I get asked a lot what tools I rely on to run my creative marketing agency, well there are many, some of which are free, but these software/technology outlays should be included in your business strategy in order to offer a range of services, to gain credibility and ultimately business longevity.
First up I’d recommend signing up to Google Alerts which is a great way of keeping your finger on the pulse. It’s a free service where you’ll receive emails straight to your inbox including relevant news articles related to your chosen key words. This can be anything from industry news, location, product etc – I have signed up all of my clients so I can see what is being written about them as well as what things are trending in the industry. A great way of sharing content and being an authority on the subject.
Another free service I sign up to is the newsletters from Later. They provide an in-depth source of social media information and the latest updates from the various platforms. There are so many tips on how to grow engagement and drive sales to your online store. I’d definitely check this out!
Next up is Adobe Creative Cloud. I have signed up for a subscription for all apps as I use Illustrator, Photoshop and Acrobat on a regular basis creating web and social graphics, media adverts, literature, POS etc for a variety of clients. You can choose to cancel at any time and you just pay for the subscription per month rather than the full one-off licence. This is my biggest software outlay but it’s one which I think sets me apart from other small agencies who rely on free alternatives such as Canva. Although a very intuitive design platform, a lot of what is provided is in a template format and you’ll start seeing a similar aesthetic across the feeds you follow. Creative Cloud gives you ultimate flexibility, check out my current Instagram feed to see the design I’ve created on my profile.
I recently upgraded to the iPhone 11 Pro Plus and it’s a business investment I would never underestimate. I create ALL of my image/video content on my phone as my DSLR camera no longer cuts it plus it’s heavy to lug around on shoots. The camera on the iPhone is so advanced with mind blowing functionality (portrait mode!) and editing options, and is small enough to pop in your bag so it’s definitely my ‘go to’ for capturing content.
Hootsuite is another piece of software which I couldn’t do without! A social media scheduling tool, it provides a platform for scheduling content across multiple platforms. I have signed up all of clients to this so that I can plan ahead (especially good when going on holiday) and also monitor what has been posted already.
I use Dropbox for my cloud storage of choice. This frees up space on my laptop and it just provides peace of mind that all of my work is backed up online. Lastly, something that I signed up to recently was Freeagent for all of my invoicing, tax and VAT return needs. This takes a huge amount of stress off and means I can be more productive elsewhere. It also gives me a dashboard of unpaid invoices so I can keep a track with minimal effort.