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Author:Rease Kirchner

marketing consultant

Marketing Consultant Myths Debunked

1. A marketing consultant won’t understand my business

You absolutely do not need your marketing consultant to fully understand every aspect of your business. You don’t hire a marketing consultant to manage your business, you hire them to hone in on the critical pieces of your business and do market research that will help them create an effective marketing strategy.

Having fresh eyes on your business practices often helps narrow in on what’s working, what isn’t and allows your marketing consultant to be creative and think outside the box you might have unintentionally put yourself in. While you will obviously want whoever you hire to have a general understanding of what it is you do or sell, you ultimately want them to be focused on their own area of expertise, not yours.

 

2. SEO is expensive

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) efforts do involve paying for someone who has a certain expertise as well as the hours it will take for them to carry out a variety of tasks such as researching your industry, doing market research, writing keyword-rich content, building links, and analyzing results. Many business owners believe their money is better spent on Pay Per Click (PPC) efforts, which are faster to set up and have immediate results.

While it’s true that SEO cannot compete with the speed and ease of PPC, it most certainly wins out when it comes to lasting effects and cost over time. Keep in mind that if you want to pay for clicks, you’re going to have to work those costs into your budget every month because as soon as you stop shoveling money into your Google Adwords account, your traffic will plummet. SEO efforts, on the other hand, keep working for you long after you signed the check to your marketing consultant. The truth is, SEO is the much more cost-effective option.

 

3. No one will read or respond to long-form content

This myth is likely perpetuated by people’s severely shortened attention spans when browsing the internet. However, those 30-second attention spans generally pertain to things that appear on users’s Facebook feeds or as a suggested video, not something they actively searched out. This analysis definitively shows that in-depth, long-form content outperforms short content over and over again when it comes to search results.

 

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So if you are publishing a 200-300 word blog every so often to cover your content marketing efforts, you are not very likely to see any results. Marketing consultant services can be a very valuable asset when it comes to things such as creating in-depth content that draws people to your business and delivers results.

 

4. You don’t need a marketing consultant to run social media

Businesses often avoid allowing marketing consultants to set up social media accounts because they believe they can just handle it on their own, or pass it off an intern. If that’s what you think, consider the unfortunate Twitter mishap Digiorno suffered. A clueless employee at Digiorno Pizza saw that #IStayedBecause was trending on Twitter and tweeted “#IStayedBecause he had pizza,” accidentally offending millions because the #IStayedBecause hashtag was actually an outlet for victims of domestic abuse to speak out about reasons they had stayed with their abuser in the past. Ouch.

That’s just one of the many cringe-worthy social media mishaps that brands have suffered, many of which could have been avoided if companies had had a dedicated marketing consultant team in charge of their social media instead of an intern or some random millennial they assumed would understand Twitter.

The truth is, social media can be an incredibly powerful marketing tool, both through organic content and paid advertising, as long as you have a consistent strategy that is carried out by people who are dedicated to the task and knowledgeable in the nuances of social media.

 

5. Marketing consulting services are too expensive

Obviously, hiring an expert in any field involves paying for the expertise you are going to receive, but marketing consulting services don’t have to break the bank. Blank Page Consulting can go work with you to design a marketing strategy that fits into your budget, and start working on projects that will bring a return on your investment, because that’s what hiring a quality marketing consultant is – an investment in your business. If you don’t think you can afford to budget for marketing, consider this – can you afford not to, and risk losing customers to your competitors who were ready to take their marketing to the next level?

5 Signs You Need a Marketing Agency

No matter how great your business is you won’t get very far without a solid marketing plan. Many businesses hit the ground running and wait too long to sit down focus on marketing efforts, which ends up slowing down overall growth. If any of following signs sound familiar to you, it’s probably time to hire a marketing agency.

You don’t have enough hours in the day

You are giving your business everything you’ve got, but at the end of the day, there are still way too many items left on your to-do list. You are only human, and you cannot do it all. Even if you have excellent employees working alongside you, you might find that all of them are stretched pretty thin focusing on their own specialties, leaving very little time to work on a marketing strategy. Marketing is incredibly important, but it often gets set on the back burner as business owners prioritize other aspects of the business.

Marketing is not your forte

Marketing isn’t a hobby; it’s a specialty. Would you hire someone who simply enjoys math but has no accounting experience to manage your finances? Probably not, so why would you leave marketing to be taken care of by whoever ends up having time for it? If you don’t enjoy marketing and feel like you are sailing through unfamiliar waters, you may be doing more harm than good. A marketing agency can focus on what they do best, while you and your team members stick to your areas of expertise.

