What message does the website you’re designing convey? Will the website communicate your brand well? Will it resonate with your target audience? Remember – you aren’t designing a website for yourself – you’re designing it for your existing and potential customers. Putting yourself in their shoes can be a difficult task and that’s where an experienced agency can be a good partner when you’re undertaking website design. They will have a fresh, unbiased perspective and should be well versed in what will appeal to your ideal customer.
Assuming you want your website to rank high on search engines, and you should, then designing your website with SEO in mind is crucial. Search Engine Optimization comes through paying attention to many different factors, but they all have trust and relevancy in common. When designing the website, the primary headlines on each page need to have your most searched for keywords in them and the descriptions for your images need to use those same words and should be built in when designing your website. To reach a critical mass of keyword content, you may also need to add blogs, and then continue to add to them so your website remains up-to-date as far as search engines are concerned. Backlinks are a factor that is often overlooked, and this is a little more specialized. Basically, keyword-laden articles are written and submitted to “trusted” online destinations that if accepted, provide links back to your website. These backlinks help demonstrate that your site is considered trustworthy. Another way relevance is gauged is by the amount of traffic that your website generates. As you climb in the search engine rankings, your traffic will naturally increase, but you should consider helping the traffic along with links from social media back to your website, as well as paid advertising that can generate website visits. This traffic will signal to the search engines that your site is trustworthy and relevant, and will help you rise in the rankings faster.
All the good looks and words won’t matter if the site doesn’t load quickly or doesn’t work well on all devices when it’s designed, including phones. Not only do the spiders measure this, potential customers don’t have the patience to wait while your website loads if it takes more than a couple of seconds, or if it doesn’t translate well on their phone, since that is how most people access information now.
All of these areas need to work in concert when designing your website, and the right agency partner can help ensure that happens.
Savvy marketers know that adding geofencing to the digital strategy adds another layer of targeting that helps increase conversions. Location-based targeting, or geofencing, enables a business to draw a digital “fence” around a specific geographic area and serve up ads on digital devices when a potential customer meeting predetermined criteria enters that area.
An experienced geofencing marketing agency can help determine how tight or broad a fence should be. Location-based targeting options may include competitive businesses, a radius around your brick and mortar location to entice potential customers in the area, a desirable neighborhood filled with potential customers, or as broad as an entire city or state.
Adding this level of targeting helps a business add another desired dimension to their targeting and makes marketing spending more effective – which should always be the goal. Geofencing, or geotargeting, helps a business create more relevant, targeted promotions that result in more engagement.
Still not sure about location-based targeting? In the US, 81% of people have a smartphone, with an even high percentage for younger consumers. Ads can be delivered via notifications, in-app ads, or search or display ads.
MarTech Series found that 83% of marketers find their campaigns are more successful when they integrate location data into their digital marketing strategy. It makes sense – if you know where potential customers hang out, it’s easy to show them the relevant promotions at the right time. It’s also good to note that location and demographics can also be combined with days/times so you can really maximize the effectiveness of your ads. Who are they? Where are they? And when are they there? Using that as a guide means your ads are automatically moe effective.
Location-based advertising targeting your most likely customers with the help of an experienced geofencing marketing agency like Spot will ensure your investment returns great sales and profits.
If you haven’t yet incorporated location-based advertising with geofences or geotargeting into your online digital marketing, you’re missing out on the opportunity to really fine tune your preferences and add to the efficiency and effectiveness of your targeting.
If you have a brick and mortar location, not only can you serve up ads to potential customers to entice them to visit, you can also “fence” around your competitors to ensure potential customers know they have a choice.
If your business is online, you can identify potential customers by geographically-based likelihood, like around gyms if you have a health-related product or service, or in upscale neighborhoods if your product or service has a high price point. You can also choose cities or states combined with your demographics where the likelihood of reaching customers open to your offer reside. Urban vs rural, big city vs small city, conservative vs liberal. The point is, almost every product or service has a geographic component that could be combined with existing demographics to create even more targeted marketing with location-based advertising with geofences.
