Good news: whether you specialize in SEO, website development, or PPC campaigns, you don’t need deep pockets to integrate the best agency software into your tech stack. Sometimes the simplest, most popular, and less expensive options are the best.
Even more important than the software you adopt is how to implement it. A poorly thought-out introduction of new tools to your team or clients can derail projects and ultimately limit your agency’s ability to be successful.
This article outlines the best agency software options for every part of your stack and strategies for introducing them to your team and clients. With the right tools, you can efficiently carry projects from concept to completion.
How to use new software for agency-client collaboration
Many digital marketing and advertising projects will require software that facilitates collaboration between agencies and clients. However, thoughtless implementation of new tools can negatively impact agency-client collaboration, efficiency, project results, and ultimately, your bottom line.
Whether you need to introduce new tools to your clients or introduce software the client is already using to your team, there are a few simple strategies that can ease the transition.
Invite members from both the agency and the client to evaluate collaboration software
This option works in situations where both the agency and the client are already using different tools for the same purpose. For example, the project may require collaboration within a project management tool, and the agency already uses Asana while the client is more familiar with Trello.
In any case, ask representatives from the agency and the client to evaluate the possible tools before determining which one to use on a project. It may be that the client is unwilling or unable to adapt to the agency’s existing software, or one option has functions more suitable to the project than the other.
With representatives from both parties working together on a decision, you ensure greater buy-in on the software used.
Be mindful about who introduces new software to team members
Studies show that team members are more receptive to suggestions when they come from someone they’re familiar with. Therefore, if your agency needs to introduce new collaboration software to a client’s team members (and vice versa), the introduction should come from someone within that organization that people know, like, and trust.
Master the software before introducing it to team members
You wouldn’t introduce software to your team members that you aren’t confident using. Take time to familiarize yourself with the new tool before introducing it to others. This same principle applies when asking clients to incorporate your software for a project. Be sure to adequately train whoever will be facilitating the introduction within the client’s organization.
The best agency software for every part of your stack
Studies show that the top marketers have an average of seven technologies in their marketing stack, but it’s entirely possible to have more than that. Below are many of the highest-rated software for agencies.
The different channels and formats for PPC ads continue to grow each year, and the debate rages on about which perform best. Should you use paid search ads, and if so, Google Ads or Bing Ads? If you place ads on social media, should you go with Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Quora or Reddit?
The answer ultimately depends upon your client’s (or your own) budget, and the audience you’re targeting. Conduct plenty of research before deciding on which channel or combination of channels to use for a campaign.
As for search and display advertising, and retargeting, the following options are industry leaders.
It should come as no surprise that the best search advertising software is Google Ads. The platform is teeming with features that help you plan keywords and analyze reports so you can drive more traffic and analyze the results of paid ad campaigns:
Given that Google is the leading search engine with endless amounts of user data, it makes sense to partner with them.
When it comes to display advertising software, AdRoll is the top pick among digital marketers around the world. The platform is built to help ecommerce businesses attract more visitors, convert more buyers, and measure marketing impact.
AdRoll customers love it because the software offers a variety of easy-to-use ad templates, and it integrates with email and social networks, allowing you to advertise across multiple channels without any headaches in tracking campaign performance.
Criteo is the best choice for retargeting software, promising an average 13x return on ad spend. It operates by retargeting shoppers and showing them personalized video and display ads, while its machine-learning technology is constantly tweaking campaigns to improve performance.
SEMrush is the highest rated SEO software, and with all of its available features, it’s easy to see why. SEMrush can do things like help you plan PPC ad campaigns by giving you an overview of your competitors’ budgets, keywords, and strategies:
It also comes with tools that analyze website traffic, making this an excellent option for agencies who want to consolidate parts of their stack.
Moz Pro is another comprehensive and widely trusted suite of SEO tools. Functions like keyword explorer, site audits, and on-page optimization help you make sure your pages are ranking as high as possible. If they aren’t, Moz provides suggestions on what could be improved:
Moz Pro also comes with the ability to create custom reports and send them on a recurring schedule for clients.
