Recently, as the owner of a digital marketing agency with an SEO (search engine optimization) specialty who is always looking to improve on the SEO services we offer our clients, I signed up for a subscription to “Answer The Public.” I had learned about the tool via a free webinar offered by Neil Patel, a digital marketing expert I greatly admire and follow on LinkedIn, and one of Neil’s colleagues. The aforementioned tool allows you to see what questions individuals are asking related to the products, services, and solutions to problems that your organization offers, and to see how frequently, for a particular geography, individuals are searching Google for answers to those questions.
I’ve already used the tool numerous times with various clients to inform FAQs (frequently asked questions) on their websites, as well as topics for future blog posts. And, of course, I plan to use the tool to inform future blog posts for Results C & R too.
The data available via “Answer The Public” is so in keeping with the blog post we wrote last year about the algorithm change Google shared about placing greater emphasis on “helpful content” when determining which organizations’ websites to serve up high in search results for relevant queries.
When thinking about what to write about “Answer The Public,” the song below came to mind because isn’t that what helpful content, and answering the questions people want answered, all about? Giving people what they want and need?
Reach Out To Talk About Your Marketing Challenges and Opportunities and How Our SEO Services Might Address Them
I always love a great marketing and communications brainstorm, so reach out today to talk about your awareness-, sales-, and service-engagement- challenges. I’ll always give you an honest evaluation of whether I believe your organization would benefit from pull marketing tactics (like organic and paid SEO), push marketing tactics (like social media advertising), or both. Use my calendar app to schedule a complimentary discussion at a day and time that’s convenient for you, or e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Our Boston Digital Marketing and SEO Services Company’s History
When we hung our shingle for our Boston digital marketing agency 9 years ago, via the launch of this website (April 2014), we had no idea what lay ahead of us. I say “we” because at the time I launched this firm, I knew I’d be able to call on a couple of family members to help me if needed, particularly my wonderful sister-in-law, Sharon, who served as both a cheerleader and a “tasker.” Sadly, our family lost Sharon a number of years ago to cancer, but I strongly believe she continues to cheer me on and has caused many good things to happen on the work front for Results Communications & Research.
I won’t repeat what I’ve shared on other pages or blog posts on our site, but if you want to learn more about my and my digital marketing firm’s journey or the diverse nature of the clients we’ve had the great privilege to serve, check these pages and posts out!
Google Nonprofit Ad Grants
As I call out in this previous blog post about which type of marketing agency or consulting firm to hire, no marketing agency or PR firm can be all things to all people, or be good at all things! So, as our agency has evolved over the years, our team has put many of our energies and learning time into becoming the best possible SEO experts for our clients — helping them be found on Google and in other search engines for high-volume, relevant search terms, via both paid search (Google Ads) tactics and organic search tactics. We’re proud of the very favorable reputation we’ve developed in the Greater Boston area (and beyond) related to the aforementioned, but we’re particularly proud that we have helped numerous nonprofit/cause/charitable organizations apply for and obtain Google Nonprofit Ad Grants and/or optimize such a Grant that they obtained for themselves.
Google Nonprofit Ad Grants are very generous “Google search” online advertising grants that support nonprofits appearing at the top of Google search results for relevant search terms — also known as keywords — used by their target audiences. Ultimately, such advertising creates greater awareness of the organization and their services, and eventually, greater support of and advocacy for the organization’s mission.
As our 9th anniversary approached, I gave great thought to how we could celebrate it in a meaningful way. We’re all about giving back and paying it forward, anyhow, but we wanted to do something to express our gratitude to all who have helped us along the way in our business-building journey!
I really wish we could extend the following opportunity to all nonprofits that inquire about it, but one of our many blessings related to being in business for nine years is that we have an extremely full plate and have for a number of years now. Again, we want to thank all our marketing collaborators and our clients for that — so many of you have been great about making referrals and/or sub-contracting work.
