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The best (and most affordable) digital marketing tools for an agency

Blog Post Author – Kirsty
18th September 2020

If you’ve ever paid a subscription for a digital marketing tool (or you’re thinking about doing so) to support your campaign efforts, you want to make sure it’s worth the investment.

The industry is currently saturated with tools that do very little for quite a lot, so it’s important to know about the tools that you won’t mind spending money on, that will in turn help you to deliver results and make life easier. These tools are affordable, cost effective, and should easily fit into your agency’s budget and digital marketing strategy.

As an agency, the digital marketing channels you use will need to cover everything from Email Marketing and Social Media Marketing, to SEO and creative design (plus everything in between).

It’s also super useful when a tool allows for multiple users at a fair price. It’s a fine balance to strike but, once you do, your agency will have the setup in place to hit the sweet spot with your clients!

Here are the best and most affordable content marketing tools for an agency. On top of that, we’ve explained just how you can combine these tools with ContentCal to guarantee you’re getting the absolute most out of your tools.

Looking to do more for your clients? Our Agency Skills Diploma will show you how to maximize your marketing performance by integrating ContentCal into your daily working life.

Email (CRM) marketing tools

Onlineprinters, Dr.-Mack-Straße, Fürth, Deutschland

If you’re looking for an email marketing tool that can take care of your CRM needs as well as email automation, here’s the best of the bunch. You can use ContentCal in conjunction with a number of email marketing tools and have them all working in harmony toward the growth of your clients’ campaigns. You can collate all your email contacts, create an email workflow within ContentCal which will automate your emails, and save those contacts within the Notebook so that your whole team has access.

MailChimp ($0 to $299 per month)

MailChimp is a long standing favourite among email marketers everywhere, and with a feature-heavy four tier service it’s easy to see why. Not only does Mailchimp come with intuitive mobile applications, it also gives you an excellent reporting & analytics suite.

The free package gives you all the basics and, depending on the size of your agency, should give you all you need. What’s more, your team can enjoy the benefits of Mailchimp at affordable prices from as low as $0 to $299 per month ($299 gets you unlimited seats with role-based access).

GetResponse ($15 to $99 per month)

For a very agreeable minimum price of $15 per month, GetResponse’s Basic package gets you fundamental email marketing service, as well as sales funnels, unlimited lead funnels, and Facebook ads.

GetResponse may be one of the lesser known email marketing tools, but it’s a contender for one of the best here. You can have up to 5 users with the Professional package, which is just enough for a group of content marketers to set up email campaigns.

SEO marketing tools

The best SEO marketing tools

When you’re looking to launch your clients to the top of the SERPs (search engine results pages), you need the right SEO tools for the job. When you’re working with SEO marketing tools, it makes sense to have a space where your team can talk keyword strategies, rankings, and various other content discussions and workflows.

All this can take place in ContentCal’s Content Hub. You can also create automated workflows that will carry out administrative work so that you can focus on the more important and more immediate tasks.

Woorank (free 14-day trial, then $49 per month for a Pro Plan or $149 for a Premium Plan)

One of the best things about Woorank is the Website Audit feature, where you can easily identify opportunities to optimize content and elevate your client’s keyword rankings. The dashboard has everything from social media reporting to device engagement.

When you combine this data with the insights that you get in ContentCal, you’ll have some serious data to play with. With data-backed campaigns, your agency could really create a storm in the content marketing industry.

The premium subscription gives you up to 5 websites to optimise and you can analyse up to 10k pages, and that’s not forgetting the excellent team access and SSO logins that guarantees across-team collaboration.

While Check My Links is somewhat limited in some areas, as an SEO tool it’s more specific than most. It’s great for simply checking the health of your links, as it roots out broken links on webpages so you can fix them quickly. Because it’s a Chrome extension, it will integrate seamlessly into your toolbar and can be used by every single member of your team.

Plus, it’s free! Free tools like Check My Links are excellent additions to your strategy and are perfect for supporting your bigger paid tools. We say it a lot, but your agency will benefit from pooling your resources and tools together. That way, you can share your insights with your whole team.

Content marketing tools

Best digital marketing content tools

To ensure that your content marketing strategy is geared for success, it’s the tools behind your approach that will make the difference. ContentCal’s Content Hub is absolutely priceless here, and it will work wonders for your marketing agency.