Location-based advertising with geofences basically serves up ads using GPS or RFID technology and enables software to trigger a response when a mobile device enters or leaves a particular area. That means, you can make it as detailed as you wish – use a radius, zip codes or even custom draw a map to stay within certain “boundaries” like freeways.
Companies like Uber, Amazon, Starbucks and others are employing this location-based marketing tool and you can as well, no matter what the size of your business. You can send a text message, email alert or app notification.
If your business has an app, your customers can opt-in and receive notifications like coupons, offers and deals. Texts are possible as well as social media ads or pay per click ads.
Search Engine Optimization, popularly known as SEO, is the process of improving the website traffic to a website or a web page from search engines such as Google, Bing, Yahoo! etc. Hiring an expert agency offering Google Search engine optimization services in California can do wonders for small businesses. After all, the state of California is home to 4.1 million small businesses, representing 99.8% of all businesses in the state.
Small Businesses and Their Need for Service Providers
A study conducted by Advanced Web Ranking has identified that while the websites ranking first as a result of Google search tend to have a Click Through Rate (CTR) of around 30-35%, the ones ranking 10th have an average CTR of 1.4%. Since long-term organic visibility is a must for small businesses to stay afloat, businesses need SEO service providers as search engine optimization is a complex strategy that requires expertise.
Businesses in California require consistent effort and timely maintenance, done by updating their existing websites with fresh content and information. For as long as the website exists, search engine optimization is a work in progress.
SEO is one of the most potent digital marketing strategies which will be relevant in the long run for small businesses. While it is important to have a good long-term SEO foundation for starters, keeping oneself proactive and remaining on top in the web environment is as important, if not more.
Google SEO starter guide claims that “Deciding to hire an SEO is a big decision that can potentially improve your site and save time.” Therefore, it is important to become an educated consumer and hire your SEO service provider wisely. When it comes to providers of Google Search engine optimization services in California, Spot Digital Marketing is second to none.
Spot Digital Marketing – A Leading Provider of Google Search engine optimization services in California
The California-based Google search engine optimization service provider specializes in flawless digital execution. The SEO service provider aims for its client’s success by offering custom website design and development, mobile optimization, SEO strategy and implementation, social media design and integration, content generation and management, and email marketing campaigns.
Spot Digital Marketing offers different plans based on the custom needs of the businesses. The minimum offerings of these plans include over five hours of targeted Google Adwords, advertising tasks, activities and consulting by their Digital Analysts and their dedicated support team along with services such as full website audit, complete SEO and competitor report, keyword research, and much more. Reach out to them to know more about their plans and understand how they can help your business.
The best component to strong search engine ranking may be a quality marketing agency to maximize your local SEO
If you’re looking to increase your local SEO, a marketing agency with relevant SEO experience is crucial. It’s hard enough to find time to handle the day-to-day operations for your business, much less plan ahead for future growth. But SEO is crucial for long term business development success, especially with the ever-increasing reliance on maintaining a strong online presence.
A marketing agency that can gain you traction with local SEO is invaluable. They will help in several ways including:
On-page optimization – this is making sure all the primary headlines for the pages that directly connect to your navigation have keywords in them that directly relate to the goods and/or services you offer. That is, contain the phrases that people would use to search for you. That way, the search engines understand that your site is relevant, and will start to offer it up as an option.
Fresh content – if you’re not continuing to add to your website with new pages, then blogs are the easiest way to demonstrate that your website is staying relevant with new information for visitors. This is also a big part of how your website is judged and ranked. This should include original material, not linked articles, and be about 300 – 400 words with a good keyword density. That is, the primary words and phrases people use to search repeated several times within the article without it sounding stilted. It can be harder than it sounds!
Backlinks – these are articles that are similar to blogs, but are written with the express purpose of submitting them to other trusted websites and platforms with the intention of having them published and then link back to your website. This adds to the trust and credibility score for your website. This can also be gained by submitting your information to all the online directories (80+). A good SEO marketing agency will have tools that enable this to be done to give your local SEO a strong boost.