So, here’s the opportunity:
If you are a U.S. nonprofit wanting & needing help applying for a Google Nonprofit Ad Grant, e-mail me, by April 30, 2023, to express your need and desire for help with the Google Nonprofit Ad Grant application process at email@example.com and put “May Google Nonprofit Ad Grant Drawing” in the subject line. In May, I’ll randomly select two names from the list of entries we receive and we’ll work with your organization on a pro bono (complimentary/free) basis to help you apply for — and hopefully obtain — a Google Nonprofit Ad Grant. Keep in mind that if your organization is not certified as a 501(c)(3) organization or you are a government agency or health care provider (think hospital, physician, etc.) or an educational organization like a college or university, you will NOT qualify for a Google Nonprofit Ad Grant.
We Can’t Wait!
We can’t wait to see what’s down the road for our Boston SEO company! If we continue to be as blessed as we have been, it means we’ll have the great fortune to continue to meet exceptional business owners, entrepreneurs, nonprofit organizations, and marketers and to collaborate with them to make great things happen on many fronts!
Learn More About Our Google Nonprofit Ad Grant Services And Nonprofit Clients Whose Google Ad Grants We’ve Managed
Since our blog here at Results C & R focuses on marketing, but still covers one of our passions — walking — once in a while, we’ve been giving some thought to how we can combine two of our favorite topics in one blog post. Therefore, we’ve been noodling what walking and SEO have in common. And, here’s what we’ve come up with.
Staying In Shape and SEO Both Require Consistency
As it should, regularly posting content that is helpful and relevant to the target audiences your organization serves continues to greatly support your website and Google My Business profile being found and ranking well on Google. We recommend putting up new, fresh contentat least twice a month. The aforementioned can take the form of a new blog post, a relevant FAQ, or some other type of website page. You can also support ranking well by simply updating existing content, including blog posts. The same goes for walking, or whatever exercise or athletic activity (or a combination of several) you choose to do to get and stay in shape. Exercising regularly and consistently is the only way to get and stay in shape.
Staying In Shape And SEO Both Require Patience
Unless they have an SEO expert on their internal team who has advised them otherwise, many organizations believe — until they meet with an organization like our Boston SEO company — that after implementing a few on-page and off-page SEO tactics on their website, that their site will immediately start ranking/be found on the first page of Google. As we discuss in this blog post about what to know before you engage someone for SEO services, that’s just not a realistic expectation, particularly if your organization’s marketplace is a very competitive one and you have competitors who effectively employ SEO tactics to support ranking well. It’s a slow, long climb to go from NOT ranking well in search results to ranking on the first two pages of Google for desirable, high-volume terms used by your target audiences to find someone who offers the products, services, and solutions to problems you do, and it requires great patience.
We’ve found the same goes for staying in shape. It takes time to build up stamina to walk or run longer and longer distances, or to walk or run faster. The key to success is to remain patient and slowly increase the distance you walk and the speed/pace at which you walk. The same analogy applies to other forms of exercise, of course!
Staying In Shape And SEO Are Both Life-long Games
Staying in shape and ranking well/being found on Google are both long games, as we explained above, but also life-long games. In addition to it taking you a while to get to where you want to be, if you don’t keep up with your regular, ongoing exercise and continue to implement tactics on your website to support SEO (and particularly the tactic of regularly adding fresh, relevant content to your site), you’re going to eventually forfeit any forward motion/gains you’ve made.
Staying In Shape And SEO Often Require Support From A Partner
Whether it be sticking to an exercise routine or related to obtaining an athletic goal (like completing a marathon), or staying on track with executing SEO best practices; sometimes, you just need an accountability partner to keep you motivated to stay the course.
The team at our Boston SEO company is always here to serve as a cheerleader and accountability partner related to continuing to rank well/be found on Google. But, we’ll also gladly cheer you on related to your walking goals and other health initiatives! So, reach out today or use our calendar app to schedule a complimentary discussion about your challenges and opportunities. We’re “cheer” for you!
