Ideagility LLC http://www.ideagility.com Your Digital and PPC Business Partner Mon, 26 Sep 2016 19:59:16 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Marketing Trends: Small is Big http://www.ideagility.com/marketing-trends-small-is-big/ Tue, 21 Jun 2016 05:09:43 +0000 http://www.ideagility.com/?p=3712 Local relevance sounds small, like a back-handed compliment. But small is big, huge even for small business owners: let your community know you care and they’ll care about you right back. Pour your hard-earned marketing dollars into your customers and your neighborhood and they’ll notice so big, they’ll bring their friends by to meet you.

Andrew Thomas, CEO of Craft Brew Alliance, discussed local relevance and microbrews with the ACG Portland crowd in 2015. Andy reported that a large chunk of consumers choose to ‘buy local’ everywhere in the nation — and that local preference increases as you move west.

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Craft Brew Alliance reported that West Coast consumers preferred to buy local more strongly than anywhere in the nation: one out of every two beers purchased in bars and restaurants on the west coast was a microbrew in 2015. Even more startling, young Millennials and aging, supposedly better-funded Boomers preferred microbrews equally.
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Even if you’re not selling microbrews, make this statistic work for you and your small business. Be authentic, be local, be proud and share it loud! Here are a few terrific examples from our smart partners, crafty business leaders every one:

Sam, Tiffany and the team at ServiceMaster Building Services have been serving the Moda Center and Portland Trail Blazers for decades. Receiving copyright permission to photos from the Blazers allows the team to brand uniquely, sharing the story with pride and irresistible imagery right on the website and social media.

At Furniture Medic by Cincinnati, Eric Schimpf has been leading the team and restoring furniture for consumers and businesses for twenty years. Doing the right thing built this local reputation to be proud of; company history and mission is shared at every touch point — from digital branding and advertising to directory listings and live events. Simple proof points in the form of furniture project before and afters illustrate the companies’ work richly while enjoying heavy site traffic. And by analyzing messaging and results relentlessly, consumer and business prospecting becomes increasingly more efficient (and profitable!) over time.

Partner Jim Porter, of Applied Restoration, builds it right so customers won’t have to repair it later. He’s known for decades that succeeding at commercial construction means more than quality work; it means standing behind your work with the best warranties in the industry. Jim and the team partner with only the best suppliers, like DryVit, who share their values. Check out Jim’s video at AppliedRestoration.com and in LinkedIn and Facebook to see how co-branding works to amplify your brand in your community.

Ideagility couldn’t be prouder to be a team of local Portlanders serving small businesses nationwide. Our mission is to deliver the most profitable results — job requests — and the best service in our industry. As the digital solution for small business owners with urgent needs online, we build responsive websites, social, email marketing, organic and digital ad campaigns. Contact us at jan.quinn@ideagility.com or at 1-800-496-1698.

Go forward, go local and prosper!

 

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Marketing Trends: Five Ways to Treat Your Crowd Exclusively http://www.ideagility.com/marketing-trends-five-ways-to-treat-your-crowd-exclusively/ Tue, 21 Jun 2016 05:01:40 +0000 http://www.ideagility.com/?p=3709 This post is about exclusivity marketing — the opposite of discrimination. Exclusivity is as good for business as discrimination is bad.  What is exclusivity marketing and why should you care?  Exclusivity is simply treating people in a way that makes them feel special and, well, you might want to care because it works big for businesses of all sizes.

