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Celebrating Our Digital Marketing Agency’s 10-Year Anniversary: A Then and Now Story

Because one of the services my agency offers is PR — and we’ve had some decent success obtaining meaningful media coverage for some of our for-profit and non-profit clients (as documented in our Public Relations Portfolio) — of course, we reached out to The Patriot Ledger to see if they wanted to do a “then and now” story about our South Shore organization since they covered our story nine years back. We’re still awaiting news, literally and figuratively on that one, but we figured why not go ahead and share a similar version of that story on our blog using the highlights we shared with them? So, here goes…

Our Then Story

Here’s the telling of our story by a local reporter about a year after we launched our digital marketing agency, which eventually developed a specialty in search engine optimization (SEO) — which is why we often refer to our business as a Boston SEO company too!

I prefer to refer to my business as a digital marketing agency vs. a marketing consultancy because we do as much as hands-on work as we do developing & recommending marketing strategies.

Our story actually began with me launching my own WordPress website without the help of anyone else, and my officially hanging my digital marketing agency’s shingle via that site. And, if I knew as much as I know about WordPress and website development now as I knew then, I would have originally launched my site with WordPress.org (the platform that it’s on now) vs. WordPress.org, so I could use the many great WordPress plug-ins from the get-go! Or, I might also have considered Joomla instead, but owning a business and getting it right is all about the journey. And, you can’t learn what you need to learn without making a few mistakes and getting your hands dirty, right?

What’s been particularly challenging as an organization who helps others with their own marketing is, sometimes, as I’ve been known to share, “the cobbler’s kids have no shoes.” That means often we are so busy helping our clients with their marketing, we don’t have time for our own. The aforementioned said, we make every effort to have our firm’s own marketing activities (such as our website and social media profiles) serve as a shining example of how to maintain a strong online presence, and it’s great that we’ve been able to use our own business to test and try out various marketing activities — therefore, serve as a bit of a guinea pig — before we test or try something brand new with clients.

We’re proud that, over the last 10 years, we’ve literally written and posted over 140 marketing, SEO, and health-related (yes, health-related — keep reading to learn more) blog posts, and we’ve had a few guest or co-bloggers along the way too!

This image is a light gray square one with the words "Celebrating 10 Years Of Using Our Digital Marketing Agency/SEO Company As A Platform For Doing Good." The image contains some colorful confetti in the middle and the logo of our Boston Marketing Agency, Results Communications and Research at the bottom.

Our Now Story

I believe and hope my story can motivate and inspire others considering opening their own business. Before, or right after I launched my business, I was told by one individual who works with entrepreneurs that 80% of female marketing consultants fail. I refused to be a statistic, and regularly told myself that during the first 5 years, which were the hardest. It takes a good five years to get the word out there and have business come to you organically/naturally thru referrals, leads, and recommendations from others — made by former co-workers and clients, existing clients, other marketing consultants and agencies, and other organizations who serve the same vertical/target audiences whom you serve.

My philosophy and dreams when I started my business have remained pretty constant and I’m pleased to report I’ve followed them. I’m particularly proud that I’ve been able to continue to offer what I believe, based on research, are very reasonable rates to small for-profit and non-profit organizations. Due to my years of experience and expertise, clients have access to the same level of knowledge and skills that they’d have access to via a larger marketing agency, but at much lower rates than what a larger agency might offer. And, because we have significant experience in both traditional marketing AND digital marketing, we can offer the majority of services a larger, full-service agency can.

The biggest lesson I’ve learned that I’d love to share with others starting a business is this: don’t think of others in your space as competitors. Think of them as collaborators – people who serve the same target audiences who may need your services.

