The Easiest How-To Guide for Creating a Website

There are millions upon millions of websites on the Internet today. Users can literally search for anything and the search engine will populate an eye opening amount of results. Each website is unique and owned by someone, but how does someone even start to build a website? Let’s discuss the basics from a beginner level of what some terms are, how a website gets created and the secret to obtaining a spot on the Internet!


Web​site – a group of World Wide Web pages usually containing hyperlinks to each other and made available online by an individual, company, educational institution, government, or organization. A web page is a page of a website. Think of it as a book. The book is the website and the chapters are the web pages. But then there is a sequel to the book…and that is a link on the website that takes you to another website! 

Web Server – an Internet-connected computer that receives the request for a web page sent by your browser. The server is the book store, where you need to go to be able to obtain the book.

Web Browser – connects your computer to the server through an IP address. Examples of web browser are:

  • Google Chrome
  • Firefox
  • Internet Explorer
  • Safari

The web browser is how you search for information at the bookstore. This actually could be better explained as the card catalog at a library. The old Dewey decimal system! 

Step 1: The Domain Name

A domain name is a sequence of usually alphanumeric characters (such as that specifies a group of online resources (as of a particular company or person) and that forms part of the corresponding Internet addresses

A domain name is quite literally your web address. Just like the bookstore has an address, so does your website. Your domain name should be something that is easily identifiable, doesn’t have a weird spelling, and makes a good impression for search engine optimization. 

When trying to figure out a good domain name, the best place to start is by doing your own search of similar websites and what their domain names are. Once you decide on a name you like, do a search to see if the price point to purchase it is feasible. Whether it is something that is wide open or owned by someone else, it will need to be purchased either way.

Some places that a domain name can be purchased from include:

  • Bluehost
  • Hostinger
  • GoDaddy

Step 2: The Website Host

In a nutshell, web hosting is the process of renting or buying space from a company (server) to house a website on the World Wide Web. Website content such as HTML, CSS, and images have to be housed on a server to be viewable online.

Think of it as renting an apartment. The website host is the landlord that owns the apartment. You want to rent that apartment so you can have all of your stuff inside of it. Your bedroom, your kitchen, your living room are all of your web pages and your bed, stove and couch would be your website content. 

You connect your domain name to your hosting provider so that when users visit your website address, they are shown your website that you store on your hosting account.

Some popular website hosting companies include:

  • GoDaddy
  • DreamHost
  • Bluehost
  • InMotion
  • SiteGround

Hosting services can cost anywhere between $2 to $100+ per month, depending on the kind of technology and support you choose. 

Step 3: Implement the Content Management System

Some websites are built and managed using Content Management Systems (CMS) like:

  • WordPress
  • Joomla
  • ExpressionEngine
  • Squarespace
  • Drupal
  • Wix

Thanks to the technology of these CMS, they are mostly user-friendly and you don’t need to know much HTML to manage them. Some are more expensive than others, but they all provide a valuable tool to the website creator – a way to easily build what people see on their screens when searching for you on the Internet.

Step 4: Want to Sell? Then You’ll Need an E-Commerce Platform

Not just every website comes with the capability to sell on the Internet. E-commerce is commercial transactions conducted electronically on the Internet. Another expense for your website, but could make you a great profit if done right!

Some examples of e-commerce platforms are:

  • WooCommerce
  • Shopify
  • Business Squarespace
  • Wix
  • GoDaddy Online Store

Step 5: Maintaining Your Website

All websites should have a maintenance plan in place. This means back-ups of your files, monitoring website uptime, updating website software and managing website content. It is very important to know that websites can, and do, crash (break). The most recent website crash that comes to mind that many people will know about is when Taylor Swift’s tour tickets went on sale on Ticket Master’s website and it crashed. 

There are several reasons why websites crash. Sometimes they are easy to fix and other times it takes a professional to navigate the reasoning. A few of the most common reasons for a crash include:

  • Broken code
  • Plugin errors
  • Update issues
  • Server or hosting provider errors
  • Massive traffic spike (Taylor Swift fans!)
  • Expired domain
  • Malicious attacks

If your website is not working properly, make sure other websites are working properly that aren’t yours to make sure it isn’t an Internet connection problem. If the Internet is working, then we suggest starting with whoever hosts or manages your website to see if they have any issues on their end. Make sure everything is updated and if there was recently an update, there might be a coding issue. This is where it can be tricky to manage your own website as coding is like a whole other language. Talk to your management team for some help when it comes to this problem.

