For marketers, advertisers or for anyone running a business, time is the most precious resource. You can’t get it anywhere.
For creative people, time is even more important as they have to deliver results within a time frame and on a budget. We thought of five key areas and five tools to help you manage it as effectively as possible.
1. E-mail Marketing
Email marketing is great for nurturing leads, increasing retention and driving sales. A good email marketing strategy that’s integrated with the messages that you want to run will help you and your customers achieve their advertising goals.
As a creative agency, you can’t overlook the power of email when it comes to your clients as email marketing is one of the strongest available channels in online marketing today.
The proof is in the numbers: email marketing was the strongest driver in sales, accounting for 23% of orders placed over the Black Friday – Cyber Monday weekend. A few other reasons to support this:
For every $1 spent, $44.25 is the average return on email marketing investment (source). When marketed through email, consumers spend 138% more than people who don’t receive email offers (source).
Despite being a strong driver for sales, email marketing was mentioned as a preferred alternative to social networks when it comes to receiving updates by 90% of respondents (source). Moreover, 95% of online consumers use email and 91% of consumers reported checking their email at least once a day (source).
OK, I think that’s enough to prove the point. Next, let’s see the best tools to actually start sending emails.
There are a lot of great tools to help you manager you contact lists and send dedicated newsletters, but we think…
Best choice: GetResponse
Why: wide range of features suited both for professionals and beginners, accessible pricing both for small and larger lists
- editor for creating and formatting emails
- 99% email deliverability
- 24/7 live support
- 500+ professional email templates
- access to professional stock photos from iStock
- landing page creator
- A/B testing
2. Customer Relationship Management (CRM)
No doubt about it, you have more than one type of customers.
Some are new business, you’ve just landed the contract and there’s a lot of upcoming new work you need to do for them.
For others you’ve done work in the past: you’ve created their website, helped them set up their Facebook and Twitter page. Still you’re following up every now and then or they get in touch about some small changes they want or to let you know that they want to start advertising.
If you’re advertising or if you get referrals, you might get leads on a constant basis. Or you’ve pitched some businesses with a proposal some time ago. That’s a third type of client.
To stay on top of everything, you need a tool to manage interactions with past, current and potential future customers. Here is where customer relationship management (CRM) software comes in. It helps you get organized and spend less time managing leads. Most of them allow you to connect your email and set reminders on what you need to follow up with. This way you can keep track of what needs to get done, set priorities and be more efficient.
Best choice: Salesforce
Why: rich features and flexible enough both for small and large agencies
- contact and opportunity management
- sales collaboration
- track and manage sales performance
- lead management
- email integration
- file sync and share
3. Web Analytics
One of the reasons why online advertising is so efficient is the fact that you can measure results and see if you’re reaching your goals. Still, if you’re not using any analytics solution, how can you know how well you’re performing? How else can you decide where you need to invest and expand your marketing efforts?
Besides revealing information on how well you’re performing, it also helps you know and get good insights about your current audience. You can use that information further along and make decisions about your website, products, services and even to create more relevant advertising messages.
Best choice: Google Analytics
- intuitive navigation that’s easy to understand (audience, acquisition, behavior and conversions),
- easy to set up
- features integration with a lot of other providers
- allows you to create a wide variety of segments
4. Social Media Management
Social media is an important part of any successful advertising or marketing plan and marketers admit that. Even if only 9% link social media to direct sales, 66% of marketers believe that social media activity has an effect on their business performance.
Social media helps marketers and advertisers two fold: to reach the intended audience and to reach their goals.
According to statistics, 70% of US online adults use some form of social media networking and 72% of all internet users are now active on social media. 71% of online adults use Facebook and 52% of them use two or more social media sites in 2014, up from 42% in 2013 (source). And marketers can attest: 70% of reported that they got new customers via social media.
Also, there are studies that show a correlation between social media activity and ranking in organic search results.
Simply by being present in social media you can inspire users more confidence in your brand and your business.
Still, you can’t spend all day long switching from platform to platform to post for you or your customers. Facebook, for example allows you to schedule posts, but you can’t do the same for tweets. Social media management platforms allow you to schedule posts across different networks so you can save time and get more things done.
Best choice: Buffer
Why: easy to use features analytics for your social media posts
- connect multiple accounts
- unlimited scheduled posts
- RSS integration
- in depth analytics for your posts
- add team members to your account
5. Creative Design
Visuals are very important in marketing and like with email marketing, the stats are there to prove it. One month after the Facebook timeline format, which relies heavily on images, was introduced, engagement rose by 65% (source) and articles that feature images get 94% more views (source).
There are more arguments that support the importance of visuals: the human brain processes visual information 60,0000 times faster than text and 40% of people respond better to visual information to plain text (source). Also, 67% of customers prefer product images to lengthy descriptions or product reviews (source).
Still, designers are not always available or might have a fair amount of work on their hands already. You need a tool to help you create visuals for blog posts, social media or even banners quick and easy, without having to spend a lot of time.
Best choice: Bannersnack
Why: does not require installation, flexible, easy to use interface both for professionals and beginners.
- easy to use online editor, no download or install necessary
- features an online image editor as well
- wide range of formats available for export: Flash, GIF, PNG, JPG
- professional fonts, stock images, buttons and animated effects
- 1000+ templates available
- no coding or advanced design skills needed
Now back to you…Let us know what other tools you’re using for your agency and what you would recommend.