Our Impact: Local (South Shore of Boston), National, and International

  • I’ve helped a number of young adults who grew up on the South Shore, or elsewhere in MA, get hands-on experience that they were able to parlay into a post-graduation job elsewhere.
  • Related to the above, I’ve had the great fun and pleasure of working with my nephews, my brother, my brother-in-law, and my late sister-in-law on various client projects.
  • I’ve also met with a number of college or graduate school students looking to pick my brain about careers in marketing and learn from me – including one in my neighborhood who found me thru a Google search! Yes, because early on I recognized I needed to create a Google My Business Profile for my own business to be found by local, relevant searchers and this is something I regularly help my clients with now!
  • I’ve given a large number of pro bono hours to nonprofits as part of a totally free consulting/volunteer situation or discussion, or as part of their paid arrangement with me. I’ve had a number of very interesting local nonprofit clients, including ones in the faith-based space, arts and music space, ones serving vulnerable populations, ones serving individuals with special needs, and one providing financially challenged teens the opportunity to serve vulnerable teens abroad, and more! Some have an international impact.
  • One of my specialties is helping nonprofits apply for a Google Nonprofit Ad Grant. I, then, often stay on and manage the Grant for them – $120,000 in free Google Search advertising annually. I can explain more.
  • I also have a number of for-profit clients on the South Shore, but my client base is national and I have had clients in New Orleans, CA, Texas, and more!
  • I’ve served over 120 for-profit and non-profit organizations in the 10 years I’ve been running my digital marketing agency/SEO company.
  • I had no idea when I launched my business that I would become an expert in something that I only had very little knowledge of at the time when I launched my business – search engine optimization (SEO). Many of my referrals for or sub-contracted work come from other agencies, marketing consultants, and website designers who need to pull someone into their client work/project who knows how to get websites and Google My Business Profiles ranking well in Google via organic and paid search (Google Ads) SEO activities. I’ve become a self-taught SEO expert and very proud of it. I just read and watched everything I could get my hands on, took Google Ads certification classes, and attended free webinars. I still do that daily as Google’s Search Engine will be switching to an AI one, and I’m already helping my clients be proactive about that and prep for it (Google SGE).
  • As indicated above, while I do sub-contracted or referred work for other agencies, marketing consultants, and website designers, many of my clients are my own clients, and I usually have a plate of about 12 – 15 clients for whom I’m doing ongoing, digital marketing work for on a monthly basis, plus also juggling several one-off/one-time clients at the same time. At any given point in time, I’m normally doing work for about 17 – 25 clients with the help of some fabulous interns and associates, as they were/are available.
  • My clients are diverse – large, small, business-to-business, business-to-consumer, product businesses, service businesses. I’ve done a bunch of marketing work in the food space, legal space, education space, and more! 
  • I’ve given a number of free workshops for SCORE and other organizations serving entrepreneurs, and I’m a SCORE volunteer and have provided tons of free advice to entrepreneurs by meeting with them on a complimentary basis. And, related to all of this, I’ve had a blast partnering with fellow marketing experts to give presentations that address multiple marketing areas of expertise! Thank you! You know who you are!
  • I’m a data geek and SEO geek and proud of it. I’m a huge data slicer and dicer and that’s what separates me from a lot of others in my space. I always say I won’t encourage clients to start or continue with marketing activities that don’t make sense for them based on what data is showing. I consider myself to be my clients’ accountability partner, and I’m not afraid to give tough love when I need to. I’m not afraid to voice a different opinion than other marketers. If I think something isn’t going to work, or isn’t working, I speak up.
  • I’m also proud that my marketing agency survived our recent COVID-19 pandemic and was extremely proactive about providing helpful insights from the very start of the pandemic for marketers to appropriately respond to the pandemic/pivot, such as these blog posts about using paid ads during the pandemic and how to make sure your social media presence wasn’t offensive and was relevant.
  • I give back significantly to the community. I was involved with the Braintree Relay For Life Committee for a while, and now, I do a number of charity walks in addition to all the other beneficial work I mentioned above.

Our Focus On Health & Wellness

If you’re a regular reader of our blog, you’ll know that I’ll throw in a good blog post about walking once in a while. You can use the categories search tool/drop-down menu to search on “walking” to see the various walking topics about which I’ve written.

Since my corporate marketing days, I’ve always loved to share health & wellness tips — whether they be with fellow employees as part of an internal communications role, or with members of a health plan I worked for, and from the get-go with Results Communications & Research, I’ve aimed to inspire those with health (and other challenges) to never give up, and keep fighting via my “Keep Up The Fight” website page. And, I recently put up a new blog post about an invisible disease with which many health warriors who have battled or are battling other forms of illness have to contend.

