Digital marketing agencies take on a range of tasks, from planning and executing to tracking and data analytics of marketing campaigns and more. Multiply this across a portfolio of clients and projects and you’ll get quite a busy schedule which is normal across any marketing agency.
The advent of marketing agency tools has made it possible to streamline project management and carry out tasks efficiently, at the same time generating positive results. Digital marketing tools are made to help marketing agencies scale their businesses, carry out better project management and help themselves and their clients hit set KPIs and objectives.
Being a digital agency, it is a given that most of the activities are carried out digitally and online. New marketing technologies, such as marketing automation software, SEO tools, and social media management platforms, can help plan out more automated workflows so that agency professionals can concentrate more on strategies and client reporting instead of tedious administrative tasks. This level of project management is in many cases a differentiating factor for marketing agencies, giving them a competitive advantage and gaining new clients from referrals and case studies.
So what are the 5 MUST-HAVE digital marketing agency tools for agencies to simplify collaboration and communication?
Why do marketing agencies need tools in 2022?
Simply put, digital marketing agencies, or any organization for that matter, needs excellent project management and workflow automation system.
And no, these aren’t just fancy platforms that don’t generate any ROI for your company. You want the right tool that gets you positive results and addresses the specific challenges you face as a marketing agency.
That being said, the perfect tool has to be able to accommodate the relevant needs and perimeters of the tasks for all your clients across a few categories and different industries. Considering that you’re not just managing projects internally, your solutions have to cater to multiple clients at once.
As companies across the world go through rapid digital transformation, the demand for digital marketing services will continue to soar. As a marketing agency, this is where you can step in and bridge the gap by providing expertise and the right solutions. It is also crucial that you are prepared for upcoming challenges by keeping close to emerging trends and the marketing environment, instead of having to run up to speed only when opportunities present themselves.
With the right digital marketing agency tools, you will be able to address several challenges at once and gain a competitive advantage in a saturated market. Did you know that lead acquisition and client conversion remain the top challenges for digital marketing agencies in 2021?
By adapting and keeping up with technology, marketing professionals are using technology as the driving force of their digital marketing services plan. This will also help them to scale their operations and manage their teams better.
Without further ado, let’s check out the digital marketing agency tools your agency will need to go up to new heights this year.
Digital marketing agency tool #1: SEO tool (Ahrefs)
If you’re in the marketing industry, you’ve probably heard that Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is the way to reach your customers. And it’s true!
There is a common misconception that SEO requires finding keywords and then using them to improve a brand’s visibility. While this is technically correct, SEO is in fact a multifaceted marketing strategy that requires a bit more work. There are many elements that go into getting more online traffic for businesses through search engines. But when done right, this could bring in a lot of organic visitors and lead to higher conversions.
This is why you need the right SEO tool to manage a complex system.
As an SEO management tool, the platform that you choose should be able to perform SEO-related tasks efficiently and accurately. First and foremost, it is important to understand the crucial aspects of SEO. As mentioned, there are a few elements, such as:
- Keyword research
- Content optimization
- Off-page SEO
- Local SEO, or ‘near me’ searches
- Search engine marketing (SEM) or Pay-per-Click (PPC)
As you can see, your digital marketing SEO tool isn’t one that just provides buzzwords and keywords and lets you do all the work. It has to have advanced features that can provide long-tail keywords and analyze content to see what can be done better.
Competitor research is yet another crucial element of SEO. You want to know what your client’s competitors are doing, what works, and what doesn’t. This will give you a benchmark on what are the best practices in the market and tactics that actually work. At the same time, it gives you alternatives to new and innovative solutions that can help give you and your clients an edge on the search engine results page (SERP).
Ultimately, you will want a one-stop platform that gives you an overview of multiple client accounts and manages your agency’s and their content without much clutter. This will allow you to increase brand visibility and traffic, and establish businesses as an authoritative and trustworthy platform to go to for information and knowledge.
It also helps your agency save time on tedious keyword research and analysis that can eat into precious time. Or, time that you could be used to cater to other aspects of your client’s business.
