As a marketing agency that works primarily with small businesses, we’re always trying to find ways to keep our costs down and our rates as low as possible. We’re very cognizant of the fact that our clients are on a budget (like most of us) and we need to provide the best possible service for the best possible price.

So, what are the “cheap” tools that we use to craft our client’s message? We have several in our toolbox and thought we’d share them with you in case you might want to add them to your arsenal, too.


Serif has created a legitimate Photoshop competitor for a ridiculously low price point. Once available only for Mac, Affinity Photo is now on Windows and have recently released a kick-ass version for the iPad Pro.

Affinity Photo takes a little getting used to when you migrate from Photoshop, but they have robust video tutorials that help ease the transition. Almost every Photoshop tool is also located here. The speed and precision of the program is fantastic, and for only $49.99 for the Mac and Windows versions (including lifetime updates!) you can’t go wrong! The company also has an Illustrator competitor called Designer for the same price. Give their trial versions a run and you may not go back to Photoshop.


This handy iOS app was actually introduced to us by a client! Over allows non-designers to create eye-catching graphics for their social media posts. Loaded with fonts, design elements, shapes, colors, and linked to three top-notch stock image sites Over makes it pretty easy to create some great stuff. You can start with the free version, but unlocking extra features is pretty inexpensive. If you want to get all the features, go for the Pro subscription. The Pro version runs $10 a month, but an annual subscription gets it for much less!


Ah, Grammarly. This handy little app does what most word processors and other similar programs won’t - actually helps you with your grammar rather than only spelling. Not sure about that subject-verb agreement? Grammarly is there for you. Wondering if you made a punctuation mistake? Grammarly has your back. And that’s the free version.

Nothing makes you feel worse than working on a blog post, publishing it, and then realizing you made a GLARING error that makes you look bad. Run that piece through Grammarly and save yourself the heartache.


Hemingway is another indispensable web app that you need to use NOW. So, you ran your blog post through Grammarly and everything looks ok? Now, send it through Hemingway to clean and tighten your writing. It helps you recognize hard-to-read sentences, passive voice, too many adverbs, and other items that plague writers from time to time. It can be a frustrating process sometimes, but Hemingway WILL improve your writing


Images are so important when crafting social media messaging. Unfortunately, the good stock photos cost an arm and a leg, right? Well, the answer to that is NO. There is an embarrassment of riches online with quality, non-cheesy stock photo sites. There are tons out there, but my favorites are Unsplash, Pexels, Stocksnap, and Pixabay. If you can’t find a suitable image on these sites, then one may not exist anywhere. Another newer player in this space is Burst. A part of the Shopify family, Burst has great images geared toward sales and online commerce. A quick Google search may come up with some you like better, but give these sites a shot!


Video is becoming the king of the social media hill, and iMovie and Wondershare Filmora will help you produce quality, social-ready video in a snap.

iMovie, of course, comes standard with Apple products. The Mac version is the most robust, but the iPad version is a close second. Spend about an hour or so with it, and iMovie becomes second nature. Best of all iMovie is FREE.

For my money, Wondershare Filmora is more robust than iMovie. You have a lot more options with titles, overlays, and transitions included in the standard program. However, extra effects are pretty inexpensive and are easy to install and begin using. A business license for Filmora runs just above $100 it’s well worth the extra expense.

The learning curve is a little steeper with Filmora, but the payoff is worth the extra effort. Turn that boring iPhone video you just shot into something you’ll want to send your friends.

Do you have any go-to apps or websites that you use to market your business? If so, let me hear about them in the comments!

We would love to help your business reach its goals! Drop me an email at and let’s discuss it!