26 Tools To Increase The Productivity Within Creative Teams
As if running an agency wasn’t difficult enough, figuring out how to increase the efficiency within your creative marketing teams is a seemingly impossible task. There’s a new tool sprouting up every day that claims to improve your team’s performance in a key functional area and a never-ending list of resources
While there’s a lot of great resources on improving the agility of marketing teams and tools to help grow your business, there’s even more noise out there, which is why we created this list of tools to increase the productivity within creative marketing teams.
COLLABORATION: The underlying, core component of any successful team is the ability to collaborate seamlessly. Having your team work asynchronously anywhere, anytime far outweighs the cost and behavioral changes any of these products may require.
Asana: Asana, co-founded by Dustin Moskovitz, is an incredibly powerful project management tool that allows teams to monitor each individual's current and completed tasks without relying on inefficient meetings, calls or emails.
ProofHQ: A common theme among marketing teams and agencies is the constant back and forth while reviewing content that ends up in long email threads or meetings. ProofHQ allows teams to review and approve content in one centralized platform.
TIME TRACKING: We all want to be more productive, but in an agency environment where time is money, productivity is everything. Time tracking and measuring how much real work you accomplish is the only non-biased way agencies can execute more efficiently and properly charge clients.
TimeTracker: We acknowledge our bias here, but CreativeWorx TimeTracker is honestly the best time tracking solution on the market. Rather than manually inputting the time you’ve spent working on each project, TimeTracker records this as you work and figures out the proper billing code, even when you switch between apps, documents and meetings. There’s no need to hit record or stop, and if you decide to mix in some personal events during work-time, you can delete those events without anyone ever knowing.
RescueTime: If you’re like most of us, we can (at times) become distracted by the internet and then wonder where our time went. RescueTime is a personal tracker that sits in the background and collects data on what we do, indicating where we’re being distracted. A great way to look for improvements in our personal and work lives.
CONTENT: Investing in quality content and content amplification is a phenomenal marketing strategy that more and more companies are looking towards. The problem is, it’s a long-term play and it requires really great content over a consistent period to pay off in dividends, which is why these marketplaces and tools are worth looking into.
Scripted - Scripted is a marketplace of vetted writers for hire. Based on specific details, you can find quality writers with specific expertise to help your business grow through content while managing everything via a dashboard where you can review, edit and approve content.
WritersAccess - If you’re looking to source writers based on quality and length of post, WritersAccess has a superb platform for doing so. They qualify writers based on their skill-set and then price their work accordingly.
SumoMe - SumoMe is every blogger and content marketers’ dream; it’s a free suite of tools that help you grow your audience by increasing social shares, email subscribers, heatmap tracking and more.
ANALYTICS: The oft-cited Peter Drucker cliche “what gets measured, gets managed” is as true as ever in marketing departments nowadays. Properly installed and closely monitored analytics systems is incredibly crucial to the success of any marketing team, making it worth its own category of tools.
KISSMetrics: SaaS, Mobile and Ecommerce companies can benefit greatly from having an analytics platform such as KISSMetrics in their marketing mix. Chances are you’re already using Google Analytics to measure traffic, goals and conversions, which is great, but it only shows you numbers at a macro-level. KISSMetrics goes several layers deeper and allows to to track specific people rather than just tracking overall numbers.
Chartbeat: Chartbeat, a BetaWorks product, is the premiere real-time analytics solution for digital media companies. It allows you to monitor across engagement rates, traffic sources, and social. Just as measuring these sources is important internally, it also allows you to track key metrics so you can leverage these insights while selling ad inventory.
Mixpanel: Mixpanel provides an amazing solution for mobile-first and web companies alike. Measuring beyond traffic and click-throughs, Mixpanel allows you to setup and track funnels from initial visit to completed conversion, all while being able to segment visitors and track specific people.
Heap: Unlike other analytics platforms, Heap Analytics doesn’t require any code at all required to fully implement, which is highly attractive to non-tech companies and companies that want to keep their tech team focused on current priorities. Beyond implementation, setting up events & goals is just as easy as a drag-and-drop tool. Heap is a very, very user-friendly tool that provides insights into traffic and funnel analysis.
CONVERSION OPTIMIZATION: If you run a web or mobile-based business, or even simply have a website, conversion optimization should always be considered to improve your messaging.