Step 6: The Secret to The Best Website – Hire a Developer to Do All of This for You

If you have made it this far without your head spinning in circles, then you may be a great candidate to build and maintain your own website. However, if you don’t have any background in web development or programming, then hiring a developer is your best bet. A web developer is someone who can make creating and maintaining your website their priority while you focus on other things. And hiring a web developer who has an agency connection is even better if you are a business owner.

The Bottom Line

A website can be a good investment for anyone who has information they want to spread out to the whole world on the Internet. However, it can be very tricky to build a website that is engaging, user-friendly and pretty to the viewer. That is why when it comes to websites, even if you have a small background in coding, we always suggest teaming up with an agency that specializes in website development so you have a team on hand to help when questions arise. 

Why Correct Lighting Matters in Photography

The definition of the word photography is “the art or process of producing images by the action of radiant energy and especially light on a sensitive surface (such as film or an optical sensor)”.  

There is no universally perfect light for every scenario. Indoors, outdoors, a little of both, on top of a mountain, maybe even underwater, light can dramatically affect the outcome of the photograph. That is why you will see our photographers dragging along various lights for a shoot! Lighting makes a big difference!

Light for photography can be natural or artificial. The way the photographer positions themselves and the subject of their photo affects clarity, tone, emotion, and overall feeling of the photo. Let’s dig a little deeper into this.

Indoor Photography with Natural Light vs. Artificial Light

Does your studio space have a window? Utilize it! Many photographers love artificial lighting, but natural light is always a great option for portraits, even when the shoot is inside. In the example below, the photographer had the model stand near a window which totally changed the lighting of the subject. Depending on the time of day and the weather, your lighting will vary. Pick and choose what looks best to be able to portray the story accurately. 

When the photographer and model moved away from the natural light, artificial light was needed. The light that the photographer used in this

 photo below is a Paul C. Buff Einstein Flash Unit with a 35″ Foldable Octabox light modifier. “Similar to the way a softbox diffuses the light onto the subject creating soft even light, an Octabox is great for portraits by creating rounded catchlights in the eyes of your subject. Providing a more natural look similar to what you would see from the sun.” via

Can you compare the photos? While they are in different areas of the room, the photographer was able to capture the tone, emotion and clarity of the subject with both natural and artificial lighting.

Why is Testing Light Before A Shoot Is So Important?

Testing light is crucial to ensure that your images are properly exposed. It is ok to snap a few test photos and move things around. The angle/direction of light allows for a dynamic portrait with flattering highlights and shadows. The photographer’s assistant was holding the flash unit camera left and above the model at about a 45 degree angle in the artificial lighting example above. Sometimes it takes a team to get the proper lighting and in the perfect direction.

Not only is the light important but so is how the light is positioned when taking a photo. Pay attention to shadows and flat lighting. This happens when the light source originates behind the camera and points directly to the subject. If the light is moved to the side, the subject becomes portrayed in a happier but dramatic light! 

The Bottom Line

When it comes to marketing, working with a photographer that has a good understanding of how to work with light properly can help to spotlight the exact items you want your clients to see and how you want them to feel when viewing. When a photo is pleasing to the eye, or emits a certain feeling, the product also becomes pleasing or desired. Those feelings will help to attract others to it, thus creating potential leads and sales down the road. 

If you’re interested in a photography shoot, reach out to us!

Does Verification of a Social Media Account Make a Difference?

Times are changing on social media where if you pay a certain amount of money, you can obtain the famous blue checkmark to show verified account status. But does that little checkmark really mean anything to anyone anymore?

What Is Verification?

In the beginning of Twitter blue checkmark time, in 2009, the blue checkmark was used to show who was an official and authentic account, usually a celebrity, athlete, or someone of high status. It helped to determine which account was real versus fake or a parody as multiple accounts for users kept popping up, even though it wasn’t actually them. 

Facebook followed suit and started their verification process in 2012 and Instagram in 2014. Same kind of process to make a clear distinction between a real page and a page run by a fan. 

Most sites have a verification process and they are similar. Just prove you are who you say you  are and then you will obtain that blue checkmark. But now the blue checkmark is growing to include more people than just those with a big name or reputation. 

