According to IBISWorld, digital agencies turnover about $16.5 billion per year in the US alone—with predictions of continued growth. This is exciting news for creative agencies as there’s money up for grabs.
But with a great opportunity, comes fierce competition. How do you future proof your business and take a piece of the revenue pie?
In this post, we share our recommended tool stack for creative agencies to get ahead of the curve.
What Types of Tools Are Vital for Creative Agencies?
The agency world is dynamic and is forever changing. What used to work yesterday may not work tomorrow. You need to be equipped with a set of tools to stay sharp and get the best results for your clients.
At the same time, there’s no shortage of software companies promising innovative solutions. Once upon a time, having a new app solving a general problem was impressive.
However, with market saturation, companies are becoming more specific and targeted in their offerings.
But what solutions are going to help your business?
To save you time, we’ve done the research and are excited to share the essential tools to succeed as a creative agency, including:
- Content proofing
- Appointment scheduling
- Cloud storage
- Content management system
- List building
- Proposal design
- Email marketing
- Landing pages
- Internal communication
- Graphic design
- Project management
- Social media management
- Content promotion
- Knowledge base
- Marketing automation
Ideal Tool Stack for Creative Agencies
Now that you have an overview of what types of tools are vital for your agency, let’s take a look at our top picks for each category.
Filestage - Easy Content Review & Proofing For Teams
Have you ever been stuck in long email threads with clients going back and forth over a project you’ve submitted? It can get confusing quickly!
Enter Filestage—an easy-to-use platform to help collaborators review and proof docs, images, video, and audio.
Teams can comment and annotate on files, check the status of a review, and monitor the whole proofing process. Oh, and clients don’t need an account to review your project!
Bookafy - Online Appointment Scheduling
Whether it’s for your agency or your clients, there are increasing demands for appointments of all kinds.
Yet, think about how much time you lose trying to coordinate schedules, not only locally, but across different timezones.
Bookafy provides a seamless automated booking solution that integrates with all your favorite apps.
Once you setup your appointment times, you can embed your booking calendar on your website, send a link to your availability page, or you can even use our template to create an appointment landing page.
Google Drive - The Simplest Way For Teams To Work Together In The Cloud
Whether you’re a freelancer or part of a larger agency, file management is fundamental to your success.
Google Drive is a secure cloud-based filing platform that has the same clean, user-friendly interface we’ve come to expect from Google.
Drive allows you to share, save, and access over 100 different file types on the web, mobile, or desktop.
On the business plan, you can use Google File Stream, which is a desktop application that enables you to pick and choose which files you want to keep online, and which ones you want to access locally. This is perfect if you need to free up some space on your computer.
WordPress - Open Source Software To Create a Beautiful Website
With over 54,000 plugins and what seems like an infinite library of third-party themes, WordPress offers endless customization for anyone who wants a website.
But the biggest reason we recommend using WordPress for your creative studio and content marketing is the SEO functionality for all types of content.
Poptin - Create Engaging Popups and Forms For Your Website in Minutes
As a creative agency, it’s critical to ensure your website is working 24/7 to capture new leads for your business. One of the most effective ways to do this is through email forms and popups.
Poptin helps you to send the right message at the right time, skyrocketing your conversions in the process.
The features of this service are endless, but here are some highlights:
- Customizable forms and actions
- Advanced display rules
- Drag and drop editor
- Exit intent triggers
- Reporting and A/B testing
Poptin is compatible with any CMS you can think of!
BetterProposals - Close More Sales - Get Paid Faster
Crafting an amazing proposal for your prospective clients is the difference between winning and losing business.
You want your proposal to look enticing, get more conversions, and get paid faster. The proposal software Better Proposal ticks all the boxes.
With over 100 customizable templates, an ability to add your logo, font, and custom domain, your proposal game is about to level up!
Once you send off your proposal, you’ll be notified via email each time the client opens, forwards, prints, or signs your doc.
Lastly, you can close the deal with pricing options built directly into your proposal, whether it’s installments, an ala carte, or optional up-sells.
Moosend - All-in-One Email Marketing Platform
The email marketing software Moosend offers everything you’d expect from modern email marketing software, including; advanced segmentation, website, and user tracking, customizable sign-up forms and email templates, behavioral marketing automation, and gorgeous landing pages.