A former manager of mine used to say I was a great “bird dogger.” Believe me, it took some painful lessons to realize that just because I assumed co-workers were moving time-sensitive/critical-path work forward, it didn’t mean they were. Sometimes, particularly when you are just starting out in the corporate work world, you need to get “bitten” a few times, to acquire and employ new skills.
Getting back to the bird dogging. At our Boston-area digital marketing agency and SEO company, we believe that any and all marketing agencies and marketing consultants should serve as both strategic partners and accountability partners. Read on to learn why it’s so critical to sales, marketing, and SEO success, and to assess whether or not your marketing agency or consultant serves as both types of partners.
Why Your Marketing Agency Must Be A Strategic Partner
Whether you’re a small business owner with no marketing staff and you’ve outsourced your marketing strategy and/or your hands-on marketing work to a marketing agency or consultant, or you’re a mid-sized business that has a small in-house marketing team, it’s likely you and your team are far too busy to stay on top of cutting-edge marketing tactics and tools. Particularly as pertains to digital marketing, available opportunities/tactics change constantly, and there are such a large number of broad digital marketing categories (as indicated on our digital marketing services website page), that it would be impossible for you and your team to be experts in all available digital marketing topics, like SEO, social media advertising, Google Ads, etc.
I’ve mentioned this numerous times in blog posts and on Results C & R’s website pages, but when I launched my digital marketing agency and SEO company in 2014, I launched it with this tagline and philosophy: “Maximizing Results Through Research-Supported Marketing.” I always say I will never encourage an existing or prospective client to begin or continue with a marketing tactic that doesn’t make sense for them, based on secondary or primary data. That’s why I regularly ask prospective clients to let me look at their Google Analytics data before they engage me for work, and that’s why, for many of my clients, I track their digital marketing KPIs on a monthly basis and review results with them. Then, we talk about implications and what tactics we’ll put in place/what steps we’ll take to try to move the sales, inquiries, engagement, etc. (conversions) needle by the next time we meet. Often, it’s tiny steps, but steps we think make sense even if they only lead to slow progress as far as conversions go. Progress is progress, right?
Ask Yourself The Following To Determine If Your Marketing Agency Is A Strategic Partner:
Does your marketing agency document the above results/analysis and meet with you and your team regularly to review implications?
Does your marketing agency try to learn on your dime — therefore, are they charging you for the time they spend on educating themselves on a new marketing tactic, tool, or opportunity? They shouldn’t.
Does your marketing agency let you know if there is something you aren’t doing right and/or could be handling better on the marketing front, regardless of whether they are doing work for you related to it?
Does your marketing agency let you know when they don’t think a particular marketing tactic/opportunity is the right fit for your organization?
Does your marketing agency only recommend services they themselves offer, or will they recommend services/opportunities from which you’d benefit, even if it means they need to collaborate with/pull in another expert or strategic partner or refer you to somebody else?
Is your marketing agency regularly recommending new possible marketing opportunities to you?
Related to the above bullet, do you get the sense that your marketing agency wants to use you as a “guinea pig” to try out the latest-fad marketing activity or tool, even if it might not be the right fit for your organization? If so, that’s certainly not a win-win situation!
Why Your Marketing Agency Needs To Be Your Accountability Partner
So, here’s the questions you should ask to determine whether or not your marketing agency or consultant is a true accountability partner and the real tie-in to bird dogging reference at the beginning of this post.
If your marketing agency needs you to review something or provide information to move their work for you forward, do they reach out regularly for status updates and to remind you to ensure critical deadlines are met?
Does your marketing agency send you an e-mail after a meeting documenting what work you or your team are responsible for completing before your next meeting?
When your marketing agency senses that you are unable (for a variety of reasons) to review documents, provide information to inform their work for you, or complete hands-on work yourself, do they reach out and offer to help or to talk you thru what’s needed via a phone or Zoom call? Do, they do the aforementioned on a timely basis so that time-sensitive deadlines and deliverables are met?
