Why You Need Real, Live, Marketing Firm

CodeShark | 

You’ve probably seen the commercials advertising low cost, whole package online marketing for the price of several cups of terrible coffee a day. It looks good, they have designers and content creators and account managers and lots of other website people raring to help you create a marketing package better that Amazon’s. There are even actual statements from employees and they’re talking about how much they love creating content and logos and designing websites! They love it! They’re passionate about it! It’s $189 dollars a month and you basically get your own marketing department! So what’s the problem? You don’t actually get any of those things.

When something sounds too good (or cheap) to be true, that’s generally because it is, and that’s certainly the case when it comes to companies claiming to give you a marketing package for a fraction of what one is worth. What they’re promising might seem amazing, but what you can expect is far different.

First, you probably won’t own your domain name. That’s important because should you become dissatisfied with the service you’ve paid for, you can’t take your website and go to another firm. They own it, and they keep it. Same goes for the content they’ve created for you. You’ll be starting from scratch.

With us, you own it. Your site is your own from the moment it’s launched. If you’re unhappy with our service, you can take your site elsewhere with the knowledge that it was built to best practices.

Second, while you might be initially happy with what you’ve purchased, your needs will probably change over time. You might want to add ecommerce, different forms, change your logo, add or remove services, and in most cases, because  these places use poorly designed templates, those things are either going to be prohibitively expensive or impossible.

Conversely, we empower you to control your online presence. We will train you on how to utilize WordPress so that you can edit your own website as needed. We create your website in anticipation of your changing needs so that functionality can be added or removed easily and economically.

Finally, what happens if your website breaks? It goes down suddenly and you’re losing business, and you’re stuck in a phone tree. If you’re lucky, you’ll get an agent who has never met you, has never visited your site and doesn’t really care whether or not you’re back online in minutes or within the next week. That’s not a good position to be in, ever.

When you call us, you speak to us. You will never be placed on hold, you will never have to explain your problem to a stranger, and where possible, we will resolve your issue while you’re on the phone. We will call your hosting company on your behalf, and we’ll never leave you in a position where you’re losing money.

That said, we can’t give you an entire branding package for $189 a week.  We can’t because part of what you get is the ability to call us and actually speak with us. We know you, we value your business, and we work with you to create successful marketing strategies that are going to drive revenue. We’re experienced and we care about your success. We see each client’s business as yoked to ours, and we treat you as we’d like to be treated.

If you’d like to know more about our flexibly priced packages (we finance!) give a real marketing firm a call today!

So you’re in need of web marketing, and you don’t know where to begin. Maybe you reach out to a company, maybe they call you, and the conversation generally includes the following:

“We can improve your traffic by 50%!”

“You’ll be on the first page of Google!”

“We can get you thirty leads a month!”

“We can increase your revenue by twenty percent within a quarter!”

Sounds great, right? You pay a monthly fee or even a one time setup charge and they handle everything, and the service will pay for itself because you’ll soon have more business than you can handle! That all sounds wonderful, but there’s a huge problem; If your marketing company is making those types of claims, they’re lying to you.

It seems like a strident claim to make, but here are the facts: We can create a custom SEO strategy for your business, we can draw on our years of experience to do everything within our power to drive views to your website and to get you noticed on Google, but we can’t promise you anything, and we definitely can’t promise you specific results. Not because we don’t want to, and certainly not because we don’t have proven strategies, but because no one can.

To put it simply, Google has a secret sauce for how page results are ordered, and they don’t share it with anyone. A good marketing company looks at market trends and continually updates their strategy to keep up with what Google wants to see. It’s a lot of research and a little guesswork, and it takes experience. Because so many things are going to factor into how your site is indexed, it would be virtually impossible (and unethical) to promise you specific results. If you make hats, and you’re the only person within a hundred miles who makes hats, it’s going to be considerably easier to get you on the front page than if you’re a landscaper among two hundred other landscapers within the same twenty mile radius. We can get you to where you want to go, but it takes time, effort and a strategy specific to your business and market.

Another word of caution, do not count on an expensive SEO strategy that you might not be able to afford to both pay for itself and drive profits within the first month. It doesn’t happen. One of the main tenets of our moral philosophy is that we cannot ethically condone selling you a service that’s outsized for your business or that you don’t actually need. We’ve met with many clients who have payed hundreds, or even thousands per month for SEO strategies only to be nearly bankrupted by services that didn’t perform as promised. It’s heartbreaking to hear from small business owners who were sold on promises like those listed above only to learn a hard (and incredibly expensive) lesson.

