The use of software in marketing has increased steadily over the last few years. Social media marketing software, survey software, marketing automation software, content marketing software, and project management software are a few of the solutions that have seen over 25% increase between 2015 and 2020.
At the cusp of this evolution are marketing agencies that need to keep up with these developments in order to keep their business going. But that’s not an easy task given the new products that get introduced to the market almost every day.
To help agencies like yours, we’ve prepared this article detailing the best marketing products available right now.
Why do we call them best? It’s because all of them feature in GetApp’s Category Leaders reports (an annual ranking of top software tools) for marketing automation, SEO/SEM, and project management. They have user ratings higher than 4 (out of 5) and 10+ user reviews on GetApp in the last one year (read full selection methodology at the bottom).
Marketing automation software can essentially be the bread and butter for a marketer. Its adoption has increased significantly in the last few years. Sixty-two percent of the marketers we surveyed this year report using marketing automation solutions compared to only 14% back in 2015.
Marketing automation software is a tool that makes it easier for agencies to manage multiple digital marketing channels such as email, social media, and search advertising, and automate repetitive tasks such as posting, collecting responses, and measuring engagement.
Its typical features include campaign management, lead management, lead nurturing, segmentation, email drip campaigns, and analytics.
Here are some ways you can use marketing automation software at your agency:
Run email marketing campaigns for each client and track the responses with detailed analytics.
Post on each client’s social media accounts from within the same dashboard, without having to manually post multiple times a day.
Auto-segment audiences based on their characteristics and engagement with the client’s business and tailor your marketing efforts accordingly.
To help you find the right marketing automation software for your business, we’ve created a list of the three best solutions (listed alphabetically).:
User rating: 4.5/5
Number of reviews: 617
HubSpot Marketing Hub is an all-in-one tool for inbound marketing. It offers a wide set of features that include email marketing, blogging, landing pages, social media management, social media advertising, and analytics.
It also offers “partitioning” that allows you to segregate marketing assets by clients (or teams) and give appropriate access to each team member without cluttering their dashboards with client information.
Pricing: The starting plan for HubSpot Marketing Hub costs $40 per month (billed annually) and supports 1,000 contacts and unlimited users.
Moving on, there are the “Professional” and “Enterprise” plans at $800 per month and $3,200 per month (billed annually), respectively. The two plans offer advanced features such as A/B testing, adaptive testing, and multi-touch revenue attribution.
Click here to read user reviews of HubSpot Marketing Hub.
User rating: 4.5/5
Number of reviews: 2,389
Mailchimp is a marketing automation system that started as email marketing software and added social media and search advertising functions over time. It offers typical marketing features such as social media posting and advertising, landing page creation, and A/B testing of emails.
The system also offers a website building module that you can use to help your clients create their digital presence from scratch. Additionally, it offers hosted, embedded, or pop-up forms that you can use to help clients acquire leads through multiple digital channels.
Pricing: The starting plan for Mailchimp is free and includes basics like website builder, up to seven marketing channels, marketing CRM, and surveys.
The subsequent plans range from $9.99 per month to $299 per month and offer a diverse set of features including A/B testing, custom branding, multistep automation, advanced audience insights, and advanced audience segmentation.
Click here to read user reviews of Mailchimp.
User rating: 4.5/5
Number of reviews: 48
SALESmanago is a marketing automation system that focuses on the eCommerce and retail industries. In addition to the typical marketing automation features, it offers web push notifications that you can use to deliver targeted offers to audiences based on their behavior with the client’s business.
SALESmango also offers social proof that helps you highlight customer activities on your client’s websites, and predictive analytics that enables you to predict next purchases, the risk of churn, and efficient communication channels for your clients.
Pricing: The starting plan for SALESmanago is free and includes CRM, live chat, email marketing, and web push notifications.
The subsequent plans are “Professionals” and “Enterprises”, and include deep behavioral tracking, cross channel revenue attribution, and omnichannel workflows. Their prices can be sought via custom quotes.
Click here to read user reviews of SALESmanago.
Search engine optimization (SEO)/search engine marketing (SEM) software helps marketers analyze and improve their online ranking and the quality of online traffic from search engines to clients’ websites.
It is essential if you have or want to have a prominent online presence; without it, you'd likely be lost among millions of similar businesses and never get facetime with an online customer. In 2020, 64% of marketers actively invest time in SEO systems.
