Marketing Agency vs. In-House Team: Which Should You Choose?

Marketing Agency vs. In-House Team: Which Should You Choose?

Like most business owners, you know you need to effectively market your business in order to expand your sphere of influence and engage new customers – but you’re unsure of the right approach. Is it more practical to recruit a dedicated marketing team to manage all your marketing in-house? Or is it wiser to enlist the services of an experienced digital marketing agency to tackle it for you?

Both are reasonable options, but there are also ramifications connected with either decision. In this article, we’ll take a look at the pros and cons of hiring a digital marketing agency versus hiring an in-house marketing team.

3 Time-Tested Methods for Growing Your Business

If you want to grow your business (and why wouldn’t you?), there are a few tried-and-true methods you can employ to attract new customers:

  • Word of Mouth & Referrals
  • Advertising & Marketing  (PPC, SEO, Social Media)
  • Direct Sales  (Cold Calls, Email Blasts, Knocking on Doors)

In a perfect world, a business would land so many new customer referrals that they wouldn’t have to shell out money for advertising, marketing, or direct sales. But when you’re first getting started in business, referrals can be hard to rely on. Because of this, many companies will contemplate hiring an in-house marketing team or outsourcing their marketing to an agency. Let’s examine both options:

WHY HIRE AN IN-HOUSE MARKETING TEAM?

Based on your specific business needs, it might seem more reasonable to employ a dedicated marketing team in-house. Sure, you’re accruing additional salary expenses to the business, but you’re also gaining total control over how your marketing plan is put into action.

Recruiting an experienced, skilled marketing manager who can take charge of every aspect of your marketing efforts can help grow lead generation and steadily attract new customers. So, let’s weigh the pros and and cons of hiring an in-house marketing team:

PROS:

In-House Marketers Have a Deeper Understanding of the Business

Someone who works for your business is naturally going to have a much better understanding of the needs of your customers. They’re more acquainted with your products and services, as well as how best to promote them to clientele. If you’re a B2B organization – one that specializes in selling products and services to other companies – this may be even more critical, as an outside agency might not be as familiar with your specific market.

In-house marketers are likely to feel more connected to and in line with your overall business strategy. Chances are, they also have a fairly solid knowledge base and awareness of previous campaigns – and whether or not they have been successful – without having to go to the trouble of researching them, like an agency would. Additionally, an in-house team gives you creative control over the end-to-end digital process.

An In-House Marketing Team Is Focused On Your Brand Only

While marketing agencies will certainly make the effort to familiarize themselves with your brand and devote ample time to its marketing strategy, they’re also focused on the marketing needs of their other clients. 

By contrast, in-house marketing personnel are able to focus on your business 100% of the time. Each of their marketing efforts is customized to your specific needs. They spend time examining what’s working for you and making adjustments to marketing goals and processes. Because of this singular focus, your in-house marketing team is liable to put forth more ideas that are unique to your business.

In-House Marketers Are Available All Workweek Long

With a dedicated in-house marketing team, you don’t have to schedule a time to meet – you can brainstorm or revise plans anytime you need to.

Having convenient access to key decision-makers in real time can help streamline creative timelines and project management much more so than if a project has been outsourced.

CONS:

Oprah Winfrey saying,

In-House Marketing Can Be Inconsistent and Lackluster

One of the challenges of having just one or two people working on your marketing is that it’s often a part-time role. In-house personnel might already have other duties they’re expected to perform, and handling the business’s marketing needs is simply bundled into their job description.

As a consequence, consistency plummets quickly. It’s conceivable that weeks could go by without any new content being posted and ad campaign statistics going unmonitored.

Additionally, if budget constraints prevent you from recruiting a diverse team of crackerjack marketers, the content created by these individuals might be lifeless and uninspired as a result.

Yoda saying,

An In-House Marketing Team May Have Limited Training Time

Marketing agencies often spend a considerable amount of time and resources ensuring that their employees are updating their knowledge and skills. Ongoing training can entail attending marketing conferences or webinars, exchanging articles and resources online, and brainstorming between various departments.

By contrast, in-house marketers usually have less time to dedicate to improving their skills. They also don’t have the benefit of learning from or collaborating with other marketing departments. While you may initially hire individuals based on their digital marketing experience and expertise, once they’re a part of your in-house team they are far less likely to have the time and resources available to continue to maintain and refine their skills.

Steve Martin unsuccessfully trying to think of new ideas.

In-House Marketers May Run Out of Fresh Ideas

Effective marketing demands inherently imaginative minds that thrive on change. When a small in-house marketing team is focused on managing your brand alone, creativity can begin to languish over time. It’s difficult to keep formulating new and innovative strategies to promote products and share content when you have no one outside your circle to bounce ideas off. 

In some cases, company leadership keeps a tight rein on their creative team and doesn’t give them leeway to take chances and try new things. There may also be some overarching arrogance on the part of leadership, believing that no one outside the organization can represent the company as effectively as its employees.

Some rando guy saying really slowly,

Companies Must Foot the Bill for Retaining an In-House Team

In the short term, it can seem like you’re getting a better bargain by opting for a small in-house marketing team. But ultimately, it can become considerably more costly.

When you first link up with a marketing agency, you can anticipate paying out more money to get you set up – but these costs will dramatically decrease to monthly maintenance over time.

With an in-house team, you will continue to pay them an annual salary, as well as benefits and paid time off in most cases. With cost-of-living increases, this amount will only grow.

Digital Marketing Graphic with Soaring Rocket

WHY HIRE A DIGITAL MARKETING AGENCY?

Securing the services of a digital marketing agency can feel like a monumental maneuver. Typically, there’s a preliminary meeting, a contract of some duration, numerous discussions regarding the scope of work, and interacting with a variety of different people on the team. Finding the ideal agency can involve a great deal of time and effort.

Then there’s the cost. Working with an agency is oftentimes more expensive than “DIY” marketing or recruiting in-house personnel, primarily because the agency is more experienced. But a digital marketing agency can deliver a more expansive array of services and also churn out higher-quality work. Here are some pros and cons of hiring a digital marketing agency:

PROS:

Professional Marketers Have Specialized Skill Sets

Effective marketing demands a multifaceted approach, involving content creation, social media management, email marketing, search engine optimization (SEO), pay-per-click advertising (PPC), graphic/website design, and web development. Assembling an in-house marketing team teeming with all this talent is no easy undertaking.

When you partner with a reputable digital marketing agency, you gain access to an entire team of specialists – each of whom knows their niche and understands how best to get results. These passionate and knowledgeable marketers routinely manage a wide range of clientele, making it all the more probable that they’ll implement the proper strategies for your company with not as much trial and error.

A Marketing Agency Can Offer a Fresh Perspective

Companies that have been in business for any significant period of time may ultimately come to the realization that they’re circulating the same ideas over and over again. Campaigns start to look alike, and copywriters continue using the same terminology to describe things. In-house marketers keep trying to devise new and innovative ideas, but it’s getting more and more challenging to do so.

This is entirely normal. There’s a natural limit to how long a company can craft quality content when they’re promoting the same products and services day in and day out. It’s easy to become single-minded when working from inside an organization. For this reason, getting an outside perspective can be immensely beneficial to a business.

Partnering with an agency can help you view your company from a different perspective and bring a fresh approach to your marketing strategy. While it’s true that an outside agency will not have a thorough, expansive understanding of your company’s brand and history, this can actually be beneficial. An agency can objectively identify opportunities that might have gone unnoticed or were not as easily recognizable by in-house personnel.

Digital marketing specialists have years of knowledge and experience, and they’re trained to analyze your business from the consumer’s or client’s viewpoint. The old adage “two heads are better than one” is especially relevant when it comes to digital marketing.

Additionally, an agency may be more willing to push the envelope and think unconventionally. This can bring about increased ingenuity and quite possibly more successful marketing strategies.

Consistency and Speed of Work are Hallmarks of Digital Marketing Agencies

Consistency and Speed of Work Are Hallmarks of Marketing Agencies

When generating new marketing collateral, it’s easy for an organization to become careless about what and when to communicate. More often than not, attending to customers is their primary focus, and marketing takes a back seat.

As the majority of in-house personnel have other responsibilities apart from their marketing roles, the amount of time they have available to keep up to date on all the latest social media, SEO, content marketing, and branding trends is extremely limited.

By contrast, when you outsource your marketing efforts to an agency, they are able to jump in and start implementing strategies right away, carrying out each project from planning to completion. Because these agencies routinely handle a wide array of client accounts, they typically work far more efficiently than an in-house marketing team.

Over time, these agile marketers have designed state-of-the-art workflows and processes that are built for quality, volume, and efficiency. Outsourced agencies will strive to make sure that your content, ad campaigns, and social media marketing are all sent out on time and looking great, as well as ensuring that your branding is consistent.