The starting price for both SEMrush and Moz Pro is just under $100 per month. For agencies that don’t specialize in SEO or need an alternative while they grow, Google Analytics offers similar essential functions free of charge.
Whether you’re working with clients or team members at a distance, communication and project management tools are essential for a seamless workflow.
With features like simultaneous screen sharing and searchable, auto-generated transcripts, Zoom is the most comprehensive option for remote meetings:
Zoom also works on mobile, giving your team and clients more flexibility when joining a call.
To organize conversations around certain topics, ditch confusing email chains in favor of a tool like Slack. The messaging app is also free to get started, or you could upgrade to include group calls and guest accounts for a minimal fee per month.
Finally, Trello is a popular project management tool that makes it easy to see details such as deadlines, relevant documents, and which team member is in charge of a task:
For clients’ post-click landing pages, Instapage offers the industry’s first collaboration solution, which allows users to respond to comments, share pages, and provide feedback in a centralized location within the platform:
Instapage also makes it easy to create multiple personalized landing pages so you can micro-target unique audiences that no other software can match.
InVision is a good tool for agencies who need to design websites, apps, or other digital products:
It also allows for easy team member collaboration in the form of mark-ups and comments. However, the final designs are only prototypes, not publish-ready products like Instapage post-click experiences.
Attracting, pitching, and managing clients is no simple task. There are countless details to keep track of, like when they were last contacted, when you should follow-up, and what their communication preferences are. A customer relationship management tool (CRM) will make sure no customers fall through the cracks.
One of the top CRM solutions is Salesforce Sales Cloud. Sales Cloud can coach you through every step of a customer’s journey, giving you insights that will help you close more deals and faster. Plus, it has some of the most advanced and comprehensive features on the market for sales and service teams. Features include business performance analytics and lead predictions:
There’s also an optional AI component, which can show you the best leads and automatically input specific data. Overall, customers like how easy it is to tailor Sales Cloud to suit their business’s exact needs.
While the introductory rate is only $25 per user per month, the most customizable version is $150 per user per month, and you can add on the AI technology component for an additional $50. Most marketers opt for the free 30-day trial before committing to a pricing plan, though.
The next highest rated CRM is Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Sales. Like Salesforce, Dynamics 365 has a variety of powerful features that will help you better understand customer needs and close more sales.
Unlike Salesforce, the CRM already comes embedded with AI technology that automatically calculates a lead grade for each prospect. This quickly shows you which prospects are worth pursuing, and doesn’t cost extra:
Despite its robust features, it’s not overly difficult to learn the Dynamics 365 platform. Customer reviews highlight the ease of set-up, friendly interface, and flexibility when organizing customer data.
The full Dynamics 365 suite has solutions for marketing, sales, customer service, field service, and project service automation. Dynamics 365 for Sales pricing is based on per user per month, while the all-inclusive Customer Engagement Plan at $115 per user per month.
Analytics isn’t just for showing results to clients. The right tools can help improve your products, too.
Google Analytics is the most popular and free way of tracking a site or campaign’s overall performance. With analytics, you can see a bird’s eye view of how users are accessing a site (such as through email or Google Ads) and where most users are dropping off:
You can get even more granular by using heatmaps to see what’s working on your post-click experiences and what isn’t. Fortunately, Instapage already comes equipped with heatmaps built-in and you can also test variations of the same page to see which performs best:
With nearly 2,000 reviews on G2 Crowd, Marketo is one of the leading marketing automation solutions available. Used by enterprise teams at Audi, General Electric, and Panasonic — the platform allows you easy access to lead management, email and mobile marketing, and revenue attribution. Plus, their visual workflow lets you drag and drop while editing details as necessary:
Continue growing your agency with the best software available
Building out your marketing stack can be daunting. It takes time to research and select a new tool, let alone several. Plus, you need to be strategic in how you introduce new software to your team.
The right tools aren’t the only things you need to grow your marketing or ad agency. Review Instapage’s free guide, “17 Proven Ways to Grow Your Digital Marketing Agency”, to learn specific strategies for attracting customers, hiring the right team members, billing clients, and more.