3 Reasons Why A Large Marketing Agency May Be Dead Wrong For Your Business

Many small businesses are correct in knowing that they need to hire a marketing agency to beef up brand recognition, search engine visibility, handle email campaigns, setup and monitor pay per click PPC campaigns as well as organic campaigns, and much more.

In the same breath, many of these same small businesses, regardless of industry – be it attorneys or manufacturing or food and hospitality – make a critical mistake when choosing what type of marketing agency they will work with.

Many are under the misconception that the MORE they spend means they will get more at the end of the day.  Many feel it’s worth it to spend $3000 a month as opposed to $300 a month just because the $3000 simply MUST be better quality. They could not be more wrong. 

Let’s examine this for what it’s worth.

A) Let’s get the basic cost bit out of the way. Large marketing agencies have overhead, employees, consultants and more high maintenance costs. So by the nature of the beast they MUST charge more. And they do.

Small hometown marketing agencies do not have these costs. Many work out of their home office, and do not have employees and consultants but instead have teams that work remotely from their home offices. Sure they still have to pay themselves and their remote team members, but the cost to expense ratio is far diminished. 

B) Large marketing agencies are hung up on numbers, flowcharts, pie charts, funnel charts besides which THEY tell YOU what keywords they are going to list you for or spend your ad dollars on. They do not take the time to explain Google Analytics to their clients who actually have an interest in understanding it. They are SO caught up in the numbers game with their clients, caught up with feeding the client all possible industry buzzwords, they actually brainwash the client to an extent. 

Small marketing agencies operate the exact opposite way. They realize the client really doesn’t care about all the intricacies of Google Analytics, or industry buzzwords, or charts. They realize the client wants one thing to happen.

The client, at the end of the day, wants the damn phone to ring. That’s it.

That’s the point of first contact. The phone ringing, even if it is a tire kicker on the other end, is a good thing. The tire kicker may be converted to a customer or client. Maybe not. But the phone is ringing. 

Case in point: A colleague and I were discussing this and she pointed out the case of Proctor & Gamble and also Unilever. Proctor & Gamble cut $200 million of it’s marketing spend and they reduced spending with what they called several “big players” by 20% to 50%.  The cuts enabled Proctor & Gamble to eliminate 20% of it’s ineffective marketing and actually INCREASED the company reach by 10%. 
Read original article here.

C) The Personal Care Aspect. Large marketing agencies do not preach nor do they practice the personal care aspect. They do not take the time to get to know you, the client. They do not take the time to get to know your business, your goals, needs, aspirations for success, or wish lists. They take your money, assign you to an account manager who may or may not be the same account manager the next time you call, and they do not focus on you. Often the marketing efforts are not closely tailored or even closely focused on what your business needs but instead are focused on what they feel is best for you at this time.

Small marketing agencies embrace the personal care aspect and the hometown feel of “we’ve got your back and if what we are doing is not working we’ve got a Plan B in the lineup”. With many if not most smaller marketing agencies, you are taken care of personally by the owner or a dedicated account manager who knows it’s your 5 year old’s birthday this coming Wednesday. If you are local to them they are willing to meet with you on a monthly basis or whenever schedules permit to discuss what’s working and what’s not. 

If you are not local, they are willing to Skype a meeting with you to accomplish the same goals. Small marketing agencies don’t tell YOU what’s good for you. They instead LISTEN to you, and create a personalized plan accordingly. They exhaust all organic methods before spending your money on pay per click ad campaigns. Small marketing agencies work WITH you and FOR you, taking a sincere interest in your business and your success. NO ineffective marketing tactics allowed.  

Maureen McCullough LLC is your Bergen County New Jersey website design, SEO and marketing agency. We care about your business and want you to succeed. Give us a call today at 201.753.1677 for a free 20 minute consultation.

10 Tips to Make Your Attorney Law Practice Successful

An attorney law practice, like any other business in the world, is subject to the same set of rules as any other business – an extremely competitive environment. So how do you make your attorney law practice stand out from the competition?

