Lindsey Rossi is the Operations Manager for New Reach Marketing. She specializes in building systems and improving operations for the company. In her spare time, Lindsey enjoys writing music, singing, teaching vocal lessons, and being outdoors.
When starting a business, it’s easy to hack together a system to manage your projects without scalability in mind. Maybe you’re using tools like Google Sheets and text apps, and have outgrown your current system.
If you find yourself disorganized and wasting time, utilizing an effective project management tool could be the answer to supporting growth and scalability for your company.
As our company gained traction and clients, we knew the system we had in place wouldn’t be scalable or manageable.
We tested out several project management (PM) tools over the course of six months and chose ClickUp because it’s user-friendly, saves time, and is customizable to our unique business.
Here’s how switching to an alternate project management platform turned out to be one of the best decisions we’ve made as an agency.
- The problem: Unorganized workflows, difficulty managing projects, and miscommunication
- What we do as an agency: An inside look at our old system
- The solution: Transitioning to an all-in-one project management platform
- How we use ClickUp as an agency: An inside look at our new system
- Top 5 favorite ClickUp benefits
- Solving our pain points and scaling with ClickUp
The problem: Unorganized workflows, difficulty managing projects, and miscommunication
Imagine clocking into work and immediately you’re bombarded with text messages, Slack messages, and a list of to-dos with no clarity or hierarchical urgency of tasks.
You spend an hour or more every morning trying to get organized, but still have no idea how to start your day.
You open up Google Drive to find the right Google Sheet and search messages to make sure nothing is being missed.
You scroll through countless rows of data to find the things you need—the system is working but barely.
This was our reality at New Reach Marketing before we switched to ClickUp.
Our spreadsheets were getting more and more difficult to manage as time went on. We hit 648 rows in our content spreadsheet alone, and had several tabs within one spreadsheet to manage different projects for all of our clients! 😱
It was nearly impossible to keep track and things were constantly falling through the cracks.
Our project management wasn’t optimized for the sort of growth we expected.
I’ll show you a few screenshots of our old Google Sheets, and later show you our new system so you can see how we functioned before and after ClickUp.
But first here’s some context to the type of company we are and how we were able to make ClickUp customizable to our business.
What we do as an agency: An inside look at our old system
In order to give you an inside look at how ClickUp helped us scale to $800K ARR, you’ll need to have a general understanding of what we do as a company.
New Reach Marketing specializes in SEO and content marketing. We have several clients with different niches and goals and manage three different types of clients, including our link-building clients and our content clients.
When a client wants to improve their overall rankings on search engines, they’ll outsource their link building to us. Here are the seven marketing campaigns that we choose from when crafting a plan for our link building clients:
- Guest posting
- Lists outreach (which may involve buying backlinks if they send referral traffic)
- The Skyscraper Technique
- Mention tracking
- Resource pages
Each campaign goes through three different stages no matter which campaign we’re running.
Our most popular campaign is guest posting—here is a quick rundown on how guest posting works:
Step 1: Prospecting
We find sites that have blogs related to the client’s niche targets, and get their email information.
Step 2: Personalization
We look at the prospect’s blog, find something we love about it, and personalize the email template. We also leave a comment on the blog to warm up the lead. It helps with the response rate because we’re sending cold emails.
Step 3: Outreach
We send out emails to the prospects, and when we get a response, we send topic ideas for their blog. Once the outlet chooses a topic, we then send the content request to our editor and include links to our client’s site within those guest posts.
For our content clients we do in-depth keyword research, create custom graphics to encourage organic linking, and craft the article to outrank the competing articles that are ranking for the keyword we’re after.
We used to do all of this in Google Sheets, and it was not managed as separate projects, so we weren’t able to scale or easily manage things.
Take a look at our old content spreadsheet ⬇️
A little overwhelming, right? This isn’t even the full snapshot of all the information we stored via Google Sheets.
It was really hard for us to know how many articles we had in the works for our clients and how long it had been sitting in each status! Things were getting lost and it took a lot of time to get a report for a client.
Here’s how we managed our client’s active campaign statuses. It’s also where we stored campaign dumps (all the details about each campaign we were running) and the client worksheet ⬇️
And this is a full snapshot of our clients, their goals, and the percentage of progress compared to how far along we were in the month. This is specifically for our link-building clients, as we didn’t even have a tracking system for onsite clients previous to ClickUp.
As you can see, we had a system, but it definitely wasn’t scalable. 😬
Our first project manager chose Asana as the solution, but it didn’t even come close to solving the problem—it only made things worse.
The first issue was they tried to phase out of Google Sheets into Asana instead of a clean-cut transition. This created even more issues with communication because the same projects were being managed in multiple places.
Because of this, our team wasted more time than when we used Google Sheets exclusively, and quite frankly people weren’t even using the platform much.
It was also really hard for the team to catch on to the flow of things, and it wasn’t customizable enough to meet the needs of our agency. We spent a lot of time trying to figure out Asana, and time is money, so we wasted a lot of money too.
But hey, that’s the nature of a startup—lots of growing pains and learning curves.
The solution: Transitioning to an all-in-one project management platform
Ultimately, ClickUp had everything we needed to scale quickly. We were able to mirror the system we had in Google Sheets over to ClickUp, which made the transition so much easier on the team. We weren’t changing processes, just improving operations.
ClickUp is user-friendly, has an amazing hierarchy system, and allows for team collaboration, customization, and automation—this was everything we were looking for.
We were able to transition our team seamlessly to ClickUp in a little over a month. This is a testament to how user-friendly and intuitive ClickUp is, and how many resources they make available to beginners. So if you’re nervous about making the switch, don’t be. If I can do it, so can you. 😊
How we use ClickUp as an agency: An inside look at our new system
Now that you’ve seen the old way, let me show you how we use ClickUp as an agency today.
