Workflow Automation

How To Create A Digital Agency Workflow Process

Tim Rodgers
May 18, 2022
5 min read

There are many ways to automate your workflow, and the best way to do it will vary depending on your specific needs. This article outlines some processes and guidelines to help you get started and ensure your entire team uses your automations once they are built.

What is workflow automation?

Workflow automation is a process agencies can use to streamline their workflows and improve efficiency.  The concept is to take manual, repetitive tasks, such as invoicing, hiring, and campaign management, and automate them.  This will free up time for more creative, strategic work and grow the agency.

In addition, workflow automation can help to ensure that projects are completed on time and within budget. Finally, by automating project management tasks, agencies can avoid the delays and cost overruns that often occur when manual processes are used. As a result, workflow automation can provide a significant competitive advantage for digital marketing agencies.

Benefits of using workflow automation for my digital marketing agency

Workflow automation helps companies of all sizes cut costs and spend their time on money-making activities like client acquisition and sales.  Here are some benefits:

  • Saves time, increases efficiency, and forms better customer relationships
  • Reduces errors which increases client and employee satisfaction
  • Automates repetitive tasks so marketers can focus on retaining clients and growing their business
  • Improves client communication and increases transparency
  • Can be easily customized to fit your agency's specific needs (compared to SaaS platforms, which are one-size-fits-all.

Best practices for optimizing workflows to maximize efficiency

Workflow optimization is key to maintaining a high-efficiency level at a digital marketing agency. By automating certain processes and streamlining communication, you can minimize disruptions and keep everyone on the same page.

Here are some best practices for optimizing your workflow:

  • Audit every process in your agency to discover which ones are too repetitive and manual and focus on automating them
  • Include team members at all phases of the automation process, from conception to training
  • Use workflow automation software in the 'no code' category to automate repetitive tasks and help manage deadlines.
  • Keep your project management software (which can also be an automation) up to date so that everyone has visibility into the latest tasks and priorities.
  • Establish clear communication channels between departments so that information can be quickly disseminated.
  • Record each step in the process with screen captures and create a learning library
  • Be flexible and willing to adjust your workflow to accommodate changing circumstances.

You can ensure that your digital marketing agency runs like a well-oiled machine by following these best practices. Workflow automation will help you scale your business faster and serve your clients better.

Getting Started With a Creative Workflow Process

We'll start with the 'big picture' approach to workflow management.  First, start by identifying the processes that take up the most time with manual work (spreadsheets, emails, documents, etc.). These are the tasks that you should focus on automating first.

Are you spending too much time generating invoices? Does it take too long to onboard a client? Are you spending all your time recruiting and hiring? Take a step back and examine where you spend your time, not directly related to campaigns and look for places to start automating.

Next, start looking at potential tools and software programs that can replace your existing workflow, especially no code platforms like Airtable and Zapier. Choose the ones that best fit your needs and which will be the most effective for your business.

Finally, make sure that you map your automation system via workflow diagrams before building it. This will help you fact-check the process with those who will use it and that it will properly achieve the desired outcome.

What are the steps to automating?

Once you've identified specific workflows to automate, you need to plan before building.  Here are some steps you need to take as part of the automation.

Talk to the people who use the automation

Interview the entire team who are involved in the process. Again, this is critical to understand where the process is working and where it's not. By including stakeholders at the beginning of the process, they're much more likely to be engaged in using the final application.

Create a written spec for what needs to be automated and how

Once you have the process you want to automate detailed via your interviews, the next step is to write a spec for what needs to be automated and details each step/sequence.

Diagram each step and the interconnected processes

Next, you'll build a visual workflow or diagram of the process.  You don't want to start building your workflows blind.  It's much easier to pick the right tools and build your workflow if it's diagrammed first using a tool like Miro or Figma.

Map out the current process and then how the automation will work. After the process has been mapped out, the next step is to create the automation rules. These rules will determine how the automation will work and what tasks will be completed automatically.

Continue using your team of stakeholders to get them involved in the diagramming process until they agree on the exact steps in the automation.

Research and List Solutions

Once you have your process diagrammed, it's time to select the tools you want to use for implementation.  Its highly probable that your team members will have some ideas about platforms that can be used, like Mailchimp or Bubble.