Kim Kardashian flashing that cash

Marketing Agencies Are Cost-Effective Over the Long Term

While partnering with an outside agency might seem more expensive at face value, when you compare it to the costs of recruiting a full team of dedicated marketers, it’s a bargain! In-house personnel can set your company back hundreds of thousands of dollars per year in salaries, benefits, and technology investments.

Alternatively, you might choose to designate a single, in-house employee to handle all of your social media marketing, graphic design, and online advertising. But for less than the costs associated with that one individual, you could hire an agency and gain access to an entire team of specialists who are experienced in meeting the needs of a variety of diverse clients in multiple industries.

Working with an agency that comprehends your specific needs will allow your company to move swifter, secure better outcomes, and make decisions more effortlessly. You may not even have to work with an agency long-term at full scale – once you’re up and running successfully, you may only have to manage maintenance fees, which are considerably less by comparison.

Schitt's Creek:

Outsourcing to an Agency Gives Your Company a Competitive Edge

Competition is fierce and technologies evolve at lightning speed. Thus, it’s essential to keep up-to-date with the latest trends in order to stay ahead of your competitors. It’s conceivable to do this with an in-house team if your organization is prepared to invest in marketing education, new technology, and advanced resources. But most aren’t.

Fortunately, staying on top of the most current digital marketing techniques is an agency’s lifeblood. Marketing agencies often enjoy early access to cutting-edge technologies, tools, and software – most of which just aren’t available to smaller, in-house marketing teams.

Unless your internal marketing team is large enough to justify the costs of ongoing education and technology, it’s generally more economical to outsource your marketing to an agency.

CONS:

Will Smith on The Fresh Prince of Bel Air looking nervously uncertain.

Partnering with a Marketing Agency Can Incur Higher Costs Over the Short Term

Depending on how many functions you decide to pass on to an agency, you can expect to spend a bigger chunk of your marketing budget than you would with a single, in-house professional – at least at first.

But, as previously mentioned, you can’t always get the best results when entrusting all of your marketing efforts to one person. If you’re currently covering the total cost of salaries and benefits of supporting an entire in-house team, you might find that outsourcing to a marketing agency is actually more affordable.

When you link up with an external agency, it’s important to bear in mind that, in addition to gaining access to a whole team of professional marketers, you’re also laying the foundations of a long-term marketing strategy that will gradually decrease costs and improve overall profitability.

Naturally, being businesses themselves, marketing agencies have their own salaries, taxes, and other expenses that must be met. In order to accomplish this, they have to set prices for each of their various services. Most agencies are upfront about their pricing and are willing to adjust their fee structures to meet your budget.

While an agency might cost more in the short term, they are going to be able to generate better returns that you can measure right away. This signifies that you know the value that you’re paying for.

Dream Corp:

Marketing Agencies May Lack Your Knowledge of the Industry

While some marketing agencies concentrate on a specific industry, most of them work with clients in a variety of markets. Consequently, they may not have the degree of knowledge you have about your products and services.

In such cases, there will be a bit of a “discovery period” in the early days of a project until the agency has become familiar with the particulars of your central business processes. Even agencies that have worked with a vast array of clients will need time to grasp your customers’ needs.

As each market is distinct, what performs well for one business could fail miserably for another. You won’t want to squander money on a campaign that will turn out to alienate potential customers.

Finding a firm with demonstrated results in your field can help counterbalance a lack of industry knowledge.

The Umbrella Academy:

It Can Take Time for Agencies to Get Up to Speed On a Company

It can be hard to get down to business straightaway after hiring an agency. The client-agency partnership needs time to ensure proper alignment to the client’s stated objectives.

A creditable marketing agency will want to gain a deep understanding of your clients and identify what it is that they’re looking for. At the same time, they’ll need to make certain they have a grasp of your brand’s voice and image.

After taking the time to evaluate your goals and prior marketing efforts with their team, the agency will work to determine what direction to take with your marketing and make certain that you approve of it as well.

Once a campaign has concluded, the agency will ask for your feedback so that they can adapt and enhance your marketing strategy going forward. All of these things take time, and a freewheeling approach won’t produce the optimal results.

You Can Expect Lots of Meetings, Especially At First

When outsourcing your marketing to an agency, you can anticipate taking part in lots of meetings and discussions, especially at the outset of the relationship.

Every single aspect demands your consent and stamp of approval early on, and you can’t relegate the critical decisions to the agency. It can be burdensome at times – being tasked with reviewing a new web design or web content, or greenlighting ad campaigns – but it’s an integral part of the process.

As the client-agency relationship progresses, you can expect to continue having regular meetings in order to:

Warner Archive:

Regular Communication with Marketing Agencies Can Be Challenging

Effective communication is crucial to keeping your marketing plan running smoothly. But when you partner with an outside marketing agency, you won’t always have instant access to your team. Lack of physical proximity is a natural barrier, and face-to-face communication is understandably more limited.

Communicating with your agency partners often takes place via phone or email, and they may be slower to respond to requests, questions, or concerns than you’d prefer. While meetings can be arranged, they typically occur hours or days later.

The fact of the matter is, you aren’t the agency’s only client – you may not even be their biggest client. Agencies routinely manage multiple accounts for a variety of clients. If other clients contract for more services, your company’s project may not be prioritized as highly. Simply put, it can be easy to get lost in the shuffle.

Principled marketing agencies, however, work to ensure that no client feels less valued than another. They strive to keep in constant contact with each of their clients and make a conscious effort to respond to concerns quickly.

Final Thoughts

Both recruiting an in-house marketing team and outsourcing to an agency have their benefits and drawbacks. Neither option is inherently “right” or “wrong” for any business.

In order to determine which approach is right for your company, it’s important to examine your short-term marketing goals as well as your long-term growth strategy. Weighing these against your own team’s strengths and weaknesses is critical in assessing whether you should keep your marketing initiatives in-house or entrust them to outside experts. In addition, identifying which particular services your company needs and what your marketing budget is are essential to reaching a final decision.

Many companies already have a core of in-house individuals tasked with handling their marketing. By and large, in-house personnel live and breathe the company brand and are likely to have a far more in-depth understanding of the business’s unique selling proposition, product set, and buyer personas. Thus, in-house marketers may be better qualified to create relevant content and effective communication strategies for the company.

Nevertheless, the range of expertise and resources available to in-house marketers may be limited – indeed, they may find it difficult to implement new software or keep pace with ever-evolving trends and technologies.

There’s a steep learning curve involved with digital marketing, and teaming up with an external agency can help avoid classic “newbie” mistakes. Instead of spending time and effort exploring various possibilities, agency specialists will formulate and carry out a hard-and-fast plan without delay, so you can receive a quicker return on your investment.

Many organizations find that a hybrid approach to marketing works best. Outsourcing key services to agency specialists can not only be extremely cost-effective, it also provides an outside perspective which can help in-house marketing teams recognize opportunities to improve. Keeping some of your resources in-house also helps the company maintain some degree of direct control over its content, branding, and other marketing resources.

Now that you’ve had a chance to analyze the pros and cons of retaining an in-house marketing team versus partnering with an outside agency, it’s time to take the next step.

If you or your business could benefit from the services of a professional, full-service digital marketing agency, HighClick Media is here to help! 

HighClick provides comprehensive digital media and online marketing solutions for businesses of all sizes. Our talented team of creative thinkers, innovators, and digital marketers bring skill above and beyond the ordinary to every project, resulting in explosive business success!

Whether you’re looking for a fresh website design, brand development, email and social media marketing, search engine optimization (SEO), or pay-per-click advertising (PPC), our highly skilled team is fully equipped to assist you!

Reach out to us today by calling 252.814.2150 or visit our website for a full description of our services!

Related Posts

Why Shop Local?

Why Shop Local? It’s become something of a fad for folks to hop on social media and encourage their friends and neighbors to “Shop Local.”

Read More »

know someone that needs to hear this? share it!

Is Social Commerce the Future of Ecommerce?

Is Social Commerce the Future of Ecommerce?

Over the past few years, the way we use social media has evolved.

Originally, social media was designed as a way to connect with people near and far. But as platforms have progressed, they’ve begun connecting us with brands as well. Nowadays, consumers can complete a purchase on their favorite social media site – from start to finish – without ever having to exit the platform.

Social media has finally advanced enough to play a significant role in the thriving world of ecommerce.

We’ve arrived at the era of social commerce where social media platforms are quite literally becoming search engines for shoppers.

What Is Social Commerce?

Simply put, social commerce is the buying and selling of items and services through a specific social media platform. The entire shopping experience – from product promotion to after-service sales – is incorporated into interactive features available within the social networking site.

Thanks to social commerce, users can shop directly from their social media feeds.

How Is Social Commerce Different From Social Media Marketing?

Social media marketing is a technique geared towards steering qualified traffic to an external website or online store.

Social commerce, on the other hand, provides the convenience of one-stop shopping within a social media site or app – an exciting alternative for today’s on-the-go shoppers.

The Emergence of Social Commerce

Shoppers these days are impatient – maybe even a little spoiled. Our attention spans are just 10 seconds long, if that.

