Selecting the Right Digital Marketing Agency

Selecting the Right Digital Marketing Agency

Most businesses find it difficult to select the digital marketing agency that will be best for them to fulfill their objectives. Any freelancer with an internet connection and a computer can present an impressive website and claim to be a top-notch global company. How does a business, especially a small and medium-sized business person with limited knowledge of the subject go about separating the chaff from the wheat?  Many business owners have had a bad experience with fly-by-night operators who either take their money, vanish, or just don’t have it in them to deliver on their tall promises.

We have selected the major characteristics of good digital marketing agencies to make this decision-making easier for you.

Wide and complete range of SEM services under one roof

The services the agency offers should have a wide range. Do they know digital marketing, email marketing, SEO services, and search engine marketing well enough and skilled enough to increase your organic search results and have digital marketing strategies in place to ensure your traffic, conversions, and leads increase over time?

The digital marketing business requires constant study to be up-to-date with the fast-changing developments in the field. The agency should offer a wide range of related services under the same roof. They should also be able to offer services to a wide range of domains for which a good knowledge of specific needs of various trades and industries is necessary.

Customers would rather have their web development, social media marketing, SEO, digital optimization, blog writing, all under the same roof, so that they do not have the problem of coordination between agencies. When all the services are provided by an agency under one roof, the communication becomes painless and only one agency is responsible for the outcomes rather than multiple agencies throwing responsibility around. 

Top digital marketing firms have extensive knowledge of a wide range of internet platforms. The more experience they have, the more chances you’ll have to receive services that will help you grow your company.

Online Marketing Services Customized to Your Objectives

 A good digital marketing agency will not offer a ready-made package of services listing every service under the sun. They will first listen to you carefully, understand your business and that of your competitors, study their social media, the market, and understand what your objectives are. Your objectives could be just to get more customers, to establish your brand, or to be known as an industry leader. They will also study your target audience, the geographic area of your market, and the niche you want to address. 

They will then come out with a strategy and plan to achieve the objectives which spell out each activity, when and how it will be done custom made especially for you. You should ask the digital agency why they recommend particular social media platforms from the large numbers available and what tools they will use for your specific needs. Customizing specific to your needs ensures that resources are spent only where they are needed. 

Marketing Implimentaiton Transparency

Transparency is crucial when it comes to establishing trust. You are entrusting your brand along with a significant sum of money to your agency. You should be able to keep track of what’s going on! Leading digital marketing agencies are always willing to share information with you. If they are not transparent it means they are hiding something from you and you will have to be constantly on the alert worrying if they will take you for a ride. If you are entrusting them with your brand and growth to them besides a good amount of money, you have full right to know what is going on. It’s time to look for a new agency if you’re being put on hold and rarely seem to get answers.

A personal relationship with clients

Your digital team should see you as more than just a client. Agencies with a personalized approach invoke confidence and do not show you rules and regulations each time you want some small changes. How an agency interacts with its clients is more of a matter of organizational culture and can be found out in just a meeting or two.  Agencies who do not make efforts to know you are not likely to go deep into your needs and may not be able to do justice to your brand in their marketing effort.  

There is a beer test the agency representatives should pass. It simply means if they have come close enough to you that you can invite them for a beer, they pass the test!

If they take on a lot of clients and are unable to give your personal attention, it’s because they’re simply interested in your money and don’t care about your success. 

A powerful portfolio of past clients with case studies

Nothing boosts your confidence like seeing that the organization you’re working with has had consistent success! Portfolios of the top digital marketing agencies will be easily accessible for potential clients to view. Many put them on their websites.

Data from previous marketing initiatives, website examples, content examples, increased sales numbers, and so on are common examples. Remember to check if the agency has received awards or recognitions in the past.  Make sure that the awards of the data they present to you as success is not very old because in this business there are fast changes and what was good last year may not work anymore.  

Team with good experience and qualifications

Organizations are made by their people.  Make sure that the agency you select has people who have considerable experience qualifications and skills in the specific areas in which you want their services. 

You can’t anticipate the same results from a 1-year experienced agency employee as you can from a 10-year experienced one. Experience helps tremendously in solving problems and in getting work done fast and effectively at minimum cost. 

