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Should I Hire an Agency?

  1. Cost Savings
  2. Team of Experts
  3. Tools and Technologies
  4. Industry Experience
  5. External Ideas/Opinions
  6. Time and Effort

6 Reasons You Should Hire A Marketing Agency

You’ve all heard it before, especially those business owners out there. You need to invest in digital marketing, or traditional marketing, or whatever marketing is trending right now. In order for you to be successful, you HAVE to invest, but how do you know where to start?

It’s difficult in today’s market to decipher what’s real and what’s fake. Will marketing really help drive more sales? How can you determine what’s working and what isn’t? Where do I start the search for the right direction, strategy, and execution for any marketing efforts? Should I hire an in-house marketing team or go with an external agency?

The last question is what we’re here to answer.

More and more, small to mid-sized businesses are turning to agencies to help deliver a return on whatever monies they are able to invest in their marketing. As such, the number of agencies that are out there grows every day, as individuals look to take advantage of a growing industry, new technologies, and innovative solutions. It’s a difficult decision to make, entrusting your marketing efforts to some “outsiders” who might not be experts in your industry, may not know your product or your people, and might not be available to call upon every hour of every day. However, we have six reasons for you to consider as to why an agency is not only a solution to your marketing woes, but is THE solution.

  1. Save Yourself the Expense of More Staff Members

According to Robert Half, an internal Marketing Director can cost on average around $102,000 in salary for your company. That’s one person to guide the strategy, manage a team, and execute some of that direction. Often, those Marketing Directors have some specialization in certain areas, but are not able to execute on all the various spokes of marketing today. So maybe you have to hire an SEO Expert at around $60,000, then you might need a Social Media Marketer for another $50,000. If you continue down that road, you hire a Paid Search Specialist for another $40,000. All in for these four individuals you’d be spending more than $250,000 on staff members, and that of course doesn’t include benefits, equipment, utilities, etc…for these people.

  1. Team of Experts

If I had a penny for the number of times I’ve heard the phrase, “I could hire an internal resource for that much.” Often, it’s not a wholly inaccurate statement. You COULD hire ONE internal resource. However, let’s say you had $10,000 per month to invest in your marketing efforts (a very low number). You could invest that all in your one internal resource. Alternatively, you could put that money in the hands of 15 experts who work together as a team to come up with the best strategies and solutions for your brand. Each of those 15 has a different set of skills, experience in any number of industries, and familiar with a plethora of solutions that could benefit your company in ways that you’ve never seen. You get an SEO expert, a paid search specialist, social media manager, account manager, strategist, content marketer, graphic designer, and more with one agency.

Go ahead, though. Tell me more about that one internal resource you can hire.

  1. Latest Tools and Technologies

I will tell you one thing. Digital marketing tools to monitor results, look at trends, schedule and execute project, or determine A/B testing results are expensive. You could easily spend $1,000 or more per month on a variety of tools and still not have everything you need. Generally, agencies invest in these tools on behalf of their clients. They need to be able to show the return on investment, monitor goals, track progress, and make sure the strategy and direction are working. It just comes with the business, and using an agency will allow you to get the cutting-edge tools and software packages working for you at no extra cost.

  1. Industry Experience

Many agencies have team members with years of experience in different industries and fields. Often companies may not consider this when deciding to hire an agency. While every company is unique, there are always similarities to be found based on experience. It’s very possible that the agency you choose has run a successful campaign in a similar field or even in your same field! That saves time, energy, and money in planning and executing on the various strategies and goals that you have set for your company.

  1. External Ideas/Opinions

Working inside your company every day gives an individual insight into the day-to-day operations, the culture, the characters, and the products or services. However, over time those opinions and thoughts can get stale, old, and blurry. You might have the perfect solution for your current audience or market, but what about a new market? What about that audience that you haven’t looked at yet but provides a way for you to grow your market share? How do you find out about everything OUTSIDE of your company? An agency can provide a fresh, new perspective, helping you discover even more about your company but also more about your clients and prospects. Don’t sell yourself short by doing what has “worked for years.” Find something new!

  1. Time and Effort

Hiring an outside marketing agency really lets you spend your time and effort on what matters most: growing your business. With so many different solutions and tactics out there, internal resources can often get lost in the marketing forest and lose focus on what is most important. You can stay focused on the core of your business, taking the reporting and strategies provided by your agency relationship and leveraging those experts to improve your core business goals.

The other side of this is that you don’t have to spend time training and onboarding yet another internal resource. An agency already understands its role, has defined clear goals and expectations (or they should), and provides you the information that you need without the extra clutter of managing a staff member.

In conclusion…

Ultimately, you have to do your due diligence and make the best decision for your company. Whether you’re the CEO, CMO, or a marketing manager looking for a good partner, there is an agency out there that can help maximize your budget, deliver you results, and help you grow your business. That’s the goal, right? Ask the right questions and find the right partner. They’re out there!

