How to see the signs that your marketing efforts need help.
For a small business, every expense matters, which is why it isn’t always easy to fork over the cash for advertising expenses. But a time will come when you may need to take marketing efforts from in-house to one advertising agency.
Ad hoc marketing materials are clouding your message.
Christie Summervill, CEO of compensation consulting company BalancedComp in Wichita, Kan., had a good-looking website, but when it came to Web traffic, there was much to be desired. The reason? The copy on her website wasn’t helping it land high on search engine results pages.
To make matters worse, the copy wasn’t always clear. “I’d get so excited about something wordy I had written, and my staff would turn me down every time,” she says. “It was exhausting and frustrating.”
Summervill turned to an agency to solve her dilemma. They asked several questions about her company and her goals, which helped develop her brand voice. This voice allowed the agency to consistently align Summervill’s Web copy with her goals, and it kept messages more clear.
The agency also performed brand stacking, a search engine optimization (SEO) technique, to help Summervill’s company’s website land atop search engine results’ pages. For example, with brand stacking, the brand name is placed at the end of a title tag—the copy that appears on the results page.
“This all helped us create our Website 2.0,” Summervill says. “We have a great blog now that we promote on LinkedIn where we discuss compensation, and we have seen such an increase in our website traffic.”
Too many agencies can create time management issues.
Active Screening, a 50-employee Tampa company that provides background screenings for human resource departments, had long known the value vendors bring to marketing efforts. It had spent years working with multiple marketing consultants. Each focused on specific advertising efforts such as graphic design, Web development, SEO or social media.
But for the busy small business owner looking for outside help, relying on one multifaceted agency may be the best option.
Brad Snellings, Active Screening’s chief marketing officer, spent too much time coordinating with contractors who had competing agendas and timeframes—and not enough time focusing on advertising itself, he says. “These individuals were all experts in their fields, but this sourcing strategy left us without the benefit of a cohesive, consistent and manageable presence we knew an ad agency could provide.”
Instead, Active Screening recently hired a single advertising agency to produce all of its marketing efforts. Doing so has allowed Snellings to work with one single point of contact and obtain a unified vision for all ad materials.
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