Five Ways to Treat Your Crowd Exclusively

  1. Use exclusivity to shape in person communications. Don’t you just love to feel important?  I do. Our customers do. We all do.  Small business owners don’t need big, expensive loyalty rewards to weave exclusivity into effective marketing goals and tactics.To let folks know they’re special, exclusive even, start with this budget saving technique: tell them.  Be you, be authentic.  But in your own priceless style, tell them often.
  2. Review your email communications with an exclusivity hat on.  You can send thank you emails for new orders or first time purchases.  You might share special offers — and even ‘we want you to be among the first know’ early alerts of your most valuable opportunities.  Are your customers doctors, Moms or craftsmen?  It’s likely they’re proud of that mastery: use email copy to acknowledge your audience forwho they are.
  3. Use imagery to let your crowd know how exclusive they are.  For one terrific medical scrubs dealer, our research identified ‘big and beautiful’ consumers as a wholly neglected segment — for example, ‘plus size scrubs’ searches led to plus size wear featured on skinny models.  Our email copy celebrated all women, but the imagery focused on big and beautiful women.  (See examples here:  http://promos.ideagility.com/email-examples/) Sell off the page results rose steadily; averaging 40-60K in sales per email.
  4. The back office should be in on this fun too. Take a hard look at your invoices to add special notes and read at a glance graphics.
  5. Celebrate your customers in public; like their posts, promote their wins on your company’s own social pages.  Go out of your way to share generously and you may be surprised — one day your customers just might feel exclusive for working with you!
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Protect Yourself! http://www.ideagility.com/protect-yourself/ Tue, 02 Feb 2016 20:59:45 +0000 http://www.ideagility.com/?p=3322 Last week a couple of our teammates were busy helping a terrific client resolve a big mess:  removing administrative access from a disgruntled ex-employee.  Anyone may post crappy comments on your Google Plus page and social sites, or even create false profiles and do so fraudulently — but don’t surrender your control by providing administrative access to these pages!

As you know, you can’t stop negative comments entirely. And, while Yellow Pages removes poor reviews upon request, Google does not.  Read on for important advice on how to handle legitimate customer complaints posted to your public pages.

Last week, one unhappy soul was posting scathing, negative comments about the business owner and his company.  These comments were featured front and center on the company’s own Google Plus page and social sites.  That a former employee was posting fire-breathing comments, and that the owner of the company was blocked from responding, was due to an unfortunate set of errors — and we’re writing today to be sure you protect yourself and your digital brand so that this never happens to you.

Here are (7) simple ‘must-dos’ to protect you and your company’s brand online:

  1. ONLY use a company email address that you control as the “admin” of your company pages in Facebook, Yelp, Google Plus, etc.
  2. Because you lose control, NEVER allow anyone to gain login access to your company pages with any email address other than your company’s.
  3. When an employee exits your company, immediately redirect their email to yourself or a trusted company executive.
  4. If an ex-employee was the admin of company pages, immediately request a password reset to each page — you will need to watch for the reset confirmation to come through to the ex-employee’s former email to eliminate their access entirely.
  5. As an owner of your company, always insure the you have login access to your own company pages.  You do not need to be active in social media, simply retain the access so that you have it in case of an emergency.
  6. If all safeguards fail, and your ex-employee is actively posting negative and even fraudulent statements about your company, contact each provider directly and request that false reviews and comments be removed.  Even then, unless the comments contain abusive language, there is no guarantee the service provider will agree to remove them.
  7. Finally, when anyone posts a negative review about your company or services, respond publicly and appropriately.  Do not discuss their complaint or defend yourself in public.  Never criticize.  Instead, simply state that you appreciate the feedback, that it is very important to your whole team and that you are dedicated to delighting customers. Share that you will be contacting the individual directly to resolve their concerns.  This simple step shows your community that you are on top of it — an ethical, responsible vendor worthy of their trust.

When you can prove you’re the owner of the company, all is not lost even if you can’t access your sites directly. You can, for example, have offensive pages removed entirely. If you need help with any of this, call us — we’ll be happy to help and will work fast to resolve everything. May you always be found.

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Giving Thanks http://www.ideagility.com/giving-thanks/ Mon, 30 Nov 2015 21:10:49 +0000 http://www.ideagility.com/?p=3280 To each of our wonderful customers — thank you.  We appreciate serving you and feel privileged to help you grow your business.  I hope your Thanksgiving is filled with family, love and good food.

I’m especially thankful for my own family.  We’ll have a wonderful Thanksgiving together this week.  It’s been a tough month for me, I keep thinking about my Dad.  We lost him to cancer just one year ago this month.

