What Is Project Management

When you hear the word project, you most likely think of school. Or a gut-job investment property. Or worse — a dating prospect with tons of red flags but you’re so optimistic you think it’s a carnival.

However, projects go beyond the four corners of the classroom, housing market, and Tinder. Businesses and organizations take on projects, whether they be for the sole purpose of pulling in a profit or something else.

When we take on projects for profit, the main goals to realizing that profit are to complete tasks efficiently, maximize earnings, and minimize all possible expenses.

The best way to achieve these objectives?

With the help of a blueprint or a plan.

There’s a specific process in management that tackles how managers and team members execute projects. Referred to as project management, the Project Management Institute (PMI) defines it as:

The use of specific knowledge, skills, tools, and techniques to deliver something of value to people.

That means that in project management, we’re aiming for a predefined outcome, whether it’s for a long or short-term goal.

What Is Project Management

Project Management Approaches

Project management covers distinct phases, all of which are essential for a successful project. It includes various steps such as planning, execution, and completion.

Since projects exist for practically every industry, project management is also used across many fields, from engineering to academics, marketing to digital agencies.

As we all know, marketing is an important part of running a successful business. Organizations use marketing initiatives for their business plans to introduce themselves to their target market and establish brand awareness among potential customers.

This is where project management for marketing comes into play.

To determine whether marketing campaigns are on track, we use marketing project management to keep stakeholders informed throughout the project’s lifecycle. This way, all project teams have clarity and stay within the project scope.

Using project management in marketing also helps all members of the team meet customer needs and ensure overall project success.

In this piece, we’ll discover the basics of project management — its tools, elements, and types — that can assist us in handling and managing projects, no matter how big or small.

What is project management?

As we’ve mentioned, project management is crucial for a successful project, no matter its size or if it’s for profit or not. However, before we can learn the basics of project management, we must first answer the most important question — what is a project?

What Is Project Management

The PMI defines a project as temporary efforts to create value through unique products, services, and processes. This means that projects aim to increase the value of various offerings for the people benefitting from them.

You can also have projects whose sole purpose is to resolve a specific problem. For example:

  • Software development
  • Constructing infrastructures (bridges, highways, etc.)

One thing to remember when we refer to projects is that these are temporary efforts, meaning a project is not a recurring activity.

A project’s lifecycle has a defined beginning and end date, and the project timeline may be weeks, months, or even years.

Projects also have varying scopes. They may cover a lot of deliverables, goals, tasks, and come with various associated costs. Projects can be large or small, simple or complex.

No matter their specifics, a project aims to accomplish one or more of the following:

  • achieving a predetermined outcome
  • reaching a goal or goals
  • creating single or multiple deliverables

You may have heard project management and program management used interchangeably. But these are entirely different concepts.

Project management vs. program management

So, what’s the difference between program and project management?

Imagine your business as a railroad system. Your projects are the trains that pull different loads from team members to achieve your goals, which are usually finished goods or services. Project managers operate these projects or trains.

On the other hand, programs can be compared to your collection of multiple trains, all of which run on different tracks.

Despite this, your trains or programs are all headed to the same station — your business goals. Project managers direct the whole train station, making sure that all trains (programs) aim for the same goal.

In simple words, project management focuses on the efficient achievement of a predetermined goal, usually the delivery of a product or service.

Program management focuses on maximizing benefits for your agency through various tools and processes.

Who are project managers?

Each project has its own objectives, tasks, scope, and costs — all of which you need to fulfill to achieve successful project management. So, it’s crucial that knowledgable individuals with industry expertise manage your projects.

Referred to as project managers, project professionals, or project management professionals, these individuals oversee the project’s success and completion.

Project managers typically perform the following tasks:

  • Use different tools, techniques, and approaches to achieve project tasks
  • Help engage project team members and keep them motivated to complete milestones using a variety of skills and knowledge
  • They drive change to meet the needs of a fast-paced society with the completion of their projects

Current times have seen the emerging demand for project managers. After all, projects are present in every field. And each project needs the proper guidance towards completion and success.

The project manager and their knowledge

The guidance of a knowledgable project manager (PM) helps your projects reach a successful conclusion. PMs oversee the project team so that every task aligns with the project objectives and plan.

According to PMI, there are ten knowledge areas that a project manager should have a deep understanding of to be considered effective.

This management body of knowledge includes the following:

  1. Integration management — A project manager must know exactly how the specific project fits into the organization’s bigger picture.
  2. Scope management — Effective project management entails the creation of a management plan that defines and controls the project scope to ensure the project team stays focused on the tasks.
  3. Time or schedule management — Project managers should be able to find ways to manage multiple timelines and schedules to minimize delays.
  4. Cost management — Minimizing unnecessary expenses is essential for an optimal ROI. A project manager, then, should maintain a budget throughout the project life cycle with this aim in mind.
  5. Quality management — A successful project delivers quality goods and services. Project managers develop and implement quality control measures that ensure the same level of quality among various projects.
  6. Procurement management — Project execution may sometimes need the services of outside collaborators. An effective project manager knows how to seamlessly integrate outside help into their projects.
  7. Human resource management — Project teams are composed of human resources. This requires project managers to understand their team members and their dynamics, strengths, and weaknesses.
  8. Communication management — Effective communication is essential for collaboration. Project managers must maintain communication between teams and project stakeholders to keep everyone updated on the project’s progress.
  9. Risk management — Nothing comes without risks, especially large and complex projects. A project manager must be able to identify project risks and create resolutions to problems that may derail the success of a project.
  10. Stakeholder management — Other than the project team, the project stakeholders are important for the project’s success. A project manager must have the ability to identify the needs and responsibilities of different project stakeholders. They must ensure every stakeholder is given relevant information.

Anyone with project management aspirations can learn this knowledge through different courses, most of which can be found in the four corners of the classroom.

So, if you are planning to embark on the project management path, these project management certifications will help propel your career:

  • Project Management Professional (PMP) certification given by the Project Management Institute (PMI)
  • Google Project Management certification
  • Agile certification
  • PRINCE2 certification

Courses for these certifications are available mostly on the websites of the particular project management body. Check them out and see if you can take on the challenge of being a project manager!

Are project managers the only ones who need project management training?

Contrary to popular belief, project managers are not the only ones who need project management training.

All team members should be at least aware of and have a basic understanding of project management. This way, they will be aware of what is expected of them during the whole project lifecycle. Attending training sessions about project management can be a stepping stone for them to become project managers themselves.

Who knows — someone within your team may be the next project manager!

What are the elements of project management?

Aside from the different management bodies of knowledge, a project management professional must have a strong understanding of the different project components. They must be able to determine one component from the other and connect these components so they’re aligned with the project objectives.

Below are the four different elements of project management:

  • Resources — When we say resources, we don’t just mean tools and materials. In project management, resources extend to people, equipment, materials, software, hardware, and a lot more. Resources are anything that can be of use during the project lifecycle.
  • Time — Projects have a specific schedule to follow. They need a start date and an end date. So, project managers need to keep an eye on the clock. They can use task durations, project progress, milestone achievements, critical path, and even dependencies when keeping track of the project schedule.
  • Money — If money makes the world go round, then it can also jumpstart a project. Without money, you can’t pay your team or acquire the right materials and other components the project requires.Project managers ensure that there are enough financial resources to start the project. They also think about the project’s end result every time they make their decisions, and you guessed it — it’s money.
  • Scope — Determining the project’s scope may be difficult. After all, it can cover anything as long as it is related to the project. However, we should note that there are several factors that we should consider when determining project scope.Ask questions to identify the project requirements, how large and complex the project will be, and the objectives. Project management professionals should ask these important questions as they will heavily impact the project scope as well as the other critical elements like time and money.

What are some different project management methodologies?

Just like any other process, project management follows a specific set of guiding principles to plan, manage, execute, and complete projects. We can call these guidelines project management methodologies. They determine how your team will prioritize and complete project tasks.

Here are some popular project management methodologies that project managers apply when initiating, planning, and executing projects:

  • Waterfall project management — AKA linear project management approach and traditional project management approach, waterfall project management includes stakeholder requirements gathered at the project’s start. After determination and gathering, a sequential project plan is created.
  • Agile project management — Often prescribed as an iterative solution to inefficient companies, agile project management changes traditional project management by not following rigid project plans. Instead, this methodology implements short sprints of work referred to as agile sprints.
  • Lean project management — Also referred to as lean manufacturing, lean project management aims to improve processes. This project management methodology was first introduced to manufacturing companies and spread throughout different industries over the years.
  • Kanban project management — Originating in Japan, Kanban project management uses visual boards and cards to manage work. Agile and scrum teams often use this project management type.
  • Critical chain project management — Focusing on resource management, critical chain project management uses the theory of constraints in managing projects.

What Is Project Management

There are still other project management types you can use for your projects such as Six Sigma, Scrum project management, and PRINCE2. However, the ones we mentioned in this list are the most common.

Agencies and companies use various types of project management methodologies. The thing is, no project methodology fits one specific industry.

You have to check which suits your operations best and which can bring results and optimize your processes. Project management allows you to evaluate your operations so that you will be able to implement which methodology best suits your company culture.

What are the phases of project management?

To achieve project objectives and goals, managers have to follow a certain project management process. This allows them to plan carefully and make the right decisions for the project.

The project life cycle is broken down into five project management process groups. At every phase of the project, a series of processes occur, all of which are crucial before you can move to the next stage.

Here are the five stages of the project life cycle:

Initiating phase

Before project planning and execution can start, project managers have to first check whether the project is valid or not. We must remember that for an approving body to give the green light, the project must bring value to its intended end users.

The initiation phase is also where project managers determine the key elements of the project such as the stakeholders, required resources, risks, estimated costs, and the project timeline.

In doing so, they use the following project management documentation:

  • Business case
  • Feasibility study
  • Project charter

Once you’ve got the required documentation with T’s crossed and I’s dotted, it’s on to the planning phase.

Planning phase

After the project manager has found out whether the project is valid, it’s time to create a project plan. This will serve as the action plan in the execution of the project from start to finish.

A project plan covers every project management area such as the project scope, budget, and timeline. Important milestones for the project are also determined in the planning phase.

Here are some of the contents of the project plan and what they cover:

  • Project schedule — This defines the timeline for resource allocation and task execution. The project schedule can be monitored with the use of time tracking and other task management tools.
  • Project budget — This is the estimated project cost. Project managers aim to not exceed the overall project budget.
  • Work breakdown schedule — This is a project planning tool that helps managers visualize all the activities, milestones, and deliverables defined in the project scope. Through this, project managers can determine which tasks to prioritize.

What Is Project Management

Executing phase

Now that the initiation and the project planning phases are done, it is time to execute the plans. The manager will talk with the project team about how they can meet the project objectives and goals they’ve outlined.

The executing phase is also where teams work on the tasks assigned to them and determine whether they’ve achieved any of the milestones provided in the project plan.

In simple terms, the execution phase of the project is where the magic happens — project team members complete their assigned tasks with the project manager overseeing progress.

Monitoring and controlling phase

When the project has been executed, the manager has to ensure the deliverables are high-quality and meet business standards. This is where the next stage of project management takes place — monitoring and controlling.

Here, the project manager has to monitor the progress and performance of the project parts, making sure that the project stays on schedule and within budget. This is also where quality control takes place to ensure the quality of the goods and services the project produces.

When a manager monitors and completes reports, they may encounter some issues with their variables. When these arise, they can apply all the necessary corrective actions so that the project stays on track.

Closing phase

The final phase of the project life cycle is called the closing phase. This is where the manager and team can conclude the project.

As the name suggests, this phase is when the final project deliverables are presented to all stakeholders or persons concerned with the project. This is the manager’s opportunity to review project leadership, as well as the whole project life cycle itself.

Is communication important in every direction of the project?

Yes. A thousand times yes.

As we mentioned before, you can’t move to the next stage of the project management life cycle without completing the former stage.

Also, when project teams communicate with each other, they can find any issues at any level or stage of the project life cycle. This not only makes it easier for the project manager but also for the whole team.

What are project management metrics?

It’s important in project management to track your progress. One effective way of measuring project progress is to use specific project management metrics for comparison.

These are factors that can guide you in determining your objectives, as well as clarify the management process.

Also, project management metrics allow you to track your performance and make improvements if necessary.

Here are some project management metrics you can use to track project progress:

  • Schedule — Take a look at your project tasks and milestones. Determine if you’ve achieved them on time in accordance with what you’ve estimated in your planning phase.
  • Budget — Check whether your project progress matches the amount that you’ve estimated and budgeted. Often, going over budget is a result of poor planning.
  • Scope — Project tasks and deliverables are products of the project scope. However, there are times when scope creep occurs during project execution leading to delayed delivery.So, make sure you match your tasks and deliverables to your scope. And, clearly define your project scope during the initiating and planning phases of your project.

What are project management tools?

Project management, like any other framework and process, utilizes tools and techniques to achieve its goals and objectives.

Here are some project management tools that project managers use for their projects.

Project dashboard

Project managers use the project dashboard to monitor costs, tasks, and the overall project progress. This helps managers determine whether the project is on the right track or not.

Project management software

The tools we use for project management cover a lot of tasks, from scheduling to documentation. Technology has provided us with software that contains all tools necessary for project management. But finding the best project management software for a specific project isn’t easy.

Managers have to consider several factors as there are many alternatives to choose from. It’s a good idea to use assessments to determine which you can use for your project.

Project management workflows

A project management workflow represents a sequence of tasks needing completion in order to mark a project completed, a goal reached, or a process step finished.

Project management workflows are used to break down complex tasks and processes into smaller steps and arrange them into a logical order sequence. This way, the project team can easily accomplish their tasks.

Why do we need to have project management workflows?

These workflows allow project managers to check whether work gets done without any bottlenecks or stoppages. In short, project management workflows allow the project team to work smoothly during project execution.

Creating, standardizing, and optimizing your processes with project management

One of the biggest benefits of project management is the standardization and optimization of your operations. Project management allows you to maximize all your resources while minimizing your costs.

Unfortunately, many agencies still ignore this helpful methodology and risk their projects going awry.

If you’re still undecided about whether to apply this methodology, here are some benefits of project management when it comes to the optimization and standardization of your operations:

  • Improves clarity since it eliminates the need for the project team to use guesswork or time-consuming research.
  • Guarantees quality as tasks become pre-defined and optimized.
  • Promotes productivity for the project team as they won’t need to comb project documentation for answers.
  • Boosts the project team’s morale since they can be proud of their results and mastery of the process.
  • Whenever applicable, this perfects your team’s customer service capabilities as they can handle every query in the best way possible.

