8 Good Reasons You Shouldn’t Hire a Graphic Designer, Website Company, Social Media Expert and SEO Company

Are you ready for this information? Maybe you should sit down – it’s a paradigm shifter. Logo design, website design, search engine optimization, content creation, social media, and email marketing are all part of MARKETING. A time and money wasting approach you should avoid involves hiring various “specialists” whose marketing knowledge is statically compartmentalized into one marketing subcategory. Why? Because all marketing subcategories are intertwined with one another – they are symbiotic; therefore, a thorough understanding of all marketing subcategories is a mandatory prerequisite for quality marketing.
Take a look at 8 good reasons your business really needs one qualified marketing company:
1. You need a brand identity.  A qualified marketing company gives your business a strong visual identity creating a high level of comfort in potential customers.  Your brand identity is shared in an interest generating manner on your website, social media accounts,  blog, signage, TV commercials, advertising, and print materials. It’s your first impression – your strength, your foundation and a qualified marketing company knows how to use it wisely.
2. A well designed search engine optimized website is a business marketing requirement. A qualified marketing company knows how optimize each page of your site, reflect your brand in an interesting manner, market to the long tail, create compelling content, and submit it to search. Today, your website is more than just a place to visit, it’s an online leads and conversion tool. Potential customers should be able to order, give feedback, make an appointment, download information, request a quote, calculate a rate, interact on a forum, or apply for a job.  A qualified marketing company shares your ROI with you using analytics.  These same analytics play a strong role in how to best update your site, increase your traffic, and generate additional leads and conversions.

3.  A search engine optimized blog is a marketing essential. Blogging is the number one – yes – number one way to get found on Google and drive traffic to your website. Google loves blogs because they are fresh and filled with links.  Your blog is not just a repeat of your website. Instead, it’s a marketing tool used to connect with customers through creative and informative articles.  It’s a place where your business can directly interact with your customers in a friendly manner encouraging affinity toward you and your brand.  A qualified marketing company sets up your blog so others may easily share your posts on platforms like Digg, Twitter, and FB. Your blog must have an RSS feed and optional email sign-up and should be constructed with security and SEO applications.  Your marketing department must learn how to use these or a qualified marketing company will use them for you.  Who hits your blog, how long they stay, which articles are favored and more can be found in your blog analytics.  Because a blog is considered the best social media marketing tool available, if you don’t have one or if you have one and aren’t using it properly, your business is missing out on the most important online conversation of all – the one about your business!

4. You need calls to action in order to generate leads. Your blog and your website are great places to launch creative calls to action. Each call to action should be created around a keyword or phrase (SEO) and include an offer.  A qualified marketing company will review your company goals, find your marketing weaknesses, and strengthen them through your brand identity, website construction, blog articles, and calls to action. An effective call to action asks for lead information from your prospect in exchange for useful/helpful information from your business. In other words, your prospect gladly gives you his email, business, title and phone number in exchange for instant (extremely useful) downloadable information which helps him now.  The prospect’s lead information is emailed directly to your sales people who then follow up.  Analytics are used to monitor the effectiveness of your calls to action allowing you and your quality marketing company to further enhance your ROI.

5.  Email marketing is a necessary  follow-up tool. A qualified marketing company will set up several follow-up emails (clearly sharing your brand identity) to thank your lead for making use of your call to action and ask her if she wants to learn more about your services or products. These follow up emails encourage further investigation into your products or services and may include additional calls to action. A qualified marketing company will provide you the means to handle this in-house or they will handle it for you.  Analytics are used to determine the effectiveness of your email marketing campaigns.

6. Your website and blog must be backlinked – a lot. A backlink is your website address found on a website that is not your own. (Yes, this is SEO related.)  The more backlinks you have on high ranking sites (because some sites are considered more valuable than others), the more valuable you are to Google. Those businesses who have the most backlinks on the most valuable sites get more exposure on Google search.   A qualified marketing company will show you how to generate backlinks yourself or generate them for you. They will also provide you with a list of your competitors’ backlinks and their value (exciting stuff).

