Marketing Must-Have’s: Digital Tools to Make Life Easy

Doing and remembering things is hard sometimes. We know. It can be difficult enough balancing the work-output-to-coffee-input without needing to remember many tiny fragments of information throughout each day regarding research to be done, messaging to polish, data to pull, and (lovely) clients to chat with.

We certainly aren’t complaining, because we love our work and have found other excellent apps and tools online that help us collaborate, clean up, and automate all those little things that need attending to each day.

Here are some of our favorites.

1. Editorial Calendar // CoSchedule

Gif via CoSchedule Gif via CoSchedule

Many of our clients come to us with content marketing needs, including blog crafting, social media, and other types of B2C communications. CoSchedule has been an absolute miracle for keeping these types of content and other outgoing communications neat and tidy.

With a designated calendar for each client, along with integrations with social media accounts and WordPress, we are able to keep track of deadlines, collaborate on content in real-time, and schedule posts in advance, making it easy to wrap up projects and keep things in check.

Bonus Points: While this is technically a paid service, they do have a neat referral program! *Hint hint*


2. Stock Photography // Pexels

We’re constantly working on design-related projects; whether it’s an email campaign, infographic, or website wireframe, we’re often in need of free (or cheap) photography. In the world of complicated licensing and mostly terrifying stock image options, there are few services that stand ahead of the pack.

 

Image via Pexels Image via Pexels

 

Our current favorite is Pexels, a totally free for personal (and even commercial) use. You can search for, download, modify, copy and distribute any photos from the site without permissions or attributions. The best, by far, is that all of the images look like something you’d actually want to look at – not at all what you’d expect from the quality of your typical stock photo.

If you’ve got a few bucks to spare, we also like using Dollar Photo Club for stock images that don’t suck. We’ve been super happy with our $10-a-month membership for 10 high-resolution images.


3. Collaboration // Google Docs

 

Gif via imagineeasy.com Gif via imagineeasy.com

 

Virtual spreadsheets, documents, and presentations galore. We don’t just use Google Docs because it’s free and convenient; it’s a super powerful tool that we can’t get enough of.

Google Docs allows us to collaborate on content like presentations, press releases and email copy in (literal) real-time, store important company and client marketing materials, and keep everything tidy in custom folders. The service makes it way easier for us to manage our projects in a central location that’s accessible from any of our connected devices, and we can share anything directly with our clients to allow direct feedback and more.

With this kind of project management and collaboration made pretty much effortless, we’ve managed to cut down on unnecessary back-and-forth communications and improve our turnaround time.


4. Project Management // Workboard

 

Image via crozdesk.com Image via crozdesk.com

 

Setting goals (and then keeping them) is part of doing a good job. Workboard allows us to set up prioritized work streams for each of our respective clients, so we can provide all our projects with the utmost respect and attention to detail.

Whenever we’re in a client meeting or strategizing as a team, we are able to easily pop new tasks into Workboard, assign them accordingly while keeping others ‘in the loop’, and provide any other details needed. Drag-and-drop functions allow us to shift these tasks and priorities as they change in a visual way, too.

With great features like task prioritization, comment fields and a digestible weekly calendar of action items, Workboard helps keep us on track across the board.


5. Content Creation // Canva

Sometimes we get a little crafty when producing A+ content for clients; Canva is our secret little helper. For quick design needs, this free online platform has professional-level templates, fonts and editing tools to make graphic design simple.

 

Gif via designyourownblog.com Gif via designyourownblog.com

 

Most of the features we like to use come free, but they do also offer more complex templates and images at a small fee ($1, more or less). Canva also has ready-to-go, perfectly sized dimensions templated for any social media site, online ad, or other marketing materials, taking all of the work out of figuring out what will fit right on Facebook (and then some).

With intuitive new features rolling out all the time, we can’t wait to see what Canva will add to their awesome platform package next.


6. Communication // Slack

For a busy agency — or any company, really — Slack is insanely brilliant. And we mean that.

After realizing that things were getting too complicated (or lost, or forgotten) in the depths of our email inboxes, chat windows and passing conversations, we started testing out Slack for ourselves. While it can’t completely replace our use of Skype (which we still have a love/hate relationship with) for things like quick video chats and client calls, it’s been incredible for keeping our sometimes scattered minds in check.

 

Image via cyberchimps.com Image via cyberchimps.com

 

We set up a separate channel for each of our clients to keep all of our communications as easy to find as possible – that includes important Google Docs and other files – in addition to our own internal channels for various agency needs so we stay in touch when we need to.

With powerful search features and other integrations, you can find anything you need with almost zero effort. And in the end, that’s the dream, right?


Staying organized, in touch, and on top of it all can be challenging sometimes — especially when you’re a remotely based agency like us! — but there are ways to make it easier. Be sure to try these tools out for yourself! Then, feel free to thank us and tell us how awesome they are (even though we already know). 

Recipe for Success: The Digital Marketing Process

The Oliver + Sons “secret sauce” is tested, tried and true. We spent some serious time at the beginning of things thinking about the best method to going from signing on with a new client to producing awesome results, and then more awesome results.

More than just “digital marketers,” we are nerds, brainstormers and creative problem solvers – helping our clients work through, and ultimately solve, their biggest challenges is at the very core of our services, and what fires up our gears. Every company and product or service offering is unique, and we generate custom, intelligently-integrated strategies that focus on understanding, testing and optimization. We work hard on the daily with our process to produce work that we (and our clients) love.