When you apply project management concepts to your workflows, you standardize your processes and eventually optimize your workaround time. So, you finish your projects within your budgets and timelines. But your team also gets to allot critical bandwidth to more important, urgent matters.

Conclusion: Project Management is Worth the Effort

Project management is no easy feat. But like most things difficult, it’s worth the effort.

With the right project manager, knowledge and skillset, project completion can be achieved within budget and deadline consistently.

Here are some important reminders to use every time you take on a project for your marketing agency:

  • Project management is the application of specific knowledge, skills, tools, and techniques to achieve a predetermined goal or objective.
  • Many elements make up project management, all of which are dependent on each other.
  • Project management undergoes different stages. Projects cannot move to the next phase without completing the former.
  • Project management has different methodologies that project managers can choose from. Choose the methodology according to your business needs.
  • There are tools and techniques that can help ease the work for project managers and the project team itself. Research the best tools and methods for your brand.

We’ve provided this simple guide on project management to help you with your projects, whether they’re small and simple, or large and complex.

But if you’re still a little shaky on how to effectively manage your projects, well, let us adjust our cape.

Cape adjusted. Download our free project management checklist to see whether your project team has what it takes to deliver a successful project!

Effective Tips for How to Assess Employee Workload

If you think the manager is the key to a project’s success, you’d be mistaken. While PMs are critical to team dynamics and productivity, they aren’t the boots on the ground.

It’s your employees who are the ones working their magic on the front lines. Without their efforts, achievable deadlines are missed. Clients are pi$$Ed. And cashflows fail to persist.

Your best laid plans go bust if you can’t manage employee workloads effectively. But if your project manager knows how to assess employees’ workload, the entire team (and project) will benefit.

When team members mesh together perfectly, performance is optimized. Workloads are more efficient, and bandwidth is freed up, allowing more time to focus on the most difficult tasks and pressing matters.

In many cases, an employee’s overall workload directly impacts their performance. So, if you effectively manage their workload, they can work more effectively. Workers will be less stressed, and more focused.

You see where this is going, right? The better your workers, the better your business.

So, how can we determine whether the right employees are assigned to the right task at the right time?

In this piece, we’ll learn how to assess the workload of employees to determine whether they are working efficiently through a process called workload management.

What is Workload Management?

Workload management is distributing the workload among team members in the most efficient way possible. It also tracks utilization, employee performance, and individual KPIs.

The correct distribution of workload sets employees up for success. With workload management, work is distributed equally. So, each employee has a fair share of the tasks they must complete.

Is workload management the same as time management?

No.

Workload management is an effort to increase efficiency among teams. As you probably know, efficiency goes beyond workaround time and tasks.

Workload management differs from time management in that it is a strategic approach as it plans, estimates, and tracks all the project tasks teams must deliver. This enables managers, and the team, to balance workload demands for all individuals and groups involved.

Workload management also allows the team to adhere to any schedule commitment made to the customer.

Why is Assessing Workload Important?

When it comes to projects’ success, every team member and employee is crucial. They determine the overall project performance. Effective teams contribute to KPIs and reduce the risk of employees becoming stressed and burnt out.

Developing intelligent workload management processes also ensures management and clients that all the tasks are completed ASAP. It also prevents employees from feeling overwhelmed and overworked.

In other words, assessing workload is a way of making sure that employees are satisfied with the amount of work on their plates. They’re happy to work hard and feel satisfied after they clock out.

After all, job demands, intellectual demands, and job satisfaction are all related. Job satisfaction decreases when the job demand is too high and increases when intellectual demand increases.

Improving Workload Management in the Workplace

Now that we know the importance of workload management, the next step is to start improving everyone’s workload management.

In this fast-paced world, clients have high demands for quality service. But that also means that sometimes, employees’ plates become overloaded and tasks are left unfinished.

Fortunately, there are techniques you can use that will help you improve workload management.

Here are five steps you can put into action when managing your team’s workload.

  1. Determine your team’s workload and capacity.List all tasks each team member needs to complete. That way, you can visualize and clarify the project scope, and record your past activity.In determining workload and capacity, you need to understand your milestones and timelines for the various projects and deliverables. You also must determine your team’s bandwidth, with consideration of all tasks and projects your team is currently working on.If any urgent work is needed, prioritize that.
  2. Assign your resources and break down each employee’s workload.
    When allocating resources, consider their urgency and prioritize accordingly. Assign priority work first before assigning any other tasks.Also, allocate the hardest and most complex tasks first so that employees have enough time to finish them. Use a calendar to mark the start and end dates for the various work assignments so you can keep track of deadlines.
  3. Follow up with your team members so you can adjust the workload as necessary.
    As a manager, you’re responsible for monitoring project progress. You also need to observe your employees for signs of stress or overwork.You can initiate team meetings to keep tabs on what your team members are experiencing during the project’s phases.
  4. Improve your tools and methods during heavy workloadsLet’s face it. Workload volume is unpredictable, even if you’re a productivity expert. So, it’s crucial that your team can adapt.For example, when you sense there’s too much pressure on your team, you can scale back on the team meetings and start thinking of ways you can communicate more quickly and efficientlyIdentify time and work management methods that suit each employee, along with letting them learn time and project management skills.
  5. Use a work management tool.Of course, you can always use a tool to help you more effectively assign tasks.Work management tools can either be analog— whiteboards and flip charts — or digitally-based online tools.Work management tools, particularly online ones, have the advantage of consolidating information in one location, allowing team members access to that information all the time, immediately.Workload management tools also help you quickly identify conflicting deadlines and priorities. These tools also provide you with complete visibility, an overview of resource allocation, and notifications for due dates and milestones.

These five steps can help you improve your team’s work efficiency, effectiveness, and overall work culture. You’ll see that your employees manage their workloads better and can deliver more quality work.

Plus, they’ll have more time for self care. And we can always use a little more of that.

What Are Workload Management Tools?

As we mentioned in the previous section, workload management tools are beneficial to the project manager and the team in completing their assigned tasks. These tools help employees understand and monitor their assignments, deadlines, and resources.

Here are some ways that workload management tools can support your team:

  • Resource management tools allow managers to look at resource allocations in the big picture, making it easier to shuffle resources when the need arises.
  • With automation software, tasks and tickets based on employee capacity can be routed. Automation can also help with prioritization and tracking, as well as increase back-office output.
  • Work and resource management tools help in predicting possible problems through analysis of historical patterns and revealing patterns of peak activity for each team and for each role.
  • Work management platforms can reveal work patterns among employees, making assessments and evaluations more objective and professional.

Work management tools can be a paper diary, a planner, or even enterprise collaboration software.

You can use these tools to start communicating with your team if you spot any inconsistencies or anomalies in their work patterns. This way, your team can implement effective communication to improve the whole team’s performance.

Task Management Software

Work management tools cover a variety of features, including task management. This software allows you to allocate resources according to your employees’ capabilities and capacity.

In other words, task management software helps you to assign the right task to the right person at the right time.

There is a wide range of task management software you can choose from. There are our recommendations:

Wrike

Wrike is a task management software package intended to streamline internal project management and collaboration processes among team members. Its easy-to-use features allow easy collaboration, no matter where each team member is located.

This cloud-based platform has features covering:

  • Gantt charts
  • Calendars
  • Custom dashboards
  • Real-time updates

Wrike also has specialized packages for teams and businesses engaged in marketing, creativity, and service delivery. You can track the time it takes to complete the task with timesheets tracking totals.

Although Wrike is a great workload management software package, it’s on the pricey side with its per-user and per-tier monthly subscription.

ClickUp

If you are looking for a platform to organize your projects at a glance and collaborate with your team and track their progress, then you want ClickUp.

The software has a user-friendly and customizable interface, making it easy for teams to collaborate and learn to use.

ClickUp’s features also allow you to track your entire project from the very beginning until completion. You can manage employees using a variety of tools, from List, Box, Gannt, and Boards that can help you save time.

ClickUp has three pricing tiers you can choose from. But if you’re on a budget, you can also try it for free!

Asana

If you like to create individual workspaces where each member can make their own to-do lists, then Asana is perfect for you.

This platform allows you to create workspaces for the team so that each person can work on their own tasks within a specific workspace.

This feature means that Asana is highly customizable and perfect for teams with unique needs.

Monday.com

Another well-known workload management tool is monday.com. It’s an open platform that lets teams create and shape the tools they require to complete their assigned work.

With its apps and integration, monday.com helps your team boost alignment, efficiency, and employee productivity.

This platform is also useful for industry-specific projects with its specialized tools such as the Monday Marketer, Monday Sales CRM, and Monday Dev.

Zenhub

For agile software teams, Zenhub is the go-to workload management tool. That’s because it enables software development teams to build their code better and quicker, no matter the size of the team.

The platform has automated agile features, real-time roadmap visibility, and insights into employee productivity.

With its agile capabilities and automation features, Zenhub keeps teams productive, aligned, and working towards a common goal despite working long hours.

Smartsheet

Dynamic workload and employee empowerment make Smartsheet a smart choice for many project managers. This platform allows the dynamic planning, execution, and reporting of work at scale for many teams.

Using a tool like Smartsheet results in more efficient processes and innovative solutions for organizations, leading to better business outcomes.

With its secure and scalable features, Smartsheet connects not only the individual team members, but also the entire enterprise. This gives flexible solutions for the changing needs of dynamic work across different teams and roles.

Zoho Projects

Designed for small and mid-sized organizations, Zoho Projects offers features such as project scheduling and budgeting. This cloud-based platform allows you to define your project tasks, assign work to respective teams, and estimate costs.

Zoho Projects also allows you to follow up on current tasks and automate document processes.

Zoho also helps managers prepare business reports and create management summaries in the productivity reports section. It also offers convenient visual representation tools like Gantt charts.

You can also use Zoho to break down complex tasks into subtasks and create milestones and to-do lists.

Teamwork

Specifically designed for client work, Teamwork is a workload management tool for delivering work on time and within budget. The platform can help your team minimize client chaos and further understand profitability.

Organize workflows and schedules without hassle, and integrate your workflows with ease with other applications within the user-friendly Teamwork dashboard.

How to Boost Productivity and Efficiency

Assigning work to the right people is a difficult task. Employees need to balance their projects and all the work and deadlines that come with them.

There may also be a time when the task at hand doesn’t fit with their skill set. This is why we need to apply techniques and methods to accomplish goals and meet achievable deadlines that work for individual employees.

Here are some tips on how you can boost employee productivity and efficiency.

Determine Capacity Levels

Maximizing the time and talents of your team members requires you to have a clear and full view of their capacity and availability.

You have to be aware of the times when your resources won’t be available so you can assign a task to someone who can do the job.

Split Work Evenly Between Staff

Contrary to popular belief, several people working together on a task does not always go well in resource management.

In fact, there’s a possibility that this can only prolong the working time and can leave other members on standby.

This is why as a team manager, you must assign work according to your employees’ capacity, skills, strengths, and roles.

Check Project Statuses and Adjust Accordingly

Now that you have assigned tasks evenly, monitor the team’s progress. Check with your team to see if they agree with the goals you’ve set and whether they think you’ve given them achievable deadlines.

If your team members face unforeseen challenges, you can adjust accordingly. Your employees will feel you’re listening to their opinions, suggestions, and difficulties.

Prioritize the Work Sections

Tasks have varying levels of complexity and difficulty. If some of the tasks at hand are urgent, prioritize them. Do not worry about other tasks! You can assign them after the prioritized work has been finished and delivered.

Doing this allows your team to have longer times to finish the task and increases the chances of them producing quality results.

Communicate Effectively

As in any relationship, effective communication is crucial. But in project management, communicating effectively with your team ensures that every member understands the tasks they have and their deadlines.

When there’s efficient communication among the team, employees are assured they can get answers to their questions and that management take their concerns seriously.

Avoid Multitasking

Multi-tasking may be an impressive ability. But when optimizing work, it’s a no-go. After all, having to complete multiple tasks at once causes employees to feel overwhelmed and stressed.

Make sure to remind your employees to focus on one task at a time.

Avoid Perfectionism

Completing a project for a client may prompt us to be perfectionists. This is good if we know how to keep it under control. But if perfecting each deliverable causes the team to do multiple reworks, then it is already causing a delay in your project’s overall timeline.

Also, being a perfectionist in the workplace can cause stress for your team members, which will heavily affect their productivity.

Set Your Team Up for Success

As a manager and leader, you want your team to be successful in every project they venture into. This means you have to build your team so they have the appropriate skill set for any project they take on.

In setting your team up for success, you can share your knowledge with them so they can have a deeper understanding of their roles and responsibilities. So, be sure to provide workers with training and courses aligned with their skill set.

On the other hand, when you’re already working on a project, set attainable goals and expectations to further set your team up for success. This way, they stay motivated during the entire project life cycle.

How Workload Assessment Leads to a Healthier Workplace

Workload assessment leads to an even distribution of workload among team members. The right employees get the tasks that are appropriate to their skill set and capacity. When this happens, they’ll enjoy working on their assigned tasks, and won’t feel stressed or overwhelmed.

When your team members are feeling excited to get to work, the overall workplace environment becomes healthier, and employees will work more efficiently. You will be more likely to meet client expectations without a fuss.

Final Thoughts on Workload Assessment and Management

Like any other activity, project management is difficult, especially since the project involves many people — from start to finish. People have varying levels of skills, abilities, and availability. This is why we should understand our employees first before we can assign any work to them.

The good thing is that workload assessment and management are there to help project managers find the right people for the right tasks.

Workload management considers every team member’s capacity and availability when tasks are allocated and assigned. With this, project managers can see what their employees are capable of and can match their skills with the appropriate tasks.

In conclusion, to better manage workloads, apply the following tips:

  • Determine capacity levels
  • Split work evenly among staff members
  • Check project statuses and adjust accordingly
  • Prioritize the work sections
  • Communicate effectively
  • Avoid multitasking
  • Avoid perfectionism
  • Set your team up for success

When all these issues are considered, employees will finish their work on time without feeling stressed or overwhelmed.

So, how are you managing your project management? Let’s pave the way for the ultimate success of your project.

Download our FREE project management checklist to wrangle that giant project beast with ease.