7. To excel in your market you must have compelling content. Content is king. Google loves to see fresh, relevant, linked content on your website and blog and people love to read compelling content. The creation of compelling content requires the art of writing and the art of SEO.  A qualified marketing company knows how to to pull readers in, inspiring them to willingly learn more about your business.   Whether your in-house marketing team writes your content or you have your marketing company to do it for you, search engine optimized compelling content is a non-negotiable ingredient in a successful marketing campaign.

8.  You need to participate in social media to drive potential customers to your calls of action. Your qualified marketing company will set up your Facebook, Linkedin, and Twitter accounts in a manner which effectively conveys your brand and best positions you with your demographic.  Each social media platform has it’s own culture and etiquette and it’s most effective to act within these cultural norms to attract others to your business.  A qualified marketing company can show you your social media  sphere of influence and traffic stats. More important, they can monitor and respond to social media conversations about your business or teach you how to do this giving your business the opportunity to provide exemplary online customer service and bolster your reputation.

Remember, a thorough understanding of all marketing subcategories is a prerequisite for quality marketing. This is because all marketing subcategories are intertwined and many build upon each other.  One qualified marketing company thoroughly beats a disjointed group of specialists every time.

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About Catherine Lockey

Catherine Lockey @oz2designs | oz 2 designs LLC

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42 Responses to 8 Good Reasons You Shouldn’t Hire a Graphic Designer, Website Company, Social Media Expert and SEO Company

  1. Stacey N. July 22, 2010 at 11:53 am #

    Great info! I’m definitely bookmarking this one!

  2. Rebekah Sweeney July 22, 2010 at 2:12 pm #

    What blog service do you recommend? How often should you write on your blog to keep it active?

    Thank you,
    Rebekah

  3. Sarah Lanphier July 22, 2010 at 4:48 pm #

    Excellent lead in! I agree 100% with your recommendations. Just a helpful hint from a business owner that wears too many hats, read the piece as a whole and pick out one thing to work on, and do it. It is easy to get bogged down with information and forget to actually take action. Your brain goes into overload alert, shuts down and turns off. Action speaks louder than words.

  4. Gail July 22, 2010 at 5:51 pm #

    Great information for everyone to know. How many of us have spent money that did not get us anywhere but broke? I will venture a bet….lots.

  5. poch July 22, 2010 at 7:47 pm #

    Bravo Cathy. At first I was puzzled why you suggested not to hire graphic designers (I’m one) then I read your eye-opening post. Thanks for invite.

  6. John Morgan July 23, 2010 at 3:40 am #

    Saved me thousands on my future venture. I mean, you wouldn’t hire 3 separate home builders to build your one house! Great info, I’ll save this for the future.

  7. Rich Smith July 23, 2010 at 5:19 am #

    Catherine,

    Great article. I completely agree with taking a holistic approach to to your entire marketing strategy which I think goes even beyond your 8 points. The most successful organizations have a culture where everyone understands that marketing is a part of everyone’s job description.

  8. Rick July 23, 2010 at 7:04 am #

    Good information. I work with many small businesses and use these exact same reasons when answering questions. Educating my clients is something I spend a lot of time on and it’s worth the effort because they end up with better websites, better ROI and I get plenty of personal referrals.

  9. Barry July 23, 2010 at 7:14 am #

    Excellent points. All too often business owners focus on a project like SEO and don’t think of the big picture of how it all fits together. In today’s world success comes from integration and that’s what a good marketing company should deliver. Thanks for your perspective.

  10. Michelle July 23, 2010 at 7:21 am #

    very true. it reminds me of ‘way back’ when the conversation in computer programming was to centralize or decentralize — i see value in both avenues but in the long run centralized seems to be the best solution. The connection to your article is … yes, we could hire “specialists” but will be much better off with someone, or a group, that knows it all!!
    Thanks for the great article!

  11. Grace July 23, 2010 at 1:04 pm #

    This article couldn’t have come at a better time. I am on the search for a great web developer at the moment to handle my back end, maybe I should be looking for a company can do a variety of things to be successful. Thank you so much for sharing. I am new to blogging, only 3 months, and getting this info before I make another mistake is a godsend.