One of the most recommended SEO tools with great reviews is Ahrefs. This tool is widely used among businesses and marketing agencies as it has a robust website crawler and SEO audit platform.
Whether your team is just starting out or seasoned SEO experts, the Ahrefs platform is one of the most user-friendly interfaces we’ve seen in our SEO tool research. Besides keyword research, in which the platform lays out keywords and variations, alongside long-tail keywords and their scores, the platform also allows you to tap into their Site Audit feature. This allows you to see which areas of the website need improvement. For instance, if you’re missing alt-tags in the image code or have multiple broken links, this will be highlighted in the Site Audit.
Ahrefs also provides comprehensive competitor research that taps into your client’s competitor sites from the same niche to see what they’re doing in the SEO area. The software comes up with a score that you can compare against your own best-performing pages.
If you still need any more proof of how Ahrefs can help your marketing agency, they do set a pretty good example as one of the best SEO tools out there. Just search up any SEO-related articles and you’ll see that Ahrefs consistently appears in the top searches.
Digital marketing agency tool #2: Social media management tool (Buffer)
Okay, so you have a lot of clients, and they all need you to manage their social media platforms.
What do you do now?
When it comes to social media management, each business probably has more than one account. Now, take all your clients and their social media accounts, and you have a load of social media management to do.
More often than not, marketing agencies will have a social media team specially assigned to manage these activities. However, consider that they may not be as close to the account as the account managers, so it is important that the social media management tool you choose enables a steady knowledge flow among these teams.
Staying on top of tasks when it comes to social media management is one aspect that we constantly reinforce. This is because the world of social media is moving so rapidly, and there is always a constant flow of activity to help businesses stay relevant and up-to-date. With that in mind, your social media tool has to be able to keep up to speed and work almost in real-time when it comes to scheduling, managing and reporting.
So how do you pick the best social media tool for your agency?
It can be worth taking a step back to assess your own agency’s needs and culture, plotting this against your options to find which has the most synergy. Additionally, you’ll want a tool that enables real-time communication and collaboration between team members, while having the advanced features to boost productivity.
We find that Buffer is an extremely efficient social media tool that can help digital marketers manage their workflow across multiple accounts.
One great thing that this platform offers is a range of plans suited to every organization’s budget. It starts out with a free plan, followed by others at four different price points, and offers a suite of useful features with each plan. That being said, you don’t have to break the bank just to cater to your clients. It’s best to decide what budget works for you and how you can potentially use each feature for each client’s marketing campaign.
At first glance, the platform is largely intuitive and easy to grasp. This makes it easy for agency owners and team members to streamline their work and knowledge flow, especially for larger agencies where multiple people have access to the account.
This is especially useful in the growing age of the dispersed and distributed workforce. Now, you don’t need to host meetings every time you need to plan a social media calendar or review a client’s social media performance. All information is stored on the cloud, and it only takes working broadband access to tap into the plethora of useful information on one dashboard.
Buffer offers a multitude of features that help agencies and businesses publish, schedule, boost engagement, view data analytics, and promote team collaboration. Posts can be scheduled across different time zones and geographical locations. Marketers can also monitor engagement, reply to team members and provide custom reports.
Before we forget: the collaboration element. Buffer allows account managers to customize the level of access each team member gets. For instance, some team members will have to request for approval before posting while others get full posting access. Members can also assign tasks to each other and review activities across the dashboard.
Another aspect that Buffer users constantly rave about is their customer support responsiveness and useful content posted on their blog.
Digital marketing agency tool #3: Marketing Analytics (Google Analytics)
Marketing is all about understanding consumer needs, preferences, and desires and discovering hidden wants to effectively promote a brand’s product and services. Marketing analytics helps you understand your strategies and initiatives to validate activities and learn about opportunities and areas for improvement.
In a nutshell, marketing analytics is the act of measuring and analyzing marketing activities using data from various sources such as marketing channels. Think social media, SEM, email, and SMS campaigns. This will give you a better understanding of your client’s audience and the right ways to reach out to them.
