Marketing agencies need tools that simplify their daily tasks and their client’s unique marketing needs. The past trends of keeping a client’s campaign on the ball involved lots of phone calls, numerous spreadsheets and, of course, cumbersome copies and countless emails to keep everyone on the team up-to-date.
Digital marketing automation has changed the industry, allowing seamless and simplified task allocation and implementation and shared data between team members. So what is digital marketing automation and why does your agency need it? Here’s what you need to know!
What is Digital Marketing Automation?
Digital marketing automation isn’t just a trendy buzzword, it’s a solution…a platform, software or program designed to simplify marketing processes. Digital marketing automation programs or platforms can help digitize daily task assignments and organize, launch, measure and track marketing communiqués and campaigns.
Marketing automation programs should be multimodal in design and simplify marketing endeavors across all digital media—email, websites, social media, blogs, etc. With everything in one place, efforts can be more strategic and less time can be spent on redundant tasks and activities.
Benefits of Digital Marketing Automation
Digital marketing automation isn’t just a convenient add-on for agencies; automated capabilities are really a competitive necessity. Marketing automation platforms combine the power of multiple tools to effectively handle and manage every client’s needs.
Without automation software, companies needed to hire staff to manage every capability that a digital platform can easily automate internally. There might even be a team member whose sole responsibility is to manage the internal communiqués and tasks of the agency—think meeting schedules, client editorial calendars, press release distribution, etc.
With automation software, those tasks are managed via the platform. Schedule meetings in the system, and the invitation or reminder will pop up on everyone’s calendar. Reports can be created and sent to the client from the system, too. Article draft, infographic mock-ups, videos, and other projects can be saved, stored, and sent via the software, too.
Helps Paperclip Everything
Automation programs are designed to store everything in one place. This means that for every client and for every little project, all those notes, emails, mock-ups, and drafts can be stored together.
Each project can have its own portal, and within this area are sections for attachments, emails, client notes, and internal messages. Everything can be stored in one hub, saving time…and sanity…for team members.
Guides Next Steps
The article is written. So what comes next? If this isn’t clearly defined in a project scope, you might have a staffer who sits on that project. Maybe they don’t know that the next step is communicating with the graphic designer for an infographic. Perhaps they assume the graphic designer is already doing their part. Maybe the graphic designer, though, has no clue that the ball is in their court. Does this sound familiar?
Automation programs let the agency automate the workflow. This means that the principal or manager of the team sets each phase in the task flow. Each task or project can be personalized based on the project scope. In this way, everyone will have their tasks assigned to them at the appropriate time and processes will roll seamlessly.
When creating a project with automation programs, agencies set up each step and assign the task accordingly. So that article will be assigned to the writer, who checks it off when complete, the article goes to the editor for review, the editor sends the article to the graphic designer for mock-up graphics. The designer, when finished, sends it back to the editor…who, finally, sends everything to the client.
Every step, every single detail can be preset within the system. As the workflow is checked off for completion, the task moves ahead, until, finally, the client signs off on the final product. There is no question about task delegation. Nothing moves forward until the task is marked as complete. Managers can easily know, at any given point in time, what tasks are being performed, and who is responsible for them.
Agencies can also be notified when a task is held up or overdue. These tasks will be flagged for review to ensure that no detail is missed and that tasks don’t fall behind schedule.
Lets the Agency Forget the Humdrum
What are the humdrum tasks? They’re the annoying, tedious tasks that agency team members deal with throughout the day. Most agencies dub them as ‘administrative time.’ The dreaded admin time is not really helpful to clients. That is, admin time isn’t about brainstorming or creating effective solutions. It’s about making copies. Sorting through emails to find the one you need. Fishing through spreadsheets, slack or skype chats to figure out the status of a given project. Manually creating tasks to keep projects on track.
When automating workflow, agencies can—and should!—get into the habit of clipping or attaching all relevant docs, emails, and other items to a task portal. This ensures nothing gets lost, and it also saves the team from the humdrum.
Don’t have digital marketing automation? You’re likely living in the humdrum world. And you probably really hate all those menial tasks.
Increases Thinking Power!
Relegating the boring humdrum work to the software means….more brainstorming time! Yes, the time you save can be spent working on new ideas for clients and helping to elevate their messaging. Instead of sorting through papers, you can be researching opportunities! Digital marketing automation boosts thinking power…or at least gives you more time for it!
Marketing Automation Components
Here are a few key tools/features that the best digital marketing automation platforms should offer:
We described this in detail above. But, essentially, make sure the program allows you to set task workflow to simplify the stream of activity. You don’t want to constantly remind everyone to do their job; let the system do it for you.
Compatibility with SEMRush, Google Search Console, etc.
Programs/platforms should work with SEMRush and Google Search Console to simplify SEO tasks and keep everything in one place. This doesn’t mean that a program will sync to these programs, per se (although they could), but agencies should be able to view SEO data to stay on top of metrics.
Allows for Internal Messaging
The program should ease communication between team members. On-page messaging is a key feature. This allows team members to chat within a project portal and share ideas or clarify data points. Clients also may have access to chat functions.
Monthly invoicing is a hassle for the billing department when freelancers invoice separately and on different days…especially when those invoices are emailed. Automate invoices via the system and allow contractors/freelancers and employees to automate those invoices for expenses, hours, and individual projects. Managers or billing staff will receive an alert that an invoice is awaiting approval. Easy! And no more lost emails and unpaid invoices!
How Does Automation Fit Into a Strategy?
Automation is a strategic solution to time waste and unnecessary expenses. How? All those random, tedious daily admin tasks add up to a LOT of lost work time that could be better spent serving the client. Or coming up with new leads.
Agencies don’t have to think about sending an article to a blog; they simply schedule it. They don’t need to remind a team member to send their invoice, because the system does it. No one has to hunt for reports, because they are clipped to a project portal.
Minimize Time Waste
The menial is dialed back. Time waste is minimized, and, instead, the team can spend that time efficiently by initiating more face time with the client. Or, even better, the team can work on generating new business.
Review all the Data
The software tracks everything. That includes your SEO data. The agency can pull up metrics and review what’s working and what isn’t working. Understand what pages—and what keywords–are falling in the rankings and make the necessary changes to get the campaign and the client back on top of Google.
Steps toward Automation
Convinced your agency needs automation? The process to make it happen is pretty simple and straightforward. The first step is deciding what details you want to automate. The agency can take baby steps; automation doesn’t have to be all or nothing.
You can decide to automate basic workflow first. Then move on to setting metrics and automating SEO functions. Gradually, phase in invoicing and reporting, too. Eventually, all those daily humdrum details will be the job of the system…not your team.
Picking the right—and best—program is a must. Research your options, but make sure the program your agency chooses fits all your agency’s needs. Different programs also offer different capabilities. While programs like Gryffin automate most of your agency’s daily needs, there are specialized software programs for specific tasks, too. Here’s a rundown of choices and their capabilities:
Mailchimp: Builds domains, helps create marketing materials like postcards, social ads, landing pages, etc.
Hubspot: Create a CRM; sales, service, and CMS hubs! Some tools are free.
Sendinblue: Offers email marketing, SMS marketing, chat functions and an email inbox!
Gryffin: Comprehensive agency automation! Gryffin automates task workflow, invoicing, SEO, and more!
Exponea: Automate campaigns, CDP, CDXP, etc.
No matter what platform or program your agency selects, ask about a free trial to be sure it meets your needs. The agency should also research pricing. Know how much you can spend on automation and then look for products in your budget. Ready to automate your agency? Sign up for a free trial with Gryffin today!