Digital marketing agency

How to Know It’s Time to Use a Digital Marketing Agency

If you’re trying to handle your digital marketing in-house you may be experiencing some pain points. Here’s when to know it’s time to use a digital marketing agency:

  • The person that’s in charge of it is burdened with so many other marketing-related tasks he or she doesn’t really have time to monitor analytics. In digital marketing, you can’t just set it and forget it. Banner ads have a lifespan and at some point, have a diminishing return. Someone needs to be focused on your digital marketing and checking to see which ads are working – not just generating clicks but leading to conversions. A digital marketing agency like Spot Color Marketing will have someone focused on your account.
  • If analytic data is collected, relevant changes are not made in response to it. Simply collecting the data and putting it into a report isn’t enough. You need someone working to keep the ad messaging fresh and relevant when the numbers say it’s time to update it. An agency can also help test various approaches to compare results and help your ads be optimized for sales.
  • Ongoing support of SEO efforts is lagging. Better Search Engine Optimization will lead to lower digital marketing costs. An agency can provide support in this crucial related area and not just lower your PPC individual ad costs, but perhaps help you lower your overall PPC budget as your organic search results improve through directory listings, fresh regular relevant website content, website optimization and more.
  1. New opportunities in digital marketing are not being explored. Is your marketing person keeping up on new opportunities? If you’re a retail location, have they explored geofencing and/or polygoning? New and more targeted ways to reach potential customers are constantly being developed and if you’re not aware of them, you could be missing out.
  • Competitive analyses are not being done on a regular basis. You may see what your competitors are doing in traditional media, but you may not be aware of all their online activities. Regular analysis of your competitors is crucial to understanding what keywords are working for them, if/how their strategies are changing, and how you can best compete and beat them.
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When Was the Last Time You Did Any Brandstorming?

digital marketing Portland

When did you last take a step back and see how your brand was doing? Not the analytics for your website. Not the number of impressions or clickthroughs from your PPC. And not even if you like the new redesign of your collateral pieces. Your brand.

How is your brand/company perceived in the world? If people are aware of you, what is their perception? Or do they even have one? Branding is what happens every time someone interacts with your company at any level. Here are some of the major elements that go into it, and each one has several smaller pieces.

Customer Experience

How easy is it for a customer to navigate their journey with you? Is it all automated and impersonal? Do some potential buyers get frustrated and hang up or abandon their shopping carts? People value their time and they’re not willing to take a lot of it trying to give you some of their money. And if a purchase is made, what is the follow-up? Is it a thank you or simply an automated review form? What are they reviewing – how well your software worked? That should be a given. You want them to feel something – like their business is appreciated. Go through your entire sales process with a customer’s eyes. You may be surprised at what you find. Be careful sacrificing personal touches where they make sense for the sake of productivity and/or efficiency. What you gain in time you may lose in positive perception and the opportunity to have enthusiastic brand ambassadors. If it’s a product that’s delivered, what comes with it? Is there a note of appreciation? Some special packaging with tissue paper or just an item in a plastic bag in a box? If you’re a service business, what’s a small touch you can add that will make a lasting impression? How often do you communicate with customers after a sale? It’s hard to ask for a referral or expect a good review if you make the sale and they never hear from you again – and not just to try to sell them something new.

Outward Appearance

If you’re a service business, how do your employees look when they show up? Are uniforms clean and crisp? Are all the pieces branded or are they adding their own baseball hat, etc? What about company vehicles? Are they clean and well-branded? Your company vehicles are driving billboards – what do they say about your company? That we are meticulous and detail-oriented or sloppy and don’t care. And related to that, how are they driven? Are your team members polite drivers or do they go too fast and cut people off? That all goes into branding and the perception people have of your company. If you’re a retailer, what is the appearance of your store when people walk in? Are they sincerely greeted or is it a perfunctory “hello” without looking up because the employee has to share a greeting? If you’re online – does your website load fast, is it easy to navigate, does it work well on mobile, and does it give enough information for customers to make an informed decision? Again – it’s hard to do but you have to look at these things objectively – through a potential customer’s eyes and be honest with yourself. You can also ask for critiques from people who will be honest with you, not people who work for you and may be tempted to tell you what you want to hear.