Exploring Paid Verification 

When Elon Musk took over Twitter, he had to figure out new ways to monetize the business. This came in the form of a monthly subscription to have the verified blue checkmark along with verified member-only features like the ability to post longer videos, less ads on their feeds, and a bump to the top of news feeds. At first Musk’s plan came with some backlash, but it is still chugging along. The numbers don’t seem to be coming back where they predicted they would be, but it is still new. “Twitter subscribers in the US made up less than 0.2% of monthly users in January, two months after Elon Musk introduced Blue, The Information reported Monday, citing a document,” via Business Insider. While 0.2% doesn’t seem like a lot, when you put it in monetary value, it is. “Twitter’s currently bringing in an extra $2.4 million per month via the program, or $7.2 million per quarter,” according to Travis Brown.

The platform is also adding gold checkmarks for official brand accounts, and gray ticks for ‘government and multilateral’ accounts. At what point is too many different colored checkmarks too much and do they even make a difference? According to Business Insider, businesses will pay $1,000 per month to keep their gold verification checkmark.

If Verification is Bought, Is Value Lost?

When something like verification is able to be purchased, does it make having the checkmark a lesser value? Do those accounts that have the checkmark even matter to users? Does it devalue the accounts that “earned” the verification in the first place with follower numbers?

The checkmarks could be looked at as a status of being able to afford whatever that checkmark costs. And because of that checkmark, whatever those accounts have to share, whether important or not, gets pushed to the top of the feed just because they pay for it. Do you like this or would you rather see the accounts that you follow because you enjoy what they post at the top instead?

New research from Maine Business School at the University of Maine shows that verification isn’t always a positive, as social media consumers associate verification more with celebrity than credibility and are much less likely to trust product endorsements from verified accounts if the content is inconsistent with the influencer’s brand.”

The results from a study published in February, 2022 in the Journal of Consumer Behavior showed that not only do consumers associate verification more with celebrity than authenticity or credibility, but because of that, they are less likely to trust a verified social media influencer if they are advertising a brand that is inconsistent with their usual messaging. Even when the brand seems suited to the social media influencer, consumers do not trust verified accounts more than their unverified counterparts.

The Bottom Line

Most, if not all, social media platforms have some form of a verification process. And just like how buying likes and followers is a big mistake on all platforms, buying verification might be looked at as the same thing in today’s world. 

Each business is unique and may benefit from the pro’s of verification. It is always worth researching what value is received when purchasing verification. But at this time, marketers and business owners might find more bang for their buck with other strategies. 

Is Working in Marketing and Social Media Really Like Emily in Paris?

A topic of conversation last week was the Netflix series Emily in Paris. Some team members were big fans, so we knew we all needed to check it out. Not only is the story itself really cute, especially with the love interests, but everyone seems to enjoy eagerly awaiting Emily’s next marketing and social media ideas for her clients! We all know this is just a show since typically 9 out of 10 ideas that real marketers come up with end up on the editing room floor. But we enjoy hearing about her successes and why they worked. So many social media posts have magically popped up after watching the series about how someone has a client and is wondering why their social media isn’t like Emily’s client’s and how they can grow theirs like they do on the show? So we thought it would be fun to discuss if working in the same industry as Emily is realistic and if anything relates back to the real world. Let’s take a dive into working like Emily in Paris. 

Every Idea Won’t Be a Success

Clients know their business and usually have an idea of what they want. Emily’s clients just let her usually do whatever. Plus, she is in a very niche market. Now, that is not to say there aren’t agencies that just work with clients in the same industry, but our agency works with various industries. We like the different strategies and the different clients we work with. 

But it just blows our minds how Emily’s ideas just fall into her lap and always succeed. Sure, we all have awesome ideas. It is likely that is why we have a job! But some of her ideas are just so off the wall. We really don’t ever see them working in the real world, especially when a majority of the time she has to get it done in less than 24 hours. Which leads us to approvals.

No Approval Chain of Command

Besides the client and Slyvie (her boss), it doesn’t seem like anyone else ever has to approve any of the ideas. In the real world, there are usually a lot of other people that need to give their approval, provide their edits and then the last person in the chain of command has to bring all of those ideas together into one cohesive plan. It usually takes longer than 24 hours to do all of this. 

