How to Find the Right Local Digital Marketing Agency

Choosing the right digital marketing agency for your business can feel overwhelming. As a business owner, regardless of your company size or industry, you’re busy. While marketing may not be at the forefront of your mind, effective marketing can grow your business. With over 120,000 digital agencies in the United States alone, there’re plenty of digital marketing agencies that would love to collaborate with you. So how do you find the best fit? We’ve compiled a few questions business owners should navigate as they start looking for the perfect marketing partnership.

Why should I choose a local marketing agency?

Partnering with a local marketing agency has various benefits. Local marketing agencies are passionate about their community. This passion translates into a deep understanding of what community members want as consumers. With that, an agency that knows their community has strong relationships with surrounding businesses; expect to expand your network!

Local marketing agencies tend to have leaner teams in comparison to national marketing agencies. Working with a smaller marketing team can foster transparency and effective communication. You’ll have more opportunities to meet face to face and build relationships with each team member on your account.

How should I conduct my research?

Conducting research is an essential step in finding the right local digital marketing agency. A good starting point is viewing their portfolio. Usually, digital marketing agencies will display portfolio work on their website. During your initial research, look for project success within your industry. While sifting through portfolios, ask yourself, “does this agency have the ability to achieve my marketing needs?” If you believe they do, further your research by reviewing client testimonials and asking for references from businesses like yours.

A major red flag is a digital marketing company that doesn’t market their own business. An indicator of an agency’s ability to achieve project success is reflected in the work they do for their own organization. Throughout your research, review their website, blog and social media channels to see how often they’re updated.

Does their company culture align with mine?

So, your thorough research gives you the green light to partner with a local digital marketing agency. But does your company culture align with theirs? Often overlooked, this is a crucial component of the vetting process. It is not enough for an agency to be great on paper; you have to determine whether you will work well together. So how can you do this? Ask about their communication style; this is a benchmark of whether it will be a harmonious partnership.

Visit their website to review their mission statement and core values. Consider whether your values are in alignment with one another. You can also peek around their social media channels to get a feel for their team and office energy.

In conclusion

There are many factors to consider when searching for the right local digital marketing agency. With a surplus of agencies to choose from, you may feel like you have your work cut out. However, through proper research, you can form lasting partnerships and market your business successfully.

 

RPS Holds Virtual Costume Contest

Our close-knit team has missed working in the office, probably more than the average bunch. While working virtually, we’ve had to find creative ways to have fun. As a result, the RPS team held a “work from home” costume contest. Apart from getting extra screen time with one another, it was also an exciting way to mix up our team’s daily WFH routines.

Round One

Initially, the virtual costume contest featured a tie within our marketing department — 16 votes for Alex’s “You Jelly?” costume and Angela’s “Getting Groovy!” costume. Through our tiebreaker, Angela’s “Social Distant Butterfly” costume scored 19 votes, securing her place in round two of the competition.

Our team was elated at the engagement level from those who were following our costume contest via Facebook. Emily’s “Eternally Grateful to WFH” costume gained 330 votes while Chris’, “WFH Relaxin” costume secured 363 votes. Although a close vote, Chris’ relatable work from home costume pushed him into the second round.

RPS’s Head Honcho, Joshua, was decked out from head-to-toe, sporting his “Working Every Knight” costume. Mackenzie’s simplistic yet brilliant, homage to 90’s cartoon “Ed, Edd, n Eddy” welcomed waves of nostalgia through her “Wood you like to WFH” costume. With 29 votes, our Head Honcho slid into the second round of the competition.

Our next contenders’ poll reached 1,150 people. Scott summoned 29 votes and was ready to party with his “Rock N’ Roll or WFH Goal” costume. However, Stephanie advanced to the second round. Her Harry Potter-inspired “WFH Tactic Use Some Magic” costume landed a whopping 76 votes.

Jake’s “Adventure Guide WFH Pride” costume captured eight votes as his aesthetic displayed a healthy mix of National Geographic and Disney Jungle Cruise. Wendolyn’s “WFH is a Home Run” costume served as a tribute to her hometown. She hit a grand slam, advancing to the second round with 13 votes.

Is that Jenna, our Lead Content Strategist, or a “WFH Ninja Warrior?” Honestly, Jenna graciously executes both roles and earned 15 votes with her work from home costume. Jennifer’s “Care Bear Solitaire” welcomed lots of smiles. She secured 19 votes and advanced to the second round of the competition.

Round Two

The competition throughout round one was close. In contrast, our second round displayed clear victors through each poll. Chris’ “WFH Relaxin” achieved 57 votes, advancing him into the final round of the competition.

RPS Director of Operations, Stephanie, launched into the final round of the competition with 49 votes. We’re still wondering if there was any magic involved.

Although fan favorites, Jennifer and Wendolyn did not make it to the final round. However, Jennifer’s “Care Bear Solitaire” costume did secure nine votes, beating Wendolyn’s “WFH is a Home Run” costume by three votes.

