How Do I Choose an Online Marketing Agency for My Small Business?

If you’re a small business choosing an online marketing agency, the best way to start is to find small agencies that specialize in online marketing. Big companies or those associated with media outlets won’t be structured to provide the type of personalized service that you’ll need, especially if you’re somewhat new to online marketing.

A small marketing agency like Spot Digital Marketing will be sensitive to any financial constraints you may have and will work with you to maximize your spending by creatively using content across many platforms, working with your in-house team (if needed) and helping to instruct you on online marketing and analytics.

Here are some good questions to get you started when you’re choosing an online marketing agency for your small business:

How many small business clients do you have?

What’s the smallest and largest budget you work with?

How much do you work on projects as opposed to serving as a full service agency?

Are there any opportunities to bundle services to save money?

How long are your contracts? What if I need to cancel?

How much online marketing work have you done in my particular industry with other small businesses?

What are some realistic ROI measurements for my online marketing?

What’s a good timeline to see leads and sales conversions from online marketing?

Is there some of the online marketing work I can do myself to save money?

Who will be handling my account? How much experience do they have with small businesses and online marketing?

Will there be regular reports and phone calls to track the progress of the online marketing efforts?

Will the online marketing results be examined on a regular basis so changes can be made to maximize the results?

These questions, and more, are a good way to start to drill down into exactly how the relationship will work and be valued by the online marketing agency you select for your small business.

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Is a Full-service Digital Marketing Agency Right for You?

Is a full-service digital marketing agency right for you? Let’s look at some considerations:

Is your marketing currently being handled by yourself, perhaps with an employee assisting and then with some of it outsourced? What kind of efficiencies are you losing and what kind of in-house time that could be more profitably allocated to focusing on operational/expansion efforts?

Are the people handling the different aspects of your digital marketing all experts in their part of it? Digital advertising? Content creation? SEO? Website development? Email marketing? No one person can keep up with all of this and keep abreast of all the changes happening in the industry at the same time.

Is there coordination between all the different aspects? For example, are there regular blogs being written for SEO and utilized to solicit backlinks (valuable for SEO) that are also linked to for social media and potentially referenced in emails as well? 

Is there time to really dive into analytics to understand the customer journey, how well each marketing avenue is working, and what tweaks need to be made at each juncture to increase sales even more? A full-service digital marketing agency understands they will be judged on the metrics that are reported from each aspect of the marketing they are doing on behalf of your business.

With a full-service digital marketing firm the primary focus will be on getting the best results for clients so their efforts do not come after they work on other responsibilities first. That way you can rest assured that your marketing is a top priority and not an afterthought. 

A full-service digital marketing agency can save you money. Not only will they understand how to maximize your messaging and money, with the right level of Search Engine Optimization and an understanding of long tail keywords, bid amounts on Pay Per Click advertising will drop significantly. Strategic long tail keywords will also allow you to target more effectively, increasing your conversions vs. just initial impressions.

 

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Spot Shares the Secrets of Flywheel Marketing

Unfortunately there’s rarely a singular thing that transforms a business from good to great. Rather, as with most things it’s a process that resembles an ever-evolving wheel, or as businessman Jim Collins described it – a flywheel.

First – what is a flywheel? It’s a revolving wheel that increases a machine’s momentum by storing and releasing energy in its perpetual loop. It’s a spinning wheel that ideally never stops. It’s a much different concept than a sales funnel – which is designed as a vertical tunnel that ends at the sale, when a customer reaches the bottom. 

But wouldn’t it be better if you kept your customers engaged, making referrals and buying again? That’s why a flywheel is designed in three sections: attract, engage and delight.

Attract: Awareness with advertising, SEO, video campaigns, collaborations, etc.

Engage: Build meaningful relationships with customers through communities, different outreach channels, etc.

Delight: This is crucial – you can’t just sell and deliver quickly. You need to create a customer experience they will want to share. Satisfaction surveys, good email follow up, unexpected value added perks, quick response to customer inquiries (should you add chatbots for 24/7 response), affiliation with causes they support, etc.

The flywheel also serves as a guide for you to take a closer look at your business and the customer experience. It also gives you a goal for everyone associated with the business – keep customers happy enough to recommend your brand to others.