The era of data-driven insights has enabled more informed business decisions to accelerate and optimize performance, and as an agency owner, it is crucial to place data at the forefront of your marketing initiatives to run better campaigns and create accurate client reports.
Data is used to learn what has happened, whether there are problem areas or missed opportunities that have been missed in the strategizing part. This will give you a holistic view of why things happened, explaining the results and occurrences.
For instance, if a campaign is underperforming and you want to understand why – both for future campaigns and to have a solid reasoning for the client – it can be helpful to refer to the campaign analysis.
Besides past campaign reports, having real-time status reporting can give team members an instant overview of their marketing efforts. This enables them to swoop in quickly and rectify any emergencies quickly.
All this data brought together will give you a substantial knowledge base on how to plan future campaigns, such as tactics that work well and those that have the potential to go wrong.
When it comes to having a marketing analytics tool for your digital marketing agency, it is important to have one that has predictive models that your agency can leverage to plan and strategize for the next campaign. Essentially, predictive algorithms plan for changes in the environment or consumer behavior so that marketers have a rough idea of how their efforts will pan out.
Having a data analytics tool is extremely useful for setting objectives, which is a crucial element for marketing success. With the right information, team members can plot their KPIs to be realistic and attainable, while still having a desirable result.
Google Analytics is one of the best tools for marketing analytics widely used by agencies, individuals, and businesses across the globe.
It can be overwhelming at first, especially if you’re new to market research, or have been doing reports manually before this. That is also because the platform has so many aspects and metrics that are available for businesses to utilize that it can be tough to know where to start.
On the dashboard, you’ll find eight main sections: Dashboards, Shortcuts, Intelligence Events, Real-Time, Audience, Acquisition, Behavior, and Conversions.
It might take some time to fully navigate these sections. Once you do, you’ll have an idea of where the relevant metrics are found and how to use them to your advantage.
Narrowing down on key metrics will give you an understanding on what pages to look at and help teams better navigate the platform. Some metrics that matter the most to marketers are:
- Engagement (e.g. Click-through-Rate, User Flow)
- Audience behavior
- Conversion metrics
You don’t want to just measure anything and everything. It all begins with a solid marketing strategy. Here, agencies will set out a plan of action based on a set of objectives and goals.
For example, if the client’s campaign goal is to increase website and brand visibility through SEO, you will need to track metrics such as click-through rate or traffic flow.
Digital marketing agency tool #4: Marketing automation software (SharpSpring)
When clients are demanding to see results and you are managing your own business at the same time, things can get… messy.
Time is of the essence in digital marketing agencies, and the right management tool will not just help you bring in a harmonious workflow, it boosts sales revenue for you and your clients. And when clients are happy, it leads to better customer loyalty and new business.
So everyone wins. But how?
Using marketing automation in 2022 is not just something agencies can overlook anymore. As the demand for digital marketing services increases, you’ll find yourself juggling more and more clients, along with internal employees.
Marketing automation is a powerful tool in the current business landscape as it helps agencies build high-value relationships with their clients, helps them reach their optimal performance, and ensures recurring and new revenue streams.
In the age of customer relationships, it is crucial to building meaningful relationships to ensure client satisfaction and gain their loyalty. Marketing automation software can do just that, and more. With built-in CRM features, prospect tracking, and management, digital agencies are able to keep in touch with and personalize communication for their clients at all times.
When it comes to client reporting, one thing that clients constantly ask for is to see tangible results. After all, what good is an untracked campaign? Marketing automation software tracks the consumer journey from start to end, providing comprehensive coverage of what has happened from the lead stage to the revenue stage.
This way, you’re able to prove to your clients that your work for them has produced measurable and positive results, instead of frantically explaining to them in terms they don’t understand.
It is also worth considering that most of your clients come to you because they do not understand the digital realm as much as you, which is why they are engaging the expertise of a digital agency in the first place. Having a platform that eases the transition to technology and provides a user-friendly interface can help clients adapt quickly and understand the value of automation.
Of course, not all software is created the same. Finding the right marketing automation software can leave you spoilt for choice. Here’s what we think.