Having worked with lawyers throughout Northern New Jersey for over 7 years as their Business Coach and Marketing Agency, we have some marketing tips that can help you IF you are willing to put in the extra hours and effort. If not, your law practice will just stagnate and go nowhere.

Tip #1 – Get yourself a customizable website that can grow and evolve with you and your business. Customizable means exactly that. No cookie cutter template nonsense just because it’s free. If you want to set yourself apart from the rest, you’ve got to walk the talk and look the look. Find out more here.

You think you’ll pass on having a website? Then you may as well pass on the business cards, and the overhead………. like the rent of your law office. And while you’re at it, figure out a different way to pay the bills.

Tip #2 – Figure out your niche target markets – what areas of law are you going to practice in. Understand that over time this may change and evolve. In order for you to become a successful law practice, you need to excel in a few areas and become the expert. If you feel like you’re just going to jump in and practice in all areas, you’re just branding yourself as a jack of all trades and a master of none.

Tip #3 – Populate your website with quality content, and lots of it. Each area of practice needs strong positive content, letting the public know what you can do for them. Potential clients are not interested in you patting yourself on the back. They are in trouble and need to see what you can do to get them out of said trouble. End of story. It’s not about you. It’s about your clients.

Tip #4 – Blog on a fairly consistent, constant basis. Your blog posts need to focus on your targeted niche markets. Your blog posts need to detail aspects of relevant cases, case outcomes, new laws and how they can and will affect various criminal court outcomes. The more information you make available in a professional helpful manner the more your law practice comes over as a leader and expert in the field.

Tip #5 – Make your branding consistent across the board – using the same handles and branding hashtags on LinkedIn, Instagram, Facebook and Twitter. Your law office should be instantly recognizable by your consistent brand hashtag. Potential clients may not remember your name when they go looking for you, but your hashtag will be your saving grace as they very well may remember that and find you that way.

Tip #6 – Populate your website with meaningful informative videos. This also establishes you as the expert that people can turn to for their legal issues. Whether they video is a lecture you gave, part of a round table session, or a short video on your chosen niche areas of practice, this goes a long way in establishing you as the expert. Plus, people like the visual. They feel like you are talking to them and this makes you much more approachable and relatable.

Tip #7 – Get involved with your local Bar Association, get on some committees. This brings up your visibility within the law circle itself. No, it’s not just schmoozing and nonsense. It’s networking, gaining peer respect, and getting referrals from other attorneys.

Tip #8 – Populate your website with all of the professional memberships you belong to, speaking engagements, education, continuing education seminars you attend over the course of your career. This is another very valid tactic to establish yourself as the pre-eminent expert in your field. This goes a long way in gaining potential client’s trust because they feel you actually know what you are talking about. Remember, they don’t know you from the next attorney and they have many other potential choices to take their legal issues to.

Tip #9 – Hire yourself a good marketing agency that will work with you to either build your website for you, or do a complete audit of your current website. A reputable marketing agency will identify all issues and weaknesses with your website after a thorough audit. Your marketing agency will then work with you to implement all organic methods possible to establish your presence in the search engines through proper white hat SEO, organic marketing techniques, local geo targeted SEO, reputation management and responsible social media marketing.

Tip #10 – Take advantage of your free listing on law directories. Don’t spend thousands of dollars a year on paid listings. Even on paid listings there are still other attorneys appearing on your page. This leaves the door open for a potential client to still click on one of them. Take the free listings, encouraging your clients to leave reviews for you there as well as on Google, Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn. Remember, people like 5 star ratings. The more legitimate 5 star ratings, the stronger your reputation will be without you breaking the piggy bank.

Maureen McCullough LLC is your Bergen County New Jersey website design, SEO and marketing agency. We care about your business and want you to succeed. Give us a call today at 201.753.1677 for a free 20 minute consultation.

Why Your New Startup Business Will Benefit From Business Coaching

So you’ve got yourself a brand new startup business and you’re wondering where the heck to get started building your new empire. Let’s say you are starting an e-commerce store. All the online ads about starting an e-commerce store make it look and sound so easy. It’s not. There are many facets involved in pulling it all together and getting it to work right. That’s why your startup business will benefit from the guidance of a business coach.

