Yes, content is still king! But content alone isn’t going to bring that optimal ROI you’ve been telling your clients about. As a marketer, you should know that content without a strategy is like a king without his cavalry. 90 percent of marketers use content marketing to attract and capture leads. However, only 33 percent of them have a documented digital content strategy in place. If you’re not part of the latter group, something needs to change.
Need to be convinced? Marketers with a documented strategy are 313 percent more likely to achieve success because it ensures that time, money, and resources aren’t being spent on creating, publishing, and promoting content for less than optimal ROI.
So, if you’re looking to learn how to grow your digital marketing agency, you’ll want to start by developing a cohesive strategy powered by incredible tools.
Here’s a list of a few tools that we recommend:
1. SMART Goals Planner
Deep down all marketers know the value of setting goals that fall in line with the objectives of each client. Even so, we often see folks skipping this essential phase in their digital content strategy.
This may go without saying, but if you don’t know where you’re going with your content then you won’t get far. It’s time you set some SMART goals for each marketing campaign. That is Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-bound. This way, you get to measure and evaluate your progress as you move forward with your content creation and marketing strategy.
Setting the correct goals isn’t always easy, especially when you’re already juggling multiple strategies for several clients at the same time. That’s why this SMART goals planner really rocks!
Even experienced goal setters sometimes get bogged down, but this free step-by-step tool is a great guide to help improve the return on your marketing efforts.
2. Team Impressa’s Planning Template
This planning template is a flexible content marketing tool I downloaded and adapted to our needs. You can easily do the same thing when you’re looking for some out of the box ideas to grow your digital marketing strategy.
For us, it’s still a great way to work through the outline of our plan. Using this template may mean some tweaks on your part, but you’ll get the gist. It walks you through outlining your marketing plan in general, so be sure to insert your ideas for digital content in there. You can download the template here.
3. Google Slides
You could write up a whole marketing plan, but I don’t really recommend it. Unless you’re trying to impress the socks off of your big corporate boss or a difficult client, those write-ups are overkill. They haven’t usually worked well for us. Slides are great though! Slides are accessible, concise, easy to follow, and fun. If you have PowerPoint, go for it, but Google Slides is free.
Staying organized is one of the most significant challenges when building a digital content strategy. Luckily, gone are the days when agencies planned content using spreadsheets in Excel and sticky notes attached to desktops.
Trello helps you, your team, and any outsourcers you’ll use to stay on top of your content needs. After your strategy has been drafted and approved, you can make a board for each element of the plan. This lets you can assign deliverables as cards based on the tactics that will satisfy your content plan.
The good news is that the basic version of Trello is free. The real trick with this tool is to plan well in advance so you aren’t scrambling to whip up content, treading water with your schedule.
Now that you have a marketing plan and collaboration platform in place, it’s time to move forward to the central piece of your digital content strategy–the content calendar. This content strategy tool is your ticket to organized content across your platforms and marketing channels. Blogs, newsletters, nurturing campaigns, social media–if you manage to put them all together, you’re more likely to achieve consistency with your marketing efforts.
We’ve been using Smartsheet for editorial calendars for some time now, and we really dig it. It has premade templates that we’ve been able to tweak to work perfectly for both our internal editorial calendar and our clients’. It’s shareable, yet secure, and pretty dang customizable. And pricing starts at just $10 per month. With the time you save by having all the information in one place, it’s worth the investment.
6. Google Keyword Planner
Many content marketers admit that SEO or PPC isn’t precisely their “thing” and hire external help to organize campaigns for their clients. However, you should make it a priority to get friendly with Google Keyword Planner.
This free AdWords tool can help you grow your digital marketing strategy in more ways than one. Not only will the keyword planner show new keywords to use in your content, but it will help you filter them to optimize your keywords plan. You can also get some realistic, relevant estimates for search volume and competition. In short, you can use the tool to select, group, analyze and filter keywords–everything in one place.
Would you like to use more engaging visuals in your digital content strategy, but infographics scare you? You’re not the only one.
But content with relevant images gets 94 percent more views than content without. So, infographics have seen a significant increase in usage in B2B content marketing.
Piktochart makes infographics easy. You can start with the free version and test how your audience engages with these original graphics. It’s a cost-effective way to enhance your content strategy and add value to your readers.
No, email marketing isn’t dead in 2019. On the contrary, estimates show that for every $1 you spend on this marketing technique, you can expect an average return of $32! That’s why we recommend our clients get active and use email marketing (we do it for our agency, as well).
Email should be part of your plan, and you need a platform to carry it out. We found MailChimp highly-efficient, mostly thanks to its user-friendly interface. Moreover, it’s free at the basic level and integrates with a ton of other amazing content marketing tools.
There’s no effective marketing strategy without social media. As your agency grows, you’ll probably be handling multiple clients’ accounts–from Twitter to Facebook to LinkedIn. It’s a waste of valuable time to log in to each account on a daily basis to manage, publish, monitor, and grow them (not to mention remembering a dozen login credentials).
That’s where a social media management tool comes in. We suggest Hootsuite. When you have access to all your social media activity in one place, it makes it much easier to stay on top of multiple accounts.
The downside? As a marketer you’ve already learned that you need to spend money to make money, so be ready to go pro with this tool. There’s no free version of it.
According to SEO.com, grammar is important not only at the reader’s level but also for SEO. Grammatical errors in content affect your credibility and can ruin your website visitors’ user experience. Grammar should be an essential part of your digital content strategy, so you can’t ignore the benefits of editing and double-checking your articles, eBooks, and all other pieces of content that go live.
Grammarly is an excellent tool for content marketers. Not only does it correct your spelling, punctuation, and grammatical errors, but it helps you make your content more useful and engaging. The premium version has multiple features that can enable you to correct contextual errors, improper use of articles, and awkward word placing, which can help you improve your writing style.
How to grow a digital marketing agency
Great tools are going to make your life easier as a marketer, whether you use them for yourself or for your clients. Of course, it’ll take more than a couple of apps to come up with an awesome digital content strategy—but they sure help you work better and see a higher return on your marketing efforts.
Looking for more information about growing a digital marketing strategy? Check out our Marketing a Marketing Agency Checklist! It will help you understand where you currently stand and where you want to take your brand from this point on.