Our best bet for a robust marketing automation platform is SharpSpring. This is software designed and targeted at agencies, so you know you’re in good hands. They’re an all-in-one revenue growth platform aimed at fueling business and agency growth through a set of expansive features and an agency-suited pricing model.
Their business funnel consists of 6 main categories: Marketing automation, Email, CRM, Sales Engagement, Social Media, and Ads.
Essentially, you’re getting quite a full set of capabilities here that can help you expand your outreach and lead generation efforts and convert them to sales.
The great thing about SharpSpring is that the entire toolset is designed to help your business grow through targeted communication and lead cultivating.
With their Smart CRM and Email Marketing features, agencies are able to craft campaigns that will lead to better conversions through personalized communication based on user behavior. We’re talking birthday emails, cart reminders, and more.
SharpSpring’s email marketing platform also enables users to track leads after they have clicked on a certain link, keeping a close tab on how their email campaigns are performing.
This level of meticulousness is applied through all stages of the platform’s advanced features, such as their digital forms, VisitorID to track every lead, and built-in 3rd party CRM integrations.
Team members can track their opportunities by identifying their visitor demographics and behaviors. Businesses can then constantly optimize their websites to target their most profitable and valuable leads, thus maximizing their revenue potential.
Digital marketing agency tool #5: Project management platform (ScaleTime)
When you think about the biggest challenges your marketing agency faces, what comes first to mind?
Many agencies, large or small, struggle with common challenges such as time management, especially since this is such a fast-paced industry.
Every day, clients come up with new demands and requirements that teams have to respond to and find solutions for. Pair this with your own internal business objectives and you’ll find that there is a wide range of projects going on at once.
Project management is an entire project in itself that is always ongoing in any agency. When it comes to scaling up, one thing is for certain: you have to manage your project management.
Sounds confusing, doesn’t it?
Well, it shouldn’t be. Having an excellent project management tool will give you the boost your agency needs to effectively build and manage a wide range of projects to grow your company.
For starters, defining the KPIs for project management will give you an idea of where you’re headed, so you can set a plan in action and find the right tools to achieve that.
KPIs, or key performance indicators, are a set of measurable results that tell you whether or not your project has hit its target goals. Generally, KPIs have to follow the SMART framework, which is:
By defining the perimeters and keeping within them, team members can avoid being overwhelmed by unattainable and confusing KPIs for their tasks. This will help boost productivity and efficiency while cutting down on time and cost.
It is also worth noting that not all clients are the same. More often than not, you’ll face a client that gives you a completely new set of challenges that invite in a bit more work than your team is used to. This is just something that all agencies go through.
But, you can’t just ignore them.
Dealing with a difficult client is a skill that agency owners and teams should possess in order to effectively handle it and reap the profits of a sale.
What you need is an actionable workflow.
A project management tool like ScaleTime isn’t just for managing internal projects. With a plethora of useful resources and checklists and templates for crucial stages in the client journey, companies can fast-track their progress to get positive results.
ScaleTime helps businesses and agencies with their scope of work by providing a one-stop platform for all communication and workflow matters, thus doing away with the third party platforms where crucial information can be lost.
With its scheduling feature, agencies can decide when and how they want to communicate with their clients, schedule meetings ahead of time, and set goals for each meeting.
For agencies, you’re handling hundreds, maybe even thousands of files at once. Having a lack of organization in this area could lead to a significant regression and slow down processes.
Imagine the time it takes to find a lost file. Now, imagine this happens almost daily, without the right folder structure. In a year, you could be losing hours and hours of precious time!
ScaleTime enables better workplace organization by storing all clients’ vital information in their system, and having it ready at all times for easy access.
Gone are the days when client folders are messed up, causing frustration and tension internally and externally.
As more companies go through digital transformation, the demand for digital marketing services will undoubtedly soar. As your agency steps into this new paradigm, it is vital to adapt to new world practices to keep up the pace.
Having a robust project management tool will not only save time and cost for your business, but it can also lead to higher employee satisfaction and enable them to better serve your clients.
For more information about ScaleTime’s services, visit our website today.