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

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

What’s In It For The Customer?

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

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

A great test to see if advertisements made their mark is with Super Bowl ads. Customers will remember the commercials, but will they actually remember what product was being pushed? Some brands have iconic imagery (Budweiser horses and frogs, Geico gecko, etc.) and others may have really great visuals, but the actual product just gets lost. Was the money worth the effort? 

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

Stand Out Where Your Customers Are

Talk to any marketing professional and you will hear a different opinion of where your business should advertise or what platforms you should be present on. This also can depend on where you live and in what part of the world as some areas utilize mediums other areas just don’t. Think city fold versus country folk and how to market to people in each. It is different! It seems like everyday a new social platform is born. It is nearly impossible to be present on all of them with a marketing strategy. And of course there are thousands of ways to reach potential customers, but figuring out where your target audience obtains their information would be a great place to start.

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

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

Start With The Basics

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

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

The Bottom Line

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

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

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

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

What Is A Marketing Agency?

Let’s start with an overview of True Fit Marketing. We are a full-service marketing advocacy firm powered by technology and grounded with foundational marketing. Typically the terms marketing agency and marketing firm can be used interchangeably. Our promise is to support you, your business, and your team, along with helping you feel more confident in your marketing efforts. We want to save you from the stress of not knowing where your marketing dollars are going and what your advertising is actually doing for you. With fully transparent reporting and consistent evaluation meetings, we want to be held accountable for helping your business succeed. Our business encompasses a team of professionals in specialized areas to help you reach your marketing goals. 

Are Marketing Agencies Expensive?

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

Costs are always going to be different per client, per project, and per contract. They will also fluctuate depending on where you are located, the services provided (advertising campaigns are a great example) and what the goals are. Budgets can fluctuate depending on results, whether good or bad, the time of the year, or whatever campaign is needed. Either way, just as everything, you get what you pay for when hiring a marketing agency. You get a team of professionals, at a fair market value, who will help to reach your goals.

Hiring a Marketing Agency

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

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

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

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

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

Can A Marketing Agency Help Your Business?

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

The Bottom Line

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

Top 5 Reasons to Hire A Professional Photographer and Videographer

Think back to the most recent purchase you made. Why did you make that purchase? Was it because it was something you needed or wanted to help solve a problem in your life, or was it a whim of a purchase because the product or service just appealed to you? Was it a video that you watched that told you about the business and what this product or service was? Or how about pictures that accompanied the video to physically show the product being used or how the service is done? 

A good example is the old school, late night infomercials, that are now 1 minute videos on your social media newsfeeds to bait and hook you into buying their products. There is just something about the look and feel of those videos. They are so catchy, the wording is perfect and they really do hook you in! That is the magic of a great video and marketing team!

These are a lot of questions to ask yourself right now, but the next time you are interested in a product or service, ask yourself what is making this so appealing to me? We can bet that professional photography and videography are helping to amplify your decision to make a purchase.

But as a business owner, you are probably thinking, I have this high-tech smartphone that says it takes the best photos and it has some video editing capabilities. I will just do it on my own! Not so fast. This is a decision that needs to be rethunk! Here are 5 of the top reasons any business owner should hire a professional photographer and videographer for their next big project.

1. Creative Decisions

As the business owner, we sometimes want to cram as much information into thirty seconds as we can to try to make sure the prospective buyer knows as much information as they can. You might end up sounding like an auctioneer if you do that. With a professional photo and video team, you can express your wants, needs and desires to them and allow this team to come up with the best creative ideas and decisions for the project. They will figure out the important keywords and best angles to show to ensure the whole message is getting told. This team knows how to make a video and photo shoot fun instead of stressful and the end product will surely show this.

And to make it even better, with us, our video and photography team comes alongside the marketing team. So we are a whole crew to get the job done!

2. Saves Time

After meeting with the photo and video team to work out what you want from them, it is up to that team to then get creative and figure out what they want to shoot. Depending on the project, they may come back to you and ask a couple of questions, but after the plan has been put into place, the only thing you will be needed for is filming or photography if you are actually in the pictures or videos. If you are, there is usually a script written for video purposes so you will know exactly what to say. And as far as photography goes, you will know the look and feel of how you want to present yourself to your audience. 

Once the camera crews come in and do their stuff, you can wipe your hands of it until the team shows you a first draft of their work. Imagine not having to stress over anything after that and being able to focus on other parts of your business!

3. Saves Money

Do you have all kinds of fancy camera and video equipment? How about editing software? Those things are crazy expensive and if you aren’t going to be using them very often, it will just save you money in the long run to just hire professionals to get the job done right. Hire experts who have a keen eye for detail, understands your business and your audience, and knows your goals. Let them create video and photo magic for you while you focus on your favorite parts of your business.