Optimizely: Running A/B tests is difficult because it normally requires engineering resources to be pulled away from their core duties to help run tests that may or may not work to better optimize a site or product. That being said, Optimizely allows for (mostly) non-tech based people to run and track A/B tests at ease, without having to bring your engineering buddies over every day to to make sure tests are properly set up.
Qualaroo: While setting up and tracking A/B tests used to be the most challenging aspect of running conversion optimization initiatives before softwares such as Optimizely came around, now the attention has turned to what tests should be run and why? While gathering data-driven details is extremely important, talking to your customers should not be forgotten. Qualaroo allows you to insert a non-obtrusive side popup asking site and mobile visitors questions that help direct future conversion tests and messaging.
UserTesting: Sometimes the the biggest problems are the least obvious to you and your team members, but extremely obvious to your customers. UserTesting allows you to pay people from your demographic to record their observations of your site in a video, helping you visualize where customers see bottlenecks and how they navigate the site.
EMAIL: Email has been, and remains to be, one of the core marketing channels for almost every company doing any kind of web marketing at all. While it’s been around since the early days of the web, its capabilities have evolved immensely.
MailChimp: If you’re looking for a simple, clean and elegant email solution, MC is about as close as you’ll get. It’s free to get started and plans scale as your business grows. In addition to their core email management offering, MailChimp has a number of other products focused on helping you send better email.
Litmus: Before you send off a massive email campaign without testing how it will appear across browsers and devices, take a test run with Litmus, which allows you to test just that, including scanning emails to make sure they’ll end up in your readers’ inboxes rather than their spam boxes.
Intercom: Finding the right time and right message to send to your users is incredibly challenging. Thankfully, Intercom allows for targeted messaging by showing you in real-time who’s using your product and how. This takes an incredibly time-consuming task that’s nearly impossible to measure and turns it into an easily leverageable asset that benefits you and your customers.
Vero: Vero allows companies to send behavioral, trigger-based emails based on your customers’ and visitors’ actions. Whether it’s by sending helpful integration and education emails to your prospective customers before they integrate your solutions, or sending tips on how to get the most of your product once they’ve already become customers, Vero takes out the difficult communication and educational component so many companies have while onboarding new users and improving existing ones.
Sendwithus: Transactional emails are just as important as email marketing campaigns, so being able to A/B test and manage these emails is often an overlooked branding and marketing opportunity. Sendwithus makes this process so easy that it would be crazy to not optimize your transactional emails due to lack of bandwidth.
SPONSORSHIP: Sponsoring celebrities and micro-influencers can be an extremely effective form of advertising, but the main problem this presents is the time-consuming nature of finding willing influencers and then negotiating deals. However, there are several marketplaces and tools that streamline this process for both sides, allowing for sponsorships at scale.
Famebit: Famebit is a marketplace that connects YouTube influencers with brands. Its platform allows for seamless pricing and sponsorship options, taking away the pain of sourcing and negotiating with several influencers.
Izea: Izea is a social sponsorship marketplace that enables brands to connect with bloggers and social media influencers to sponsor content.
Promoted: Created and operated by the team at BuySellAds, Promoted allows everyone from bloggers to large media companies to create contextualized promoted posts that are optimized for the reader, published and advertiser because it’s a sponsored piece that acts like a normal post.
Sumpto: If you’re looking to reach millennials, Sumpto connects brands with college students who’ve built up social clout to promote brands in exchange for goods and products.
BRAND MANAGEMENT: Building a brand is still the most important feat any marketer can accomplish. That being said, maintaining your brand image is just as crucial, and these tools help marketers do just that.
Xink - Email has been around since the early days on the internet, but the email signature still seems to be overlooked by companies looking for additional branding opportunities. Xink allows you to manage and track email signatures throughout your company, creating a consistent brand image and an additional marketing channel.
Mention: Ever wonder what your customers really think? Mention allows you to monitor social media for your brand to react quickly and engage with people chatting about you in real-time.
SproutSocial - Running social media accounts for one company is a challenge in itself, but when you’re agency managing several different clients’ social accounts, things only become more chaotic. SproutSocial allows you to manage and monitor brand mentions across all social platforms on one dashboard.
Improving productivity within agencies is absolutely critical; clients have demanding timelines and high expectations, and your ability to execute hinges on your productivity level. So, while there will always be work to be done, implementing tools into your day that make you more efficient is a major cost saver in the short and long run.
As an agency, your biggest asset is your team, so even making small, incremental improvements can drive better results for your clients while improving your bottom line.
What other tools do you rely on to increase productivity within your creative team?