The Ultimate Guide to Online Agency Tools


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We built a killer list of online tools that marketing agencies can use to be more effective and efficient. Check out some of the awesomeness above, or view the full list at

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The Ultimate Guide to Online Agency Tools

  1. 1. INTRODUCTION: WHY YOUR AGENCY NEEDS TO THINK SMARTER AND ACT FASTER Here’s the thing about marketing nowadays: it moves fast. Just two months into the campaign, interaction on the Oreo Technology continues to disrupt our culture, the way we Facebook page (likes, comments and shares) had increased communicate, and the way we absorb information. As an average of 110% from before launch. And as if the marketers, our ability to reach consumers and achieve creativity and collaboration behind the first 99 ads wasn’t results relies on our speed and agility. impressive enough, the campaign concluded with the launch of a pop-up design shop in Times Square to crowdsource The marketing industry is already being redefined, making the final illustration and give the world a peek into the way for agencies that possess tech-savvy talent, a behind-the-scenes creative process. It’s this newsroom dedication to providing integrated services, and the ability to approach to content creation that enables marketing think and act fast. Agencies that don’t adapt their services to departments to create marketing worth sharing. meet the demands of timely and culturally-relevant inbound marketing will simply get left behind. Deciding to be an agile agency isn’t a flip-of-the-switch decision, though. It requires support from leadership, To illustrate, let’s take a look at what goes into noteworthy streamlined processes, and a toolset that facilitates marketing like the 2012 Oreo Daily Twist campaign. openness, collaboration, and accessibility to shared knowledge. That’s why we’ve put together this ebook -- to In celebration of the 100th anniversary of Oreo help familiarize you with some of the cloud-based cookies, parent company Kraft Foods and four agencies technologies your agency could be using (if not already) to (DraftFCB, 360i, Weber Shandwick, and MediaVest) improve creativity, efficiency and productivity. collaborated to create a 100-day stream of individual pieces of content representing current events and celebrations such Read on to learn more about: as Talk Like a Pirate Day, gay pride, and the Mars Rover • File sharing and collaboration tools that will allow your landing. The goal of the campaign was to cement Oreo’s agency to get work done faster relevance in today’s society. To tie culture and news to the • Social networking tools that foster company culture and product, each “Daily Twist” ad was illustrated using enable cross-team collaboration Oreos, and every one of them was executed extraordinarily • Easy-to-use administrative tools that handle time tracking, well. billing and project management • Tools that simplify sales, marketing and content While some illustrations were predetermined, most were management processes produced day of. For 100 days, every morning started with • Miscellaneous tools that save you time and headaches so reading the news, followed by quickly getting to work on a you can spend less time managing your email inbox and design in real-time response to what was happening in the more time devising strategic ideas that deliver results and world. “The level of collaboration and creativity [was] second strengthen your relationship with clients. to none,” said Gabe Alonso, a Content Manager at 360i.2
  3. 3. 1WHAT IS IT? Are you the kind of person who stays on top of things by affixing Post-it notes to your computer monitor? Do you have a hard time finding important meeting notes in between all the other chicken scratch in your Moleskine? Do your best ideas strike when there’s no pen or paper in sight? Evernote helps with all of the above. With Evernote, you can capture, organize and access your immediately stored in never-ending virtual notebooks. thoughts and information anytime, anywhere, and from 4. Stay up-to-date on the inbound marketing industry with nearly any device. Since Evernote can read text within ease using Evernote Clearly. With a click of a button, all images, you can even snap a photo of existing notes and distracting ads and fluff from a webpage disappears so easily find them later. you can focus on the blog post at hand. 5. While reading or researching for an upcoming campaign, Evernote also allows you to save searchable information to capture important excerpts from or entire web pages share your in virtual notebooks with others, or even with using Evernote’s Web Clipper. your entire team or agency with Evernote Business. 6. Use Evernote Hello to remember new potential clients or important client interactions.HOW COULD I USE IT? How much does it cost? 1. Create a notebook for each client to keep track of Individual use: free business goals, campaign ideas, meeting notes, or Individual Premium use: $5.00/month or $45.00/year project research. Consider sharing it with coworkers and Evernote Business: $10/user/month allowing them to contribute using Shared Notebooks. 2. Create Shared Notebooks for clients and. Capture clips from web articles they might like, ideas for upcoming meetings, or links to online content that makes their job easier. 3. If you find it easier to handwrite meeting notes, get Evernote’s Penultimate app for iPad to have your4 scribbles
