Managing multiple projects at once, delegating tasks, and collaborating across teams is difficult on a good day — but can become downright impossible when unforeseen obstacles get in the way. The data proves that project management is no walk in the park for most of us.
When that impacts the business, it becomes an even bigger problem. Miscommunication and inefficiencies in your project management process can lead to confusing and stressful experiences for your employees. It can hinder your company’s ability to satisfy your clients’ needs or hit end-of-year goals.
Fortunately, there are plenty of free project management apps to keep your team on track without breaking the bank.
Project Management App
A project management app is a software that’s used to plan projects, track tasks, create to-do lists, automate workflows, allocate resources, assign project managers, and establish project timelines and deadlines in one unified, collaborative interface.
In a free project management tool, you’ll typically be able to create various projects, come-up with to-do lists, assign tasks to team members, and track a project’s progress until completion. Paid project management tools offer more storage, more projects, and more seats for the team. But for small teams, a free project management tool will do the trick.
The low buy-in makes it a natural choice. With free project management software, your team can collaborate much better, reducing the risk of miscommunications and keeping everyone up to speed on team-wide projects. It’s also helpful for individual team members. They can use it to boost their productivity and ensure they’re on track.
To streamline your process and ensure everyone on your team is on the same page, take a look at these exceptional free project management tools.
Project.co is a client-facing project management system that connects your team with your clients’ teams in one place. Each piece of work you do can be set up as its own project, with its own discussion feed, notes, tasks, team, and payments. You can also record time spent on each project.
A variety of different task and project views are available, including calendar, scheduler, and Kanban view — to give you an overview of the work that’s happening within your team.
Ability to quickly add/invite both internal and external users
Discussion feed for each project — with email alerts (and the ability to reply by email without logging in)
Variety of task views — which can be filtered — giving your whole team, each department, and even individual users their daily/weekly task lists
Reporting tools that measure your most and least profitable or efficient projects
Ability to integrate payment solutions and quickly, securely take card payments through the system
Wrike stands out as an exceptional project management tool for teams who want the option to customize workflows and edit and revise projects from within the platform itself. The tool offers the ability to color code and layer calendars, and its mobile app allows colleagues to update project information on-the-go. You can add comments to sections, videos, or documents, and create custom fields to export data most relevant to your company.
Security measures to ensure only authorized personnel can access information
Activity Stream to allow project managers to micromanage small tasks, see activities in chronological order, and tag team members
The option to unfollow activities to declutter your own personal Stream
Toggl Plan is an effective project management tool to automate your task delegation process and visualize which project tasks have been completed, and which haven’t. If your team often collaborates with other departments on projects, this might be a useful tool for you.
Gantt-chart visualization to track important deadlines and projects
Integrations with Slack, Github, Evernote, and others
Team collaboration option through shared calendars and task notes
ClickUp provides a few impressive features to customize the all-in-one project management tool to suit your team members, including the option for each user to choose one of three different ways to view their projects and tasks depending on individual preference. If your marketing team overlaps with sales, design, or development, this is an effective solution, as it provides features for all of those four teams.
Another free software that comes with a variety of features for project and task managers is nTask. This program has a couple of free-range tools for anyone looking to work as an individual or a professional project manager.
nTask supports multiple projects and task creation. Users can also define team leader roles, budget, milestone and time tracking criteria that are specific to relevant projects. Understanding the needs of advanced project managers, nTask also offers an interactive Gantt chart feature. It can be personalized by a simple drag and drop mechanism to align the project to ongoing real-life changes.
A powerful in-app collaboration system
Integration with Slack and many other third-party apps
The ability to invite stakeholders to view ongoing projects
Team management via an admin-controlled process
Multiple workspaces dedicated to different projects and tasks
Teamwork is a project management software and collaboration platform that helps in-house and remote teams stay organized and productive. Each project lets you easily upload files, assign tasks and deadlines, and chat with teammates. By centralizing your project information, you can help eliminate more misunderstandings and missed deadlines.
Freedcamp is a feature-rich project management tool that’s designed for personal and professional use. Each project has its own tasks, milestones, files, discussions, and timelines, as well as an issue tracker and calendar. The dashboard gives you a clear, concise overview of what’s going on in your team, including activity, projects, and tasks.
Message-board discussion feed, with the ability to create and carry out discussions on any topic
Powerful calendar view that lays out all upcoming events
Third-party integrations including Google Drive, Google Calendar, Dropbox and more
Asana, one of the most well-known project management solutions, has a clean and user-friendly interface. The all-in-one tool lets you create boards to visualize which stage your project is in, and use reporting to keep track of finished tasks and tasks that need your attention.
