You need creative and marketing tools.
Which tools work best? If you're looking for a comprehensive list of creative, marketing and communication tools your agency can use to serve your clients, you've come to the right place.
In part one, we shared our epic list of agency management tools.
Today, I'll share a comprehensive list of tools you can use to streamline workflows and increase production exponentially.
One other thing, there’s a bit of overlap here. Most of the tools in this guide can fit into multiple categories. I won’t repeat them for the sake of simplicity. When you go through this guide, it should be obvious which tools perform multiple functions.
Let's dive in.
Introducing the ultimate guide to creative agency marketing tools
This section includes a list of tools and resources in several areas:
Website Creation and Management tools
Content Management Systems
The one and only Wordpress. It needs no introduction. It's a free and open-source content management system that offers a plugin architecture and a template system. It's most commonly used for blogging but supports other types of web content including media galleries and online stores.
Drupal is another open source CMS that integrates with the Symfony development framework. Drupal is made for developers, marketers, and agencies. It's powerful enough to handle the heavy demands placed on it by the enterprise, yet flexible enough to adapt to nimble small businesses.
Contentful is a content infrastructure that's designed for teams. Contentful gives you an API-first, cloud-based platform to power your sites and apps, allowing you to create first-class user experiences.
Pricing: Free - $879 per mo
Cockpit is a self-hosted headless and API-driven CMS. Need a flexible content structure but don't want to be limited in how you use your content? Cockpit is a perfect match if you want to support multiple devices or need a content management UI for static site builders. Build unique applications and let Cockpit feed them with content.
Prismic is the one CMS backend for all your websites and apps. There's no need to install a backend or a database. Create your custom types and start filling in your templates. Prismic integrates with existing systems. It's API-based enabling you to integrate it with your existing projects and CMS. They even provide a development kit for your favorite language or framework! It's used by Google, eBay, and others.
Adobe's suite of design tools offer the premier set of features that the world's graphic designers utilize. Whether you're DIY-ing design, hiring a freelancer, or bringing it in-house, these tools are the standard for agency level design work.
Pricing: $9.99 - $79.99 per mo
Canva enables non-designers to create beautifully designed content - perfect for social media updates, tweets, cards, emails and more. Canva is specifically made for non-designers. Jump in and publish beautiful content in seconds. Here's a 15-second breakdown showing Canva in action.
Pricing: Free - $20 per mo
DesignBold is a web-based online editor and design studio. Like Canva, they have an extensive collection of templates, downloads and pre-made content agencies can use to quickly (in 5 min) produce high-quality content. Use DesignBold to create postcards, social media updates, website visuals and more.
Pricing: Free - $9.99 per mo
Design tool runner ups
Google is the de facto standard for web/marketing analytics. Google has invested a consistent amount in their platform building it into a comprehensive tool that rivals any enterprise-class cloud and on-premise options. What's really helpful about Google analytics is the fact that it's designed to work with Google's suite of proprietary tools. It works intuitively with Google ads, Google data studio, Google optimize and more.
Google analytics comes in two flavors, Analytics and Analytics 360.
Adobe marketing analytics is a newer part of the Adobe Experience Cloud and an emerging player in the analytics field.
Their marketing platform enables marketers to collect, organize, measure and improve marketing performance. Marketers can achieve this across a variety of channels via content, search, social, mobile, web and predictive analytics.
The solution is comprehensive and intended for sophisticated agencies managing large marketing campaigns. Here's a detailed slice of their platform in action.
The platform is comprehensive, but can be overwhelming for beginners and unsophisticated agencies.
Pricing: $30,000 - $100,000+ per year
Kissmetrics decided to pivot, changing from a Web analytics provider to a customer engagement automation, behavioral analytics, and email campaign automation provider.
The key emphasis here with Kissmetrics is behavior. They focus heavily on support providing clients/users with a significant amount of onboarding, support, training, and integration assistance.
Pricing: Starting at $500 per mo
With Qualaroo, the goal is simple. Generate actionable insights and data user feedback.
Qualaroo gives SaaS companies actionable insights into their user experience with advanced targeting, dynamic insight reporting and comprehensive user research. If you're an agency managing a SaaS platform this means you spend more time focused on designing a high-performance product that achieves results and KPIs.
Pricing: $199 - $499 per mo billed annually
Heap is an easy to use analytics platform designed for medium to enterprise businesses. Their software enables users to retroactively view and analyze historical data without writing additional code. Heap auto captures complete data set without restrictive code additions or unruly parameters. Heap enables clients to build their own customer data platform.
