Jessica Miller-McNatt has been with ShortStack for over a decade and has served in every role from Marketing Team Lead to Customer Success. Her journey in martech continues to fuel her fascination for what drives growth. Jessica's favorite weekends are spent in the North Georgia mountains, chasing waterfalls and exploring with her family.
Whether or not you are a freelancer, staying relevant in the marketing industry requires versatility. New trends are constantly taking hold and it's crucial to stay savvy in an ever-evolving climate. However, if you are a freelancer, expanding your offerings by learning new skills can come at a great cost. After all, time is money, and if you have to spend a lot of it learning new software, it can hinder your ability to grow your business. To get your new year started on a profitable foot, I’ve rounded up a list of five inexpensive, easy-to-learn software applications that will not only allow you to broaden the number of solutions you offer but also level up the quality of what you’re able to deliver.
In 2022, an unprofessional-looking design is simply a non-starter. And to make it as a freelancer, you need to do more than simply look legit - you need to wow your audience with really great design. Needless to say, it’s imperative to have a good graphic designer on your team. But whether you have the best or even a team of awesome designers in your Rolodex, you may not want to pay costly hourly rates for every little design-related task. Enter Canva. This online design tool is a one-stop shop for marketing design projects and makes it easy for non-designers to make professional-looking creative with almost no learning curve. It includes assets such as templates, images, fonts, and even royalty-free music. And if you’re on a tight budget, Canva offers many of these assets for free.[caption id="attachment_48614" align="alignnone" width="600"]
Canva's template library[/caption]
When you’re on the hunt for a stock image, if you’re like me, nothing less than that perfect graphic will do. Although Canva offers stock photos, if you're subscribed to their free plan, you may find their assets a little limiting. Not to worry! If you’d like access to a larger stockpile of images to use in ads, landing pages, websites and more, check out Pixabay - it’s completely free.Stock photos and subscriptions to stock photo apps are jaw-droppingly expensive, so having this tool in your back pocket can be a real game-changer when it comes to boosting your bottom line. As a bonus, Pixabay offers free stock audio, which can be used in conjunction with our next must-have tool….
A projection was made prior to 2022 that, by this year, online videos will make up more than 82% of all consumer internet traffic. In other words, to stay relevant, you have to make video marketing a significant part of your online strategy. The upside to this is that with the explosion of video marketing has come a tidal wave of video-editing tools created just for beginners. One example of such tools is the video editing platform InVideo. Unlike expensive, complex video editors like Premier Pro, InVideo offers a simple drag and drop interface with plenty of templates to start with. According to user reviews, videos can be created in minutes even with no prior video-editing experience. [caption id="attachment_48615" align="alignnone" width="600"]
InVideo's video editor[/caption]Some of the other features InVideo users rave about are their massive library of assets, realistic voice-over feature and accessible support. If you’re a little apprehensive to get in the video-creating game for your clients, InVideo is the perfect place to start.
Every year, it gets harder and harder to engage an audience with the same ol’ stuff. Attention spans are shortening and the bar for quality digital content keeps getting higher. One tried and true way to capture the attention of an audience is with a contest or giveaway. But you have to think outside of a simple Instagram giveaway that asks participants to “comment and tag a friend to enter.”[caption id="attachment_48616" align="alignnone" width="600"]
ShortStack's puzzle challenge template[/caption][button size='medium' style='white' text='View and Create Your Own' icon='' icon_color='' link='http://m.shortstack.page/3TrVNJ' target='_blank' color='' hover_color='' border_color='' hover_border_color='' background_color='' hover_background_color='' font_style='' font_weight='' text_align='' margin='0 0 10px']To level up your giveaway game, try contest and giveaway software like ShortStack. You can start with one of dozens of templates that allow you to create basic giveaways. Or, you can try something a little out-of-the box such as a personality quiz, scratch and win giveaway, or even a timed-puzzle challenge in which participants can compete for the best time. ShortStack is perfect for building online digital content that you can sell back to clients because it’s versatile enough to use for just about any business. For example, if your client is looking to collect before and after photos to show off the power of a product, ShortStack allows you to set up an entry form that collects more than one photo per entry. These photos can then be displayed in a gallery on a landing page which makes for some pretty impactful marketing. [caption id="attachment_48617" align="alignnone" width="600"]
Before and after contest built with ShortStack[/caption][button size='medium' style='white' text='View and Create Your Own' icon='' icon_color='' link='http://m.lndg.page/XXxkBd' target='_blank' color='' hover_color='' border_color='' hover_border_color='' background_color='' hover_background_color='' font_style='' font_weight='' text_align='' margin='0 0 10px']All data from collected entries are stored in an easy-to-locate database. You can export entries into a .csv file to easily share them with your client. And they even include automated email tools to use for follow-up marketing. ShortStack is free to try. The best part? They don’t ask for your credit card until you’re ready to upgrade, making it absolutely risk-free.
Since time is money for a freelancer, it’s probably safe to assume that you’re always on the lookout for ways to be more efficient. Look no further than Zapier. This powerful software allows you to set up custom workflows by integrating the apps you already use. As an example, if you use ShortStack to collect names and email addresses in an entry form, and HubSpot to send marketing emails to your list, you can use Zapier to set up a workflow that will add the data collected with ShortStack into your list in HubSpot. Zapier’s versatility allows you to get creative with automation and sync up apps you never thought possible. Add form entries to a CRM tool such as Salesforce or Pipedrive and have Slack send you a message when a new lead hits your account. Or, have your email marketing software send an autoresponder with important info when someone schedules an appointment or consultation. The sky’s the limit with Zapier so get ready to have your workday get a little easier.
Everyone in the pool!
If you took the time to read about all five apps, you may already be on to this - these apps work really, really well together. I mentioned an example integration between ShortStack and Zapier. Here are a few others:
- Use Pixabay for stock photos for your designs in Canva and InVideo
- Start with Canva to create header graphics and other creative for your giveaways and landing pages built with ShortStack
- Use InVideo to create video content to display within a landing page built with ShortStack, and
- Link to a contest, quiz or giveaway in your videos built with InVideo
Expanding your services can take an investment of both time and money. Check out some of these apps to not only help you save time but to make more money in 2022.
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