This is a guest post written by Louisa McGrath from Rebrandly.
This would look at some top marketing tools which are ideal for use by agencies because they allow for great engagement with clients, or enable easy reporting etc.
According to Gartner’s 2016-2017 CMO Spend Survey, 27% of the average marketing budget was earmarked for technology that year. This increased percentage signaled technology’s growing role in marketing. But the most recent of these annual surveys showed the trend slowing down and a fall in Martech spending.
After jumping into tech solutions, CMOs are now pulling back. This turnaround in budget spend comes amid concerns about marketers’ capability to handle marketing tools and technology effectively. Only half of CMOs surveyed consider themselves effective at acquiring and managing it. But this is an essential skill for agencies.
With the surge of newly available marketing tools, marketers have more choice than ever when it comes to Martech. But instead of jumping in, marketers and agencies need to take time to consider how to implement an effective system of Martech solutions.
They should map out their marketing needs and examine how they can build smooth and efficient workflows. It is important for agencies, in particular, to find solutions that integrate and work together to accommodate clients and exceed their expectations.
Choose tools that will get regular use and fulfill core needs to improve productivity. Agencies need to consider what will help them provide a high-quality service and look for tools which:
- Enable effective and efficient reporting
- Allow for client engagement and interaction
- Provide access for clients
Finding the right tools for your agency will help reduce costs, relieve pressure on resources and improve client experience. Check out these top marketing tools which can help agencies do just this.
1. For Project Management: Teamwork
Every agency needs to manage client projects in an efficient and trackable way. With multiple client proposals and projects, as well as the multiple team members working on each one, it’s important to have a tool to organize and track tasks in a clear way.
There are lots of project management tools that can significantly impact productivity, but Teamwork has one of the simplest layouts. It allows you to plan out tasks and projects and log documents, files and minutes.
You can grant access to clients deciding which projects they can access and their level of permissions. While Trello is a top organization tool too, the simplicity of Teamwork’s user-friendly layout is ideal for agencies. It allows clients to log-in and navigate a project easily. While a Trello-like boardview is also available for those who prefer to visualize tasks this way.
Teamwork allows for smooth communication and collaboration and is a great way to get client sign-offs. Assigning a client a task in Teamwork is a whole less awkward and allows them to check-in at a time that suits them. The automated emails can follow up on overdue activities for you.
2. For project management: GanttPRO
GanttPRO is one more project management tool that stands out among all the others, thanks to its intuitive and attractive interface. The software is based on a time-proved Gantt chart approach that gives a clear picture of all the project details in minutes.
GanttPRO easily allows clients or internal marketing teams to dive into every aspect of the project. For teams, the tool offers different roles permissions (Owner, Admin, Member) with specific cost values (per hour, per item, fixed cost). Thus, it helps managers distinguish on which tasks their team members work on and where exactly they have access to.
At the same time, GanttPRO allows for exporting projects from the tool to popular formats and even sharing them with third parties. It makes it possible to keep clients, stakeholders, or anyone else always in the loop.
Moreover, GanttPRO is a perfect tool for resource management. You can invite your colleagues to a project and assign tasks to them, while clients can be created as virtual resources without registration. With team collaboration, time logging, cost management, and reports, you can be sure everything is under control in your projects.
3. For resource planning & financial forecasting: Runn.io
Every growing agency, big or small, needs better visibility into its capacity and resources. With the in-flight of new clients, projects, and assignments, it’s very easy to lose track of your team’s capacity and overcommit at the end of the day.
Runn is a resource scheduling tool that helps you solve this problem and plan resources with availability in mind. It keeps agency leaders on top of their team’s allocations on projects and signals immediately when someone gets overbooked with work.
The tentative bookings feature will keep sales and delivery teams aligned by showcasing how new projects will affect everyone’s workload. What’s more, Runn has no equals when it comes to demand planning. It’s easy to see which role is in high demand based on capacity, workload, and utilization levels.
A cherry on top, Runn actually does the math for you calculating project revenue, cost, and profit. It pulls the necessary data from everyone’s rate card and generates a financial forecast, making sure you’re not going overboard with your scope and budget.
Long story short, Runn offers the visibility your agency needs to grow quickly while keeping control over its internal operations. It has a free limited version and if you want to get a subscription, it is also fairly cheap at $10/user/month.
4. For branding: Rebrandly
Rebrandly lets you create custom short links, which allows you to brand name on all the links you share. Using branded marketing links has a whole host of benefits, including:
- Boosting brand awareness and visibility
- Increasing CTR
- Providing link analytics and tracking
For agencies, there are even more perks. Branded links add a high-level of professionalism to your campaigns that will impress clients. The increased click-through rate and the ability to quickly build out retargeting ad lists with the link retargeting feature will also ensure your clients see immediate results when they start using your services.
Using branded links will also enable you to accurately track marketing activities and highlight to clients which ads and posts are coming from you. Using a workspace for each client will also improve the organization.
In terms of client communications, you can create custom reports to showcase link data or provide different levels of access to clients who can simply view the links created or even create their own.
5. For social media: PromoRepublic
PromoRepublic is an all-in-one platform for social media managers helping them to create, schedule and monitor social content. It’s ready-to-use post templates and Graphic Editor allows agency workers and freelancers to optimize content to suit each platform fast and efficiently. Then, the AI system will choose the best time to schedule your post.
Since social media marketing is closely connected with creativity, it’s necessary to generate interesting and valuable content quite often, which is hard to do even if you have a dab hand at designing and writing. PromoRebublic has a huge idea library where you can find a piece of content up to your liking. If you want to change something, you can use Graphic Editor and make as many changes as it is needed to make the picture look just perfect.