Our social media obsession has hardwired us to expect instant gratification in all of our digital interactions. Social commerce is the solution, by virtue of the fact that it understands and accommodates this fundamental change in our preferences.

If we were to pinpoint the primary cause for the emergence of social commerce, it would undoubtedly be the Millennial generation. Indeed, Millennials were the catalyst for the shift toward social commerce in the first place.

Due to the enormous spending power of this generation – estimated at a whopping $1.4 trillion already and projected to be $4 trillion by 2030 – businesses understand that they are duty-bound to cater their efforts towards Millennials.

Essentially, there are just two factors that significantly impact the success of a business:

  • A product or service that fulfills a genuine need in the market
  • A streamlined buying process that makes it simple for customers to make a purchase

The potentiality of social commerce lies in the latter requirement – the whole purchasing process is simplified, thanks to features such as chatbots and auto-fill payments.

Understanding this critical component of online shopping, Facebook rolled out its Shops feature with the sole intention of giving people “a place to experience the joy of shopping versus the chore of buying.”

Let’s be clear: social commerce isn’t some passing fancy that’s going to fizzle out in a matter of months – it characterizes the way online business will be conducted from now on.

For organizations that don’t wish to be caught off-guard, it’s critical that they pivot towards social commerce.

that was easy

 

What Are the Advantages of Social Commerce?

One of the key characteristics of social commerce is its seamlessness. Seamless, in this context, refers to delivering an individualized experience for each customer whenever and wherever they want.

Social commerce meets these criteria in that brands can now have an entire conversation with a customer, instead of shifting from phone to desktop and eventually to a brick-and-mortar store. 

To wit, a shopping experience targeted towards the wants and needs of each individual shopper will become the favored solution. While price and quality still matter, being regarded as a cherished customer is an enormous part of the total experience for today’s shopper.

A staggering 75% of consumers are apt to purchase from a brand if its marketing content addresses them by name and offers suggestions based on their buying history.

Brick-and-mortar retailers recognized this long ago and began installing greeters at the entrances to welcome customers. The attention showered on customers went a long way toward building brand loyalty.

Social Commerce vs. Traditional Ecommerce

Traditional ecommerce models require shoppers to go through an excessive number of steps, increasing the risk that they will abandon the entire purchasing process.

Social commerce, on the other hand, centralizes the whole customer journey in one location. Shoppers can locate the products they need, read customer reviews, make any inquiries they might have, and check out – all without leaving the platform.

With fewer steps required to complete a purchase, customers are much less likely to get confused, frustrated, abandon their carts, and leave the site.

It’s important to note that, with social commerce, you still manage your products and market the way you normally do. However, you must take the added step of linking your inventory with the platform and streamlining the journey for customers engaged via social media.

Which Social Media Platforms Have Enabled Social Commerce So Far?

With an overwhelming number of physical stores having to shut down due to government lockdown measures earlier this year, many businesses resorted to ecommerce in order to survive.

Fortunately, many of the top social media sites had already integrated social commerce capabilities into their platforms or were actively working on doing so.

Facebook Shops

The world’s largest social media platform’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic came in the form of Facebook Shops. This new feature gives businesses the ability to advertise and sell products directly from the Facebook platform.

Brands already utilizing an ecommerce platform on their website, such as Shopify, can integrate it seamlessly with Facebook to sell to their social media followers.

Facebook Messenger

While email boasts the highest return on investment of all traditional digital marketing strategies, social media messaging app sales have now greatly outpaced email.

Open rates and click-through rates of ecommerce emails are, for the most part, relatively low: 15%-25% and 2.5%, respectively. By comparison, Facebook Messenger chatbots generate an astounding 80% open rate and 20% click-through rates on average.

Facebook Messenger’s chatbots come equipped with a number of potent features, including:

  • Greeting capabilities and assisting customers to “Get Started”
  • Allowing brands to send and receive text/images with customized calls-to-action
  • Templates letting customers interact with chatbots with the help of interactive visuals

Facebook “Buy” Buttons

Until recently, brands used call-to-action buttons on social media posts to divert users to a third-party site in order to complete their purchase.

Now, when brands include “Buy” buttons on their social media channel, customers can buy their products easily and then continue on Facebook right where they left off.

Instagram

Thus far, Instagram has primarily been used for brand discovery – the most recent data indicates that 70% of consumers use the platform to find out about new products. However, Instagram has laid the groundwork towards becoming an ecommerce hub – a smart move considering that more than 200 million users frequent at least one business profile each day.

The Instagram Checkout feature enables shoppers to browse through images and videos of products in their feed. Once they find an item they’re interested in buying, they can click on the post, select the dimensions or colors as applicable, and then pay for their purchase – all without leaving Instagram!

With Instagram’s shoppable posts and Stories features, brands can tag images or videos with the name, price, and description of catalog items that users can then click on to learn more about the product.

Pinterest

With more than 416 million active monthly users worldwide, Pinterest is another powerhouse channel for social commerce.

Brands can use Rich Pins to sell their products within the platform. Rich Pins are an organic format providing additional up-to-date information about the Pin itself, including the product’s price and availability.

Buyable Pins allow customers to purchase products directly on Pinterest without the platform redirecting them elsewhere. These Pins are distinctive thanks to the big blue “Buy It” button positioned next to the iconic “Pin It” button.

Buyable Pins allow users to see the product’s price, its seller, and read the descriptions. Once shoppers click on the “Buy It” button, they’re automatically directed to the Checkout page within the platform.

Snapchat

It might be surprising to find Snapchat in this list – but after a number of updates, this Gen-Z-favorite platform is making a pass at social commerce as well.

The most interesting – but not necessarily astonishing – thing about Snapchat’s attempt at competing with larger social platforms is the fact that it’s using augmented reality.

Snapchat’s 238 million users will soon be able to use the app’s lens-altering selfies to digitally try on shoes – whimsically dubbed as “shoefies.”

This is a crucial step in the platform’s ultimate goal of enabling users to virtually “try on” a complete wardrobe.

Given that reality-altering lenses are integral to the app and the fact that its users are predominantly Millennials and Gen Zers – the principal drivers of social commerce – Snapchat figures to become one of the leading social commerce channels in the coming years.

Augmented reality (AR) is a powerful tool that ecommerce companies can’t afford to shrug off. Consider that:

  • 61% of consumers prefer to shop sites that offer augmented reality
  • 49% of online shoppers are willing to pay more for an item if they can preview it in AR
  • 45% of consumers state that AR reduces the amount of time spent on making a purchasing decision

TikTok

The fastest-growing social media site around, especially among younger users, TikTok is also integrating social commerce capabilities into its platform. TikTok recently partnered with ecommerce giant Shopify to integrate in-app shopping features. Thanks to this partnership, brands can create and manage their TikTok marketing campaigns from the Shopify dashboard after installing the TikTok channel app through the Shopify app store.

Brands can create a TikTok Pixel to track actions – such as users visiting their site, adding an item to their cart, and completing their order. Using ad templates designed specifically for ecommerce, brands can also create in-feed shoppable video ads.

YouTube

Even YouTube, the stalwart video-based platform, is elevating their ecommerce game by implementing a more shoppable ad format. By expanding the call-to-action buttons on video ads, brands are able to drive more traffic to specific product pages. Businesses can sync their Google Merchant Center feed to the video ads to create a browsable display of featured products.

Final Thoughts

Social media platforms are perpetually coming up with innovative ways to simplify the purchasing process. Social commerce is but the latest in these continuing efforts.

If your brand is willing to invest the time and resources now to get up to speed on the fundamentals of social commerce while the trend is still in its infancy, you’ll be able to provide superior service to your customers for years to come.

Need help getting started with social commerce on one or more social media platforms? HighClick Media is here to help! Give us a call at 252.814.2150 today to find out how we can help elevate your brand!

Related Posts

know someone that needs to hear this? share it!

10 Things to Remember When Launching Your Website

10 Things To Remember When Launching Your Website

Launching a website is a big decision. If you make the wrong choice, it can cost you thousands of dollars and years to correct. Before launching your website, there are a few things you should remember so that you can achieve the desired success.

Ensure That Your Logo Represents Your Brand

Creating your logo design for a website should be simple yet creative and unique so that it can be easily recognized by customers. It should also represent your brand in a way that’s straightforward for users to understand. The best logos usually include text, illustrations, or designs with the company name included in them.

Research Your Competitors Carefully

In any niche market or industry today, it pays to know what your competitors are doing at all times. This will help you come up with better ways of getting ahead of them, by offering something they don’t have or targeting their audiences effectively without being noticed. You can do this through various means, such as social media monitoring tools and third-party trackers among others.

Have Great Content That Is Unique and Informative

Having great content definitely plays a role when trying to attract users to visit your site from time to time. However, this doesn’t mean you should plagiarize others’ work! Just make sure that the content you have is unique in its own way and provides genuine information to your users.

