Freemium favourites: six awesome free tools for SMEs

Posted by Team Sharktower on August 16th, 2021

Everyone has a favourite tech-based tool that makes life or work easier. But if you’re working remotely or only have a small team, it’s easy to get out of the loop when it comes to what’s new, easy-to-use and free to try.

So here’s a round-up of Team Sharktower’s current go-to tools, each of which has a freemium version.

Lynsey, Co-founder and CCO: Pendo

“We use Pendo for product/visitor analytics and in-app guides, and though we only use the basic analytics features, even those add loads of value for us. We can see what time of day people are logging in, which features are most used (or under-used) and segment users based on their behaviour. We can also see if usage is trending up or down within these segments which helps us intervene before it’s too late.

Having these segments defined in the same place as our in-app guides means we can do really targeted guidance – e.g. a nudge to say “You haven’t used this feature – would you like a tutorial?”. Even better, we have complete control over the styling, so can make the guides look like they’re part of Sharktower itself.”

Cost – free for up to 1000 monthly active users


Our Customer Success team loves Pendo for user analytics and creating in-app guides.


Ewan, Software Engineer: Invision

“We use Invision boards in product delivery as a team whiteboard for our retrospectives and occasional planning/design session. I’m a fan because they’re easy to use, we can add to them at any point throughout the sprint (handy for retro) or look up our old ones, and they look clean.”

Cost – free for individuals and small teams, $7.95/month for cross-collaborative teams


Sharktower’s engineering team are big fans of Invision’s easy-to-use whiteboards

Lorraine, Senior Content Manager: Canva

“As a Content Manager, you have to turn your hand to creating pretty much everything from presentations to social posts, and I’ve found Canva to be a real game-changer. You don’t have to sign up to start playing with it, and within an hour or so I was able to create a fairly simple but totally on-brand visual.

There’s a huge bank of free photography, video and graphics available on the free version, and even more when you sign up for the Pro package. The basic package is only £9/month (the same price as a Sharktower per-user licence😉), which is a total bargain when you calculate the time and cost saved compared to scheduling a designer to create throwaway visuals for things like tweets and event pages.”

Cost – free version allows you to start creating straight away, or get a single user account for just £9/month if you pay annually.


Our Senior Content Manager loves the creativity and flexibility of Canva

Nikki, CMO: SparkToro

“There are tons of tools for web and social insight (Moz, SEMRush, Ahrefs) but SparkToro uses audience intelligence to help you find where your audience spends their time.

I like that they’ve seen how the Facebook and Google ads duopoly is sucking the creativity out of marketing and have built a tool that helps you find ways to direct your budget and resources better. I also love that you can run competitive analysis and see who has reached more of a particular target audience, and not just general reach.”

Cost – 5 monthly searches with the free plan, up to 50 on the basic plan ($38/month).




Michael, Test Engineer: Planning Poker

Planning Poker is a consensus-based sprint estimating and planning tool. We use it to help with our refinement sessions, and it’s been a really good organising tool for the team, especially as we are not co-located. It has also helped me personally be more decisive around measuring effort against risk.

Cost – free for up to 5 users, $49.95/month for unlimited users


Nikki, CMO: ActiveCampaign

We let Nikki have two, since they’re both so good.

“With Hubspot, we were paying for functionality we didn’t need, so I took the plunge with customer experience automation platform, ActiveCampaign. For a fraction of the price, we get full CRM – leads, scoring, pipelines, contacts, accounts, and marketing automation.

But cost isn’t the only reason I love ActiveCampaign. First, they helped manage the migration from HubSpot, taking away the headache of moving to a new platform. Secondly, automation. ActiveCampaign has totally nailed how to create simple, effective automation sequences. Thirdly, they are continually releasing new product updates. Just when you are about to say, “I wish it did that”, it magically appears.”

Cost – OK, this one isn’t free, but the Lite package is a measly $9/month, so it may as well be!


ActiveCampaign gives our marketing team all the functionality we need, without paying for extras

Let’s talk

Sharktower doesn’t have a free version, but our intelligent project delivery platform bridges the gap between basic tools and enterprise-level software.

For a chat about our free trials and flexible pricing options, get in touch today.