Agencies can use PromoRepublic as a collaboration tool. That means, as soon as you invite your client to approve or comment the content, he or she gets the opportunity to check out the content calendar.
Besides, you can get the white label solution too.
6. For lead generation: Albacross
The vast majority of the people who land your site will leave without signing up for your newsletter or filling in your form. Luckily, there is a way for you to identify who’s visiting your website, and re-engage them further down the road. You can do that using a website tracking tool called Albacross.
Once Albacross’s tracking script is installed, you can choose to receive daily, weekly or monthly reports telling you:
- Who’s visiting your site
- Which company they’re affiliated to
- Their company revenue + number of employees
- Their contact information
From there, it’s just a matter of identifying which leads you want to reach out to. So save yourself from all that trouble, and start automating your lead generation instead. Don’t worry – we’re not going to tell you to spend thousands of dollars on a pricey lead generation platform or system.
7. For analytics: ClickMeter
It’s a given that every agency will already be using Google Analytics to monitor website and web page metrics. Beyond this core tool, agency marketers should also consider tracking their links with ClickMeter so they can see exactly how visitors came to visit a website, as well as Kissmetrics to understand what exactly visitors to your client’s website are doing.
Using these tools together will provide a more complete picture and will help agency pros manage their campaigns more effectively and yield the best ROI possible for clients. URL tracking is the most accurate way to see which channels, posts and campaigns are most successful in driving visitors and this data is key to maximize traffic.
8. For reporting: Funnel
Funnel imports the data from all of the various tools you are using and brings them together in one dashboard. It is a great way to simplify and visualize all the different figures that are coming in. Funnel already integrates with loads of data-gathering marketing and advertising tools – 395 to be exact – so will likely slot smoothly into your workflow.
For agency staff, the big win is that client reports can be automated, increasing efficiency and keeping clients happy. The visual layout will also make it easy to analyze client performance and quickly spot if something has gone wrong or stopped running. For the agency, it takes a lot of manual work out of reporting. For clients, it provides transparency and trust. This tool is also scalable so can grow with your agency.
9. For communication and collaboration: ProofHub
All teams must have sound channels of communication and collaboration to succeed. ProofHub is a solution that takes care of just that and a lot more. It makes communication seamless and collaboration effortless.
The advanced kanban boards in ProofHub keeps the entire team on the same page. Managers can allocate tasks, track status reports and bring clarity about roles and responsibilities with Kanban boards. Everybody gets updated about task status with a single drag and drop.
Apart from that, ProofHub saves chaos caused by email threads and time wasted in meetings by features like Discussions, Announcements, and Team Chat, etc. Everybody on the team can be brought together in a speck of time with this amazing tool.
10. For meetings: Minutes.io
This handy tool lets you take notes quickly and efficiently during meetings. It means you won’t have to spend time afterwards perfecting the minutes and once the meeting is concluded, all attendees will receive them by email.
The notes look professional and will ensure that you and your clients are on the same page. The notes also feature your agency’s branding for a professional touch.
11. For file sharing: Google Drive
Google Drive has a lot going for it. Virtually everyone has access and knows how to use it, so there are no forcing clients to sign up. It is secure and cloud-based so people can access it from anywhere and will see the latest document version.
It’s also handy that you can simply copy the Google Drive link and pop it your project management system so everything is linked and organized. For agencies, the key is to have a solid structure and rules around the creation and storage of content in Google Drive. For storing sensitive files and documentation, Google also has some extra security options available.
12. For time management: Toggl
Whether you want to keep track of billable hours or simply boost your team’s productivity, Toggl tracks how long it is taking to complete tasks. It is a convenient way of keeping track of how much time is spent on each client and campaign. It also logs how your day was spent and which tools were used, giving you an idea of which tools are essential for your team.
Toggl has a Chrome extension and apps for both Android and Apple. It also has tons of integrations so it can seamlessly fit with current workflows.
13. For password security: 1password
With each new client comes a list of login credentials. If you lose one, reaching out for it once again can be awkward. But if they fall into the wrong hands, it can be detrimental to your relationship and business reputation. 1password is a great tool which provides a secure way to store passwords, as well as a user-friendly and efficient way of accessing them. It’s reasonably priced too.
With data security becoming more and more of a concern for clients and agencies alike, it’s important to have a system in place where sensitive information like passwords can be stored securely. 1password also ensures they are accessible to team members who need them without sharing them with the entire organization.
14. For customer relations: Salesflare
As well as a project management system, every agency needs a great CRM to streamline billing, invoicing, contracts and general communications. It can also make all the difference when wooing prospects and enticing them to hire your agency.
Salesflare is a CRM for “teams who thrive on technology” – its all about eradicating the manual input of data and automating your workflow. Just what an agency that is mindfully mapping out their workflows needs.
For example, one automation option is to automatically fill your contacts with the data from your agency’s database, email signatures, and social media sources. It tracks interactions with leads an automatically sends specific to-do reminders from the data it gathers.
Its email tracking is a big plus and the Gmail integration lets you manage tasks, accounts, and opportunities without leaving your inbox. It also integrates with Teamwork – and a thousand other apps – via Zapier.
15. For content collection: Content Snare
Collecting website content from clients is a major frustration in any web design or marketing agency. Using email and Google Docs often results in wasting an absurd amount of time following up, correcting issues and filling in all the gaps.
Content Snare helps agencies collect content in one place, with automated client reminders.
These ten tools with their wide-ranging integrations and time-saving features are great options for any CMO looking to improve their Martech workflow.
Author bio: Louisa McGrath is a content manager at Rebrandly, the link shortener empowering marketers to put their brand’s name on all the links they share. She can be seen blogging around Dublin city center, except on Sundays when she stays in to pore over the newspapers.