The ability to create templates to automate mundane tasks
The ability to collaborate and share information across the team, privately and securely
The option to set security controls and designate admins
Over 100 integrations for a more efficient start-to-finish process
The ability to create custom project fields, share documents, and filter tasks
Monday.com, a project management tool that also offers HR and IT tools, allows you to create team member status updates so your remote and flexible teams know their coworkers’ schedules. It allows you to easily access project updates at-a-glance so that nothing falls between the cracks.
Customizable workflows to prioritize your team’s needs and take care of menial tasks
Gantt chart for visualizing due dates and project timelines
Integrations with popular tools such as Slack, Microsoft Teams, and Google Calendar
Team member status updates for remote or flexible team members
HubSpot integration so that everyone can collaborate on contact and deal management (May require a paid plan)
Paymo’s free version only allows access for one user, but if you’ve got a small team or you’re a freelancer, this could be an efficient option for tracking billable hours and invoicing clients. Along with tracking finances, Paymo also allows you to organize project timelines, create to-do lists, and stay on top of your budgets for multiple projects at once.
Kanban boards for easy, at-a-glance project updates
Time tracking to keep everyone on the same schedule
File sharing and Adobe CC extension for easy sharing of assets
Timesheet reporting to keep stakeholders in the loop
Project templates to jumpstart projects with a click
Trello is a drag-and-drop tool that lets you move projects — personal, or professional — through workflow stages, all the way to completion.
You define what those stages are — whether it’s work project statuses like ‘On Hold,’ or personal project categories like ‘Things to buy!’ — with tasks represented as ‘cards.’ Each card can be given a name, assigned to an individual, given a due date — and have files, such as images, attached to it.
Templates for a range of different project types, from business to education to personal productivity
Ability to add attachments such as images to any card on any board
Customise your workflow stages to reflect your actual process
Simple drag-and-drop movement of cards through workflow stages
HubSpot integration for syncing marketing, sales, and service workflows into to-do lists (May require a paid plan)
Todoist is a simple but powerful tool that lets you create powerful, interactive to-do lists. To-do items can be assigned priority levels, assigned to people in your team and flagged — with customizable reminders (although these are a premium feature). Actionable items can also be categorised into different projects, making a simple, easily understandable structure where each ‘list’ has a title (project name) and a series of actions. This all makes it an extremely flexible, customizable tool to get work done.
Template lists to inspire and guide you
Recurring due dates for regularly recurring tasks
Productivity visualizations and ‘Karma’ points for completed tasks and streaks
Labels, notification and discussion feeds to keep you organized
MeisterTask is a project management tool that allows you to create Kanban boards, set recurring tasks, track project times, and create custom fields. You can automatically import data from other tools such as Trello and Asana, allowing you to get immediately to work without losing time.
Up to 3 projects on the free version
File attachments for projects
Custom project icons to make tasks stand out
Time tracking so that no deadlines fall through the cracks
Britrix24’s project management software includes Kanban boards, Gantt charts, task counters for easy prioritization, and reports for analyzing the time intensiveness of different tasks. You can also create to-do lists within tasks.
Recurring tasks for easy task creation and automation
Integration with Billable Hours, which is especially useful if you work with freelancers
Airtable is a customizable spreadsheet and database app that can be used to create a project management tool for your team. Its project tracker template allows you to easily manage projects in a familiar spreadsheet-like environment, making it ideal for Excel and Google Sheets enthusiasts.
Subtask creation within tasks
Ability to assign tasks and establish time estimates
ProofHub is a project management and team collaboration software that allows project managers to maintain complete control over their tasks, teams, projects, and communication. Managers can assign tasks and deadlines to team members and easily maneuver between simple to-do lists and agile kanban boards that are customizable.
ProofHub has a notes feature and a dedicated discussions section to store your important information and carry out real-time conversations with your team members. Get real-time notifications whenever someone makes an update to a ticket.
Online proofing tool to review files and annotate design files using markup tools
In-built chat application to connect with team members
Various project views including Kanban boards, Table View, and robust Gantt charts
Time tracker and timesheets to keep track of your team’s timelines
Project reports with a detailed overview of overall project progress
Me-view and an activity tracker to keep track of your tasks and team activities
Project calendar with events, milestones, and deadlines
Marketers with Marketing Hub Professional or above can use the Campaigns tool to do similar management geared toward marketing tasks. You can create tasks, share comments, and track your work in a calendar view. The tool can be used to manage your campaigns, ads, events, and other customizable projects all from one place.
It can also help align your Sales and Marketing teams by giving both access to real-time reporting on campaign performance.
