Are you drowning in Excel spreadsheets? Or have you migrated to Microsoft Project, but your desk is still cluttered with lists and post-it note reminders? There is a better way. Investing in a project management tool can help you streamline project management, providing a platform to not only track the progress of a project, but also equip you with a centralized space to communicate with collaborators, store resources, and even manage clients and billing. Read on for a rundown of our top three project management tools for marketers.
Recommended reading: Top 10 Marketing Automation Software for Small Business
Image via Trello
Basecamp is a bit of a darling among project managers. It only takes 10 minutes to set up and is very user friendly. Basecamp can support multiple users and projects and allows for in-app collaboration with message boards that provide a platform for discussing a project or flushing out a concept. This allows you to move away from long, messy email chains and have all of your team’s input in one place, organized by project.
Basecamp’s To-Do feature effectively provides you with a dashboard of what’s done and what’s still outstanding on a project so that you can manage staff time accordingly and avoid missing critical deadlines. The Docs & Files section provides a centralized location for all resources related to a project, accessible to all collaborators so you don’t have to worry about emailing attachments, access to shared drives for remote workers, or ensuring that everyone is working from the most up-to-date version of a document.
One Basecamp user reported, “when you have a low budget, this product takes the cake. Also, with unlimited users for its product gives the advantages over other products.” Another reviewer mentioned, “The design is good, customer support is helpful and the overall user interface is so friendly. All features and tools are navigated to the best place and it feels very nice and convenient to use. Everything is in one place and no more meaningless tools.”
Basecamp’s HQ feature provides a space for everyone in your company, regardless of the specific project they are working on to receive critical communications–decreasing the need for mass emails or all-staff meetings. If you manage staff, you might like the Automatic Check In feature that employees can use to provide a snapshot of what they worked on in a given day, also decreasing the need for daily check-in meetings. Basecamp has an app, too so you can access it from your mobile device. Basecamp will cost you $29 a month for unlimited users.
Image via Trello
Trello is a great project management tool if you receive active input from collaborators. It’s highly visual, laying out various components of a project on “cards” that collaborators can comment on and attach pictures and documents. The settings allow the card to move through whatever categories or processes you establish. So for instance, if you are managing the development of a brochure, you may have various components on different cards–table of contents, leadership letter, and other various content.
As your collaborators complete their portion of the project, they can attach their content, and change the way the card is categorized (again, you personalize these settings) to something along the lines of waiting for assignment, in progress, ready for approval, or submitted–creating a highly effective, easy to read pipeline.
As the project manager, Trello will send push notifications to your email, allowing you to track the progress of your project from anywhere. Trello has a mobile app and works well with Google Drive and Dropbox, making it a useful tool for remote workers.
Users rave about the multiple use cases for Trello. One user highlighted, “It doesn’t matter if you are a freelancer, a small agency, a startup or a big company, as Trello is useful for all above-mentioned types of businesses. It’s great for tracking daily tasks, as well as using as a tool to write down ideas. For example, I know people using Trello for their grocery shopping list and also know freelancers who use it to organize their tasks.”
Trello is free in its most basic form if you want to test drive it with a smaller short-term project. The paid version with extra features will cost you $3.75 per user per month, billed annually.
Image via Scoro
If you’re looking for a more comprehensive project management tool that meets your CRM and billing needs, Scoro might be the right product for you. Like Trello, Scoro is a highly visual tool to manage your tasks and deadlines. If you manage a lot of projects, Scoro stands out for its reporting capacity that allows you to track various metrics (defined by you) to create an easy to use dashboard that gives you, your collaborators, and your manager a 30,000 foot perspective on open projects to make sure an entire portfolio of projects are on track.
Scoro puts everything you need for your project on one page, including time spent and billed, planned tasks and meetings, invoices and expenses, comments and files. It also has the potential to improve your working relationship with your colleagues with smart scheduling tools that help you get an instant snapshot of everyone’s workload so that you can set realistic deadlines and avoid overbooking your colleagues, both in terms of workload and their schedules.
With Scoro, your teammates can manage their own tasks and their time allocated to each project is automatically exported to their work reports to make timesheets a breeze. Scoro also has a mobile app and works well with Dropbox, Mailchimp, and accounting software. Scoro is on the pricier end of project management tools, costing $22 a month per user, but it’s ability to replace or integrate other systems for complete agency management should be factored into the total cost.
Remember that these are only 3 of many project management tools available for marketers. When deciding on a tool, it’s important to consider the costs, functionality and use cases for each. Reading authentic user reviews will also give you insight into which tools is best for you and your team.