A well-designed website and social media platforms showing creativity 

If digital marketing agencies cannot make a state of the art website for themselves what will they do for you in the field of digital marketing? A well-designed website is crucial for any digital marketer. The same goes for their social media platforms. You can easily get a checklist to evaluate websites and social media and see how many blocks get ticked. 

Reasonable promises and similar values

One sure sign of a digital marketing agency you should reject is one making tall promises which seem even at first sight impossible to keep. Looking at the adjectives they use to describe themselves will give you a good idea about them. 

Digital marketing companies who accept their mistakes are more likely to perform better as they will be open and will work with you on a collaborative basis rather than hide them, leaving you in the lurch at the last moment. Companies that have openness deliver better on their promises. 

Working with a digital marketing agency that shares your values and operates in a similar environment is important. They will blend in and work effectively with your team. In the end, an agency serves as an extension of your company. It’s just as vital to choose an agency with the correct values and culture as it is to know the quality of their work. 

Measurable results with appropriate tools

Every competent digital marketing firm should strive to achieve results for its clients. If you’re thinking about associating with an agency, search for case studies, measurable success data, ROI, and testimonials to see how they’ve helped their clients succeed. 

Keeping what is mentioned above in your mind will help you to select the right digital marketing agency which will be a good fit for you and will help you grow in profits and establish your brand better.

Creating A Google My Business Account

The following short video will show you how to quickly set up a Google My Business account. The second video will show you how to add a new user to manage your account for you.

How To Add A User To Your Google My Business Account

Now that you have your Googe My Business account set up and verified you can add a manager to your account.

How Many Hours To Build An Online Store

How Many Hours To Build An Online Store

Creating an online store can be simple or complex, but I’m going to take you through the general process of the average WooCommerce custom website with full eCommerce.

Custom design & development of the home page and theme elements.

The homepage of your website should be custom designed so that it does not look exactly like one of your competitors.  This usually requires a few design ideas going back and forth over a few days.  However, sometimes with a client that is more particular, this process can go on for a week or more until a design is created that fits the vision of your client, while still looking professional and easy to navigate, allowing it to convert better.

The time range is between 12-36 hours to fine-tune the design perfectly.  This includes the most important elements of your website, such as the header, home page, and footer.  The header and footer will go through most of your website.  Any custom development such as scripts, slide shows, galleries can increase the time greatly.

Adding Internal Content Pages

A content page usually contains around 1500-2000 words provided by the client and a few images.  These pages are custom designed to match the overall look of your home page and theme.  Each page usually takes around 4 hours to complete, which includes adding content, images, SEO tags, links, graphics and getting feedback from the client as well as any edits required.  As the average small eCommerce website has at least 5 web pages, this adds about 20 hours to the project.

Creating Categories

Categories are like pages, which contain the products within them.  Each category page usually has content and 1 image which relates to the products within it.  The categories also have SEO tags such as a title, h1 tag, and possibly links to other categories, pages and or products.

The typical small online store would have around 4 categories, each takes about 30 minutes to create, which adds 2 hours to our total.

Adding Products

Each product on your website is like a landing page on the Internet.  There are many ways a product details page can be set up, but the average setup contains the following items.

  • Product images, usually around 3-5 images.  These images will need to be correctly sized both dimensionally and in actual file size.  This normally requires some time in PhotoShop to correctly size each image so they are matched visually and then optimized so they load quickly online and take up less server space.  They will also require the correct names, and tags called “Alt Tags’ which will help search engines know what the image represents.  These images are then added to the product they belong to via the administration area.
  • Product titles, descriptions, tags, UPC codes, prices, sale prices, colors, sizes, shipping rates, stock levels, and possibly other features.
  • SEO tags for the product SEO title, description 
  • Internal links when possible
  • Stock Level if required
  • Upselling and cross-selling products
  • Weights, product dimensions
  • Shipping Zones

Normally this can take between 30 minutes to 2 hours depending on how many features, images, and so on are required for each product.  So if your store has 20 products then it would take between 10 hours – 40 hours.

Basic USPS Shipping Setup National Only

Shipping can require many hours depending on the client’s requirements.  For the estimate, we are sticking to the basics, which would be USPS basic setup.  This requires us to configure the USPS plugin to accurately calculate your shipping based on the weight of your products.  However, as mentioned above, there are many ways to set up your shipping and some take much longer.  This method usually only takes about 2 hours to set up and test.