Types of Advertising Agencies and the Best of Each

Types of Advertising Agencies And The Best of Each

You could have the secret to eternal youth in your product line. But if no one knows it exists, well, you know what they say about bears and farts in the woods.

Ultimately, the success of a business relies on sales growth and trajectory. But to get that sweet, sweet sales growth, you need an effective marketing strategy. The marketing team must develop engaging content and ads for retaining and gaining new customers.

Sounds good. What could possibly go wrong? A lot.

You could have an excellent marketing team with talented people on the roll call. But not all company marketing departments successfully build their own organization’s branding.

That’s why they outsource to advertising agencies to create effective, branded ad campaigns to augment their in-house marketing efforts.

Why use an ad agency?

The beauty of advertising agencies is that they specialize in creating a unique campaign for every client. This tickles the target audience’s interest and makes the brand’s goods and services memorable.

When companies need specialized expertise, an advertising agency can assist them in sustainably growing their business without spending too much on financial resources and time.

So, if you want to know how an ad agency can benefit your business, you’ve clicked on the right page.

In this piece, you’ll learn what an advertising agency is and the different types of advertising agencies so you’ll know who to contact for your business needs.

What is an Advertising and Marketing Agency?

Types of Advertising Agencies And The Best of Each

Advertising agencies provide businesses and organizations with creative professionals who have the knowledge and industry expertise to plan and execute marketing and advertising efforts and initiatives.

The experts at these organizations choose the best form of advertising for their clients. They ensure that their ad campaigns are integrated into the lives of not only their existing clients but also their potential customers.

What Roles and Services Does an Advertising Agency Generally Offer?

At the heart of an advertising agencies service is brand building. Advertising professionals assist in all advertising phases for their clients, from planning each ad campaign to assessing whether the campaign successfully reached the target audience.

Here are some examples of the most common types of services an advertising company offers:

  • Ad Campaigns

An advertising agency produces campaigns to meet specific client business or awareness goals. Ad campaigns are linked ads focused on conveying a single brand message.

Usually, ad campaigns are implemented to support a broader marketing strategy designed to generate sales, leads, and conversions.

  • Social Media Management

Over the past few years, social media use has increased. As a result, marketing departments have started to go where the target audience is, through social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, TikTok, etc.

Also referred to as online marketing, social media management includes pay-per-click (PPC) ads, targeted content, search engine optimization (SEO), and more.

  • Content Creation

Content creation intends to hook the target audience’s interest and win their trust, then convert them to paying customers.

Since popup ads are as annoying as a stubbed toe, advertising agencies have started to woo their target audiences with targeted content in blogs, social media posts, and others, often through SEO. Ya know, stuff that doesn’t pop up unannounced and uninvited.

Types of Advertising Agencies And The Best of Each

  • Graphic Design

Ads are usually more appealing to the target market when they’re a visual representation of the product or service being advertised. This is why advertising services include graphic design.

These visual concepts inspire, inform, and captivate their target market, from the company logo to publication designs and websites.

  • Strategic Planning

No plan? Then plan to fail. A marketing agency builds a creative strategy and plan, and sets objectives, all for the goal of executing the campaign successfully.

Difference Between Traditional and Digital Marketing Agencies

Over the years, marketing has evolved from Ancient Roman graffiti on the walls of Pompeii, to newspaper print ads, to TV commercials, all the way to social media ads and SEO. The appearance of new ad channels raised the question of what to call these new forms and the agencies that produce them.

Traditional ads

An advertising agency that produces newspaper ads and other print advertisements is what we call a traditional advertising agency. So, whenever you’re in the armpit of Satan subway, and see an ad for a new movie, remember that a traditional advertising agency created it.

Digital ads

Meanwhile, a digital advertising agency focuses on creating ads using digital channels such as TV, radio, and the Internet. They’re in charge of creating engaging digital or online content that can convert viewers to customers.

So, whenever you encounter an ad before your TikTok video starts, remember that a digital marketing agency made it happen.

In short, the main difference between a traditional marketing agency and a digital advertising agency is the channel or medium used to send the marketing message.

Traditional advertising agencies use traditional media, such as newspapers and magazines, whereas a digital advertising agency utilizes digital media, such as websites and social media.

In the next sections, you’ll find some more examples so you can choose the best service possible for your brand.

Different Types of Advertising Agencies

    1. Traditional Marketing Agencies

This type of marketing generally uses traditional media to reach local, regional, or national audiences.

Despite the growing digital world, traditional media is still prominent in delivering information to the target market, especially to a local audience that’s targeted to a specific geographic area.

If you’re looking for advertising business agencies focusing on traditional advertising, many ranking websites have named Ogilvy the best advertising agency in the industry.

The agency offers service across the following areas of business:

  1. Brand strategy
  2. Advertising
  3. Customer engagement and commerce
  4. Public relations and influence
  5. Digital transformation
  6. Partnerships

What sets Ogilvy apart is its streamlined internal processes combined with siloed functions in separate offices. This structure of operations creates a seamless experience throughout all aspects of an ad project.

But, due to its reputation, Ogilvy’s clients are mostly large corporations, which means that it’s not very accessible to small businesses unless you’re willing to part with a kidney.

    2. Creative Agencies

A creative ad agency fuses traditional advertising strategies with the latest technologies and trends to create campaigns using the most effective channels for their clients.

Types of Advertising Agencies And The Best of Each

A creative team will include graphic designers, web developers, advertisers, and a content team. They might also offer technology to help you market your goods and services more effectively.

Some creative agencies specialize in a specific type of marketing. For example, they may offer services like:

  • Online marketing
  • Video production
  • Social media management

Our pick for the best creative ad agency is Studio B Films in Berkeley, California. Their innovative team can produce high-quality video for the web, television, and even live event coverage.

Despite its big reputation, Studio B Films takes on clients from small and mid-sized companies. They have hourly rates between $50 to $100 and work on projects starting at $10,000.

    3. Digital Marketing Agency

Digital ad agencies create and launch marketing campaigns through social media, pay-per-click (PPC) advertising, and SEO.

To understand digital marketing agencies, you must first learn how they launch their ad campaigns.

Drum roll, please.

  • Search Engine Marketing (SEM)

SEM uses paid advertisements to appear on search engine results pages (SERPs). Digital advertising agencies bid on the keywords users might enter when searching for a certain product or service. This allows them to place their ads alongside the results of the search queries.

  • Social media (SM)

Social media marketing helps you engage with your existing customers and to reach new ones. This technique uses social media to build your company’s brand and drive website traffic to increase sales.

  • Pay-per-click (PPC) advertising

In this marketing strategy, a digital ad agency pays a publisher every time their ad link is clicked. This strategy is usually seen on search engines like Google and Bing and social networks like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

  • Dev Shop

Also known as a web development shop, a dev shop provides services related to building new web applications or improving existing applications.

    4. Full-Stack Agencies

Full-stack agencies (also known as full-service agencies) can work in a wide range of marketing disciplines.

They don’t specialize in just one marketing area. Instead, they have practical knowledge in all areas of your company’s online presence. A full-service agency can operate comprehensive campaigns from the initial phase down to the finish line.

Our best agency for full-service advertising is Ignite Social Media. Though it has social media in its name, this advertising agency has the capability and knowledge to create strategies and ad initiatives for a full spectrum of industries.

Types of Advertising Agencies And The Best of Each

Some of their offered services include the following:

  • Social strategy development
  • Content creation
  • Influencer management
  • Community management
  • Reporting and analytics
  • Media buying
  • Crisis management
  • Promotion

Ignite’s prices can go as low as $5,000, making it affordable and accessible to smaller brands.

Agencies Focus on Conversion

Conversion is the completion of a desired action that the target audience takes.

For example, a conversion occurs when a Facebook user clicks on your ad or views a video ad, then takes action considered valuable to you, such as purchasing your product, signing up for your subscription, contacting sales, etc.

Advertising agencies keep track of conversions, as conversions determine where a purchase came from. It helps you and the advertising team better understand and optimize the campaign’s performance.

Recap and Next Steps

Effective marketing strategies and campaigns increase your sales and enable you to achieve your goals. While it’s possible to do this in-house, sometimes, you’ll get more bang for your buck if you hire an ad agency.

Let’s recap:

  • Advertising and marketing agencies assist businesses in creating marketing and advertising efforts through careful planning and execution.
  • There are many types of advertising agencies that respond to a specific marketing strategy and channel.
  • Traditional advertising agencies execute advertising initiatives through traditional media channels such as newspapers and television.
  • Creative agencies fuse traditional advertising methods with new technology to create campaigns using the most effective channels.
  • Digital ad agencies create ad campaigns specifically designed for digital platforms such as social media.
  • Conversion rates determine if an ad campaign is successful.

Your goals, audience, and brand is going to determine which type of marketing and advertising you need to move the needle forward for your business.

Once you’ve got a good idea of what your business goals are, then you can determine with a substantial degree of accuracy if you should go in-house or ad agency to reach those goals. Download our FREE checklist to see which path you should take for best results.

Then, contact us and upscale your potential for success!

 

What is the role of a project manager?

Is your business scaling? Congrats. Reaching that next shiny new level of business growth is a huge accomplishment.

But, hold up. Scaling is great and all. But if you don’t do it right, your business will suffer. The grey hairs will sprout. Disaster follows!

It’s not all doom and gloom. That is, if you have a project manager at the helm of the business growth ship.

What?! You don’t have a project manager! Or even know what one is!

Let’s fix all that. Keep on scrolling to learn what a project manager is, what they do, and how to become one.

Project planning and the pros who do it.

Knowing what a project manager does will help you find the right one for your business. Most projects require management from the first stage onward to succeed. And a project manager is responsible for seeing projects through from start to finish.

A project manager is responsible for project management processes, such as:

  • Planning
  • Monitoring
  • Executing
  • Controlling
  • Accounting

Every company needs project managers to ensure that jobs are smoothly managed. Project manager make a huge difference between the success or failure of a project.

So, what is the role of the project manager? What are some key project management responsibilities you should know?

First, let’s dive deep into what project management roles are.

What is the Role of a Project Manager?

the role of a project manager

A project management career carries a lot of responsibilities. A typical project manager job description includes:

  • Planning deliverables and milestone schedules
  • Designating project resources
  • Preparing budgets
  • Monitoring progress
  • Communicating with investors and key stakeholders
  • Delivering milestones

Although that list isn’t exhaustive.

Some of the most successful project managers have obtained Agile project management certifications and are capable of waterfall project management. These in-demand candidates can work effectively on different projects, including marketing, construction, HR, and software development projects.

Project managers work with all levels of an organization — from business executives and senior managers to individual employees. They also work with external stakeholders such as suppliers, subcontractors, and clients. Therefore, they need to have strong organizational and problem-solving skills.

A project manager is responsible for coordinating multiple activities and ensuring that each activity is completed on time, within budget, and with the necessary quality. They need support from senior management, without which projects may fail.

Project managers will:

  • Create a project management plan
  • Assign responsibilities to individuals or groups
  • Ensure that deadlines are met
  • Provide guidance on how best to structure a project
  • Ensure that all required resources are available
  • Determine who is responsible for each task on a given project
  • Monitor progress throughout a project
  • Take appropriate action when problems arise (e.g., cancel activities or reschedule if necessary).

Bottom line, the project manager has to monitor everything that’s going on throughout the entire project life cycle.

So, let’s get into the different responsibilities that a project management professional must do in more detail next.

Key Responsibilities of Project Managers

the role of a project manager

How can a project manager plan, oversee, and deliver a project successfully? Well, let’s see what more they are responsible for to ensure the work runs smoothly:

Unites the team

A united team will work towards a common goal, while a divided team spells doom for a project. Project managers are aware of this and always strive to keep the team united.

A united team means that members trust each other. But how can you build trust between members of your organization?

Well, you must ensure that each member understands their roles and responsibilities. In addition, team members should also feel their feedback matters.

Project managers also encourage the team to achieve the organization’s objectives. They may develop a plan that accommodates every team member so they can work more effectively and bring out their full potential. Sometimes, project managers will give reviews of team member’s performance to motivate them.

Motivates Team Members

 

A sure way of motivating your team is through team building. Team building boosts morale during a project’s life cycle and after a challenging project.

Project managers can organize fun team-building exercises or happy hours where members can unwind. Or even give bonuses whenever teams exceed expectations.

Delegates Responsibilities

Project managers delegate responsibilities to qualified team members for a project to be successful. When a project is delegated efficiently, you free up time to focus on other high-value activities and oversee the project with the confidence that the team will do a good job.

So, project managers must match the team members’ competency to a specific task. In cases where the organization’s staff is unqualified, you’ll need to set aside a budget to hire a freelancer for the job.

You can also arrange for team members to study courses crucial to your organization, as this will be beneficial and cost-effective in the long run.

Communication

A project manager should practice and encourage open communication. Open communication makes it easier to discuss deadlines, milestones, and status, ensuring the project is on track.

Communication can take many forms. Depending on your goals and the project at hand, it could be weekly or monthly reports, emails, calls, daily check-ins, or attending meetings.

Always remember that every participant in the project is essential, and their opinion matters.

For this reason, foster an environment where there is open communication and where employees can freely express their opinions and concerns.

As a result, team members will feel more appreciated.

Communication is also essential as it will help you identify whether the project is on track or whether there is a potential roadblock that needs addressing.

What are the Daily Responsibilities of a Project Manager?

Project management professionals need more than just technical know-how to handle different projects. They need to have a business mindset and be adaptable to every situation. PMs should also possess conflict resolution skills and exhibit leadership qualities that encourage team morale.

A project manager is like a bridge between upper management, key stakeholders, and team members working on a project. So, project manager roles and responsibilities may differ because of company size or industries. But the same rules apply across the board.

A day in the life of typical project manager will look like this:

  • Updating stakeholders
  • Organizing teams
  • Motivating the team
  • Checking on team members
  • Delegating
  • Checking in on deadlines
  • Reviewing budget sheets
  • Checking performance and metrics
  • Performing risk management analysis

Additionally, a project manager can also look like an air traffic controller. And a deadline babysitter.

Project Manager’s Role as “Air Traffic Control”

Project managers are responsible for guaranteeing that all deliverables follow a specific path, are moving along it appropriately, and at the right pace so they hit deadlines.

They also supervise each project team member responsible for each specific deliverable. In addition, project managers break projects into tasks and subtasks, define milestones, and highlight project dependencies.

For project managers, we recommend using a project management tool so they can oversee their projects successfully. This will help them see who should be doing what, who is available for work, unavailable, if milestones have been achieved, and how far along the project is.