I was talking with fellow marketing consultants this week and shared this famous line from the movie Jerry Maguire related to effective client-agency relationships, i.e., working collaboratively to move work forward, both successfully and efficiently: “Help Me, Help You.”
Does Your Marketing Agency Act Like Part Of Your Team?
Ultimately to determine if your existing marketing agency or marketing consultant or a prospective one is the right fit, in addition to the strategic-partner and accountability-partner questions above, you should ask yourself, does my agency treat me with respect and like a partner. Do I feel like my agency is as committed or even more committed than I am to my organization’s success? Does may agency feel like part of our team, and in some ways like family? Meaning, they’d do anything for you to help you succeed and only want the best for you?
I hope and believe that clients or prospective clients asking themselves any of the many questions outlined above arrive at answers that make them confident that the Results C & R team is both a strategic and an accountability partner and that we have our clients’ best interests are at the heart of everything we do!
If you want your organization’s website to be served up in what’s called “The Local Pack” or “The Map Pack (see image at bottom of post),” the first one-time step you have to take if you haven’t already done so, is to set up a Google My Business Profile/Google Search & Maps listing.
How To Set Up Your Google My Business Profile
If you don’t have access to your Google Maps listing or your organization isn’t shown at all on Google Maps, type the address of your organization including any Suite # into your browser or Google; then click on the red dot showing your location. Then, follow prompts to request creation, or take ownership of, the Google Maps listing.
Once Google has verified you as the owner of the Profile, make sure you fill in as many of the fields in your new Google My Business profile as you can to make it comprehensive and more likely to be served up by Google, particularly: service areas, business categories, and hours of operation. And, don’t forget to complete the “Info. from the business” section. That’s where you tell potential searchers what your organization is all about. Lastly, as part of managing your online reputation, you’ll want to remember to ask happy customers to provide a “Google review” and to make the time to respond to ALL comments in a professional manner that shows your organization cares about customer satisfaction. Our Boston digital marketing agency offers “reputation management” services and can help make sure you handle the aforementioned marketing activity effectively.
How To Rank Well Locally/For Local Search Phrases
But, the focus on this blog post is not about initially setting up your Google My Business profile. It’s s about the ongoing step/ activity to support your organization being served up among the top three spots in “The Local Pack (or top four if Google includes an advertiser’s listing (ear-marked by Google as being an “Ad”)) for “near me,” “where to buy,” and similar local-in-nature search phrases that searchers enter into Google’s search engine. And that ongoing step/activity is to regularly add updates about your organization to your profile the same way you share them regularly to social media platforms.
Repurpose Social Media Posts On Your Google My Business Profile
As indicated above, an easy way to come up with, and add content to your Google My Business Profile, is to simply post already-created content to your profile at the same time you are posting it to the social media networks in which your organization participates.
See examples of updates we recently added to our Boston SEO company’s own Google My Business Profile at the bottom of the image below (taken from our own Profile), or enter “Results Communications & Research” into Google to call up our Profile and view the updates yourself/in greater detail.
Help Setting Up Or Managing Your Google My Business Profile
Need help setting up or optimizing/effectively managing your Google My Business profile. The team of SEO experts at Results Communications & Research is here to help, so please reach out!
Learn More About Our One-Time and Ongoing SEO Services And How We Might Help Your Organization
While our Boston digital marketing agency doesn’t normally build websites for clients, we regularly advise our clients about what content management systems (CMS)/website platforms they should consider when launching a new website. We’ve also project managed the RFP/RFI process for several clients to arrive at the best-fit web developer and platform for a new site build. In addition, we often provide recommendations to clients for expert developers in various CMS with whom we’ve had the good fortunate to collaborate. One such collaborator and true partner is Robin Clapp at Web Design by Robin.
By working closely and collaboratively with Robin on the execution of SEO tactics on numerous mutual clients’ Joomla websites, we’ve gotten to know the many benefits to an organization of building and managing their website on Joomla. We’ve found it easy ourselves to use the tool to add new posts to resource/blog/news/articles sections of sites; plus, enter post title tags that support websites being found on Google for relevant high-volume keywords.