Final Round

The final round of our “work from home” costume contest featured a dash of Harry Potter magic and a cozy work from home aesthetic. The final round reached 2,843 people and totaled 380 votes. Stephanie’s “WFH Tactic Use Some Magic” costume scored 151 votes, and Chris’ “WFH Relaxin” costume scored 229 votes, making him the overall champion! Our winner, Chris, was gifted a Grubhub gift card.

The RPS team has hosted a variety of activities to stay connected and have fun while working remotely. Other activities include spirit day, dance parties, virtual zoo visits, and team lunches via Google Hangouts. If you would like to see more of our WFH fun, visit our Facebook page.

Marketing Tips Amid COVID-19

If you’re unsure how to approach your marketing strategies amid the COVID-19 pandemic, you’re not alone. It can be challenging to find a balance between effective yet mindful communication with your customers and community. Many are scrambling to pick up the professional and personal pieces of the crisis. The RPS marketing team has compiled a list of five tips to help you confidently market through the pandemic.

Reassess Your Marketing Strategy

It can be tricky to differentiate which marketing campaigns should be pushed or paused during the COVID-19 pandemic. Although it’s essential to stay connected with your customers, it’s also time to take a step back and reevaluate what planned strategies could come off as insensitive or offensive; be sure to take the time to review your scheduled content, including visuals. Also, avoid capitalizing on the pandemic, such as pushing non-essential product launches.

A helpful perspective activity is to adopt your consumers’ mindset; ask yourself how you would feel if you were in their position, receiving your proposed message. Are your eyes rolling, or are you smiling? Do you feel bombarded or empowered?

Foster Clear Communication

It’s paramount to communicate in a time of uncertainty. The words you choose and the words you don’t use can make a big difference. If you are shut down for COVID-19, we suggest making sure you communicate that you are temporarily shut down (not closed for good!). Also, expressly confirm that you look forward to resuming operations once it is safe to do so.

Adding a form to your website for people to “sign up” to be notified when you re-open is a great way to keep customers engaged and instill confidence that your business will be back in action once this all passes. If you aren’t closed but have limited hours or service during this time, be clear about that too. This messaging applies to your website as well as your social media and email outreach. Don’t leave anything to interpretation. Be clear and instill confidence in both your customers and your team by communicating regularly and positively.

Keep Your Customers Up to Date with Google Business

Organizations of all sizes can benefit from utilizing Google Business. If your business doesn’t currently have a digital presence, an excellent way to retain customers is by creating and maintaining a Google Business account. Many consumers aren’t sure which businesses are open, and if their hours and services have changed.

Through Google Business you have the capability to update your business hours and availability. As a restaurant owner, this tool is critical. Google Business allows you to share if your restaurant’s dining room is closed as well as if you are still open for carryout or delivery orders. Listing this information is essential for any business, and promotes clear communication with your customers. If your business information is up to date, customers will be encouraged to continue using your services.

Brainstorm Alternative Ways to Generate Business

If you’ve had to close your doors or stop production due to COVID-19, seek creative ways to cultivate revenue growth. Stay-at-home orders have pushed consumers to spend more time online. It’s beneficial for your organization to promote your services online via virtual conference tools such as Facebook Live and Zoom.

Many gyms, yoga studios, museums, zoos, and even art studios are hosting interactive virtual events. You may be surprised how many of your customers would be thrilled to experience your services remotely; however, if your services aren’t web-friendly, you’re not at a loss. Consider allowing customers to pay deposits for future services at a discounted rate.

Strengthen Social Media Presence

During COVID-19 setbacks, social media serves as an impactful marketing tool. During this time, people are turning more frequently to social media channels to stay connected. Your approach to social media marketing determines whether your online presence will strengthen or weaken. It’s invaluable to keep in touch with your audience but with a genuine approach; apply a human touch to each post and avoid corporate jargon.

For instance, instead of pushing your product, teach your audience a DIY version of the product. In doing so, viewers won’t feel pressured to leave their homes or order your product online. As every consumer’s screen is filled with dreadful news, design your platform to be an uplifting outlet to anyone who visits your social media accounts. Routinely check-in with your customers and ask them what kind of content they would like to see.

Pantone Keeps it Classic with 2020 Color of the Year

[photo: Pantone]
The Pantone Color Institute rang in the new year by declaring the Color of the Year for 2020 as Classic Blue (19-4052). This year’s victor is a stark contrast from 2019’s Living Coral (16-1546); it’s vibrant pink hues resemble our “innate need for optimism and joyful pursuits.” Although recently announced, some have already deemed Classic Blue as a safe choice. Claims of a cautious selection stem from the backlash Living Coral received, quickly pegged as naive and insensitive to the dying coral reefs around the world.

Others are claiming 2020’s Color of the Year pays homage to blue hues of Pantone’s first announced Color in 2000, Cerulean (15-4020). Although a softer blue than Classic Blue, both hues aim to evoke feelings of calmness while also emphasizing uncertainty and excitement the future holds.  Leatrice Eiseman, Executive Director of the Pantone Color Institute, describes Classic Blue as “a solid and dependable blue hue we can always rely on. Imbued with a deep resonance, Classic Blue provides an anchoring foundation.” A glance at Classic Blue can conjure feelings of nostalgia, tranquility, and happiness.