Develop an Effective SEO Strategy

If you want your site to succeed, you cannot overlook the importance of having an effective SEO strategy. This is one of the most important aspects you will need to consider before launching your website so that it ranks high on all major search engines like Google, Bing, and Yahoo.

There are many elements that can be used in developing a good SEO plan, but what matters the most is making sure that these strategies stay updated as much as possible. Some of the best SEO practices to include in your strategy include practicing link building, proper keyword research, using meta tags, and much more.

Do Not Ignore the Mobile Market

It’s no longer news that mobile internet usage has overtaken desktop usage worldwide. With this in mind, you should not ignore the importance of having a responsive website that’s compatible with all devices, including tablets and smartphones. Therefore, test your site for mobile compatibility before taking it live.

Be Consistent with Your Content

When it comes to having a successful website, consistency definitely plays an important role as well. You need to make sure that you post new blog posts on a regular basis. This includes updating existing ones from time to time so that they remain fresh for visitors who might be checking out your site after some months of not visiting it. This will also help Google know what topics or categories are most relevant to yours, therefore giving you more chances of ranking high when people search for those keywords online.

Build a Strong Relationship with Users and Readers

Building strong relationships with readers doesn’t only mean posting engaging content, it also means having the patience to reply to their concerns or questions as much as possible. This will help you establish a strong connection with your audience and give them reasons to come back for more. By building a relationship with your audience, you will, without a doubt, gain an edge over your competition.

Focus On Your Users’ Needs and Goals

When launching your website, never forget that users are the ones who matter most! Their needs and goals must be put first before anything else. Meeting their goals determines whether your site will be successful enough in attracting more customers through referrals and retaining existing ones. When you provide value and do everything right, then people might get curious about what products or services you offer and find themselves visiting the site more often.

Remember to Prioritize Content Sharing On Social Media Platforms

Social media marketing plays a very important role when trying to get the word out about your website or its services. In fact, some of the best ways you can use social media for free include promoting blog posts on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, sharing content with friends and followers on these platforms, joining groups that share similar interests like Pinterest boards and LinkedIn groups, and more. Just make sure not to spam people’s feeds by oversharing!

Have an Email Newsletter Ready for Subscribers

  1. Having an email newsletter ready means that you are taking advantage of one of the most effective ways to interact with visitors on a regular basis without being noticed by Google as “spammy” links which will affect your site’s rankings! An email list allows you to send updates about new posts or products anytime while staying at the top of your mind without appearing pushy whatsoever. This method has been proven successful time and again when done right.

Final Thoughts

Your website is an invaluable tool for your business. It not only helps you attract more users but also provides information that can help consumers make better decisions about the products and services they’re interested in buying. Therefore, increasing your chances of making a sale that will eventually lead to generating revenue should be your first priority. Use this article as a guide before launching your site, and you will achieve optimal success in no time.

Keep in mind that building a professional website for your business is no easy task. But it’s not in which you have to “go it alone.” HighClick Media is here to help! Our talented team of professional website designers and developers can customize your site to your exact specifications. Maybe you already have a business website, but it’s time for an update or a total facelift. We can help with that as well! Give us a call today at 252.814.2150 or drop us a line here to see how we can help you elevate your brand!

Related Posts

know someone that needs to hear this? share it!

16 Critical Elements of Great Website Design

16 Critical Elements of Great Website Design

Thanks to advanced technology, building a website today can be extremely simple. However, designing a website that marries impeccable functionality with stunning visuals is still challenging. It goes without saying that websites are now a fundamental part of a business’s online identity.

No business can hope to survive, let alone thrive, in today’s cutthroat market without an attractive, easy-to-navigate website. Far too many businesses fail at building a substantial online presence for their brand due to a subpar website.

So, why do some websites fail to attract and hold traffic where others succeed?

Certain elements of a website design contribute the most to building visitor interest in a website. Including these elements on your site gives it a beautiful visual appeal along with flawless functionality and authority. These are also the components that are most often botched during development.

Let’s take a closer look at 16 critical elements for building a great website.

Color Schemes

The color scheme of a website is seldom paid attention to when developing a website. However, you should know how important a role it plays in influencing a visitor’s behavior. Therefore, it’s important to use a color scheme that will best appeal to your visitors while also representing your brand well.

For instance, if you visit the fast-food giant McDonald’s website, you’ll be greeted with a color scheme that combines red, white, and yellow. These colors have been synonymous with the brand for ages.

We suggest first choosing the dominant color that best represents your brand. You can then choose an analogous color scheme that complements your dominant color choice to highlight certain sections of your site, like call-to-action (CTA) buttons.

White Space

Open any website today and you’ll find that a majority of these websites possess white space that divides certain sections of the webpages. These spaces lend an immaculate and accessible design to your site. They make the content or CTA buttons on your site easy to identify and read for visitors.

Some websites also use white space to give certain aspects of the site more emphasis than others. For instance, white space can be used to make certain “special deals” the focal point of a page.

Make sure you’re consistent in spacing the gaps between sections of your site. We recommend beginning with the navigation and then moving your attention to the content of your site. A grid-based layout can help you design a clean interface that maintains consistency across the entire page.

Easy Navigation

Sites that make it complicated for their visitors to navigate normally experience higher bounce rates.

As such, it’s imperative to facilitate simple navigation by giving users an easy-to-use and intuitive website. The website should offer users simple routes to navigate to certain fundamental aspects of a site, recommended pages, along with a way back to the original page.

Take a look at this quick navigation menu bar in Marks & Spencer’s website:

We suggest using parallax scrolling as a navigation system, which includes arrows that make a website’s user interface (UI) easy to interact with. Therefore, you must place a strong emphasis on simple navigation if you want visitors to spend more time on your site.

Distinct Typography

Using unique typography to present content on your site is an ideal way to distinguish yourself from other similar sites online. The fonts you ultimately choose should complement your brand while communicating its message to visitors. It’s also important to consider a font that makes your site look professional without appearing bland.

We suggest using a font size of at least 16 pixels to make your site’s content readable on mobile and desktop devices. You can use different but complementary fonts to highlight the headings and subheadings on the site. Finally, use contrasting color schemes to match your text with the background perfectly. Pairing darker tones with lighter colors will do the trick just fine.

Outstanding Visuals

This goes without saying, but certain visual cues on your site will give any website a distinct edge over similar websites online. Populating a webpage with high-resolution images and beautiful illustrations can make your site more compelling to visitors.

For example, take a look at this high-definition image from Hershey:

Of course, you can’t use just any random visuals on your site. They should align with what your brand stands for.

Use stunning banner images. You can populate your page with custom-made images, which can also be used to highlight certain key focal points of your site. Try to avoid using too many stock photos on your pages.

Site Usability

Aside from beautiful design, you also need to create a site that provides users with a satisfying user experience (UX). Most developers make the critical mistake of compromising a site’s usability in favor of its overall visual design. It’s imperative to optimize a site in order to facilitate smooth interaction between the site’s elements and visitors. A subpar UX design could result in your website’s bounce rate blowing through the roof.

You can enhance the user experience by using animations, readable and engaging content, simple navigation, and more interactive elements.

 

High-Quality Content

Having high-quality content is integral to optimizing search engine rankings for your site and thus generating more traffic to your site. It’s also absolutely essential to populate your site with quality content in order to keep your visitors engaged. Top-notch content that’s relevant to your brand can persuade visitors to spend more time on your site, explore other areas, or make a purchase.

We recommend dividing your content based on its relevance. Always keep relevant information about your website, product, or service at the top. Follow it up with content that explains your services or highlights features that set you apart from competitors.

Finally, use an FAQ section to answer questions that a visitor may have about your service.

Have a look at this FAQ page design from Shopify:

Compelling Calls to Action

A website exists to persuade a visitor to take certain actions on it. CTA buttons on a site trigger this response from visitors. As such, you need to place CTA buttons strategically throughout your site to persuade visitors to perform desirable actions on the webpage. The call-to-action messages themselves must be persuasive. They should explain what you want visitors to do in a few words.

“Buy Now,” “Sign up Free,” “Contact Us,” etc. are all examples of CTA buttons commonly used by most websites.

Make sure your landing page leads users to all the CTA buttons present on the page. You can utilize contrasting color schemes, content, and white spaces to highlight a CTA button.

Take a look at this CTA button used by Spotify:

If you have a variety of CTA buttons on your page, determine which type is more important and use it more prominently.

Mobile-Friendly Design

It is a well-known fact that the majority of websites receive most of their traffic from mobile users. With over 7 billion active smartphone users around the world today, not optimizing your site for mobile devices means losing out on such a massive audience. Suffice it to say, mobile optimization is one of the first things you need to do when building a website.

You need to utilize a custom web design that responds and adapts to various mobile screen sizes automatically.

We recommend using Google Search Console or other free tools like Pingdom or BrowserStack to check whether your site is mobile-friendly.