Internal Audience

You’re also missing out if you don’t treat all your employees like customers. You need to continue to “sell” them on the company and its mission. You have no greater source of ambassadors than those who are working for you – not just the people in sales and marketing, but at every level. They need to stay informed, excited, and engaged. Great customer service will naturally flow from team members who feel appreciated and who understand why things are being done. This can be overlooked or left behind as companies grow, but it’s imperative, especially if you want to keep your key people and those who support them. It’s expensive and time-consuming to have a big turnover and if that’s happening within your company you need to find out why. But just because people are staying it doesn’t mean they’re happy and giving their best either. Periodically take their pulse – see what you can do better. Sometimes it’s just small things that can make a big impact.

It can be hard to stop and focus on items that don’t feel like they are directly related to sales – but good branding and creating positive perceptions of your company out in the world pave the way for sales and speed up the process. It also leads to more referrals and better word-of-mouth in person and online through the use of reviews on sites such as Yelp. And since people are still more likely to share bad experiences online, it’s imperative that you strive to create the best impression you can at every opportunity, so if/when a bad review hits you’ll be insulated with a lot of good ones and it won’t make a dent in your score.

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Top Digital Agency

digital marketing Porland

We recently sat down (virtually) with Spot Color Marketing founder and CEO Nicole Weber to get her thoughts about the current situation in regard to digital marketing. Here’s what she had to share.

Q. Spot has really established itself as a top digital marketing agency in the Portland and Palm Springs area and beyond. Can you tell us how long Spot has been operating and what prompted you to start it?

A. I wanted to create a digital marketing agency to help businesses take advantage of what was really a strong, emerging advertising and marketing option 20 years ago. So I started Spot and surrounded myself with other really talented professionals. We were also pioneers in working remotely, as it has been a way to team up with team members who have the most relevant experience without needing to be tied to a physical location. It also means that client fees don’t go to help pay for overhead – they go right into services. And it’s also an advantage for clients because we’re well equipped to work with your team no matter where they’re located. Others are doing it out of necessity now, but we’re very experienced with it and have all the right tools in place.

Q. As far as digital marketing agency services, what do you offer your clients?

A. We can add to a client’s existing efforts or create a comprehensive program for them with components including creating/enhancing/updating their website, search engine optimization, listings management, content creation, social media content and strategies as well as the strategy, design, and placement of ads for Pay Per Click and banner ad campaigns. We also have a lot of experience with some of the newer options like geofencing, retargeting, and precise mobile polygoning, where an online banner ad continues to follow a customer even after they have left a specific geographic area and you can receive detailed information about them.

Q. We have to ask the question – what has changed for clients with the current situation?

A. In the digital world, there’s actually a silver lining with people spending so much more time on their digital devices. Now is a great time to create and refine programs to stay in touch with current customers and find new ones. As details like delivery, hours, and services stay in flux, it’s also crucial for businesses to stay up-to-date with information so they make it as easy as possible for customers to buy from them.

Q. There are a lot of digital marketing agencies now, what makes Spot different?

A. We are very customer-centric and transparent. For example, we don’t hide our PPC management in a client’s total cost and just promise a certain number of impressions. We are also a full-service agency so, in addition to digital marketing, we can assist with branding, logos, traditional media advertising, public relations, graphic design for collateral and packaging, in addition to digital marketing agency services. It’s so much easier to have an integrated, consistent business development strategy when all the pieces are being coordinated and handled by a single entity with a real depth of experience in all of them.

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Why does digital marketing make more sense than ever right now?

digital marketing

If you’re like most of us, you’re staying home a lot more right now, not just during work hours but in the evening as well. And that probably means a lot more time in front of a screen of some sort to entertain yourself.

For example, in usual times, our fellow residents who are 65 and better spend nearly 10 hours a day on their computers, smartphones and televisions.

About 75% of that time is spent in front of the TV. That’s 12 percent more than people ages 35 to 49 and a third more than those ages 18 to 34, according to Nielsen market research released in August 2019. Now all of it has increased for every age group.

And that’s not all that’s changing. While watching TV did account for about twice as much time as radio, consumers are shifting the specific media they spend time with as options broaden.

Not driving in a car much anymore and that’s where you listened to the radio for newstalk? Now you’re accessing it online. Used to watch cable TV? Now you’re watching Hulu or another streaming service, increasingly on your phone. People for whom zoom meant go fast, now use it as a verb when talking about connecting with others. And even some of the 2.5 billion users on Facebook who swore off of it are finding that it provides a valuable connection to friends and family when there are fewer options and returning.