Functionality – you can be doing everything else right, but if your website takes too long to load, has broken links or expired plug-ins, or doesn’t translate correctly on mobile devices, your page ranking will never be what it could be. A good SEO marketing agency can look at this aspect and recommend changes.
If there’s not someone on your staff who is overseeing all of these aspects and ensuring they’re kept up-to-date, your website won’t work as hard for you as it could, and your page ranking will never be what it could be – meaning potential customers won’t find you because people rarely continue to the second page of search results to find answers. Find a good SEO marketing agency who will focus on your local SEO and you’ll start to see the results you desire and deserve.
Your website is the online gateway to your entire business – and has never played a bigger role in branding and sales before. In fact, more than 300 million potential customers are online right now and if you’re not focusing on optimizing your website’s presence, you’re losing ground to your competitors.
That’s why it may be time to engage a company that provides website marketing services. They can ensure that your website is fully optimized and doing the heavy lifting necessary to keep you competitive. This includes, but is not limited to, refreshing or reworking the website as needed in regards to design and functionality, optimizing its on-page performance on mobile devices, ensuring keywords are correctly integrated into major headlines and image descriptions, that fresh content is continually being added and that efforts are being made to acquire legitimate backlinks. All of these together help your website rank higher for search engines as they demonstrate to the “spiders” that the site is valuable and relevant.
Sound like too much to add to your plate? That’s where an agency offering website marketing services can come in. They can ghost write blogs for you, check to see what keywords are working (and not working) for you and your competitors, suggest fresh combinations of words that may be more effective for you, and do periodic checks to make sure you have no dead links or non-working plug-ins. All of this also serves to enhance the customer experience with your website, leading to positive branding. A good website marketing agency should also be able to enhance the flow to your website and increase your local SEO with listings management – ensuring that all your company information is submitted and consistent in all 80+ online directories, and then updated if/as information changes and freshened up to keep it active.
All of this work will pay off in laying a strong foundation for your direct selling efforts and enable you to focus on smooth operations and stellar customer service.
You’re the owner of a small business who would like to have a big business, but you’re not there yet. And you’re considering a new marketing partner to get you there – one that can serve as a real digital marketing agency partner. Where to start in choosing one that will help you achieve your goals? Here are some questions to start you on your journey to finding the perfect digital marketing agency.
Are they a small business?
It can sometimes be hard for a large digital marketing agency to remember their roots and what it felt like to be a start up or modest business looking to grow. A small digital agency may more easily understand your circumstances.
Do they work with other small businesses?
Is the digital marketing agency you’re considering happy working with small businesses or do you get the sense that they’d prefer larger clients, but won’t turn down the business. One good indication is the seniority of the people they assign to your account. Are they letting your account be “practice” for their junior staffers?
Are they responsive and empathetic?
Are they overwhelmed with too much business? This can be true of any size digital agency. Do they get back to you quickly? Are they able to turn around projects or make changes to your digital marketing quickly? Will they be proactive in bringing you new ideas and in analyzing your data analytics on an ongoing basis so adjustments can be made to optimize your results?
Do they have helpful knowledge beyond just digital marketing?
As a small business, you may have issues that a good referral could help you address. Additionally, they should want to understand all aspects of your business, not just the front-facing portion.
Are their costs a good value that will allow for a strong return on investment for you?
Are the fees from the digital marketing agency reasonable so that combined with the hard advertising costs there is still room for a profit based on the business that they drive to you?
As a part of my Marketing Strategy Series, I’m talking with my fellow marketing pros at the top of their game to give entrepreneurs and marketers an inside look at proven strategies you might also be able to leverage to grow your business. Today I had the pleasure of talking with Nicole Weber.
Nicole is the founder of Spot Color and also the founder & CEO of Nug Digital Marketing. She has worked professionally as a graphic designer, art director, and creative director since 2001. Her passion is leading the studio in shaping effective and powerful experiences that focus on increasing our clients’ market share.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! Can you share a story about the funniest marketing mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?