It is good to have an approval chain of command. Mostly so other people can tell you if there is a mistake, or if after editing the same footage for hours on end you missed something. But also because we all do our own jobs. Where we work, we have photographers, videographers, content creators, designers and web developers. We all are specialized in our job, but all have to work together to ensure the client’s project gets done. Emily is basically a one-woman-band, doing all of the work herself. And we never see her actually putting together the work. It just magically appears! Television magic!

This Isn’t a Real Career Scenario

But oh how we all wish it was! Our agency is based in the U.S., so maybe working in Paris is like this. Who wouldn’t mind the “everyone starts late and takes a long lunch” work schedule like they have? But we all have to remember this is a show. It is an optimistic look at the industry and doesn’t give a fair perspective to high school or college-age people who are thinking about a career in this field. It doesn’t provide us with the fine details of everything that is hard with social media or the hours that it takes to put together content. Everything just comes easily to these clients of Emily’s, whether she is with the Gilbert Group or the French fashion firm, Savoir.

Plus, Emily started out with like 48 followers. After posting a couple of selfies, she gained upwards of 20,000 followers in what seemed like 3 weeks. Nah – that isn’t real life. That just doesn’t happen unless you are somebody, and Emily isn’t a somebody.

Emily’s Clients Have Huge Budgets

Some clients do have really big budgets. And there are agencies who specifically will only work with clients that have huge budgets. And some clients have smaller budgets. Either way, a budget is a budget and marketers have to work within those guidelines. Unfortunately, marketing is one of the first things to get cut from a budget. So we have to work with the funds we are given and strategically create a strategy that will work and meet the client’s needs and expectations. Emily gets to work with million dollar budgets which is awesome and we love to see what she does with infinite funds.

There is so Much More to Social Media Than Likes, Shares, Comments and Followers

With marketing comes strategy and that strategy branches out to advertising, videos, podcasts, blogs, etc. They all should work cohesively and integrate together. Social media isn’t just about one post on Facebook. It is about making sure that post also reaches clients on whatever other social networks they have. And it isn’t just about numbers. It doesn’t matter how many people like a post. Did those people buy into whatever the post was about? Did they click a link that you included in the post? What was the call to action? That is what is important! We sometimes get to see how many people like posts that Emily does, but mostly we just see her idea put into action and we don’t hear the outcome. In the real world, there is an outcome which gauges campaign success. 

The Bottom Line

Just like any superhero movie, some far-fetched futuristic time travel drama, or whatever alien show is popular, those aren’t real and neither is all of Emily in Paris. While we absolutely love the show, it is meant for pleasure, and it is not a pin-pointed, factual biopic of what working in the marketing industry is like. That being said, we do have a lot of fun when we work. We are a unique group of people and feel like we would be great teammates for Sylvie, Emily, Luc, and Julian. Plus, who doesn’t want to go to Paris!? We’ll go!

The Tip of an Iceberg: Data Analytics in a Digital World

Diving into digital analytics can be a daunting task, especially for those who aren’t data analysts at heart. From websites to social media, to digital ads and beyond, analytics isn’t anything new, but the ease of obtaining digital information is growing at a lightning fast pace. By having this information literally at our fingertips, it provides opportunities for those studying them to learn and progress with new ideas and visions faster, and easier, than before. Interpreting data can vary from business to business, and what is considered a success for you can be different as well, but let’s just skim the top off of what data analytics is and briefly learn what the most important parts of analytics are for beginners.

Google, Social Media, and Other Digital Analytics

Likely the most popular kind of analytics for a website, Google Analytics is used by over half of all websites. Google tries to make their analyzing methods easy for the viewers, but there can be a lot of data and quite the big puzzle to put together. When first opening Google’s data interface, it can seem like a lot of information being thrown at you. But once you set up your goals, you will start to see the magic happen. You’ll learn where your audience is coming from, who they are, what their habits are, and so on. Here is a good reference for Google Analytics for Beginners, but we can also help answer any questions that you might have. 

As for social media, each platform improves upon their analytical composition constantly. Insights as to who is following you, the performance of your social media posts, and learning what your target audience craves are all examples of why analytics are important for social media. There is likely very valuable information in your social media analytics, it is just figuring out what is most important to your business that is key. 

Since this is just a quick reference, there are three things we suggest taking into account when learning how to read your analytics. Understanding your audience is critical as you need to know what they want and how you are going to respond to that. So let’s just briefly hit on the following topics to give a brief overview of what they are and how they help your business.

