5 must have creative marketing subscriptions for small businesses in 2021

Expend Team

13 January 2021

People who work in marketing, especially those in small businesses are expected to wear many hats, and one of those hats is often creative. So here are our favourite subscription-based marketing tools that we think you should consider, especially if you don't have a dedicated design resource.

1. Canva - a beautiful subscription

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Canva is the go-to web tool for anyone who wants to design stuff well, without flashy design skills and software. You can get it for free, but the power really kicks in with a paid subscription. Which feels like a bargain at only $12.99 a month. With the paid plan you can add company colours, logos and fonts to make sure that whoever is using it is 'always on brand'. This lets you add company colours, logos and fonts to make sure whoever's using it is 'always on brand'.

Once upon a time I would have just said it was perfect for taking your social media feed to the next level, but it's grown to be a full suite of tools that you can use to create a crazy amount of different things that can also be embedded straight onto your website, or even made into an interactive web page.

2. Animoto - a subscription that will move you

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In simple terms, Animoto is the Canva of video. It can help you make quick, on-brand videos without the traditional costs involved. It makes 1:1 videos for Instagram and 16:9 for everything else. You can also make videos on the go. Prices start from £7.99, but if you’re serious about video, you’ll want the professional package.

3. Infogram - A data lovers infographic subscription

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We love Infogram and if you love data and want it to be interactive then you should too, especially if Canva isn't quite advanced enough for your interactive chart needs. Whether you want to add a chart to a blog or create a full interactive infographic. Like many tools, you can start for free, but you’ll quickly want to get at least the pro subscription. Some of their beta features are particularly cool and takes Infogram from an interactive chart/infographic tool, and adds interactive ebook or presentation tool functionality.

4. Adobe - A steep learning cure but worth it subscription

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Canva, Infogram and Animoto are great, but they will only get you so far. For everything else, it’s hard to beat Adobe, but you don’t really buy Adobe off the shelf anymore. Like with most other things, you pay a monthly subscription to always have their latest version. Pro tip: If you subscribe to Adobe, you also get access to Adobe Spark. With Adobe Spark you can create graphics, beautiful web landing pages and videos. Adobe Spark can be used for free as long as you don't mind pesky watermarks. 

5. Stock stock stock - A necessary evil subscription 

Hands up if you hate stock photos and videos. Okay put your hand down, you look silly. Seriously though, stock photos and videos are a necessary evil for many. Managing subscriptions or one-off purchases can be a hassle for all concerned, never mind sorting out expenses at the end of the month.

That said, one of our favourite videos of all time is the Generic Brand Video by stock royalty Dissolve. Their latest fun-filled poke at bad use of stock footage is their Generic Millennial Ad, but I'll let you decide which is better.

There are many free sites out there and many of the tools mentioned above have access to free use stock images, but they won't have everything you’ll ever need. You'll likely need a good backup. Many now offer a subscription service and exclusive and premium images and videos. These should be considered to keep the costs down, especially if you download more than a couple of images a month. Picking a good stock photos partner will also stop you from hunting what feels like the ENTIRE internet in search of the perfect image for your campaign.

Bonus Tip:

Alongside managing your marketing expenses and subscriptions etc. You could save stacks of time by having a dashboard where you can see how your marketing campaigns are going. 9 Spokes free business dashboard tool is great for a live overview of marketing and the business in general (depending on how many hats you wear).  Plus because it integrates with QuickBooks you can see all the marketing spend when you pay with Expend. 

All of the above are all great creative marketing tools, and there are many more out there, so if you think I've missed one that you really think should be on the list, let us know in the comments below. An average marketer can, in theory, end up with 10 to 15 monthly subscriptions and with that, loads of expenses to do. 

With all these tools and other marketing and advertising spend, you'll need help tracking them all and avoiding the typical expenses problems with an expenses admin solution you can trust. Our Expend Mastercardexpenses app and management dashboard, means I can spend more time doing my job or better yet, be in the pub with friends or at home with my feet up, but most importantly I spend less time doing my expenses.

Plus with our Expend Flex Mastercard combined with our expense management tools, you can easily give yourself or your team a marketing budget for their areas of responsibility. So they have the power to create what they need and the tools to do their expenses without all the hassle, so you can spend more time generally being awesome. Or in the pub...

Expend Team

Taking over the world, one expense at a time

Powering businesses around the world with the ultimate expense management software and sharing our top tips and lessons through these blogs.

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