Our Thank You

My digital marketing agency/SEO company and I would have never made it this far without all the help of great collaborators, cheerleaders (friends, family, my husband Jay, and other fellow small business owners), and most importantly, our clients who looked to us for expert marketing guidance and assistance. We have many clients with whom we’ve served as an outsourced marketing department for years, and we thank you for your faith in us! We’ve so enjoyed being a part of your business family! We also thank those who we haven’t had the opportunity to work with for as long as some of our long-term clients, but have enjoyed or are enjoying being a part of your organization’s success story.

What’s Next

I don’t know what the future holds for Results Communications & Research, but I’m excited about what’s to come! And, I know I will continue to try to give back as much as possible with the platform that this fun, educational, and interesting business provides!

Want To Benefit From The Marketing Services Of A Digital Marketing Agency/SEO With A Long Tenure And Who Gives Back?

Reach out today to schedule a complimentary discussion about how we can help your organization create awareness and/or drive inquiries and sales via our outsourced marketing and/or strategic marketing planning services.

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Is Your Advertising Landing Page Too Self-Serving, And Ultimately, Hurting Your Organization?

As a Greater Boston digital marketing agency and SEO company, we’ve implemented and executed countless online and traditional marketing activities to drive traffic to our clients’ websites, particularly online advertising campaigns that include Google Ads search advertising. Since we’ve already outlined in a former blog post what makes for an effective landing page (and what a landing page is to begin with), we won’t repeat that information here. Instead, we want to focus on why what we consider to be a “self-serving” landing page can hurt your organization.

Why You Shouldn’t Make Your Website Landing Page All About You

As we’ve explained in a number of past blog posts, in the marketing and marketing-activity-results-tracking world, a “conversion,” is a desired/desirable action that a website visitor takes on your website. A website visitor conversion could be:

  • Signing up for your e-newsletter
  • Clicking on social media icons that link to your various social media profiles to visit them
  • Completing an inquiry or contact form
  • Clicking on a hyperlinked e-mail address to send you an e-mail
  • Clicking on a hyperlinked phone number to call you
  • Downloading a white paper or a pdf housed on your website
  • Purchasing a product, service, or solution, including tickets to an event
  • Providing an e-mail address, via a gatekeeper type system, in order to download a document housed on your site, or to complete some other activity

We think you get the picture!

A mistake we often see marketers/advertisers make, though, is focusing too hard/much on the actions that THEY want visitors to take on their website, i.e., the actions THEY consider desirable vs. focusing on the actions that visitors may want to take and the tasks they hope and want to complete when they visit a website that offers the products, services, and solutions you do.

What The “Bounce Rate” Can Tell You About Your Landing Page

GA4 Google Analytics allows organizations to view the “engagement rate” for all your website pages and posts, including your landing pages (even if those are hidden from the navigation that the general public sees, and are only used in conjunction with specific marketing activities/campaigns). The inverse of a website page’s engagement rate is known as the “bounce rate,” and that can be calculated by subtracting the engagement rate from 100% (if a page’s engagement rate is 60%, then the bounce rate is 40%).

If a large percentage of visitors “bounce” from a website page or post, it means many prospective customers or customers left your website from that particular page or post without interacting in any way with the page or post (e.g., scrolling down on it, clicking on links/calls-to-actions/call-out buttons contained on it to visit other pages of the site, starting or completing a form contained on the page or post, etc.). The higher the bounce rate is, the less likely the page satisfies the needs of various visitors to complete desired tasks/take beneficial actions on your site — tasks and actions that are of importance to THEM vs. YOU.

How To Lower Your Landing Page Bounce Rate

Granted there will likely be some overlap between the actions A VISITOR might hope and want to take on your site and the ones YOU hope and want them to take on your site, but you and/or your team should go thru the following exercise to make sure your visitors’ needs are met more often than your own, and that they are a priority.

As SEO experts, we’ve shared quite often, including in this blog post about how helpful content impacts SEO/ranking on Google, that Google rewards websites that are helpful and are about what users want and need, not just what the website owner/advertisers want and need. To ensure your visitors have a positive experience and your website is “helpful,” we suggest you do the following:

