social media images, and more.
Withoomps – The easiest way to create a beautiful logo for your business, even if you don’t know a single thing about graphic design.
Weld – A free-form web design tool. Create an account, design a website, hook up a few services, and publish your page without writing a single line of code.
Squarespace – Everything you need to design and publish your website without writing code.
High-quality photography is a crucial piece of any web design or creative venture, but finding the right images without spending a fortune on stock photography might prove challenging. Not anymore!
Pexels – Thousands of high-quality images you can use without attribution. In fact, most of the images in this post came from Pexels!
StockSnap – A search engine for beautiful photography.
Pixabay – Over 410,000 high-quality photos, illustrations, and graphics that are free for commercial use.
Stock Up – Search more than 10,000 free stock photos across 26 websites.
Gratisography – Free high-resolution pictures you can use on your personal and commercial projects. New pictures added weekly!
Negative Space – Receive exclusive photos, free for commercial use, in your inbox.
ISO Republic – Free (and premium) stock photos. They’ve got some of the most beautiful free images on the web.
Picjumbo – Picjumbo has some of the most unique free stock photography out there. The best part? It’s also free, even for commercial projects.
New Old Stock – Vintage photos from the public archives, free of copyright restrictions.
Pond 5 – They call themselves a marketplace for creativity. And indeed, they are — they have over 63,000 free photos you can use on any project, commercial or not.
Picking the right color scheme is crucial for any project or marketing campaign. The right color decision is the foundation for a beautiful, engaging, and seamless design.
Coloors – Coloors is an incredibly fast color schemes generator for designers and visual marketers.
Colour Lovers – A creative community where people from around the world create and share colors, palettes, and patterns. When you are looking for the right palette, this is the place to come for inspiration.
Color Picker – This is a simple tool with a single use: to select, save, and share specific hex color codes.
Paletton – A powerful color picker by the folks at Adobe. What’s unique about this tool is that it allows you to select matching colors based on whether they are complementary, adjacent, triads, or tetrads. It’s the best tool for color pros.
When you are a marketer, you don’t have the time or skills to design that perfect icon. Luckily for us, some amazing designers spend countless hours contributing beautiful graphics, vectors, and icons to the world.
Iconfinder – A marketplace that helps creatives find high-quality icons and icon sets (and helps designers get their work seen).
The Noun Project – A collection of icons that The Noun Projects says is “creating, sharing, and celebrating the world’s visual language” by simplifying communication
Find Icons – The site with the “largest searchable free icons database in the world and both a sophisticated search filtering and result matching system make it possible for you to get an icon you need for every design task.”
Freepik – This site is a great resource for many types of graphic resources – icons, vectors, photos, and PSD files.
Freebbble – More than 1000 design freebies made by some of the best Dribbble users.
PSDDD – Another directory of hand-picked free resources designed by Dribbble users
Designermill – A collection of free design resources of all kinds
What The Font! – Have you seen a font in use and want to know what it is? Upload an image to WhatTheFont or use their Chrome extension to find the closest matches in their database.
What Font Is – A different, yet equally powerful alternative to What The Font!
Typewolf – Free typography inspiration. Daily recommendations, guides and resources, and more.
Google Fonts – Hundreds of free, open-source fonts optimized for the web.
Typecast – The easiest way to design with typeface in mind.
Themeforest Landing Pages – A collection of beautiful landing page templates at reasonable, low prices.
Landingi – They have a free forever plan that’s quite useful for starting and designing your own landing page.
Unbounce – This isn’t free, but it’s one of the most powerful and intuitive landing page in the market, and it’s a great value for the price.
Mailchimp – If you need to design and send email marketing campaigns, Mailchimp should be the go to tool. It has a simple interface, and hundreds of beautiful email templates you could us.
Really Good Emails – If you are ever looking into designing an email but lack inspiration, this is the place to go.
Themeforest Email Templates – Like the landing page templates listed above, these email templates are inexpensive and well styled.
Mockerie – An interactive mockup engine that lets you see what your page looks like on a large range of devices and screen sizes
Vectornator – An illustration software that empowers you to design anything you can imagine. Create illustrations, layout mockups, and expressive lettering on the go.
We’re a far cry from the startup building business of a decade ago. There are tools out there that make starting your own business easy and fun for so little money.
What tools are you using to help market your business or create visual masterpieces? What did we miss? Tweet at us (@piktochart) or let us know in the comments below!
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