  4. 4. 2WHAT IS IT? HOW COULD I USE IT? Dropbox is a cloud-based, shareable hard drive. With 1. Instead of attaching scopes of work, project files or Dropbox, you can sync files, photos, videos and projects deliverables to emails, simply include a link to a Dropbox saved on your work computer to your personal laptop or vice file or folder. versa. When you make a change to a file, the previous 2. If your agency has multiple offices, use Dropbox to sync version is automatically updated in Dropbox so you’re important files and folders across offices and accessing the latest version no matter whether you view geographies. from your iPhone or PC. If you want to revert to a previous 3. Create folders by department or project to ensure that version or undelete a file, you can. sub folders are automatically shared with the right people. With Dropbox for Teams, your entire agency can also share 4. Forget having to email files to yourself if you need to folders internally or with external clients or contacts, all while finish a project after you leave the office. Dropbox gives maintaining administrative control. you access to the exact version of what you were working on before you walked out the door. How much does it cost? Individual use: free up to 2GB of storage Team use: starts at $795/year for 5 users with unlimited storage5
  6. 6. 3WHAT IS IT? HOW COULD I USE IT? Yammer is an enterprise social network provider that is now 1. Organize meetings and events, share them with part of Microsoft’s Office Division. coworkers, and gauge attendance by collecting responses. Add events to your email calendar. Here’s how they describe themselves: “Yammer empowers 2. Visualize your agency’s org chart so you know who employees to be more productive and successful by manages or reports to whom. enabling them to collaborate easily, make smarter decisions 3. Associate expertise with user profiles so employees faster, and self-organize into teams to take on any business know who to contact internally on a particular subject challenge. It is a new way of working that naturally drives matter. business alignment and agility, reduces cycle times, engages employees and improves relationships with And, as you would with Chatter: customers and partners.” 4. Create groups dedicated to specific clients to house all campaign or content ideas, reports, project milestones, and feedback from account teams. 5. Exchange timely links or resources to help your agency stay informed on the latest client-specific industry shifts or digital marketing trends. 6. Nurture career growth & personal development by allowing employees from different teams to mentor one another. 7. Search, access and reuse creative work and great ideas to repurpose in new markets or for other clients. How much does it cost? Basic Yammer for everyone in your agency: free Yammer Enterprise: starts at $3/user/month Yammer Enterprise with Office 365: starts at $8/user/month7
  8. 8. 4WHAT IS IT? HOW COULD I USE IT? Basecamp is a simple project management platform that 1. Use Basecamp’s Discussion feature to keep track of all allows you to centralize all back-and-forth communication: content communications, files, presentations, resources, meeting suggestions, design feedback, etc. Reply to discussions notes and to-dos in one place. You can easily track and via email so you don’t even have to spend time logging assign project milestones, and even keep track of all your in. projects and progress via your mobile device. 2. Plug in everyone’s schedule into the Basecamp calendar so you know when team members are available to meet. Since Basecamp doesn’t price by number of 3. Plug in all project milestones and due dates into the users, everyone involved in a project can access the calendar to keep everyone on track and provide an at-a- platform to work together. You control who sees which glance view of the agency’s comprehensive workload. project and who sees each other, and you can also create 4. Use the calendar to keep track of each client’s content groups to keep people organized based on their involvement marketing editorial calendars so clients and account with a particular project. (ex: “event planners” vs. “writers” teams know what will be published when. vs. "marketing team"). 5. View projects and tasks assigned to particular employees and adjust to-dos between overloaded and underutilized resources. How much does it cost? Starts at $20/month for 10 projects and unlimited users with 3GB storage $150/month for unlimited projects, unlimited users and 100 GB storage9