Your current marketing strategy is inconsistent

This is a huge problem for many companies. Instead of setting out a clear marketing plan and schedule, businesses sporadically update social media accounts and occasionally publish a blog post, hoping that a little is better than nothing. Unfortunately, that is simply not the case when it comes to marketing. If you are all over the place with your marketing style and have bursts of activity followed by a week of radio silence, you are likely to see your numbers plummet as confused consumers engage less and less. A marketing agency can work with you to set up a consistent voice and help you decide on a schedule for posting new content so that your audience has a better idea of what to expect from your business.

You don’t know who your target audience is

You can’t really attract customers if you aren’t quite sure who you are trying to attract. Business owners often make the mistake of trying to reach too broad of an audience, believing that a wider reach will result in a greater return. A good marketing agency can help you get a much higher return on investment when it comes to your marketing strategies. By honing in on your target audience, you will be able to cater your marketing strategies to those people and their interests.

You aren’t properly measuring marketing results.

In order to know what works and what doesn’t, you have to monitor results, but what exactly constitutes good results for your particular business? While some businesses might be working on increasing their followers on social media, others might be looking to increase traffic to their website. It’s important to know what the ultimate goal is for your marketing plan and also know how to monitor the success rate of your strategy. Scrolling through analytics and spreadsheets might not interest you, but marketing agencies can keep an eye on things for you, and provide detailed reports catered to your business.

 

Don’t let marketing become a chore that you put off to the last minute. Hiring a marketing agency can lighten your workload and provide better results than anything you might begrudgingly attempt to do whenever you have a bit of extra time. If you are serious about growing your business, get yourself a serious marketing agency.

social media marketing 2016

10 Social Media Marketing Hacks You Need to Try

By Rease Kirchner (@IndecisiveRease)

Looking to up your social media marketing game? These 10 hacks will help you take your social media skills to the next level, not to mention get you greater reach, better engagement, and more followers.

1. Use Images

This one may seem obvious, but it’s not just about using images, it’s about how to use them on each specific platform. Did you know there is an image size that works best on Facebook and that it’s totally different from Instagram or Twitter? For example 1200 x 630 images show up best on a Facebook timeline, while an ideal Instagram post is 1080 x 1080.

Twitter is often overlooked when it comes to images, because they weren’t always supported. However, Twitter now allows images to show up directly in stream. The recommended dimensions are 506 x 253. Adding an image to your Tweet does eat into your already small 140 characters a bit, but the loss is worth the gain. Adding an image makes your Tweet stand out much better as people scroll through their feed. You can also add text to the image if you have a bit more to say than your limited characters allow.

Bonus Tip: YouTube videos can be embedded to make them playable directly on platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and Pinterest. That means you can draw people in with a visual and rack up some views on your video, all while keeping people on the social media platform.

2. Post Blogs on LinkedIn

This is a rarely used but very valuable feature. When you write a blog post, you can also publish it directly on LinkedIn, getting it in front of the eyes of people who are connected to you and thus have a higher probability of being interested in the subject matter you are covering. You can link the post back to your site as well, giving you a chance to grab some more traffic. You’ll also have a chance to be featured through LinkedIn Pulse, which is an aggregate of all the best content published on LinkedIn in a single day. If you snag a featured spot, you could easily gain hundreds of views.

3. Use IFTTT recipes

IFTTT, or If This Then That is an amazing tool that lets you set up “recipes” that basically add up to “if this happens, then this happens” So, for example, if you often peruse the internet for great articles but never remember to share them when social media marketing, you can set up an IFTTT recipe that automatically sends those articles to a queue on a scheduling platform such as Buffer. That way, the next time you login to Buffer, you’ll have plenty of content to choose from for scheduling posts.

Another great IFTTT recipe is to use your Instagram photos more effectively. Instagram allows you to auto-post to several platforms directly through the app, but as we said in tip #1, optimal image sizes differ across platforms. Instagram photos also show up as a link, not an image, on Twitter, which is not nearly as eye-catching. IFTTT allows you to set up a recipe to share Instagram posts through different platforms, so your beautiful photo can show up as an in-stream photo on platforms like Twitter, instead a link that has a pretty low likelihood of being clicked.

