One of the biggest obstacles for small marketing agencies is choosing tools that will get you the most bang for your buck. Working within tight budgets, you may not always have the capital for extravagant enterprise software. Meanwhile, you’re probably used to doing more with less, pulling off big objectives with limited time and resources.
Good news: technology has got your back. While software’s no replacement for the human touch, it can make some of the routine administrative work of marketing less painful. Additionally, the robust analytics features offered in marketing apps provide tons of useful information. For example: where customers came from, user behavior, the success of landing pages and PR campaigns, media activity, and lead tracking—all in easy-to-understand reports.
The apps below were all rated highly online by TrustRadius users, particularly those hailing from small-to-medium-sized marketing groups. Of course, “best” is by nature subjective; you could certainly make the cases for a number of competing programs as well. However, these are the tools marketing agency users are loving right now.
Best Marketing Automation: Marketo and Hubspot
In a small business, the challenge is often as much about limited person-power as it is finances. If you’re spending days sending the same email out to new leads, you’re not making the most your stretched schedule.
Marketing automation tools solve this problem by taking some of the repetitive work out of marketing tasks. These applications take some of the grunt work out of emailing, updating spreadsheets and routine social media tasks. Marketo has long been the standard for these kinds of applications, and Marketo reviews remain high. However, it has recently taken a backseat to HubSpot’s signature platform, as least in terms of overall ratings.
HubSpot is a fully featured solution for marketers that truly belongs in the all-in-one category. It offers email automation, website management and workflows, as well as insights into user activity, campaign effectiveness and lead tracking. Reviewers particularly like that it’s easy-to-use, yet robust enough to keep using once marketing programs mature, a great asset for a growing business. The enterprise level options are the most powerful, but you can still get a lot of value from HubSpot with smaller plans.
Best Marketing Analytics: TrendKite
No marketing program can truly be called successful without quality measurements to prove its contributions. Well-designed metrics demonstrate the effectiveness of campaigns and provide awareness about customer behaviors and demographics to help teams target leads more accurately. Easy-to-read reporting interfaces help you communicate your worth to management, illustrating how you’re helping your organization achieve financial goals.
Once again, Hubspot is very popular in this category, but we’ve also been paying very close attention to another PR-centric analytics tool: TrendKite.
This application is useful for monitoring activity outside the company; it contains a media listening feature that allows users to measure the effectiveness of press releases and media outreach. It also presents insights on competition, as well, comparing exposure and campaign success. Finally, it integrates directly with Google Web Analytics to measure the number of inbound leads gained from PR efforts.
Those features make it a highly-desirable tool for many growing agencies, the kind of product that users claim helps them stay in step with larger competitors.
Best All-in-One Marketing: SharpSpring
The delineation between “all-in-one” and “automation” is murky at best, meaning that there’s often overlap when evaluating these tools. HubSpot’s marketing app is one such case; users rate it best-in-class in both categories. However, the up-and-coming app SharpSpring deserves special mention here because of its success with the SMB sector.
It’s a particularly cost-effective tool for the marketing startup. SharpSpring combines features to create a robust platform for time-strapped professionals. Instead of investing in separate applications for emailing, A/B testing and tracking, agencies can use this fully-featured tool to handle all those functions in one program. SharpSpring gets high marks for its UI and integration with Google Analytics and Social Media management tools.
Those tools allow marketers to roll their many metrics into a single location. That means your team has the ability to create powerful reports and long-term tracking, making it a useful tool for a small agency to have in their arsenal.
Life in a small agency may have its ups and downs, but with tools like these, you can at least count on your data.
Now that you’re up on the latest top-rated marketing agency tools, you’re ready: prepare your agency for these business trends in 2018.