Here are just a few hurdles you will face:

  • deciding what your business model will be, subject to evolution and change
  • picking an e-commerce venue that is right for your business model
  • deciding whether you will be needing dropshippers or making your own product or sourcing product to buy and stock
  • carefully researching your dropshippers to find one that will work with your budget and your business model
  • picking a domain name that fits exactly with your marketing brand that you will establish
  • picking the right e-commerce store template that will work for you – features, layout, customization abilities, etc.
  • choosing the right colors for your e-commerce store – color psychology is very important
  • setting up shipping, taxes, and other backend tools for a smooth and correct checkout experience for your customers
  • loading products
  • writing SEO friendly category or collection titles as well as descriptions
  • writing SEO friendly product titles and descriptions
  • pricing your product to fit your targeted market of potential buyers
  • properly creating a BUSINESS Facebook page – taking advantage of all the tools given, naming it in accordance with your branding
  • properly creating a BUSINESS Instagram page – again, taking advantage of all tools and keeping your branding consistent
  • tying Facebook and Instagram together so that they work seamlessly
  • integrating your store products on Facebook
  • integrating your store products on Instagram
  • establishing a branded Pinterest presence
  • putting your product feed out to Google Shopping
  • consistently marketing your product for best visibility and to keep it fresh
  • using the proper hashtags on your Facebook posts and your Instagram posts
  • researching best keywords on Google
  • choosing an email newsletter provider and creating attention getting emails

In most cases, the startup business owner will not have a comprehensive list like this to guide them down the path to success. And even if they do, it’s far too much of a daunting task without the knowledge and experience of a business coach to help you and guide you along. Cutting through all the hype and zeroing in on what needs to be done and getting it done correctly is critical to a successful launch and building up your business.

Maureen McCullough LLC is your Bergen County New Jersey website design, SEO and marketing agency. We care about your business and want you to succeed. Give us a call today at 201.753.1677 for a free 20 minute consultation.

Small Business Start Up Coaching A Great Story

I’ll be very honest. My digital marketing agency doesn’t attract many high fliers with appreciable budgets – my agency has always attracted small businesses, Mom and Pop businesses, and clients with less than deep pockets. And that’s ok. To me, it’s very important that the average guy have a shot at making his or her dreams come true too.

My focus as a digital marketing agency is to establish that very special, one on one, personal relationship with my clients. The business coaching they receive leaves no question in their head that they can trust me, and that I know what I’m talking about. They have no question who will handle their account, their questions, their needs. It’s me. They don’t like to be passed off to an assistant, or anyone else. That being said, the close personal bond ensures that 90% of my clients stay with me for the long haul.

And so today it was my distinct pleasure to be able to help an emerging women’s fashion client to finally see some light shed on her venture, her dream, her project. We specialize in WordPress and Shopify e-commerce clients who want that custom look but more importantly that custom set up.

She started this project two years ago. Life got in the way. She phoned me a few months ago and said she was ready now to move forward. I set up weekly / biweekly meetings with her as our schedules permitted. We keep it moving forward.

Last time we met she wanted me to evaluate her choice of a dropshipper. I told her quite honestly that the one she picked would not be a good thing for her business. I also laid out a plan of action that we would need to follow through on in order to keep things going in a positive way. I presented other dropshipper options to her, and sent her home to think about it.

Today we met and she decided I was correct about the original dropshipper for the reasons we had discussed. She also like one of the other’s I had picked out for her, based on her ideas and goals for her new business.

So, we dumped #1 for #2. I suggested we explore different templates as the original shop template she picked out I wasn’t crazy about from a functionality and esthetics standpoint. After a few samples, we settled on a template that we both liked and would serve her very well.

We loaded a few products into her store just to get an idea of look and feel. So far so good. We decided on her branding details, so that her domain name, Instagram handle and Facebook handle would be uniform across the board. We purchased her domain name.