Project Manager Role as Deadline Babysitter

Every project has a deadline that must be met. and meeting those deadlines often involves several moving parts that need monitored and overseen. So, a project manager has to establish that team members are edging toward the deadline with each passing day.

A project without a deadline tends to lag because team members may not be motivated enough to do the project.

However, the project will be successful when you set small daily goals or deliverables that each member has to deliver. PMs have to keep team members accountable and monitor each progress.

Project managers should also remember that following deadlines is major part of time management. Having a PM with great time management skills leading the team boost employee morale and engagement.

Workers are happier when they don’t have the deal with the immense pressure of completing last-minute, surprise tasks.

A Project Manager Masters the Art of Cost Efficiency

Profit makes a business stay afloat and thrive. And a good project manager understands that. PMs must make sure that the project stays within the allocated budget.

Doing this boils down to having an airtight (and following it) planning process in the initial stages. In addition, PMs must make sure the project can be completed within the proposed budget.

A successful project manager oversees each department to ensure they work according to the specifics and without excessive spending during the project life cycle.

A Project Manager Plans Ahead

 

A good project manager looks ahead at what comes next.

What projects need to be planned for the next quarter, month, or weeks? Then, how can the project manager start putting the pieces in place to complete them appropriately?

Planning is the key to success because it helps you avoid pitfalls and keeps your project on course. You can make better decisions since you’ll have weighed all the options and chosen the best ones for your project.

When you plan, you’ll know what options are available in advance and know what to do when a sudden change occurs.

The worst thing a PM can do is work on a project without a plan. Without a plan, it’s way too easy to make bad decisions. Or miss important details that could affect the project’s deliverables or even cause problems later on in the project.

Here’s a three-step approach to developing a solid project plan.

Understand the project scope

The best way to plan ahead as a project manager is to ensure you understand the project’s scope well. This will help you determine how many resources you need and what they should be.

Set up time estimates

A successful project manager then determines how much time it will take to complete the project and then divide that time into smaller increments to estimate how long each task will take. This tactic also works when a project manager plans a budget and timeline.

Allocate resources to tasks

Once a PM has all this information, they start to plan their work. The first step is to identify all the tasks involved in completing the project and assign them accordingly so that everyone knows their job responsibilities.

Becoming a Project Manager

Various institutions like the Project Management Institute (PMI) and Project Management Professional (PMP) teach project management roles and offer project management certifications. Google also offers a Project Management Certification.

But a candidate doesn’t have to start there. Chances are, their previous positions required them to use a lot of project management-related skills, such as:

  • Leadership
  • Communication
  • Organization
  • Budgeting
  • Risk management

Project manager salaries depend on the level of skills and responsibilities in your organization. However, given the nature of their jobs and the weighty responsibilities, they are compensated well for their work.

The role of a project manager is crucial in any organization.

Since project managers are in charge of the whole project, they must maintain quality, seamless communication, time, and update the stakeholders. They need project management software that will help them track time, tasks, costs, procurement, and project progress.

Key Takeaways

To recap, project manager responsibilities involve:

  • Uniting the team
  • Motivating team members
  • Delegating responsibilities
  • Enabling effective communication both with project team members and stakeholders.

So, if you want to scale your business and keep your customers happy, you need a dedicated project manager holding it all together.

It’s a tall order. But there are a lot of tools and processes available that can help PMs sail through their jobs and keep the project team on schedule and engaged.

Managing a team can be challenging but possible with the correct information. Download our project management checklist here to get your free guide to effective project management.

6 Free Project Management Software Options to Keep your Team on Track

Importance of project management software tools

It’s a hectic world out there. One way to make it less so? A project management tool.

So, what exactly is a project management tool?

Basically, a project management tool is software that helps you plan, execute, and manage tasks.

The agency life is a complicated one, and requires you to wear many hats. But alas, you’ve only got one head to put them on. At least, at one time.

A project management app or similar task management tool helps you keep your head, and your cool, when things go pear-shaped at work. As they inevitably like to do. It also enables you to wear many professional hats with ease.

Common features of project management apps

You can use a project management tool for organizing many different tasks, including:

You can use a project management tool for organizing many different tasks, including:

  • Marketing
  • Construction
  • Software development
  • Event planning
  • Tasks management
  • Team collaboration
  • File sharing
  • Project tracking.

In addition to task organization, a project management tool also helps you and your team stay on track, on time, and on budget with various project tasks.

Money makes the world go round, and budget management is a critical part of any project. Project management software can help you track your budget and ensure that you’re spending within your means.

The types of budgeting features that most project management tools have include things like expense tracking, invoicing, and cost analysis.

Team collaboration is another important feature of project management software, allowing team members to communicate as they complete various tasks and milestones.

Team collaboration features often include chat, video conferencing, file sharing, and task management.

This all sounds good, right? Well, it gets even better, harried project manager.

Project tracking is yet another handy-dandy feature of the most popular project management software tools.

If too-many scheduling mishaps have you counting down the days until sweet, sweet retirement, then you need project management software asap. It tracks progress and ensures that your project remains on schedule.

Project tracking includes milestone tracking, task lists, timelines, and so much more.

Selecting the right tool

Selecting the right cloud-based project management software for your needs can be daunting. There are various options available on the market, each with its unique features and pricing structures.

So, when selecting project management software, you’ll need to consider your budget, the size and scope of your project, and the features you require.

Once you’ve chosen the right software and implement into your agency processes, then it won’t be long until you’ll be managing projects more effectively.

No matter what, project management software is a valuable asset to any project. And getting it to run more smoothly. Selecting the right software for your needs ensures that your project is well-organized and on track for success.

Why do you need project management software?

Do you want to scale your business from a one-person back bedroom operation into something that sells for enough money that you can spend your retirement days in effortless sunshine?

Then to do that, you need to build a great business and team.

And that’s why you need project management software. And even better, if it’s a free project management tool.

Let’s get into the various types of project management tools and software next.

Email is not the best way to manage projects and tasks

Email is inefficient. There, we said it. And it’s a huge time waster in terms of managing projects.

You’d be better off working with an A4 diary and a fountain pen. At least then, you could easily see what needs to be worked on next. Or you can just continue to get lost in never-ending email threads.

How about no? Ditch the email and go for project management software instead.

Cloud-based project management software systems streamline project management and increase productivity. These systems allow for task assignments, deadlines, progress tracking, and real-time collaboration.

Email can’t do that.

Free project management apps also provide audit trails to see who did what and when. Email can’t compete with that kind of efficiency and transparency.

So, if you’re serious about managing projects and tasks effectively, you need to use project management software — not email.

A project management app helps managers integrate processes, people, and data. It automates project management tasks and project management responsibilities.

If that sounds a bit highbrow, we can assure you it’s not. Once you start using free project management software, you’ll wonder how you ever managed projects without it.

But if you’re a big email fan, don’t worry.

Project management software can be a valuable tool for managing email communications on projects. While email is often the primary method of communication for project teams, it is not the only communication channel project managers need to consider.

Project management software can help project managers track and manage communications across multiple channels, including:

  • Social media
  • Instant messaging
  • Video conferencing

Project managers can use this software to ensure that all project communications are captured and stored in one central location, making it easier (and faster) to find critical information.

A quick word about “free” project management software

There’s project management software for every business size. But that doesn’t mean the free version is suitable for everyone. Although it might work for you. YMMV and all that.

Depending on the size of your business, the free version of project management software can cost you more money than an upgrade to the paid version. That’s because features like automation and time tracking can save you valuable time and energy. Often, they aren’t included in the free version.

Investing in paid project management software is a smart move for large teams if you’re serious about growing your business empire.

Free project management tools we recommend highly

Many free project management tools are available today, each with different features.

At ScaleTime, we’ve done all the heavy lifting for you and saved you the brain power so you can quickly discover the best project management solution for your business.

Here are six popular (and free) project management software tools we’ve personally used and recommend, their best features, and the things they don’t do so well.

Our top six project management tools

Asana

Asana is one of the most popular project management tools on the market, and for a good reason.

It’s simple to manage tasks, and features include project templates, task dependencies, and Gantt charts.

However, one downside of Asana is that it can be challenging to keep track of tasks not assigned to you.

Asana project management software is more straightforward and visually intuitive than most other software solutions. You can quickly move your task and assign work with the convenient drag-and-drop feature.

Asana is fast becoming the project management software solution for individuals and small businesses who want something that’s easy to use and doesn’t require much training.

Project management features:

  • Project templates — Asana offers templates for common types of projects, making it easy to get started with the proper structure and process.
  • Gantt charts — Asana’s Gantt charts help visualize project timelines and dependencies, so you can better plan and execute your project.
  • Time tracking — Time tracking in Asana lets you see how much time is spent on each task so that you can optimize your project timeline better.
  • Task dependencies — Asana enables you to create task dependencies to manage project dependencies better and avoid conflicting deadlines.
  • Commenting — Commenting in Asana lets team members discuss tasks and projects in one place, making it easy to collaborate and stay on the same page.

Monday.com

monday.com is another free and popular project management tool. You can create project boards, add tasks and subtasks, assign project members, set deadlines, and track the team’s progress.

You can also add files and attachments to project boards so everyone can access the most up-to-date project information.

monday.com integrates with various other software platforms, making it easy to stay connected to your team no matter where you are.

Whether you’re managing a small project or a large-scale initiative, monday.com has the tools you need to get the job done right.

Project management features:

  • Real-time collaboration — monday.com allows users to collaborate on projects in real-time.
  • Visual project management — The software uses a visual project management system, which makes it easy to see what needs to be done and who is responsible for each task. This system helps improve project efficiency and ensures that all team members know their roles and responsibilities.
  • Multiple project views — monday.com offers multiple views of projects, which means that users can see the big picture or focus on specific tasks.
  • Flexible project management — The software can be used for various project types. This flexibility makes it an excellent tool for businesses of all sizes and ensures that it can be adapted to meet the changing needs of any organization.
  • Outstanding customer support — monday.com offers superior customer support, giving users help when they need it.

ClickUp

ClickUp is the most feature-rich project management software on this list, which sometimes can overwhelm new users with the seemingly endless array of setup choices.

However, if you take the time to learn how to use all of its features, you’ll find that ClickUp is a potent project management tool that can help you get your work done more efficiently.

Users can choose to create project boards that reflect their specific workflow. Or they can use ClickUp’s pre-built templates to get started quickly.

With ClipUp you can have different dashboards and spaces, add tasks and subtasks, create Gantt Charts, assign project members, set deadlines, and track progress.

Additionally, ClickUp provides a wide range of features and integrations that allow users to customize their experience.

As a result, it can help you not only complete projects on time and within budget, but also identify opportunities for improvement in your project management process.

Project management features:

  • Time Tracking — ClickUp allows you to see how much time your team is spending on each task and project. In addition, it can help you identify which tasks are taking longer than others so that you can adjust your project plan accordingly.
  • Task Views — Choose from 11 task views, including lists, kanban, and calendar views. Users can configure their preferred display layout individually.
  • Priority Tasks — Quickly and easily “flag” tasks that need priority.
  • Calendar Sync — Sync your Google calendar both ways.
  • Flexible project management — ClickUp can be used for different project types. Arrange and track all your project tasks and get an overview of your project progress with the Gantt Chart tool and other tools the software has.
  • Templates — Find different project management templates or create them according to your needs.
  • Task dependencies — ClickUp lets you create task dependencies. You can highlight tasks acting as “blockers” to complete other tasks.
  • Real-Time Updates — Text updated in a ClickUp task is viewable straight away by other users.

Google Workspace (formerly Gsuite)

Google workspace is not so much project management but is more of a suite of tools that helps with user collaboration.

Google workspace is the best cloud-based office suite available. It provides an all-in-one solution for project management, file sharing, and collaboration, including Gmail, Google Docs, Sheets, and Slides.

It also integrates with other Google products such as Calendar and Drive. Google workspace is very user-friendly and fast and helps you manage various tasks.

Google Workspace features:

  • Project management — Get an overview of your project progress with the Gantt Chart tool, and share project files securely with your team using Drive.
  • Email — Gmail is a powerful email platform that offers features like conversation view, search, labels, and filters to help you manage your inbox. With Google Chat, you can communicate with colleagues in real time, and with a calendar, you can easily schedule meetings and keep track of events.
  • Cloud storage — Drive provides a secure place to store your files in the cloud so that you can access them from anywhere. With Docs, Sheets, and Slides, you can create and edit documents, spreadsheets, and presentations collaboratively with your team.
  • Document collaboration — With Google Docs, multiple users can work on the same document simultaneously. See who’s editing and leave comments for specific document sections.
  • Real-time communication — With Hangouts Meet, you can video conference with up to 250 people. You can share presentations, slideshows, and notes during the meeting for a more interactive experience.

Teamwork

At its most basic, project management software helps you track and collaborate on tasks related to a specific goal or project. But it also give you valuable insights into how your team works together, where bottlenecks occur, and where you might need to make changes to stay on schedule.

The best project management software gives you a centralized place to track your various tasks, deadlines, and progress. But it also offers powerful features for tracking time, managing resources, and monitoring project performance.

Project management features:

  • Time Tracking — The best feature of Teamwork is its time-tracking functionality.
  • Resource Management — See which team members work on tasks and projects. It can help you identify overloaded team members and which ones are underutilized.
  • Project Performance Monitoring — It allows you to see how your project progresses over time. In addition, it can help you identify areas where your project is falling behind schedule or over budget.

Trello

If we rate all project management software in features, then ClickUp would come out on top, and Trello would be at the bottom of the list. But don’t let its simplicity fool you! Trello is excellent project management software, and with good reason.

Trello uses a kanban style visual board, and it’s simple to create new lists and then add tasks (cards) to the lists. Each task can have attachments and due dates. Trello is brilliantly simple!

The main drawback of the free version of Trello is that you can have a maximum of ten projects. But that should be enough to get anyone started.

Project management features:

  • Board view — Board view is the default view when you first open Trello, giving you an overview of all your projects and tasks. You can create new boards for different projects; each panel can contain multiple lists.
  • List view — List view lets you see all the tasks in a separate list, which is helpful if you want to focus on one project at a time. Or if you need to see all the details of a particular task.
  • Card view — This view allows you to see a specific task’s details on one screen, which is helpful when working on a complex task with many steps.
  • Calendar View: Calendar view lets you see your jobs in a calendar format if you need to see when assignments are due or if you want to plan your project.
  • Activity view — This view shows you all the activities on your boards, including who made what changes and when tracking progress on your project and keeping everyone accountable.