  12. Chris Powers July 23, 2010 at 2:10 pm #

    Far too often, I find my efforts to educate my clients about these things sometimes fall on deaf ears. I agree with the above, and I fight the good fight to make my potential clients know that its far more than ‘a postcard or a website’, its the whole process of marketing that will propel them forward.

  13. Terez July 23, 2010 at 4:33 pm #

    As a professional business blogger, I especially agree with your third point. Blogging is a prime means to sharing valuable information with your market.

    I also like how you direct readers to a marketing company. I must add that if a person decides to hire a marketing company, he/she should do homework to understand all the services being offered and how these services will benefit a business. Not all marketing companies are created equally.

  14. Bill Trousdale July 23, 2010 at 6:02 pm #

    This is a super check list to maximize any organizations effective reach, to its best prospects. This is most important for Non profits. Most are constantly searching for funds, most need to fund everything to keep their programs viable.
    An integrated marketing firm, if properly chosen, can address every area of development. Including but not limited to Giving, Office Supplies, Trusts, Legal advice, Volunteers, Staff, darn near any functional or progressive need of the nonprofit organization. Very good well thought out observations, Thanks

  15. Robert Pianka July 24, 2010 at 6:02 am #

    As an ActionCOACH I immediately “get” the lead point of this article: “…you should avoid involves hiring various “specialists” whose marketing knowledge is statically compartmentalized into one marketing subcategory.” In our thinking about “Generalist versus Specialist”, “You don’t need to know everything about everything but enough to know the general principals of all aspects of business” – because you have to run the WHOLE business and not all its pieces…both in terms of your responsibility and in terms of benefiting from the synergies that come from a well run system.

    As a “content” provider who gets bogged down in the mechanics e-delivering my content — through a website, a blog, tweets, a FB profile and page, LinkedIn discussions, etc. — I heard this call to action: If you want “quality marketing” to result from your efforts, you need to manage your whole cyber-presence as one system…and that takes help.

    I met a lady the other day who had hired a “virtual assistant” and could not stop talking about how happy she was just creating content…and knowing that it was being delivered to her audiences. In comparison, I feel like a factory shift that gets exhausted just stacking the outgoing shipments on the loading dock.

  16. Dale Saget-Udo July 26, 2010 at 8:30 am #

    Great article Catherine. That’s why our corportate office has such a good marketing department. It’s important to market your company in the right way to get your name out there and reach as many people and companies as possible.

  17. Jim Baker July 26, 2010 at 1:08 pm #

    I liked the lead-in that marketing subcategories are symbiotic, but after reading this I think a better term would be synergistic. Synergy is rarely create in silos. And to use seperate entities or experts for each marketing subcategory would have the same effect as operating your business with each department as a silo operation. We all know that is a formula for failure.

  18. Brandon Procell July 26, 2010 at 7:30 pm #

    This is absolutely true Catherine. I wish more people CEO’s and CMO’s would wake up to this reality. These once useful, yet now decaying specialty firms are becoming ever useless for businesses. I’ll take one simple, quality package of services over a scattered dozen of the best “flair” products any day. If businesses want a place to start streamlining their marketing and design efforts into something that works to improve sales performance, a good place to start would be an inbound marketing company. Companies like this specialize in doing it all, rather than just one isolated discipline. Thanks for this post. I loved it!

  19. Paul Green July 27, 2010 at 4:42 am #

    This is a GREAT article. Our company has actually been working with a marketing company over the last couple of years and I can relate to almost every single point made. Thanks!

  20. Catherine Lockey July 29, 2010 at 10:31 am #

    Rebekah,
    I recommend a WordPress blog you host separately or as a subdomain on your website. There are varying views on how often one should post. My thoughts – write compelling content or find someone who can and post at least once a week. If your company can create compelling content every day – then post every day. Your content is the key.

  21. Catherine Lockey July 29, 2010 at 10:33 am #

    Jim – nicely said.

  22. Carmelina Yetsko July 30, 2010 at 12:53 am #

    Your title drove me in due to curiosity. But nevertheless, I did not resent the fact that I clicked in. You’ve pointed some information that a potential or starting marketers should know ahead in order to save time, effort and money. Good Job!

  23. Catherine Lockey July 30, 2010 at 11:11 am #

    Thank you Carmelina.

