Savvy marketing agencies are able to achieve sustainable growth by automating as much of their processes as possible.
Agencies that do not embrace automation, or are unaware of it completely, simply cannot afford to scale because hiring more human resources is not the way to scale in today’s economy.
Automation brings with it many benefits for marketing agencies. It enhances productivity, reduces overhead, eliminates repetitive tasks in some cases, and allows for better scaling.
Agencies that invest time and money in automation can reap benefits since they can take on more clients while not increasing size drastically.
Still, the point of this article is not to convince agency owners that automation is indeed the answer to their scaling woes.
In this post we’ll be taking a look at the tools marketing agencies can use to grow and become successful.
What to Automate?
Before you start searching for ‘marketing agency automation software’, it’s important to recognize the processes in your agency that need automation.
A simple way to do this is to have everyone on the team record themselves doing work and identify the steps that take the longest amount of time.
Analyze these steps, and then look for automation software to help. We know of agencies who wrote their own custom tools scripts to automate certain processes.
Some common processes in marketing agencies that can be automated are:
Accounting and invoicing
Activities related to lead collection, qualifying, cleaning lists, etc.
Client website audits
And there are numerous automation software for each of these tasks/processes.
Accounting and Invoicing
Ask any business owner what their least favorite part of the business is and they’ll probably say something about accounting, taxes or invoicing. And we totally understand it – there’s nothing glamorous about laboring over numbers and Excel sheets.
But it doesn’t have to be that way. There are accounting automation tools available these days that make accounting and invoicing a breeze.
Many businesses suffer because they don’t have healthy cash flow, simply because the invoicing process is all muddled.
Accounting software like Wave can help here, with their free templates for invoices that allow you to do something that would’ve taken half an hour in Excel, in just a few minutes.
A marketing agency should always be looking to get more clients not just to grow, but to minimize reliance on the clients that they do have.
To get clients, an agency obviously requires leads, lots of them. There are lots of small businesses in the US so there is certainly no shortage of leads for an agency.
The real challenge is gathering all of these leads. You can have a VA scour Google search results, looking for contact information of the companies you want to pitch your marketing services to.
This is obviously a very time-consuming process, but fortunately, it can be automated in its entirety.
Thanks to handy tools like D7 Leadfinder, all you have to do is input a niche and the location (city) you’re targeting, and the tool will return all the companies it can find in that area. Not only that, but it will also tell you their email address, website, phone number and social profiles as well.
What more do you need?
This tool costs under $50 and you won’t have to rely on a VA to do their job correctly.
This continues from our previous recommendation of lead generator tools. Email marketing, be it for sales or to keep existing clients engaged, is something every agency eventually incorporates into their strategy.
If you’re doing it manually through a Gmail inbox then things can get tiresome very quickly. Sending emails one-by-one is a tedious process, but can be automated to a great extent.
If you’re sending highly personalized emails to every lead you have, this might be harder to pull off.
But if you’re sending mass emails with little personalization, an email automation tool will certainly help.
Hunter and Lemlist are both great examples of email automation tools. They allow for automatic follow-ups and even let you personalize emails based on the recipient.
Are you still relying on whiteboards to manage tasks for team members? If so, you’re doing it wrong.
There are affordable project management tools these days that allow you to create task templates, log hours and much more.
If you have a long term client, you want everything your team has worked on for them in one place, and a collaboration tool is perfect for this.
Trello is what we’d call a rudimentary way to do this. For bigger agencies, tools like Teamwork are much more suitable. They allow multiple people to be assigned to a certain task which has to be divided into sub-tasks. People can finish tasks so the next person can start their work, log hours and finally mark the task finished.
These tools also give you a glimpse into the amount of time team members are spending on certain tasks. If they’re spending more time than usual, you can investigate and improve efficiency this way.
Web Page Development
Don’t bother creating web pages from scratch when you don’t really have to anymore. Tools like Divi and Elementor come with built-in, responsive modules that make web page development and design a piece of cake.
With tools like these, you can focus more on the design aspect and let the tool handle the development.
You’ll still need someone qualified to use these tools, but it’s going to take much less time to develop web pages.
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Brand and Communication Manager
"Content isn’t king. Usefulness is. Robert does this in the online marketing and social media space with ease."