Project management software: Punchline

In today’s fast-paced business world, it’s more important than ever to streamline your workflows and get the most out of your team. That’s where a project management tool can come in handy.

Keeping everyone on the same page and assigning tasks to the right people ensures that every project is completed on time and within budget.

Not only that, but you can also keep track of progress and identify any potential bottlenecks before they become a huge problem.

With so many benefits, it’s no wonder that project management tools are becoming increasingly popular in businesses of all sizes.

If you want to improve your team’s productivity, you’ve got to jump on this bandwagon. Remember that you have free project management software options to do it, from the most simple tools like Trello to the even most robust ones like ClickUp.

  • Asana
  • Monday.com
  • ClickUp
  • Google Workspace (formerly Gsuite)
  • Teamwork
  • Trello

Get your project managers the app they need for task management. At least one of these project management tools will be a great solution for you and your team.

In the meantime, download our ScaleTime Project Management Checklist to help them improve their work.

How To Manage Multiple Projects

managing multiple projects

We can think of many things more pleasant than managing multiple projects at once. Toothaches for starters.

But more often than we’d like, we’re often faced with the need to manage multiple projects simultaneously.

Unfortunately, that typically means conflicting priorities, competing deadlines, and getting lost in the too-many details.

Situations like this are anxiety-central and tend to negatively impact the entire team. But it’s not all doom, gloom, and despair when you must manage ALL THE TASKS AT ONCE!

Other project managers have been here too, and they’ve found creative solutions to this conundrum.

Here are the best tips for managing multiple projects simultaneously from the pros who’ve been there, done that, and gotten the t-shirt.

Pick a Project Management Software

As a project manager, one of the most significant investments you can make to increase productivity is to find suitable project management software to manage multiple projects.

As project managers are regularly required to manage more than one project at a time, a project management tool will undoubtedly ensure that all your projects are well organized. And housed on the same platform.

In addition, a project management tool contains key features like:

  • Roadmaps
  • To-do lists
  • Activity history
  • Integrations
  • Tracking and prioritizing capabilities
  • Scheduling features

Some popular project management tools are Asana, Notion, Confluence, and ClickUp.

Managing a project involves so many details that it becomes harder to keep track of them all when they live on different platforms.

So, having elements of all your projects in one project management tool allows you to track project progress faster, view and manage resources, and increase productivity.

How this works is you input details for each project on its dedicated page. You can then decide to view a single project in more granular detail. Or view similar projects in the same group to get a higher-level overview of your progress.

Create a Project Management Strategy

managing multiple projects

How nice would it be to simply hope for the successful completion of the projects we have to manage for multiple clients, and it just sorta all works out on its own?

Dreams are for sleep, not work.

Instead, how about we take the one step that helps us stay organized while promoting resource management?

This step is to create a project management strategy.

You have probably managed at least one project in the past and, therefore, have an idea of what it takes to manage a project from start to finish.

Your duty as a project manager is to create a project schedule for the different projects and define the strategies you need to implement to manage the projects effectively.

We hear those wheels turning.

Are you thinking of what your project strategy will ultimately need that will help your team balance multiple projects with the greatest of ease?

You’re in luck. Here’s how to get started.

Define Your Goals

managing multiple projects

Set clear expectations as you define your goals.

At this point, it is best to have a list of ‘must-haves,’ ‘good-to-haves,’ and ‘unnecessary.’ Without clear expectations, the team is prone to taking on anything that seems exciting, which might not be valuable for the project.

It also helps to avoid taking on extra work from the client that is not within the scope of work you committed to doing.

Defining your goals includes:

  • Identifying those goals
  • Creating a task list
  • Establishing the success criteria for each task

With these details well documented, the project team will better maximize their time and meet deadlines.

Of course, defining your goal does not guarantee changes won’t come up within the project. However, if they do, you should peruse and streamline the changes to avoid getting sidetracked.

Also, allow room for challenges within your project goals and come up with possible solutions to these setbacks before they occur.

Identify Project Scope

The project size affects everything, from the budget, to the talent needed, and the time it will take to complete.

Identifying the project size, or scope, gives insight into the proposed timeline and resource allocation and whether they’ll need adjusting.

Perform a Risk Analysis

Project risk management is crucial in determining the success of all your projects. Every project has risk factors, and identifying risks is part of our project managers’ duties.

If possible, have a contingency plan for each identified risk. They may not be perfect, but they should be enough to manage and contain the risk should it become a reality.

Create Milestones and Set Priorities

Managing multiple projects can only be made possible if there are ways to track each step of the completed work. This is why milestones are needed.

Milestones allow you to track work by examining the deliverables for each phase. Milestones help you establish project priorities as well. So, start with tasks requiring immediate attention and work your way up.

Document

“Documentation is a letter you write to your future self,” said the brilliant Damian Conway.

The human mind forgets details faster than we would like. By documenting every step of your project creation process, you have a detailed account of all that went into the project.

This is especially helpful for the project after it’s done. Without thorough documentation, you’ll be unable to accurately evaluate what you did and how you can successful implement it into other projects.

Documentation also helps in creating templates that can streamline future projects and boost team efficiency.

Evaluate Finished Projects

managing multiple projects

One of the best ways to improve our performance is to analyze the processes we created to successfully complete various tasks.

This analysis gives us insight into our overall performance, what we did correctly, and where to improve.

While evaluating the finished project, allow space for feedback from the project sponsor, team members, and users, as they might have had a different experience than you.

By repeating this each time we finish a single project or several projects, we can tweak our strategy until it’s perfect.

Manage Expectations

As you work through the different projects, one important thing to note is that communication is just as crucial as your strategies.

Poor communication with the project sponsors, team leaders, and other team members can cost you time and even lead to suboptimal project outcomes.

So, even if everything is going smoothly, keep communication channels open and encourage feedback. This ensures everyone is on the same page at every point.

Managing expectations might not be easy. However, being honest about your abilities and letting others know when you can’t meet a deadline builds trust.

Rather than allowing the projects to suffer, communicating and managing expectations will enable everyone else involved to understand the team’s capabilities and better plan how to handle subsequent projects successfully.

You also must learn to manage your expectations of yourself and the project. Optimism is good. But being overly optimistic with deadlines will make multi-project management a challenging feat to attain.

Set realistic goals and remember that despite how detailed your project planning phase was, things might not work out as you expected.

By managing your expectations early, you can more easily identify potential problems and address them before they become major roadblocks to success.

Delegate Tasks

Many project managers want to perform their duties so well that they don’t realize they’ve crossed the line into dreaded micromanaging land.

Fortunately, your project management tool will allow you to input multiple tasks to keep everyone on track, your mind at ease, and your team members happy that you’re not a micromanaging Mildred.

This way, you can delegate work to each team member and have them update the status of their work within the tool. And you can focus on keeping track of work from the tool without having to micromanage them.

Big companies hire people to fill each needed role. So most projects will have designers, developers, and other experts needed to build it within the project team.

If that’s not the case for your business, and you have fewer team members, understand the skills of those available and delegate work accordingly. Don’t make the mistake of trying to take on every extra task yourself.

Bottom Line

Once we get the hang of it, we tend to find it easier to track multiple projects.

Prevent future bouts of anxiety and being overwhelmed by the many projects you’re managing with these action steps:

  • Choose the project management tool that works best for you.
  • Identify your goals and establish a project plan for achieving them.
  • Evaluate the project size and establish resource management steps.
  • Establish good communication with your team. This will build trust in team collaboration.
  • Delegate work to each team member.
  • Set evaluation dates for the milestones in each project and ensure they’re being met.
  • Make changes only when needed, and after they’ve been well-planned.
  • Have retrospective meetings after each set of multiple projects.

You can also download this project management checklist. It’s a helpful guide that will get you started on managing multiple projects effortlessly.

Remember that learning the art of managing multiple projects means learning to iterate until you find what works best for you and your team.

As project managers, let’s not be afraid of trying out different processes until we find our best multi-project management process.

Onward and upward!

Digital Agency Fee Structure

The price is right! Or is it . . . ?

Several factors comprise a digital agency fee structure, and it has to make sense for your brand and your target customer. Because if the price isn’t right, your online revenue will be up sh$t creek without a paddle.

So, if you’re stumped for how to accurately price your services, you’re not alone. It’s a really common problem for marketing agencies.

After all, you’re not creating kicka$$ landing pages and stellar content creation out of the kindness of your heart. Although you love your clients, you aren’t running a charity here.

You started your agency it earn an income, right?

So, even though the digital market is highly competitive, you need to set reasonable prices to attract customers and stay in business.

You also need to make some profit, remain motivated, and meet your operating costs.

It’s a tall order. But you can do it!

We’ve put together a few examples of how you can refine your pricing strategy that makes clients (and your bank account) happy.

What is an Agency Fee Structure?

The simple definition?

An agency fee structure is the amount you charge clients for external marketing services. Then, the fees are further broken down into smaller prices for specific deliverables.

Although it sounds simple, drafting your agency fee structure requires in-depth research about the:

  • Different factors that affect pricing
  • Specific types of services offered
  • Various pricing models

There are numerous ways to come up with agency fees. But we’ll focus on the most effective parameters that will reliably boost your online revenue.

What Type of Marketing Service Are You Providing?

Digital marketing is a cost-effective strategy that has helped millions of brands connect with a much larger audience. An audience that’s way larger than businesses could ever hope to reach through traditional marketing methods.

Sounds amazing. But the issue is, individual digital marketing techniques, and fitting into a broader strategy effectively, is complicated.

And pricing those services? Complex to say the least.

In order to price your services appropriately, you’ll have to start with a budget.

First, identify the main marketing service you are providing. This will guide you in the right direction when creating your agency fee structure.

As a marketing service provider, it’s essential to:

Understand Business Volume

Are you running aa low or high-volume business? Understanding your business’s volume will help you create a fee structure that makes sense for your business.

When starting, your business will likely be low-volume. So, you’ll need to sacrifice a part of your profit to reduce costs and attract more customers.

If this is where your business is currently, we suggest considering value-based over price-based pricing to build your client portfolio, accumulate knowledge, and level-up your experience.

Alternatively, if you have a high-volume business, you can set your prices higher. Aim for a 20 percent profit margin, since you’re already offering many services to many customers.

Understand the Market and Your Fees

What market are your serving? Smaller clients have smaller budgets, while the reverse is true for enterprise brands.

If you’re serving startups, small businesses, or mom and pop shops, you’ll have to set your prices accordingly since this type of market can’t bear higher fee structures.

Additionally, if you’re targeting a specific geographic area, this will also impact your fees. For example, startups in small and mid-sized cities can’t bear the prices that startups in metropolitan areas can.

So. understanding the market will tell you what price tolerance your geographical location can accommodate.

For example, digital marketing consultants globally charge between $100 and $400 per hour, with an average of $150. The average charge in the US alone is about $161.

With such price variations, your location will influence your price.

Types of Digital Marketing Services

Businesses spend as low as $500 to well over $10000 monthly for digital marketing services.

Digital marketing strategies are highly dependent on the brand seeking them, its customers, and offerings. So, this vast difference in price ranges depends on the digital marketing package they’ve specifically ordered.

As a digital marketing service provider, you can offer numerous digital marketing packages, each with a different price range. This wide range gives you the advantage of netting a broader customer group as there will be a Goldilocks just right plan for everyone.

Some of the most common digital marketing packages include:

Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

Search engine optimization involves various techniques to optimize your client’s website to rank highly in search engines. Some ways to achieve a higher ranking are through promotion, on-page SEO, off-page SEO, and technical SEO.

SEO changes constantly. As a result, it requires continuous maintenance to retain top rankings. Your agency can generate long-term income from SEO tasks.

Typically, SEO costs $3000-$8000 for monthly retainers, while one-time projects could cost up to $30000. You could also decide to charge hourly consultation rates between $90 to $200.

Content Marketing

Content marketing strategies promote relevant content for online traffic growth, lead generation, and brand awareness.

It may include writing and publishing your client’s blog post, but there’s a lot more to effective content marketing. You can also write ebooks and whitepapers, design infographics, and create audio or visual content.

Businesses that pay for content marketing services usually pay between $500 – $3000 a month. It’s quite a spread. So, the price you ultimately set for your agency depends on the technicality of the content and the monthly volume your client expects.

Pay-Per-Click or PPC Management

PPC management is a standard feature on Google ads that boosts online visibility. It is a form of advertising where you pay Google for ads on your client’s site to appear at the top of search listings.

PPCs can generate new leads for your client as soon as the ads go live. Your client then pays per click (CPC) or when their ad is clicked. PPCs have various target options, making them suitable for successful digital marketing campaigns.

They are a trendy package used even by top brands.

Many agencies charge customers 15-20 percent of their total ad spend as their fee for ads management. You can increase or decrease the percentage you charge based on how narrow their target audience is for their budgeted ad spend.

Social Media Management

Social media management is the process of online advertising through various social media channels. It involves posting content on multiple platforms and monitoring the marketing analytics. The channels include Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Snapchat, Instagram, and Pinterest.

Many agencies charge monthly fees varying from $500 to $10500 or simply charge $30 to $300 per day should a customer prefer.

Email Marketing

Email marketing is a form of online marketing where companies can personalize their communication with their audiences. Most businesses use it to promote content, discounts, events, etc., and direct customers toward their websites.

An email marketing package is either charged per email or monthly.

Monthly payments typically range from $350 to $5000. Few services charge as low as $300 for their basic plan, while the cost per email is between $0.1 to $0.5.

Email marketing campaigns are affordable and effective. So, even small businesses with limited budgets can usually afford them.

Link Building

Link building is a strategy to link other websites to your site. You can buy links or hire someone to build them for you.

Link building can be costly. But it creates credibility for your site on Google.

Link building monthly prices are usually between $3000 and $10000, depending on the number and quality of links. Hourly price is between $50 – $250.

Video Marketing

Video marketing is a popular and effective form of digital marketing for modern businesses. You can use in-house videos, smartphone videos, or outsource video marketing production — depending on the objectives.

Smaller video projects can be priced between $1000-$150000, while large ones can be priced up to $40000.

Web Design

Web design is the process of creating and designing websites to make them more appealing to potential customers.

Quick-loading and easy-to-navigate websites increase traffic and generate new leads, costing between $2600 and $30000, depending on the customer’s needs.