  • How do people reach your site?
  • What are they doing when they get there?
  • What is your conversion rate?

How Do People Reach Your Site?

Thanks to analytics, we can see how a user even came to find your website. Did they just do a random search on Google? Did they click one of your digital ads? Did they click a link on social media? Your analytics will tell you all of this information which can then help to determine what is working best for your target audience and where you need to be!

What Are Common Behaviors on Your Site?

Once someone is on your site, whether it is your website or social media, what are they doing? Your analytics will give you a glimpse into how much time someone is spending on your site, where they are going within your content, what are they clicking, where are they getting stuck, how much time are they spending on certain pages and so much more! All of these behaviors can help improve your website for your audience.

What is Your Conversion Rate?

And finally, likely the most important analytic that we all want, is what is your conversion rate. If multiple people are getting stuck on a certain page and leave the website, then it is a website problem, not a customer problem. If you start to see patterns of what website visitors are doing when they make a purchase, then it is rewarding to see what you are doing is working for your audience. You always want to make sure that whatever you are pushing, whether it is a product, service, sale, download, etc., that it is easily accessible to the viewer and they obtain their goal for coming to your website in the first place.

The Bottom Line

Analytics are not always easy to digest but they are essential. If you are just learning analytics, start with our three recommendations for what to check out first. Once you learn those, then you can keep diving deeper into more. If you are not working with a marketing team that provides clear and consistent analytics information, then contact us to chat about how we can help.

New Year, New Goals – The Strategy to Beat the Competition

Did this year fly by for everyone or was it just us? And now we have to look ahead to the next year and get everything situated. New rounds of holidays, new products, new stories to tell…what else can there be? That’s right, new strategies in place to beat the competition. Let’s face it. Selling, no matter what product or service, is hard. Money is tight for people, budgets are thinning and the extra spending money that we all once had is now being added to the grocery cart expenses. So that means as marketers, we need to strategize to find ways around those issues with our customers and to win their hearts over the competition. Take our advice and with some luck, you’ll be off to a great new year!

Focus on Your Audience

Find your target audience’s pain points – their needs, wants, desires. How do they want to feel, how do they want to solve the problem? Once you understand all of this, creating content to relate to or solve their problem becomes easier. This shouldn’t be anything new as it should always be about the customer. But thinking outside the box of what marketing typically is and switching gears to a more customer centric experience instead of convincing can help with engagement and success rates. Continuing to build a positive business culture will trickle down to excellent customer service and sales in the end.

Let the Customer Know Your Story

Your brand has a story – show it. People love to see more about the actual brand, who is behind it, and they seem to like when it is fun! If that is your brand’s style, go for it. Do your own target audience audit and see what they think of your brand and how they feel about it. Take a look at your competitors and what sets you apart from them. Even if you think you know what makes your brand unique, you might find something else when you are researching. Brands will need to be more inclusive, diverse, and connected to the actual people they are trying to reach. Customers are looking for a real-life business relationship with the products and services they use and trust. Allow them to get to know the in’s and out’s, the why and why not’s, and embrace the relationships that can stem from these budding kinships.

Be Real With Goal Setting

Do yourself a favor right off the bat and just set realistic goals. Only measurable goals that people can be accountable for. Think of it this way…take a walk back in time 12 months and see what your 2022 goals were. Did you reach those goals? If so, how can you tell? Are the results measurable or are they more of a, well…this happened because of this, so yes, we reached the goal. Be realistic and intentional this year. What will your key goals for 2023 focus on? Everyone has different goals, but they need to be realistic and measurable. If you can’t appropriately measure something, then maybe it shouldn’t be a goal. And there are also going to be numerous ways to measure certain goals. Whatever you find works best for you and provides the best outcome, then go for it. Set the baseline to whatever was reached in 2022 and then set practical goals for 2023. 

Content Still Wins in 2023

There can never be enough content in the business world. When you think there are enough social posts, create more. When you think you have written all that you can on a topic, figure out how to write more. And when you aren’t sure if you have written about something, just do it. Filling the gaps in content and then optimizing it is never a bad idea. Ask the question of why should your followers read your content versus the competitors? And don’t be afraid to repurpose current content that works for your audience. Popular posts can turn into blogs and vice versa – blogs can be split into separate posts. An audit of the content that you have should be done and somehow cataloged so when a topic is trending, you can easily do a search to see if any of your content hits on that topic. While you are doing your content audit, you’ll find which content topics were most popular, which distribution channel works best for you and drives the most traffic. Reuse and repurpose are key in the content world!

