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We are in a period of fast technological change. New software is sprouting up every other day, and no industry is more affected than digital marketing.
For digital agencies, this presents both opportunities and risks when it comes to your choice of PPC software. If you sit back, put your feet up and get comfortable with your software stack for too long you’ll fall behind. Your competitors will adopt new PPC software that you’ve never heard of, improve their efficiency, create better outcomes for clients, and leave you in the dust.
On the flip side, if you stay current with your PPC software knowledge and adoption, then you put yourself in a position to turn that equation on its head. Your competitors will be chasing their tails, and you will be at the front of the pack.
Here’s the good news. Because the “software for agencies” landscape is so vast, there will be many different options for your given situation. Whether you’re a large business with many employees or a small business that utilizes freelancers and contractors to get the job done, there will be software to suit all budgets and needs.
The rest of this article will break down some of the most vital software tools that you will need to stay at the forefront of the industry and grow your PPC agency.
Marketing Automation Software
Let’s start at the front end of your business when you’re trying to win new clients. This is where a marketing automation platform to manage and nurture prospects is helpful.
Depending on the size of your agency, here are some marketing automation tools to consider:
- Infusionsoft is a customer relationship management (CRM) software that offers email marketing automation, customer lifecycle optimization, lead capture, and product sales tracking. It’s a bit old school and clunky but powerful.
- Ontraport markets itself as an all-in-one automation platform. Its primary features include customer journey mapping, campaign reporting, contact management, and email automation. It is a more up-to-date version of Infusionsoft but still has a few kinks.
- ActiveCampaign is an email marketing automation platform that offers some sales CRM features and other marketing automation options. From a UX perspective, it’s better than the first two options, but it’s CRM isn’t quite as feature-rich.
- MailChimp is an excellent option if you’re starting out because it is low-cost and purpose-built for beginners. Much like the other options, it offers email marketing automation, with a few additional features that integrate with eCommerce stores. A good starting point but only designed for basic automation and email campaigns.
Proposal Creation Software
Once you’ve got prospects in your system, you require a way to present your pitch to them. Typically, PPC agencies will conduct an audit and put together a proposal after they have had an initial conversation with the prospect and established an interest in AdWords.
A big mistake we see agencies make with this part of the client engagement process is to bootstrap the audit and proposal process. They audit accounts manually and use spreadsheets and Google Docs to develop a presentation. Approaching things this way will get you by for a short time, but after a while, you may want a more professional way to optimize this part of the process.
When it comes to AdWords auditing, we have found WordStream to be an insightful tool that will help you get your prospects attention. Then, for proposals and presentations, you may look at Proposify and PandaDoc.
Speaking to your prospects and clients is the next part of the agency-client relationship. Even if you live in the same city as your clients, there will be times when you will choose to communicate using technology.
Whether you are discussing the day-to-day elements of the relationship, or you share screens to walk them through something related to a campaign, you’ll want a reliable tool to make this happen.
To enable screen sharing and interactive communication, tools such as Zoom, Skype or GoToMeeting are solutions to consider. Creating a human-to-human connection with video conferencing software can be a huge part of that trust-building phase of the relationship.
PPC Bid Management Software
You’ve got your client across the line, and they’ve signed up for your PPC management service. Now what? It’s time to do the job you are getting paid for, and there are tools available to help you do so.
The tool you need to execute your campaigns is either PPC bid management or campaign management software. There are a bunch of tools available in the market at varying cost, sophistication, and functionality. Let’s take a look at some:
- At the lower end, you have WordStream which is the basic platform for PPC management.
- At the top end, you have tools like Marin and Kenshoo which will cost you thousands of dollars a month but provide valuable insights.
It’s a case of finding the right PPC management software for your agency. Assume that it won’t do everything you expect it to and fit perfectly into your custom workflow. But you’ll need a piece of software to manage your campaigns because human insight alone isn’t going to cut it these days.
Landing Page Builder
If you are working with clients for lead generation, rather than product sales and eCommerce, then you will have to find a way to create custom landing pages. Custom landing pages will always perform better than a websites’ homepage or a generic services page.
To create landing pages quickly, test their performance, and improve the results of the campaign, there are tools available to help you. Examples of the best landing page tools on the market for PPC agencies are Unbounce, ClickFunnels, and LeadPages.
Heat Mapping Software
You can take your landing pages and conversion tracking to the next level with heat mapping software. Heat mapping software helps you measure clicks, conversions, and on-site user behavior over time so you can make decisions based on data instead of intuition.
Again, this is not an essential tool, but it can provide some useful insights for improving the performance of your campaigns. It’s a real value add if you are going after high-end PPC clients and running campaigns with lots of volume.
Click Fraud Software
Click fraud isn’t a major issue, and most of your clients won’t ever have a problem with it. But if you are working in an industry where it is particularly competitive, then click fraud protection is a smart thing to have. It’s not essential, but in certain instances it makes sense. The PPC software tool we recommend for click fraud is ClickCease.
Call Tracking Tools
Call tracking software is essential if you are running PPC campaigns as a form of lead generation. It’s the only way to keep track of inbound phone calls, inquiries, and report back on those things to your clients.
PPC Reporting Tools
The importance of a PPC reporting tool cannot be underestimated. You need a piece of software that will help show your clients the value of the work you are doing for them. They will expect a regular report that outlines the activity, results, and areas for improvement.
Some examples of PPC reporting tools include Swydo, NinjaCat, and Report Garden. Unfortunately, these tools are quite expensive and can increase your operational costs. If you work with a white label PPC partner, they will bring these tools to the relationship and save you the additional cost.
Project Management Platforms
It might not be part of delivering the service, but it is best practice to have a project management tool.There are a lot of moving parts when it comes to PPC management for clients, and you need a place to keep you, your team, and your clients informed.
Tools like Basecamp, Asana, or Trello will give you a single point of contact and provide the visibility to ensure quality standards are met. The choice of tool isn’t super critical; the key is to have a digital system for managing client projects.
Time Tracking Software
It’s common practice for PPC agencies to use time tracking software to assign man-hours to individual projects and clients. This ensures you are generating the right level of return for your business as well as your clients.
The last software tool on the list is your accounting system. Of course, this is where you record sales, track your growth trajectory, and assign costs. It’s not really a tool of the trade, but every PPC business or agency needs an accounting system. QuickBooks or MYOB is a good starting point.
The PPC agency software stack is a fast-moving beast. If you take your eye off the ball for too long, then you will be at a significant disadvantage.
With that being said, the makeup of your toolkit is unlikely to change dramatically. There isn’t a day in the near future where PPC agencies won’t need a way to deliver proposals to their clients, communicate with their team, manage campaigns, and report on results.
Use this article as a guide to keep up to date with the PPC agency software that is going to keep you competitive in the market. Stay on top of trends, innovation, and new technology in each of the areas we have discussed, and you will be ahead of the game.
Did we miss anything? Which software is an indispensable part of your agency?