Not only can you easily collaborate with colleagues and clients alike, the Content Hub is also where your strategies take shape. With comments sections and colour-coded tagging, each team member can throw their hat in the ring and offer valuable contributions to your strategy. Used in conjunction with the following tools, you’ll soon be creating winning content marketing strategies.

Answer The Public (free)

Another tool that’s completely free of charge, Answer The Public is a stroke of genius that has proven invaluable for all content marketers. All you do is enter a keyword of your choice and it generates a ‘wheel’ of related terms that people are actively searching for.

You can use this to inform and fill out your keyword research, to bolster your SEO approach, or simply to come up with new content ideas. What’s more, you can send that information straight to your Content Hub within ContentCal so your team can build these insights into your strategy. This is an opportunity for your team to combine insights and truly work together to collaborate on campaigns.

QuestionDB (free to $10 per month)

An underdog content marketing tool compared to some of the pricier ones, QuestionDB shouldn’t be underestimated. As a tool that helps you better understand searcher queries and your audience, QuestionDB is powerful. Simply enter a term into the search bar and you’ll be greeted with a selection of related contextual enquiries.

This helps fill in the gaps of your content strategy and ensure you have all the talking points for onsite content. With the free subscription, you get up to 10 complete results per search as well as the download CSV option. Once you’ve used QuestionDB to better understand your audience, you can then fill out your Content Hub with these insights.

Social media marketing tools

Best social media marketing tools

When you’re posting social media content for various clients and on various platforms, you want a social media marketing tool that does it all from the same place. ContentCal is an all-encompassing social media tool, with unlimited potential for creating excellent social media content, and with built-in features like approval workflows, post previews, and pre-set publish times your agency has an invaluable asset in ContentCal.

You can use your content calendar within ContentCal, to plan, schedule and post content to both your agency’s social media channels as well as your clients.

Here are some of the best social media marketing tools out there.

ContentCal (from $17 - $47 per month)

We couldn’t get through the article without mentioning ContentCal, could we?! We’re far too proud of it to not talk it up. The premium package allows for 3-10 users and even has dedicated onboarding and team training (you’ll get a custom price quoted for this package).

By giving multiple members of your team so much easy access, For social media marketing, one of the best things about ContentCal is how easy it makes team collaboration. It works brilliantly for teams in the same office as well as those working remotely, which is a huge advantage for modern marketing agencies.

You can take advantage of the Notebook and share to-do lists, briefs and more with your team, while the ingenious approval workflows ensure that no deadlines are missed and your work flows smoothly, through to the right people at the right time, especially for sign off.

It’s far more than just a social media content scheduling tool, too. ContentCal has an immense potential for app integration, with over 2000 apps that you can connect with. Use Slack everyday? Build it into your Content Hub. Do you rely on Canva for your blog imagery? Connect it to your dashboard so it’s there when you need it.

Mentionlytics (free - $450 per month)

Mentionlytics is a social listening tool that provides insights to improve online presence through its AI-integrated Social Intelligence Advisor and guards a brand's reputation by tracking billions of mentions across the web.

Mentionlytics also helps develop marketing strategies by sourcing competitors' data and collating a list of top mentioners, who may amplify your brands' presence in the market. The brands can manage crises by responding to negative comments immediately and can determine campaigns' effectiveness, by analysing the attached sentiments.

The starting paid package of $99 per month provides standard reports in PDF or Excel format and login account access to ten users, which can be upgraded to Pro and Agency packages to access unlimited users.

Mention (free to $450 per month)

Now this is a really intelligent tool. Mention is a social listening tool, which admittedly sounds a bit Big Brother but we promise it’s all above board. It works by giving you an update whenever a key term of your choosing is entered into an online conversation. This helps you to respond quicker to comments related to your brand or product, as well as source influencers.

Once you know exactly what your audience is talking about, you can build that into your social media scheduling strategy within ContentCal.

From the Pro package (which is just $83 per month) you get unlimited users with 10 social media accounts to connect. Upgrade from here to the Enterprise package and you get unlimited users and unlimited social media accounts.

Canva (free)

When you want beautiful imagery to go with your social media posts but you don’t want to rely on the same old stock imagery, Canva is perfect. With its own design suite you can create eye catching visuals that set your posts apart from your competitors.

