Digital Leaf is a Google Ads management agency for ecommerce stores, founded by marketer Chris Schwarz. With a team of five working between Australia and India, the agency is a fully distributed operation. Its portfolio includes a diverse mix of big-hitting online sellers, including the University of Adelaide, Snowys Outdoors and House & Garden. Digital Leaf generates over A$100 million p.a. in revenue for its clients.
If I didn’t have Teamwork to keep track of things, I probably wouldn’t have a business.
Seven years ago, at a cafe in Amsterdam, Chris Schwarz sat down with his laptop, and set to work on figuring out how to bring more order to his Google Ads management business, Digital Leaf.
“Every Wednesday I would have an afternoon free from client work, where I’d go to a coffee shop and start strategizing and systematizing different parts of my business.” says Chris.
“That day I was looking at how to manage the recurring processes that went into my monthly retainer work, and it just sort of clicked that I would need to do it by setting up repeating tasks.”
At this stage, Chris was already working with an alternative project management provider – but that platform had no way of setting tasks up to repeat.
It was time to look at something else, and working out how to manage these recurring tasks just sort of rolled into signing up with Teamwork.
Since that Wednesday afternoon in Amsterdam, Teamwork has grown from a handy recurring tasks solution for Digital Leaf to a complete work platform for the agency.
" If I didn’t have Teamwork to keep track of things, I probably wouldn’t have a business
We use Teamwork for everything, 8 hours a day
Chris has embraced Teamwork as the all-encompassing platform for Digital Leaf’s work.
Each of the agency’s clients has its own Teamwork project, within which there are task lists with recurring and one-off tasks. Whenever a client emails with a request, Digital Leaf creates a task within the relevant project – and the same goes for when Chris or one of his teammates has a bright idea.
“We’ve been basing our work around Teamwork tasks and projects for years and years, and it’s just second nature to us now.” says Chris.
" Every member of the team uses Teamwork all day, every day – it seems like something I’d pay more for, based on the value I get from it.
As a Google Ads management specialist, Digital Leaf deals with a lot of detailed, process-driven work, where forgetting about a sub-task could severely hinder an ad campaign. The capability to dig deep into Teamwork tasks with detailed information and subtasks has been crucial to Digital Leaf’s ability to do everything needed for each project.
“My business is very process driven, and it requires multiple tasks that set out how we will monitor certain parts of a Google Ads account.” Chris explains.
“For instance, we might have a monitoring process where there are three sets of tasks with sub-tasks. One day we’ll have to go through one of these sets, and two days later we might have to do another. To facilitate this sort of process-driven work, we need to use Teamwork to create a tree-like system of sub-tasks.”
In Teamwork, Chris has found a project management solution that can smoothly accommodate the inherent complexity of Google Ads account management.
" We have lots of things to monitor, adapt, change and modify – but once you’ve got a task list that’s flexible, you can do it all well.
Recurring tasks to support retainer work
Retainer work is Digital Leaf’s bread and butter. Most of what the agency does, it does regularly for established clients.
Cast your mind back to the start of this case study (we were at a coffee shop in Amsterdam – it was quite pleasant), and you’ll recall that Digital Leaf chose to use Teamwork because the platform has the capability to set up repeating tasks. This functionality enables users to set a task to repeat with a certain regularity, on certain days of the month, and over any time period. It can be accessed via any task in Teamwork.
“The repeating tasks feature gives us the flexibility to set the tasks and adjust them to how we need them.” says Chris. “It’s an incredible feature for us, as 80-90% of what we do is recurring tasks for clients on retainer.” For Digital Leaf, Teamwork’s recurring tasks removed the need to set up a vast array of tasks for each of over 50 clients every month. This enables the agency’s team of five to spend less time setting tasks, and more time completing them.
Logging time to make hourly contractor work accountable
Besides Chris, who works from Adelaide, the Digital Leaf team is made up of contractors based in India, all of whom charge an hourly rate for their services. The team members report in to Digital Leaf’s project manager in India, Nancy, who then invoices Chris for the team’s work.
Each team member’s hours can fluctuate from month-to-month. Someone might do 20 hours one month, and 30 hours the next. Accurately logging each person’s time is crucial – and like many other crucial parts of what Digital Leaf does, the time-tracking takes place within Teamwork.
“It’s important that every team member can log their time, and also that they can log comments against their time, because that’s something we put into our reports.” says Chris.
With Teamwork time-tracking fully adopted across the Digital Leaf team, Chris and his clients have a clear overview of the work that’s getting done on their projects.
It’s the software that’s impacted my business the most
Digital Leaf has been managing its daily work with Teamwork for years now. Every member of the agency’s team works on the platform.
Teamwork has brought a lot to this close working relationship, including free-flowing, flexible task management; efficiency-boosting repeating tasks functionality; and time-tracking to ensure remote workers are paid just the right amount, down to the minute. Meanwhile, Digital Leaf has blossomed as a Google Ads account management specialist, earning rave reviews and prestigious clients in the process. It’s been a pleasure growing together with this exciting agency.
" Teamwork is the project management software that I’ve been using to run my agency for six years. It’s the software that has impacted my business the most. – Chris Schwarz, Founder, Digital Leaf