Sisense enables agencies and marketers to embed analytics into their products and apps. Using Sisense, you can run comprehensive analyses on your product and app data. Sisense is tailored for a variety of industries including enterprise, government, health care, supply chains, retail, manufacturing and more.
Pricing: Contact for quote
Exponea is an end-to-end Customer Data Platform that combines customer data analytics with omni-channel campaign execution, while cracking the unified Single Customer View. Through this, marketers can understand their customers and immediately turn insights into actionable campaigns, ensuring an improved customer experience and increasing customer retention.
Pricing: Upon request
Call Tracking tools
PhoneWagon claims to be the #1 Top Rated Call Tracking Software. PhoneWagon provides agencies with a comprehensive list of features including local/international numbers, call recording, whisper messages, automated text replies and more.
Pricing: $30 - $299 per mo
CallRail call analytics provides agencies with data-driven, self-service software that tracks phone calls from on/offline marketing campaigns including keywords, ads and pages. The offer advanced features like dynamic number insertion, call tracking everywhere, website tracking and more.
Pricing: $30 - $120 per mo
Marchex offers search, display and call tracking analytics. Their platform uses conversational AI to classify all calls in real time and at scale.
Call tracking/analytics runner ups
Communication and Support tools
UberConference is free, cloud-based conferencing. Join conference calls without pins, with live chat, automated reminders, local numbers for each participant and screen sharing for attendees.
Pricing: $0 - 19.99 per mo/host
GotoMeeting is the classic video conferencing tool with all of the standard features that made video conferencing popular.
Pricing: $18 - $47 per mo for GotoMeeting, $109 - $499 per mo for GotoWebinar
Join.me is focused on one thing and one thing only. Meetings. Join.me provides you with video and audio sharing. Phone access and screen sharing. It's a reliable tool that's provided by LogMeIn, the same company responsible for GotoMeeting.
Pricing: $0 - $30 per mo
Mikogo is different. It's screen sharing and online meeting software that lives on your desktop. It's a modern take on an old school implementation. Unlike GotoMeeting, there's no software for your attendees to install and there's a free plan account for personal/business use.
Pricing: $0 - $48 per mo/ 1 - 5 users/1 - 25 attendees
Email Marketing tools
MailChimp started off as an email service provider. They're still great at it, but they've now transitioned fully into marketing automation. Use MailChimp to send highly personalized content to your subscribers. Create content that's appealing and helpful.
Pricing: $0, $10+ and $199+ grow-with-you pricing
Mandrill is a transactional email platform from MailChimp. According to MailChimp, Mandrill is "a powerful delivery service that can be used for personalized, one-to-one e-commerce emails, and automated transactional emails like password resets, order confirmations, and welcome messages."
They state these "transactional email services send email to one recipient, triggered by the recipient's action or inaction." Is a short video showing how you can integrate Mandrill with MailChimp?
Pricing: $20 - $10/block (each block is a credit for 25,000 emails)
Easy-to-use, simple and straightforward email marketing software that's designed for creators - writers, bloggers, agencies and designers. For you. ConvertKit is interesting because it relies on tags, rather than lists. This makes the marketing process a whole less complicated and it makes it easy to work with clients on a variety of levels.
Pricing: $0 - $279 per mo
Customizable push notifications for web and mobile with real time analytics. Not exactly email as much as an effective digital communication tool to stay in front of list subscribers.
Pricing: $0 - $99 per mo
Chatbots and Lead Capture tools
"LeadGenius uses a unique combination of data science and skilled human researchers to produce the highest quality data available anywhere. Consistent volume, flexible targeting, and quality-assured results. It just works."
Basically, LeadGenius is a sophisticated platform that takes information about your existing customer base and helps you find similar customers in the B2B space. Especially effective for businesses whose customers have a long evaluation phase with many stakeholders and decision makers.
A useful tool you can use to find contacts in a company. Clearbit enables you to find email addresses by name, job title or role. You can also search for other relevant contact details.
Lead gen software with a variety of in-site popup formats and a list of comprehensive features to capture and convert site traffic. This is the perfect way to launch surveys, initiate content research and request interviews from customers.
You can use Opt-in Monster to ping customers who have signed in to their account or the admin area on your site. Set it to ping these customers exclusively, then ask them questions about their experience/satisfaction.
Pricing: $49 - $202 per mo
Content Strategy and Management tools
In this section we're going to look at content marketing related tools and resources that you'll need for day-to-day content development and creation.