You don’t need to be a design wizard either - there are loads of helpful pointers along the way. Plus, the free subscription has team sharing, built-in commenting and edit/approve access so that your team can collaborate on the imagery for your content. Did we mention it’s free?

Creative design tools

Best creative design tools

Talking of design wizards, even the most magical and gifted designers will have an arsenal of tools to help their creative process. The good thing about ContentCal is that it’s not limited to any kind of marketing professional.

It’s a place where copywriters, designers and all in between can work together and collaborate in a way that results in brilliant work. Using features like the Notebook, all your agency’s creatives can come together and share ideas.

Here are some of the best and most cost-effective tools for your design team.

MyFonts (free with upgrade options)

Another lesser known tool but it’s genius nonetheless. If you’ve ever searched through pages and pages of different fonts trying to locate the one on your screen, then this tool is for you.

MyFonts has loads more features, but their WhatTheFont feature is their best. This free little tool will save you so much time and you can also add multiple users onto your account, which means better collaboration for your team.

Pixlr (free)

Pixlr works as a combination between graphic design and photo editing, and it has thousands of filters and countless editing options. There are in-app purchases but overall, using Pixlr is free of charge. It’s available for both iOs and Android, and comes with an advanced photo editing suite that challenges some of the higher paid tools out there.

It can also be shared among your team with unlimited member access, giving you everything you need for ultimate collaboration. What’s more, with the Professional package (for $14.99 per month!) you’ll benefit from 24/7 technical support.

Analytics marketing tools

Best analytics marketing tools

Although the likes of Google Analytics or Search Console may spring to mind, there are loads more options when it comes to analytics tools and we recommend having a combination of a few rather than relying on one.

Within the ContentCal platform you’ll find an impressive suite of social media analytics tools where you can keep track of engagement and see what’s working for your team (and what isn’t) and your clients.

Anyway, take a look at these analytics tools!

Matomo (£19 - £29 per month)

Often seen as an alternative to Google Analytics (a tool which you can seamlessly connect to ContentCal), Matomo tracks website visits and records everything from geo-location to devices and more.

It also allows you to customize your reports in a way that suits your needs (something that Google Analytics can’t do). For the affordable price of £19 per month, Matomo is cheap and cheerful while doing everything you need an analytics tool to do.

Upgrade to the $29 per month package and you’ll enjoy a maximum of 30 team members, giving you more than enough users for your team to collaborate.

HotJar (free with a vast range of paid upgrades)

Everyone in digital marketing loves HotJar, there’s no two ways around it. Aside from the super technical behavior tracking technology and being able to precisely follow where a user has clicked, HotJar’s subscriptions are really good too.

It has options for individual users, businesses, or agencies, so you can pick a package that works just for you. To ensure that HotJar is right for your agency, you’ll be glad to hear that you can try the 15-day trial free of charge.

Paid search marketing tools

Whether you’re running paid search campaigns with big budgets or not, you want as much research and strategy behind your approach as possible. Within ContentCal you can talk strategies and share paid search insights with your marketing team.

Dive into the Notebook feature or use the Web Clipper to send the latest paid search advancements straight to your Content Hub so your team can keep on top of the technology on offer. Alongside these tools, your paid search service will be the best it can be.

Here’s where you should start.

AdEspresso ($49 to $259 per month)

With AdEspresso you can finetune your Facebook, Instagram, and Google campaigns, quickly onboard clients and send completely customized reports to your clients (why not strengthen these reports with insights from ContentCal’s analytics feature?!).

Post boosting is really easy too, and you’ll receive handy tutorials as you make your way through the tool. Every subscription tier comes with a free 14-day trial, and the Enterprise package gives you unlimited seats to give your agency the freedom to collaborate and share AdEspresso insights with other tools.

Unbounce (from $80 per month with a free trial)

Unbounce is a platform that allows you to create fully custom landing pages designed only for conversions. The technology lets you view traffic insights, track engagement, and it even integrates with countless other marketing tools that you’re using (like we just said, a combination of tools can often work wonders).

With the free trial and maximum 15 connected domains, Unbounce is both affordable and accessible across all small to medium marketing teams. The bigger package you choose, the more conversions you’ll be able to secure.

Find the tools for you

And that’s your lot! Your digital marketing agency has so much to gain from ContentCal because, among many other things, it works in productive harmony alongside each and every tool we’ve included here.

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