  • Make a grid, such as the one shown below, that lists all the tasks that you want visitors to complete on your site, as well as the tasks you believe visitors want to complete on your site. Really think hard and try to walk in target audiences’ shoes! Keep in mind that many individuals already receive e-mails from countless organizations on a daily basis, and many are reluctant to have their name added to another e-mail list. They know what will likely follow is a stream of e-mails to sell them the product, service, or solution they were investigating on your website, or ones asking for a donation, etc. Will you cause them to “bounce,” and lose them altogether as a potential customer because you kept certain content “gated,” or your marketing activity took them to a landing page that only allowed them to visit that particular page of your website vs. quickly/easily visit other pages of your site?
  • Review the grid you created and highlight those activities that you believe would be considered desirable/beneficial to both parties, i.e., your organization AND website visitors. Functionality should then be created/installed and included on your landing page to allow for completion of those tasks.
  • Then, review the activities which you believe are more valued by visitors (less preferable to your organization), and consider for which of those actions you’d be willing to provide functionality on your site for visitors to complete them. A great example, is requiring individuals to reach out to schedule an appointment to get pricing information. Even if your pricing is customer-specific/customized, many prospective clients may be reluctant to reach out, particularly if they aren’t in a financial position to invest in your product or service immediately. Think about what/how much downfall there would be to providing visitor functionality to get an estimate/access pricing information, and whether you’d be better off keeping visitors happy and on your website longer, or better off letting them bounce. Only you will know the answer to the aforementioned and the implications of trade-offs.

Ultimately, the more the scale swings in the favor of your website visitor vs. your organization when it comes to desirable action-taking, the more your organization will likely be to succeed at providing a great user experience, ranking better in search engines, and ultimately driving sales from satisfied visitors who were able to obtain the information, and complete the tasks they wanted, without being on the receiving end of what might be perceived as too “hard of a sell” by your organization or a too “self-serving” website.

Get Complimentary Advice On Landing Pages From Online Advertising Experts

Want objective advice on how to set your landing page up so that both your organization and visitors achieve their objectives? Schedule a complimentary online advertising brainstorm with us!

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Traditional Marketing vs. Digital Marketing: How, When, and Why To Use Each Form

As we’ve shared in other blog posts, we don’t love the use of the phrase “traditional marketing” to refer to activities that marketing teams at organizations, and advertising agencies, employed prior to the arrival of the internet and the digital marketing tactics made possible by it, but it’s become a tradition now to use the word “traditional,” and it’s something we don’t see changing. As we just alluded to, digital marketing activities are those that require the internet for execution and/or present information in a digital fashion or on some form of digital media.

Per our blog post heading, the aim of this discussion is to provide some insight on the difference between traditional and digital marketing and when to use each form. Most organizations will benefit from employing a combination of traditional and digital marketing for the reasons outlined below.

What Is Digital Marketing?

As we expressed above, digital marketing activities are those that require the internet or other digital technology/platforms for execution. Unlike traditional marketing opportunities that are all about putting the idea of your products, services, and solutions in the heads of individuals who might be a good fit for them, many digital marketing activities, such as organic search/SEO, paid search advertising, and social media posting are focused on getting information in front of individuals who are actively searching for your particular organization and/or the products, services and solutions you provide. Digital marketing activities include:

  • E-mail marketing – sending an e-mail/e-blast to existing clients, or to prospective customers who meet your target-audience criteria, e.g., meet certain age, geography, income, gender, job title, industry, or other demographics.
  • Social media postingposting free/unpaid updates on various social media platforms like Instagram, Facebook, X (formerly Twitter), TikTok, and LinkedIn.
  • Display advertising/social media advertising – this includes running paid ads that are served up by a social media platform, such as Instagram or Facebook (you can buy ads on the two aforementioned platforms together) to people meeting the targeting requirements you set, such as those outlined above for e-mail marketing; plus, Google Ads offers display (image) advertising to allow you to reach individuals whose behaviors, interests, and demographics make them a good fit for your products and services.
  • Search Engine Optimization (SEO) – employing free/unpaid/organic tactics such as optimizing behind-the-scenes meta/SEO post and page title tags to ensure your website and Google My Business Profile rank as well as possible in Google and other search-engine results for relevant searches conducted by your target audiences.
  • Paid search advertising – think Google Ads or Bing Ads – these are ads that are served up a the top of search results for search terms used by target audiences that are relevant to the products, services, and solutions an organization offers. This former blog post addresses when it makes senses to employ paid search/paid SEO tactics.
  • Banner advertising – this is advertising that is bought from an external website that serves the same target audience your organization wants to reach.
  • Other – the above list is not exhaustive, but highlights the most common forms of digital marketing. Other examples of digital marketing include, but are not limited to, digital billboards or transit posters, and ads that run on a TV-type monitor at transit stations, such as subway stations.