How to Use Technology and Trust to Prove Your Convincing Advantages

We, as a society don’t trust.

According to The General Social Survey, since the 1970s, our trust in other’s has dropped by almost 20%. And it’s not just people we don’t trust. Only 12% of Americans trust the press, only 14% trust banks, and only 14% trust government officials. Heck, we don’t even trust those closest to us. Only 42% of people trust their neighbors and only 58% of people trust their co-workers (I’m looking at you Jim, I know you stole my Poptart out of the breakroom).

Yet, here we sit waiting for a complete stranger to pick us up in his personal vehicle to bring us to a restaurant we found on Yelp, scanning Amazon reviews to make sure we buy the right toaster.

Ummm…are we really that skeptical?

In short, yes. But, technology allows us to build trust faster than we would in a traditional relationship. When we meet a person, a business, or a product, one to one, it takes time to build rapport. Technology shortens the time it takes to trust by compiling the data we use to assess trust. Not only does technology allow us to get to know our Uber drive before he shows up at the door, we get peace of mind that Steve is a great Uber driver from 100 other riders. I automatically trust Steve more because of those reviews. I might have received the same feedback talking to 10 friends about Steve’s driving, but that would have taken much more time.

Arun Sundararajan, author of “The Sharing Economy,” explains these technologies have essentially “expedited” the process of gaining trust.

“If you meet a stranger and know nothing about him or her, trust takes time to develop,” he says. “But if you have a digital system that gives you a bunch of info about the authenticity of that stranger, trust can be gained instantly.” (The Hustle)

The same is true for an early interaction with your organization. If I meet you a tradeshow, and you’re an RPG customer so you’re Convincing Advantages and Why are solid, I am really interested in how you can help me. I visit your website, see 10 testimonials, and I’m sold. Now, I really trust what you are telling me.

When we talk to clients about their Convincing Advantages, we stress the importance of relentlessly proving them. One of the best ways to prove your advantages is through testimonials. And testimonials build trust. If you aren’t using trust to prove your advantages, it’s time to start.

How do I get started?

First, identify the best way to communicate trust. Depending on your product or service, you may want to use technology that will solicit user ratings or reviews. Case studies are the perfect vehicle to tell in-depth customer stories. Testimonials about your product or service are also very powerful.

Second, ask, and make it easy for your customers to give feedback. You can request feedback in a number of ways; via email, after a transaction – especially if you are using a technology-driven system-, on social media. You might be surprised by how many people are willing to share.

Third, make it a continuous part a part of your marketing and sales process to gather feedback from customers. And, not just new customers. Revisit current customers and update your stories to show progress.

Lastly, publish the testimonials and reviews where you meet prospects – via an app, on your website, in emails and marketing campaigns, on sales collateral. Harness the power of technology to relentlessly prove your Convincing Advantages with trust. And start winning more customers.

Learn more about developing your Convincing Advantages.

Source: The General Social Survey (1972-2016) NORC, University of Chicago; as reported in The Hustle.

What is Mobile-First Indexing and Why Should You Care?

Over the past few months, Google has begun to roll out an element of their search that has been a hot topic of discussion: mobile-first indexing. We know that mobile usage is having an effect on every business online, and we know that more users every day are picking up a phone or tablet to find their answers. But what does a shift to mobile-first indexing mean for your online presence, and what is mobile-first indexing anyways?

In today’s search universe, more than half of all search traffic comes from a mobile device. Mobile search overtook desktop search in volume back in 2014, and the mobile universe has not looked back. Think the next generation isn’t going to continue the trend? Google has an entire look into Generation Z and where it sees the biggest market shifts moving forward. They are getting smartphones earlier, using them more, and want you to come to them, not the other way around.

So now what?

What is mobile-first indexing?

According to Google, “Mobile-first indexing means that we’ll use the mobile version of the page for indexing and ranking, to better help our – primarily mobile – users find what they’re looking for.” Sure, nearly every website platform that exists today provides businesses with a responsive version of the site, which qualifies as a mobile version. But moving forward, that mobile version could become the primary page that is indexed and ranks, making the most beautifully, well-crafted desktop design move to a secondary focus for Google’s search algorithm.

Source: Moz.com

 

What impact will this have on your website?

In the immediate, the mobile-first indexing is rolling out only to a handful of websites. Google is testing the effect that this indexation will have prior to making it widespread, but it is going to be coming for all sites. This is not an indication that you will need to redesign your site, but you should begin to look at the site primarily from the mobile point of view. Was it designed with mobile in mind? Does all of the functionality carry over to mobile? How do your users interact with it on mobile? These are just a few of the questions you’ll want to answer.