  24. Chuck Book August 4, 2010 at 7:52 am #

    Catherine’s article is one most marketing agencies – mine included – have ascribed to for years. An integrated program through one shop is generally much more effective and a better value than cherry picking. No matter the tactic … brand identity, print ads, collateral, direct mail, social media, web sites, trade show materials, etc. … they all remain a means to an end. That end (or need) is defined by the client. And how that need is best met (reaching the right demographic to take the desired action) by developing an effective marketing strategy. Once established, a myriad of appropriate tactics are developed using the strategy as a marketing communications road map. Unfortunately, the horsepower to traverse such a map is fed by a client’s budget. So as you might guess, the more marketing dollars available, the more tactical vehicles are afforded the agency to effectively leverage the client’s brand in its respective market. Today, more than ever, dollars are tight. So the benefit of a broad-brush approach to an integrated marketing communications program remains out of reach for most small to mid-size companies. Bottom line – whatever your objective and budget – be sure you deliver a consistent selling message, look, read and feel throughout all of your marketing materials as they evolve. So whether your budget allows you to produce one project or many, you strengthen your brand’s awareness among your customers and minimize the risk of its erosion over time.

  25. Catherine Lockey August 4, 2010 at 9:35 am #

    “Bottom line – whatever your objective and budget – be sure you deliver a consistent selling message, look, read and feel throughout all of your marketing materials as they evolve. So whether your budget allows you to produce one project or many, you strengthen your brand’s awareness among your customers and minimize the risk of its erosion over time.” – very good advice Chuck.

  26. Darwin Web Design September 9, 2010 at 11:41 am #

    This is really a great article. Reading this can really enhance your knowledge about many things that can help you improve your site. When hiring a web design company you should make sure that the company has also knowledge about SEO issues and techniques.

  27. Jeannette Paladino September 20, 2010 at 4:26 pm #

    Excellent article. I agree that a blog should be the centerpiece of a social media strategy — especially for a small company. It’s your home base where you hit your home runs (read posts) to a variety of social media channels. Your blog becomes the magnet to draw people to your site and your business.

  28. Dennis Salvatier January 6, 2011 at 1:44 am #

    I agree that these parts make a great symbiotic relationship, especially the blog. My only problem is that many marketing companies rarely do all of these things well. They will get your website up with all the bells and whistles needed in today’s world of business, but they’ll fail in designing a logo that effectively captures the essence and mission of the company. I can list the many combinations that I’ve seen. I’ve had many people come to me after dealing with marketing companies who sold them the moon and only gave them Uranus. I’ve had to tweak brands and hire a qualified web programmer to fix the mess that was left behind.

    I don’t mean to sound negative or argumentative, but I firmly believe that in life there isn’t just one way to do anything. And if there is, it will cost you. And that’s what it comes down to. “You get what you pay for”.

  29. Catherine Lockey January 6, 2011 at 9:51 am #

    hahhaa – Dennis – nice planet references. The one stop shop is a big selling point for my business. Like you said, most companies really aren’t capable of this. For example, this week I’m creating search optimized content for a client who hired a “web design” company who doesn’t create content. As a result, they have an incomplete site with no keywords, source code, H1 tags, alt tags, title tags or creative content. So, at $200 a page, I’m completing it for them.

    Being a legitimate digital marketing company is what makes oz 2 designs LLC stand apart. My art director is a fine artist, award winning animator, graphic artist, and web designer. I handle the on-page SEO and content creation. My programmer creates the most amazing website tools and shopping carts. We never dumb down a project to a “junior” employee. This is why my business continues to excel in PA. :)

  30. Sherryl Perry March 23, 2011 at 3:09 pm #

    Catherine, one of the things that I like the most about your blog is that you drive home a consistent marketing message.

    I think the value of being able to hire one firm (like yours) is that you have a team of experts on your side. I’m bookmarking this post to share with clients. Your message echos some of the discussions that I have, content, blog, social networking – all part of an overall marketing campaign. Thanks again for another great post.

  31. Catherine Lockey March 28, 2011 at 1:41 pm #

    Thanks Sherryl – and thanks for sharing it too.

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