Client Profitability

We have realized that in calculating agency prices, you need to set realistic ones. Realistic prices that make sense for both you and your clients enables a beneficial working relationship.

Some of the core factors to think about include:

Retainer-based or Project-based Pricing

While there are various pricing models, they fall under these two broad categories. Your business can operate on one or both, depending on your flexibility.

Retainer-based pricing

This pricing model is often adopted after establishing a relationship with a client. The customer agrees to pay an upfront amount for the services you intend to offer within the agreed period. You must calculate your total billable hours and present them as a single amount.

Retainer-based pricing can be complicated. So you should be cautious to avoid overcharging or undervaluing your services.

Project-based pricing

Project-based pricing is a standard model for most digital agencies. This is because project fees are simpler to determine compared to retainer fees.

With a well-defined scope of work, you’ll have fewer variables to consider.

Management or Monthly Fees

After settling on either a project-based or retainer-based model, you can discuss the payment terms with your client. It can be after several services or monthly.

Pricing Models: Use Digital Marketing Pricing Packages

If you provide various digital marketing services, you can outline the details and create a price for each package to make it more appealing to clients.

Some of the most popular digital marketing pricing packages include:

Social Media Package

Social media advertising is one of the fastest and most cost-effective ways to reach a large audience. The main objective of social marketing is to create exciting content that existing clients and friends can share, attracting new customers.

You can post your content on social media sites such as Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, and Instagram.

Branding Packages

Branding is developing identifiable characteristics of your business. It involves creating a name, tagline, design, logo or symbol, and brand voice.

Branding bridges the gap between your services and the ideal customer, eliminating doubt and mistrust. It also increases your business’s recognition among customers, giving you a competitive edge, and creating loyalty and higher customer retention rates.

Branding is a vital marketing activity, so you should include its cost in your price tag.

Most digital marketing services offer branding packages for their clients to promote consistency. These packages often include creating the client’s logo, visual identity, and style guide.

The package consists of digital assets like websites, business card designs, email templates, letterheads, social media graphics, event branding, and more, depending on what was agreed with the client.

Branding packages are pretty pricey and can cost up to $75000.

Inbound Marketing

Inbound marketing is constructing valuable content that meets your target audience’s needs and influences long-term customer relationships. It’s content that’s geared toward forming a connection, answering questions, and solving problems your customers already have.

In contrast, outbound marketing is meant to disrupt and interrupt — PPC ads are a form of outbound marketing.

The various types of inbound marketing content include:

  • Blog writing
  • Video marketing
  • Research
  • Infographics
  • Webinars
  • News articles
  • Social media advertising
  • Slideshare
  • eBooks
  • White papers

Inbound marketing can be costly. Pricing it as a standalone package can prevent your overall running costs from skyrocketing.

Media Buying

Media buying is the acquisition of advertising space on offline and digital platforms such as websites, social media, and YouTube.

You need resources and a well-defined marketing strategy to undertake successful integrated online marketing campaigns.

Full-Service Package

Fully-integrated marketing packages involve website design, content creation, email marketing, social media marketing, public relations, and other digital marketing services. Full packages cost between $30000 to over $200000.

Customize Sales Experience to the Pricing

There is stiff competition in the digital marketing sector. To retain your clients, you need to offer them valuable services for their money.

Which Pricing Model Should You Use?

Here are the advantages and disadvantages of various models to help you make an informed choice.

Project-Based (Milestone) Pricing Model

You can opt for this model if you’re confident in your skills and resources. However, you’ll have to accurately estimate the project’s length and involvement for you to charge accordingly.

Pros

  • Agencies work without client supervision.
  • Customers can check small tasks before committing to large and long-term projects.
  • Agencies can request a part of the price upfront.
  • Rates and deliverables are negotiated up front, safeguarding the agency from additional requests beyond the original contract.
  • It’s convenient for agencies and clients since it’s easier to calculate than a retainer model.

Cons

  • It can be challenging to determine the duration of a project before completion. This can be difficult for new agencies to charge appropriately, risking the loss of clients.
  • Agencies cannot charge additional work automatically. They need to negotiate for it.
  • Agencies have to divide massive projects into phases and negotiate payments per phase to maintain a steady cash flow.

Hourly-Rate Pricing

Hourly pricing is the easiest and most convenient if you’re a beginner. This model values your time since clients pay you for the hours you’ve invested. And you earn as much as you can work.

Pros

  • It is easy for customers to understand and stay within the budget.
  • New agencies can create their first invoice faster since it’s the easiest of the models.
  • Clients prefer this model because they know how much they’ll spend per hour.
  • You can predict your cash flow if you’re sure of the number of hours you’ll work per week.
  • You can earn more from long-term projects.

Cons

  • You’ll get the same for complex and simple tasks without considering skill or experience.
  • There are no incentives for working faster.
  • You must track and document your working hours to receive payment.

Value-Based Pricing

If you’re an expert or have a ton of experience in your trade, a value-based pricing model is the most suitable to reward your worth. Clients will appreciate your premium services and be willing to pay high prices.

Pros

  • You can earn more if you provide more value and drive growth for your clients.
  • There is the freedom to set your prices.
  • Clients are happy to receive valuable services.

Cons

  • It is a challenge to produce consistent value always.
  • You may value your work inappropriately.
  • It is risky since a reduction in value lowers your profits.
  • Despite all your efforts, you may fall short of some goals.

Retainer Pricing

A retainer model indicates your commitment to work for a specific client for a fixed duration of time at a predetermined rate. It assures you of steady income as long as you and your client honor your agreement.

Pros

  • You have a steady flow of income.
  • Your dues are paid upfront or in milestones.
  • Clients have an easy time budgeting and accounting since they know their monthly expenses.
  • You can create an ongoing strategy for your client.
  • You have flexible time to work on projects and deliver them as agreed.

Cons

  • Estimating how long a project will take before you begin working on it can be challenging.
  • It is challenging to standardize your project.
  • The final cost may surpass the client’s budget.

Customized Pricing

If you have various skills and resources, this is the pricing package you can adopt to have a variety of clients and different income streams. In addition, this model cushions you against losses since you have other clients to rely on if one client delays or defaults on payment.

Pros

  • You can analyze clients’ specific needs and tailor services for them.
  • Your services are cost-efficient.
  • You can accommodate all types of clients.
  • You can add value to your agency by providing various options.
  • Clients only pay for the services they need.

Cons

  • Clients may negotiate several services, lowering your profit margin.

Factors that Influence Digital Marketing Cost

Running a digital marketing agency is a practical step towards financial independence. In addition, offering quality services at appropriate rates can help you compete with established digital marketing agencies.

Digital marketing pricing requires in-depth research and consideration of other factors, regardless of your chosen pricing model.

Such factors include:

Agency Experience

Digital marketing is a competitive industry where clients get what they pay for. Therefore, your rates as a beginner cannot be equivalent to those of established digital marketing agencies.

But don’t worry. Your hard work will pay off and you’ll be able to charge higher rates before you know it. But you need to showcase your past successful projects to stand out and obtain those higher fees.

The more experienced you are in the trade, the higher the rates you can charge and larger contracts you’ll attract.

As an experienced agency, you have all the digital marketing tools, and your digital marketing team has the necessary expertise to work better and quicker.

On the other hand, you should start at reasonable rates, build your reputation, and increase them as you grow.

Industry Competitiveness

Many industries scramble for digital space. But some are more competitive than others. The more competitive your industry is, the greater the effort and budget you’ll need to stand out.

For instance, the legal and medical sectors are highly competitive on popular advertising platforms such as Google Ads.

So, when venturing into a competitive industry, you’ll need more advanced advertising strategies and financial investment than when entering a less competitive trade.

Operating Costs

The operating costs of digital marketing companies vary according to their sizes. Larger companies have lower operating costs thanks to their economies of scale. This implies that they can charge affordable rates and still manage to make profits.

On the other hand, beginning digital marketing consultants may need to charge slightly higher to meet their operating costs.

To keep your budget low, maximize every dollar and let your charges reflect the quality and scope of your work.

Digital Marketing Strategy

There is no standardized strategy that determines marketing pricing.

Your digital marketing prices will fluctuate according to your client’s objectives.

Consider that one marketing strategy may work for a given agency or a specific client, but may not work for you or all your customers.

You should test each digital marketing plan with your client and find out what works best for their industry and business goals.

FAQs

What is agency markup?

Agency markup is the percentage of profit an agency makes after selling its services.

What is a typical agency fee?

A standard agency fee is an actual charge an agency places on its clients.

How much should a digital marketer charge?

Although most digital marketing hourly rates are between $50 and $400, they can be lower or higher depending on individual marketers.

When working hourly, it is essential to have an accurate timer to record your work time correctly.

How do I charge for my agency’s services?

Your charges will depend on your services, operating costs, and other factors that may determine your pricing. You’ll need to understand your clients’ businesses and find a suitable pricing model.

Check out our ScaleMap Diagnostic. It’ll tell you more about your agency and if now is the right time to scale!

Client onboarding process meaning

Client Onboarding process

Wow, look at you go! You’re signing amazing clients left and right. That big business deal? Yours!

Time to pop the champagne and go Lamborghini shopping.

Eh, not so fast.

While getting quick wins and signing a major business deal are justifiable reasons to celebrate, you don’t want to toast to your agency success too soon.

Nothing hurts more when a big client decides to dip a month or so after signing.

So, what can you do to up your chances of retaining new clients, and turning friends with business benefits into LTRs?

With a client onboarding process.

But not just any client onboarding process. You want one that adds the most value to both sides of the equation.

Companies need to have a standard operating procedure for onboarding new clients as a sort of insurance policy against client churn. Meaning, you’re giving your company the best chance of generating revenue year-round from long-term clients.

Statistics show the long-term revenue that businesses generate comes from a percentage of its current clients. So, if you take the time to invest in having the right client onboarding process, you don’t really have to worry so much about the future of your business or organization.

But what exactly do we mean by client onboarding process? And why is it important for businesses?

Let’s jump in.

What is the Client Onboarding Process?

Client Onboarding process

When you go out on a date for the first time, you want to leave a lasting impression. A good one. Not one that ends up on Reddit AITA.

And if it goes well and you like the other person, then you won’t want it to end with that first date.

Basically, the client onboarding process presents a similar scenario — but in the context of a business set up, not a romantic date.

The importance of starting off on the right foot

The client onboarding process is where the customer service team and sales team meet at the intersection of facilitating and building a long-term relationship between your business and the customer.

At the heart of it, it’s the process of welcoming new clients to your business and reassuring them that yes, their mother was right. They are a super-duper smarty pants who knows how to make savvy business investments.

In this case, that investment would be working with y0ur brand.

Often, after signing that deal, most clients sit back and ask themselves if they made the right decision. It’s pretty standard for a lot of clients to get cold feet when they first start working (and paying) a new company. A client onboarding process will help assuage these fears and sooth doubts.

If you’re dealing with new customers, a customer onboarding process is setting up the right environment where their first interaction with your brand leaves them so impressed they want to interact with you again.

A successful customer onboarding process will leave you with satisfied customers. It’s also a major determining factor is whether they will keep using your products or they will leave immediately and never return.

If onboarding clients is such an integral procedure for businesses, what are the other reasons why you should have one?

Importance of Client Onboarding Process

Client onboarding is important because of the following reasons:

Reduced Client Churn

Statistics show that within a 90-day period, clients are most likely to leave if they aren’t satisfied. To ensure client retention and client satisfaction, having a good client onboarding process will go a long way toward reducing client churn. Also, retaining more clients builds your referral network.

Client Contentment

A successful onboarding process will dispel your clients’ fears and doubts. This is important for both of you. A satisfied client means business for your company. Client and customer satisfaction means your business will grow and scale to greater heights.

Aids with Compliance

Having a standardized operating procedure will incorporate everything in the sales process, ensuring legal compliance. It also saves on time since employees won’t be scrambling to fix overlooked compliance snafus.

Referrals

Satisfied clients and customers will refer other potential clients and customers to your company, product or service. Referrals play a big part of marketing strategy in the business world. It will either make your business or bring it down.

Customer Relationships

A customer onboarding process sets the pace for building lasting customer relationships and encouraging repeat purchases.

Set Expectations

Client onboarding is an opportunity for you to inform your client what you will do for them, when you will do it, and how. Setting expectations from the very beginning helps build trust, protect everyone’s boundaries, and builds a strong working relationship.

Having clear expectations gives clients all the information they need to start workign with you, and helps them settle in. You’ll also get to understand more of what their goals and future plans are. And in case of unforeseen circumstances, clients will be more forgiving.

How it Works

Client Onboarding process

Before understanding how client onboarding process works, it’s crucial to have a checklist.

Why?

Because a checklist will let you know if you’re meeting everyone’s needs. It will also help you give your customers an amazing client onboarding experience. Checklists also prevent you from having to rely on memory, reducing human error, and giving your sales team a to-do list to work with.

Include the following best practices in your onboarding checklist:

Welcome Email

Once new clients sign on the dotted line or a customer sign up to interact with your product or service, send them a welcome email. ASAP. Before you even think about popping the champagne!

Welcome emails go a long way toward setting expectations. Plus, you can use the welcome email as a sort of help center or product tour, helping customers familiarize themselves with your product or services.

Client Onboarding Questionnaire

Your team must be empowered to make good decisions and deliver results the client wants. But they need the right information to do that.

So, have your sales rep send a client onboarding questionnaire to uncover the client’s their goal, their expectations, how they want the relationship to run, and any other information that will help in their client’s journey.

Compliance

Compliance is a signifiant aspect of client onboarding best practices. Ensure that the entire process is legally compliant and the new client has paid before getting to work. This will save you from potential legal headaches.

Team Members

Pick the best team to walk with your new client on their journey.

Project Management

Project management is an essential part of best practices for onboarding new clients. Assign your new clients their own uniquely and personalized designed folders, workspaces and software that will ensure they have a wonderful experience that they will want to do business with you again and again.

Internal Meeting

Once you have everything set up, plan and schedule that first internal meeting and exchange information.

Kick off Meeting

Once you have introduced your team members and have set expectations, schedule a kickoff meeting to communicate the steps you are going to take next with the client.

Follow up

Keep track of the progress with your clients with follow up emails. And if there’s a milestone, make sure that it’s celebrated.