So, What Is Traditional Marketing?

As we explain in our blog post about push vs. pull marketing, to us, many forms of traditional marketing are “push” activities. They are marketing vehicles and activities that reach your target audience(s) and put the idea about your product, service and solution in their heads. Examples of traditional target marketing activities/vehicles include:

  • Broadcast Advertising – radio and TV (network and cable — of course now, you can also run advertising on streaming channels and stations)
  • Print Advertising – magazine, newspapers, and other print publications
  • Direct Mail – a postcard or letter is mailed to a purchased or existing list of current or prospective clients
    • When the list is purchased, the names and addresses you obtain would meet certain criteria that you specify, like geography, age, gender, income, job title, industry, etc.
  • Outdoors Advertising – billboards (static poster, and now digital options as well)
  • Transit Advertising – posters and signage (static, and now digital options as well) that appear inside a bus, train, or subway car, or on train, bus, or subway platforms. You can also “wrap” a bus or train, or a bus stop kiosk, with your branding.
  • Mall or movie theater advertising – posters and signage (static, and now digital options as well) that are placed throughout mall corridors or advertising that appears at the beginning of a movie while one is waiting for a movie to start.
  • Event Attendance/Tabling – the aforementioned could refer to having a table at a community or some other event where prospective customers can walk up to your table to obtain information about your organization and your products and services.
  • Tradeshow Attendance/Booth – the aforementioned is all about setting up a booth at a trade show which is expected to draw your target audience, and sharing information about your products and services with booth visitors.
  • PR/Publicity – distributing press releases to gain media coverage of an announcement made by your organization, or pitching your story to media/reporters who serve your target audience in hopes the media/reporter will “cover” your story.
  • Other – the above list is not exhaustive, but highlights the most common forms of traditional marketing. Other examples of traditional marketing include but are not limited to distribution of branded, promotional items, and lobby merchandising (if your organization has physical locations that customers can visit).

Why Most Organizations Should Employ Both Traditional and Digital Marketing Tactics

As we’ve discussed with many of our clients, some target audience members may not be “online” regularly. Perhaps, their busy personal and work lives just don’t allow for them to be regularly viewing social media posts and profiles, and/or conducting search-engine searches. Or, they may just not like being online.

While, individuals who visit your social media profiles and/or land on your website because they conducted an appropriate search-engine search might be warmer/hotter leads — therefore, they may be more poised to buy your products, or engage you for your services/solutions in the near future — some other target audience members may need some prodding or reminders (delivered to them via traditional media) about your products, services, and solutions.

Sometimes, there’s just not enough people searching regularly related to the products, services, and solutions that your organization offers. Target audiences just don’t know you and/or your products and services exist. All the more reason to employ some traditional marketing tactics.

Free Marketing Brainstorm With Marketing Experts

Our Boston marketing agency has experience related to executing the majority of the digital marketing and traditional marketing tactics above. Unsure which tactics to execute when, or need more detail on what’s involved in executing them, and/or more information on production and media-buy costs?

Schedule a complimentary discussion with our expert marketing team today to brainstorm about your organization’s particular marketing opportunities and challenges.

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Nine Years And Counting And How We’re Paying It Forward!

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.

You can learn more about Google Nonprofit Ad Grants in this blog post about growing your nonprofit with a Google Nonprofit Ad Grant, and if you reach out, I’m glad to share the slide deck (which includes a recent success story) from a webinar I gave on the benefits of, and how to successfully employ, your Google Nonprofit Ad Grant dollars. You can also watch a quick video I created a while back about Google Nonprofit Ad Grants.

Commemorating Our 9 Years In Business

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 gail.moraski@allintheresults.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

See who we’ve helped and how we’ve helped nonprofit clients obtain and/or manage their Google Ad Grant.

Learn More About Our One-Time and Ongoing SEO Services And How We Might Help You

To schedule a no-obligation, complimentary discussion of your organization’s SEO opportunities and challenges, and how to get found on Google, e-mail us today at gail.moraski@allintheresults.com, use our calendar app to choose a convenient day or time to chat, or complete our contact form, to set up a no-obligation, complimentary SEO discussion. 