And, thru the results of SEO audits we conduct, we’ve become confident that, like WordPress and other sites built on non-drag-n-drop platforms, Joomla sites tend to rank well in Google when the proper SEO tactics are put in place. But, we’re letting Robin take it from here by sharing her thoughts below about why it’s a mistake not to consider Joomla as a website platform option when launching a new site.
From Guest Blogger, Robin Clapp, Web Design By Robin
While networking lately, I’ve been asked repeatedly, “What platform do you design websites on?” The reaction to my answer is confusion. They had never heard of Joomla. That’s okay! I don’t necessarily expect business owners to know all about website technology. So I put together these highlights to help them understand what Joomla is and why it is an excellent choice for a business website.
What Is Joomla and Why Should I Choose It For My Business Website?
What is Joomla and why should I choose it for my business website?
Joomla is the ideal Content Management System (CMS) platform for businesses and companies with websites with numerous pages and continuous content updates and additions.
At Web Design by Robin we have been designing custom websites in Joomla for 15+ years. Using extensive website development knowledge and years of experience developing websites in Joomla, each design is a custom experience tailored to your specific needs. Joomla provides a secure login and the ability to add, change, and remove content.
Benefits Of Using the Joomla Platform For Your New Website Include:
Joomla is a free, open-source content management system for publishing web content. Joomla is free and open-source because a community, not a company, owns it. The nonprofit organization, Open Source Matters, Inc. and the Joomla community develop the Joomla platform code where skilled Joomla specialists can design top-of-the-line websites.
Website content is template-agnostic. In the Joomla platform, content is created natively as individual elements. The template, in our case, a custom-designed template, is independent of the content, allowing for a design change while keeping the content as is.
Joomla has powerful role management and permissions built-in. This is useful if you have a variety of staff roles and responsibilities or tasks that they need to perform in relation to the website.
Content can be customized using custom fields. Custom fields include content and options such as video, audio, links, and images. Content can be categorized, tagged, searched, and sorted. All this is native to Joomla, making it an excellent solution for resource-heavy websites.
SEO metadata is easy to access and maintain in Joomla. Add your titles, descriptions, and alt tags in the same place you add your content. Joomla makes it easy.
Joomla is the leading platform when it comes to accessibility. If you choose accessibility for your website design, maintaining accessible content is easy going forward using Joomla’s built-in accessibility checker.
As we mentioned in this recent blog post, there’s so much discussion going on right now about whether or not, and how soon, AI (artificial intelligence) will impact how search engines like Google determine what websites, Google My Business Profiles/Google Search & Maps listings, or other digital properties to serve up in search results.
We think, now more than ever, it’s important to return to why the internet, via which individuals are able to access various digital properties, was first launched. Certainly and initially, the internet was created to allow for easier sharing of information. We believe that, regardless of the decade in which we find ourselves living and working, websites and other digital properties should still continue to support the internet’s initial mission, and therefore, focus on the target audiences they serve and what information those target audiences expect to find on the online property in-question. Plus, focus on what information would be most helpful to those audiences.
Two Best Practices For Digital Information Sharing That Also Support SEO
So, what are two practices that are critical to effective information sharing that also support SEO (search engine optimization)/being found on Google?
Provide the best User Experience (UX) by not overthinking, and being real and being honest about who your organization is and the services your offer. While you want external organizations to link to your site, don’t offer compensation for sites to do so. Google recognizes when the connection between organizations is forced vs. real and natural. In addition, don’t just write for SEO. Tell a good story, get people talking about you, be newsworthy, etc. Write about the things that matter most to you and your customers.
BE FRESH. Keep your website and any other digital property’s content fresh by continuing to produce and share new, content relevant to both your organization and your target audiences. Visitors to your online properties aren’t going to return if there’s no new information to be gleaned from your site, and Google and other search engines are way more likely to serve up a competitor site for relevant search terms (keywords) if that competitor site has fresher, newer content. What’s an easy way to keep your content fresh? Create and post a bi-weekly or monthly blog post!
