6 Things to Avoid When Hiring a Marketing Agency

... for a local business

For anyone who’s not an expert in this field, marketing strategies, SEO or social media can be like a maze. If that’s the case, navigating through it can get super difficult sometimes. However, that’s okay! Marketing agencies exist exactly for that reason — to help business owners and entrepreneurs efficiently use their business’s potential in the name of marketing. Naturally, you want your business to grow. You decided that it’s time for you or your firm to start working with a marketing agency. Good for you! But where do you start? How can you make sure that you choose the right one? There are so many questions that might seem tricky, but this list of things you should avoid will answer the most crucial ones.

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1. Research, research, research

All of us have been there- Not knowing what to do and what to look for in a field that we don’t really know that much about yet. It can feel that way in this kind of situation, as well. Of course, your choice needs to be wise because you are aiming for good results. Nobody ever hired a marketing agency thinking it wouldn’t be a gain. Spend your time looking through the internet. Don’t just go for the first link that pops up on Google because that’s usually not the right one. There’s a difference between organic and paid search results. Once you find an agency that catches your eye, don’t only go through their website. Look for customer reviews, use platforms like Quora to find information, read their blog if they have it, maybe even talk to someone they already work with or have worked with. Not doing your research could seriously hurt your progress. Learn more about them and make sure they offer exactly what your business needs.

2. All that glitters is not gold

Almost everybody has heard this saying and let’s just say it applies in marketing as well. “No marketing agency is perfect.” There isn’t any special key to SEO, Facebook Ads, emailing or any other marketing channel, that only they understand. Do they promise you’ll have “super fast results”? All the offers that seem way too good to be true ARE most likely too good to be true. Making your marketing strategies work is a process that takes some time. No agency can offer “the secret” to efficient marketing because there is no secret. Every business needs a different strategy and that’s a fact. Your marketing agency has to be the one that can do the most for your business specifically. They should be eager to learn about it and then work with it based on the business’s character.

3. Don’t go for the cheap

When it comes to buying things, it’s not a rule that choosing the cheap product is always a bad idea. But with marketing? Absolutely. You get what you pay for and it usually doesn’t work the other way round. If you find an agency that’s very cheap next to the other ones and offers amazing results and attractive service, but doesn’t have anything to prove it with, run away. These things don’t just happen. They most likely use black-hat techniques that could do more harm than good to your business and might get you penalized. It’s definitely better to pay for quality instead of going the way that looks easiest at first, but it almost always gets more complicated later.

4. Don’t pass on asking questions

Once you choose an agency and reach out to them, don’t hesitate to ask questions. Yes, it seems obvious, but this is actually a common mistake that many people do. Maybe they feel like they should know the answer, and asking about things they don’t understand could make them look like an amateur, but there’s nothing wrong with not knowing the answers. Be curious. You want these people to help your business prosper. You should know who you’re dealing with, just like they need to know as much about your work as possible. Before you come to the first meeting or do the first call, prepare your questions and everything you want to know.

5. Why stay local?

Your business may be local, but that doesn’t mean the marketing agency has to be too. Being good at the job and being from your city has nothing to do with each other. I’m not saying that your local marketing agency can’t be the best one for you, but if there aren’t any around that can meet your goals, don’t worry. The great thing about “online” is that it’s reachable from everywhere. Of course, face-to-face communication is precious and it’s certainly better if you can do it that way, but it shouldn’t limit you. Choosing your online marketing agency doesn’t depend on meeting in person. You can arrange a video call, write emails and use many different tools (like Google Sheets or Cyfe) that make the work easier.

6. Is the result worth the price?

It’s not necessary to know the exact amount of money you’ll be spending on online marketing, but you definitely need a clear budget before working with an agency. Services of most agencies are expensive, so that’s something you should think about before you engage with one of them. Going for an agency that’s too expensive isn’t the best choice, because businesses simply have to manage their budgets in order to thrive. On the other hand, hiring a marketing agency for their low price can cost you much more in the end. Quality takes time and time costs money. If you decide to work with an agency, make sure the price/ performance ratio meets your expectations.

Nobody can give you the exact guide to choosing a marketing agency to work with because every business is different and every business has specific priorities. First, you have to know what these are and then find the agency that can work with your priorities best. Think of everything you want to accomplish by collaborating with the agency. If your vision is clear, searching for your perfect marketing agency gets much easier. Don’t be discouraged if it takes a while because the result will be worth it.