The following is my own small thanks, a repeat of something I wrote a few years ago.  I hope you enjoy it.  My Dad, Howard Quinn, taught me resiliency — and guts.  He thought I hung the moon and he was my hero.

When I was eleven I landed my first real job babysitting. The customer was a good friend of my parents and I was hired for an afternoon, four hours at fifty cents an hour. Please note, fifty cents an hour. After a long afternoon of toddlers the Mom came home and paid me $1.50. I didn’t know what to say so I said nothing and trudged home.

Lucky me, my Dad was home. My hero, a veteran of WWII, was cleaning the garage. I told him what happened and he knew just what to do. He wasn’t mad at me or my first client — the good friend of the family — he was quite calm. He convinced me it was important to stand up for myself by walking back to our neighbor’s front door.

At age eleven it didn’t occur to me to question him or my ability to handle this alone. I simply did what I was told and said exactly what my Dad said I should say, “Hi, my Dad told me that you’d want me to come right back over and let you know you made a small mistake. You probably simply forgot how long you were gone, but it was four hours and you still owe me fifty cents.”

Happy Thanksgiving.

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This changes…everything? http://www.ideagility.com/this-changes-everything/ Mon, 30 Nov 2015 21:08:44 +0000 http://www.ideagility.com/?p=3277 Flonase and Cars.com are in total agreement. Surprising, an allergy medicine and a consumer car channel have exactly the same brand proposition, “this changes everything,” and for several months, each company has been advertising the message during the most spendy time of all, primetime.

This changes everything — wow that’s bold. Not something, not a few things, but everything. Really, everything?

At Ideagility, we serve up digital marketing strategies for small business owners — and we’re small business owners ourselves. Recent commercials like “this changes everything” serve as important reminders for our crowd.

We don’t have Flonase-sized budgets so we make our advertising work overtime. We dedicate valuable marketing budget to nurturing customers and making sure that new prospects searching for our services can find us — fast. Our company value propositions and the claims we make are specific and they sure better cover what our customers care about most. Finally, we back up our advertising with substantiative proof like customer testimonials, service guarantees and case studies.

We also make sure our websites are clear, concise and easy to use. We manage our reputations with smart social marketing and work within our communities to support our towns, our schools and our kids. Perhaps most important of all, we show up when we say we will and do what we promise.

All this isn’t always easy and it isn’t a perfect process for any business. But when it’s working, your marketing and advertising serve as an extension of who you really are. And if you just happen to be real, honest and effective at what you do, well, not only does your community need to hear about it but you have a shot at steady, continual growth and very affordable marketing budgets. May you always be found.

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Is SEO Really Dead? http://www.ideagility.com/is-seo-really-dead/ Mon, 30 Nov 2015 21:02:44 +0000 http://www.ideagility.com/?p=3273 We help small business owners be found all over the United States. In providing foundational online marketing services we create and manage websites, lead paid advertising, nurture customer segments in email and manage organic rankings with Search Engine Optimization techniques.

We’re especially privileged to help our customers grow affordably year after year. These business owners and independent franchise owners are understandably confused by the deluge of conflicting news reports regarding SEO: “I read somewhere that SEO was on the way out and that keywords are dead. I am confused…”

Just like Mark Twain, the rumors of SEO’s death have been greatly exaggerated. What was true years ago is no longer — a decade or more ago it was quite easy to ‘game the Google system’ with techniques like keyword stuffing and fraudulent back links. If you knew how to stuff your competitors names into the meta tags on your site, or so the legend goes, presto! You would leap above those competitors in your rankings (until the next week when they did the same thing to you.) But those days are long over, the Google algorithms have been too smart for shady tricks like these for several years now.