SEO-Friendly Elements

As you may know by now, search engines like Google take many aspects of a site’s user experience into consideration when ranking a site. As such, a developer needs to consider search engine optimization from the very beginning of a website’s design process. Elements like simple navigation, scannable text, loading speed, and mobile friendliness contribute to the overall user experience.

A problem with any of the above elements will result in a user having a poor experience with your site, eventually increasing its bounce rate. Google will take this high bounce as a sign of bad UX and ultimately plummet your site in search engine rankings.

It’s important to consider how each element will contribute to your site’s SEO. We suggest working with an SEO expert, who will monitor and assess all crucial elements of your site while it is in development.

Right Usage of Ads

You’ll find many websites online that have successfully monetized their websites by displaying ads on them. If used appropriately, display ads can be a great way to earn some revenue from your website. However, such advertisements – if used incorrectly – can aggravate your visitor’s user experience. In short, advertisements have the power to make or break your site.

As such, we discourage using too many ads on websites as it can harm the user experience. You don’t want your website to look unprofessional, which is exactly what will happen if your webpage is littered with ads.

The most effective way to advertise on a site, in our opinion, would be combining banner ads with affiliate marketing. Make sure your ads integrate organically with your site. They shouldn’t feel out of place and interfere with the content on your site.

Security

Online security should be an integral part of any website. Security and privacy have often been a major cause of concern for individuals surfing the web. Security alerts popping up when someone tries to open your site is a surefire way of turning potential website visitors away forever.

Internet security should be given as much focus as the design and overall functionality of your site. It should be mandatory for your website to implement an HTTPS protocol. This will help protect a user’s information, lend some much-needed credibility, and build trust among prospects. 

We suggest buying SSL certificates from reliable hosting service providers. These are cheap to acquire and can be integrated seamlessly with your site.

Integrating Social Media

Social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter have billions of active users from all around the world. So it only makes sense to integrate social media into your site’s design plan. You should have social media buttons that instantly redirect your users to your site’s official social media channel. You can also have buttons that allow users to directly share certain content or products from your website on their private channels. 

Having social media buttons strategically placed on your website is a great way of indirectly marketing your site, opening doors for people to leap in directly onto your site from their respective social media profiles online. 

Adding Internal and External Links

A proper link-building strategy can prove to be a great way of enhancing the brand authority of your website. It is important to learn how to build internal and external links to help boost your website’s performance. For instance, you can direct users to certain content on your site and improve its SEO performance by using appropriate internal links.

Proper link-building research requires a good strategy. We suggest finding out how your competitor’s websites are employing their link-building strategy. Draw inspiration for sites that are using the strategy with productive results.

Comments Section

We’ve already stressed how important it is to make your site as interactive and engaging as possible. Aside from content, you can add a comments section to your site, which allows users to leave their two cents below a particular content or product information. This can be a great way to receive feedback, which can be used to improve your service.

If you are running an ecommerce store, we recommend adding a review section similar to what is found on sites like Amazon and eBay. A dedicated comments and review section will make your site more interactive and improve brand loyalty.

Achievements and Endorsements

This is perhaps the most effective and widely adopted way of building trust among customers. It is in your business’s best interest to flaunt your past achievements on your website for all to see. Displaying your achievements can go a long way towards building a solid reputation for your business and brand.

We recommend having a dedicated section for testimonials, displaying positive comments from at least 4 to 5 past clients.

We also suggest highlighting the names of all the popular brands you’ve served. If you’ve received endorsements from authoritative brands, add them to your site as well.

Final Thoughts

While these 16 elements can seem a bit overwhelming, they’re essential to building a website that not only looks fantastic but functions flawlessly as well.

Are you ready for the good news? You don’t have to do it on your own!

HighClick Media is a full-service digital marketing agency that specializes in professional website design. Our talented web designers will craft your business website with lots of TLC and plenty of technical prowess! We can build you a brand new website from scratch or spruce up your existing site.

Interested? Reach out to HighClick Media today at 252.814.2150 or drop us a line here. We’ll be glad to show you how we can help #elevateyourbrand with a world-class website for your business.

**********

Guest blogger Joseph Schneider is the Director of Marketing at Haitna, a digital marketing firm based in Texas.

Related Posts

know someone that needs to hear this? share it!

5 Marketing Lessons We Learned from the Fyre Festival Fiasco

5 Marketing Lessons we Learned from the Fyre Festival Fiasco

What we learned as a digital marketing agency from the Fyre Festival fail

If you’ve paid any attention to social media or your favorite streaming apps within the last month, you’ve probably heard about 2017’s now-infamous Fyre Festival. The story of Fyre, the “festival” that never actually happened, is so fascinating that it became the subject of recent Netflix and Hulu documentaries, released within just days of one another. If you’re part of the tiny percentage of people who aren’t aware of this twisted tale, here’s the rundown:

The Fyre Festival Fraud

The festival, founded by Billy MacFarland and Ja Rule, was shamelessly promoted across social media by A-list supermodels and Instagram influencers (including Kendall Jenner, Bella Hadid, and Emily Ratajowski), as an exclusive, luxurious experience spanning multiple days on a private Bahamian island. The promos and Instagram ads were mesmerizing and suspiciously vague, using the brand hashtag #fyrefestival. Ticket prices ranged from $1,500 to over $100,000 for the “cultural experience of the decade,” and included airfare, gourmet meals, and luxury accommodations.

Upon arriving, festival-goers were disappointed to discover that the “luxury villas” were actually disaster relief tents, the “culinary experience” was actually cold cheese sandwiches, the “branded jet experience” was actually a commercial 747, and the artists scheduled to perform were actually… nowhere to be found. Fyre Festival organizers, who were unreachable for help or clarity, released a vague statement that the festival had been cancelled, and a plethora of lawsuits were filed against the organizers and other parties involved. The chaos was chronicled by furious attendees, whose videos and photos spread like wildfire across social media platforms, making national news. Talk about trouble in paradise.

The infamous cheese sandwich photo that now symbolizes the failure that was Fyre Festival.

5 Digital Marketing Lessons we Learned from the Fyre Festival Fiasco

From a digital marketing standpoint, Fyre Festival demonstrates how powerful, and ultimately, detrimental, digital marketing (social media marketing and Instagram influencer marketing in particular) can be without a proper strategy in place. Although the festival was a disaster, it serves as an important lesson to brands and marketers alike, and we’re discussing what we learned below.

1. Never underestimate the power of experience marketing.

Millennials prefer to spend their money on experiences over material things — and they are willing to pay extra for it. In fact, many brands already recognize this and are turning to experiential marketing to try to connect. Basically, this encompasses setting up opportunities for interaction, but with the brand and with other consumers, often through special events.

Understanding the Research on Millennial Shopping Behaviors | Angela Woo

Tickets to Fyre Festival promised more than a live music event. Promos for the festival heavily focused on providing an experience, implying that, if only for three days, attendees would live the same lifestyle as the celebrities in the SMM promos. From traveling to an exclusive destination on a private jet to partying on a yacht with supermodels to having the chance to win an actual buried treasure, Fyre Festival marketed the event as an organic, magical experience for it’s target audience.

2. If you make big promises, you have to hold up your end of the deal.

Rule of thumb: don’t over promise and under deliver, or you risk ruining your brand’s reputation. Organizers of the event regularly refereed to the Fyre Festival as “an experience that exceeds all expectations.” Fyre’s audience consumed these promises for months on end, truly believing that the event would exceed their already high expectations. We already know what happened when Fyre failed to deliver, to say the least. Now, everyone associates the Fyre brand with fear, dishonesty, and chaos. RIP Fyre.

3. Influencer marketing comes with a price.

Festival organizers launched an influencer marketing campaign featuring over 400 widely-known social media brands and influencers, aka “Fyre Starters,” to share photos or videos to spark discussion about the event. Within the first 2 days of their Instagram marketing campaign, the promoted Instagram posts attained 300 million impressions. Impressive, right? But let’s not get carried away. This marketing strategy was anything but strategic, and here are the cold, hard facts:

  • Kendall Jenner snagged a sweet $250K for a single post promoting the event.
  • Billy MacFarland spent millions on marketing and endorsements from famous celebrities and Instagram users, using up a majority of the budget.
  • This careless spending left little to no budget for proper infrastructure, staff, and the artists.

Now, this is not to say that influencer marketing isn’t effective- it obviously is. But successful influencer marketing all boils down to implementing a specific digital marketing strategy and doing what you say you’re going to do.

4. Don’t play the blame game.

Once the crap hit the fan, Ja Rule took to Twitter to apologize for the frenzy. Claiming that he’s working to refund everyone’s money, he still had to emphasize that the failure of a festival was “NOT MY FAULT.”

Meanwhile, Billy McFarland issued an apology of his own to Rolling Stone:

We launched this festival marketing campaign. Our festival became a real thing and took [on] a life of it’s own. Our next step was to book the talent and actually make the music festival, and that’s when a lot of reality and roadblocks hit. We were a little naive in thinking for the first time we could do this ourselves.