How fast do potential customers move though the sales process, how successful is the sales process in closing, how delighted are customers once they purchase from you? This involves marketing, sales and product and customer service teams. A whopping 81% of buyers trust their friends and family more than what they see from companies – so the “delight” stage is critical.

You’ll also be examining your flywheel for friction points. Does it take too long to respond to customer questions? Is the return policy confusing? Are the product listings always up to date? Potential customers will exit the flywheel if they hit friction.

What do potential customers want from your content and how easy is it for them to get it? Eliminate obstacles and keep it spinning freely.

Let Spot help you design your own flywheel, identify potential friction points, make suggestions about how to eliminate friction, and watch sales grow.

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Sales Funnel

When talking about content, it’s more than just an occasional blog or social media post. There’s a proven strategy to what you post and in what order, so you can lead a potential customer to a sale.

That means, you start with broad engagement, and then continue through to very specific types of content.

The funnel itself is divided into three parts – Top, Middle and Bottom, with content types associated with each portion.

Here they are:

Top of the Funnel


This includes:

  • Search-optimized blog posts. Done right, these can generate lots of traffic over many years from low-intent visitors, or those who haven’t yet decided that they want to purchase anything from you yet.
  • Social media videos. These can include tips, opinions and inspiration and are designed to encourage engagement and interaction.
  • Infographics. They are designed to provide information in a concise, visually appealing way that will get shared and attract links. We’re not to selling yet.
  • Round-ups and interviews. These can be collaborations that will drive traffic and create more trust.
  • Guest posts. Again – a lot of visibility and exposure to a new audience.

Now we move to the middle of the funnel.

  • How-to-articles. These help DIY visitors, but are directly related to your services/products.
  • How-to-videos. Same as above but more engaging and memorable. Done right, they are also big trust builders.
  • Original research. This can be a powerful credibility builder, but the relevance may be indirect.
  • Gated guides. More commonly called newsletters, they are opt-in, long form subscriber communications. Now they’re connected.
  • Welcome series emails. Okay – send them your best stuff to keep them interested.
  • Webinars and events. Collaborate with others and engage in the Q&A. What would you want to see?

Now we reel them in!

  • Sales enablement articles. These include specific information with one goal – conversion.
  • Your story. A specific traffic source with one goal – conversion.
  • Landing pages. These come from a specific traffic source with a singular goal – conversion.
  • Service pages. This page is filled with answers, evidence and calls to action,
  • Testimonials. This one speaks for itself.
  • Case studies/customer stories. You solve problems in the real world and there’s evidence.

Sound complicated? Spot can help with strategic, targeted content at every stage. Drop us an email or give us a call and let’s get started turning your prospects into committed customers.

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Guilty of One (or more) of the 7 Biggest Digital Marketing Mistakes?

Are you marketing to yourself and not your audience?

Do you really understand your digital audience? What are their other interests? What platforms do your customers and potential customers use? What appeals to them besides your business – their other interests and likes? Where do they live? What age are they? Where are they in their life stage? Why are they buying from you? What influences them?

It can be hard, but you have to take your own preferences out of the equation and rely on what the metrics tell you about who responds to your offers.

Not maximizing your Search Engine Optimization?

We know – there are a lot of moving parts to SEO. And it can be hard to keep up with all of them. Fresh, relevant website content in the form of blogs. Keyword-laden articles submitted to garner reputable backlinks. A website that loads quickly and works great on mobile devices. All the on-page optimization done with A1 headlines, photo descriptions and more. If you’re missing one or more of these aspects, you’re not ranking as high as you could in search engines and you’re losing business. 

Not integrating your social media strategy?

Does your social media strategy tie in with your overall sales strategy or is it an afterthought? Do you create posts that lead to your website? Follow a consistent schedule? Stay active on it with “likes”, comments and follows on other accounts? Participate in online chats to stay in front of potential customers? Boost strategic posts on a regular basis to garner more followers? Social media can be a valuable tool in your arsenal, but only if you use it correctly.

Treating every platform and channel the same?