Sales Tax Setup

Again, there are many different requirements for sales tax based on the client’s needs.  This outline is only for the basic, one nexus sales tax setup.  A nexus is the region/s you sell in and have a nexus in.  Normally we have to import around 1000 or so zip codes with their corresponding sales tax rates, into WooCommerce. And configure the site to use them.  This normally takes around 2 hours to set up and test.

Set Up Yoast SEO Plugin and Optimize The Website.

This is one very important step that many web designers either forget to neglect.  However, it needs to be completed to ensure your web pages are indexed correctly in Google and other search engines.  For an eCommerce website, we recommend installing Yoast for WooCommerce.  We do not include this as it’s a paid service, but we do install it as part of the SEO setup. Around 3 hours.

Configuration & Setup of Website & Plugins

Every website will require some plugins, such as speed optimization plugins, spam blocking plugins, security plugins, shipping plugins, and others.  Normally an eCommerce website requires at least 5 plugins, which is estimated to take around 4 hours to install and configure.

Website Training

A normal website is quite overwhelming at first and an eCommerce website is even more so.  However, once you get the hang of a few tasks, such as processing orders, adding, updating, and deleting products and pages, then you will have a much easier time learning the rest.  We usually spend about 2 hours training a client how to use their website.  This is normally broken up into 1 hour on the phone and 1 hour creating a short video tutorial to show them around their new website.  Adding 2 hours to the project.

Website Hosting & Email Setup

After the website has been accepted and tested we then move the site onto the server where it will go live.  Normally this requires between 4 – 8 hours, depending on the complexity, the host it’s going on and the ability to communicate with all parties involved efficiently. 

Domain Name Setup

If the domain name is not currently pointed at the server, we will set it up so that it loads the new website.  This normally takes about 1 hour.  However, it can take up to 48 hours of non-work hours waiting for the domain to connect completely.  This time is not charged for, but should be noted.

Adding your website to Google Analytics

If you want to know if your website is receiving traffic and from where then one of the best and free options is to use Google Analytics. This usually takes around 30 minutes to set up.

The above is only the basic setup of an online store.  But it’s enough to get you started and in business.

Total Hours

  • Custom design & development of the home page and theme elements. 12-36 hours
  • Adding Internal Content Pages 20 hours
  • Creating Categories 2 hours
  • Adding 20 between 10 hours – 40 hours.
  • Basic USPS Shipping Setup National Only: 2 hours
  • Sales Tax Setup: 2 hours
  • Set Up Yoast SEO Plugin and Optimize The Website. 3 hours
  • Configuration & Setup of Website & Plugins: 4 hours
  • Website Training 2hrs
  • Website Hosting & Email Setup 4-8 hours
  • Domain Name Setup 1 hour
  • Adding your website to Google Analytics ½ hour

Total Estimated Range: 62.5 to 120.5 hours.

A List of The Top 20 Ways To Promote Your Business Online

A List of The Top 20 Ways To Promote Your Business Online

Do you want to grow your client base? Do you need to drive more traffic to your website? Many companies thrive online. The internet has given people a greater ability to expand their client base. In fact, at the time there are 4.66 billion users online across the world, so if you learn to properly promote your business on the internet, you have the opportunity to gain many more loyal clients. But what are the ways professional marketers expand their companies online? Want to know all of the secrets of the best marketing teams without having to hire more full-time staff? Below, we’ll go into the top 20 pieces of digital marketing advice. Keep reading to learn more!

1. Get on Social Media

When you want to promote your business online, you need to have a professional social media presence. Many people use social media as a way to interact with their friends. They also find the pages of companies they like on there, and they follow them. This gives you the ability to engage your clients and potentially find new ones. Some social media platforms allow you to create a specific business page for your business, so you can focus directly on that page and promote it to your social media followers and customers. Using social media you can share all your content, new and old. When you create a new article, we recommend sharing it on all your social media profiles, and also mention each post in your newsletter, if you have a newsletter.

2. Learn About Social Media Ads

Do you know how to run social media ad campaigns? Once you’ve made successful social media accounts, you have the opportunity to create paid ads. You do this using the platform’s built-in ad maker, which allows you to target your ads to a specific audience. Depending on the social media ads platform you are working with, they will offer various methods of promoting your business via their social network. Facebook, Twitter Pinterest, and Linkedin are all good to start with.