One surefire way to destroy brand trust and loyalty is to deny responsibility for an issue that’s clearly your fault. Successful brands are accountable for their actions, acknowledge their shortcomings, and don’t rest until they make things right.

5. Just be honest.

Transparency has been a popular term in marketing lately, and for good reason. Customers only want to cultivate relationships with brands they can trust; Brands that are honest, transparent, and authentic. Every brand makes mistakes, and accidents happen. However, deliberately misleading your target audience to make a quick buck will ultimately leave you broke as a joke, because if consumers can’t trust you, they’re not going to support your brand.

McFarland admitted to launching Fyre’s multi-million dollar marketing campaign before the actual event organization was even a thought. Fyre organizers knew that they were in too deep long before the scheduled date of the event, but they made no effort to warn their ticket-holders

Conclusion

Fyre Festival’s marketing campaign was, albeit short-lived, a massive success. It was the product, not the marketing, that didn’t deliver. As of right now, the only influencer who has made an apology is Bella Hadid, Ja Rule is still desperately trying to defend himself on social media, thousands of Bahamian festival workers remain unpaid, and Billy MacFarland is in jail.

The Fyre Festival turned out to be a total train wreck, built on fraudulent activity and lies, but one truth remains – social media is a powerful component of the digital marketing game.

Curious as to how you can utilize social media marketing (SMM) to elevate your brand? Our expert team creates honest, authentic, and transparent campaign strategies to make your brand the best it can be! To set up a free consultation, reach out to us today!

Related Posts

How to Make Your Social Media Stand Out

How To Make Your Social Media Stand Out

curated social media feeds to increase your brand recognition and gain followers

With so many people on social media, it can be a lot to take in all at once. But the best part about social media is that you can take it one post at a time!

Trying to change your entire feed can be time-consuming, so it’s important that you have a plan in place before you start shaking things up. So, whether you’re new to social media or you’re simply trying to improve your online presence, here are some tips to turn your social feed into a must-see!

eye-catching theme

Theme

Creating a consistent and eye-catching theme is extremely important when trying to increase your social media presence. You want your overall aesthetic to make viewers want to follow you based off the impression you create.

The first and most important step in picking a theme for your business’s social media is to decide what it is that you’re trying to sell or promote. Are you offering specific services? A wide range of products? No matter how well you edit your images, what truly matters is what you post about.

Be Your Brand

Be Your Brand

Being your brand simply means keeping a consistent voice with every post. Regardless of how many social media platforms you have or how many people you have posting on them, you want to sound as if only one person is speaking.

The last thing you want is multiple tones and voices in your content. This inconsistency in your brand identity will make it harder for your brand to be effective and identified. Some examples of brand voice characteristics are quirky, authentic, and passionate!

Post Consistently

When trying to use social media for business alongside your personal account, it can be easy to forget to post on your business account.

Let’s be honest: nobody has gotten multitasking down to a science! But one of the worst things you can do for your brand awareness is to “ghost” your followers on social media. Having an inconsistent online presence is actually worse than having no presence at all.

We like to mix it up a little bit. Roland Schitt, Schitt's Creek

Mix Up Your Content

Looking to add a little extra oomph to your social media marketing? Try to mix up your content by utilizing different content formats and techniques. Don’t just post plain images back-to-back – incorporate videos! Some of our favorite apps to spice things up on our social media are:

Picture Perfect

Picture Perfect

When choosing what images to include in your social media feed, try to pick ones that are clear and high-quality. If you’re trying to figure out how to make your social media stand out, this is a great place to start!

Utilizing puzzle feeds and grid images can make your small business really stand out on social media. The most important thing to remember before posting an image is to make sure that it accurately reflects your business. Having a great feed that’s completely irrelevant to your business is counterproductive! Always make sure that you’re representing your brand well.

If your visual doesn’t fit into your brand directly, you can utilize your caption to tie it all together.

How to Create Cool Captions

Creating Captions

Your images should be clear and your captions should be captivating. Captions are your chance to really engage with your online audience and build genuine relationships with them. Looking for ways to write engage-worthy captions? Try these steps!

3 Easy Ways to Create Captions Graphic with Megaphone

 

1. Decide What Message You’re Trying to Convey

The entire point of an Instagram caption is to tell the message that your image is trying to say. For example, if your business is hosting a giveaway, your caption should include all the details your customers need to know in order to participate.

Call to Action

2. Include a Call to Action

If you want your customers to click on the link in your bio, you need to give them this direction. They’re much less likely to take action if you don’t give them the directive to do so!

In order to achieve a good call to action (CTA), you must be clear about what it is you want them to do. For example, “Click the link in our bio” or any simple variation of that. CTAs are everywhere: blog posts, watching videos, downloading freebies, and so on.

Jim Carrey typing furiously on a computer keyboard

3. Don’t Write A Novel

You don’t need to write a book to write a good caption, and you don’t need to just write a one-liner either. Finding that sweet spot right in the middle is crucial to any caption!

The best way to achieve this is to break your caption into small paragraphs. Seeing one giant block of text will make your audience shy away from reading your caption. But short, easy-to-read captions are definitely engage-worthy!

 

Stay Tuned! Joey Graceffa

Establish Recurring Posts

One consistent way to make sure your social media awareness increases is to establish a set of recurring posts. The goal here is to create something that keeps your online audience engaged and coming back for more!

Recurring posts can be anything from weekly livestreams of Q & A’s , sharing tips and tricks, giveaways, and more.

You can post these on any of your preferred social media networks, but we prefer to do these on Instagram. This approach is the best way to showcase your creativity and your expertise with your audience.

Sharing is caring. American Grit

Share Your Story

Make your brand relatable! Authenticity is key when representing your brand. Don’t fabricate your story – just share it!

When trying to decide how to tell your story think about what you personally relate to, ask yourself these questions:

  • What are you passionate about?
  • What drives you to keep working on your business?

Finding the answers to these questions (and more) is exactly what’s going to make your customers connect with you.

Mission Statement

When writing your mission statement, keep your story simple. Younger consumers are interested in reading a lengthy story – it’s too much to keep up with! They want something uncomplicated and easy to follow. Try to keep in mind that the more complicated your story is, the less likely people are able to connect with it.

The structure of your story should have a defined beginning, middle, and an end. Don’t just throw it all together.

Your mission statement is a story that represents your brand – so make it a good one! Give your customers a reason to get involved with your business. The main reason customers get involved with a business is because that business is providing a solution that they need.

Marketing Team Strategizing with Post-It Notes

Social Media Strategy

Do you really need a strategy for your social media?

YES!

Here’s why!

Having a strategy in place makes it easier for you to know what kind of post you should do each day. Whether it be an infographic or a #TipTuesday, go ahead and have your content planned ahead of time!

By doing this, you have time to let your creativity shine! Not only does preplanning your content help free up time in your day, but also helps get your team in sync.

Having your team on the same page helps keep your brand voice consistent.

Should you hire a social media manager?

ABSOLUTELY!

Creating consistent, creative, and captivating content takes time and experience. When you hire a digital marketing agency, you’re hiring someone to study your brand and help your online audience identify your business easily.

With social media marketing, it’s crucial that your feed stays up-to-date, visually pleasing, and engaging. All of which takes a lot of time and focus.

When you partner with HighClick Media, you’ll find that we do WAY more than just social media! We are a full-service digital marketing agency, offering web design, search engine optimization, PPC, and more! Our mission to help grow businesses just like yours!

So, are you ready to make your social media account stand out? If so, what are you waiting for? Reach out to us today, and one of our social media experts will be happy to chat with you about your social media goals! We’ll elevate your feed to new heights!

Related Posts

know someone that needs to hear this? share it!

8 Generation Lead Tips for Small Businesses

8 Lead Generation Tips for Small Businesses

Small businesses have to overcome numerous hurdles before making a name for themselves and ensuring an ever-increasing revenue stream. Naturally, some of the biggest obstacles are generating leads and inspiring loyalty.

At first glance, it seems simple enough – find a market gap and have your business fill it. Customers will flock to you without much effort on your part. In practice, it’s not nearly as effortless.

If you don’t want to be in the 70% of businesses that fail within a decade, you need to ensure that your lead generation tactics are flawless.

Let’s take a look at a few tips and tricks that will help set you up for success:

Start with an Impeccable Website

Most members of your target audience will have one thing in common – when they need products or services (that happen to be in your offer), they’ll first look them up online.

Over 97% of users search online to find local businesses and make purchases. So, only having a website will immediately up the ante on your lead generation.

Still, it’s not enough to simply have a website. You need to make it a great one if you’re going to generate and convert your leads.

Create a clean design that makes it easy for your website visitors to scan your pages and find the information they need. Be clear about who you are, what your business does, how it can help your audiences, and how interested prospects can contact you.

It’s also always a good idea to take a look at what your competitors are doing with their websites and gather some inspiration from that.

