11 Must-Have Ad Agency Business Development Tools (Updated From 2014).
NOTE: I first wrote this 11 Must-Have Ad Agency Business Development Tools blog post at the very end of 2014 and a few minutes ago the website checker app Checkbot pointed out that this post has a couple of dead links. (4.5 years later and it is interesting to see what tools have survivied). So, I thought that I’d repost and make things work. I suspect a reason for the broken links is that some of these tools are history. Here is what I found.
Back to 2014 – it is still worth the read… Blog post Consistency, actually the lack of it, is one of the most pressing issues that reduces the effectiveness of most advertising agency new business programs. So… Here are some ad agency business development tools that I recommend to keep your agency’s new business and content development program on track. (Tweet this.)
These tools (and there is a big world of tools out there these days) will help your efficiency and, more importantly, make you look like a subject matter expert because you are on that ball. Even better, as you use these tools for your own business development efforts, you will be gaining social media expertise that will dazzle your client prospects.
Clients (the ones you do not have yet) need your help according to this research from Ascend2.
Almost half of the clients surveyed have significant social media obstacles to overcome. You can help them by helping yourself.
This list of 11 tools is my first set of recommended online social media management tools. There will be more coming.
Social Media Content Discovery, Curation, And Sharing.
If there ever was an “easier said than done”, it is the discovery, curation, and sharing of content to support your agency’s inbound business development program. Content development is, understatement coming, time-consuming.
Before I start, I have to rant a bit. One of the biggest social media content misses that agency new business programs make is that they have not stopped to think about who their social media programs are targeting in the first place. Many agencies have agency blogs and Twitter accounts that seem to target other agencies rather than the type of clients that they want to get onboard.
Here is one strategy to build awareness and SEO juice that I recommend to my agency clients.
As A First Step, Consider Starting Over.
I recommend that agencies consider reinventing their ‘agency’ blogs to directly target client interests. I know that this sounds obvious. But many agencies look way too inward.
The blog would be designed using a relevant keyword strategy based on the agency brand position, targeted clients and categories and most importantly… its understanding of what subjects key prospects search for. An interesting opportunity here is that you can study what your competitive agencies write about. More about how to scope out your agency competition next week.
Your ‘client-targeted’ blog will prove your expertise, position you as an industry leader and will attract targeted traffic via a sound SEO strategy.
To kick off your ‘reinvention’ and get ready for Google, write an initial set of 15 posts of 500 words based on subject and SEO keyword analysis. You will also need to write at least one 1,000 word+ post per quarter (good news is that these can be repurposed as LinkedIn posts and SlideShare docs and white papers that can be sent directly to clients.) Launch the blog with at least 3 long copy posts to look like an expert. Your client prospects and Google want this.
But first, you will need some ways to find related content to add to your own perspective.
Use Content Bloodhounds.
It isn’t easy coming up with a few hundred blog posts, Tweets, LinkedIn and Facebook posts every year. It can also be difficult to know what are the most relevant topics for your new business prospects. Good news: there are a bunch of digital bloodhounds that can get you to the promised land. Here are some of my favorite go to content tools. These should also be considered new business development tools. Use them correctly and you will attract the clients that you want.
I admit it. I scan Flipboard in bed when I wake up. I’ve set up my iPad ‘magazines’ to alert me to news in a wide range of categories. For example, this morning I found an article on the best mobile apps of 2014 and could have easily sent it to my Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, G+ accounts or to an email or text address.
2019 update: I do not look at Flipboard anymore.
Feedly is a web-based RSS reader (similar to the old Google Reader) that helps you find blog posts and news on subjects of interest. You can save your favorite content sources so you won’t miss any important posts or news items.
2019 update: I still use this.
From Storify: “Storify helps find the voices online that matter. Make the web tell a story.” Storify scans a range of content sources including blogs, Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, and Instagram. Storify is a deep tool that goes well beyond some of the other content building options.
2019 update: Storyfy is no longer.
I’ve added Swayy to my Chrome browser. Swayy curates articles based on my interests and I can easily send these to my Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook accounts. Swayy also offers some cool analytics that tune into my social accounts. if you want to follow the big kids and tweet 5+ times a day then Swayy will help make this chore way easier.
2019 update: Sway is gone.
Scoopit is another tool on my browser bar to help me Tweet, etc. I have a set of keywords that I search as well as the opportunity to select people worth following with their own take on content worth sharing. Having other people curate for me is a big time saver.