This is not a funny story, but it was the biggest “almost” marketing mistake that I made close to 20 years ago: Our client was going on TV to pitch her new products, we had been working for months on the campaigns and most importantly, a new eCommerce website and special landing page with a discount for the TV launch. I was speaking with our client at 6am and finalizing some details, I mentioned that I was excited about tomorrow’s launch…and she said, “Tomorrow? Oh no…I’m going on TV this morning in two hours!!” ARRGH! Thank goodness the site was done, but we never worked so fast and furious turning it on…talk about stress! Lots of lessons there…double, triple check deadlines! My motto since then is “being early is being on time”.
Are you able to identify a “tipping point” in your career when you started to see success? Are there takeaways or lessons that others can learn from that?
I went through the dot com boom and bust. During the “bust”, my title was Web Graphic Designer, which basically meant that I did all the graphic design for print and for the web. However, when 70 people got let go from the company in one day, including our website developer, I got to keep my job with four others because they thought I could build websites! The exec team requested a brand new website to be delivered in four days. I stayed up for three nights straight learning HTML and I pulled it off! From the next two years, I was the company web developer. I learned a new skill but also learned a lot about myself and my capabilities. When I started my own business a few years later, website design and development was and still is, a key focus.
What do you think makes your company stand out? Can you share a story?
We are a small and nimble agency. About five years ago I didn’t renew our big office lease in downtown Portland. Instead, we bought everyone laptops and the team started working from home. This move allowed us to cut overhead immensely and bring in some really high-end talent. We have been able to keep our costs down as well, which our clients appreciate. And our team has been able to truly enjoy an amazing work-life balance.
Are you working on any exciting new projects now? How do you think that will help people?
Yes! We saw a need for digital marketing and advertising in the cannabis/CBD space four years ago. We created a separate brand to help those clients. Its been quite the ride with rules and regs changing daily, but we have done some amazing campaigns in that space to help our clients. We work growers, cultivators, distributors, dispensaries as well as ancillary businesses that want to get into the industry. We have been doing digital marketing in the space that most agencies haven’t figured out how to do yet. We’ve also been curating an email list of two million cannabis/hemp consumers that our clients can use for their email marketing. Exciting stuff!
What advice would you give to other marketers to thrive and avoid burnout?
Work/Life balance is crucial. It’s often repeated, but since we need to be responsive to clients/co-workers it can be especially hard to unplug. With the “away” messages on your phone and email pointing to colleagues who can handle client or company needs, avoid the temptation to keep looking at your phone or device. Put your ego aside that says you’re the only one who can handle things. And it’s not enough to be physically away — you need to be mentally away as well to recharge. Especially in a creative field — this type of recharging is essential in order for you to stay mentally alert. You may also be surprised by the organic ideas you generate just by being in a new environment.
This is so important…as a business owner you have a bazillion other things to worry about and keep you up at night too! I discovered early on that in order for our business to succeed, I needed to hire creative talent that was on par or better than me…letting the ego go for sure! Having junior folks meant that I constantly had to check their work and often redo it to meet my standards. It was a huge time suck, not efficient, and really stressful.
None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful to who helped get you to where you are?
Growing up, I was known as the “artist of the class”. I knew I wanted to pursue a career in art, but I didn’t want to be the typical starving artist…trying to hock my wares. My uncle, Estin, was a “commercial artist”…this was in the late 80’s. I had no idea what that meant, or what he did, but I knew he did something creative, and he always drove a nice car, had nice clothes, and a great house! He mentored me, helped me select a college, and gave me a list of agencies to call once I graduated. If it weren’t for him, I have no idea what direction I would have gone. Creating design and campaigns to help others grow their businesses is extremely satisfying and fun.
That is wonderful. Let’s now shift to the main part of our discussion. There are hundreds of memorable marketing campaigns that have become part of the lexicon of our culture. What is your favorite marketing or branding campaign from history?
Allstate’s “You’re in good hands” was created in the 1950s and has really stood the test of time. To their credit, the company has stayed with it and kept it contemporary. Don’t change something because you’re bored with it — it’s probably just starting to sink in with the public. Consistency and repetition are still cornerstones of good marketing.