It’s definitely not one size fits all out there. Each platform has its own style and way of maximizing engagement, not to mention different demographics. Do you know which ones to focus on based on your audience? It’s better to do two very well than to attempt to leverage five and do them all poorly.

Prioritizing the wrong analytics?

Are you still just looking at followers or impressions? What you ultimately want are conversions – no matter where they come from. Are you looking at the right information that will tell you where your actual customers are coming from or are you just looking at topline numbers? Two online ads could vary widely with the number of impressions, and you might think the one with the highest number is best – but the other may actually be a better one to utilize more widely if it’s leading to more customers and costing you less to get each one. It’s imperative you understand what the numbers say, and how to adjust accordingly.

Not testing enough (or at all)?

With digital marketing, it’s so easy to compare to see what’s working better. Not just the ad copy itself, but offers, time of day, platforms, landing pages, days of week and even tone and voice. Decide ahead of time what you want to compare and then let it run for long enough to get you valid results. Keep the one that works best and try another variable until you find the perfect formula for your audience.

Not keeping up with new trends, technologies, tools, platforms, and search algorithms?

Things are changing all the time in the digital world and if you’re not keeping up, you risk getting left behind. You need to be nimble to stay up on trends if you want to tie in with them. And new technologies and tools can help you maximize your results with less work. Search algorithms are always being updated as well, and you’ll need to be able to adapt to garner the best results here as well.

We know – it’s a lot! That’s why we chose to specialize in digital marketing. Because we keep up on all this stuff so you don’t have to. Let us know if we can help you be more effective with your digital marketing and maximize your sales.

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Why is December the most important time of the year for a company?

It’s not for the reason you think – your last chance to maximize sales and close the year out strong, although that’s crucial as well.

It’s the most important time because it’s when you should be devoting as much time as possible to reviewing the results from the year and planning your marketing for the following year.

Too often businesses just coast on autopilot and keep the same plans as the previous year because they don’t make the time to really evaluate them and make changes.

What worked? What didn’t? What new options are available? Has the creative gotten stale? Are there new products or services that need to be highlighted? Are there expanded audiences you should be reaching?

All these questions need to be posed and answered. Only with comprehensive strategic planning and evaluation (not just at the end of the year but throughout), can you maximize your return on investment from your marketing efforts.

And since marketing and branding drives your business, it should be the priority all the time, not the afterthought that many make it. It’s easy to let day-to-day operational duties and issues preempt the time that could be spent on marketing. If that’s the case for you, perhaps it’s time to consider working with a firm that can help examine your past year’s efforts, help you objectively evaluate the results and messaging, and then present you with a fresh look – keeping what worked and presenting some options that will be a better and more effective use of your marketing dollars.

And speaking of marketing dollars – how do you decide what to spend? Is it an arbitrary number? Is it a percentage of your gross sales? Is it as little as possible without considering what effect a bigger budget could have on sales? Is it balanced with other efforts through social media and branding through added value and customer service efforts?

All of these components can be evaluated by an experienced agency like Nug, which can do a comprehensive review and present you with a coordinated, integrated marketing campaign that will amplify your message and amortize the cost for elements across multiple channels.

Contact us today so we can get to work making 2022 your best year ever!

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Spot Helps Catapult Mel Mason, The Clutter Expert, to New Heights

Mel wanted to take her business to the next level and Spot stepped in to help. This included:

  • New logo
  • Multiple landing pages with payment integration
  • Marketing video
  • Custom backgrounds for her many live presentations
  • Custom graphics featuring Mel and her bestselling books
  • Custom graphics to help launch her new on-air series – “Dare to Thrive”

As a consequence, Mel’s business is thriving and many additional opportunities are presenting themselves because of her new professional branding.

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Targeting keywords in your blogging strategy

Achieving a high rank in search engines should be the goal of every business with a website. And since that should be every business, it’s crucial that all aspects of your website be optimized.

But let’s start at the beginning – what are keywords?

They’re the words we speak or type when we’re looking for something. It can be just a single word or a phrase or just a list of words. Long-tail keywords are those with more than one word.

