Between distributed teams and the shifting channel preferences of clients, digital marketing agencies have faced serious communication challenges in 2020. To overcome them, the right tools are indispensable.
This post explores some of the best communication tools currently available for digital marketing agencies – from all-in-one solutions like NextOS and staples like Zoom to dark horses such as Nifty. Whatever your agency’s communication pain points are, these solutions can address them.
Identify Communication Needs and Pain Points
Before you get down to the gritty business of looking at tools and comparing them, you need to clearly define your communication needs. What are your agency’s pain points? Juggling different channels for marketing and customer service? Or ensuring effective communication in newly distributed teams?
Some tools offer extensive features for communication with clients and within teams, combining them with project management or analytics applications. Others aim for a best-of-breed solution for one specific aspect of team communication, and rely on integrations with other business apps.
Because the number of tools on the market is vast, clarifying these points in advance is essential. Knowing what you’re looking for helps you narrow down your list – before the deep dive into the technical specs.
That said, here’s an overview of the top contenders among communications tools for digital marketing agencies.
1 – All-in-One Communications with NextOS
If your team is struggling with incompatibilities and redundancies between business platforms, or too many notifications from different apps interrupting their focus, NextOS may be the right choice for you. Nextiva’s all-in-one suite centralizes multi-channel communication, customer relationship management, productivity tools, and analytics features. Plus, it will help you cut back on the cost for various subscriptions.
NextOS unifies and simplifies all the channels you need for internal team communication – and to connect to clients: Voice and video calls, conferencing, email, several chat options, and social.
In addition, the platform offers team collaboration features – from assigning tasks and deadlines to synchronizing calendars. You can further boost productivity by automating various workflows.
It also includes a range of real-time analytics features powered by AI. They can give you insights into anything from team performance to customer sentiment response to your marketing campaigns. Particularly handy for digital marketing agencies: NextOS even includes a dedicated survey tool.
Finally, NextOS also offers some great functionalities for customer relationship management. In this, the platform benefits from centralizing all possible information on interactions with clients.
Pricing starts at $20 per user and month.
Overall, NextOS is a great choice if you’re looking to cut back on the number of platforms you’re using and the integrations you have to handle.
2 – Face-to-Face with Zoom
Whether it’s weekly team check-ins, presentations to clients, or virtual events, Zoom can reliably cover your agency’s video calling needs.
Since the start of the pandemic, with team culture shifting rapidly, Zoom has become a staple communication tool for both internal and external video calling.
Unlike consumer-grade applications, like video calling functionalities in WhatsApp and other messengers, Zoom provides HD voice and video quality. It also offers the advantage of call participants not having to set up an account.
From screen sharing and markup to break-out rooms, Zoom comes with a solid set of features for a video calling application. In addition, the service now provides end-to-end encryption, after earning criticism for security weaknesses back in spring.
Finally, one of Zoom’s most significant advantages is its pricing. The platform’s free plan offers unlimited 1:1 meetings – and even 40-minute meetings with up to 100 participants. Paid plans start at $14.99/month, and only apply to the person hosting the meeting. They allow for up to 1,000 call participants.
All in all, if you’re looking for a straightforward and reliable video conferencing solution, Zoom is still the best choice out there.
3 – Hash Out Projects With Nifty
If communication in your agency is heavily project-based, Nifty can provide an excellent solution. It can help you avoid context switching by combining project management with multi-channel communication.
On Nifty, you can manage tasks through standard Kanban or list views. You can track progress with Gantt charts, and there is an inbuilt calendar that integrates with Google accounts. Going further, Nifty makes it easy to share files and collaborate on documents.
The communication features it offers are all centered around these processes. You can make use of each projects’ individual discussion threads for project-specific communication. Other than that, it offers extensive chat features to communicate with particular colleagues, or entire teams.
Another handy feature is that you can invite guests and clients at no extra charge. This simplifies external communication, like updating clients on how particular projects are coming along.
If combining project management and communication sounds good to you, give Nifty a try. The Starter plan is $39/month and covers 10 team members.
4 – Organized Messaging With Slack
If one of your teams’ main communication hurdles is a never-ending barrage of emails, replete with endless ‘reply’, ‘reply-all’, and ‘forward’ chains, Slack can be an excellent alternative.
Like Zoom, this platform has seen its number of users explode in 2020 – for good reason.
Slack offers a team messaging solution tailored to multi-layered, complex conversations. In one main chat channel, you can contact everyone on your team. Apart from that, chats are organized around particular topics (such as a clients’ projects). It’s also possible to message individual people one on one, or to contact select sub-groups.
In addition, Slack allows you to share files, tag users, and break conversations down into threads. Plus, it boasts integrations for a large number of business apps out there.
The best bit? Slack’s free plan is comprehensive enough to meet the needs of most small to mid-sized teams. Paid plans start at $8/user/month.
5 – A Clip Replaces a Thousand Words With Loom
Loom, finally, helps you eliminate endless email chains and needlessly lengthy team meetings. Instead, it lets you record and send video messages.
You can record yourself alongside your screen, save the video on Loom’s platform, edit and trim it, and then send it as a message. This makes it easy to quickly and efficiently explain complex concepts – from strategy planning over design choices to analytics insights.
Overall, Loom’s approach frees your team from the need to schedule virtual meetings to go over complex issues. At the same time, it keeps engagement higher than an email or even an instant message.
Loom is free for up to 25 creators – there are no limits on viewers – and up to 100 clips. Paid plans start at $10/user/month.
Choosing the Best Tool for Effective Communication
2020 has made it clear that effective business communication is more important than ever. At the same time, there is a wide variety of tools out there that can help you attain various ends.
Whether you end up opting for an all-in-one solution like NextOS, or combining different platforms for different needs – Zoom for video conferencing and Slack for messaging, for instance – be sure that you know what you’re looking for.
By analyzing your communication pain points and doing some targeted research, you’ll be able to find the best communication solution for your digital marketing agency.