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3 Steps to Start Advertising on Facebook

Facebook is the biggest social media platform in the world with over 2.4 billion monthly active users and still increasing every year. As more and more people and companies adopt online advertising it is easy to see why social media has become a key tool to help different businesses grow and reach new potential clients. It is impossible for up and coming businesses to ignore the importance of Facebook in this day and age. With a variety of different types of ads at your disposal from pictures to videos and many more which will help you reach new people and increase your online presence. The fact is being on Facebook can make your life much easier when it comes to online advertising. You just need to setup the right marketing plan and with the help of Facebook start growing your business.

So, if you are interested in advertising your business online. Follow these 3 steps to start advertising on Facebook.

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How to define the SUCCESS of your marketing efforts?

Before launching any marketing campaign, we must ask ourselves the question: What is it that I want to achieve by running this campaign? In other words, what goal do I set. This is crucial as it determines the outcome that needs to be tracked – the key metric(s) that I want to analyse. Let us call the key metric the North Star for now.


Imagine you sell houses in the U.S.A. By making great content (e.g. pictures & videos of a new house near a lake) and running an online ad, you want to reach as many people as possible! You worked out how to effectively target your customer and now it's time to evaluate your efforts.

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9+1 Best-in-Breed Tools for Keyword Research to Boost Your Business in 2020

Customers are already searching for your product. Every second, there are 75,000 search queries managed by Google. That's just one search engine. Now add Youtube, Bing, Amazon – the greatest marketplace – and thousands of forums…. That means you can get in front of their eyes – to offer what they need or desire.

How can you attract the attention of as many people (your potential customers) as possible? Be excellent at SEO and constantly mine as many relevant search terms (keywords) as possible. In order to do that, you need to choose the right tool(s). We've tested many tools to generate high-quality organic traffic to our website. Now we'd like to make your life easier by sharing the 9 best-in-breed tools for keyword research so that you can boost your business in 2020 + 1 hint (really low hanging fruit)!


Before we jump into that, we would like to point out that there will be a HUGE paradigm shift in 2020. Voice search is predicted to be used for 50% of all searches done online! That means that your strategy needs to be aligned with that in mind. Creating voice content will continue to be more relevant over time.


Let's jump into what you are truly interested in, shall we?!

Spyfu

Spyfu is a complex SEO tool that allows you to track the activity of your competitors or market leaders. When it comes to keyword research, it allows you to show the average search volume of keywords, get suggestions on what else people search, it gives ranking history that shows what domains occupy the top positions and how they do over time. Besides that, you can find domains that - if they link to your website – will help you rank high on a desired keyword. Yes, it has a plethora of great tools! Spyfu, nonetheless, is not a free tool. Their pricing plans start at 33 USD a month. Besides keyword research tools, which we mentioned, Spyfu offers a variety of other features.

Spyfu Dashboard

Google Keyword Planner

Google owns all the data from searches on both Google and Youtube. Google Keyword Planner shows you precise volume of searches for a certain period of time. This data can be segmented by either country and region or device. Besides historical metrics, Google Keyword Planner shows you a forecast of how your ads may perform when using certain words. Your paid campaigns can be, thus, perfectly planned. The great news is that this tool is free. The only constraint is that you have to have a Google Ads account.

Keyword Planner Dashboard

The great thing about Google Keyword Planner is that it shows you a search volume trend. Thus, you can look at how often your brand was searched at some point in the past versus today. This information shows you the awareness of your brand (or product) over time.

Keyword Planner Graph

Ahrefs

Similarly to Spyfu, Ahrefs offers more features that you can use to boost your SEO. The great thing about Ahrefs is that you can research keywords by platforms (like Google or Youtube). Besides main features like Keyword Research or Backlink Research, Ahrefs offers so called Content Research, that allows you to catch the buzz around certain topics. The pricing starts at 99 USD per month. You can, nonetheless, start with 7 USD for a 7 day trial and see what you can get out of it.

Ahrefs Overview


Keywords Everywhere

This browser add-on that works both with Chrome and Firefox is a great tool to see similar keywords everywhere! If you type a query on Google, this tool shows you similar keywords and its search volume. If you type a product name on Amazon, guess what… Keywords Everywhere shows you suggested keywords that may appear in your SEO or PPC plan. According to those, you might want to create content on your website, adjust the description of your product or trigger a paid campaign. This extension offers both free and paid features.