As we get deeper into some of these marketing channels, you'll start to see some overlap. Content marketing tools might also well fit into the SEO categories. Additionally as more SaaS products add features that cross marketing purposes, it becomes a bit more difficult to categorize.
For that reason, you may see a tool in one category, but also would be appropriate for another. We've found that indexing them is a challenging proposition!
Alas, we'll carry on.
BuzzSumo needs no introduction. This wonderfully useful app (1.) identifies which content performs best for your competitor so you can create something better. (2.) Finds influencers who have shared your content or your competitor's content, providing you with contact info for outreach.
Pricing: $99 - $499 per mo
CoSchedule started off as a nifty editorial calendar. Today it's a suite of products ranging from asset, work and content organization, to social media management and more. Today we're focused on their editorial calendar. It's a fantastic way to plan, create and publish outstanding content for your agency and your clients.
Pricing: $80 - $1,400 per mo
DivvyHQ enables agencies to "automate and simplify your content strategy, planning, workflow, and collaboration." The content marketing Institute's number one content marketing platform for the third straight year in a row. It's content planning and production for hyper-efficient, high-volume teams.
Here's why it's so good:
Pricing: $29 - $129 per mo
Scheduling tools runner ups
Hemingway is a free, web-based content editing software for professional writers. With a super clean interface, it's a great way to make sure your content doesn't succumb to any poor grammar or spelling errors.
Pricing: $0 - $19.99 for the Hemingway desktop app
Grammarly is an AI-powered writing assistant. Writers are able to get correction and feedback on tools they're already using. Use Grammarly with emails and messages, documents and projects, social media and social networking tools and more.
Grammarly is built by linguists and language lovers. It finds and corrects more than 400 complex writing errors each and every time you write.
Pricing: Free - $29.95 per mo.
Ginger claims to be the world's most accurate grammar checker. It's very similar in design to Grammarly, and it comes with a seven-day money back guarantee.
Pricing: Free - $20.97 per mo
Copyleaks is a plagiarism, text verification, and analysis tool for content marketers. Detect plagiarism and paraphrased content using advanced AI technology. Copyleaks confirms originality with sophisticated algorithms that scan and track textual content in every language.
Pricing: $0 - $49 per mo
Asset Production tools
Pixlr is a simple and free design tool that's similar in concept to Adobe Photoshop. It's an easy and cost-effective way to produce stunning content without an Adobe Creative Cloud Subscription.
Pricing: Free - $5 per mo
PiktoChart is a quick and easy way to visualize data. It's a presentation, infographic, print and design tool that's created specifically for design-oriented non-designers.
Pricing: $29 - $82.50 per mo
PicJumbo offers users beautiful, free, high-quality stock photos. PicJumbo creators place an emphasis on quality, continually working to expand their image database. That are broken down by categories.
Pricing: Free - $39 per mo
Enthusem is a direct mail design and automation tool. Using this tool, agencies can deliver hyper-personalized, well-timed, trackable content that syncs with their digital campaigns. Enthusem integrates video, instant alerts, personalization at scale, mailer templates, branded content and more.
Pricing: 1,000 mailers ($2,991) - 11,000 mailers ($13,337)
Video Production tools
With Vyond (recently rebranded from the name GoAnimate), you can create professional-looking animated videos in minutes. The drag and drop functionality permits you to select multiple backgrounds, settings, characters, and props.
Pricing: $49 - $159 per mo
VideoScribe animates anything and everything you place on the canvas. It's a helpful tool you can use to create custom animation explainer videos which, in the right context, is appealing to customers.
Pricing: Free - $39.95
Videolicious helps marketers produce high-quality videos quickly, easily and affordably. The app adds logos and watermarks to your videos automatically and comes with helpful instructional videos.
Pricing: Contact for pricing
Video distribution/promotion tools
SEO and SEM tools
Keyword Research tools
Perform better keyword research with Moz’s Keyword Explorer tool, an incredibly accurate keyword tool for SEOs. With over 500 million keyword suggestions updated daily, this tool is meant to be paired with Moz’s Link Explorer, a 35 Trillion (with a T) backlink index + DA checker.
What’s fantastic about Moz is the fact that they go out of their way to provide you with traffic-getting keywords. This is fantastic because they provide you with other difficult to get/quantify metrics for each keyword including:
Pricing: $99 - $999 per mo. (part of Moz pro)
Soovle is a web-based keyword idea generator tool. This website provides Search suggestions and completions from the top providers on the internet including - Google, YouTube, Amazon, Wikipedia, Bing and more.