4. Use Grammarly

Is there anything more embarrassing than using “their” when you should have used “there” or messing up a perfectly witty tweet with a typo? Whether you are simply not a master of grammar or you just have a tendency to think faster than you type, Grammarly can help. Think of this browser plug-in as a helpful grammar nerd that peeks over your shoulder as you compose posts and alerts you to any grammatical or spelling errors.

5. Use Iconosquare

While many people think of Instagram as a platform to share photos instantly and in the moment, that’s not a great strategy if you are looking for high engagement numbers. Generally, users only scroll through Instagram for so long before they get bored of double tapping photos, so if your photo isn’t posted during active times, it’s not likely to be seen at all. Enter Iconosqaure. This handy tool analyzes your followers and past engagements and gives you the optimal times to post for every day of the week. Once you start posting photos when your followers are actually active, you are likely to see a nice boost in likes and comments.

6. Highlight text before clicking “Pin it”

This is such a simple trick that will save you time and effort. Before clicking “Pin It” on an image, highlight any relevant text from the website. When you click “Pin It,” the highlighted text will automatically be added to description box. So simple, yet so useful.

7. Clean up your Twitter, Instagram, and Tumblr with “Friend or Follow”

Social media sites are full of people who follow users in mass in hopes of getting followed back. Days or even weeks later, those mass-followers do a purge and unfollow in mass as well. Rude.

Luckily, Friend or Follow can help you weed out these people. This tool will show you everyone you follow and let you know if they are following back. You can unfollow in mass or pick and choose who is worthy of your unrequited follow.

8. Surf LinkedIn Anonymously

The LinkedIn “Profile Viewed By” feature is either incredibly helpful or super annoying, depending on which side of it you are on. If you are looking to search profiles without worrying about users knowing you were reading up on them, try using LinkedIn anonymously. Simply go to “Privacy & Settings” on your profile then choose “Privacy Controls.” From there you can choose “Select what others see when you’ve viewed their profile” and you will be given an option to be completely anonymous. This is a total win if you are doing research and don’t necessarily want the subjects to know who you are, or perfect for some light internet stalking.

9. Create a Printable Resume directly from LinkedIn

Have you ever looked at your perfectly crafted LinkedIn profile and wished you could just send prospective employers to your profile page instead of providing them with a resume? Well, you can have the next best thing. By using LinkedIn’s ResumeBuilder, you can take your LinkedIn profile and turn it into a printable resume within minutes. Boom. Updated resume, locked and loaded, no formatting requiring.

10. Join Social Buzz Club

This “club” is basically an online community that lets you earn shares by sharing other users’ posts. You can pick and choose the content you share, so you can still keep content relevant to your audience’s interests. Every time you share another member’s content, you earn “shares” that you can then use to have other users share your content on their social media profiles. It’s a great way to gain traction for content without spending any actual money.

So which one of these social media marketing hacks are you dying to try? Let us know if any of these totally changed your social media game!

 

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Is your website working for you?

If you think of your website as just a landing page, you are not using it to its full potential. A good website should work for you like an employee would. Just like an employee, you should be able to measure your website’s progress, see if it is hitting the goals you have in mind for it, and be able to see a good return on investment (both time and money wise) from your website. So, keeping that in mind, is your current website really working for you?

Is your web design appealing?

You wouldn’t let an employee come in dressed inappropriately, so why shouldn’t your website be held to similar standards? If any employee who interacts with clients doesn’t dress in appropriate attire, clients are not likely to respect that employee or take them seriously, and the same is true for your website.

When it comes to building a website, visual aesthetics are incredibly important. Your web design represents your company, so you need to make it eye-catching while also reflecting your company’s style. Your website should be “dressed for the job” so to speak, meaning it should have the look and feel that best matches your company’s products and services. Bright colors and cartoonish fonts have a place on a website focused on kids products and services, while muted colors and clean lines would better suit a printing company. There is not a single “uniform” that websites should have, but consider hiring a web designer that can help represent your business online in the same way your best employees represent you.

Does your website perform its duties properly?

If an employee continually hit reply all on emails and caused embarrassing communication mistakes or simply didn’t follow protocol for company projects, you would reprimand that employee, wouldn’t you? Your website should be held to the same expectations. Do all of your site’s links work properly? Does the contact form send to an email that is fully functioning and checked often? Are people actually filling out forms on your site? Are visitors able to use your website without running into technical issues?

These are all questions you should be asking yourself about your web page. Building a website may start out as something visual, but a well-dressed employee that can’t perform their required duties has no value, and neither does a web page that doesn’t function well. A web designer will not only fix these issues, but can help find the right questions you should be asking when it comes to your site’s conversion performance.

