When running a digital agency, you and your team typically spend a lot of time on manual, repetitive tasks, whether onboarding clients and gathering information from them or scheduling social media posts, content or meetings. And you know what this means, right?
The more time you spend on these tasks, the less time you and your team have to be creative. Fortunately, you can solve this problem by automating your tasks and workflows.
Let’s take a look.
Let’s start by looking at what tasks, processes, and workflows you can automate to make your agency more efficient and serve your clients better. Keep in mind, though, that we’ll only mention a few examples but that there are many others.
Simply put, when a process or workflow contains many manual, repetitive tasks, you can automate it.
Before someone becomes a client, they’ll first be a lead. As such, your lead management processes should be as efficient as possible to win more paying clients.
Fortunately, when using automation, they can be. So, you can automate everything from gathering leads from social media and other platforms, scoring leads to identifying quality opportunities, running nurturing campaigns, and more.
If you already use a CRM like Salesforce or HubSpot, they offer automation options. However, you can also build a lightweight CRM with a tool like sheet.best.
Think of all the things you need to schedule in your agency. Everything from blog content, social media posts, and even meetings with clients. All these scheduling tasks require a lot of time and effort.
Luckily, many tools on the market can simplify scheduling.
For example, most social media management tools like Buffer and Inlytics allow you to schedule and post content months in advance. You can even build a simple CMS with no code and a spreadsheet!
Proper client onboarding is vital. It sets the tone for your relationships with your clients, allowing you to build trust and confidence with them. And in this process, positive experiences are far more important than negative experiences.
More importantly, proper onboarding also allows you to gather vital information from the outset and manage client expectations. In turn, this lays the foundation for a successful working relationship.
The problem is that effective onboarding can take time and effort. So, one of the best and most efficient ways to do client onboarding is by automating it using email drip campaigns with tools like Mailchimp or Active Campaign.
During any marketing project, you’ll need to keep track of several key performance indicators (KPIs). Sure, this might not be that big of an issue for one client or project. But, as you work with more clients and on more projects, it gets far more challenging.
Here, you can use automation to generate reports that give you insight into these metrics quickly and easily. For example, you can create reports based on defined key metrics with social media management or SEO tools. This allows you to keep track of KPIs easier and makes managing projects simpler.
And with tools like ScreenshotAPI, you can even take timed, programmatic screenshots of your project progress, development, or designs.
As an agency, you've probably used simple project management tools like Trello and Asana before. While they allow you to manage projects quite effectively, these tools offer little regarding automation.
In other words, in respect of efficiency, there is a lot of room for improvement.
Luckily, other tools implement automation to make project management more efficient. For example, Admation automates significant parts of the review and approval process.
On the other hand, Monday supports different project management templates with simple automations and plenty of integrations for other apps in your stack.
If you want to supercharge your transcription and note-taking, isLucid is a great tool.
And with ScreenshotAPI, you can easily use your existing PowerPoint presentation templates from meetings and repurpose them into meeting agendas, task schedules, and more.
When running your agency, you’ll likely do a fair bit of brand management and website compliance checking, especially when you manage websites on behalf of your clients. Understandably, this can take a lot of time and effort.
Fortunately, by using a tool like ScreenshotAPI, you can automate the process of website compliance monitoring.
It allows you to take website screenshots at different times, extract text, eliminate ads, and export them in almost any format imaginable. In the process, you’ll stay on top of brand management in a fraction of the time it typically takes you.
(Other things you can do with ScreenshotAPI include monitoring your SERP results, competitor tracking, and more!)
Now that we’ve seen some things you can automate in your agency, let’s look at the steps you’ll follow to implement workflow automation.
The first step in getting started with workflow automation is defining what you want to achieve by doing it. In other words, you’ll need to decide what your goals are.
When doing this, you’ll understand where your business processes need improvements in efficiency, what processes and workflows you need to automate, and how automation fits into your overall workflows.
Once you know what you’d like to achieve through automation, you’ll, in all probability, know what processes you’ll need to automate to reach your goals.
So, during the next step of the process, you’ll map out these processes and workflows by indicating every step the workflow goes through.
For example, suppose you’d like to improve the efficiency of your briefing process.
In that case, you’d map out the entire workflow from getting the instruction from the client to gathering more information and completing an extensive brief.
Once you’ve mapped out your processes and workflows, you’ll be able to check for inefficiencies and spot any bottlenecks.
These will then dictate where you’ll need to implement automation to make these processes and workflows more efficient.
The next step is to find the right tools that you can use to automate your processes and eliminate inefficiencies. What these tools are will largely depend on what you’d like to automate. For example, if you’d like to automate your social media posts, you’ll likely need to use a social media marketing tool.
Likewise, if you’d like to eliminate inefficiencies in your client onboarding, you could opt for an email automation tool. Also, to choose the right tool, you’ll need to consider whether it meets your requirements and budget.
In most cases, you’ll find yourself having to integrate different tools. For example, you could plug ScreenshotAPI into your project management tool to automatically store screenshots you take of clients’ websites. Similarly, you could use Zapier to build multi-platfor m automations that would automatically send contracts to leads marked as "Converted," and then follow up with your HubSpot onboarding sequence.
Once you’ve found the right tool for your purposes, you can implement it on a small scale and test your automations before you deploy them to the rest of your business.
During this testing process, you’ll learn if the automations work as they should and spot any issues or problems, which you can sort out before they become more significant challenges.
Once you’ve tested your workflow automations, and they work as they’re supposed to, you can deploy them to the rest of your business.
Now that you know how to automate your agency tasks and workflows, the only thing left to do is meet with your team and decide what you want to tackle first.
With each automation, you’ll open up more space in your schedule, so you focus on what you do best: delivering exceptional results to your clients.
And if you need help with screenshots and monitoring, head to ScreenshotAPI. Your first screenshots are on us!