If you’ve read any of our previous marketing agency articles you know a few things:
- As an online marketer, you’re being called on more frequently. A third of chief marketing officers say that 75% of their budgets will be spent on digital projects in the coming years. So whether you’re a web designer, blogger, or social media manager, that means more work on your plate, and likely less time to accomplish it.
- The marketing landscape is changing. In 2011, there were only about 150 marketing technology solutions available to businesses. In 2012, that number more than doubled, and in 2014, it nearly tripled to 1,000. Today there are a whopping 3,500 different tools available to marketers looking to boost their productivity. Figuring out which best suit their needs is a major problem for many.
- Businesses that embrace technology are performing better. According to Salesforce’s 2016 State of Marketing Report, the highest performing marketing teams are ones that invest in marketing tools:
But – which tools should you be using?
As someone who’s likely bogged down with more agency work than you can handle, you have little time to explore what’s available to boost your business’s bottom line. So, we went ahead and did a little exploring for you.
Here are 20 marketing tools you should consider using when your agency is neck-deep in client work.
Cover all the social media bases with this one easy-to-use publishing tool. Attach media, and publish posts to Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, and LinkedIn now, or schedule them for later. Then, leverage Buffer’s powerful analytics to find out when your posts are getting the most engagement to optimize your campaigns going forward.
For some people, creating beautifully flawless graphics in Photoshop comes easy. Unfortunately, most marketers aren’t those people.
For the rest of us, there are tools like Canva, which allow you to choose from millions of images and add filters and text for presentations & social media graphics. So do yourself a favor and quit fumbling around in Photoshop, and try this simpler, free solution.
Want to know what people are saying about your brand on 100+ social networks? Just type your business’s name into the Social Mention search bar.
Or, use it discover more about the conversations surrounding a particular topic. See related keywords, hashtags, and even the people leading the discussion.
Import images from your computer, Dropbox, Facebook, or OneDrive, and edit them “like a boss” with this more basic Photoshop alternative.
Add text to photos, remove wrinkles from faces, and change textures & frames (along with other cool features) – then, turn them into a collage, a Facebook cover photo, or a custom image of your choice.
Is it “everyday” or “every day”? “Lose” or “loose”? Should you use “will” instead of “would”?
These are just a few of the questions Grammarly, a free add-on for Google Chrome, will help you answer during the painfully tedious proofreading process.
Built by the world’s leading linguistic authorities, the tool is touted as “the world’s most accurate grammar checker.” It will scan your writing for subject-verb disagreement, contextual spelling errors, and even enhance your vocabulary by suggesting powerful synonyms for basic words.
Leverage it on Tumblr, LinkedIn, Gmail, Facebook, your blog — and nearly anywhere else you write on the web.
With Buzzsumo, you’ll be able to find popular web content on any topic from any publisher.
Looking for sources to cite in your next article on headline writing? Type it into the search bar, and immediately see the most highly shared pieces on the Buzzsumo dashboard.
Not only is it a powerful tool for content discovery, but for monitoring and networking as well. The web-based platform allows you to listen in on online conversations surrounding your business and build outreach lists of powerful influencers.
If you understand how important headlines are, you’re probably struggling to pick a winner from the twenty-five versions you just wrote. Instead of pestering your coworkers to choose for you, head over to CoSchedule and use their Headline Analyzer tool. Its scoring system is based on real research that identifies powerful words and phrases behind the most compelling blog headlines.
It’s no secret that in marketing, visual content is superior to text in every way. The recent success of social networks like Snapchat, Instagram, and Periscope prove that.
So, instead of writing all your annual report findings in a lengthy blog post, turn it into a beautiful infographic with Easel.ly. Add stats, icons, overlays, and images quickly without the help of your design team.
We all know how big of a nightmare scheduling meetings with clients can be. You’re available when they’re not, they’re calling you during personal hours, and communication (along with your personal life) suffers as a result.
With Calendly, you’ll be able to set your availability and share it with others who can see the hours you have open. From there, they can quickly reserve a block of time they have free, too. Now your clients will understand when you can and can’t be reached.
Ever leave a meeting wondering how many minutes you wasted answering useless questions or engaging in idle chat? Well, now you can find out.
