Insight Marketing Blog

How to Choose a Marketing Agency

marketing strategy

Why is an effective marketing strategy important to the success of your business?

For most businesses, marketing their products or services is the lifeblood of their business so you would think that choosing the right marketing firm would be of utmost importance – and yet many business owners do not appreciate the importance of selecting the right agency or recognize the value effective marketing can have on the success of their business. Indeed, some regard it only as a necessary evil – a bottom line expense – whose value cannot be quantified. Thus they devote very little time or consideration to the selection of this key business partner, which often results in selecting a firm that is unsuitable for their business and its marketing needs. Then, when their marketing does not produce results, they whine that marketing doesn’t work. What follows are a series of important questions that should be answered before selecting a marketing firm that is the right fit for you!

Without customers, you don’t have a business. You have a hobby!

Step 1. What are your goals and objectives?

The first step in selecting a marketing agency is to determine your company’s short- and long-term business  objectives. Do you need marketing to generate sales, build awareness, promote a new brand image, increase market share, or a combination of these? Knowing where you want to go is the first step in getting there.

Step 2. What services do you require?

Understanding what marketing services you need will help you choose the right agency for your business. Do you need a strategic marketing plan to be developed? Are you launching a new product and need brand development? Do you require marketing research to ensure there is a viable market for your product or service and the sales message is on point with your target audience? Once the strategic and brand aspects have been addressed, you can turn our attention to the marketing tools and tactics that will be most effective in achieving your marketing objectives.

Below is a list of the major tools and tactics used in most marketing campaigns:

  • Advertising: Print, Radio, TV, Billboard And Outdoor
  • Content Management: Writing of blog, articles and other content for websites and marketing communications
  • Digital Marketing Search Engine Optimization (SEO), Google AdWords, Pay-Per-Click Advertising (PPC)
  • Direct Marketing: Database driven snail mail and email marketing campaigns
  • Marketing Communications: Brochures, catalogs, product sheets and other printed sales materials
  • Public Relations: Writing and distribution of press releases, obtain feature press coverage, articles and white papers; supervise press events and new conferences
  • Social Media: Posts to major social media platform (Facebook, LinkedIn, etc.) and appropriate blogs and forums
  • Trade Show: Presentations, exhibit design, graphics, giveaways and talent
  • Web Development: Websites that are cutting-edge in design, content and functionality
  • Video/Photography – Produce video/photography material to incorporate in our digital, broadcast and social media marketing
  • POP/Brochure Display – Create Point-Of-Purchase displays, posters and literature to be used in retail location

Step 3. Industry expertise

How important is it that your agency understands and is familiar with your industry? If it is very important, then you’ve substantially narrowed the field or possible agencies.

Generally, an agency that is familiar with your industry, can hit the ground running, requiring less of a industry learning curve and can avoid sometimes costly novice mistakes. Certain industries require an agency with understanding and expertise in the strategies and tactics unique to selling to customers within those industries and differs from industry to industry. For example, marketing a travel destination to consumers, or travel agents, requires a different approach than marketing a flight school to pilots. Agencies who specialize in a particular industry, are more aware of the idiosyncrasies of these specialized markets, and are adept at selecting the right mix of media and messaging to ensure a successful marketing campaign.

The down side to agency specialization is that you may not find an agency locally with the expertise you require. This may require you consider agencies outside your local area, which depending upon the size of your budget and your account management needs, could have cost implications if frequent face-to-face meetings are required due to time considerations and travel expenses.

Step 4. Your target market or region

Where is your target market? Is it local, regional, national or international? Your agency should have the internal staffing, expertise, infrastructure and resources to handle your particular geographic marketing requirements.

Step 6. Agency size

In selecting a marketing agency, bigger is not always better. While it may be somewhat reassuring to have your company’s marketing handled by a large, well-known agency, the reality is that unless your marketing budget is in the six or seven figure range, you may find your account assigned to a series of junior account executives and creative teams more interested in advancing their careers than in promoting your business. Although large agencies have greater resources that you can tap into, carefully consider how important they are to you, as larger agencies, as a rule, charge significantly more for their services than smaller ones. In the end, whether large or small, your account will most likely be managed by a small team of people assigned to work on your account.

Sometimes it’s better to be the big fish in a small pond.

The flip side of the equation is also true. Hiring a consultant or a small firm, in which your company is their “gorilla” account and constitutes more than half their revenue, is also not an ideal situation as they may not have the internal capacity or resources to effectively manage your account. This may lead to poor quality work and missed deadlines. Consider the ramifications if a key agency employee becomes ill for an extended period, or leaves the agency – this could have an adverse effect on your marketing campaign as well as on your business. Therefore, look for agencies that have a number of accounts with budgets comparable to your own and the bandwidth to handle another account of your size.

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Facebook Tips for Small Business Marketers

Facebook is a great way to market your small business

Facebook is a great way to market your small business

Businesses of all types are successfully using Facebook to market their companies. In September 2016, there were 60 million business pages on Facebook, one-third more than a year prior.

Depending on your demographic, Facebook can be a powerful marketing tool. Age 25 to 34, at 22% of users, is the most common age demographic. (Source: comScore) What this means for you: This is the prime target demographic for many businesses’ marketing efforts, and you have the chance to engage these key consumers on Facebook. Here are some important things to keep in mind when defining your Facebook strategy:

Post Consistently. Spend some time working out what frequency you can commit to and dig into your analytics to find out when your audience is most likely to be online – this will maximize your reach. However, don’t let your page “go dark” for any extended period of time.