  9. 9. 5 WHAT IS IT? HOW COULD I USE IT? ActiveCollab is another easy-to-use project management 1. Not all project management has to happen within system that also includes the ability to create invoices and activeCollab: create new tasks and import files by manage time. sending an email to activeCollab. 2. Enable clients to submit project requests to activeCollab With ActiveCollab, you can access projects by searching or that you and your team can review, accept and assign. filtering by client, label, assignee, status and more; break 3. Create quotes for new projects and mark them as “won” bigger tasks into sub-tasks; view all changes in a or “lost.” If won, you can import client contact information documented project history; and see what work still needs to and launch a new project based on the quote details. be completed using the visual project timeline. Easily drag 4. Filter tracked time by billable vs. non billable to then and drop milestones to adjust due dates and priorities. populate a new invoice. How much does it cost? Small business use with unlimited users: $249/month Corporate use with unlimited users (include time tracking and invoicing features): $399/month10
  10. 10. 6 WHAT IS IT? HOW COULD I USE IT? Intervals is web-based project management software Use a built-in timer or manually plug in time spent on your that couples time tracking, task management and reporting projects. so you can find out where time is being spent in order to Accompany task instructions with any additional files adjust priorities. needed to get a project done, like website copy, images, drawings, etc. In Intervals’ words, the platform is all “about getting work Track evolving iterations of documents over time, and done, empowering your workers to have every piece of revert to a previous version if you don’t like the latest information they need to work efficiently, tracking that work, changes. communicating openly with clients, having real-time status of Use the reporting capabilities to find answers to questions whats going on, and get meaningful reporting from the like: whole cycle.” Which clients are spending the most time on? Which clients to we need to bill Is it time to hire someone? Should we be adjusting our hourly rate? How much does it cost? 40 projects, unlimited users and 15GB storage: $50/month Unlimited projects, unlimited users and 75GB storage: $150/month11
  12. 12. 7 WHAT IS IT? HOW COULD I USE IT? Just because your agency is limited on in-house writers 1. Create a simple questionnaire for clients to get their input doesn’t mean you have to forego content marketing on project details, and use that to create a job telling services. writers what you want them to create. 2. Populate a large volume of content on client blogs much Zerys is a content marketing and project management faster than internal resources could produce it all. platform that connects agencies with qualified writers looking 3. Add your own agency writers into the system or use the for opportunities to create content on behalf of your clients. Zerys writer marketplace to find the right writer for the project. Post writing jobs, sample writers based on their expertise in 4. Send keywords, titles or entire posts to clients to review your clients’ industries until you find ones you like, negotiate and approve. White label Zerys so clients can log in and rates, then review and publish their work. never know the platform wasn’t built by your agency. 5. Provide feedback or reject content that’s not up to par with your needs. 6. Export completed content to publish on your own, or auto publish to WordPress or HubSpot. How much does it cost? Pricing is based on a per-word rate that you choose, ranging from $0.01 to $0.20 per word written.13
  13. 13. 8 WHAT IS IT? HOW COULD I USE IT? The folks over at Contently are fired up about helping 1. Create and manage your entire editorial calendar in the freelance journalists succeed and enabling anyone and Contently calendar, schedule publishing times and due everyone become a publisher. All of this passion has dates. resulted in the two cloud-based solutions Contently offers: 2. Manage approvals, editing workflow, etc. an editorial project management platform, and a 3. Track all changes and versions within the platform’s marketplace that connects brands, agencies and other document editor. publishers with the talent who can turn content ideas into 4. Export completed content to publish on your own, or auto completed projects. publish to WordPress, HubSpot, Tumblr, or Typepad. 5. Organize writers into teams or groups according to client Using Contently, brands and agencies gain access to vetted or project to streamline communications and tasks. writers, and writers gain access to self-promotional tools and 6. Enable payments through Contently to simplify freelance visibility into how their content is performing across the web. payment processing. It’s a win-win! How much does it cost? Contently has not published their pricing, so you’ll have to request more information to find out what an average project costs.14