Is your website attracting the right people?

An employee can bring in 100 leads a week, but if those leads never lead to a sale, what use are they? If employees are targeting the wrong audience, they aren’t likely to turn anyone into a customer. This is also true for a website.

Google Analytics can show you how people are arriving at your site, as well as how long they stay there. Let’s say you are getting 300 referrals a day from WebsiteA.com, but the bounce rate is extremely high. This means that people are getting to your site but are not interested in what they see, and quickly leaving. You might also see that you get only 20 referrals a day from WebsiteB.com, but the bounce rate is very low. The number of referrals is significantly lower, but the response is much better. Looking at your analytics can really help you narrow in on where you should be focusing more of your marketing efforts.

Analytics can also help you figure out what keywords to target for search engines. You can use tools such as Google Keyword Planner to figure out what people are searching and target the keywords that are relevant to your business. Google Analytics can tell you which search queries lead people to your site, and whether or not those people hung around.

You need to know where your website is drawing its visitors from and whether or not those sources are beneficial.

Are you proud of your website?

You wouldn’t put a so-so employee front and center would you? You want to be proud of your employees and confident in their ability to properly represent your company, so are you proud of your website?

When you send someone to your site, you should feel confident that they would like what they see, be able to find the information they are looking for, and be able to easily interact with the site.

Your website might just be the busiest and most valuable employee in your company, so is that website doing the very best job? If you think your website could use some updating, contact us to chat about how we can help improve your site’s performance.

Our web designers have experience in a wide variety of industries. See our web design portfolio here!

 

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Why you should have access to your digital marketing channels

Everyone has their own skills and talents, which is why you likely have a specific role within your company that you are quite good at and very much enjoy doing. It’s important to play to your strengths and know when to pass work onto others who are more qualified in that particular area, such as digital marketing. Hiring a social media consultant, marketing firm, or web design company are great steps towards a solid digital marketing plan, but just because someone else is in charge of these channels, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t have access to them.

All too often, businesses contract a digital marketing company and promptly forget all about it. Having confidence in your web designer’s skills is great, but completely checking out of an entire aspect of your business and marketing plan is not a good move. They might be an expert in web design and digital marketing, but you are the expert on your own business. You don’t have to be involved on a daily basis, but there are certain things you should ensure your web design company can offer you.

Social Media Content Editing Capabilities

Sure, a web designer may have a better eye for color schemes and layouts, but the content should come from you. Even if you also contract out for content writing, you should always have easy access to your own website and be able to make minor changes. When hiring a web design company, make sure you request a content management system that allows you to add, edit, and remove content easily without needing to work with code. If you want to publish a blog post about an upcoming event, you should be able to do so quickly, without having to go through your web designer. The same goes for making minor changes such as updates to your business hours, address or phone number changes, or current sales and promotions.

Maintaining content editing capabilities gives you better control over what is shown on your website and also keeps costs and waiting times to a minimum. Consider this – if you have to call or email your web designer every time you need to fix a typo, you will not only rack up more billable hours for the web design company, you will also have to be at the mercy of their schedule, meaning changes could take days or even weeks to go live.

Website Access: Direct contact with your web designer

When it comes to issues you can’t handle on your own, you’ll need to know who to contact. You should always know exactly who is in charge of what when it comes to your website and be able to get in touch with them easily. Some web design companies will have a team working on your site, with each person handling a different aspect of your webpage. In order to streamline communication, you should have access to direct contact information for everyone on the team.

Content Collaboration: Accessing Social Channels

We believe the best social media content comes from the source. Your team has valuable information to share – even if they’re struggling to identify it. Even if hire a social media marketing consultant or marketing agency, be sure to negotiate access to collaborate for authentic team updates on your blog, Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn.

Even if you count on someone else to manage the majority of your social media activity, you should always have the logins and full access to every single platform. If you’re having a company event and snap a few photos, you should be able to post them to your Instagram without having to wait on your social media manager. Even if you prefer that most of your posts go through your social media manager, you’ll want to maintain easy access to all of your platforms for convenience, security, and for the sake of accuracy. If you want to change your Facebook cover photo to promote an upcoming event, you should be able to do so. You’ll also want to be able to quickly jump on your accounts should you receive any important messages or complaints from customers.

It’s your company, so you should always have the final say on how you are represented online. Having access to your digital marketing channels is as much about accuracy as it is about convenience, so make sure your web design company works with you and keeps all channels of communication and access open.