Even if you don’t consider yourself a color enthusiast, Pantone’s Color of the Year selection is more influential than you think. The champion color shapes the year’s graphic design choices, runway looks, and even home decor. With so much weight on a color choice, the decision-making process is as conscious as you would expect it to be.

Early each year, experts at the Pantone Color Institute begin to research an array of trends such as film, art, travel, fashion, makeup, cars, and technology. The committee even examines the psychology behind colors and social situations around the world before making a decision. The decision process is continuous as members of the committee justify their color choices with concepts and photographs.

[photo: Pantone]
What began as a small color chart printing business in the 1950s has evolved into a lifestyle brand with a cult following. In 1963, when CEO Lawrence Herbert created the Pantone Matching System, he standardized color to achieve design consistency. In doing so, Herbert developed a universal language for color. Besides Pantone’s iconic Color of the Year announcement, the company is known for its well-executed brand partnerships, collaborating with brands like Tiffany & Co., Sephora, and Universal Pictures for the release of the 2015 Minions movie.

Are you looking to add soothing Classic Blue elements to your home? Purchase an area rug, lamp, or accent pillows. If you’re ready to integrate Classic Blue into your closet, start by treating yourself to a new scarf, tie, or blazer. Regardless of how you choose to express yourself with Pantone’s Color of the Year, be sure to have fun with it.

Simple Analytics Tutorial

The more data you collect, the better informed you will be as you continue to make marketing decisions for your company. If you don’t know if a marketing channel is working, you won’t know if you should spend more or less on it next year. Facebook and Google both have free analytics. If you aren’t already using them for your business, are yourself WHY!? Here is a step by step tutorial on how to use these resources to track your business analytics to make for better marketing spending.

Facebook Analytics

  • Create an account at business.facebook.com
  • Connect your business page
  • Under  the “Analyze and Report” tab click on Analytics

You will be able to set custom filters, see active users, most active times on your page, etc. It’s a great way to start learning a lot more about your audience and what they like. The analytics on Facebook goes very deep beyond just likes and visitors. It’s a powerful tool that can even analyze your website traffic with the Facebook Pixel installed.

 

 

Google Analytics

  • Create an account at analytics.google.com
  • You will need a Google account to access Analytics
  • Fill out the information about your website
  • You’ll receive a tracking code to install on your website
  • Start tracking data and setting up conversion goals

Google Analytics admittedly has a pretty steep learning curve to it, but there are several great courses and tutorials out there to get started. We suggest using the free analytics course by google to start, though! Google Analytics for Beginners.

 

Introducing: Creator Studio!

There’s a new tool that just released today (8/14/19) that may change the way that creators, businesses, brands, and influencers run their Facebook and Instagram accounts. Instead of having to go between Facebook and Instagram to post your content, users can now use the Creator Studio to do it all in one platform. Prior to this new Creator Studio update, you weren’t able to post natively to Instagram anywhere except your phone. Now, similar to Hootsuite or Hubspot, you can schedule posts and plan out your entire feed in one place. You heard that right, scheduling your Instagram posts is now possible! The big difference between the other platforms is that Creator Studio is free and has a rather simple User Interface. If you have a Facebook account, you automatically have access to creator studio and you can begin customizing your feed! 

For brands that are just managing Facebook and Instagram, this will prove to be an invaluable tool. The process is very easy from start to finish! For instance, you can open up the Creator Studio and select the business that you want to manage. Then, you can look over the engagement of your previous posts to see what has performed the best lately and choose your content based on those simple analytics. 

 

Facebook has had the function of scheduling out posts for years, but Instagram specifically never had this ability. You could schedule through an outside program, but with this new update, you can now do it in Creator Studio! What that also means is, you can do it from your computer, which has been a popular complaint from users in the past that they couldn’t do that. While programs like Hootsuite can be very valuable to companies, it has been proven that the engagement isn’t quite as good when it’s not posted natively from Facebook or Instagram (Typical Facebook algorithm at work). With this new update, it should help brands reach more of their audience while still being able to schedule out their content.

 

The UI is extremely user-friendly and allows you to craft your posts all in the same window. For Instagram, you just choose the account and then decide whether you want to post on the feed, or on IGTV (Hopefully we will be able to post to Instagram Stories soon too!). Once selected, you create your post right there with the photo you want to share, content, and location. There is even a small editor section that can be very useful for cropping and angling. Once you schedule a post, you will find it in your Creator Studio Content Library, where you can view all of your posts that you have coming up. 

 

The introduction of this new tool will prove to be quite handy for brands, agencies, and social media aficionados. It doesn’t have some of the more robust features that other platforms have, but it does have simple functionality, analytics and it’s FREE! You may find that this is super handy for your business and executing some social media planning. You can plan out your posts for the entire month, and not have to pick it back up until next month. Give it a shot! 

 

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