Include Both Text and Images. Images have stopping power in a way that words never will. Facebook posts that include images tend to get wider distribution than those that are text only. But once someone focuses on your post, you need text to keep them engaged and tell them what you want them to do next.

Be Yourself. Facebook is a personal medium. Treat it that way. Ask questions, post responses, express preferences. Give fans a peek into your operation. Introduce your staff. And always make your posts conversational.

Vary Your Posts.  Social media is all about engaging the end user–and nothing disengages people more than selling all the time. That’s not to say that you can never sell, you just need to earn the right by posting other non-sales content.

  • Customer photos almost always drive tremendous engagement.
  • How-to tips establish your company’s expertise, and give fans a reason to keep coming back to your page.
  • Videos, always powerful, are especially attention-getting on Facebook since they auto-play. Facebook’s algorithm favors native video – not outside links to places like YouTube or Vimeo – allowing for a better opportunity for more people to see your content.
  • Product photos are especially appealing when you create a lifestyle image. Still product shots on white backgrounds are great for your eCommerce store, but can be boring on Facebook. Style your products on a background that conveys the lifestyle of the target demographic. Model shots are also engaging and they don’t need to be professionally done.
  • Contests can create engagement and generate lots of new fans.

Increase Visibility of Important Posts. This is a simple tip, but many people aren’t aware that posts can be “pinned” to the top of a Facebook Timeline. It’s frustrating when a post describing an important announcement or special offer disappears down your page.

Use Facebook Ads. I cannot express how important it is to consider using Facebook ads or boosts to increase the reach of your content. Without ads, Facebook has said that organic content (on average) will be shown to 6% or less of your fan base.

Messenger for Business. Just recently, Facebook officially launched Messenger for Business to let users chat directly with the companies. This is a great tool to have a personal, real-time conversation with customers. Many companies are using this to replace email as a customer service tool, including real-time order confirmations and shipping notices.

Of course, the overarching objective of Facebook is to stimulate engagement and produce valuable and exciting content. Therefore, tailor your post content to your audience, be personal and conversational, and use fresh and simple wording. Executing these optimization tips will improve your Facebook Business Page visibility and user experience, both of which are crucial for your success.

See Valerie Gosset’s marketing ideas for the Garden Industry at Evergreen Marketing

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Why Video is Important to Your Digital Strategy

Why Video is Important to Your Digital Strategy

Is this the year you are ready to jump on board with video marketing for your business? The answer should be a resounding “yes” for many reasons. Maybe you have been hesitant because of high production costs, or you are not sure which platforms to use, or how to produce quality content. However, video is a powerful medium that provide tremendous opportunities to engage customers, expand your brand messaging, generate leads and even sales.

Research shows that video content has been proven an effective marketing tool in multiple ways:

  • According to news shared by HubSpot:
  • Video is projected to claim more than 80% of all web traffic by 2019.
  • Adding a link to a video in your marketing emails can boost click-through rates by over 200%.
  • 90% of customers report that product videos help them make purchasing decisions.
  • 64% of customers are more likely to buy a product online after watching a video about it.
  • A third of all the time people spend online is dedicated to watching videos.
  • Digital marketing expert James McQuivey estimates that a single minute of video content is the equivalent 1.8 million words.

Effective ROI

With the multitude of smartphone cameras, goPro video cameras and free or inexpensive editing software available, not to mention plentiful options for low cost animation, video production does not have to be the high expense it once was. Online videos are more about content than quality and with the impressive metrics observed; video offers higher ROI than other forms of content.

Effective Content?

Video content is very effective in promoting brand recall and reinforcing brand messaging. Content can include useful product tips, answering customer FAQs, How-To demonstrations or real-life customer testimonials. These all add legitimacy and personality to a brand’s messaging, while at the same time engaging customer attention span.

Effective Platforms?

Now that you created a video, what should you do with it? Along with the traditional platforms of YouTube and Vimeo, there are now multiple live options as well, such as Facebook Live, Periscope and Instagram Live. And nothing helps boost click-through rates in emails like video links. In addition to all these platforms, you should also embed your video directly into your site – like on a landing page with a clear call to action. Video never fails to increase the web traffic and provides significant SEO benefits in raising your website’s ranking within search engines.

Effective SEO?

Video creates immediate SEO results. Ranking on Google’s first page is an SEO’s top priority, so it is difficult to ignore the 2009 Forrester study that says, “pages with video are 53Xs more likely to rank on the first page of Google search results.” That study may be eight years old, but the Google algorithm continues to prioritize video results, especially videos placed on YouTube – no doubt because of Google’s ownership of YouTube.

Video can also help lower your bounce rate. The average online attention span is less than eight seconds. If viewers leave your domain after viewing a single page, it will hurt your site’s SEO ranking. Video is a very effective way to engage visitors to your website and have them stay longer.

Just make sure your video is entertaining, informative and consistent with your business goals. Nothing is worse than a video that provide little or no value to your marketing strategy or viewer. When sharing videos on social media platforms, shorter is better – between 30 to 45 seconds. Longer, more informative videos are more appropriate on YouTube or Vimeo.

A Couple of Final Do’s and Don’ts for Videos

  • Avoid having your video automatically start playing when someone visits your website.
  • Create an interesting title image for your video to entice your visitor to click on it.
  • Avoid one person, talking head monologues without any changes on screen
  • Finally, don’t use cats in your video (unless you’re selling cat nip)
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