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Why Your Marketing Agency Should Be Both A Strategic Partner and Accountability Partner

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 my marketing agency regularly look at data available in various marketing tools and analytics tools like Google Analytics and Google Search Console to determine which current marketing tactics are most effective and what the “health” of your website looks like?
  • 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?
  • Does your marketing agency have a number of collaborative and strategic relationships with other partners/subject matter experts (SMEs)?
  • 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!

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Should I Hire A Marketing Agency, A Marketing Consultant, Or A PR Firm?

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.

Getting back to whom your organization should consider hiring for ongoing marketing services or one-time/one-off marketing project work/help, here’s one Boston digital marketing agency’s, Boston SEO company’s, and Boston marketing consultant’s thoughts — yeah, we consider ourselves to be all of the aforementioned, and for clients who engage us for non-PR work, we can also be engaged for help with PR since our Principal has a great deal of PR experience.

This is a square gray image with our Boston digital marketing agency's logo (Results Communications & Research's) logo at the bottom. At the top of the image in big bold letters it says "Should I Hire An Ad Agency, A Digital Marketing Agency, Marketing Consultant, Or PR Firm?" Underneath That In A Dark Powder Blue It Says" Read One Marketing Professional's Thoughts."

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.

SEO Company. Because paid search engine advertising/marketing (SEM) supports an organization ranking well in relevant search engine results, as our Boston SEO company does, most SEO companies offer strategy and execution services related to both organic search/organic SEO tactics, as well as paid search advertising services. Some will offer some additional digital marketing services 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.

This image shows the back of a dark-skinned woman who is wearing a striped white and light blue shirt. She is holding a pencil or pen above a notebook on her right-hand side and her left-hand is hovered over a laptop computer keyboard. The screen of the computer says "Marketing" in big blue letter. The image is being shown in keeping with our Boston Digital Marketing Agency's blog post about how to know what type of marketing agency or consultant to hire.

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.

If your organization doesn’t expect to need the type of traditional advertising production work outlined above under the “Advertising Agency” section, you’ll very likely fare better financially hiring a smaller digital marketing agency or PR firm or a marketing consultant. Plus, you may end up getting more personal attention than you would with a larger agency. And, most smaller shops can pull in a collaborator, freelancer, or other agency or consultant, as needed.

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.

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How To Know Where To Invest Marketing Energy and Dollars: Push Vs. Pull Marketing

Regardless of whether your organization has a small or large marketing budget and staff, you still want to spend your time and money on marketing judiciously. Who wants to throw either valuable dollars or time out the window, right?

Why not make this the year you ensure you’re maximizing your marketing efforts by revisiting your marketing plans based on the information shared below about what marketing tactics make sense based on available data.

What Is Pull Marketing?

Each marketing expert probably has their own thoughts on what they consider marketing tactics that fall in the “pull” category. But, at our Boston digital marketing agency and Boston SEO company, we think of “pull marketing” tactics as those to be employed if evidence shows that individuals are actively searching to identify someone in your geography who offers the products, services, and solutions to problems that your organization offers.

So how do you know if people are actively searching in the geography you serve for the products, services, and solutions you offer? The best way to ascertain the aforementioned is by conducting keyword research. As we explain in this previous blog post, keyword research helps you identify the average # of monthly Google searches that are conducted on search terms (known as keywords) relevant to your products, services, and solutions. Because of the tools to which you’ll need access and the challenges of figuring out how to structure your research, you’ll likely fare better by hiring an SEO company or a team of SEO experts, like ours, to conduct meaningful and accurate keyword research.

If keyword research does indicate a large volume of individuals are regularly searching to identify an organization like yours, then pull marketing tactics, such as optimizing your website to be found on Google via organic search engine optimization (SEO) tactics and/or paid search tactics (think Google Ads) make great marketing sense. You’ll still need to have an effective website (one with appropriate calls-to-actions and that provides for a strong user experience) to cause site visitors to take desired actions on your site (convert), but the two aforementioned tactics should definitely cause individuals who are “warm leads,” i.e., likely interested in your products because they are actively searching, to visit your website.

What Is Push Marketing?

We always like to say “push marketing” is about the putting the idea in the heads of individuals and organizations who might be a good fit for the product, service, or solution you offer. Push marketing tactics are all about serving up/providing information about your products or services to individuals who, based on various demographics and characteristics, such as age, gender, income level, job/career/industry, etc., might likely be interested in buying your product or engaging you for your service.