Look for templates

For less obvious use cases like invoicing or HR screening, there may be a template on a platform like Airtable.  Use Google and search for something like:  '{your process} + free template' and see what shows up in the top results.  For example, 'client invoicing free template'.

Along with free options, this search may also lead to paid template options that may contain all the automations, prebuilt that you need to get your task done.  Consider paid templates to accelerate launch.

Consider Outsourcing

If your workflow is custom and you don't want to burn development cycles, there are agencies that can help. First, look for an agency that specializes in no-code development. This means they'll be able to build your automation without slowing the process by adding coded solutions. In addition, confirm they have experience using all the recommended tools, so there's less time spent learning new ones.

Using your Automation

Automation can be a tough sell to employees who are used to doing things the old-fashioned way. But, after all, why change something that isn't broken?

As mentioned, the first key step is to get them involved in the integration from the start.

Next, make sure that employees are adequately trained on the new system and see how it will benefit them in their day-to-day work.  In addition, it's important to stress the advantages of the system, such as increased accuracy, efficiency, and better organization.

Record Workflows

Most people find visual elements greatly enhance learning.  For no code automations you should pick one expert on your team to record each automation step on a platform like Loom and then share them on a cloud drive, Slack channel, etc., where team members can learn at their own pace.

Workflow automation can be a great way to improve efficiency and scale your digital marketing agency. By taking the time to implement it correctly, you can reap the benefits of increased productivity and happier clients.  But make sure it works first, and don't scrap the 'old' system until the new one is stable.

Examples of tasks to automate in a digital marketing agency

To help get you thinking about areas to automate, here are some common ones:

  • Invoicing clients
  • Onboarding new employees
  • Tracking client contact information
  • Automating lead capture and prospecting tools for growth
  • Automating email marketing and content distribution tools
  • Automating social media posting tools
  • Creating and managing social media accounts
  • Analyzing website traffic and SEO performance
  • Developing and executing marketing campaigns
  • Preparing analysis reports for clients
  • Managing projects and deadlines

The future of workflow automation and its impact on businesses

It's well known that digital transformation was accelerated by COVID's impact on work from home.  The idea of a 'workflow automation' economy driven by APIs and no code platforms will create new value for companies.  Many agencies now correctly view no code and APIs as the key to unlocking their digital transformations.

Workflow automation will become an increasingly important part of all business in the coming years. The ability to automate repetitive tasks and processes can free up employees to focus on more strategic tasks, and it can also help improve efficiency and accuracy.

Workflow automation will expand beyond the technology sector into various industries, ranging from consumer to industrial. Workflow automation can create and track project plans, assign tasks to team members, and monitor progress in project management. As businesses strive to remain competitive in the global marketplace, workflow automation will become an essential tool.

Workflow automation as a new agency practice

New opportunities can open up for digital agencies to offer workflow automation of marketing tasks as a new offering.  Once you've mastered the process internally, you can productize your skills and offer them to customers.

As one of the leading digital agencies, Ace Workflow are expert at automating workflows across various industries and use cases. Let's talk about how we can help get you started in learning workflow automation so you can focus on what you're best at - running your business.

Find out more about our Workflow Automation approach.

Frequently Asked Questions

What Are the Basic Components of Workflow?

Workflow is the term used to describe the steps that are followed to complete a task or process. In a business context, workflow processes are often managed using business process management (BPM) software. There are four basic components of workflow: tasks, events, gateways, and swimlanes.

Tasks are the individual steps that make up a workflow process. Tasks can be assigned to specific users or roles, and they can be configured to send notifications or escalate if they are not completed in a timely manner. Events are used to trigger workflow processes. For example, an event could be created when an order is placed, or when a customer submits a support ticket. Gateways are used to control the flow of a workflow process. For example, a gateway could be used to route tasks to different users based on the input data. Swimlanes are used to visually organize tasks into different categories or lanes. For example, tasks could be grouped by department or by priority level.

Understanding the basic components of workflow is essential for designing effective workflow processes. When designing a workflow process, it is important to consider which tasks need to be completed, what events will trigger the workflow, how the workflow will flow between different users or departments, and how tasks can be visually organized so that they can be easily understood and acted upon. By understanding these basic concepts, you can create workflow processes that improve efficiency and help your business run more smoothly.

What Is the Objective of Workflow Planning?