Once you have checked off every item on your checklist, then you can move to the next step of how the onboarding process works. The following are crucial steps of how this process works:

Prior to Onboarding

Before embarking on the process itself, your sales rep should have a strategy in place with the future and long-term picture in mind. This is by understanding the problems of potential clients and customers and how your company, product or services will help them resolve it.

Knowing Your Clients

Once clients have decided to work with you, find out more information about them through a questionnaire and face to face meetings. Have clearly set expectations and have a mutual agreed realistic deliverable.

Meeting Your Clients

Once you’ve welcomed your clients, have set clear expectations and have agreed on the deliverables, you can schedule a meeting to get to know your clients even further. In this meeting, you can find out other relevant information from the client that wasn’t adequately covered in the questionnaire.

Post-onboarding

Once the deal has been signed and you have had that kick off meeting, then you need to follow up with your clients. At this point, you document what you’ve agreed on and expound on the client’s metrics.

After defining the metrics, you follow up and measure progress made. From this point moving forward, your goal isn’t only sticking to what has been agreed on but on nurturing the relationship.

Set the communication cadence.

There’s nothing as embarrassing as leaving your clients and customers when they will receive the next update. Also, keep on asking for their feedback and incorporate it in ensuring they have a good experience with your company, product and service.

Creating a Standardized Operating Procedure

Client Onboarding process

When creating a good onboarding process from scratch, it can be a daunting task. To consume a lot of time every time you deal with a new client, it’s important to have a standardized operating procedure.

Additionally, this procedure will give you consistency of performance for all your clients as it will be automated.

Standardize on the following key areas:

  • Timelines. This ensures that all your clients onboard within the same time frame. The approximate onboarding time is 1 or 2 weeks, but this can change depending on the nature of product or service
  • First experience. The first impression for your clients should be the same.
  • Information. The way you collect, share and exchange information should apply equally for all clients.
  • Communication. Set the rhythm for all your clients for how and when you communicate.
  • Progress metrics. How you measure the milestones and progress made by clients’ needs to standardize for all clients.

As a company, having a standardized operating procedure for client onboarding process gives your business predictability and helps you control how things are run. You can do this by having a standardized template for onboarding process.

This template should include:

Checklist

Having an automated checklist makes the work easy for your team for future clients and customers.

Welcome package

This template will contain everything you need from the moment the client signs up with you, to the welcoming email, introductions, kick off meetings and other relevant information you gather from your initial interaction.

Training and Information

In this template, you include all the training resources and additional information that will be of help. Also, you can include videos giving product tours.

Software and Tools

Today, there’s an availability of software and tools to help ensure a good client onboarding experience. Examples of these tools include content snare, Wave, Doodle, Adobe Sign, Trello, Slack, Stripe, Google Forms, Google Drive, and so on.

Elements in a Successful Client Onboarding Process

For a good client onboarding process, it should contain three major elements. These are:

  1. The Reception

Welcoming new clients should be treated with the weight it deserves. It’s not only a matter of courtesy but is an opportunity for you to show your clients why doing business with you is going to be a worthwhile investment.

  1. The Management

This is where your team members determine what information they need from the client, how they will get it and how it will be shared. The administration team also decides and sets the communication pace.

  1. The Inauguration

This is the stage where the signed contract is launched and marks the start of your service or deal. Give your clients and customers the much-needed support as they settle in. Also, give them ample time as they familiarize themselves with your company, products and services.

Evaluate the progress made regularly for improvement and also get feedback from the clients.

How to Streamline the Process

Client Onboarding process

To simplify the onboarding process for your company or business:

  • Review the present process and check for areas that need improvement
  • Devise the perfect onboarding process
  • Determine the right tools for each stage of the process
  • Design the appropriate action plan
  • Test and improve on your process

Remember, business is people.

Up next, let’s dive into how to connect with your clients as people for greater success for everyone involved.

Connect with Your Client with These Five Tips

Client Onboarding process

As you navigate your shiny new relationship with your customer, keep these in mind:

1. Practice a people-focused approach

One size never fits all. And the same is true when it comes to client service. So, customize the service or product you’re offering to give your onboarding processes a necessary people-focused approach.

Practicing a people-focused approach (that is, being attentive to each client’s specific needs and goals) is the bottom line of good business practice.

Why? Because people do business with people.

2. Prove your value quickly

Consider the onboarding stage as less a stage and more a process. Once the foundation has been established and your client’s goals are made clear, you need to prove your value quickly.

For example, if your client wants to see results in the form of metrics, present those numbers at the next check-in (and make sure the data you’ve collected is accurate). If your client needs a product installation, get it done in the time frame you’ve promised.

Maybe reaching the client’s goals right away isn’t possible — but that’s a given. So, set little benchmarks along the way and make sure you’ve set reasonable expectations with the customer.

3. Create check-in schedules

Scheduling communication check-ins will ensure that you and your client are always on the same page. Plus, it’s just good business practice and keeps the project running along more smoothly.

So, start with asking how often they’d like to hear from you. Consider too if your firm is more service-based or product-based.

For service-based firms, you’ll like need to front-load your communication early and slowly taper off from there. Product-based offerings typically benefit from a solid, set schedule from the get-go.

Consider what timezone they’re in, and if they’d prefer weekly, biweekly, or a monthly check-in. Also find out if they’d like to be included in your newsletter and receive company updates.

4. Think about the tech

Whatever your CMS is, creating a plan to integrate analytics and their data and technologies will increase your client engagement.

There are many affordable and user-friendly onboarding tools that exist to automate the customer’s path through the onboarding process. Most of them contain pre-formatted checklists and forms to help your business expedite the onboarding’s tech component.

That said, don’t forget to customize your CMS. It’s easy to rely on these out-of-the-box tools to the point that you’re performing the same onboarding process for everyone. It shouldn’t be that way.

Remember what we said before. Your own onboarding process can’t be one-size-fits-all.

5. Exchange feedback

And do it often. But not just your own. Be sure to listen to client feedback.

When the time is right, ask your customers for their opinions:

  • Is this communication schedule working for you?
  • Is there something that you feel like you’re missing?
  • Does this goal schedule make sense in conjunction with your expectations?

Feedback will help you improve the customer experience for current and future clients.

Best Practices for the Best Experience

Customer onboarding best practices will help you create a solid onboarding experience. The following tips will require information from every point of contact with your customers.

1. Understand your customer

Get to know your buyer persona in and out. This will naturally translate to knowing your customer as an individual, allowing you to offer them a stellar experience working with your brand.

So, make an effort to understand that each client is facing unique challenges that keep them up at night. And so, their ideal solutions and outcomes will also be unique to them.

Understanding your customer as an individual will help you tailor your service to their personal goals.

2. Set a clear outlook

Before purchasing your product, your customer should know what to expect. So make sure the sales process communicates that. This setting of expectations should be included in the onboarding process as you reaffirm the value of your product.

3. Show value

Before your new customer can get excited about your product, you need to reemphasize the value that your service will provide for their unique case.

For example, giving them specific scenarios of how your service will address their problems. Include a personalized point, such as a specialized training or a documentation.

4. Stay in constant communication

After your initial welcome message, continue using communication tools throughout the onboarding process to complement any in-app tutorials and guides.

Here, email or tech communication tools are probably your customer’s most-used mediums. And once the product becomes a hit, you can expect them to sign in on their own to view in-app notifications.

5. Create customer-centric goals

Every customer has unique goals and metrics that make the most sense for their situation. So, allow your customer to define what success means to them. Help them create milestones with their chosen benchmarks.

6. Seek to impress

Your goal with every interaction is to create the same positive experience that made your customers sign up for your product in the first place.

Aim to deliver a stellar performance that your customers will rave about and share with others.

7. Measure success

Onboarding benefits both you and your customer. Gather feedback and track key metrics so you know what’s working and where to improve for client and business success.

Useful Customer Onboarding Tips

In addition to best practices, there are a few things that will make your onboarding practice a positive experience for your customers.

Keep these in mind:

  • Make it a personalized experience — Each customer has a unique concerns. So, the more you tailor your solution to their needs, the easier it will be to achieve wins and encourage repeat purchases.
  • Break everything down — Disseminate information slowly and selectively. Only ask a new user to accomplish one task at a time and provide clear instructions on how to do it.
  • Be with your customers every step of the way — Be available to them if they get stuck or have trouble. If you can, dedicate several customer services or success representatives to new customers. It will make their onboarding experience better and allow you to see where your process falls short.
  • Celebrate small wins — Acknowledge every achieved goal along the path.

Conclusion

A successful client onboarding process is crucial for the growth and long-term success of any company. Investing in this process will ensure win after win for both you and your customers.

If done correctly, client onboarding establish lifetime value for your company. But incorrectly? It can break your business.

And we don’t want that!

So, take these next action steps and include the following in your client onboarding process:

  • The welcoming package. This includes the welcome email and tangible demonstrations of your value.
  • Information. Having the right information from clients helps you understand them better. To collect information, make use of a client onboarding form, schedule kick-off and face-to-face meetings calls, send tutorial links and videos, and ask for feedback.
  • Communication. Determine your top communication channels upfront.
  • A check-in schedule. Design the means of follow-ups and measuring progress.

There’s no universal way of doing the client onboarding process. It all depends on the needs of your clients and customers and the nature of your business.

At ScaleTime, we design a working and effective onboarding process that will take your business to greater heights.

Grab your chance to take your client onboarding process from drab to nab those increased profits. Get our FREE copy of the client onboarding checklist here.

How to Scale Your Marketing Agency

Let’s face it.

Managing a digital marketing agency is no a piece of cake.

You’ve got to find the best people for your agency, and figure out how to pay them. You’ll also need to strategically market your agency to your potential customers.

And a whole lot more.

No matter what though, running a digital marketing agency requires implementing a marketing strategy that fits the needs of your target audience. And that’s especially relevant now that the business climate has drastically changed because of COVID-19.

In recent years, online digital marketing has become the norm. Today’s businesses tend to prioritize digital campaigns so their brands standout online.

Strategic digital marketing campaigns help modern businesses gain more customers. But they can only achieve this with the help of a digital marketing agency.

So, how can you, marketing agency owner, help small business owners level up their marketing?

Potential new clients will look at your past campaigns and reviews as deciding factors to choosing to work with you.

One way to help you gain new customers and retain them too is through the process of upscaling.

In this piece, we’ll be throwing down several awesome, kickbooty strategies you can use to scale your digital marketing agency — even if your target markets are in competitive, demanding industries.

What Does It Mean to Scale Your Marketing?

If you swim in the deep blue, shark-infested seas that is the content marketing world, then you’ll have to deal with many different clients. Some large, some small.

So, as you provide services for each client, you gain more experience and knowledge about their businesses as well as their target audience. You can use your experience to create more engaging content. Or implement new strategies, leading to very happy clients.

If you’re already thinking of taking on more clients for your marketing agency, then congratulations. You’re already in the early stages of upscaling.

However, you should remember that upscaling, just like starting up, is no easy task.

Just like in the beginning, your team may have a trouble with certain business aspects, such as hiring and resource management. However, there are some tips and strategies you can implement that will make the upscaling phase much easier.

So, what exactly does it mean to scale your marketing?

Does it mean you’ll have to measure your strengths and weaknesses to know whether you can increase your clientele and add more value to your agency?

Or does it mean you have to evaluate and adjust your business models for improved client retention?

For scaling your marketing efforts, it’s both.

You implement strategies that allow you to focus on the customer experience, which will widen your client base. Additionally, you’ll fuel the growth of your marketing agency since you’ll be investing in where your target audience is — online.

So, you’ll have to implement different marketing strategies across your online channels, and possibly offline marketing channels, to create successful campaigns and reach the right people.

How to Take Your Marketing Agency to the Next Level

When it comes to digital and online marketing, it is important that your strategies and marketing efforts deliver results, whether it’s:

  • Building brand awareness
  • Increasing website traffic
  • Converting site visitors into customers

And so one.

Below are some of the top strategies for scaling your digital marketing efforts for maximum results.

Find your target niche

Before you break a sweat on any marketing effort, first determine the niche you want to focus on. Deciding on a niche is essential when you’re trying to scale your digital marketing agency.

Niched-down focus will brand you as the expert in that specific industry. Finding your target niche can also help you create more successful and engaging campaigns, which will generate more opportunities for your agency.

But when we say, find your niche, we don’t necessarily mean picking an industry-specific one.

Remember, marketing has different strategies.

For example, you can venture into vertical marketing where you cater to clients with specialized needs. Or you can niche down into lead generation services for small and mid-sized businesses.

The most important takeaway for this strategy is that the niche you ultimately decide to focus on helps you stand out from your competitors.

Evaluate your current workflow process

During the business growth phase, it’s critical to evaluate if your marketing agency is truly ready and primed for upscaling.

Evaluating your current workflow process will help you identify signs of potential breakdowns or bottlenecks in your process.

When you scale your digital marketing agency, you’ll likely need to take on additional human resources.

Some tips to get you started:

Create a workflow for your HR teams that’s dedicated to the entire hiring process — from recruitment to interviews, and all the way to onboarding.

A great tool for streamlining the employment process is implementing customer relationship management software that tracks where a candidate is currently.

Scaling, however, isn’t only applicable to your HR team. Even your creative teams can implement workflows intended for streamlining their processes.

To get started, ask each team member about steps or ways that they think can optimize the whole process.

Are they utilizing project management software? If not, should they be?

In other words, collaborative effort will come in handy when it comes to scaling marketing agencies.

Build your agency’s brand

Digital marketing agencies have one primary role — to help their clients build their own brands. However, clients and new employees alike will tend to stay away from your agency if you don’t have a well-built brand.

Use these tips to establish strong branding as a digital marketing agency:

  • Review your current buyer personas — Recent events in the market may have caused your clients and their target audience to change priorities. You can also observe your existing clients for any new trends they might be interested in. Review your meeting notes or even recent campaign briefs to gain insight into how your clients’ businesses have shifted over the past years.
  • Identify opportunities — Investigate opportunities where you can offer your digital marketing services to niche-specific groups or industries. Who knows — maybe your gym is planning to take its business online!
  • Have a consistent online presence — This is a crucial part of engaging your audience and increasing brand awareness. It’s also why updating your website and social media pages with your successful campaigns is essential for building your brand. With a consistent online presence, existing customers, new clients, and potential candidates can easily find you and see what they can expect from your agency.

Another effective strategy for brand building is to publish testimonials, video case studies, and blogs regularly. Use your own agency and its materials to showcase your expertise and marketing knowledge.

Create a remote-friendly work culture

One sign that your agency is in need of scaling is when you start generating more employment and job openings.