3. Define Your Target Audience

But to which audience should you target your messages? This is where defining your target audience comes in. Your target audience consists of anyone who is likely to purchase your items. You should do research into the exact demographics of who is most likely to buy from you. Then, use this information to craft your ads to prompt them to make purchases.

4. Hire a Professional Website Design Service

Did you know that hiring a website design service actually helps you get more clients? When people access a website, they need to be able to navigate it with ease. If you want them to make a purchase, clearly state what you offer and make sure they know where to go on your site to buy it. Professional website design services give you an engaging website that boosts your sales.

5. Learn About Search Engine Optimization

Put simply, search engine optimization (SEO) is the process by which business owners get their websites to perform well in search engine inquiries.

SEO functions by using keywords and links. When you use the right keywords, the search engine algorithms will pull up your website in response to potential client searches. Links help the algorithms determine how reliable the information on your website is, which influences in which order your website shows up in the search results.

6. Use Local SEO

It’s extremely difficult to rank well in search engine results worldwide. That’s why you should partake in local SEO practices to get more customers in your area and shrink your competition pool.

Use keyword research tools to find the most common keywords people in your area employ to find businesses like yours.

7. Use Google Ads

Want to appear higher up in search results? Use Google Ads!

Google Ads lets you create advertisements that then get pinned near the top of search results. This helps more clients find you.

8. Email Marketing

Email marketing keeps your clients engaged. When you get a list of your client’s or potential clients’ emails, you can send them information on deals or business updates. This reminds them of you, builds rapport, and encourages them to buy from you.

9. Send Emails Around Holidays

If you want to improve your email campaigns, start sending targeted emails around the holiday. For instance, if it’s Mother’s Day, share why your products make the best Mother’s Day gifts. This makes your clients more likely to make a purchase.

10. Hire Experts

If you have the resources, hire some professional marketing experts. Whether you choose to hire full-time staff or a marketing agency, these people have the expertise you need to do well.  When you have a team working for you, you stand a better chance of doing well.

11. Study Your Competitors

Want to beat out your competition? If you do, you should study your competitors.

Knowing what your competition does in terms of marketing and what they offer their customers will help you know how to make yourself stand out.

12. Conduct Tests

Unfortunately, not everything works best for every company. So, if you want to know how to grow your client base, you need to know what works well. To do this, conduct some tests, and don’t be afraid to change your approach.

13. Stay on Brand

Every single part of your digital marketing efforts should remain on-brand. Your brand consists of who you are as a company. Are you professional or casual? What tone and style do you use?

14. Maintain Media Relationships

People may not realize the power of the media when it comes to finding customers online. When you keep the media in touch with what’s going on in your company, you increase the likelihood they will write pieces on you and link back to your website. This drives traffic to your platform.

15. Use Images

Online, people don’t like to read huge blocks of text. Often, they’ll just scroll past this, especially if they are on social media. So how do you get their attention? Use engaging images.

16. Make Videos

Likewise, videos engage your clients better than text. They catch their eye and give you the ability to tell the audience a story, which creates an emotional bond. People who have an emotional bond to a brand are more likely to buy from it.

17. Interact

Don’t just create social media profiles. Use them to interact with your clients! Hire a social media manager who can handle client requests and respond to comments. This makes you appear approachable.

18. Have Online Sales

Everyone loves a good deal. If you sell products, advertise your sales online. This causes more people to become aware of them.  If you don’t have any discounted products or services, you may be able to add something of value instead, such as an additional product or service free when they order. This is sometimes a good method of getting rid of any stagnant inventor.

19. Hold Virtual Events

Consider holding virtual events. This allows people to attend from wherever they have a video connection and keeps them abreast of your company’s news. This can be used for brand building or promoting your business, products, and or services to a target audience. You should always promote your events via all your marketing channels months before the actual event starts, so anyone that is interested has time to schedule.

20. Get on Google My Business

Google My Business is Google’s business listing service. It allows you to advertise what you do, provide links to your website, and get customer reviews. Having a Google My Business listing helps more people find you.

Want Us to Help You Promote Your Business?