4. Professional Results

Which leads us to the end product. Professional photographers and videographers will provide professional results. If they don’t, they aren’t professionals. Professional results can be checked off as the end product, but also being able to share a high quality project on your website, across your social media channels and wherever else you may want to show them. There is nothing more frustrating than trying to share a video on social media and the size or shape is giving you an error. Let your professional team provide you with everything you need to make showing your end products to your audience as easy as can be. 

5. Drives Sales

Professional videographers and photographers can help a business develop and achieve its business objectives through sights and sounds. Well-produced videos can attract, engage, and promote one’s brand and company on their own. That is why it is important to work with a professional team so your business doesn’t look low budget or low end. High end, high quality promote and give the same feel about your products or services, no matter the price point. With a professionally done video or photography session of your products or services, you will be able to draw in more potential customers, and grow your business! That is always the goal, right? Grow the business! 

The Bottom Line

The bottom line is that a professional photographer and videographer will help to make your business be more successful through their services. Reach out to us to learn more about the services we offer and how we can help your business grow.

Why Outsourcing Creative and Design Services is a Great Idea

Creative and design services literally are the look of your business. From your website to your social media, to your flier, mailers, and even business cards, creative and design services help to bring these business and marketing pieces to life. 

Your graphics should be a reflection of your brand, and they should be as sharp as possible. Your business’s professional image is likely the first thing a customer sees when going to your website or noticing an ad in a magazine. Wherever your business is, your image should be recognizable. As such, creative and design services are available to help establish your look, your feel, the story you want to tell about your business and the feeling you want to give your customers when viewing your brand, all while pushing whatever the end goal is.

Good creative and design services tend to go hand in hand with good business. But not everyone is a designer or artist, nor do they have the time to meticulously work on each design they want to put out. That’s where hiring a graphic designer and creative team comes in. But is it worth it or even a good idea?

 

A Business Needs Professional Design Services

So often we hear that anyone can create a Canva or PicMonkey account and piece together a nice looking flier. And we totally love those sites. They are great for quick designs for beginners. But there is just something to be said for a tried and true graphic designer’s work through professional design programs. Professional graphic designers are artists that bring a unique personal touch to any idea that is different from the already existing templates on design sites. 

Graphic designers make sure your designs are integrated into every aspect of your business branding. Designers have a keen eye for color and imagery as they are truly artists in the business world. As professionals, graphic designers know ways to make a business aesthetically pleasing to the eye, yet memorable to the mind. And it must be memorable as customers typically only give businesses mere seconds to make a mark in their memories.

Additionally, consistency is key as it helps to build trust amongst your current and future customers. There’s something to be said for businesses that are recognized just by certain shapes or color schemes. Sometimes it is as simple as a yellow M or a black check mark. We all likely know the businesses that are associated with those graphic designs.

Graphic Designers Actually Save You Time and Money

Business owners likely don’t have the skills a graphic designer would (and if you do, you are one in a million!) That is not to say ideas can’t become a reality, but it can become a reality much faster, and cheaper, with a professional graphic designer.

Graphic designers save businesses time and money in the long run. While the DIY attitude can be great, it isn’t always true in the design world. Spending hours learning design software, designing a marketing piece, then trying to figure out how to print it on the best quality paper could result in frustration and something that doesn’t look professional at all. Design experts are masters of the trade. They can design a concept in a fraction of the time with a much better result. They also should already work with printers who can bring digital designs to life. Not a piece that needs printed? Digital design is also something that can be hard to understand. Allow for a professional to design something right the first time around so it will perfectly fit onto your website, app or social media.

Along with time, a professional graphic designer can save you money as well. While time is money in the business world, you might not even realize how much money you can save with a graphic designer. If you don’t get your idea designed right the first time around, it can be a costly mistake and potentially have a negative impact on your business. We are sure that everyone can think of a brand that once had a costly design mistake. Nowadays those mistakes may go viral or completely unnoticed. Hopefully it is the latter if it is really bad. Plus, behind our graphic design team is an editing team that will give each design a look over to make sure it is perfect. There’s nothing worse than printing a billboard only to have a word misspelled. 

Frustration equals time and money that could’ve been better spent on a part of your business that you are skilled at and enjoy. Do what you do best and delegate the rest.

Finding the Right Creative and Design Team

Like we said before, just because someone knows how to “design” something on a design website, doesn’t mean they are a graphic designer. We all can make dinner, but that doesn’t make us all chefs! 

Work with a team like ours who doesn’t just scratch the service of your business. Find a team that meets with you to learn more about you, why you started your business, and what your business is all about (and we don’t just mean your mission statement.) Look for people who want to dive deep into the workings of your business and you, and become a part of your team. So many creative ideas, like potential slogans, for example, could be missed if people outside of your business don’t take the time to learn about you and your business world.