Workflow planning is the process of designing, documenting, and improving workflows within an organization. The ultimate goal of workflow planning is to optimize efficiency and productivity by ensuring that tasks are completed in the most efficient and effective manner possible.

To create an effective workflow plan, it is important to first understand the specific needs of the organization and the desired business outcomes. Once these factors are considered, the workflow can be designed and implemented accordingly.

By creating a well-thought-out workflow plan, organizations can see significant improvements in both their efficiency and their bottom line.

What Is the Purpose of Workflow?

Workflow is the process of managing and automating tasks within a business. By organizing and streamlining tasks, businesses can improve efficiency and productivity and save time and money.

Many different types of workflow software are available, each with its unique set of features and capabilities. The best way to determine which type of workflow software is right for your business is to first understand your business needs. Once you know what you need, you can begin researching and comparing different workflow software options. When choosing workflow software, it is important to consider your budget, the specific needs of your business, and the level of complexity involved in implementing the software.

Finding the right workflow software for your business with so many choices can seem daunting. However, by taking the time to understand your needs and compare your options, you can find a workflow solution to help your business run more smoothly and efficiently.

What Are the Components of Workflow Analysis?

Workflow analysis is the process of understanding how work is performed within an organization and how it can be improved. The goal of workflow analysis is to identify inefficiencies and bottlenecks to correct them.

There are two main components of workflow analysis: internal workflow and business outcome. Internal workflow focuses on the individual steps involved in completing a task, while business outcome looks at the bigger picture to see how the task fits into the overall goals of the organization. By taking both of these factors into account, organizations can create a more efficient and effective workplace.

What Is Workflow Diagram?

A workflow diagram is a graphical representation of a process or workflow. It is typically used to visually represent the steps in a process so that they can be easily understood and followed.

Workflow diagrams have become increasingly popular as a way to document and streamline business processes. When creating a workflow diagram, it is important to use a software tool that can create and edit flowcharts easily. There are many different software options available. Once you have chosen a software tool, you will need to decide on the format of your workflow diagram.

No matter which format you choose, the goal is to create a clear and concise diagram that accurately represents the steps in your process.

What Makes a Good Workflow?

When it comes to digital design agencies, creating a good workflow is essential to ensuring that projects are completed on time and to the client's satisfaction. There are a few key elements that make up a good workflow.

  1. First, it is important to have a clear and concise brief that outlines the project requirements and the deliverables. This will ensure that everyone involved in the project knows what is expected of them.
  2. Secondly, it is important to have a project manager who can keep track of progress and meet deadlines.
  3. Finally, it is important to have clear communication channels between all team members. It will help avoid misunderstandings and ensure everyone is on the same page.

By following these simple steps, you can create a smooth and effective workflow that will help your digital design agency to thrive.

What Are the Benefits of Workflow?

Any business is only as good as its processes. That's why having an efficient workflow is essential to the success of any digital agency.

There are many benefits of having a streamlined workflow, but perhaps the most important is that it saves time. By seeing exactly what needs to be done and when you can avoid wasted time and resources. In addition, a well-designed workflow can help to improve communication and collaboration within an agency. When everyone knows their role and responsibilities, it helps to create a smoother working environment.

Heading 1

Heading 2

Heading 3

Heading 4

Heading 5
Heading 6

Heading 1

Heading 2

Heading 3

Heading 4

Heading 5
Heading 6

Sample text is being used as a placeholder for real text that is normally present. Sample text helps you understand how real text may look on your website. Sample text is being used as a placeholder for real text.

  • Type: Unordered – Style: No Bullets
  • Type: Unordered – Style: No Bullets
  • Type: Unordered – Style: No Bullets
  • Type: Unordered – Style: Bullets
  • Type: Unordered – Style: Bullets
  • Type: Unordered – Style: Bullets
  1. Type: Ordered – Style: Bullets
  2. Type: Ordered – Style: Bullets
  3. Type: Ordered – Style: Bullets

This is bold text

This is italic text

This is a link

The details are not the details.
They make the design.

– Charles Eames, The Elements of User Experience

Image – Position: Normal

This is an image caption
Tim Rodgers
May 18, 2022
5 min read

Sign up for our newsletter

By subscribing, you agree with our Privacy Policy.
Thank you! Your email address has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.