I explained the process to her, and how each of the parts of the process would work and in what order they needed to be addressed.

When we are eventually done, she will have a beautiful Shopify store, a shop on Facebook and a shop on Instagram. Then we tie it all together with expert marketing and SEO to generate traffic so she can make the sales.

And so it goes. Another satisfied client well on the way to making her dream of an online fashion boutique a reality.

Maureen McCullough LLC is your Bergen County New Jersey website design, SEO and marketing agency. We care about your business and want you to succeed. Give us a call today at 201.753.1677 for a free 20 minute consultation.

How to Handle the Social Media Pressure on Small Businesses

There is an incredible amount of social media pressure on small business and many do not know how to handle it. That’s completely understandable. Small businesses rarely have the budget to outsource their social media strategy and campaigns to high tech companies nor do they have the budget to hire an in house professional who can really deliver results.

Some small businesses DO have the resources to outsource to a local SEO and marketing company who delivers results and gives them good bang for their buck. Others cannot justify spending money on it at all and they just muddle along.

The result is that none of these companies actually understand how it all works and so they end up flopping around in the social media ocean, trying one thing, trying another, and ultimately failing at all.

Instagram

As an SEO and marketing company owner, I read many articles about the latest trends, about what works and what doesn’t, the latest and greatest, and it occurred to me not that long ago that the average person also reads these articles in an attempt to get a handle on it all as well. Thing is, the articles are written for us, not them. No wonder the average individual and the average business owner throw their hands up in the air in despair and swear they just don’t understand any of it it’s all too complicated.

Well, they are absolutely correct. I get it because I work with it day in and day out, besides which it’s just my thing. These people are trying to run their business, in addition to which they are trying to wear too many hats, and they are not going to be able to take on what’s involved with establishing brand recognition across the board on all mediums.

Facebook

So, I decided I will write a series of articles not only explaining various topics in layman’s terms, but also with visuals that truly dumb down many of these topics which are too complex.

Some of the topics I will explain are Instagram, Facebook, e-commerce in general, SEO (Search Engine Optimization), Shopify, WooCommerce, WordPress and any others that come up that I feel will help mainstream small business get a grip and be able to make headway for their business.

Enjoy reading and learning!

Maureen McCullough LLC is your Bergen County New Jersey website design, SEO and marketing agency. We care about your business and want you to succeed. Give us a call today at 201.753.1677 for a free 20 minute consultation.

Real Estate Agent Website Design Brand Coaching

Bergen, Morris and Sussex County real estate agent website design and brand marketing coaching for maximum traffic and sales. Affordable, and essentially priceless for your success.

Are you a real estate agent who really wants to ramp up your business and stand apart from all the other agents out there? You work hard for every single listing you land. Whether you are the seller’s agent or the buyer’s agent, you work hard.

But do you have your brand nailed down securely? I’m not talking about the company you work for – be it Keller Williams, Coldwell Banker or Bob’s Real Estate……… I’m talking about your brand, or the brand of you and your partner, or your team.

Have you even established a brand? We have coached many real estate agents throughout Northern New Jersey, Bergen, Morris and Sussex County on how to effectively establish and market their brand.

Whether you are a luxury homes specialist, or you focus on regular neighborhood real estate sales, our real estate branding coaching will be a key player in your future success.

To truly be successful, you as a real estate agent needs to establish your brand. This sets you, you and your partner, or you and your team apart from everyone else out there in that very crowded and competitive real estate field.

Your brand is what will ultimately drive your traffic and sales.

A full blown website is not an absolute necessity. Keep it simple, keep it stunning, keep in successful.

A one page well designed geo targeted audience targeted website will do wonders for your real estate image, build trust, and get you the traffic and sales. Combine this with a professionally set up Facebook business page, and you, you and your partner, or you and your team will be well on the road to success.

Maureen McCullough LLC is your Bergen County New Jersey website design, SEO and marketing agency. We care about your business and want you to succeed. Give us a call today at 201.753.1677 for a free 20 minute consultation.

Are You a Brand or a Product?