Examples of both digital and traditional push marketing tactics include: display advertising (both social media advertising and Google display advertising), banner advertising (ad purchased on a website that serves individuals and orgs. who might be a good fit for your product), and print advertising in a newspaper or magazine. The aforementioned list is not exclusive, but we think you get the picture.

So, when is push marketing warranted? Push marketing makes great sense if keyword research indicates that individuals aren’t actively searching in your geography to identify someone like your organization. Particularly when a product or service offered is a brand new one that your target audiences are not likely familiar with/don’t know exist, then focusing on executing effective push marketing tactics will be the most efficient use of your marketing time and dollars.

When To Employ Both Push and Pull Marketing

Organizations with particularly large marketing budgets and teams tend to employ both push and pull marketing tactics, and therefore, both pursue people that are “warmer” leads for their products and services, i.e., those who are actively searching AND people who are less warm but still might be a good fit for their products and services. A key reason they may employ both push and pull marketing tactics is that pull alone doesn’t bring in the volume of leads and sales they need to meet their sales objectives.

For smaller organizations who have fewer in-house individuals devoted to marketing and a limited marketing budget, the majority of marketing dollars and time should definitely be earmarked for the type of tactics — push vs. pull — that make the most sense for the organization, based on what keyword research and any other appropriate available data indicates. But, it’s likely still worth investing a small amount of time and dollars in push marketing tactics, like Google Display or Instagram/Facebook advertising, just to see what such tactics yield in results.

Our Team Of Marketing Experts And SEO Experts Is Here To Help

We always say our Boston SEO company and Boston digital marketing agency “never encourages clients or prospective clients to continue with or start with a marketing tactic that doesn’t make sense for them.” In fact, our company’s tagline since we launched our marketing agency in 2014 has been “maximizing results thru research-supported marketing.” We’ll never suggest a client employ a particular tactic, based on whether or not we offer a service related to it. If we don’t offer a marketing service from which research indicates a client would benefit, we’ll refer the work to a one of our fellow marketing collaborators. But, the very first step is holding a complimentary discussion to learn about your particular organization’s marketing challenges and opportunities, so please use our calendar app to select a convenient day and time for you if you’d like to chat!

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Should I Work In An In-House Marketing Department or At A Marketing Agency?

We’ve had discussions about the subject of this blog post quite a number of times with individuals about to graduate from college or graduate school, or who have recently graduated from such programs. There’s no blanket right or wrong answer, but we’ve outlined below the pros and cons of working at an in-house marketing department vs. a digital marketing agency, advertising advertising, or PR firm to help you figure out what’s right for you.

Pro’s and Con’s Of Working In A Corporate Marketing Role/At In-House Marketing Department

We’ll start with the Pro’s!

  • Your work is focused on the needs of one organization (and possibly some affiliate organizations) only. That means you can really get to know and understand in-detail the specific opportunities and challenges your organization faces.
  • You or fellow in-house marketing department team members are responsible for the successful execution and oversight of each and every marketing & communications tactic, including PR. Even if your organization employs an external advertising agency, digital marketing agency, or PR firm, you or someone in your organization will need to serve as the liaison with that external organization and review and approve any marketing or PR tactics with which the organization has been charged.
  • Because an in-house marketing team tends to hold regular meetings to discuss the various marketing and communications activities on which each team member is working, even if you aren’t responsible for a particular activity, you have the big/full picture of all the active and planned/future marketing and PR initiatives for your organization. You also have the opportunity to learn a lot during these meetings.
  • Depending on the size of your in-house marketing department, you may have the opportunity to learn how to execute a large variety of traditional and digital marketing tactics, and how to analyze the results of them.
  • You’ll likely have a chance to collaborate with individuals in other departments related to rolling out new marketing initiatives, such as IT and Customer Service employees.
  • There’s usually an obvious career path, particularly if the marketing department is large. Often the path is from marketing coordinator to marketing specialist to marketing manager to marketing director to chief marketing officer (CMO) or Vice President or Senior Vice President of Marketing.
  • Your manager is usually aware of everything you have on your plate, will likely not expect you to regularly stay late or work excessive hours, and will likely delegate an appropriate amount of work so that it can be accomplished during normal business hours. Related to this, there will likely be fewer unexpected marketing and PR emergencies!