The reason you should find a team that goes so in depth into strategy for design is because their work is your work. It should have meaning and represent your business in the right way. Don’t just work with someone who is going to throw something together, and say done. Work with a team that wants to know what we are trying to accomplish with each project. Are you looking to get more members, promoting a sale, or just trying to get your message out there?

We all can’t be the best at everything. That is why it is important to be the best at what you want to be the best at and outsource other duties to other professionals. Graphic and creative design services is a great service to allow someone outside of your business world to take on. There are truly great people who take the time to learn your business, your industry, research the competition and see what others in your field are doing in terms of creative and design. We promise that together, you should be able to create the perfect marketing materials for you and your business needs.

SEO 101 – What Is It and Why Should I Know About It?

SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization, which, according to Moz, is a “set of practices designed to improve the appearance and positioning of web pages in organic search results. Because organic search is the most prominent way for people to discover and access online content, a good SEO strategy is essential for improving the quality and quantity of traffic to your website.”

There are several elements to a whole marketing strategy. As we break apart different segments of a strategy on our social media posts, we will also blog about them as well. This blog will focus on SEO services. These services consist of a combination of things. There is not a magic button that someone can push that says optimize my keywords, make my website rank higher than my competitors, or show my images on page one. Rather, SEO is a combination of a variety of services. The biggest thing to always remember with SEO is that there is no one-sized-fits-all approach. It’s important to address SEO services with your marketing team or agency, but as a leader, it is also important to be aware of what SEO is, how it can help your business, and then make sure you are paying for only services that are addressing your SEO needs and not for a “bundle” of services you don’t need.

Let’s just skim the top of SEO so that you can have a basic understanding of what it is. If there’s more you’d like to learn, contact our team and we can dive deeper into it with you.

What is a Search Engine?

Search engines are sites like Google, Bing, Yahoo. DuckDuckGo, etc. There are so many different search engines that can be used, but according to Joe Barker, all search engines consist of three parts:

  1. A database of web documents
  2. A search engine operating on that database
  3. A series of programs that determine how search results are displayed

Professionals argue over which is the best search engine and why. Even our team has a difference in opinion. It is a major science that goes into creating a search engine. And it is even a science of figuring out how to manage SEO for clients. 

Google is typically the dominant search engine in the world, but there are reasons why some users won’t search through Google, including the theory of information being withheld. Sites like DuckDuckGo are said to be best for users who have privacy concerns and want to keep their browsing information personal. This list could go on and on as to what search engine is best and why, but it typically boils down to personal preference and where the information wanted can be found fastest.

What is Organic Search?

There are two kinds of search results:

  1. Paid results
  2. Organic results

It is easier to understand paid results – basically it is results that populate because money is behind that result. Organic search results happen because of strategy! These results then lead to organic traffic, which then hopefully leads to whatever the conversion goal is. 

Here’s where it can get confusing and tricky. Organic search results differ from search engine to search engine. It just depends on that search engine’s algorithm. Figuring out that algorithm is a lot of work, research and patience because it is ever changing! There’s never a guarantee that anything will rank in a particular position. The good news is that Google Analytics expert Avinash Kaushik once determined that around 86% of search engine users prefer organic search results. We have been accustomed to scrolling past the ad to get to the first section of results. 

How Do I Ensure I Am Optimizing Search Results?

The best advice when it comes to SEO is to write for what humans want to read first – SEO second. Like previously mentioned, the “rules” for SEO are constantly changing. So whether you are writing website copy, a blog, social media posts or whatever, write to your audience, post what they want to see, and then think about SEO. After you have your content written, think about keywords. Go back through your text and see if your keywords are there. If not, add them! Not sure about keywords? There are SEO tools to help with that!

If you are building a website, build it for the user, not the search engine. There is nothing worse than a website that is hard to navigate. User experience ranks higher in our book than SEO factors. SEO can be a second thought in this situation as well. Build your website to you and your target audience’s liking, then address headings, sub folders, mobile friendliness, links, and so on. Test the website to make sure it loads quickly. If not, take care of whatever is slowing it down because that will hurt your SEO. If users are jumping on and then off of your website because it loads too slow, that will hurt your rankings.

And as always, constantly research, improve and update your content, website, whatever it is you are working on. There really is no finish line to this work since it is always evolving. Whatever it is that your competitors are doing, search engines changes, and even your own business/personal changes are always going to happen. A strong online presence gives your business credibility, a professional image, and an improved customer experience. Our team can review your brand through your online listings, SEO scores, social media presence, website speed and more. We can also compare how your business performs online compared to your top competitors. Then we can discuss what the plan should be moving forward if you’d like! Take us up on this opportunity!