UberSuggest is a comprehensive keyword tool that was resurrected and improved by Neil Patel. This revamped tool provides marketers with hundreds of keyword suggestions including head terms to long-tail phrases. UberSuggest generates a list of keywords for you based on what is working for your competitors and based on what people are typing into Google.
Google's keyword planner is a comprehensive tool savvy agencies use to round out their research efforts. This helpful (and free) tool enables you to find the right keywords to target for your paid, organic, local and mobile search campaigns.
Here are a few hacks most marketers aren't aware of.
Pricing: $99 - $499 per mo
General SEO tools
Authority Labs offers a simple and intuitive web app that allows you to focus your SEO experiments on earning all of the new and essential SERP features that will allow you to differentiate your company on Google, Yahoo!, and Bing.
Pricing: $49 -$450 per mo
Founded by SEO pioneer Rand Fishkin, Moz is seen by many as the defacto organic and local search toolset. Moz provides agencies with keyword research, rank tracking, link research, social reports and on/off page optimization tools. Moz is built on the back of the Mozscape API, their proprietary index of links crawled by their custom search engine.
Pricing: $99 - $999 per mo
Raven offers agencies, media companies, freelancers and in-house marketers an incredible suite of white label SEO tools and reports. Agencies are able to connect all of their SEO, marketing and advertising data to the reports in Raven - paid, organic and social data all-in-one.
Pricing: $39 - $399 per mo
Ahrefs offers a suite of 18 SEO tools. Like SEMRush, it's not exactly fair to only place it in the keyword research category. With Ahrefs, you get access to 16 trillion backlinks, 7 billion keywords and 1 billion pieces of content. As far as competitors to Moz go, Ahref has a rich toolset and a comprehensive index.
Pricing: $99 - $999
General SEO tools runner-ups
SEMRush is an all-in-one SEO and SEM tool with over 20 tools under one brand for every task or campaign. Find and fix on/off page issues, analyze competitor budgets, analyze your ad creative, optimize your landing pages and more. Use SEMRush to chip away at your competitor's competitive and keyword advantages.
Pricing: $99.95 - $399 .95 per mo
Marin is a sophisticated, hosted, paid search marketing platform that emails agencies to efficiently manage their client's paid search ad spend. Using AI and machine learning, Marin’s patented approach to bidding and management utilizes Bayesian estimation and dynamic clustering.
Pricing: $499 - $999 per mo/based on ad spend
Facebook is rolling out a newly revamped version of ad manager to replace power editor. They've been investing more into ad manager lately and they've announced a fresh set of features for their tool.
The newly revamped Facebook ad manager enables agencies to manage their client's ad spend and campaigns efficiently.
AdEspresso has a well-earned reputation for being an incredibly simple tool to use. When it comes to managing your Facebook ad campaigns AdEspresso's ease of use and simplicity can't be beat. If you're looking for an intuitive tool to use with your team, one that enables you to quickly test, scale and optimize your campaigns AdEspresso is a great start.
Pricing: $49 - $499 per mo
When it comes to research, Wordstream sets the standard. Wordstream helps agencies complete 40 hours of paid search analysis in 60 seconds or less. With more than 1 million customers, Wordstream's SaaS app helps agencies streamline Google ads, Facebook and Bing workflows. Use Wordstream to optimize your accounts across a variety of platforms. With consistent effort, their software enables agencies to take on and grow their business.
Pricing: $59 - $299 per mo
Qwaya is easily one of the best platforms for creating, launching and managing your Facebook campaigns. Qwaya offers A/B testing, scheduling and more but it often comes with a bit of a learning curve.
Pricing: $149 - $349 per mo
SEM tool runner-ups
General tools for Google Ads
Account management tools via Google Ads Editor. help you view, edit, and update your account efficiently.
Keyword tools provide resources for choosing effective keywords.
Placement refinement tools enable you to optimize where your ad appears. These tools include frequency caps, contextual targeting, placement targeting, personalized targeting, topic targeting, geographic targeting, and more.
Bid and budget management tools via Google Ads Editor will help you make the most of your advertising budget, either by saving you time or providing insight into what you should bid for your advertising.
Ad creation tools via Google Ads Editor will enable you to create customized ads to promote your business.
Troubleshooting tools help you figure out how to solve issues that come up in your account. For example, using the disapproved ads filter helps you quickly find and update ads that aren't running for policy reasons.