And now, the con’s!

  • While also stated above as a pro of working in a corporate marketing department, you only get to develop and execute marketing activities specific to one organization (and possibly its affiliates). That means you only get to complete marketing work related to one particular industry. And, you don’t get exposed to innovative marketing tactics and results tracking that are used in other industries that you could apply to yours.
  • Depending on the size of your marketing department, there may or may not be opportunity for growth or to take on new responsibilities.

Pro’s and Con’s Of Working For A Marketing Agency or PR Firm

Marketing Program Graduate Deciding What’s Next — Marketing Department or Agency?

Post the arrival of the internet, there’s now so many different ways that individuals refer to what used to be known as an “advertising agency” or “ad agency.” Agencies specifically focused on implementing digital marketing strategies, such as website, online advertising, e-mail, search engine optimization (SEO), and social media ones, are often referred to as “digital marketing agencies.” Agencies that offer both traditional and digital marketing services (you can learn more here about traditional), tend to call themselves or be called ad agencies, advertising agencies, or marketing agencies. If a firm specializes in creating branding for websites or overall marketing use, including logos, they are often called “branding firms,” “branding & design firms,” “brand & design firms” or simply, “design firms.”

There’s also the option post-graduation to work at a PR firm, or “public relations firm” or “public relations agency.” While PR firms tend to focus on external communications and work may include press release writing, event execution, and pitching stories to media reporters, an overlap between ad agencies/digital marketing agencies that developed as result of the introduction of social media networks has to do with social media strategy development and execution. Both marketing/ad agencies and PR firms tend to offer “social media voice” services.

Phew, that was a lot of terminology! On to the pro’s of working at an agency or firm that serves marketing & communications clients.

  • You get to learn about the marketing & communications challenges of numerous industries, and then, can apply best practices from a client in one industry to a client in another industry.
  • You are always learning and being exposed to something new, as even if you have several clients in one industry, they still each have their product & service nuances, ways of doing business, marketplace/competition, etc. that you need to understand.
  • As with an in-house marketing job, your agency likely will hold regular meetings to discuss everything that the agency has on its client work plate, so there should be lots of opportunities for learning.
  • Agencies tend to encourage brainstorming which is always a lot of fun and keeps the creative juices flowing.
  • As with a corporate marketing role, there likely will be a career path at whatever marketing agency or PR firm at which you work. You might start out as a coordinator or specialist (doing day-to-day/hands-on tasks to support a particular client), but eventually have the opportunity to become an account manager or vice president. In those latter roles, you likely will have more interaction with the client.
  • As with in-house marketing jobs, the diversity of your role and your work will depend on the size of your organization. The bigger the organization, the more specialized your role will be; but, regardless, you should still have the opportunity to learn about a number of tradtional and digital marketing tactics and results analysis best practices.
  • If you have direct interaction with clients, you get the satisfaction of feeling like a member of their team — clients become your co-workers along with any agency co-workers you may already have.

And, now the cons of working at a marketing agency or PR firm:

  • Clients often have marketing and PR emergencies. This may cause you to need to regularly rethink or re-jigger what you planned to accomplish on the work front on any given day.
  • Because you aren’t a member of a client’s in-house marketing team, you may not always have access to all the important, beneficial, and business-critical information you want or need. Of course, you can ask to have information shared with you, but sometimes, you don’t know what you don’t know, and clients may be so busy they forget to share with you.
  • You may not be able to enjoy the same satisfaction you would get from being involved with or aware of each & every marketing and communications tactic that an organization has planned or has implemented. You don’t always have access to or see the big picture as clearly as if you worked in-house at the client.
  • Ad agencies, branding & design shops, and PR firms tend to be pretty fast-paced and you may need to work long hours, or suddenly change social or personal plans because of an unexpected client emergency.

We are pleased and proud at Results C & R to have hired and taught numerous college and graduate-school students and post-graduation individuals about what it’s like to work at a Boston digital marketing agency and Boston SEO company. We love passing our marketing and PR knowledge on to the next generation and enjoy brainstorming with individuals interested in pursuing a marketing career to help them figure out what type of marketing & communications might best support their interests, passions, and lifestyle.