If you want a free, no pressure consultation, give us a call!

We all occasionally say things we shouldn’t. We’ve all had a moment that we look back on an cringe a bit, and twenty years ago, before we were encouraged to share our every thought with the internet at large, our embarrassment was confined to those present. Now, what we say and how we say it can be broadcast to everyone we know and many we don’t. That poorly worded political argument, personal dustup or ill advised rant can live on in infamy, the things we say can destroy our personal relationships and our businesses. Here’s how it happens, how you can prevent it from happening to you, and what to do if you’ve already put your foot in your mouth online.

How It Happens

Angela Lannon Wilcox owns an ice cream shop in Avondale, Florida. It’s not the type of business you’d expect to spawn a hotbed of controversy, but Angela made a critical error. On her personal (but public and easily linked to her business) Facebook account, she began commenting on a post. She said some things that were controversial, and she represented herself (and by extension, her business) in a way that was less than flattering. The backlash was swift. Angela’s political commentary went viral, the Imgur post of her comments was viewed 23,000 times in 24 hours. Local and regional newspapers picked the story up, memes were spawned, her Google+ and Yelp pages were flooded with one star reviews, she was called a racist, boycotts were planned, and within 24 hours, the web presence she’d no doubt cultivated over time was completely decimated.

Regardless of how you feel about the level of influence anonymous internet users can wield over your business and reputation, the fact is that they can and they do have the power to turn your business from “The Florida Creamery” to “that ice cream shop with the racist owner” in a matter of hours. It doesn’t matter if it’s true, it doesn’t matter if you were misunderstood (so far as we know, Angela Lannon Wilcox may be a lovely woman who simply said some things she probably shouldn’t have in a public forum), once you post it, you have no control over it anymore. You can delete it, but there’s always a chance that it’s been documented and shared. You can’t turn back time and not say what you said, and once you try to explain yourself you’ll likely find that no one is listening.

How You Can Prevent It

There’s an old saying that goes “You can say it and forget it, but if you write it, you’ll regret it”. In the age of social media, nothing could be more true. You can all but guarantee that what happened to The Florida Creamery won’t happen to your business if you follow one simple rule:

Don’t post things you wouldn’t discuss with clients on the internet. This includes all of your social media platforms, personal and business, any blogs, the comments sections of websites, anywhere. If you put it online, it can be found and it can embarrass you. We promise. We’ve had multiple clients approach us after drawing controversy online to lament, “But that’s my private Facebook page! My business isn’t on it!” It DOES. NOT. MATTER. You don’t know that someone on your personal Facebook page wouldn’t share what you’ve written, you might not realize how much another user can find out about you (and your business) using only your publicly available profile information (spoiler alert: it’s everything about your business).

You have the right to free speech, you do not have the right to a successful business free from criticism. Legally, you can say whatever you want. Legally, you can also get lots of face tattoos. Just because you can, doesn’t mean you should. Keep your interactions limited to things you’d discuss directly with your clients and the chance that you’ll fall victim to an internet lynch mob is basically nonexistent.

If you’re unsure about  how to manage your social media platforms and want to avoid the pitfalls of doing so yourself, give us a call. We offer a full spectrum of social media strategy, management, and marketing services. We can protect you from business-ruining controversy, and we can help you harness social media to grow your business.

What To Do If It’s Already Happened

Here’s the bad news. There’s not much that can be done. Like we said, once you post it, it takes on a life of it’s own and you can’t really control it anymore. We can mitigate the damage, but we can’t unring that bell. We can work with you to develop a damage control strategy that will limit any lasting effects, contact review services and have erroneous reviews (those posted by people who have never patronized your business and are reviewing you based upon the controversy) removed, push new, dynamic content to keep negative items off of the front page of Google, and help you rebuild your brand.

If you’ve recently experienced the wrath of the internet, here’s what you can do immediately to mitigate the damage.

Apologize. Keep it brief and keep it sincere. Avoid passive language (“I’m sorry if you were offended”) and again, be brief. A short, unequivocal apology for what you said is all that’s indicated.

Stop Talking. Do not defend, attempt to explain, do not argue, just turn off your computer and walk away. There is almost no chance that you’ll do anything other than incite more controversy and doing so will not help the situation. We get that it can be tempting to set the record straight, but trust us, it’s not going to have the desired effect. Luckily, the internet has an extremely short attention span and the less you engage, the sooner the spotlight will be diverted elsewhere.

Contact us. We can help you navigate this, and we can help you rebuild your brand quickly. We’re experienced in crisis management and we’re here to help you!