With free tools, DIY marketing is easier than you think

One of the big benefits of leading my community tour has been partnering with members of The Small Business Web to sponsor workshops all over North America. I was delighted that Lucidpress wanted to become a tour sponsor, since they help tackle one of the biggest challenges for emerging entrepreneurs and creative professionals: making professional looking marketing materials without spending a fortune.

I am delighted to share their insight and tools to help you make your DIY look FAB. Enjoy!

With free tools, DIY marketing is easier than you think

Apps like Lucidpress are turning everyday entrepreneurs into marketing geniuses.

Bruce Kirsch, the founder of Real Estate Financial Modeling, doesn’t claim to be a graphic designer, nor does he list skills related to Adobe InDesign or Microsoft Publisher on his LinkedIn profile. In fact, Bruce has spent his adult life working in real estate.

But that doesn’t explain how he produces commercial documents just as good-looking as those made by professional designers. For instance, this digital magazine he made beautifully shows off the trainings his company offers. People like Bruce are living proof that traditional barriers to design—including budgetary constraints and lack of formal training—are breaking down. The reason? Affordable digital tools that are also easy to use.

These advances come as welcome news to small businesses. A recent survey of small business owners revealed just how little they spend on marketing. Note that almost half spend less than $200 per month:


Since the typical graphic designer charges $65-75 an hour, it’s no wonder that many  small businesses struggle to generate much, if any, professional design content.

But with tools like Lucidpress, anyone with basic computer skills can quickly design great content for their digital and physical marketing efforts.

To help you get started, we’ve put together three handy packages of Lucidpress templates for use in common business situations. Each comes with complementary fonts, color schemes, and layouts. Don’t worry if you’ve never designed so much as a collage—just follow the built-in tooltips to begin navigating Lucidpress’s intuitive interface.

Template packages

Share these—either online or in print—with potential customers to push your products. Or give them to existing clients to improve loyalty.


Send out professional invitations, then give attendees something to take home afterwards.


Project professionalism with these materials that are designed to appeal to investors, executive boards, and clients.

Customizing the template

Of course, picking out a template is only the first step. From there, you’ll need to adapt it to your business and your audience. Use the original template as a general guide, but don’t be afraid to change it if something else looks better.

The first step is to replace the text and images with your own. You’ll have to provide your own text (unless you happen to be selling lorem ipsum), but if you need an image, try some of these sites that offer free, high-quality images.

Once you have some text and a handful of images, return to the document. Double-click a text box to change the text. You can either compose your text in the editor itself, or just copy text from an outside source. If you integrate your account with Google Drive, you can right-click anywhere on the document, then click “Import Text from Drive” to easily add that text to your document.


Switching out the default images with your own is also simple. First, select the image you want to replace. Hit “delete” to remove it. Then add your own image in one of two ways:

  1. If you want to upload an image from your computer, just drag and drop that image from its location on your hard drive onto the canvas.
  2. If you want to import an image from an online source, drag the image icon (look for the small gray mountains) onto the canvas. A pop-up box will appear, allowing you to select an image from Flickr, Facebook, Dropbox, a Google search, or Iconfinder.


If you’re making a document for digital publication, you might also consider adding videos to your document. Simply drag the video icon (it looks like a “play” button) from the left-hand toolbar onto the canvas. Then, you can enter the YouTube URL of the video you want to add.

Once you’ve added your own content to the template, be sure to click and drag elements to reposition them. Whenever an element is selected, corresponding options appear on the right side of the editor. If nothing is selected, the page setup options appear by default.

Publishing and distributing your work

Once your creation is complete, it’s time to share it with the world. Lucidpress gives you a variety of ways to do so:

Publish online

This option is best when you want to share a link to your document with individuals. To publish your document online to a unique URL, simply click “Share” in the top right corner. Go to the tab labelled “On the web,” then choose the document title and whether to require a password and whether to allow social sharing.

Embed in a web page

This is a good option if you have a pre-existing blog or website. Select Share > On Your Website. If you haven’t already done so, you’ll be prompted to publish your document to a unique URL. After that, you can choose the desired size of your image and click “generate code” to reveal the code you’ll need to add to the web page where you want the document to appear.

Share on social media

This is a good way to share clever or attractive content with your followers on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Google+. Select Share > On Social Media, then click the icon of the social media site where you want to publish your work.


For good old-fashioned hard copies of your work, just click File > Print. After your document renders as a high-resolution PDF, a pop-up will prompt you to select the printing details.


For other uses, you may wish to download your file. Select File > Download As, then choose the format that best fits your needs (PDF, PNG, or JPG). From here, you can also adjust the resolution and select certain pages of a document to download.

How can you choose which method of distribution is best? That varies widely from one industry to the next, but it doesn’t hurt to become familiar with each. If you want to track the effectiveness of the documents you publish online, you can give Lucidpress access to your Google Analytics account to generate individualized reports for each of your documents.

By following this process, you can generate critical marketing materials at a minimal cost. Once you get the hang of Lucidpress, you can even create your own custom templates to reuse and share with your team, who can work together with you on any document in real-time.

Are there other templates you’d like to see in Lucidpress? Let us know in the comments.

Lucidpress is a proud sponsor of the Indispensable Community Tour. Get 30% off any new account by tweeting @lucidpress and tell us what you liked about the event. Be sure to use #commtour!

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