Native and display content promotion
Native content advertising uses content distribution networks to drive traffic to your web pages. Use this as a low cost strategy to attract new customers to your clients (or your agency).
Each network has a specialty or content sweet spot. Zergnet is great for pop culture and entertainment driven advertisers. Outbrain, on the other hand, focuses on specific verticals like health, business, food, and general interest. You'll want to keep this in mind when you select a network for your internal/external marketing campaigns.
Mobile Marketing tools
Public Relations tools
HARO provides journalists with a robust database of sources for upcoming stories and daily opportunities for sources to secure valuable media coverage. It's an online service for journalists to obtain feedback from the public. It enables journalists to connect with experts in issues relevant to their reporting.
Pricing: Free - $149 per mo
Upitch reverses the process popularized by HARO. With Upitch, agencies download a mobile app that enables you to post a pitch. This app brings journalists to you. Those who are interested in your pitch reach out, providing you with the press and views your clients need.
Pitchers communicate with journalists directly via the live in-app messenger.
Pricing: Free (iOS only)
BuzzStream is web-based software that helps marketers promote their products, services and content to build links, buzz, and brands. It's a comprehensive link building and outreach tool content producers can use for a variety of tactics.
Pricing: $24 - $999 per mo
Traackr is an influence and relationship building tool. This tool quickly gives you crucial insights into what's working in your outreach strategy and why. Tweak your approach and use what works to produce the kind of outreach results your agency needs.
Pricing: Contact for pricing
Affiliate Marketing tools
Flippa is a marketplace for buying and selling online businesses, based in Melbourne, Australia, and San Francisco. It's a great way to identify profitable affiliates, would be acquisition targets and more.
Pricing: $25 - $200
Tune is an established affiliate software provider with more than 11,500 customers. They offer a SaaS affiliate platform that enables agencies to manage affiliate partnerships via their mob/web devices. Agencies can maximize ROI from onboarding through payout with their client's most important partners — affiliates, networks, influencers, agencies, and any other business development relationships.
Pricing: Start Free or Get a Quote
As far as affiliate tracking tools are concerned, Everflow has a strong reputation. They offer a variety of features including fraud alerts, offer and publisher management, bulk blocking on placements, detailed, per click breakdowns and more.
Pricing: $200 - $750 per mo
Post Affiliate Pro offers a variety of tracking methods to handle/track visitors. Their service offers more than nine different visitor tracking methods, providing each party with a detailed breakdown of each click.
Pricing: $97 - $477
OSI Affiliate Software allows you to easily create and manage a referral program for your clients. Their process straightforward, enabling marketers to create, setup and launch their own affiliate referral program in under 10 minutes.
Pricing: $69 - $499 per mo
Social Media Management tools
This section covers tools for social media management and marketing. These are listening, engagement, management and analytics tools you'll need to manage social campaigns.
Social Report is an incredibly powerful social media mangement platform that allows you to schedule posts across multiple channels for multiple clients. It has instagram scheduling, and levels of approval for agencies to use with their clients. Social Report provides monitoring of all of the important social media channels, and offers the most in-depth reporting capabilities among SMM platforms.
Pricing: $49 - $199 per mo
Buffer is an incredibly popular social media platform for businesses. They have 80,000 customers including Microsoft, HelpScout, Shopify, Trello and GitHub. They've broken their product into three pieces. Buffer Publish, Buffer Reply and Buffer Analyze. There's a lot to love with Buffer. They offer rock solid customer support, integrations with all of the apps you know and love and a consistent level of support.
Pricing: $15 - $399 per mo/1 - 26 users
Most marketers and agencies are familiar with Hootsuite. It's an all-in-one tool to manage your social media profiles in one place. It's a straightforward tool that seems to work best for teams of people managing social media content.
Pricing: $29 - $599 per mo / 10 - 35 profiles with 1 to 10 users
Edgar claims to be the social media tool that manages itself. It enables agencies to schedule, automate and monitor content on major platforms. Edgar finds and writes quotable social media updates for you, schedules content for you and posts continually even when you've reached the end of your social media queue. Their company is bootstrapped funded by sales to happy customers.
Pricing: $49 per mo
Social studio is built on Salesforce, the #1 CRM most marketers are familiar with. It enables agencies to listen, engage and publish content on social media across major platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and more.
Pricing: Contact for a quote
Pitchbox is a content marketing, influencer and social media outreach tool. It enables agencies to find targeted opportunities in their niche, scale outreach, automate follow-up and more. Pitchbox also shows you what's working, why it's working and how to improve.
Pricing: Contact for a quote