Keywords Everywhere

Moz

Moz is an all-in-one SEO tool that not only gives you a plethora of free features, but also educates you on the complicated SEO industry. Its keyword research offers similar features like the ones from Ahrefs or Spyfu. What makes Moz great – especially for small businesses – is the “MOZ Local” feature that distributes the information about your local business across all important search platforms. Moz is a paid tool that has a few free tools available. The pricing for MOZ Local starts at 129 USD a year, while a basic version of MOZ is available for 99 USD a month or more.

Moz Dashboard

Ubersuggest

Owned by Neil Patel, an SEO guru, who helps both small businesses and enterprises grow their organic traffic, Ubersuggest is a tool that shows you the search volume for a particular keyword that can be divided by country and language. Moreover, this tool shows you a trend throughout the year so that you can see when certain keywords achieve their peak (like winter jackets do in winter). Metric “SEO difficulty” helps you uncover a potential to rank high for a particular expression. Thanks to this data, you are able to optimise content on your website so that more people discover your business. You can use this SEO tool free of charge.

Overview in Ubersuggest

Google Trends

Are you still with us? Because here is a Google tool that is totally free! Google Trends is all about, well, trends. Shocking, isn't it?  Do you want to know the 3 key topics on Youtube in 2019? Sorry, Ted Talks and Baby Yoda moments (he made the chart below ;)), but the topics at the top were Music, Songs and Fortnite…Predictable? Perhaps, if you're an avid fan of Fortnite. Google Trends helps you uncover trending topics that, again, can help you create engaging content and rank high on search engines.

Google Trends

SEMRush

Let's get back to the tools for which you'd have to pay a bit. SEMRush offers an all-in-one SEO tool that differentiates in a few ways from Moz or Ahrefs. Amongst others, this tool gives you a so called, “Keyword Magic Tool” that helps you find relevant keywords, it then groups them to separate them further by topics, picks the most valuable keywords and saves them into the Keyword Analyzer and exports those keywords so that you can play with them on other platforms like Google Ads. The pricing starts at 99 USD a month, so the cost is also similar to Ahrefs or Moz.

SEMRush Overview

KWFinder

Another great tool for in-depth keyword research. The good thing about KWFinder is that it shows you search queries divided into groups: related keywords, autocomplete and questions. Nowadays, people are using whole questions for their online searches, not simply one or two-word phrases. In fact, the average search query has 4 words


With KWFinder, you can find so called long tail phrases – the ones that have a low search volume, but a higher probability of a user's intention to buy or complete any action you desire. If I search for a “family car”, I probably haven't decided yet, if I truly want to buy a new vehicle or not. Whereas, if I search for a “BMW X7 2019 Black xDrive40i”, I may be much more into making my final decision…

KWFinder Dashboard

Forums

We've presented many tools (free and paid) to mine keywords that people type in when they search on Google, Youtube or Amazon. But what we haven't covered – until now – are forums! You'd be surprised to see how many questions and topics forums, like Reddit or Quora, gather. Is this a relevant source for your keyword research? You bet it is. When you create your keyword list and want to find out what catches people's attention, use the forums. Go through the trending sections, read the questions and answers that are considered the best ones to get a complete idea of what to cover in your web content, ad copy or even product development – yes, what people search may guide you on how to create your product roadmap.

Reddit

We promised you 9+1 best-in-breed tools for keyword research to boost your business in 2020. 9 tools have been mentioned. Let's finalise it with one last suggestion. The easiest and most obvious one...

Google, Amazon, Bing, Youtube, basically anything with a search bar

Yes, you are right. This is exactly what I have in mind:

Amazon Product Search

Try to type something into Google, Amazon, Bing, Youtube or any other platform that uses a similar algorithm and see what it suggests. These suggestions are not randomly generated. On the contrary, they are based on similar searches (according to relevancy and search volume). Google places these suggestions into two parts: the search field and the bottom of the page:

Google Keyword Suggestions

All in all, you have a complete tool stack to get started with your keyword research! Keep in mind that it is a crucial part of your SEO activities, so make sure to do it properly. Happy searching! :)

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Books have been a main source of information for a long time and although we can’t exactly say that today, they’re still very important. Lots of people still read books to educate themselves.  Even though the internet is now overshining our good old books, it doesn't mean that there aren't great works of literature anymore. If you keep on walking around the marketing section in your favorite bookstore and you just can't decide which one you should read, here's your new TO READ list.

Maybe one of them is exactly what you're searching for.