For marketing to be as effective as humanly possible, one of the most important things a good reputable marketing agency needs to know in order to promote your company properly is: Are you a product, or a brand?

There are marketing agencies out there that promise the same thing to every client……… they will put everyone on page one of Google. They will make your company come up first for your geographical location. Etc. etc.

First of all no marketing agency has the power to manipulate placement on Google, and second of all there are no guarantees in life.

For a marketing agency to do an honest good job by you, they need to know and understand your business, your needs, your goals for the company as well as where you want to be, what your niche is, and much more. This is accomplished only by an in depth interview with you, your company and your team. And followed up with by interaction on a regular basis, so processes and campaigns can be evaluated for what is working and what is not.

Moving on to the product or brand discussion, proper marketing for this is done differently depending on which way you choose to have your company represented. The dividing line is quite simple. If you offer a product that is entirely exclusive to you, hand crafted, hand made, custom made, you need to get that out there as a BRAND. This registers “exclusive” and “unique” with the buying public, the consumer. Yes, down the road there may be copy cats, but there is only one real genuine brand of that item, and that’s yours. Copycats can be dealt with legally.

If you offer a product that is also sold by others, that is mass produced, and that is not unique and original, then you need to have that marketed as a product line or lines.

If you offer a service, instead of a product, you are a BRAND. Yes, attorneys, insurance agents, caterers, home improvement, etc.

If you treat your service as a product, massed in with the rest of the pack that offers similar services, you do yourself a huge dis-service.

Why?

For all businesses that offer services, a smart marketing angle is to set yourself apart by offering several “niche” services, either actual niche services or niche services within a geographical area. A reputable marketing agency will know how to market that for maximum benefit to your company or practice.

Maureen McCullough LLC is your Bergen County New Jersey website design, SEO and marketing agency. We care about your business and want you to succeed. Give us a call today at 201.753.1677 for a free 20 minute consultation.

Own a Start Up? 7 Tips for Taking the Next Step

So you own a start up business. You came up with a great product or service and have had some success with it. You even have a website and a great domain name.

What are the next steps to taking your business to the next level?

  • Establishing Your Brand
  • Deciding which segment of the market to target
  • Retail, wholesale or both – what are your realistic capabilities?
  • Product or service production and refinement
  • Selling on multiple venues – what is appropriate for you?
  • Refining your presentation from a personal approach to a professional approach
  • Setting realistic goals for the future

Setting Realistic Goals For the Future ~

This is listed last however it is something that you will find is constantly evolving over time. It is also a point that you need to keep in the back of your head at all times. As your business evolves and grows, suffers setbacks, changes direction, starts growing again, you’ll find that your realistic future goals will need to be adjusted as well in order to keep your business on a healthy path way to success.

Establishing Your Brand ~ Brand Recognition

Your eventual “brand” that you establish is what sets you apart from all other companies and businesses that might be offering / selling the same or similar services or products that you do. It makes you identifiable visually to the consumer and makes you stand out from the pack.

Your brand is the visual message you send out to all who see it. Careful planning needs to be given to the visual, the colors used, the headline, and the tagline. Color psychology plays a big part in your branding as does your message.

Your branding will be used on business cards, brochures, company letterhead, social media, signs, and more. That’s huge.

Deciding Which Segment of the Market To Target ~

If you offer a product, who is your target market? Retail, consumer, wholesale? Sell directly to consumers via your website? Open a retail brick and mortar store? Sell wholesale to distributors and retail businesses, essentially becoming a supplier?

If you offer a service, the same question applies. Will you offer your services from your home office, going out to meet with clients? Will you open an office on Main Street so the clients can walk in and come to you? Does your pricing structure lend itself well to offering service packages, bundling services?

You can always open yourself up to more options as time goes on. Starting out, this is a critical decision. Make the wrong decision and the life of your business hangs in the balance.

Retail, Wholesale or Both – What Are Your Realistic Capabilities?