And the old advertising adage holds true more than ever – reach consumers where they are. And they’re online more now than ever, which makes them easy to reach and results easy to track. So that’s where your money should be. Reach them on Facebook and Instagram with compelling photos and offers. Put up great content on your website so you do well in organic search. Run banner ads on news sites and other places where your audience is likely to visit for information or entertainment. Place ads on YouTube when people are visiting similar brands or related topics. Native advertising where articles you create are placed in the correct environment for potential customers to find them. Retarget those who visit your website. It’s even possible to fuse virtual and actual by setting up a program to send a postcard to the home of those who have visited your website.

The other reason it’s important to reach consumers now is that with the right message, you can provide a solution to a problem, which is something that’s even more highly prized than before. We’re also living through a shared experience, so it’s a chance to connect with your customers in a deeply personal way.

And many experts believe that these new habits will stay with us long after everything starts to return to normal, so it’s a great time to understand all the benefits that targeted messages can bring to your business. Especially when you consider that according to HubSpot, on average advertisers make $8 for every $1 they spend on Google ads. Let Spot Color Marketing help you find your best possible online return on investment.

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What’s Your Online Reputation?

Online Reputation

We all worry about our reputations (or we should) and that’s never been more important for businesses than today. That’s because people’s opinions of your business are not limited to their friends and neighbors, but can travel across the internet via their social media, online review sites, and more.

That being said, what can be done about it?

  • Make sure all your directory listings are “claimed”. There are about 80 different internet directories where your business can be found. All of them need to have accurate information including your phone number, address, hours, etc.
  • The most important ones include YELP and Google+. In Yelp, you also need to make sure you have messaging enabled so people can reach you through Yelp. You get scored on how quickly you respond so you need to make sure the email address you put in here goes to someone on your team who can act quickly.
  • Check your scores – consumers are using review sites more than ever. It’s internet word-of-mouth and it’s powerful. A score of less than four practically guarantees you will lose potential customers. A program should be put in place to increase your positive reviews and raise your score.
  • When someone does leave a review, it needs to have a response posted quickly. In just a few words, you can thank someone for the nice comment and reinforce what they are saying. For example, “I really appreciated that Acme didn’t do a hard sell with me – they just presented the information and let me decide.” Your response? “Thank you for taking the time to share your experience and I’m glad you appreciated our “inform and educate approach.”
  • When someone does a search for your business, what do they find? Does an old negative article come up? Something else that’s not good? While these can’t always be eliminated, it is possible to create positive articles and work to have them “trend” up so eventually they will be the first thing that potential customers see, and the negative responses will move farther down the list, and thus be more likely not to be seen.
  • Are you considered an “expert” in your field? Well regarded articles on LinkedIn, on your website blog and more, can be boosted out and help raise your profile with peers and potential customers.

All a bit overwhelming? Spot Color Marketing has reputation management packages at several different levels to help you create a customized program that will help tell the true story of your business to enhance your online reputation and increase your sales.

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Accurate and consistent online directory listings are crucial for website optimization and SEO

website optimization

People don’t talk about it as much as PPC of website optimization, but your online listings in the various directories are a crucial component for your digital footprint. What do people see about your business when they go to Yelp? What if they ask Alexa for a nearby business that offers what you do? Driving and want to see businesses through MapQuest? If you’re not listed or your listing is not accurate, you’re missing out.

Not only do all your listings need to be claimed, but you also need to make sure they are all consistent and that important information like hours are kept up-to-date. Not only does this provide accurate information for current and potential customers, it adds to your local Search Engine Optimization.

A company like Spot Color Marketing that can create comprehensive listings for you with your business information, logo, photos, etc. where applicable, will help ensure you’re not missing any piece of the online puzzle. And with more than 80 different directories in the United States, it’s a huge undertaking to find them all yourself and try to keep them accurate.

Spot can even make your business voice search ready, with automatic distribution of the information to Amazon Alexa, Apple, Bing, Google, and more. This gives you a huge and immediate boost in local ranking, search, and reach!

Then as things change for your business such as hours, or new products/services, all the directories can be updated on a regular basis. A monthly report will show you what’s being done and the search analytics around your directories. Messaging through them will also be enabled so members of the public can reach out to you through the ones that offer that service such as Yelp.