Lastly, many of your favorite project management tools can integrate with a CRM like HubSpot. (Depending on the tool, this may require a paid account.) This can supercharge your Sales, Service, and Marketing teams by automatically connecting your customer data to your projects and tasks.
Some ways that HubSpot users do this include:
Automatically creating new tasks or events out of form submissions
Generating follow-up reminders after live events
Handing off projects between teams based on deal stage
Streamline Workflows with a Project Management Tool
Using a project management app will empower your team to work more efficiently and collaborate more seamlessly. With hurdles out of the way, you can guarantee that your team can focus on what matters: bringing in more leads, selling to more prospects, and empowering more customers to grow alongside your business.
Editor’s note: This post was originally published in August 2018 and has been updated for comprehensiveness.
Whew! We made it to 2023! As we closed in on the end of the year in December, the finish line seemed awfully far away. Many marketers told me they were busier than ever.
I myself was fielding calls for strategy help, working on business deals and managing the chaos all the way to the eve of Christmas Eve, something that rarely happens in my 20-plus-year career.
Look back and celebrate, then move on
The first business for 2023 will be to step back, clear your head and take stock of all the great things you accomplished in 2022 despite the odds (i.e., coming out of COVID, going into a rebound and COVID round 2, moving into supply-chain shortages and other hiccups, facing down a potential recession) and how they affected the work you did to succeed.
And now it’s 2023. I hope you got your budget request approved and you’re ready to move ahead with a clean slate and new KPIs to hit. You’re probably wondering, “What can I do now to grow my program?
3 directional changes to grow your email program
Naturally, every marketer’s goals will be unique. We have different audiences, challenges, resources and goals. But I’m focusing on three major directional changes with my clients this year. Which of these could help you succeed this year?
1. Stop sending so many emails
Yeah, I know. That sounds strange coming from somebody who believes wholeheartedly in email and its power to build your business. But even I have my limits!
Email during this last holiday shopping season was insane. In my 20+ years in the email industry, I cannot remember a time, even during the lockdown days of COVID-19, when my inbox was so full.
I didn’t run any numbers to measure volume, isolate cadences or track frequency curves. But every time I turned around, I saw emails pouring into my inbox.
My advice for everyone on frequency: If you throttled up during the holiday, now it’s time to throttle back.
This should be a regularly scheduled move. But it’s important to make sure your executives understand that higher email frequency, volume and cadence aren’t the new email norm.
If you commit to this heavier schedule, you’ll drive yourself crazy and push your audience away, to other brands or social media.
If you did increase cadence, what did it do for you? You might have hit your numbers, but consider the long-term costs:
More spam complaints.
Lower revenue per email.
Take what you learned from your holiday cadence as an opportunity to discover whether it’s a workable strategy or only as a “break glass in case of emergency” move.
My advice? Slow down. Return to your regular volume, frequency and cadence. Think of your customers and their reactions to being inundated with emails over 60 days.
2. Stop spamming
In that Washington Post article I mentioned earlier, I was encouraged that it cited one of my email gripes — visiting websites and then getting emails without granting permission first.
I could have given the Post a salty quote about my experiences with SafeOpt and predatory email experiences (“Business stress is no excuse to spam“) for visitors to its clients’ websites.
Successful email marketers believe in the sanctity of permission. That permission-based practice is what you want to be involved in. Buying a list means you don’t hire a company to sell you one, whether it’s a data broker or a tech provider like SafeOpt.
Spamming people doesn’t work in the long term. Sure, I’ve heard stories from people who say they use purchased lists or companies like SafeOpt and it makes them money. But that’s a singular view of the impact.
Email is the only marketing channel where you can do it wrong but still make money. But does that make it right?
The problem with the “it made us money” argument is that there’s nowhere to go after that. Are you measuring how many customers you lost because you spammed them or the hits your sender reputation took?
You might hit a short-term goal but lose the long-term battle. When you become known as an unreliable sender, you risk losing access to your customers’ inboxes.
Aside from the permission violation, emailing visitors after they leave your site is a wasted effort for three reasons:
A visit is not the same as intent. You don’t know why they landed on your site. Maybe they typed your URL as a mistake or discovered immediately that your brand wasn’t what they wanted. Chasing them with emails won’t bring them back.
You aren’t measuring interest. Did they visit multiple pages or check out your “About” or FAQ pages? As with intent, just landing on a page doesn’t signal interest.
They didn’t give you their email address. If they had interest or intent, they would want to connect with your brand. No email address, no permission.
Good email practice holds that email performs best when it’s permission-based. Most ESPs and ISPs operate on that principle, as do many email laws and regulations.
But even in the U.S., where opt-out email is still legal, that doesn’t mean you should send an email without permission just because somebody landed on your website.