The Bottom Line

If your business needs a change, don’t be afraid to move full steam ahead with ideas. And if you need our help, we will be here able and willing to help. Just contact us and our team will be back in touch, ready to crush your goals for the new year.

Is Marketing Getting Lost In The Shuffle? Here’s How To Find It Again

A professor once said that marketing is fixing the problem with connecting the customer to the business. There is always a need, a want, a desire, a problem. If you can figure out reasons for the customer to need your business, then you can easily market it to them. This seems like common sense, but getting back to the basics of marketing might be getting lost in the shuffle. Think about how many advertisements you see in a day. Whether you are watching TV, listening to the radio or a podcast, looking at something on the internet and so on…advertising is everywhere. So how can your marketing be found in the flood of advertising? 

What’s In It For The Customer?

The market is saturated with similar products and services. It can be very competitive depending on what your business is. The best thing to always remember when marketing is how does it help the customer? Constantly talking about the product or service can just get boring. But saying how it helps the customer right off the bat can encourage the potential customer to keep reading to learn more about it. Here is a great example from ContentFirst Marketing.

Is Marketing Getting Lost In The Shuffle? Here’s How To Find It Again

Think about those old school infomercials. The ovens that cook turkeys in less time than others, the knives that can cut anything, or the ladder that extends higher than competitors but stores in smaller spaces. These always stood out because they were fixing a common problem customers could have. Potential customers saw value in the products. Stick to this way of thinking, and it will be a great way to build upon a campaign.

Stand Out Where Your Customers Are

Talk to any marketing professional and you will hear a different opinion of where your business should advertise or what platforms you should be present on. It seems like everyday a new social platform is born. It is nearly impossible to be present on all of them with a marketing strategy. And of course there are thousands of ways to reach potential customers, but figuring out where your target audience obtains their information would be a great place to start.

According to Seth Matlins, Forbes Staff, 3 out of every 4 brands could disappear in an instant with no one noticing or caring. That is a lot! That means those brands are not meeting a need, want, desire or solving a problem for their customers or there are too many competitors in the market. Within the same article, Seth mentions that almost 8 of every 10 searches on Amazon are by category, not brand. Customers aren’t searching for Suzy’s Honey but instead are searching for honey. When that search happens, thousands upon thousands of results of honey show up and Suzy’s Honey gets pushed to page 6, which hardly anyone ever gets to.

Instead of running around trying to be everywhere all at once, focus on maybe a couple of different places and do your best on those to market your product instead of just doing minimal efforts on many.

Start With The Basics

Many business owners and marketers are confusing tactics with strategies and strategies with objectives. In marketing, while copying something a competitor has done is flattering, it likely may not wind up working for you. Just because we think that we can jump straight in and copy the tactics others are using we likely won’t get the same results. Why? Even if something worked for them does not mean it will work for you.

Start with the basics again, even if you’ve already had successful campaigns. Go back to the problems your potential customers have and understand why they are having those problems and how your business can help them. Decide which group you are going to really focus on. Doing this can help narrow down your marketing strategy and help determine which niche your products fits in for this particular campaign. And finally, take a look at how this group buys something. What is their buying pattern? From step 1 of having a problem to step 2 of where they go to research how to solve their problem and step 3 of actually buying can help when deciding what kind of marketing you should do. Do your potential customers like to read, listen or watch a video? Do they like reviews? Do they like to go to a store to make a purchase or buy it online (if it is a product)? Do they like to call and speak to someone on the phone about a service or would they rather set up a meeting and speak face to face? So many questions but these can help get back to the basics.

The Bottom Line

Fundamental marketing may seem super boring and it may seem like you are leaving a lot of potential customers on the table if you aren’t marketing everywhere. However, the power of finding the right target market and the ways they buy, can work. Even the greatest and most expensive tactics fail. It isn’t about the amount of money or the size of the target market. It is, and always will be, about finding the right product or service for your clients.

What is a Marketing Agency and How Can We Help Your Business?

One of the most common questions we hear is, “How can we get the most bang for our buck,” when talking to potential clients. From small to very large companies, investing funds into marketing budgets can be a very hard decision to make simply because business-minded professionals want to maximize their return on investment. 