Here’s a partial listing of the directories we work with: Banks.com, LocalPages, Instagram, Facebook, Superpages, D&B Database, ShowMeLocal, GoLocal247, ChamberofCommerce.com, TripAdvisor, Postmates, Top Rated Local, Amazon Alexa, Foursquare, Yelp, Citysearch, Apple, Yahoo!, Waze, Google My Business, Nextdoor, Snapchat, White & Yellow Pages, Uber, TomTom, Bing, eLocal, MapQuest and many more.

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Digital Strategy

Digital Strategy

The first thing to remember before undertaking your digital marketing efforts is to determine the strategy itself. Here is a series of questions to guide you through it.

Goal: What is your goal? Are you looking for immediate sales or cultivating awareness and doing branding? Your business goals must be tied to your marketing goals. If you’re looking for an increase in sales, then your digital goal would relate to the number of leads.

Buyer Persona: Who are you trying to reach? Is there a single consumer type or are there several? If it’s everyone, it’s no one. Who is your ideal customer? What traits do you expect most of them to share in terms of age, profession, interests? Can this be gleaned from actual data and not assumptions? It’s crucial that this be accurate. Can you use your web analytic tools to help figure this out? Spot has a form to help you complete to help define who you’re trying to reach. And the more you can zero in and make the message specific and relevant for them, the better your results will be. Remember – a message targeted to a 30 yr. old businessman is much different than what a retired couple would respond to.

Budget: How much do you have to spend to acquire a customer?

Competitive Landscape: Who are you competing with? What are they spending? What keywords are they using?

Existing Resources: What are your existing digital channels and assets? Is your website optimized? Do you have the ability to continue to add fresh content in the form of blogs, etc.?

Have you claimed all your directory listings including Yelp, Google My Business, Alexa, etc.? Do you have Facebook, Instagram, Twitter accounts (and others), if they are applicable to your business?

The answer to all of these questions will be your guideposts in determining your strategy or for the direction you give to the firm that is helping you.

Depending on your budget, you will then work to determine the ratios between paid, earned, and owned media. And the more you can coordinate between them so the same piece of content can be used to amplify your message, the better.

Owned media are digital assets that your company owns like your website, social media profiles, blog content and photos/infographics, etc.

Earned media is like digital word-of-mouth. Press mentions, reviews, people sharing your content on their social media and the like.

Paid media are tactics like Google AdWords, boosted social media posts or paid social media ads, sponsored posts on other websites (native advertising), etc.

If you do the hard work up front, and understand what has worked for you in the past, you increase your chances of success exponentially. And don’t forget tracking devices in everything so you know what’s working. Put it all on a calendar and create your marketing matrix so you understand what you’ll need when. Then put it into play and keep an eye on the analytics so you can continue to update it, test new ideas, and maximize your results.

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What are the elements to Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and why does it matter?

Search Engine Optimization

The statistics say it all – according to Search Engine Journal 93% of online experiences begin by visiting a search engine. And 75% of those searching won’t go past the first page when searching on Google. And you need those clicks, traffic and ultimately conversions. So how do you get there? Here are the elements that go into your ranking.

  1. You can buy your way on with Pay Per Click ads that will appear first when people type in the keyword(s) you’re paying for
  2. You can ensure your website is optimized – that means having a professional look at everything from the words used in headlines, to the description of photos (meta tags) to the relevance of the copy overall to the frequency and inclusion of potential search terms in new copy you’re adding in the form of blogs. It also must load fast and have other favorable metrics.
  3. Your website must also be optimized for mobile – that is, very easy to read on a mobile phone as there is “credit” for that with optimization.
  4. You can promote your website/blog content through social media
  5. You can find partners to create backlinks – that is, provide them with valuable information they can use that will result in people clicking through to your website.
  6. You can have an editorial story done (through a press release or other means) that rises to a high position

So how can you compete?