2019 update: Still around but I forgot about it. I’ll take another look.
Wow, this is a winner for finding the most popular content. Topsy lets you search the content universe via date ranges and media types including links, Tweets, videos and photos.
2019 update: Topsy is still alive and well.
Newsle monitors news sites to find mentions of people in your LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter universes. Today I received an email notifying me that people I know and follow were mentioned in The New York Times, Salesforce.com, Huffington Post and Venture Beat. just imagine that these are prospects. Find a way, a not too creepy way, to let your peeps know that, well, you love them.
2019 update: Newsle was purchased by LinkedIn.
There are a couple of enterprise level tools that you could use for your agency or clients. Some can get spendy, but these tools rock.
Curata uses an algorithm to help you find content that is personalized for your specific content categories. It helps you curate, organize and share your findings on your blog and social networks.
There is a free trial to test before you drop the $350+ per month on the master account.
2019 update: Still kicking.
This is the big time. Echo is used by big brands like Forbes and Slate. Check it out if you need to dazzle your clients.
Echo is a Just Do It tool. Go test it when you have 30+ minutes to spare.
2019 update: This looks like its gone. I can’t find it and it has such a universal name that even a decent Google search does not turn it up.
What’s Up?: Two Trend Spotters.
One simple way to look like an industry or category leader is to be on top of trending facts and stories.
Tracking trending content highlights what is by nature popular, provides ideas for blog posts and will get you out front of issues and opportunities that will be of interest to your prospects. Watching trends will also help you decide what subjects are worth the effort.
2091 update: Please use this to get insights for your clients and prospects.
I am a huge fan of Google Trends. Google Trends delivers data on what people are actually searching for and can help you find highly relevant social media subjects for you blog, etc. Google Trends charts also work great to prove points in client meetings.
One of my favorite agency new business consultant examples of the use of Google Trends is to help us to figure out if people are still using the ‘old’ term advertising agency or have they moved to search on digital agency? Many ad agency owners are trying to determine what to call their agencies. Are we still advertising agencies or are we now digital agencies, or, social media agencies? While it is clear that the use of advertising agency is in decline, it still has high search volume and I don’t think you should completely shy away from using this inclusive terminology.
As TrendSpottr says:
“TrendSpottr Alerts are real-time email updates of emerging news, trends and events that have exceptional velocity and viral potential.”
You set up the alerts based on keywords and select how often you want to get them.
This is what they say once you’ve signed up:
“Thanks for signing up for TrendSpottr Alerts!
You will start receiving emails from email@example.com the next time we detect exceptional trending activity for one of your Alerts.
Don’t worry if you do not get a TrendSpottr Alert for a specific search term when you were expecting to. It simply means that our algorithms have not detected unusual trending activity for your search term yet.”
2019 update: Well this site is still alive. The trend spotter premise is so cool that I am going to use it right now…
More Ad Agency Business Development Tools Are Coming Soon. Stay Tuned.
In January I’ll be adding more new business building tools to this list. Some of the subjects will include:
Competition. How to scope out your agency competition to see what is drawing traffic to their website (this is a really cool subject area.)
Scheduling. I’ll discuss a couple of tools that make scheduling easier. You don’t have to schedule posts one at a time and you can repost/repurpose old evergreen posts to squeeze out extra traffic.
CRM tools. No, you don’t have to buy a super complex and hard to use a database like Salesforce to make sure you stay in touch with your future clients.
Email tools. I assume that your blog, Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn accounts are building your email subscriber database. I’ll help you figure out the best email solutions.
WordPress. I’ll take a look at the best WordPress plugins that will dramatically increase the power of advertising agency blogs. In fact, I am using one of them, Easy Embed Tweet right here. Go ahead, hit it.
Guest blogging. Your agency blog is not enough. Its reach is limited. I will help you to figure out where you should be guest blogging to make sure that you increase your reach. Guest blogging got me this speaking gig at Hubspot’s annual Inbound conference.
2019 update: Still fantastic.
You need help!!! I’ll list some of the best ways to outsource many of your social media tasks. Why pay your FTE employees to do all of the work. I used a very talented young guy in the Philippines to build my Pinterest agency directory.
2019 update: I took this down. It was a very good idea but took too much attention vs. quality lead payback.
Head over to my blog post list… you will see many more posts about tools.
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