Working with a marketing agency can help boost confidence in finding the value of all aspects of marketing. From digital advertising to ghostwriting, to a full video production, a marketing agency can be a one-stop shop for all of those needs. Understanding how a marketing agency works, what they do and what services they can provide you is a great starting point to figuring out if working with an agency will be a good fit for you.

What Is A Marketing Agency?

Let’s start with an overview of Triple-Nine Digital. We are a full-service digital marketing agency centered on foundational marketing and run by technology. Our guarantee is to support you, your business and your team, and make you feel more relaxed with the marketing side of your business. What that all means is that we will help you with your marketing strategy, from whatever point you are at, to help you reach your goals. We help in whatever way is best for your business when it comes to implementing marketing strategies, solutions and evaluating results to reach your goals. 

Are Marketing Agencies Expensive?

Ultimately, your budget and needs will determine what is deemed expensive for your business. One of the best qualities of a marketing agency is that there is a whole team of professionals who work together to ensure your goals are met. When you figure out how much an account manager, writer, photographer, videographer, social media strategist, advertising specialist, and so on cost individually, you will likely find value in working with a marketing agency that employs all of them and gives you access to these professionals for a great price. 

Costs are always going to be different per client, per project, and per contract. They will also fluctuate depending on where you are located, the services provided (advertising campaigns are a great example) and what the goals are. 

Hiring a Marketing Agency

Now that you understand what it is that a marketing agency does, now you can research agencies in your area and start to interview them. We suggest working with a local agency so that you can have face-to-face meetings, they will understand your target audience better (if you are a local company) and will have a better reach with local advertising and media efforts. However, that doesn’t mean that a local agency can’t help with a business that is nationwide. Ask each agency how they can handle this for you.

When reaching out to the agencies, have a list of projects that you are interested in having services for. An example would be that you’d like a redesign of your website, monthly social media, and monthly advertising. Some agencies may ask what your advertising budget is and others may suggest a budget based on what they believe will help you to reach your goals.

Agencies should do some of their own research on your company to learn about your business, where they can see ways you can improve immediately, short term and long term in the marketing world, how they can help you to do this, and what your competitors are doing. 

After your initial meeting with the agencies, you will be sent proposals for marketing and/or brand management services based on your initial conversation and their assessment of your brand. This is a good time to compare and contrast, look at how they match services to your needs. Have they addressed your initial goals and concerns? What is their commitment to your success? 

Depending on the services you want, you may not have met the people you would actually be working with at the initial meeting. If you think you want to move forward with an agency, you can ask to have another meeting with the team you would be working with so you can meet them and see if they are a good fit for your business. Meeting with the team as a whole can give you a really good idea of what it is like to work with an agency. 

Can A Marketing Agency Help Your Business?

We like to pride ourselves on having multiple professionals with different focuses on our team that can help you reach your goals. Finding one person that can handle every aspect of your marketing strategy, plus day-to-day business operations, and do everything well, might be hard to find. But outsourcing this work to a marketing team that has years of experience under their belts is going to help you. Offloading your marketing from your table can allow you to focus on what you want to with your business, especially if marketing isn’t your forte. 

The Bottom Line

If you are ready to start conversations with a marketing agency, and are local to the Spokane area, we suggest contacting us. Let’s chat about the services you are interested in and how we can work together to create the best marketing strategy for your business.

A Look Into the Future – Possible Social Trends for 2023

It is hard to believe that 2022 is almost over. Not that we are rushing it away, but this last business quarter is a great time to reflect on what has been working on social media for your business and what ideas you may want to consider tackling in 2023. Take a look into our crystal ball with us to try to predict some social trends for the future. It may be worth paying attention to these so your next year is amazing!

Word of Mouth Influencer Marketing

You head to the grocery store and see a new product on the shelf. You look at the package, read whatever it says, but put it back on the shelf because you just aren’t sure if you are going to like it or not and don’t want to spend the money if it is going straight to the trash.

You go to a birthday party and see that same product in their pantry. So, you start asking around, “Hey, are those chips good?” and the feedback is positive. They all like the chips! So, the next time you head to the grocery store, you purchase a bag, simply because when you asked, people liked them so you thought you would too!

Influencing an audience with trustworthy people isn’t anything new, but it is in our faces more than ever. Obviously, we can’t predict who is going to talk to who about a certain product, but we can push the product and information about it to our audiences with positive influencers. Celebrities, athletes, performers, etc., are all over social media pushing whatever product to their target audience because they are a trustworthy influencer. 