  1. You can create long tail keywords that won’t generate as many results overall, but will allow you to compete against the big guys, especially if your industry is dominated by big players. Amazon makes 57% of its sales through long tail keywords, so it works. Turns out long tail keyword conversion rates are almost always higher because people are looking for something specific, not general, which usually means they’ve already done some research and are moving on to the consideration/buy phase.
  2. Create adwords that address a searcher’s intent – if someone is searching for “best CRM” are they searching for a single company or an article that compares multiple companies? So even if companies claiming they have the “best CRM” show up in the results, your ad is the one they will click on because it promises information that lines up with the searcher’s intent.
  3. Write blogs and publish them often, and make them long enough to matter. In-depth content with examples and images, step-by-step information, unique and valuable – these are the elements to blogs that matter. And the good news? Content marketing is 62% less than other marketing and generates 3x the leads.
  4. Alternatively, you can also write articles, create an infographic, a podcast, or a video.
  5. Get included in “round up” articles – where a top-ranked author examines several companies in your industry. As that article rises, so does your positive visibility if you are reviewed favorably.

Spot Color Marketing is well-positioned to assist you with all aspects of SEO and guide you through the ever-changing landscape of digital marketing. Contact us today to set up a free consultation.

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Business slower right now? Seven things you should be doing in your down time.

digital marketing Portland

Unfortunately, yours may be one of the businesses that is slower right now, even if you’ve been allowed to reopen. What can you be doing right now to ensure that your business survives, and thrives, in the coming months?

  1. Make any needed physical property updates – new coat of paint, fix chips in wood fixtures, rearrange the space to make it more efficient. If any of your team is working virtual, decide how much of that should be ongoing if it’s working and what that will do to your future office space needs. Maybe a portion of your office should be converted to “hot desks” where remote workers can perch when they’re in the office.
  2. If you are a local retailer, should a portion or all of your inventory be moved online to your website or other outlets to add another revenue stream? Is it time to update your website in general? Integrate a blog into your site (and add to it regularly) and have someone help you optimize your website if you haven’t already to help move you to page one when people search for what you have to offer. When your website has the terms in it people are searching for, and you continue to add relevant, fresh content, search engines move you up and that means more traffic to your website and more leads/sales for you.
  3. Take a look at your advertising mix. TV viewership is way up, and radio listening is down with people not in their cars as much. Digital use has increased dramatically as well so it’s a great time to jump into digital marketing or consider increasing your spending in that area.
  4. Consider co-promotions since you may have more time to create them. Are there businesses serving similar clients? Is there a nonprofit you can partner with that can send out the messaging to their audience on your behalf? A percentage of sales that result from it back to the charity, etc. Now’s the time to be creative about finding new partnerships so you can reach new customers in new ways.
  5. When was the last time you really took the time to think about your 5-Year Plan, your 10-Year plan? Is it to position the business to sell at some point? Are there heirs or others who will take it over? Will it close when you decide to retire? If you’re not as busy with the day-to-day now’s a great time to consider these questions and plan accordingly.
  6. If your business is fairly successful and you want to empower and reward your employees, you could consider an Employee Stock Ownership Program or ESOP. Rather than paying taxes at the end of the year, that money can be used to set up a program that helps make your employees “owners” in the business after they’ve been there a set amount of time. If you’re small, it’s a great benefit alternative to matching contributions to a 401k and a way to attract and retain great employees, who also feel more empowered and likely to be more engaged as they are working on their own
    behalf as well as yours to help ensure the continuing and growth and success of the company.
  7. Consider what other items or services you could offer. Wants and needs of consumers have shifted and you will need to shift along with it. The status quo may not offer you a sustainable option anymore.
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Why Is Brand Identity So Important?

For most companies, building your brand’s identity is paramount. Businesses with a recognizable and memorable brand enjoy a “leg-up” on the competition because they don’t have to keep reminding clients or customers that they are there. Your brand’s identity are the visual elements (color, design, logo, etc.) that people can recognize and correlate with your products or services.

It is crucial that your brand’s identity be cohesive, consistent, and memorable. To establish a strong brand identity, you should take the following steps:

  • Understand who you are and your ideal client group
  • Know your company’s strengths and weaknesses (many people recommend performing a SWOT analysis to fully understand both the opportunities and challenges)
  • Make sure your brand identity matches your business goals and the goals of those in your client group
  • Focus your messaging. Don’t try to be everything to everyone. To establish a strong brand identity, establish a consistent personality and voice for your company, and make sure the message remains coherent

Need help building your brand’s identity? The experts at Spot Color Marketing can help you cultivate the right image in the minds of your clients and customers. Contact us at 855-766-6322 or reach out to us online to schedule a consultation to discuss your brand, your image, and your goals.

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