According to the popular saying, a good workman looks after his tools. But those used by digital marketing professionals are becoming increasingly specific, complex and, above all, essential for good performance. There are now some tools which are conventionally used. However, new and innovative solutions are regularly created for carrying out deeper analysis, automating certain tasks and working more efficiently. Whether you are a beginner or an expert, this selection of tools should interest you.
Sharing and collaboration
Working independently and alone without any collaboration has now become unthinkable. Images, reverse planning, creative briefs, strategic plans, presentations…all your files have to be carefully sorted, categorised and filed. There are reliable and powerful solutions available for times when you want to share a file with colleagues, management, clients or suppliers.
Dropbox: storage, sharing and synchronisation
Yes, a classic, but a highly effective one which saves all your files in the cloud as well as on your machine. In a few clicks you can create links to share large files (for example, those famous 1Go rush videos). Its big advantage is that it is easy to set up, whatever system you are on.
Google Drive: the king of the Google empire
Drive is a must-have and works just like Dropbox, but integrates fully with all Google tools. You can easily collaborate with several others on a Google Doc, spreadsheet or presentation, with or without internet access. It’s perfect for agile organisations which already use Google tools such as email or calendar.
Office 365: the safe bet
Microsoft has long been overtaken by its competitors and has redoubled its efforts with Office 365 and its cloud solution, OneDrive. It is now possible to collaborate with several others on a Word or Excel document and easily share data. Office 365 integrates with all other Microsoft solutions and despite the fact that it is a little harder to manage than Google’s tools, an IT team will be able to take you further with its linked tools (SharePoint, Project, Yammer…).
Managing projects, budgets, production timelines, briefs or deadlines requires more useful tools than an Excel spreadsheet. Let’s inspect the troops.
Asana: collaborative working without email
This is one of the best tools but also one of the most unfairly little-known. Using a list or table system, Asana lets you create projects, tasks and sub-tasks, assign them to members of your teams, add attachments from Dropbox or Google Drive, manage deadlines and plan your projects as well as possible. A dashboard keeps you informed of progress and everything you need is available online or via the mobile app.
Microsoft Project: the industry standard for large projects
This is probably the best known but also the most powerful project management software. While Project isn’t the most intuitive or easiest to use, it is essential for big, long projects involving different responsibilities, critical tasks and multilevel organisation.
Trello: the online Kanban method
With its table system, Trello is inspired by this highly visual method which means you can instantly see what has been done, what is being done and what remains to be done. With lists which are easy to move and reorganise, you can assign tasks to members of your team, add deadlines and share information. This makes it a good way to facilitate teamwork.
Float: plan and anticipate your teams’ work
Whether an agency or an advertiser, we always want to ensure our team’s resources are used to the full and have maximum visibility on the planned workload. Float is made for this! It’s an efficient planning system which lets you know who is working on what, when. This is useful for optimising resource allocation after your weekly meeting.
Properly manage your blog and content
Creating innovative content with high added value as part of an inbound marketing strategy requires some level of organisation and appropriate tools. The following array will be useful for editors and communications and marketing executives and should inspire you!
Antidote: put an end to errors in English and French
There’s nothing worse than an error in a crucial document sent to a picky client. Or in a blog post which you are happily promoting. Unfortunately, despite you proofreading multiple times, these things can happen. To avoid them, you need Antidote: an extremely advanced correction system in English and French. Think the Google Doc or Microsoft Word spell checkers are enough? Think again! Antidote is much more powerful and integrates with all your tools.
Toggl: the ideal time tracker
In an agency, you bill a client for a number of hours. But how can you know exactly how much time has been spent on a particular task? Toggl is the time tracker which will make things easier by being simple to use and providing clear reports. For everyone else, even if you don’t charge by the hour, you must be assigning specific tasks a given period of time. Toggl can also be of use here by helping you organise your projects, be more productive and find out if the four hours spent writing a blog post were actually worthwhile.
Pixabay: rights-free images for all
A picture is worth a thousand words: a classic saying proven by blogs and social media. Without illustration, your impact and community engagement will be greatly reduced. What can you do when you don’t have the budget to pay for a Getty Images subscription or a professional photographer? Pixabay is the site you need for rights-free images which can be used for free anywhere, including for business purposes.
Master social media
Working with social networks takes time. You have to plan your contributions and posts, monitor, reply to comments, develop your image, etc. Happily, there are a range of handy solutions.
Agorapulse: your social media inbox
Agorapulse is an innovative, easy-to-use tool which can connect most of your social networks to one easy-to-manage inbox. In just a few minutes per day, you can plan your outgoings, reply to all your mentions, organise competitions and monitor the competition. In-depth reports can be downloaded in PowerPoint format and the social media inbox system is simple and well thought out.
IFTTT: perfect automation
IFTTT is a very useful free tool which lets you automate a range of tasks using your favourite software. For example, you can automatically save your Gmail attachments in your Dropbox, get statistics on your MailChimp campaign 24 hours after sending it, save each of your tweets in a Google spreadsheet and tweet your Instagram photos as native Twitter photos. There are so many options and the tool is free. One to try out as a matter of urgency!
Hootsuite: the classic
Widely known by community managers, Hootsuite lets you manage your social networks with personalised feeds in different columns. You can assign mentions to members of your team and plan your outgoings. This is a comprehensive and powerful program, despite it having an interface which can be a little confusing at first.
Canva: the visual creator
It’s good to have a photo to share. But giving it real added value with a suitable design and message is even better. Canva lets you personalise your images easily with simple-to-use filters, messages and visual wizardry. This is useful when you don’t have a designer on hand (or the budget to call on one).
It’s hard to make these into a specific category as these programs are related to different jobs linked more or less closely with the digital marketer role. These specific solutions are essential for increasing productivity and sharing the right information at the right time.
Mediatool: a rare gem for your media strategy
Managing advertising space purchases can be complex. Excel quickly reveals its limits and when you’re working for several brands or clients, it’s not long before things turn nightmarish. Mediatool is an excellent piece of software for this and a lot cheaper than other solutions on the market. Everything is accessible online: you give your budget, your brands and your media strategy in just a few clicks. Reports and tracking are comprehensive and easy to use. Whether you spend thousands or millions on advertising (web, print or TV), this tool will save you time!
Jira: manage bugs and track IT projects
When you work in an agency, it’s crucial to have good communication between client, project manager and developers or designers. For this, Jira is essential: it documents bugs, client comments and observations and lets you assign technical tasks to specialists who can then deal with them. Jira is designed for agile working with sprint planning and a range of project management and tracking tools.
MailChimp: the email campaign king
MailChimp is widely known and is probably THE star email campaign program. Its interface is simple and accessible even for beginners. You can create campaigns, send them and manage reports using MailChimp. The free version is very comprehensive and will modernise your outgoing messages and marketing strategy.
Bitbucket: versioning and code management
Although actually for developers and programmers, Bitbucket is also used by project managers and marketing professionals for tracking IT projects. It lets you manage source code, create different versions, collaborate and save your work easily. It’s a must-have for agencies or organisations developing their internal resources.
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