Do you need help with your efforts to promote your business online? Digital marketing is an important part of growing your clientele. By following the tips above, you’ll be able to build a thriving online platform and grow your client base. Want help with your marketing? Let our experts help. Request a quote today to learn more!

Local SEO & Marketing: How to Promote Your Local Business Online

Local SEO & Marketing: How to Promote Your Local Business Online

Do you want to know how to market your brick and mortar store online? 

With most of the world’s 7 billion people logging onto the internet, the ability to perform well online has never been more critical to the success of your business. While many stores operate well within a physical location, knowing how to present yourself on the internet helps you build your online presence and maybe even attract customers to your store.

So, do you want to get involved in local marketing online? Do you want to learn more about local SEO? 

If so, keep reading! We’ll go into everything you need to know below!

The Advantages of Marketing Online

If you already have a bustling in-person business, you might be wondering why you need to participate in online marketing. Why should you take the time to learn how to market (or pay someone to do it for you) when you’ve already built a business of which you’re proud?

Having a well-performing online presence is absolutely crucial to growing your client base. While your store may do well with physical advertising, word-of-mouth, and attracting passersby into your location, you can still benefit from trying to get people online to buy from you.

As we mentioned above, most of the world’s population logs onto the internet. This means you have the opportunity to expand your client base far beyond your local area. Savvy business owners always want to look to the future and discover how to grow their profit margins. By putting yourself online, you open yourself to a whole world of new customers.

Bolstering your online marketing also boosts your local clientele. If you’re a shop that serves a specific audience in your area, for instance, knowing how to conduct local marketing on the web will gain you more customers.

In turn, this gives your more opportunities for revenue and the chance to develop more loyal clients. 

Search Engine Optimization

Have you heard of search engine optimization (SEO) before?

Most people who do research into the world of marketing online run into it. Put simply, search engines such as Google and Bing use algorithms to sort web pages after a user makes a certain inquiry. Marketing experts keep track of how these algorithms work and came up with a method, SEO, to help their businesses make it to the top of the search results.

SEO functions using keywords and links. When you use SEO for business, then, you need to figure out which keywords people are typing into search engines to find services like yours. You accomplish this by using keyword research tools or consulting with professional online marketers who specialize in SEO for business. 

Then, you try to incorporate as many of those keywords into the content of your website. This shows search engines your content is relevant to the people who are looking for your services.

Linking

Next, you want to establish reliability. When algorithms review online content, they’re looking for information that is both relevant and reliable so their users get the best results. They do this by looking for links. The more someone links to your website, the more reliable the algorithms believe your content is.

While you can’t always control who links to your website and who doesn’t, you can do your own linking. Link to pages on your own website and interesting, relevant information you find on other places on the web. When you link either within your website or to another site, the algorithm ranks your content higher.

What Is Local SEO?

Let’s face it, though: there are millions of different online stores in the world, and ranking well as you compete against so many companies is extremely difficult.

But did you know you actually might stand a greater chance of growing your business locally? 

Think of it this way: whenever you run an inquiry about a type of product or service you need, search engines often give you local listings. For instance, if you search “Bookstores near me,” the search engine might bring up your local Barnes & Noble or indie book shops. If you were to make the same search in another town, though, the search results would be different.

That’s because algorithms actually use the location of people’s laptops or mobile devices to determine which results are the most relevant to that user. They pair people with products and services in their area.

This is good news for you. When you use local SEO for small business purposes, you get the opportunity to expand your reach locally and narrow down your competitors to just the people in your hometown. This especially serves brick and mortar stores well, as people in their area are able to locate them more easily.

Using Local SEO

So, how do you implement local SEO?

Again, SEO depends a lot on keywords, and local SEO is not an exception. The key to ranking well in your area is knowing which keywords people in your region commonly use to find businesses like yours. Fortunately, you can use keyword research tools to determine which ones are the best for you to use.

When you implement SEO for business, you should start seeing more traffic to your website, which gives you the chance to convert them into customers. 

Want to Improve Your Local Marketing?

Are you looking to improve your local marketing and local SEO?

When you implement SEO services for small business, you should see an increase in the number of people who come to your website. By using local marketing techniques, such as local SEO, you open your client base to the opportunity for growth and expand your business. 

Do you want some help making your online presence the best it can be? We can help! Our talented team specializes in making you stand out on the web. Request a quote today!