Search engines want to give people the best reply to their query so it pulls those websites that seem to answer the question best. And how does it know? It knows because:

  1. Those websites load and function great on all devices
  2. The headlines have those keywords
  3. The images are described in tags with those keywords
  4. They have a lot of those same words in their content
  5. There is a lot of new, relevant content being added
  6. The website is linked to from a lot of other reputable websites (backlinks)

Let’s concentrate on #5 for a minute. Much of the new, relevant content on websites comes in the form of blogs. The sole purpose of blogs should be to answer questions customers or potential customers might have, as well as provide more in-depth information on your products or services. But your ulterior motive should be to use the keywords you are targeting with enough frequency to add to your credibility as a reliable source for questions that include those keywords.

Your list of keywords can start with the obvious ones related to your business. It can be expanded with terms related to your business but not exclusively about it. If you have an insurance company, you can have terms about insurance, but also financial well being, trusts, wills and other related subjects.

You won’t use all of them when writing a blog – just focus on one or two that are related. But it will give you a list of topics to work from.

And it should go without saying that the writing should stay natural and not force words into an article that seem out of place. Take advantage of the meta description – additional text that appears in Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs) and lets the reader know what the link is actually about. Try to link the blog internally – that is, if you have information about a particular product, and then you delve into an aspect of that product with a blog, use a link on your website to guide the reader to the blog. You can also link from your social media accounts to your blogs.

Sound confusing? Spot can help you implement a blogging strategy or take over the whole process if you like. Let us know if you’d like to learn more!

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SEO Success Leads to Dramatic Cut in PPC Ad Spending

Blue Door Vet needed a new website to capture their distinctive differences and be a strong tool for SEO, along with ongoing SEO efforts and Pay-Per-Click advertising.

Spot came through!

  • Completely new WordPress website with compelling images and copy
  • Fully optimized through on-page, H1 headlines, photo tags and functionality on all devices including mobile
  • Ongoing SEO efforts led to multiple keywords on Page 1 of search (74 keywords on page 1 of Google).
  • Overall 298 keywords rank on Google page 1 and 2 combined
  • Website traffic jumped 264% after just a few months
  • Blue Door Vet was able to cut PPC spending to a minimum because client demand increased so dramatically, and SEO had them ranking strong in all their categories.
  • Top GEO (Portland, OR) placement on Google My Business on both Maps and search listings.
  • Website load speed on mobile decreased by 89% and desktop is under 1.54 sec.

Overall, the PPC and SEO programs were so successful that the client is not in a position to take any new clients and is in maintenance mode only. After six years, Spot continues to work with this client as they consider franchise opportunities.

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Spot Digital Direct – Your Go-To Website Design and Development Firm

In today’s digital era, people are spending more and more time on the internet, and therefore, businesses too, have moved online. Having a website has become an essential tool for every business, whether it is big or small. A good website can not only help you promote and sell your products or services but also distinguish yourself from your competitors. The online presence also caters to 24-hour availability for your customers, which establishes credibility and builds trust among your customers. 

Websites can also serve as your online store or office at a very minimal cost. Unlike a brick-and-mortar store, a business with a website and online presence will have no geographical restraints. Customers from any part of the world can access your website.

The design and architecture of your website can offer your customers exceptional features and convenient navigation, which makes it imperative to choose the design and development firm for your website wisely. 

 

You can Never go Wrong With Spot Digital Direct 

Spot Digital Direct offers website designing and development services that can help you attract and convert new leads. The first step in the journey involves choosing an impressive look for your website. Once the look is sorted, the website design and development firm focus on implementing the tech to support relevant content and graphics that resonates with your target audience. 

To avail of their services, you can choose from the offered plans based on your needs and budget. While the offerings of the starter plan include WordPress platform, responsive design, content upload & editing, and on-page SEO, the pro, e-commerce, and custom plans include additional services like copywriting, e-commerce functionality, dedicated project manager, and more. 

The functional and responsive websites of Industrial Enet, Palm Desert Area Chamber, John Hammer Construction, and Rhino Digital stand as testimony to their expertise in the field of website design and development.

Along with website development, Spot Digital Direct also offers other services like PPC, SEO, directory listings management, email marketing, content creation, and brand creation. The pool of service offerings by the website design and development firm makes it a one-stop-shop for all the effective marketing and advertising strategies.

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