The world of digital marketing is constantly evolving, and so is the way we tackle projects within it. With ever-improving tools and platforms, we’re now able to work remotely, integrate with third-party services, and collaborate with other marketers. All of this has made it much easier to get work done, and much more efficient.
Whether you’re a one-person show or a mid-sized agency, you probably find yourself feeling over-whelmed by the ever-expanding content creation stage of a typical marketing project. Finding the right software to help you coordinate your work, plan your content strategy, and track the performance of your marketing efforts is critical to getting the most out of your time and resources.
So whether you’re looking to start a new project or just want to be sure your current efforts are being managed effectively, we’ve got you covered. Here are six essential features every project management software package should have.
1. A Project Overview Dashboard
When you open up your project management software for the first time, you’ll be presented with a dashboard that summarizes all the current activities taking place within the project. This is where you’ll spend most of your time as a user, so it’s important to have a clear overview of what’s going on.
Depending on the level of subscription you choose, you’ll find that certain aspects of the project are displayed on the dashboard. To get a complete picture of what’s happening, click on the Activities button, which will expand the dashboard and show you all the relevant information.
2. Task Management
If you’re the type of person who likes to break down tasks into measurable bits of work, you’re in luck because almost all project management software packages include task management functionality. Tasks can be anything from writing reports to handling customer correspondence to organizing webinars and offline events. The important thing is that you are able to identify and track the individual tasks associated with a project.
Every project will have at least some tasks that are more critical than others. For example, you may have a report that is due tomorrow, and another report that is due in a month. The first one is vital, as it will determine the success of the project. However, the latter report is more of a means to an end and isn’t as important in the grand scheme of things.
Having individual tasks means you can set individual deadlines, follow-ups, and get an overview of your progress at any time. This is also likely to be the most commonly used feature within the project management software, as it allows for much greater flexibility when planning content and projects than if you were working in batches.
3. Voice Memo / Screen Share / Interview
One of the most frustrating things as a project manager in charge of a marketing team is getting everyone to communicate effectively and efficiently. If you’re spending a lot of time listening to customers and fellow team members, you’ll notice that there’s a lack of communication in many workplaces today. This can hurt your productivity, as you may end up working through several revisions of the same document just to get it right. A screen-sharing tool or voice memoing can be extremely useful in getting the communication channels flowing again.
With a screen-sharing tool, you are able to share your screen with another user, so they can see what you’re doing and give you feedback. This can be extremely helpful, as you are able to show them what you’ve done so far and get their input on what’s next. You can also do this privately, as well as broadcast the session to other team members or customers if you want.
In the same way, a voice memo tool can be extremely helpful in getting feedback while you’re still working on a document. Instead of having to hunt down individual team members to get their thoughts on a report, you can put together a quick voice memo, and team members can provide feedback by recording their thoughts or adding additional notes. You can also play the recording back later on, so you can review any changes that have been made and keep the dialogue going.
These tools are very useful for remote working, as well. If you’re working remotely, it can be difficult to keep track of what everyone is doing, and getting reports and feedback can be difficult. A screen sharing tool or voice memoing makes it much easier to track and review progress, as well as get feedback without the need to have everyone in the same room at the same time.
4. Reporting / Metrics
Reporting and metrics are two important aspects of any marketing or sales operation. Without them, you don’t have a clear idea of what worked and what didn’t, and it’s all the more difficult to improve your strategy or approaches for the next campaign. The good news is that most project management software packages include powerful reporting tools that make it easy to create effective charts and graphs that depict the progress of your projects. You can also get detailed information on your key performance indicators, such as website traffic, leads, and sales.
When it comes to metrics, many companies find it difficult to keep track of the activities that lead up to a sale, as well as the various follow-ups needed after the sale. With a CRM system, you are able to set up automated follow-ups, so you can monitor the progress of a contact through to completion, and identify any special deliverables that need to be assigned or tasks that need to be completed. For example, if someone replies to your email marketing campaign, you’ll be able to follow up with them to close the sale. Or if they visited your website but didn’t make a purchase, you can use the CRM to create a to-do list for that contact, containing everything from getting in touch again to a purchase that they forgot to make.
5. Inbound Marketing & SEO
Inbound marketing and SEO are probably two of the most popular marketing approaches today. All you need to do is find the right people, and you can’t go wrong. Having a project management software that supports inbound marketing and SEO is beneficial, as you’ll be able to plan out the different phases of a marketing campaign and keep track of the results. One particularly useful feature of inbound marketing and SEO-focused project management software is the ability to track rankings, as well as focus on key performance indicators, such as website traffic, leads, and conversions.
Keeping track of SEO initiatives is quite difficult, as you’ll generally want to see results as soon as possible, while not having too much information can leave you with an information overload. A project management tool that supports inbound marketing and SEO allows you to break down your SEO efforts into specific projects and track the results of your work. This can be extremely useful if you’re looking to take your SEO efforts to the next level or if you’re just looking to get more out of your current strategy.
6. Product Management
Last but not least, we come to the aspect that is probably the most important of all: Product management. Simply put, product management involves creating and maintaining the product that will be sold to the end user. This includes everything from the physical products (e.g., laptops, tablets, cell phones), to websites, to online stores, and everything in between. As a project manager who is responsible for the overall strategy, design, and rollout of a marketing campaign, it’s your job to make sure that everything related to the product (e.g., websites, social media accounts, email lists, etc.) are all working in unison to drive sales.
With the above features, you’ll have everything you need to manage and report on the progress of your projects, whether you are working remotely or in close collaboration with other team members.