Even if the two digital information principles/best practices above are all you have time to attend to due to limited staff, time, or $, barring any kind of technical issues with your digital properties, as Boston digital marketing experts offering SEO services, we believe you’ll be well positioned to be found on Google by the people you want most to find you. Plus, you’ll be supporting the internet’s original mission to share beneficial information effectively!
Don’t Have Time To Ensure Your Website Content Is Authentic Or Fresh?
Regardless of the nature of the search engine — Google, Yahoo, Bing, etc. — search engines do not yet have the Artificial Intelligence (AI) that they would need to have to be bestowed the title of “interpreter.” We’ve found at our Boston SEO company that many people who aren’t digital marketers, or particularly who aren’t SEO experts, don’t truly understand that search engines still don’t take a lot of leaps of faith. They don’t make a lot of assumptions either.
Per this “Search Engine Land” article, the above scenario will certainly change over time as search engines continue to add more AI knowledge and capabilities to their tools. But, for now, we think what have recently been considered to be SEO best practices, are still best SEO practices, including the one discussed directly below.
Why You Need To Tell Search Engines What Problems Your Organization Solves And In What Geography
Let’s say your organization offers “nutrition counseling.” Most people understand that there is a very diverse set of reasons why people who engage a nutrition counselor may do so. Some may be looking for help losing weight, others may have food allergies and are looking for food substitution ideas, still others may be looking for a diet that helps them manage their digestive issues or one that provides more energy.
In the above case, if an organization offering nutrition counseling does not specifically call out in their website content and/or behind-the-scenes meta page and post title tags that their services provide solutions to the aforementioned problems/challenges, search engines, like Google, will be unlikely to serve up their website in organic search results to people searching on terms like “how to lose weight, “help for losing weight,” “weight loss programs,” “weight loss counselor,” “help for food allergies,” “diet to manage my digestive issues,” etc. You get the picture.
As discussed above, our belief is that, while AI models/tools like ChatGPT may interpret, assume, and take some leaps of faith, standard search engines don’t and won’t to any significant degree. At least not in the near future. As this website content by the developer of the ChatGPT model openly reveals (scroll to “Limitations” section of page), there are still numerous limitations with AI models, and we think both consumers and businesses will continue to pose questions to search engines via voice or typed queries (vs. a tool like ChatGPT) for quite some time. Therefore, we think search engines will continue to be around for a long, long time, and website content and tags will still need to spell out to them exactly what services, products, and solutions an organization offers and in what geography it does so.
Reach Out To Our Team Of SEO Experts For Help
As stated above, we believe current SEO best practices will remain so for the foreseeable future. By visiting the Ponderings section of our website. and scrolling down to the “Categories” section, you can search on blog posts about SEO to learn just what some of those best practices are, but our team is always here to help you understand and implement them.
Back in the days when I worked at BMC HealthNetPlan, I got great satisfaction completing the marketing & communications tasks associated with my role pertaining to “wellness.” I’ve always been someone who liked to exercise, particularly, play tennis, swim, go to the gym, and walk. Those who know me well, know that various health circumstances have gotten in the way of my being able to participate in some of the aforementioned athletic activities, but I hopefully I’ll always have my walking! Anyhow, because I was a big believer in the mental and physical health benefits of getting exercise, I felt blessed and happy to be able to share wellness tips, tools, and information with members of BMC HealthNet Plan’s health plan, as well as with prospective members.
I loved creating wellness-related flyers that the health plan’s Community Outreach team could give out at events, and I was particularly passionate about sharing that same information in the form of an advertorial for the now defunct “Boston Metro” newspaper. In addition, I maintained a section on the health plan’s website about “exercising for a cause.” On the website page, I would list various upcoming charity/cause exercise events like walks, hikes, bikes, runs, etc. I’ve always felt that such events are win-wins. The participant gets great exercise and has fun participating in the event with family or friends that they recruit to join them, and the cause/charity gets the much needed research or other funds they need to operate, as well as the benefit of awareness creation.