STEP 1: UNDERSTAND

Every great project and strategy begins with tireless research, and an in-depth knowledge of every corner in your organization. We want to know your business, your industry, your goals, and everywhere in between to get the best possible understanding of where you are and where you want to be.

STEP 2: HYPOTHESIZE

We’re good at what we do, but let’s be real – we can’t get it right 100% of the time. It’s just not realistic, however much we wish it could be that way.  But, by using our broad understanding and really working closely with our clients to lead with a solid hypothesis based on company goals and challenges, major competitors, and ideal target audience we’re able to later test (and re-test) what performs best, and why.

 

 

STEP 3: PLAN

We’ve never been ones to nitpick over often unnecessary processes, but hey, we’re still responsible marketers. It’s always important to develop an effective strategy if you want to get meaningful results – we believe that preparing with a concrete plan helps make the whole process just that much smoother. This includes a map based on A LOT of preliminary research to steer initiatives both as they come, and remain flexible when the inevitable speedbumps arrive.

STEP 4: TEST + BE LESS WRONG

We take pride in our marketing performance, and that certainly doesn’t happen by accident. We always have to test to find that perfect mix of initiatives to get our clients what exactly they’re looking for. It’s critical to test, test, test, and if something isn’t quite right, we’ll rework things and test again. In this phase, it’s important to remember that results come out for a variable of reasons. A/B/C/D testing is your friend.

 

 

STEP 5: OPTIMIZE

The actions you take after testing is complete is what truly defines the overall quality, and we work to constantly move the needle in terms of optimization. We’ll take a deep dive through every alternative to find the best, most strategically advantageous next steps for your organization’s needs and goals to get you there faster.

STEP 6: SCALE

We want to help our clients find that happy place, and make it even happier. Using the proven positive outcomes of the optimization process, we are able to help businesses across a variety of industry verticals find new levels to rise to, and implement growth even after our marketing services are needed. To truly scale appropriately, we balance the positive results with the abilities of your team and budget.

 

 

STEP 7: SUMMARIZE

When it’s all done, package it all up carefully and put a bow on it. Once the process is complete, we provide our clients with a recipe book (or report) of what we did, how we did it, and why it was so damn good. When necessary, we pass along a “guidebook” for clients to gift to their own internal team; for branding, social media, or even content strategy. Which they can use to serve up new ideas and concepts.

 

 

STEP 8: CHECK UP

Let’s be honest, our work is never really done. Following up with our clients and making sure that they’re both getting what they needed, and succeeding in the way they want. It’s a missed opportunity to show that you care (and we truly do!) about your client’s’ future goals, and we make a solid effort to make sure everyone’s happy.

 

 

Interested in talking with us more about our digital marketing process as an agency? Please contact us with thoughts, projects, or great cocktails.  

Not a big on email? Follow us and like us, if you’re feeling social.

Campaigns for Social Good: Best of 2015

Passionate companies everywhere are turning to fresh advertising concepts that promote social good. As human rights, the environment and other concerns of public interest have become prominent issues, brands are finding creative means to encourage change.

We saw a lot of companies introduce impressive, innovative marketing campaigns around social issues last year, making Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) even more popular for both businesses and consumers. A 2013 study revealed that 90% of Americans feel they are more loyal to a brand that supports social causes. 

 

Image source: Mashable Image source: Mashable

 

It’s simple – doing good is good for business and consumers. Here are 3 companies that took on a challenge and stirred things up, creatively, for social good in 2015:

REI & #OptOutside

“Dedicated to inspiring, educating and outfitting its members and the community for a lifetime of outdoor adventure and stewardship.” 

REI lived up to their mission during the most crazy days of sale during the entire year last year. Rather than shoving more discounts down your throat over Black Friday, the company took a stand on promoting health and exploring the great outdoors, and shut all 143 of its doors to customers and employees (who received a paid day off).

What we find so great about this campaign is that, not only did this large retailer decide to not indulge in a bluster of fresh sales, their message inspired some National Parks to offer free or reduced admission that same day, encouraging consumers to stop shopping and enjoy the planet. The #OptOutside campaign ended up garnering so much mainstream press, many people took advantage of the day outdoors.

Barbie™ & Imagine the Possibilities

You can be anything. 

In what might just be the best commercial we saw in 2015, Barbie™ is killing it when it comes to the equality empowerment of women and girls. What once was a brand plagued by gender stereotypes and image issues has made steps toward becoming an encouraging, imaginative, empowering company.

“Imagine the Possibilities” follows five girls pretending to be professionals in different real-life settings — a college professor, a soccer coach, a veterinarian, a businesswoman, and a tour guide. The adults in these situations obviously find the whole thing ridiculously adorable, but the concept behind allowing a young girl to feel confident about being anything she wants is pretty awesome.

Ben & Jerry’s & Save Our Swirled

“If it’s melted, it’s ruined.” 

Fighting climate change one ice cream cone at a time, Ben & Jerry’s launched their Save Our Swirled (SOS) flavor appropriately during summer of 2015. Not only is it insanely delicious, the concept of the campaign surrounding the release of the ice cream is one of drawing attention and taking action.

Using the metaphor of a delicious, melting treat to promote the message about climate justice is creative, innovative, and totally on character for their brand. On its website, Ben & Jerry’s states it has a “long history of fighting for climate justice and finding ways to reduce the environmental impact of our business.”

What were some of your favorite campaigns for good that happened in the last year? Share them with us on Facebook!