Overall, the impact on your website will fluctuate. If you have a mobile-friendly site that exists because of the platform you used, you will likely see some negative effects on your organic value. If you designed with mobile-first intent, your site should see positive gains in organic.

What do you do right now?

Step one: don’t panic. Google is not going to be penalizing sites for having a desktop focus directly, and this is still being rolled out fairly slowly. All users will be notified via their Search Console (if you don’t have your Search Console set up, you should do that) when the rollout for your site has completed. As of now, there is no date as to when this rollout will be completed for all sites.

Step two: start making some changes. Although it will not hurt you today, you should begin to prepare for tomorrow. Talk with your team about mobile-first indexing, what you can be doing differently, and begin to focus on your mobile users. Write content that is focused on mobile search (i.e. question-based, terms using “near me,” etc…) and design in a way that will display best on mobile devices.

This will be a big shift in the way that Google operates, and the other major search engines (Bing, Yahoo) will surely follow suit. So begin planning now for the future of search, because your users are out there waiting on mobile!

What’s the Only Question That Matters?

Everyone that’s considering a purchase – a B2B customer, a B2C consumer, it doesn’t matter – has a really simple question they want to be answered, and it boils down to some variation of: is it going to work?

Very often, those being asked think they’re answering it. Sometimes, the one doing the asking thinks so, too. But companies that can reimagine the question and get closer to the answer than their competition gain a substantial advantage in the marketplace.

Take Dominos, for example, who just surpassed their rivals to become the highest-selling pizza chain in America. Their rise in revenue started by addressing product quality. After all, it’s hard to convince your audience that “it’s working” if the product ultimately fails. But then, they did a better job than anyone else answering is it going to work with a simple piece of technology, a progress bar, that convinced consumers in real time that “Yes, it’s still working.”

Uber originally solved the same problem. Calling a cab requires some faith. Did the dispatch hear the address right? Do they know where it is? Did the driver estimate the time right? But with Uber, you know where your driver is, how long it will take them to get to you, and what your exact fare will be; all before you leave! They convinced their users that the product was working, way better than taxi companies ever did.

You see, in between a customer’s agreement to buy and delivery of what you sold them lies a risk that’s usually pretty square on the shoulders of the buyer. In both cases above, Dominos and Uber, these companies helped ease the mind of their customer, thereby making the risk they were taking seem smaller in comparison to their competition:

Will my pizza show up?

“Yes, let me show you.”

What are you doing to help your customers answer that important question? What insight could you provide that no one in the marketplace is offering to help them understand and mitigate the risk they take when they wait for you to deliver results?

Top Three Reasons We Are Still Blogging in 2018

“There are millions of blog posts published daily, will ours even get read?”

“Blogging is so 2010.”

“What could we have to say that isn’t already out there.”

Blogging isn’t new. It’s been around since the mid-1990s. We’re not about to present to you a marketing breakthrough or some magnificent new way to do things. The takeaway here is that blogging is still very relevant and vital to your communication strategy. Here’s how it can help you today.

#1 – You Will Generate More Website Traffic

According to a 2017 Hubspot report, 63% of organizations report that generating traffic and leads is their number one marketing challenge. It’s no secret you are competing against a huge amount of noise for website traffic. On top of that, you want to make sure you are generating the right website traffic.

Let’s step back for a minute and think about how people actually search the web. Unless they are typing in a specific company or product, a search typically starts with a question.

So, do me a favor. Google this: How to hire better employees?

What are your results? Scroll past the ads, and you see content in the form of articles and blog posts. In fact, even the organizations that want to sell you hiring services have served up the answer to your question in the form of content from their blog. Your prospects are looking for information to help them solve a problem. A good headline and teaser text will turn prospects that are searching into prospects that click.

#2 – You Will Convert More Prospects

In this Age of Acceleration, a term coined by author Thomas Friedman, the power of individuals has been amplified by the internet. Information is readily available at your prospects fingertips. All of your prospects carry around little internet boxes that give them instant answers to their questions, and more importantly, they are using that power. Prospects are more capable than ever to research products and services on their own prior to purchasing. In fact, 47% of buyers viewed 3-5 pieces of content before engaging with a sales rep. (Source) Bottom line, you need to be there with the right content – content that solves a problem, answers a question, eases a pain point. This positions you to be the right resource for your customer’s needs, which turns prospects into leads.

#3 – You Will Think Smarter About Your Overall Business

The process of writing can help you think smarter about your own business. Creating content is all about generating ideas and answers, and you might learn a thing or two, or develop a few lighting strike ideas during the process. In addition to the writing process, tracking your content engagement also gives you insight into your target prospects and the information they want. Whether you outline content or draft a complete blog post, the thought process is a valuable tool for your business growth.