SEO/SEM software helps businesses show up when users search for information online. For example, let’s say your client has a motel in X city. Now, when people type queries such as “motels near me” or “motels in X city”, SEO/SEM software helps that client’s online listing or website show up.
SEO/SEM solutions typically offer features such as SEO tracking to monitor key metrics including keyword rankings, page views, backlinks, and traffic, and keyword research to help discover relevant keywords and their search volume. They also perform site audits to analyze websites and provide a deeper assessment of the content.
Here are some ways you can use SEO/SEM software at your agency:
Audit your client’s website and improve the pages that are not doing well.
Perform competitor analysis to help a client rank better in the search engine results page (SERP).
Find relevant keywords for a business and help it target niche audiences.
To help you find the right SEO/SEM software for your business, we’ve created a list of the three best solutions (listed alphabetically) here:
User rating: 4.8/5
Number of reviews: 73
Ahrefs is an all-in-one SEO solution that offers modules such as site explorer, keyword explorer, site audit, rank tracker, and content explorer. It also offers a range of free modules such as backlink checker, broken link checker, website authority checker, keyword generator, and keyword difficulty checker.
Ahrefs’ highlight is its range of functions, with which you don’t have to hop between tools for different clients and can perform almost all SEO-related tasks within one.
Pricing: Ahrefs starting plan is priced at $99 per month (supports one user), and includes 500 tracked keywords, 10,000 crawl credits per month, and live indexing, among other features.
Subsequent plans are priced at $179 per month (one user), $399 per month (three users), and $999 per month (five users). These plans offer more tracked keywords, crawl credits per month, historical indexing, and up to 17,500 reports per month.
Click here to read user reviews of Ahrefs.
User rating: 4.2/5
Number of reviews: 36
Moz offers essential features such as SEO tracking, keyword research, and site audit. It also offers a link explorer that you can use to find opportunities for getting backlinks and how those will be effective in terms of page authority, domain authority, and spam score.
The solution also offers a free all-in-one SEO toolbar that embeds into an internet browser, allowing you to analyze page authority, domain authority, and backlinks in real time on SERPs.
Pricing: Moz’s starting plan is priced at $99 per month (billed annually) and offers 300 tracked keywords and 100,000 page crawls.
Subsequent plans are priced at $149 per month, $249 per month, and $599 per month (billed annually) and include up to 4,500 tracked keywords and two million page crawls.
Click here to read user reviews of Moz.
User rating: 4.6/5
Number of reviews: 310
SEMrush is an online visibility management solution that includes features for PPC research, social media research, content marketing research, and market research. It also offers the typical SEO features discussed above.
SEMrush can be uniquely helpful for marketing agencies in generating user experience and content enhancement ideas. You can recommend these ideas to your clients to improve the quality of your pitch.
The system also helps with campaign management, which allows you to categorize projects by clients and add and manage users as per the requirement of each project.
Pricing: SEMrush’s starting plan is priced at $99.9 per month and includes up to 3,000 reports per day and 250 keyword metrics updates per month.
Subsequent plans are $199.9 per month and $399.9 per month, and include up to 10,000 reports per day and 5,000 keyword metrics updates per month.
Click here to read user reviews of SEMrush.
Project management software can help your marketing agency put a method to the madness of running a business with dozens of clients and hundreds of projects and tasks. Forty-two percent of marketers we surveyed this year report using project management software, as compared to only 8% in 2015.
Project management software is an umbrella term encompassing solutions from lighter work management tools such as to-do lists and time tracking software to more advanced project portfolio management solutions.
However, for marketers, a project management tool with essential features such as task management, collaboration, file sharing, project planning, project tracking, multiple project views, workflow templates, and integrations can do the job.
Here are some ways you can use project management software at your agency:
Collaborate with stakeholders, including team members, other teams, and clients, over a centralized task-based mechanism (as opposed to lengthy and haphazard email communication).
Track the progress of each project—who it is currently with, what are its related subtasks, etc.
To help you find the right project management software for your business, we’ve created a list of the three best solutions here (listed alphabetically):
User rating: 4.8/5
Number of reviews: 11
Project.co is a project management solution that is tailored for closely collaborating with clients. It allows you to add external users from client organizations to your project boards, while also controlling the access they have.