Perfect Your Landing Pages

With your website done, it’s time to start developing landing pages. One of the worst mistakes you can make in this regard is to use your homepage as the go-to landing page for all your ad campaigns.

Your homepage is already the most frequently visited page on your website, so there’s no reason to keep directing your audiences to it during your campaigns. Instead, create dedicated landing pages focused on converting visitors.

You’ll need to make your landing pages enticing, relevant to your ad content, concise, and direct. Present your offer, highlight your brand’s value, and include a clear call to action.

The better your landing page, the higher your conversions will be. Do some A/B testing to find out which landing pages perform the best, find out what your audiences want, and keep tweaking your pages until you get the desired results.

Improve Your SEO 

Search engine optimization (SEO) is one of the biggest prerequisites for successful lead generation. By enhancing your SEO, you will:

There are a number of factors that impact your SEO ranking, including:

  • Page loading speed
  • Internal and external links
  • Quality of your content
  • Security
  • Mobile-friendliness
  • Keyword usage

If you want to rank on search engines and attract audiences, you’ll need to develop a comprehensive SEO approach. You can’t just improve your page speed, neglect all the other aspects of SEO, and expect to rank first.

SEO is a slow and steady approach, so take your time perfecting it.

Provide Relevant Content 

One thing that will help you improve SEO and boost lead generation is content. In the online environment, content is king.

Content marketing allows you to improve keyword usage, take your external and internal linking to a new level, engage audiences, enhance your visibility, and display your expertise.

 Whether you’re creating blog posts, e-books, video guides, infographics, Facebook Stories, or any type of content in between, your focus should be on quality. Keyword stuffing and improper backlinking are a no-go. Here’s what you should do instead:

  • Provide valuable information that will help your audiences
  • Offer solutions to your target customers’ most common problems
  • Provide relevant insights
  • Entertain your audiences

Before long, you’ll notice just how helpful content marketing can be for your lead generation.

Make Use of Social Media

We can’t talk about lead generation for small businesses without mentioning social media. It’s a gold mine for attracting customers and inspiring loyalty.

Whether you like it or not, you need to have a social media presence as a small business owner – it doesn’t matter if you’re running a small antique shop, a dropshipping business, or a family-owned pizzeria.

However, before you join all the most popular networks and get in over your head, analyze your target audience. See which platforms most of them use and examine how they interact with other businesses on them.

Then, only join those platforms that you can easily manage. After all, you’ll need to stay active on these platforms by regularly posting fresh content and responding to comments and messages. If you’re on more than a couple of platforms, you’ll likely find it difficult to keep track of them and use them to your advantage.

Take Advantage of Lead Generation Quiz Makers

A reliable lead generation quiz maker is ideal for engaging your audiences. It makes quiz creation a breeze, allowing you to know your target customers better and offering you a chance to stand out from the crowd.

You can create any type of quiz you want:

  • A fun personality quiz that grabs the viewers’ attention
  • An assessment quiz that tells you how much your audience knows about you and your products
  • A market research quiz, which allows you to assess your target audience’s most common pain points 

Share your quizzes on social media to reach a wider audience, add them to your lead generation emails, and embed them on your website to convert visitors.

With a lead generation quiz maker, it will take you no more than a few minutes to create engaging quizzes that boost your visibility and help you attract customers. You can also integrate it with email marketing tools or customer relationship management tools to nurture leads efficiently.

Monitor Your Online Reputation

To generate leads as a small business owner, you need to keep a very close eye on your online reputation.

You could have the perfect brand persona, excellent products and services, top-notch support, and a bulletproof content marketing strategy – and yet your reputation could still suffer. You need to be careful to pay attention to what people are saying about you and your brand.

Your customers and even competitors will talk about your brand on forums, social media groups, review sites, personal accounts, and more. Keep a close eye on all brand mentions.

If someone is harming your reputation online, you’ll need to be ready to clear things up, highlight your brand value, and present your business in the best possible light.

Respectfully respond to negative reviews, engage in discussions on public forums, offer solutions to public complaints, and ensure that your online reputation is excellent.

Spread the Word About Your Business Through Different Channels

Even with the best strategies at your disposal, it can sometimes be challenging to significantly increase lead generation on your own. Sometimes, you’ll need a little bit of help. Don’t be afraid to ask for it!

Spread the word about your business through different channels. For instance, you could try guest blogging, wherein you create content for other websites in your niche. Doing so will help you expand your reach, showcase your expertise, and attract a wider clientele.

Alternatively, you can reach out to influencers who make sense for your industry and who can connect you with their followers. Influencers inspire trust among their followers, enjoy an excellent reputation, and can easily impact their fans’ purchasing decisions.

Final Thoughts

Lead generation for small businesses can seem like an insurmountable challenge. But it’s easier than you may think when you have a few tricks up your sleeve and know what you’re doing.

So remember, if you want to boost your lead generation and conversion, you’ll need to: 

  • Create a great website 
  • Perfect your landing pages
  • Work on your SEO
  • Create relevant, engaging content 
  • Make use of social media 
  • Use a reliable lead generation quiz maker 
  • Monitor your online reputation
  • Spread the word through channels, such as guest blogging and influencer marketing

Follow these tips to ensure the success of your small business and start generating leads like a pro. Your business could also benefit from some creative experimentation on your part to complement the ideas discussed above.

If you need further help developing a lead generation strategy for your business, reach out to the small business experts at HighClick Media. We’ll take the time to get to know your business, identify its particular needs, and come up with solutions that will help your business grow. Reach out to us today at 252.814.2150 or drop us a line here.

**********

Guest blogger Angela White is an ed-tech enthusiast with a passion for writing. Specifically, she writes in the areas of product research and marketing using quizzes and surveys. She is a researcher at a brand that’s known for creating delightfully smart tools called ProProfs Quiz Maker.

Related Posts

know someone that needs to hear this? share it!

How to Advance Your Small Business Objectives

How To Advance Your Small Business Objectives

While small business owners and entrepreneurs are typically savvy business professionals, there are several tried-and-tested best practices that can help you stay organized and productive, allowing you to advance your business with speed and at scale. Let’s take a look at a few of these.

Organizational Skills

Organization and time management skills are both crucial to the success of your small business operations. This means utilizing project management planning and tracking tools; having a living, breathing business and marketing plan that you consult regularly; and establishing measurable objectives to help ensure that you’re hitting your goals.

Clearly defining operational functions for yourself, employees, and contractors can also go a long way toward ensuring overall productivity. You can achieve this by creating an employee training manual, drafting detailed job descriptions, and developing a defined organizational chart with a reporting structure.

You can keep your projects on track by using a process map to organize your project. A process map helps define the tasks needed to achieve your goals and breaks down deliverables at each stage of your project.

Developing Protocols

As there are several different ways a business can choose to operate, it’s imperative to clarify expectations with your staff in order to maintain smooth operations. According to Business News Daily, establishing best practices, chains of command, and an organizational hierarchy can help keep everyone on track.

It’s important to state, in writing, how projects are determined, defined, and implemented. Who signs off on purchases, training, or software implementations? Who is responsible for reviewing and approving marketing messages or social media strategies?  Who interviews, hires, and trains new staff members? Having these outlined in writing and used for employee onboarding is a must.

Communication Channels

According to Forbes, having open channels of communication – both internally and externally – can help your business run smoothly. Consider using a company intranet in which coworkers can stay connected. Have an email distribution platform in place for keeping in regular contact with your customers. Being on the same wavelength with vendors and contractors is also critical, whether that’s through regular email correspondence, routine telephone check-ins, or even in-person connections. If you haven’t already, create an employee manual including best practices – with examples and templates – around all communication protocols to ensure that everyone is on the same page.

Innovative Practices

For a company to remain competitive and keep advancing, innovation is essential. This means continually looking for new ways to improve your products and services and deliver top-notch customer care. Conduct brainstorming sessions with employees to gain their unique insights. Attend conferences on a regular basis and join industry associations – this gives you numerous opportunities to ask questions and learn about policies and practices that work well for other organizations. Be open to new ideas and take calculated risks. This can include continually updating training protocols, conducting in-depth market research, and discovering new ways to outpace the competition.

Enhanced Productivity

When everyone has a well-defined job description and is able to focus on their particular area of work, productivity is sure to improve and employees will experience a sense of accomplishment.

Consider outsourcing key services when necessary. For example, you might enlist the services of a digital marketing agency to handle your social media and manage your marketing strategy, or hire an accountant to do your books and your taxes.

If your business’s invoicing process is cumbersome and time-consuming, making use of a bank account balance API can help you verify whether customers and clients have the funds available to pay for products on the spot. This helps ensure a steady cash flow for your business and helps customers avoid overdraft fees.

 

Final Thoughts

There are a lot of moving parts involved when it comes to operating a small business. Effective communication, time management, and regular collaboration meetings can all help your team stay focused and on track. Don’t be afraid to frequently revisit your planning documents and adjust accordingly. It’s all part of embracing an innovative mindset!