3. Do one new thing
Many email marketers will start the year with a list of 15 things they want to do over the next two months. I try to temper those exuberant visions by focusing on achievable goals with this question:
“What one thing could you do this year that could make a great difference in your email program’s success?”
When I started a job as head of strategy for Acxiom, I wanted to come up with a long list of goals to impress my new boss. I showed it to my mentor, the great David Baker and he said, “Can you guarantee that you can do all of these things and not just do them but hit them out of the park?”
“That’s why you don’t put down that many goals,” he said. “Go in with just one. When that one is done, come up with the next one. Then do another. If you propose five projects, your boss will assume you will do five projects. If you don’t, it just means you didn’t get it done.”
That was some of the best advice I’ve ever received and I pass it on to you.
Come up with one goal, project or change that will drive your program forward. Take it to your boss and say, “Here’s what I’m going to do this year.”
To find that one project, look at your martech and then review MarTech’s six most popular articles from 2022 for expert advice.
You’ll find plenty of ideas and tips to help you nail down your one big idea to drive growth and bring success. But be realistic. You don’t know what events could affect your operations.
Drive your email program forward in 2023
The new year has barely begun, but I had a little trouble getting motivated to take on what’s shaping up to be a beast of a year. You, too?
I enjoyed my time off over the holidays. Got in some golf with my dad and his buddies, ate great food and took time to step back and appreciate the phenomenal people I work with and our amazing industry.
What gets me going at last? Reaching out to my team, friends and you. Much of my motivation comes from fellow marketers — what you need, what you worry about and what I can do to help you succeed.
If you’re on the struggle bus with me, borrow some motivation from your coworkers and teammates, so we can gather together 12 months from now and toast each other for making it through another year.
It’s time to strap on your marketer helmet and hit the starter. Here’s to another great year together. Let’s get the job done!
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Opinions expressed in this article are those of the guest author and not necessarily MarTech. Staff authors are listed here.
As the co-founder of RPEOrigin.com, Ryan Phelan’s two decades of global marketing leadership has resulted in innovative strategies for high-growth SaaS and Fortune 250 companies. His experience and history in digital marketing have shaped his perspective on creating innovative orchestrations of data, technology and customer activation for Adestra, Acxiom, Responsys, Sears & Kmart, BlueHornet and infoUSA. Working with peers to advance digital marketing and mentoring young marketers and entrepreneurs are two of Ryan’s passions. Ryan is the Chairman Emeritus of the Email Experience Council Advisory Board and a member of numerous business community groups. He is also an in-demand keynote speaker and thought leader on digital marketing.
Up until now, any “promotion” your customers have done has been passive. But in the promotion stage, your customers actively spread the word about your brands, products, and services. They tell stories, make recommendations, and share your offers because they truly believe in them.
Active promotion may be an affiliate or commission relationship—or just a free offer for sending some new customers your way. The point is, it’s a win-win for both of you.
One thing worth mentioning before we dive in; Happy customers don’t promote, SUCCESSFUL customers do.
Our biggest question in the Promote stage is: How are you going to turn your BEST customers into your marketing partners?
If you don’t have a referral program, an affiliate program, or a valued reseller program … who is willing to drive your message to the organization you need to build out these programs? This is word of mouth marketing, and it is very important so start thinking about how you want to build this.
Look to your most successful customers, they’re going to be the people who actively promote for you. But then, let’s think about our customers who already have our prospects but are offering a different product or service.
At DigitalMarketer we are a training and certification company, we are not a services based company. What that means is we don’t compete with agencies or consultants. This also means that there is an opportunity for us to work with agencies and consultants.
When we realized this we decided to launch our Certified Partner Program, which you can learn more about at DigitalMarketer.Com/Partner. This program lets us work with the largest segments of our customer base, who have customers that we want but they’re providing a solution that we’re not providing.
When we train our customers, they are able to use our company frameworks to work with their clients. If their clients want to learn to do their marketing themselves? We’re the first education company they see.
So who is that for you? Remember, it’s not the happy clients that refer, it’s the successful clients. If you want to create more promoters, make sure that you’re doing everything that you can as a marketer to ensure that you’re marketing great products so you can see great results.
How can our example companies accomplish this?
For Hazel & Hems, they can add an ambassador program to grow their instagram following and increase credibility with viral posts.
Ambassadors can earn affiliate commissions, additional boutique reward points, and get the chance to build a greater following by leveraging the Hazel & Hems brand.
For Cyrus & Clark, they can offer discounted rates to their existing clients if those clients are willing to refer them to their strategic partners.
For construction companies, this could be a home builder recommending Cyrus & Clark services to the landscapers, real estate developers, and interior designers that they work with to serve their customers.