With Do, your meetings and hours get tracked so you can make decisions about how to collaborate with your team going forward. Maybe you don’t need that Friday afternoon get-together to wrap up the week — or it could be that Thursday works better for the whole office.
To begin making meetings more productive, create agendas before, take minutes during, and easily distribute action items after.
Pick a template, drag, drop, and edit. What Instapage’s software does for landing pages, MailChimp’s does for email.
As a subscriber, you and your team will be able to quickly design custom email campaigns and deliver them to audiences segmented into groups you create. Even set them up to send later. Then, leverage MailChimp’s analytics to improve all of your campaigns going forward.
With three different pricing options (one being free) the service has become a go-to for businesses and teams of all sizes.
How many emails do you think you receive daily from people wanting to guest blog on your website? 10? 20? 50?
TextExpander allows you to save custom text templates that you can import with the click of a button. Now, whether it’s an outreach email or a response to one of the many messages you receive on a daily basis, you won’t have to spend time writing every last word out.
There exist some tools that allow you to schedule and send emails to massive amounts of customers. But, what if you want something for your personal email?
This easy add-on will allow you to send messages to influential people like journalists, bloggers, and influencers when timing matters. Instead of sending that email on Friday afternoon, schedule it for Monday morning to be the first in their inbox when they flip open their laptop.
Dropbox is “one place for all your stuff, wherever you are.” When you download the software, you’ll be able to easily store files — photos, documents, videos, etc. — in the cloud, and access them on any device with the program.
Set up Dropbox to sync all your files automatically, and share folders with coworkers to make collaboration simpler.
Even if you find yourself using a device it’s not installed on, just head to the Dropbox’s website and log in to access everything you’ve saved on your account.
One of the most popular ways to store files online is through Google’s proprietary platform called “Drive.”
A free account will get you 15GB of storage — which is plenty if you’re a one-man team. If you’re bigger than that and saving to the cloud often, consider upgrading to get unlimited storage.
No matter your plan, you’ll be able to upload, access, and share your projects anywhere, across any device. It’s particularly useful for marketers on the go, and for businesses that require cross-team collaboration on projects.
Communication & Project Management
If you’re tired of long email chains with team members, Slack is the way to go. The widely anticipated messaging tool has lived up to the hype as one of the easiest ways to streamline organizational communication.
Use it to create channels based on topic or team, drag and drop files to send to members, and take advantage of its search function to find a previous message or conversation:
We here at Instapage use Slack, and we’re always learning new (and sometimes very fun) functions within the program, like the “/giphy” command. Type anything after it and get a fun little gif to share with coworkers — like this favorite of ours:
A project management tool, Trello allows administrators to delegate tasks using cards on topic-centered boards.
Working on a landing page that requires writing and an infographic? Assign both your copywriter and designer to the card and set due dates, write comments, and attach files pertinent to the project.
Trello makes collaboration between teams easy, and even integrates with some of the tools you probably already use, like Slack, Google Drive, and GitHub.
Used by organizations like Major League Baseball, Harvard University, and Uber, Asana is a productivity tool that allows project managers to assign tasks, create action items, and track work.
Mashable turned to the tool when communication between teams became too much to handle, and Darren Tome, VP of Product Development, loved it:
“I needed technology that would help us move fast. The members of Mashable’s product team were senior and self-directed, and we needed a lightweight way to make a to-do list, prioritize and ship things off. I’m familiar with many of the existing project management tools, and Asana is the first one I’ve tried that didn’t add any additional overhead to get things done…
Asana not only helps us get stuff done, but allows us to see a complete history of what we’ve done together and how we did it.”
Sometimes, no matter how many tools we have at our disposal, we still need an extra hand.
On Upwork (a marriage of oDesk and Elance), you can post job ads, interview freelancers, and hire contractors in a matter of minutes. Forget the paperwork and let the platform handle it all for you — including time tracking and payroll.
Monitor project progress with user screenshots, communicate quickly with staff and get more done than you thought possible in just a short amount of time.
If you feel like you’re about to go off the deep end like the mini golfer in the gif above, use a combination of these tools to manage increasing agency work.
And if you offer landing page services for your clients, don’t forget to give Instapage a try. You’ll be able to customize pages, and publish in minutes, and A/B test with ease. When your goal is to convert, only a landing page will do. Start building yours here.