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5 Tips to Write Outstanding Texts for Your Facebook Post

Most people have been through the struggle and know how you feel or have felt when writing a piece of content for Facebook, “What text am I supposed to put here?”, “Is this gonna work?”, “Is this too informal?”  Writing an engaging post on Facebook – for your business page, as this is what I will be talking about here (not your personal page where you know perfectly who you represent and what tone of voice to use) – can be challenging. You are trying to get the customer's attention, arouse a reaction and avoid ignorance...


How do you write posts that simply can't be ignored? This is what we will explore in the following 5 tips. Keep in mind, that before you write or produce ANY PIECE OF CONTENT, have your targeted audience in mind. What will be appealing to them? What tone of voice should you use? These are some of the questions that you need to answer.


So, let's dive into 5 tips, so that you know how to become your own best-in-class copywriter. Oh, or not yet… I probably did not stress enough how important it is to catch one's attention! So let's take one step back…


The 21st century offers almost unlimited ways to reach out to your desired audience, your potential or current customers. And that's the problem. There are many ways, many advertisers, businesses (like yours) targeting an audience that has its limits. Especially when it comes to attention span. The more stories we tell and the more frequently we are trying to tell them, the less time we have to draw our audience's  attention.     


8 seconds per one piece of content is on average the time span of a person spending time on social media (by the research conducted by Microsoft). In 2000, it was 12 seconds which only shows how rapidly the span decreases. For some of the placements, like Instastories, it is even less – around 3 seconds. That being said, you truly have to catch the eye or remain ignored…


Luckily, I am about to share some tips for you. If you follow them, your chances will increase!


  1. Keep in mind: Your copy is the bridge between the user's desire and your offer

The user's desire. That is your Holy Grail around which your activities should be tied. When you create a copy, make sure to address it. No one is interested in “just another product”. Need or desires to be addressed first, product/ offer comes afterwards…


  1. Bring your audience in (intensify your text)

Don't speak about yourself. With all due respect, no one is interested (unless you own a big and known brand). Bring your audience into your text, speak about them, use words like “you”, use questions to draw the attention, have a dialogue rather than a monologue... 


  1. Attract users' hidden and unspoken values & beliefs

Everyone has them. Values, beliefs and roles we play or want to play in our lives- we rarely speak about them, but have them in mind every time we make a choice when picking your best suit for a date or arriving at a business meeting in your luxury car. Apple is great at attracting our values and beliefs. Is it a piece of hardware, a PC or mobile phone, or rather something else that increases your status in other people's eyes? The answer is clear, I believe… Be Apple. Leverage on these values and beliefs when describing your offer or when designing a catchy headline.


Note: I do not encourage you to be manipulative. If you cannot help your customers with your product, if you truly cannot satisfy their needs and make their desires come true, stop reading this article, please. But if you and your product can help customers, feel free to show it…


  1. Follow a structure

When creating a FB post, there are certain platforms for which you create the copy. Mostly, it is the text above the picture or video, or a headline that occupies the largest place accompanied by a description. There are few models (continue reading) that – if used well – can help you draw the user's attention more effectively. Follow them and…


  1. Test, test, test…

I know. This has been said thousands of times. But how many of you run AB testing every time you create an ad? Do you think thoroughly before creating the second version that is the copy or do you follow the kind of approach: “Oh, I should do a second version… Let me change one word here… and that's it! I will run the AB test now!” 


Testing is the only right tactic to find out what resonates most within your audience. Who does not test, pretends to predict the future or relies on her thoughts…


I promised to present you some models, structures you can follow to create outstanding Facebook posts. Here you go…


But let us first showcase what a Facebook post usually looks like:


Structure of Facebook Post
Structure of a Facebook Post



  1. Question – Answer + Call to Action – Proof

Ask a question in the text section, answer it (by offering your product, service), use call to action in the headline and add a proof that your solution works (testimonials, number of users, …) in the description section. This model works best if your audience already faces the issue you aim to fix or a desire you aim to satisfy. 


  1. Identification – Call to Action – Urgency

Make the reader feel like you are reading her thoughts when reading the text. Make her feel completely identified with what you write there. Use a combination of short stories and metaphors. After she feels like she just read her life's story, make her complete the action in the headline – offer a way out, a way to improve, a way to get what she desires. In the description, use a sense of urgency. There is something called FOMO (Fear of Missing Out) that drives people crazy (make sure to read the article after completing this one). 