Mike McKenna’s Walk Across America For NECC
If you follow our Boston Digital Marketing Agency’s blog and read it regularly, you’ll know that I divide my time talking about “walking” topics and “marketing” topics. This particular post is obviously walking-related, and I’m using it to call attention to the extensive, creative, and significant “cause walk” that a friend and former co-worker from BCBSMA days is undertaking. As you’ll see from reading this article, my friend, Mike McKenna, is “walking across America” to create awareness of the challenges faced by individuals living with Autism, as well as their families, but also to fundraise to support the very important work of, and critical services offered by, the New England Center For Children (NECC).
So all those who walk, ride, bike, hike, etc. for a cause, we say “exercise on!” You are doing God’s work!
My Upcoming Cause Walk
I’m continuing to walk the above talk. This month I’ll be walking in Winter Walk Boston, and as I have for the last five or six years, I’ll be captaining my Jimmy Fund Walk team to raise awareness of the challenges of living with cancer and to create cancer research funds. Please consider joining me on one of these walks, and of course, any donations are always welcomed!
Important Update (afternoon of 2/7/23): So, literally within an hour of my publishing this post, I learned Mike had to put his walk on hold because of health concerns, but he assures me, he will still achieve his mission, even if his cross-country journey has to take a new form! Please continue to support NECC in the meantime!
Regardless of the size of your organization, it can be confusing to figure out what type of marketing agency or marketing consultant to hire to help you create awareness, and ultimately cause sales of your products, services, and solutions. The ability to market digitally/electronically — that came with wide-spread adoption of the internet — brought with it the following changes when it came to organizations engaging outside help for their marketing (outsourcing their marketing), whether it be for one-off/one-time work or ongoing work.
How Digital Marketing Leveled The Playing Field For Both Advertisers and Ad Agencies
Organizations who couldn’t afford the high costs associated with producing TV, radio, transit, or outdoors (billboards or other) advertising, found new, more affordable marketing activities were now available to them in the form of social media posting and advertising, tactics that support websites being found on Google and other search engines for desirable search phrases (organic search tactics/SEO tactics), paid search engine ads/marketing (SEM), e-blast and e-mail marketing, and more.
Since many organizations looking for marketing help no longer required the infrastructure and diverse skillsets associated with marketing tactics that involved large production activities and costs, some realized they no longer needed to hire a full-service large advertising agency — think the type of agency featured in the acclaimed TV series, “Mad Men,” or on “BeWitched,” as smaller marketing shops, like ours, could meet their digital marketing needs and/or traditional marketing needs related to activities that don’t require a lot of production, such as Public Relations (PR), or print advertising.
How To Figure Out What Type Of Marketing Firm To Hire And Questions To Ask
Branding and Design Firm. A firm that refers to themselves as a branding/brand and design firm primarily focuses on helping you figure out the look and feel of your brand, including the logo, colors, and graphic elements that will be associated with your brand. They usually offer website design services, but not always. And, some do offer other digital marketing or traditional marketing services thru collaborations or partnerships with digital marketing agencies, advertising agencies, or marketing consultants, or marketing freelancers. So, if you know you will need particular digital and/or traditional marketing services after working with the branding firm to develop or execute a new brand identify for you, ask in advance if they offer those services, so you will know whether you will have the burden of hunting around after for someone to help with traditional and digital marketing services — particularly to drive traffic to any new site you engage them to design for you.