If you’re looking to scale your business through digital marketing or give your marketing strategy an overhaul, HighClick Media can help! Give us a call today at 252.814.2150 or drop us a line here to see how we can help #elevateyourbrand!

**********

Guest blogger Alyssa Strickland created millennial-parents.com for all the new parents on the block. She believes the old adage that it takes a village to raise a child, but also thinks it takes a village to raise a parent! Millennial-Parents is that village. Today’s parents can be more connected than ever, and Alyssa hopes her site will enrich those connections. On Millennial-Parents, she shares tips and advice she’s learned through experience and from other young parents in three key areas: Education, Relationships, and Community.

Related Posts

How to Keep Your Business Competitive in the Marketplace

How To Keep Your Small Business Competitive In The Marketplace

 

Small business owners can take advantage of the latest technologies to help elevate their companies to the next level. While there are a variety of different marketing and advertising mediums to pursue, digital options can help narrow the playing field when it comes to competing with larger counterparts.

Website Design

If you’re a small business, entrepreneur, or independent contractor with some basic tech skills, you might be able to create your own simple website using an online builder which allows you to add your own text, photos, and contact information. While this is not an ideal solution, it’s still better than not having an online presence at all – and having a website can go a long way towards helping your customers find you.

However, if you’re really looking to make an impact, it is well worth the investment to hire a top-notch website designer. A professionally designed business website not only looks great but also has the capability to track data and provide an analytical breakdown of customer traffic – and this, in turn, can help you refine your messaging and strategy.

Social Media Presence

Social media is a “must-have” in today’s business world. Select the platforms best suited to reach your target demographic and come up with a strategy for regularly adding content and updates to ensure that you’re getting repeat traffic.

You’ll likely want to gather relevant images and/or documents to help develop your online presence. Converting file sizes so that they’re easier to send and use is beneficial in various ways. For example, when you convert a JPEG to a PDF you can retain the quality of the image while sending a smaller file. You can also merge multiple PDFs into one, limiting the number of attachments you have to provide.

Email Marketing

According to Rewind, an email marketing campaign is a cost-effective way to get in front of and stay in front of your target market. It’s also a great way to engage customers and to share news and information with collaborators and business associates – all while linking back to your website, product pages, or social media sites.

When it comes to creating compelling content for your email marketing campaigns, you’ll want copy that’s short and easy to read, contains lots of great images, and includes a call to action. This might involve encouraging recipients to take advantage of an upcoming sale, driving foot traffic through your doors, or getting people to subscribe to your blog. While you can set up a distribution list for email marketing, certain software products come equipped with features that make this process easier.

Other Web-Based Tools

Having a web-based or digitally focused strategy can go beyond advertising and marketing purposes. You may find that it’s beneficial to engage freelancers who work remotely or to utilize online software programs or platforms for things like accounting, bookkeeping, customer relationship management, streamlining the payment collection process, and even collaborating with vendors in terms of ordering and scheduling deliveries. In fact, Tech Radar says you can find apps that will help you keep pace with your competition – whether it’s via a scheduling calendar, a project management tool, or even a quick bill-pay app that saves you time and hassle.

The more digital, web-based, and online tools you can use for your small business, the better positioned you are to maximize every opportunity to get in front of your target audience. Take the time to carefully evaluate what you can do on your own and what it’s wise to hire out for – IT, web design and development, and even a social media consultation can all be worthwhile investments towards your enduring success.

Final Thoughts

As a full-service digital marketing agency, HighClick Media is eminently able to help your business compete in even the most crowded markets. Our team has extensive expertise in a wide range of areas, including brand development, logo design, website design, email marketing, search engine optimization (SEO), pay-per-click advertising (PPC), social media marketing, and more!

Call us today at 252.814.2150 or drop us a line here to see how we can help you #elevateyourbrand!

********************

Guest blogger Cody McBride’s love for computers stems from high school when he built his own computer. Today he is a trained IT technician and knows how the inner workings of computers can be confusing to most. He is the creator of TechDeck.info where he offers easy-to-understand, tech-related advice and troubleshooting tips.

Related Posts

know someone that needs to hear this? share it!

Social Media Optimization Step by Step

Social Media Optimization Step by Step

 

Social media optimization (SMO) is the process of increasing social media engagement, driving traffic to your website, and boosting conversions via various social media platforms.

Social Media Optimization – how does it work?

Just like any form of digital marketing, a successful SMO strategy involves measurable goal-setting followed by making the necessary adjustments to increase follower engagement and conversions. This process includes crafting branded content that solves your target audience’s problems, engaging with other brands and/or followers, and utilizing social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter to drive traffic to your website.

Who is SMO right for?

Short answer? Everyone! 

Whether you run a B2B (business-to-business), a B2C (business-to-consumer), or a nonprofit, a successful SMO strategy will generate quality leads that convert!

Any reputable business will possess an established online presence on not only their website but across relevant social media profiles as well.

How to Optimize Social Media

1. Develop a Social Media Style Guide

 

Brands with the highest Social Media success possess a collection of guidelines to determine how their brand should appear on social media. If you already have an overall style guide for your brand, you can easily pull from that!

If you do not have a style guide, here are some tips to help you get started.

  • Write your company’s mission statement.
  • Clearly define your brand persona.
  • Pinpoint your key style guide components: voice, tone, color palette, design components, and logo usage.

2. Conduct a Competitive Analysis

A thorough competitor analysis will highlight the strengths and weaknesses of your direct competition. Dig deep into their social media marketing data, and you’ll see what is and isn’t working for them, how you can use this to your advantage, and where you can fill in the empty gaps.

Here are a couple of tips for analyzing your business’s competitors.

  • Identify your top 3-5 competitors by researching brands and businesses that offer products and services comparable to yours, and locate their presence on all social media networks.
  • Review your competitors’ social media posts, content quality, number of followers, engagement, likes, and shares to identify the most compelling content based on your target audience.

3. Define Social Media Site goals based on competitive analysis

A strong competitive analysis should have given deep insights into competitor strategies and audiences. Use these insights to determine which competitor audiences are most relevant to your brand, and identify what your brand can do to effectively compete for your competitor’s target market’s business. From this point, establish a list of SMART (specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time-bound) goals to work towards.

 

4. Perform Hashtag Research

Adding hashtags to your social sharing is a great way to elevate your brand awareness.

Hashtag research should reveal the most popular hashtags used based on your industry, and engaging with the right hashtags lets your target audience know that you’re passionate about what they’re passionate about.

 

It goes without saying that your hashtags should be relevant to your brand. Another thing to remember is this – for a hashtag strategy that works, your focus hashtags should not be too broad. For example, HighClick Media is a marketing agency, but I would never use ‘marketing’ as a hashtag. Why? Because it’s too broad.

In fact, I just searched #marketing on Instagram, and 25.3 million posts are utilizing that hashtag. But when I look at the top #marketing posts, they’re all over the place. From a video of a personal trainer doing reps to a quote about being yourself to a random lady modeling a new jacket, none of these posts are relevant to my brand. Alternatively, upon searching #SocialMediaOptimization, less than 10,000 posts are utilizing this hashtag, and nearly every top post is completely relevant.

5. Optimize your Social Profiles

Make sure that your business name on social media is exactly what users would search for if they were already aware of your physical business. Leave the nicknames or shortened names to your personal profile. Your business profile needs to be consistent with your existing brand. Take the time to review the remainder of your business information to make sure it’s filled out correctly and completely.

Review your social media images to determine their relevancy to your brand. Your profile image should always be your logo – no exception. Your cover image has a little more flexibility. I’ve seen high-quality business cover images ranging anywhere from a staff group photo to an abstract pattern. The key is to ensure that the cover image aligns with your style guide for consistency and brand recognition.

6. Share quality content with your followers

Your target audience is looking for content that meets their needs and solves their problems. When you give the people what they want, they begin to trust your brand. Use your competitive research for content inspiration!

Here are some questions to ask yourself:

  • What problems would my target audience still face after consuming content from my competition?
  • What expertise can I offer my target audience that my competitor can’t?
  • What resources can I offer to my target audience that my competitors haven’t?

7. Extend your brand reach beyond your existing audience

 

Target new audiences with qualities similar to your existing audiences. Most social media platforms do not limit your promotion options to your immediate following. For example, on Facebook, you can choose to target your immediate audience and their friends, and it doesn’t stop there. You can also target users by location, gender, age, occupation, interests, and the list goes on and on!

To Sum It All Up

Your main goal regarding SMO should be to increase conversions by driving social media users to your platform(s), and ultimately, your website. This is done by building your social following, increasing their interest in your brand via quality content and engagement, raising awareness by nurturing your current audience and reaching beyond them to touch other potential followers, and analyzing your results to do it even better the next round!

To learn how HighClick can elevate your social media marketing, schedule a free consultation with one of our experts. We’d love to help you grow your business by becoming your outsourced team for all things Social Media Optimization!

Related Posts

know someone that needs to hear this? share it!