If you could break down a very successful campaign into a “blueprint”, what would that blueprint look like?
1.Start at the end and work your way backward.
Find out what the end goal is — it may surprise you. A new company may have positioned themselves to be sold, not to have a primary focus on sales. You can’t know the right steps to take until you know where they want to go.
2. Ask about a budget but recommend one as well.
The company or client may be working on an arbitrary figure or percentage without taking into account what stage they’re at. Starting out — you’ll need more. Established — enough to maintain momentum. Understand the budget will change as the company matures.
3. Thoroughly understand the target audience.
One size definitely does not fit all and don’t let your company or client tell you “everyone” because that is never the case. Drill in and find their avatar and ideal customer.
4. Choose the right media for the audience.
You love Instagram but the target audience of 60+ isn’t on it as much. Make sure your own preferences and that of your client are not influencing your media/outlet choices. And don’t forget traditional media. Just because you can’t measure billboard conversions like you can with digital ads, it doesn’t mean they might not be an important component of your strategy.
5. Make sure your messaging is on point.
Just because you can doesn’t mean you should. Come up with a snappy headline with a clever pun? If members of your target audience won’t get it, throw it away. Messaging doesn’t always have to be clever — it just has to invoke an emotion to be memorable. What do you want them to feel and what action do you want them to take? And never assume the public knows who a company is and what they do because unless you’re a major brand like Coca-Cola or Nike or Starbucks, that’s not the case.
6. Be willing to be nimble.
If you can work in some A/B testing online be willing to shift to the more successful messaging. Understand all the implications and analytics down the line of your marketing strategy. Lots of impressions but few conversions. Dive deeper and see if you can find fewer impressions with a bigger percentage of conversions to sales. The most obvious isn’t always the final solution.
Thank you for breaking that down! Companies like Google and Facebook have totally disrupted how companies market over the past 15 years. At the same time, consumers have become more jaded and resistant to anything “salesy”. In your industry, where do you see the future of marketing going?
We are already seeing more organic integration of brands into experiences. I thought the Taco Bell pop up hotel in Palm Springs was a great example of this. They really brought the brand to life with a real-world experience and got a lot of free press and exposure for it as well.
What 6 things do you wish someone told you before you started?
Pressure to perform: In school we had 3 weeks to complete a project, in the agency world sometimes we have three hours and it better be good and make the client lots of money too!
Servant mentality, always having a client to answer to. If you don’t have thick skin, you won’t last in the agency world. Put the ego away, it’s all about your client’s target audience, marketing to them, and still making the client happy too. We are here to serve.
Personal obligation. As an agency owner, the buck stops at you. Most of our clients turn into friends, which is great, but it also increases that personal obligation to do 100% all the time.
Take some business classes: It would have been nice if I had taken some business classes in school. I have had to take classes and learn a lot on my own throughout the years….you don’t just wake up and know how to run a business!
Ideas waking you up in the middle of the night: This is a funny one…the creative mind never stops!
Having employees is like teaching kindergarten without the nap! Over 20 years running an agency, I have seen it all when it comes to employees and contractors…oh my, I could write a book!
Can you share a few examples of marketing tools or marketing technology that you think can dramatically empower small business owners to become more effective marketers?
Email marketing/CRM system like Active Campaign, MailChimp, SalesForce, etc.
Social media scheduling software like HootSuite, Sprout.
Competitive analysis tools like SpyFu.
Calendly calendar scheduling. Love this one.
Grasshopper phone service — this is a huge time saver and super important now that we are remote.
One more question: What books, podcasts, documentaries or other resources do you use to sharpen your marketing skills?
Marketing Groups in LinkedIn
This list could be a mile long, I am an avid learner and take several classes each month, I hire coaches, belong to marketing groups, masterminds, and read all things marketing, business, and leadership related.
Thank you so much for sharing these fantastic insights!
All credit to Kage Spatz | Authority Magazine. Find original posting here.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.