So SEO is most certainly not dead. But it is constantly changing and the software algorithms are getting smarter. Here’s our advice, based on years of hard work and ongoing analysis of hundreds of websites: start by creating a terrific experience for your customers. Give them what they want. So what do they want? Clear, consistent information? The ability to reach you easily and quickly on any device? And for the all-important first time buyers searching for you now — substantial proof to support your marketing claims — proof like a professional mobile site, customer testimonials, great reviews, case studies, industry awards and accreditations? Almost everyone on the planet wants these things. So start here.

Ranking your site high in Google search results depends on how relevant you are to the searcher’s input when compared to your competitors. Your website ranking is never static, but constantly being influenced by what your business and everyone else’s is doing online. Backend meta tags, site technology and history, depth and breadth of content, the number of positive reviews on your Google Plus page and yes even the keywords you deploy to ‘talk’ to the search algorithms all help influence Google rankings.

Creating excellent content and a terrific user experience for your customers was and still is the best strategy; it’s also why our bundled service for small business owners does exactly this.

Last note, a little lagniappe for all you technophiles who have kindly read this far. Here are a few more links you may enjoy:

http://backlinko.com/google-ranking-factors

http://corp.wishpond.com/google-plus-marketing-resources/general-google-plus-marketing-tips/

May you always be found!

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Thank you http://www.ideagility.com/thank-you/ Mon, 30 Nov 2015 20:59:52 +0000 http://www.ideagility.com/?p=3269 Thanks to our families and our employees, old friends, colleagues, amazing customers, partners and vendors; our kids, our Moms and Dads, brothers, sisters and new friends.  We asked you to help our company, Ideagility, qualify in the Chase Manhattan Mission Main Street Grant program.  We beat the deadline when you came out in spades!  We crossed the voting threshold because of you all and we appreciate it.   We won’t even know if we won the business lottery until September —  not a loan, but a you-never-have-to-repay 100K grant we’d use to reach and help more small businesses be found online — but who cares.

We helped new friends and reconnected with old ones. Old boyfriends checked in (!) and previous customers returned with new exciting needs and goals.  Best of all, we asked how we could help you and boy did you answer. We expanded relationships and found new skin care ladies and undiscovered freelance bench strength.  We helped a few pros with business leads.  Our employees discovered super hero powers they didn’t even know they had.  Huge thank you’s and if you happen to be in San Antonio next week  — we hope we get to see you.

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You’re Too Busy. Why Bother? http://www.ideagility.com/youre-too-busy-why-bother/ Mon, 30 Nov 2015 20:56:50 +0000 http://www.ideagility.com/?p=3266 RE:  Would you kindly vote for Ideagility?

https://www.missionmainstreetgrants.com/b/39313

Many of you know that we’ve applied for a Mission Main Street grant from Chase Manhattan Bank — to stay in the running we need your vote and we’re getting close to the wire.

If you haven’t voted you may be swamped.  You may have work priorities that are all consuming — so why bother?  Who ever heard of a boutique digital agency from Portland, Oregon winning a big, fat grant to help more people anyway?  And why should you care?  Great questions, all.  Here is our answer:

Doing good in the world matters to us at Ideagility.  We’re on a mission to deliver the highest quality services and customer service around.  It’s why we created big business marketing for small business budgets.  We’re small business owners too and our company focuses exclusively on small businesses; they need us.  We help each one to be found by the folks who need them most right now.

Doing good in the world may not be the first priority of most in our industry but it is ours; we’re honest, straight-talkers who’ve created transparent, flat-fee based services to deliver real business growth. Winning a Mission Main Street grant would help us to serve up real growth for many, many more businesses — and to train many more young college grads in the critical skills that matter most to businesses and to careers.

We’re privileged to work with some of the best small businesses on the planet. Disaster companies and janitorial providers.  Engineers.  Health and beauty and specialty medical providers.  Folks that solve urgent problems every day.  We love our customers and they love us right back — but they wouldn’t stay with us if we didn’t deliver startling new profits each month.

We serve business owners all over the US and about half of them have been with us for more than a year. One quarter of our customers have partnered with us for more than two years.  But we’re just getting started.  We build and maintain websites, lead social and organic efforts and manage crack advertising campaigns online. With fully accountable, direct response digital marketing it’s all about the numbers — that’s us too.