Digital Marketing Agency. Digital marketing agencies tend to offer both higher-level strategic planning services, as well as hands-on/execution services, related to any marketing tactic that is digital or electronic related, including: e-blast/e-mail strategy and execution services, social media strategy and voice (actually writing and scheduling of social media posts), online advertising (social media/display advertising, Google Ads or other search engine advertising), blog strategy and voice work (actually writing and posting of blogs to your website), and search engine optimization (SEO) strategies. Most will offer content marketing services as well to help you figure out what content your target audiences are most interested in, and an editorial calendar for serving up such content on your website. Website content writing services likely will be available as well.
Marketing Consultant. In the almost nine years since we launched Results C & R, we’ve met a large number of marketing consultants. The degree to which they offer hands-on/execution work vs. developing high-level strategic plans tends to really vary. Some offer a number of hands-on services, in addition to helping you develop a strategic marketing plan, while others don’t do the actual marketing tactic execution work. If your organization has a number of internal marketing people who can actually oversee or execute the marketing plan developed by a consultant, a marketing consultant may be just what and all that you need.
Public Relations Firm/PR Firm. The focus of public relations firms is to get your organization unpaid-for-advertising/marketing. By helping your organization develop a strategy for causing various reporters and media to cover your story, they help your organization get mentions and attention without the cost of an expensive advertising campaign. PR firms also tend to offer event planning services since an event may be the perfect way to create awareness of your organization and/or create good will among your target audiences. Keep in mind that if you only need help with putting on an event vs. getting regular/ongoing press coverage, you could consider hiring an event planning firm. Many event planning firms also have experience getting media/reporter coverage for an event as well.
In general, the biggest overlap between a digital marketing agency and a Public Relations firm is that they both tend to offer social media services, since social media posts — particularly organic vs. paid/boosted social media posts — can help to generate good will and create awareness of an organization’s products, services, and solutions.
Advertising Agency. Nowadays, when people think of, or decide to hire an advertising agency vs. a digital marketing agency, it’s related to the fact that advertising agencies can pull in the right team members or hire the right contractors for a marketing campaign that requires heavy-duty production. As we mentioned above, scripting and executing a radio, TV (network or cable) or streaming advertisement requires the collaboration of a bunch of individuals with diverse skillsets, the renting of studios and/or locations in which to film, the hiring of “talent” for the broadcast spot — whether it be aired on the radio or TV. Activities like the aforementioned are often the reason why, in our current day and age, an organization would look to hire an advertising agency vs. a digital marketing agency. Although, most advertising agencies offer digital marketing services, in addition to traditional ones.
Web Design/Web Development Firm. Web design and web development firms are exactly what their name indicates — firms who help design and develop websites for clients. Many also offer logo design or other graphic design services because of their web designers’ ability to successfully complete such work. All web design/web development firms DO NOT offer SEO services nor do they always understand SEO, so if you expect or want to receive SEO services as part of your new website launch, be sure to ask any firms you are considering to design and develop your site, what knowledge they have of SEO and/or who they have on their team that has an SEO background. Otherwise, as we explain in this blog post, you’ll end up with a website that is not easily found via search engine searches.
Unfortunately, we regularly interact with prospective clients who had someone develop a beautiful, effective site for them, but the site is not being visited/found by target audiences because SEO tactics weren’t put in place by the web design/web development firm as part of the site development and design engagement.
What Should I Expect To Pay A Marketing Agency Or A Marketing Consultant?
Based, again, on our 9 years of marketing agency and marketing consulting experience at the time of writing this post, we’ve found that, in general, the bigger the agency/marketing shop, the more expensive their hourly rate and marketing project fees are. Why? It mainly comes down to overhead and the costs of maintaining and marketing a larger organization, offering a large number of employees benefits, etc.
We’re A Boston Digital Marketing Agency, Boston SEO Company, Boston Marketing Consultant, and Boston PR Firm All In One!
Due to our Principal’s more than 30 years of corporate marketing and consulting experience, we offer all the services called out in the heading directly above! We regularly meet with both start-ups and long-standing organizations — both for-profit and non-profit — for complimentary discussions about their marketing challenges and opportunities, so feel free to use our calendar app to schedule a FREE initial consultation https://calendly.com/gail-moraski.