  15. 15. 9 WHAT IS IT? The conversations you have with clients form the bedrock of your relationship, and often what strengthens those relationships are off-topic conversations about your dogs, families, and/or embarrassing moments. What if you could be more in-tune with your clients’ day-to-day with out having to call? Rapportive is the next best thing. Rapportive lets you find out more about your email contacts by providing information about their social media activity right inside your Gmail inbox. You can see where they live, what they do, what they’re up to, and connect with them on various social networks all within the right-hand panel. In your next conversation, you can say, “Hey, I saw you were at my favorite restaurant in Boston!” instead of a routine, “How’s it going?” HOW COULD I USE IT? 1. Put a face to the name of incoming email from unknown contacts. How much does it cost? 2. Use recent tweets, LinkedIn profile data, and other Free! information to find a common ground you share, and personalize your communications accordingly. 3. Follow contacts on various social channels without leaving your inbox and getting distracted. 4. Leave notes about recent conversations or things you want to mention at a later date, all within the user’s Rapportive profile.16
  16. 16. 10 WHAT IS IT? HOW COULD I USE IT? Need to resize a Facebook Timeline cover photo? Does the 1. Remove redeye, whiten teeth, crop, and add effects to client want a blog image cropped before publishing? Some images for use in agency or client Facebook page of these requests shouldn’t have to be routed to the design updates, tweets, blog posts, ebooks and whitepapers. team for completion, yet not every employee needs their 2. Ensure images are sized appropriately for optimal own copy of Photoshop. viewing in all social networks. 3. Add Pixlr to Google Drive so you can open images from Enter Pixlr, a web-based, desktop and mobile photo editing Google Drive, edit them, then save them back into tool that gives account managers and social media Google Drive. practitioners the ability to create and edit compelling images 4. Easily drag any image from any website to edit in Pixlr without having to jump through unnecessary hoops that end using the Chrome or Firefox extensions. up costing your agency a lot of time and money. 5. Get the Pixlr Express mobile app to capture and edit photos when you’re away from your desk. How much does it cost? Pixlr Web-based Editor: Free! Pixlr Express: Free! Pixlr-o-Matic: Free! Pixlr Express Plus for iOS and Android: $0.9917
  17. 17. 11 WHAT IS IT? HOW COULD I USE IT? Avoid the hassle of printing, signing, faxing, scanning or 1. Upload scopes of work, NDAs, and other signature- attaching documents to emails. It’s not the easiest nor the worthy documents to DocuSign, then send them off to most efficient way to get those NDAs and scopes of work clients or vendors for signing. Simultaneously improve signed by your clients. visibility into the signing process, save money on paper and printing costs, reduce sales cycle times, and save With DocuSign, you can upload the document you need your clients time. signed, indicate where your client needs to place their 2. Use DocuSign for Salesforce to pre-populate and send signature and date, and send it off with a customized note. contracts to clients. Once they’ve signed, you get an email notification so you 3. Have all new employees sign employee handbooks and know immediately when you can move forward on a project. other on-boarding documents using DocuSign. 4. Use DocuSign right inside of Microsoft Outlook. How much does it cost? Individual use: free for 1 user and 5 signatures/month Professional: $15/user/month for 50 signatures/month Workgroup: $20/user/month for 2-200 users and unlimited signatures Enterprise: Get a quote for unlimited signatures18
  18. 18. CONCLUSION A lot of what weve talked about all throughout this ebook is the importance of getting great work done faster. The Internet has leveled the playing field for non-traditional publishers, giving your agency the chance to make a mark for clients by way of creating download- and share-worthy content. On one side of the coin, this shift represents an opportunity. On the other, a threat: marketing agencies that can’t figure out how to provide digital service offerings and cope with the rate at which content has to be created nowadays will continue to be disrupted. When it comes to getting more done quicker, your agency can’t rely on recruiting robots to churn out blog posts, display ads, or professional photos. Instead, however, you can make a difference in productivity by removing a lot of administrative and communication hurdles that get in the way of reaching a finish line. Eleven tools later, we’ve discussed newer and more efficient ways of sharing files, working in teams, getting feedback, accessing information, and managing the sales, marketing and content creation processes. We hope by now you’ve discovered at least a few tools you can add to your own personal tool belt to make life a little easier, or found something you can introduce to your team. Regardless of which tools you choose to implement for your agency, remember to make sure they fit existing workflows instead of having to adapt your workflows to fit the tool.  Want to take a deeper dive and learn about some additional tools >>Download the entire ebook from HubSpot!19
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