So if, like us, you’re a straight-talking do-gooder who values transparency, honesty and fully accountable marketing results, taking a moment to vote just may be worth the bother.  In the words of Kurt Vonnegut:

Still and all, why bother?  Here’s my answer.  Many people need desperately to receive this message:  I feel and think much as you do, care about many of the things you care about, although most people do not care about them.  You are not alone.

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Your Team Walks Your Talk http://www.ideagility.com/your-team-walks-your-talk/ Tue, 09 Jun 2015 16:07:04 +0000 http://www.ideagility.com/?p=3218 Many of our customers are using ‘summer down time’ to revisit their website marketing strategies. If you find your front liners with more free time than usual, it may be the perfect opportunity to relaunch your brand and communications.

Your new website needs to be mobile to be found easily, but you already know that. And doubling down on the messaging, examples and testimonials that promote your top services and products will take you far in helping customers and search engines know all about you.

But have you considered what you stand for? What are the values your company holds dear — and even more importantly — is your team in the know? Your front line team doesn’t just represent your brand to customers, they are your brand. Consider developing your website Terms of Use section to include Communications Guidelines. They serve to guide your team through difficult issues, such as when a customer is unhappy, but they’ll do even more good when deployed consistently every day.

If you love examples, we’ve included our own Ideagility Communications Guides especially for you here. Weave your values throughout your Communications Guidelines and then put them to work. Once published, your new guidelines can be used to spark discussion and excite your team.

Communicate honestly and powerfully with a team that walks your talk every day and customers win bigger than ever. Way cool.

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Be Found Basics http://www.ideagility.com/be-found-basics/ Fri, 22 May 2015 20:40:36 +0000 http://www.ideagility.com/?p=3212 When serving our customers, we test digital marketing and website strategies on hundreds of businesses across the country. So what have we learned?  There are a couple issues we’ve run into a lot lately.  Without geeking out, here are a couple ‘Be Found Basics’ to help your business succeed online:

Do Not Forward Lightly

Overly forward Earls causing misery and havoc, like Earl Haroldson of The History Channel’s “Vikings”, seem to be pretty rare these days.  But forward your website url without understanding the risks and you put your SEO rankings in great peril!

Forwarding one website url, ‘A’, to another website url, ‘B’, is also called a redirect. Redirects may be temporary or permanent; use this link to learn more about them if desired.  A permanent redirect means that when your website url ‘A’ is typed, the homepage will redirect, showing as url ‘B’ in the browser search bar.  In this scenario, only url ‘B’ is building organic rankings.  If the redirect is cancelled, all the traffic and ranking results driven to ‘B’ by ‘A’ stays with ‘B’.

Why would you want to drive your website traffic to another url?  Perhaps you’ve rebranded with a new company name and have a matching new url.  You want to redirect your ‘old’ url to show up as your ‘new’ url, helping you be found by your new brand.  This makes perfect sense — you own both domains so in this scenario you’ll maintain control of your brand and SEO.

If, instead, you are redirecting your domain to an url owned by another entity, we suggest caution.  What is your reasoning?  Think carefully about your rationale and weigh the risks of building organic rankings for the entity you have redirected to — NOT your own business. What happens if you decide to create a website separate from the entity? You will lost all the organic rankings you have built and will have to start from ground zero again.

Leave No Optimization Behind

Managing a website for years is a real opportunity.  Pages are optimized for search, keywords and content are carefully researched, selected and doubled down on to create sites that promote your top products and services while continuing to rank higher and higher.  Pages can even be optimized uniquely, directing different product or services pages to focus on separate geographies, for example.  If your site has seen increased rankings for a long time, it’s likely that on page optimization is a key part of your strategy.

When you recreate a new website (Mobilegeddon anyone?), it’s important to port the on page optimization that your currently have directly to the new site.  Skip this step and you risk watching your visitor traffic — and SEO rank — dwindle dramatically!

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