However, when creating policies for your workspaces, it’s important to consider your employees’ needs, similar to how you already cater to your clients’ needs.

In recent years, our situations have made remote work the norm. As much as we didn’t expect it to, remote work has enabled us to collaborate faster and easier.

But despite its positive impact on productivity and efficiency, remote work still has its challenges. For best results, you’ll want to address these challenges when establishing your agency’s new, improved, and upscaled work culture.

Here are some tips on how you can foster a remote-friendly work culture in your marketing agency:

  • Encourage flexible work hours — Consider each employee’s productive work hours when assigning tasks. You can still set specific times for meetings. But be sure to allow employees to attend to their deliverables on their own time.
  • Communicate, communicate, communicate — A secret to an effective remote work setup is effective communication. Make sure to facilitate team communication as easily and often as possible in every stage of the project.
  • Stay organized — Projects and tasks aren’t different all the time. Some become repetitive. To help your teams with repetitive tasks, we highly recommend using checklists and workflow guides. This way, your teams have guidance in every step of the project, even those who are new to your marketing team.

Nevertheless, fostering a remote-friendly work culture requires all members to trust each other.

Your team will appreciate it if you can trust them to be productive on their own — even without your supervision.

Offer tiered solutions

Offering tiered solutions is one way you can optimize and scale your agency. Tied solutions allow you to streamline your workflows, provide more value to your company, and keep your clients happy and satisfied.

When offering tiered solutions, start with your most basic offer, explaining how it can help with your client’s needs.

Then, you can add more tiered solutions which include more services, all at a competitive price.

Make sure each tiered solution is distinguishable from the others. Otherwise, you may cause some confusion.

If you’re persuading your existing clients to take on your tiered solutions, offer them a free trial to see how it can help their businesses.

Stay on top of team productivity

Despite your best efforts, having a remote-friendly work culture still poses some challenges. One of these is keeping team productivity in check.

One way you can ensure team productivity and efficiency is by using project management software to track your employees’ time use and productivity.

This way, you can identify bottlenecks in the project, and in your team’s general workflows.

There are readily available tracking templates online. Or you can create your own timesheets for your team to fill out.

Optimize your tool stack

As your agency grows, so do your needs. So, it’s important that you make any necessary changes to the tools that support your agency’s work whenever possible.

Here are some ways you can check whether your tools need to be optimized:

  • For user-dependent tools, check whether the tool can still support the growing number of team members using the account.
  • Ask your employees for tool recommendations they think will greatly support them when working.
  • Look into new and upgraded tools and determine whether the team would find them useful.

By optimizing your tool stack, not only will your work get easier, but you’ll also finish faster without sacrificing quality.

Also, an optimized and upgraded tool stack can help you stay competitive among other agencies.

Set boundaries with clients

Sometimes, having low-profit margins and client churn tempts you to agree with every client request. However, you should remember that this can have a negative impact on your marketing agency’s scaling in general.

It’s crucial that you stick to the niche that you’ve chosen beforehand. This way, you’ll find it easier to say no to clients who are making requests for services that are beyond your usual scope.

Focus on the areas you’re confident that you can excel and deliver in, instead of taking on every request that comes along.

Look at the big picture

When you see your agency scaling, it becomes harder to look at the bigger picture. You get busier as the days pass, and monitoring your’s and your team’s progress is time-consuming.

It’s all too easy to get lost in the details. But that’s not the way to do things if you want to stay afloat and keep growing.

Remember to take a step back and take a look at your agency’s progress from an outside’s point of view.

Who knows. You might gain new insight into how to fix bottlenecks and issues that are holding your team back from progressing.

Build excellent client relationships

Digital and online marketing is all about the client base.

What your clients say about you now will heavily impact your ability to get future projects. And if you can successfully retain clients.

So, for you to get more projects and clients, always work to build good relationships with them.

Here are some ways you can establish a great relationship with your clients:

  • Guide them through each stage of their campaign — This way, they’ll know you’re dedicated to providing the results they want for their business.
  • Give attention to their needs — This will help you deliver results. But also, staying attentive to your client’s needs will make them feel that they are an important part of the process.
  • Communicate regularly — Keep clients updated on their project’s progress.

Building client relationships is important for your agency’s growth. Deliver consistent customer service, and you will make more money and scale your agency successfully.

Signs It’s Time to Grow Your Agency

Scaling is all about timing.

We all know that many agencies face challenges every day which can make them fearful of scaling. Some agencies scale at the right time, while other agencies scale before they’re ready.

One thing is for sure — choosing not to scale at the right time has dire consequences:

  • Missed growth opportunities
  • Turning away potential clients
  • Failing to keep up with your current workload

And that’s just to name a few.

So, how do you know if your agency is ready for scaling?

Here are four signs it’s time to fuel growth and upscale.

  1. More clients than you can handle

Your agency’s campaigns have garnered the attention of more clients — those in specific niches and those who’re high-paying.

Of course, you want to accept their requests and make more money. We all do!

But with these new leads and requests, you may find that you are now struggling to keep up with the workload.

Ask these questions to determine whether you need to scale up.

If your answer to any of the questions is yes, then it’s time to grow, young grasshopper.

  • Is there currently a waiting list for clients?
  • Is your agency turning down potential clients?
  • Is there enough time or space to accept more work?

Choosing not to scale up despite the need to will only lead to employee burnout as there is more work and fewer people. You do not want to risk that.

  1. Steady income

Scaling your agency means new expenses coming your way, from the employment process to implementing your strategies that are aligned with your business growth.

As a result, you’ll also need to upgrade your tools to keep up with the industry. With such expenses, you can only scale your agency once you have a steady income from your current service offerings.

So, if you’re getting in a stable income from your existing clients, consider using some of that income as the budget for scaling upward.

  1. Desire for a bigger impact

Digital content marketers provide services so that their clients can leave an impact on the market. But you can’t go big when you stay small.

You may not be aware of it, but growth for your agency also means growth for your clients.

By upscaling, you can gather more resources to meet client demand. You can also boost your clients’ businesses alongside yours when you scale up.

  1. You want to seize a big opportunity

Businesses always start small, and digital marketing is no exception.

You might have started in a specific niche, with a few employees with relevant knowledge and expertise in that market.

However, once you’ve gained attention from more leads, you’ll get inquiries from new ones. And the momentum just builds from there.

As you get more inquiries, you’ll naturally require bringing on more employees knowledgeable in that field. After all, they can assist you in getting new opportunities for your agency.

So, be brave, and expand your horizons to meet growing demand for your services.

Conclusion

Just like any other business, digital marketing agencies aim for growth.

But there are times when agency owners are afraid to grab opportunities because they worry their efforts will fall flat and hurt their business.

Scaling your agency is beneficial in more ways than one, including generating increased employment.

Here are some key points to remember when you’re planning to scale your digital content agency:

  • Invest in where your target audience is online — Implement stages of the customer journey that will move leads through your marketing funnel, changing first-time visitors into new clients.
  • Finding your target niche goes a long way — Niching down makes your business growth efforts laser-focused on the right clients. Then, you’ll produce better results faster.
  • Set boundaries — Expanding your expertise is great. But still, learn when to say no to client requests, especially if they are beyond your usual scope.
  • Build relationships — Always build relationships with your clients as they can pave the way for more opportunities for your agency.
  • Read the writing on the wall — There are a few telltale signs that indicate it’s time to upscale your agency. Some of these signs are having more work than you can handle, consistently generating a steady income, wanting to provide a bigger impact, and seize a bigger opportunity in the market.

Knowing if you’re ready to scale isn’t as complex or opaque as discerning tea leaves. But it can still be a little confusing, especially if you’re new to the whole business growth thing.

So, if you’re still unsure, check out our ScaleMap Diagnostic. It’ll tell you if now is the right time to scale your agency!

Mad Men Advertising: Jobs Then & Now

The advertising and marketing world has changed significantly over the years, from the Mad Men era on Madison Avenue to today.

We’ve been binge-watching the series Mad Men through its final season. And we think it gave the advertising industry an interesting angle from the 1960s perspective.

Not only has the advertising and marketing landscape changed, but the mediums and marketing channels of the digital age paved the way for a new creative revolution.

Advertising meets the internet and wedding bells ring.

When the advertising industry met internet advertising in the early 2000s, digital media began to take over print and television. The ad campaigns of the Mad Men era became viewed less and less on billboards, radio, newspapers, and magazines.

Instead, the advertising industry shifted to internet advertising, using mobile technology, text, videos, websites, and software to market their products and services.

In the past decade, another wave of the digital revolution crests and breaks in the form of social media advertising.

The first social media sites were introduced, and the birth of smartphones ushered in the beginning of a wider range of platforms and social networking.

Evolving Roles in Ad Agencies

How marketing has changed over the years

In thriving creative environment of New York in the 1950s and 60s, the main source of advertising ideas, stronger relationships with colleagues, and more closed deals were parties.

And drinking.

The Mad Men executives’ strategy to work hard, play hard (if not harder) has been around longer than we can imagine.

Working in an ad agency, even today, is fun living in a start-late, stay-late, fast-paced agency life.

Mad Men also gives contrast regarding the roles of the individuals who work in ad agencies today vs. back then.

As the years passed, agencies observed more and more changes in how they work. Compared to the time of Mad Men, ad agencies nowadays have greater access to professional development tools, free or low-cost.

Also, we can easily get certificates through online courses.

The convenience of technology also paved changes in job duties and responsibilities then and now.

Before, executives and managers used to have a lot of secretaries to help them organize their schedules and work.

However, as technology provided us with organizing and scheduling tools, we no longer feel the need to hire tons of secretaries to help us get through a busy workday.

This way, agencies can save money on labor while remaining productive and efficient.

Another big change from the period of Mad Men to now is how we slowed down our fast-paced agency lives.

But we still play hard, just not during work hours.

Human resources prioritized health and welfare in the workplace, banning smoking inside the office and saying no to office drinking (except during office parties, of course).

So, in today’s marketing agencies, you won’t have to deal with a boss or workmate who has had at least ten cocktails before lunchtime!

The advertising business now offers a career path for both men and women. Society is more inclusive and open to diversity, honoring the contribution women have made in the advertising industry since the Mad Men era.

Advertising jobs then and now

Roger Sterling

Then: Head of Accounts and Partner

Back then, Roger Sterling would have had to help manage the larger, more prestigious accounts — Lucky Strike, Mohawk Airlines, and Jaguar.

Now: He would be a partner alone. Today a partner wouldn’t have as much involvement but would make occasional appearances when necessary.

To be more specific, the modern Roger Sterling would become a partner in holding companies. He still gets to manage people, just not that very much hands-on.

Don Draper

Then: Creative Director

He started from lower roles and worked his way to becoming the best creative director in the Mad Men era.

Now: It would stay pretty much the same. Don Draper would continue his duties as a creative director, though he may not be attending client lunches and vacations as much as Don Draper did.

Certainly not drink as much!

The audience watched how his creative director role evolved. We could see him change from a director who would make demands left and right to someone who lets his creative team roam free.

Many of us can relate to his character, as we usually witness this type of development in real life.

We can see how managers adapt to their working environment and the team over the course of their time together. Some develop bad habits. But they often develop best practices that focus on improving each team member’s productivity.

Peggy Olson

Then: Copywriter

Peggy Olson was considered an anomaly in her field in the 60s because she was a woman. It was rare for a woman to make it past their secretary’s desk during that time.

Now: This would essentially stay the same now as well.

In today’s world, you have far more gender diversity regarding copywriting. Also, you need a wide range of copywriting skills to advance as a copywriter in today’s internet advertising era — from social to email to print.

Modern copywriters can learn these skills from various resources such as self-help blogs and sites to online courses and videos on YouTube.

In today’s world, you can become a copywriter even without formal education as long as you’ve got the grit and, of course, your pen and paper like Peggy.

Pete Campbell

Then: Account Executive

Back then, the account executive would wine and dine clients and help sell new business. The team would take care of tactical work, and their role was minimal beyond knowing what was going on to foster a healthy client relationship.

Back then, they didn’t have project managers at all!

Now: Account Managers

Account managers do a lot. Most of them these days are also project managers OR have a project manager helping them.

Account people, as we like to call them, need to possess certain skills in managing the team throughout the project.

They’re creative, yet still objective in determining the crucial aspects of the task. However, despite all this knowledge, account executives still like to get everyone involved.

They are willing to hear what the team thinks, whether it be positive or negative.

In other words, as an account manager or executive, you get to lead people towards success.

Joan Holloway

Then: Office Manager

Ah, Joan. The one woman in the show who always knew EXACTLY what was going on in any project at any time in anyone’s office.

Herding secretaries like herding cats.

She ensured the office was running smoothly and everyone had what they needed to do their work efficiently.

Now: Operations Manager.

Just like an office manager, an operations manager knows every nook and cranny of the company’s operations.

They know where you can find the best resources at optimal prices.

Operations managers also provide insight into how the industry and the business work, giving ideas on how you can optimize production.

After all, efficiency is in Joan’s blood.

Marketing jobs then and now

But what about project managers?

They didn’t exist in the 1960s ads era. Everyone kept track of everything in the pipeline on their own.

With the changing advertising landscape, project managers started to became more and more necessary. Agencies saw that making the creative director handle the whole management process for an ads project just wasn’t feasible anymore.

So, agencies began to hire individuals capable of leading projects, no matter the scope and size.

Project managers have provided their expertise and other soft skills in leading the ad team and the creative director in making campaigns, whether billboards, commercials or other types of ads.

Incorporating project managers in marketing opened new opportunities and career paths for advertisers and managers alike.

This changed the advertising industry dramatically, further fueling the creative revolution. We’re still feeling the effects of it today.

Conclusion

A lot has changed since the Mad Men of advertising walked Madison Avenue in New York, cocktails and Lucky Strikes in hand.

However, one thing still holds true since those times:

Teams are needed to make successful and engaging ads.

The engaging storylines in Mad Men have made us remember how we worked before:

  • Stressful times call for a drink (or two!)
  • The team’s creative juices flow with the director or manager reviewing ideas
  • Job mobility through promotions and raises.

This way of work brought project managers into the advertising world. They helped agencies prioritize which tasks are essential for the success of an ad.

There’s no doubt that project managers are crucial even in advertising and marketing.

So, if you’re planning on welcoming a project manager to your advertising agency, check our Scale Map diagnostic to see how you and your project manager can grow your agency!