The solution also allows you to build multiple project dashboards that can be helpful when dealing with multiple clients. Within each project dashboard, you can have discussions, create tasks, add files, embed documents from third-party tools, and track the time spent on each aspect of the project.
Pricing: Project.co offers only one plan, priced at $10 per month. It supports unlimited projects, clients, tasks, team members, templates, and embeds and offers custom branding and URL.
Click here to read user reviews of Project.co.
User rating: 4.8/5
Number of reviews: 155
Samepage is a collaboration software that brings together features from communication solutions, document management tools, and project management solutions. It provides a range of documents that team members can work together on, including sheets, pages, and mindmaps.
Samepage also provides task boards and calendars to organize project-related information, and a built-in chat and calling feature for teams to communicate better. Similar to Project.co, Samepage allows you to invite clients to view and comment on documents and tasks.
Pricing: Samepage offers a free version that includes basic document collaboration, task and event management features, communication features, and data control.
Subsequent plans are priced at $7.50 per user per month and $9 per user per month and include features such as full document collaboration, full folder sharing, and single sign-on.
Click here to read user reviews of Samepage.
User rating: 4.9/5
Number of reviews: 43
Workzone enables your agency to put on custom branding and personalize the tool’s look and feel. In addition to the essential features mentioned above, Workzone offers to-do lists, task dependencies, and workload reporting.
It also offers project request forms that you can share with your clients and make it easier for them to raise new requests. The solution also allows your team members to collaborate on documents with the help of image markups, approvals workflow, and file versioning.
Pricing: Workzone’s starting plan is priced at $24 per user per month and it supports unlimited projects, file sharing, image markup, task dependencies, and Gantt charts.
Subsequent plans are priced at $34 per user per month and $43 per user per month and offer custom project intake forms, API access, cross-project dependencies, and custom reporting.
Click here to read user reviews of Workzone.
Now that you have a considerable understanding of what software is important for marketing agencies and what are some top solutions in each category, you would want to start shortlisting them. But before you do that, here are some things to keep in mind:
Check for hosting requirements: The solutions mentioned in this article are cloud-based. This doesn’t mean you would not encounter on-premise or hosted solutions when trying to find the best software for your marketing agency. When shortlisting solutions, be sure to check for all hosting requirements and ensure that you are clear on the upfront investment you will need to make.
Take thorough demos: When evaluating tools for your marketing agency, ensure you take thorough product demos. Ask questions about product differentiation, vendor support and training, and data storage. For more details on how to make the most out of your software demos, here is a checklist.
So far we’ve only covered the software categories that are core and essential to the business model of marketing agencies. However, there are other software categories that could help you streamline business processes further. These include:
Instant messaging & chat tools: These messenger tools have become a staple for most businesses off late. They help team members chat with one another (individually or in groups), connect on audio and video calls, and share screens or files to collaborate on projects.
Best software for marketing agencies in this category?
Accounting software: These are solutions that help you run the financial side of things. For marketing agencies, accounting software with features such as expense tracking, financial reporting, and billing and invoicing are relevant.
Best software for marketing agencies in this category?
In January 2020, Getapp conducted an online survey with 156 marketers. Respondents had to live in North America and be employed full-time to take the survey. The respondent pool comprised 71 B2B and 76 B2C marketers. 48 responses came from small teams (1-6 employees), 49 from midsize teams (7-29 employees), and 49 from large teams (30 or more employees). The 2015 findings were drawn from a survey comprising 100 marketers across B2B and B2C businesses of all sizes. Compounded annual growth rate (CAGR) was used to compare the rate of growth of software solutions between 2015 and 2020.
For each software category explored in this article, we referred to their respective GetApp Category Leaders reports and judged the products therein on the following criteria, until we had three qualifying products:
The tool should have a user rating higher than 4 (out of 5) on GetApp in the last one year (August 19, 2019 to August 19, 2020).
The tool should have 10+ user reviews on GetApp in the last one year (August 19, 2019 to August 19, 2020).
The tool should have the below-mentioned features:
Marketing automation: email marketing, social media marketing, analytics, landing pages, and integrations.
Project management: file sharing, collaboration, multiple views on projects, ability to create workflow templates, and integrations.
Search engine optimization: keyword research, competitor research, site audit, and backlink analysis.
Instant messaging and chat: chat (1-to-1 and 1-to-many), audio and video calls, screen sharing, and file sharing.
Accounting: expense tracking, financial reporting, and billing and invoicing.