However, what’s really impressive about Moosend is the opportunity for agencies to turn client projects into recurring customers. That’s right. You can add an agency mark-up price that you pass onto your clients, creating another revenue stream.
What’s more, is Moosend has affordable plans, without compromising on any features.
Instapage - Create Post-Click Landing Pages at Scale
Landing pages are a highly-effective way to drive sales for your clients. The combination of Pay-per-click (PPC) advertising and landing pages is proven to get results in just about any industry.
But while there are infinite ways to personalize digital ad campaigns, the same cannot be said for landing pages.
Instapage has an advanced marketing solution to help you create custom landing pages optimized for each PPC post. Meaning, you can send leads to the most relevant pages for the highest conversions at scale!
This is a significant breakthrough in digital marketing, and if you master this tool, you’ll be blowing away your clients in no time.
Chanty - Get More Things Done, Together
Email feels so 1999 when it comes to team communication. What agency or any business has time to read confusing email threads?
We live an instant messaging world as it’s more approachable and accessible. Especially, if you’re working remotely, it’s a vital part of your tool stack.
But we know what you’re thinking, «we already use Slack.» While Slack is a well-established messaging tool, Chanty is an affordable Slack alternative that’s easier to use. No more confusing links for onboarding!
Get up and running in seconds and enjoy «Teambook» view where you can quickly access conversations, pinned topics, and files.
As a bonus, Chanty gives you the ability to turn messages into tasks improving team productivity.
Visme - Speak Loudly. Speak Visually.
Visme is design software that makes creating graphics effortless with hundreds of templates and a clean and simple user interface to go with it.
You can design all types of visual content, including presentations, infographics, charts, graphs, documents, printable, timelines, flowcharts, animated GIFs, and social media graphics. The options are endless!
Once you finish your beautiful design, you can share your content online, share it privately via an encrypted link, or download your graphic for whatever you need it for.
ProofHub - All-in-One Project Planning
A core function of being productive as a creative agency is managing client projects. You need a way to plan, organize, and deliver projects effectively.
That’s where Proofhub shines. With a robust set of features ranging from task management, proofing, calendar, timesheets, and everything in between, the project planning software aims to be a one-stop-shop for all your projects.
Planable - One Place To Create and Approve Social Media Content
There are more than 2.8 billion monthly active users on Facebook. And, they’re hungry for new content. Planable helps you to plan, create, review, and schedule social media content not only for Facebook but also for Instagram, LinkedIn, and Twitter.
What makes Planable different from other social media planning tools is that post previews are visually accurate to what it would look like on each social platform.
This helps clients and team members review each post with 100% confidence that it will look the same once it goes live.
Quuu Promote - Promote Your Content To Real People Via Real People
Quuu Promote is a creative tool that amplifies content distribution on social media by tapping into a community of passionate content curators.
Here’s how it works;
As the creator, you upload a piece of content you want to promote and add the creative for social media marketing.
On the other side, Quuu is offering up your creative to users who want to curate high-quality content for their social media accounts.
The proposition is simple. People who are willing to pay for real (not bots) distribution are going to upload their best content. And people who are looking to share content, trust they’re going to find the best of the best on Quuu. Very smart!
Helpjuice - Powerful Knowledge Base Software
Did you know that over 60% of Americans say they prefer automated website-based customer support solutions? People are on the go and want to find answers quickly without having to wait for a response.
A knowledge base is an incredible solution to organize, update, and share answers that are relevant to your client’s products and services.
Helpjuice offers Google-like search functionality for knowledge bases, making it familiar for users. It also comes packed with analytics and reporting to ensure your clients are meeting the needs of their customer base.
Encharge - Powerful Marketing Automation For SaaS Companies
As competition increases, SaaS companies are scrambling to retain customers month-on-month, year-on-year.
One of the most effective ways to increase Customer Lifetime Value (CLV) is to personalize and streamline email notifications based on user behavior within the app.
All these features (plus more) will help increase your client’s CLV, and yours as well because they’ll be so blown away with your advice!
Phew, that was quite a list!
Hopefully, after reading this post, you’re feeling inspired to try some new tools that will not streamline your creative agency, but more importantly, will get results for you and your clients.