7 Tools We Can’t Work Without

As a digital marketing agency, we help our clients share all the amazing things they do. We rely on several tools, from task management to file storage, to allow our clients to tell their stories. Here are seven tools that make that process as seamless as possible.

Asana

Image of a project template in Asana. Various tasks and project groups are listed from top to bottom.

With dozens of projects to manage at a time, we can’t rely on email and handwritten to-do lists. Asana is our project management tool of choice. With features like creating dashboards, tasks,  and projects, the free version provides a platform to insure that we’re staying on track and getting things done.

And with the ability to comment and post updates on tasks, collaborating with multiple members allows projects to move along with everyone staying in the loop. Asana’s Premium and Enterprise plans includes features like custom branding, task dependencies, admin controls, and user provisioning.

We’ve tried out other task managers like Trello and Basecamp. While both work well we have come back to Asana because of its right mix of useful features and ease of use.

Google Drive

Google app icons. From left to right, GMail icon, Google Drive icon, Calender icon, Docs icon, Sheets icon, and Slides icon.


Asana is great for letting your team know what stage a project is in, but when it comes down to collaborating on projects and documents in real-time, Google Drive, is perfect. Sharing files with each other, our clients, or another third-party is extremely easy. Proposals, marketing plans, presentations, and more are only a few clicks away for anyone involved. 

Because files are hosted in the cloud, we can easily access them anytime, on any device that’s connected to the Internet. This is critical for a team like ours, who work from all across the globe. Best of all, files like Google Docs, Sheets, and Slides take up a minimal amount of space compared to the 30 GB space of Drive they give you in the Basic package, so it will help you manage your resources better.

Their Business package is great for a small business like us. There’s a bit more functionality compared to the Basic package and each user gets unlimited cloud storage!

Airtable

AirTable dashboard with icons to redirect to specific spreadsheets.

AirTable is spreadsheet/database style collaboration software. Its versatility is what makes it a tool we can’t work without. Since it’s cloud-based, sharing and collaborating with others is extremely easy because anyone can connect to it if they have Internet. Our team also loves that images show up directly in the table which makes using AirTable perfect for social media planning like we do.

The database aspect of AirTable has also been really useful with our clients. As a nonprofit with a large team, SummerCollab needed a way to collect, organize, and manage information from their recruitment platform. We wanted to make it easy to use but didn’t want to break their bank. We integrated an app into their site that feeds info directly to AirTable. With a few lines of code, the team can track candidates through their pipeline and manage data from a simple spreadsheet on the backend. 

Clockify

Image of Clockify sidebar. Name of user is at the top of the bar. Underneath is the time tracker, then dashboard, as well as other tabs for different pages.

As a marketing agency, we work with some clients on an hourly basis. Billing those projects can be a pain without an app like Clockify. It’s also great for tracking time with employees. 

With the free version, you can track time, create workspaces to separate different projects, create tags for tasks you do often, and review weekly dashboards with a breakdown of how the time was spent. These features are great for tracking time for yourself, however, Clockify’s paid option sets itself apart from other time management tools when you have multiple employees.

One of our co-founders, John, liked a lot with the premium version was the ability to edit reports in bulk. For example, instead of editing timesheets one by one, he can edit the timesheets for all of our employees at one time. Clockify is also more cost-effective for your business when you have multiple employees. Instead of paying by user like most time managers, you pay a flat rate for the Clockify license.

 

TinyPNG

TinyPNG homepage. Image of a panda eating bamboo as well as other text written on the screen.

We’re constantly trying to improve our website and those of our clients. One way to decrease bounce rate [link bounce rate article] is to make sure pages load quickly. One of the quickest and easiest ways to give sites a speed boost is by compressing .png and .jpg files so they take up less space. TinyPNG is the perfect tool for this job. With TinyPNG, you can simply upload images to their website to have them compressed.

 TinyPNG works on “only pay for what you use” basis. The first 500 images you upload are free per month through their Developer API. If you go over the 500 image limit per month, you pay $0.009 per image. There’s also a $65 plugin that allows you to save compressed images directly from Photoshop, as well as extensions to WordPress or Magento so that images are compressed automatically.

MailChimp

Dashboard of an email campaign powered by MailChimp. Screen includes a graph depicting the progress of the campaign and statistics.

Another effective tool we can’t work without is MailChimp. Their Free Plan is generous enough for most small or highly targeted lists, allowing up to 10,000 emails and 2,000 subscribers monthly. Their paid options range anywhere from $9.99 to $299 with more features as you go up in plan.

MailChimp also offers Agency Accounts for those who run marketing for multiple clients. 

MailChimp offers a monthly plan, where you can send out emails to over 2,000 subscribers regularly as well as the pay-as-you-go route for less frequent campaigns.

 

NoisliNoisli homepage. Options are given for different types of sounds. Icons include a rain cloud, thunder bolt, wind, or trees.

Studies have shown that ambient noise can boost creativity and productivity, and we find this to be true for us as well. That’s why we use a noise generator called Noisli. 

Whether we’re coding, designing, or writing, Noisli provides background noise that helps us while we work. Some options include Productivity, Relax, or Random. Noisli generates a combination of sounds to create that effect but you can also tweak it further to create the best environment for you to work. So far, wind and fireplace sounds have been our favorite!

After trying many different tools for our workspace, we decided that these ones were the best for us. Without them, we wouldn’t be able to help our clients tell their amazing stories.