As a business, pay attention to influencers in your industry. Take the time to get to know them, their brand, their audience and see if it would be a good fit for your product too. Turning an influencer into a brand ambassador for your business can have a huge impact with long-term results.

999- Blog header - A Look Into the Future - Possible Social Trends for 2023Short Videos Will Be Huge

Tik-Tok length videos are huge. They are now all over Instagram and Facebook too! Unfortunately, a lot of us have the attention span of a snail. No one has the time to watch 5-minute-long videos. But we can scroll through 15 second videos for 5 minutes. How does that work!? It is because each video is different, offers something new, and connects with the audience on several different levels. 

Traditional photo and caption posts are slowly dying. More attention is being given to video, which isn’t new, but audiences continue to crave information this way. 

So, for next year, plan to record whatever is going on. Own a restaurant? Record your chef making something. Edit it into several different 15 second videos and post it. Own a retail store? Record your merchandise and edit it into fun and engaging short videos. Don’t know how to edit or don’t have the time? We can help!

Live Videos Will Transform Social Media

If it isn’t a 15 second short video, then it is going to be lives dominating our social feeds. Lives allow for viewers to have the ultimate experience with whoever at a business, or maybe even an influencer like we mentioned earlier, with potential for conversation right then and there. 

Surprisingly, long live videos are fine as compared to uploaded longer video content. Seems like apples to apples but it is the live feature that makes the video unique. And if users are jumping on to watch a live, then whatever network it is being shared on will see the uptick in viewers, thus realizing it is good content, pushing it out even more.

Grab your target audience’s attention with a live video when you are at an event, when your store is running a special and you want to show the special off, go live when you want to make a special announcement or just go live and say ask me whatever you want! People love to go behind the scenes and see how something is made or work in progress. Lives can allow for that to become a reality!

The Bottom Line

Nothing is ever set in stone. If something works for you on social media, you can keep on doing it. Don’t be afraid to give something new a try. Your target audience will need to be trained to look for these new things, so don’t get frustrated if a live video doesn’t have a lot of viewers right away. It is new to them just like it is new to you! Leverage the resources and knowledge you have on your team, but reach out to us should you need new ideas.

Can You Leave A Google My Business Review Without a Gmail Account?

Google My Business (GMB) is a bit of a gem in the business world. Google, a giant in the tech game, has their fingers in all aspects of the universe (or at least it seems). With a Google account, you have access to all of the Google products: Gmail, Ads, YouTube, access to log into sites with autofill and so on. However, if you don’t have a Google Account, no big deal, except you once were missing out on the ability to leave a review with Google My Business. Not now! While it is much easier to leave a review with a Google account, there is a work around to leave a review for your favorite (or not so favorite) business. Here’s how!

Step 1 & 2: Click The Review Link

Hop on over to Google, search for the Google Business Profile that you’d like to leave a review for and find the area that has some reviews already posted. Click there, then click Write A Review. 

Can You Leave A Google My Business Review Without a Gmail Account?Can You Leave A Google My Business Review Without a Gmail Account?

Step 3: Create An Account

If you do not have a Google account, click on create account, then select “For my personal use”.

Can You Leave A Google My Business Review Without a Gmail Account?

Step 4 & 5: Use Your Current Email Address

Make sure to select “Use my current email address instead”, then fill in your information. As always, use a secure password when creating your account. 

Can You Leave A Google My Business Review Without a Gmail Account?Can You Leave A Google My Business Review Without a Gmail Account?

Step 6 & 7: Verify It and Agree

Google will send you a verification email. Verify that, then continue to fill in the required information. Read through and accept Google Privacy and Terms, then…

Can You Leave A Google My Business Review Without a Gmail Account?Can You Leave A Google My Business Review Without a Gmail Account?

Step 8: Leave A Review

Now you can leave your review without a Google account! Adding photos if you have them is always great, whether it is a positive or negative review. 

Can You Leave A Google My Business Review Without a Gmail Account?

The Bottom Line

We understand that not everyone has a Google account. Hopefully this work around will help those who do not and allow for more reviews to be left for businesses. It is helpful for others to read about your experiences so they can continue to research and make an informed choice. It is also great for a business to hear about your experience – whether it is good or bad!