10 Affordable Must-Have Tools for the Modern Digital Agency
Social-savvy startups can get up and running these days on very little startup capital. However, despite the limited financial burden, there is a lot of work that goes into running and growing an online agency. Things begin to move especially fast as your client portfolio grows, and that’s when you probably start desperately searching for shortcuts.
It can be a headache trying to manage multiple clients throughout the course of a day. Your goal should be: How can I be the most efficient, effective and organized? As an agency that has faced these hurdles first hand, we’ve decided to make your life easier and save a buck or two in the process.
So, without further adieu, here are our top ten list of tools for the cost-conscious agency. Don’t let the price fool you. We’ve tried all of these and we love them!
www.cyfe.com | $19/month/user
Cyfe brags to be the all-in-one business dashboard. And for the price, you honestly can’t beat it. The service’s strong point is that you can customize dashboards for multiple clients that display the most important information for each.
From social media, web analytics, marketing, sales, support to infrastructure, this tool really comes in handy for organizing and time management. It integrates most of the popular tools that you are likely already using to give you a one-stop-shop feel to using each.
It has a very clean drag and drop style where that your entire team can easily learn and start using right away.
www.canva.com | $9.95/month (Free option is still good)
Canva is great for quick graphic designs. If you don’t have a graphic designer on hand, or simply don’t want to spend the time with clunky, complex software, Canva will quickly become your best friend.
With a ton of preset designs for Instagram posts, YouTube channel art, social media elements and infographics, you can quickly churn out gorgeous designs for your brand. You can also easily create folders to manage your content packages.
www.adobe.com | $69/month
Although it’s on the more pricey side of our list, with an Adobe Cloud subscription you gain access to arguably the best design software in the industry. Adobe is home to software staples such as Photoshop, Illustrator, Premiere Pro and After Effects. The beauty of getting the cloud is you don’t have to install each program separately, your files are saved safely online and you can update each quickly at the click of a button.
Not only that, but once you grasp the capabilities of these programs, the tools to make jaw-droppingly beautiful designs rest at your fingertips. I won’t lie to you. These aren’t tools for the novice designer. However, there are plenty of blogs and videos that can help guide you as you learn to master them.
www.chrome.google.com/streak | Free
Streak is a unique extension that can be added directly to your Chrome browser bar. It’s a simple CRM tool that connects with your gmail account and is incredibly helpful in managing your sales funnel. You can organize your leads’ emails, keep track of last conversations and move prospects accordingly up or down the sales cycle.
An added feature allows you to monitor when and how people open your emails. This is useful when you might be wondering if you should reach out to a lead you haven’t heard from in some time.
www.buffer.com | Free - $199/month
Don’t be turned off by the price. While the limited access to features through the free and cheaper price plans can be useful early on, the full package is worth the investment. Buffer is a powerful tool that can be used to manage multiple social media accounts in one place (oh, and it’s also integrated with Cyfe). You can easily schedule the day’s social posts for your brand and multiple clients, as well as track analytics on each.
This is an incredible time saver because you won’t have to be jumping from app to app and trying to maintain consistent content on the go. This way, you can save time to focus on the bigger tasks at hand.
www.google.com/analytics | Free
This is an absolute must-have. It’s relatively easy to set up with your website and allows you to mine a ton of data from your website. You can learn how people are getting to your website, what they are doing once they get there and how much traffic each page is getting
You can customize the data metrics to display specific actions related to your website. These analytical insights are instrumental when it comes to updating your website to accommodate how your visitors prefer to find your information. You can find opportunities to keep visitors longer and ultimately rank higher on google search rankings.
www.quickbooks.intuit.com | $10.40 - $24/month
Don’t have a bookkeeper? No problem! Quickbooks can do it for you. This is an incredibly easy-to-use software that you can access from your computer or phone. Simply connect your business bank account to Quickbooks and your transactions will all be updated within the interface.
You can chart out your sales, create and distribute invoices, setup your taxes, pay employees and much more! For many digital agencies, this is an absolute lifesaver. Accountants can be very expensive and not a necessary investment in many cases. With a few adjustments, you can start managing your business’s finances all in one place.
Bonus, this is also integrated within Cyfe!
www.google.com/alerts | Free
Google Alerts is a useful way to keep track of news related to your industry as well as your clients’ industries. It’s very easy to get started. Simply build a list of keywords that are relevant to you and your clients and schedule when you would like to you receive the most recent results.
It’s kind of like a customizable newspaper. For me, I have my alerts sent to my email each morning at 9am. This way I can start my day by knowing the most relevant news that pertains to my specific needs. I also have it setup to send to my Gmail’s “updates” folder as to not clunk up my primary inbox.
www.slack.com | Free
You’ve probably already heard of this popular communication tool. But, in case you haven’t, it’s quickly become the go-to way for teams, agencies and companies as a way to manage internal communications.
Whether you’re a pair of co-founders, or an international organization split into a variety of teams, Slack should become how you share internally. Emails are good in some situations. Internally, however, they are often to formal and time-consuming. You can share files, create channels about certain subjects and instantly message anyone on your team!
www.trello.com | Free
Trello is task management tool that has been adopted by many modern agencies and fortune 500 companies. It allows you to break down the various tasks that make up each project and assign them respectively to people on your team.
This is helpful because you can keep an eye on exactly what needs to get done and who is responsible for doing so. Forget the clunky email chains with multiple people. Just drag the task along the path until it is finished so the rest of your team stays in the loop.