Let’s start with our content space!
Below is a Board view that shows the status of each article we’re currently working on. If you reference our old spreadsheet, you’ll notice that there was no way to see the number of times we’ve followed up on articles or to tell how many articles were in each stage. We also had no due dates or real organization.
Bonus: Marketing Agency Software
Now that we’re in ClickUp we can see how many articles are being worked on for a client by filtering the views. Just one click and we have an entire snapshot of where things are. We can also stay on top of due dates and manage our team much easier.
We have a lot of custom statuses but this works for us because we encounter a lot of scenarios dealing with different websites. We’ve set up an automation in each status to reflect the correct due date as it moves through the pipeline and we’re working to improve our content flow even more as we scale.
Here is an inside look at how we manage our onsite content in ClickUp ⬇️
Here’s a snapshot of how we manage client campaigns with ClickUp ⬇️
The campaigns filter through these three statuses over and over until it ends, which usually only happens if we choose to go a different route or the client ends the contract. It’s really easy to manage this through ClickUp.
Now let’s take a look at our new and improved client list ⬇️
Isn’t that a thing of beauty? We have everything we need to know about our clients here, and we linked active campaigns to each client. We can also easily move clients in and out of statuses.
We’ve set up several automations to cut back on admin tasks. For example, when client hours per week increase, ClickBot writes a comment mentioning and notifying the team member responsible for allocating time to each project (prospecting, personalization, outreach).
Before ClickUp, when a client wanted to pause work, it’d be communicated through Slack and it got really confusing at times. Now it’s one click and the entire team knows the status of a client.
We also have a list for each type of client I mentioned earlier. Eventually, we plan to expand even more and know we can do this because of the endless possibilities ClickUp offers.
Top 5 favorite ClickUp benefits
One of our favorite things about ClickUp is how user-friendly it is. It’s extremely easy to use and very intuitive. Here are four things that made the transition to ClickUp seamless:
- Ability to set everything up in one month with no experience
- Easy transfer of data from Google Sheets to ClickUp—we even embedded our old Google Sheet of link-building clients until the team was more comfortable with ClickUp. After everyone had their bearings, we created the List view. This made the transition easier for everyone
- Several resources are available through ClickUp University and the ClickUp blog
- Quick responses from customer support if you notice a bug or need help
2. Offers a clear Hierarchy
We really enjoy the hierarchy of ClickUp because it’s easy to keep things organized. With ClickUp you can:
- See everything all at once
- View an entire space
- Break down spaces and view folders
- Break down folders and view lists
You can also filter views by assignee, tags, custom fields, and more!
Here is an example of how we take advantage of ClickUp’s Hierarchy:
Here’s a view of our different Spaces, if you click “Everything” you’ll see literally everything happening in ClickUp for your business. From there you can view your individual Spaces.
If you click on the “Content” Space, for example, you’ll be able to see everything happening within that Space. I have it color-coordinated, so if I look at all of our content in List view it will be broken down by color.
If you click on the “Guest Post Content” folder you’ll see everything within that Folder.
Once you open the Folder, you can view all of your lists within that Folder. As you can see our content is broken down into two Folders and each has lists that help us stay organized. We can also see how many tasks are on each List. I was able to really understand the Hierarchy of ClickUp after going through the introduction to ClickUp course on ClickUp University.
3. Supports team collaboration
ClickUp encourages team collaboration. We love the ability to:
- Assign multiple assignees to one task. This is helpful when multiple people need to take action on or watch the progress of a task. For example, if a writer needs to make a change to an article and our editor needs to look over that change
- Create subtasks/checklists for team members. You can also assign subtasks and checklist items within the task to make sure everyone is empowered to do their job
- Send task links. This is useful for when there are more urgent requests. We will occasionally send tasks in Slack to make sure everyone is aware. Other use cases might be sending tasks to clients. You can also set up an integration with ClickUp and Slack to send automated messages if that’s your preference
- Invite guests. We use this feature often with guest writers and freelance writers who are a part of our team. It gives us the ability to invite our writers to our content space exclusively so they don’t have access to sensitive client information
4. Highly customizable
Finding a platform with plenty of customizable options was crucial for our business. ClickUp allows you to customize your setup by:
- Creating Spaces and implementing operations according to the needs of your company. You can even turn on ClickApps like time tracking, time estimates, sprints, and custom fields, depending on your needs
- Creating custom views based on the need. These include options like Board view, List view, Embed Google Sheets, Doc view, Calendar view, and more. You can pin views and protect views as well
- Custom Fields to hold important information. This is crucial for our business and a valuable ClickApp that we use in every space. We use custom fields to hold client information and content information, among other things. There are several options for you to choose from
- Create Custom statuses. You can name and arrange statuses however you’d like! We love the ability to update them and move them around at any given time
5. Helpful automation features
ClickUp has several automation features that you can implement on any level—space, folder, or lists. Automations:
- Save time
- Intuitive and easy to set up
- Help ensure tasks don’t fall through the cracks
- Reduce admin tasks, which saves us money
Solving our pain points and scaling with ClickUp
ClickUp helped our company scale up and gave us the ability to take on more clients and work.
Through transitioning to ClickUp we were able to solve the majority of our pain points as a company. This opened up more opportunities to expand the business and continue to scale. Before we transitioned to ClickUp, we offered only one package to our clients, now we have three.
It also gave us the ability to take on new clients and bring on new hires. We’ve systemized things and have a log of everything we’re working on for every branch of the company in one place.
So if you can relate to our story or simply are planning to scale your business, then we highly recommend using ClickUp to bring all your work into one place, keep your workflow organized, consistent, and manageable, while eliminating the unnecessary friction caused by using multiple apps. 🙏