This step ties in directly to the one above, your target market. It also addresses a key point. If you offer products, are you in a position to offer them wholesale? Can you keep up with supply and demand? A business that cannot keep up with supply and demand gets a bad reputation and often closes down.

If you offer services, there is a supply and demand issue there as well. Can you keep up with regular on demand services for your clients as well as those carefully crafted packages and bundled services? How many clients can you realistically deliver to in a day? In a week? On time and high quality services are of premium importance.

Product or Service Production and Refinement ~

Over time, as you become more successful, you will see products or services that will need to be refined as the business evolves and customer needs evolve. Some products or services will need to be deleted from the lineup. And new offerings are always a possibility based on customer need and demand.

This important point will become the bridge by which your business crosses over to either becoming more successful or staying stagnant and eventually dying. Don’t turn a blind eye to this. It’s part of the heartbeat of your business. A regular review of products and service offerings is your best bet.

Selling on Multiple Venues – What is Appropriate For You?

We are assuming you already have a website. Again, products or services makes no difference, multiple venues will open up doors for your business. The big question is, which venues are right for what you offer?

This is a critical step and not to be taken lightly. Just throwing your products or services to the wind will do more damage than good. This usually happens when a business is motivated strictly by making as much money as possible quickly (dare we say it – becoming money hungry) instead of carefully crafting a brand, a reputation that can be trusted and doing their due diligence – research.

Research, vetting and making a plan is so very important when expanding out to multiple venues. This needs to be manageable, and cost effective and in line with your business plans and goals.

Which will it be for your business? eBay? Amazon? Etsy? Your own e-commerce website? A combination of some or all?

Refining Your Presentation From a Personal Approach To a Professional Approach ~

This is the “grow up” phase you must learn if your start up is going to take off successfully. It’s time to stop thinking of it in a personal sense, as “me”, and think of it and treat it in a professional sense, always as “we” and “our”. You are a company now, out to make your impressions on the world and attract new clients, customers and businesses. Start acting like a company and not as a personal endeavor you hope people will like.

Maureen McCullough LLC is your Bergen County New Jersey website design, SEO and marketing agency. We care about your business and want you to succeed. Give us a call today at 201.753.1677 for a free 20 minute consultation.

If Your Business Isn’t On the Internet, Nobody’s Looking in the Phone Book

A group of small business owners had a discussion about how times and technology have changed. Back in the day, many small business owners relied solely on word of mouth (which is still valid) and the phone book. The Yellow Pages, the local phone book, etc. Now, if your business isn’t utilizing the Internet for everything it is worth, you will suffer.

Why?

Because no one is looking in the phone book. No one uses them anymore. All the information one needs is available at your fingertips via your smart phone, iPhone, tablet, and iPad. It is absolutely essential, without a doubt, for your small business to make the most of its presence on the Internet.

There are many tools for the small business owner to use to give them the visibility they need to make their business successful. Some are obvious, some a little less. Some are used incorrectly and may have detrimental results. Some are not used at all and therefore could be costing you potential customers and search engine visibility.

Here’s the list:

  • A well constructed, easy to navigate website
  • If the aforementioned website is not yet mobile responsive, that would be a priority to convert it
  • A Facebook business page
  • A Twitter page
  • An Instagram business page
  • A business profile on Pinterest
  • A business profile on Google+
  • If you sell products, an e-commerce website would be a priority
  • A blog about your business
  • Consistent branding across all of your venues
  • An app – iPhone or Android – that lets customers and prospects interact with you, your products, and your services

Not everything listed above is appropriate for all business types. If your business is product based, then all apply. If your business is service based, the visual profiles of Instagram and Pinterest “may not” apply unless they could be used as creative marketing with images that can promote your business. Creative content writing, organic SEO (search engine optimization), consistent branding across all online venues and your printed promotional materials and correct use of Open Graph tags and Twitter Cards will all help your website get the visibility it needs to make your business become a serious contender on the Internet.

Maureen McCullough LLC is your Bergen County New Jersey website design, SEO and marketing agency. We care about your business and want you to succeed. Give us a call today at 201.753.1677 for a free 20 minute consultation.