  1. Come up with yours (tomorrow)

Try to invent your method of approaching your audience in a way that simply cannot be ignored! There are many approaches that can be followed. Go out with your copy, test it and let me know on my LinkedIn profile what worked for you! 

Note: The structure text, headline and description applies for posts that contain a link. If you share a picture, text is the only editable section. Similar rules apply in that case.

Here are some of the posts that were created in a really smart way:

Example of Facebook Posts
Example of Great Facebook Posts

After your post has been published, make sure to check the results! This may seem like a no-brainer, but not everyone is checking how well the content performs. Do not be one of them. Measure and build on what works. Facebook allows you to see the engagement rate (percentage of people who interacted with your posts divided by the number of people reached) in the Insights tab. The higher the engagement rate, the better your post has resonated within your fan base.

Facebook Insights
Facebook Insights

Final touches:

You have been given very concrete instructions on how to write an outstanding Facebook post. Keep in mind this is a lot about testing and finding what works for your business. There are, nonetheless, some rules that haven't been mentioned yet:

  • Keep your text short – no one will read long stories.
  • If you want people to complete an action, guide them: use a call to action.


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Show Others How Much Your Customers Love You (Leverage User Generated Content)

If you run a social media profile, you've probably thought of what to put on your content calendar. You want to create and publish something that truly brings value to your audience and resonates within them, right? User generated content can help you not just fill your content calendar, but truly bring something that gives a new perspective to your business. 


User generated content, as the name suggests, is content that is voluntarily created by your best customers – brand advocates – and shared so that their audience can see it. It is basically the best thing your customers can do for you – refer their friends to you/ share your product(s) or speak about your service(s)!


Imagine you are an owner of a gym that is visited by dozens of customers daily. What if some of them posted a photo to their social profile, exercising in your gym and saying something nice about your place. Wouldn't that be great? Could that bring you new customers? Absolutely.


79% of users say user generated content has a high impact on their purchasing behaviour. That simply underlines what we've stated earlier.


In 2014, Starbucks came up with a White Cup Contest which, guess what, is focused on user generated content… You can read more about the contest here. The only thing we will say is that they collected over 4,000 pieces of content! That just goes to show the true power of brand advocates. Your business can do that too – probably on a smaller scale, but you can. Remember that every one of your best customers can bring you another one. Your brand advocates grow as your business grows…


User-generated content brings in authenticity

If you say your product is the best, some people might believe you straightaway. But isn't that statement much stronger when made by someone who is already a loyal customer and has no other interest in regards to promoting your brand? User generated content brings true authenticity into your content and, thus, gives others another perspective of your business.


Social proof

People love seeing the product they aim to buy has great reviews! It gives them proof that their purchase won't be a mistake. Social proof – proof by someone other than the business itself – is a strong weapon and we encourage you to use it in your content calendar. Look at Amazon. Their products have thousands of reviews, which makes it far more valuable and far more worth it to buy for new customers.

Amazon reviews

Let us look at some other examples of great user generated content shared mainly on Instagram:

Get your audience on board. Talk to your best customers and motivate them to create a good product review, unboxing video or simply a happy picture while using your product or being at your cosy place (café, gym, etc…). Those who love your product will happily help you get it in front of other customers, trust me.


Micro Influencers

The use of influencers is a trend that has been here for some period of time. Brands work with people who gather an audience that fits their plan. Simple as that. They often collaborate with celebrities who are followed and trusted by millions of people, experts in a given industry, or gamers that record their gaming sessions. If you can find someone who has your target audience, team up!


The fact is that you don't have to work with widely known influencers, pop stars or famous athletes. Find so-called micro influencers who help you reach a smaller audience, but with higher precision. The cooperation won't cost you a fortune and results will follow, as well!


Micro influencers, in most cases, generate higher engagement with their audience and are more passionate about increasing their audience. If you start cooperating with them at the beginning of their journey, your business relationship can grow into something that constantly helps you achieve your business goals and to build a wider (and more relevant) audience.


The best collaborations, nonetheless, are the ones that are natural and not “too obvious”. Give some micro influencers in your surroundings your product, let them play with it and tell you whether they like it or not. Those who do are your best fit. They will happily (and naturally) promote your product within their audience.


In this post we've stressed the strength of your customer base and your audience – motivate them to tell the world about your stuff and let them bring you new business. Find new alliances with micro influencers, let them fall in love with your product and enjoy the fruits of your (hard) work!

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