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.

Life: The Storm, The Sunset, The Calm

Every once in a while there’s a story that happens among our team that is just heartwarming and we decided this one was worth sharing. Justin and Stephanie commissioned Evi to create them this incredible custom piece of art for their home. Check out what Justin had to say about it’s inspiration and what Evi had to say about it’s creation.

Justin’s Take

Justin: I don’t claim to be an art aficionado or critic. My knowledge of fine art extends about as far as Stephen Farthing’s comments in my copy of 1001 Art Masterpieces You Must See Before You Die sitting on my coffee table. My job is storytelling through filmmaking and I love it!. 

I love the nuance, craftsmanship, and subtext that a great film contains. I love how it can take you on an emotional journey and leave you with questions that have no easy answers at times. While I don’t fully understand fine art, I appreciate and respect that it has told us stories with these qualities for thousands of years, well before the first camera was ever rolling.

So after a tiring several days filming out on a studio lot in Atlanta, I decided to spend the weekend at the High Museum of Art before flying back home to Florida.

As I roamed through the numerous exhibits, I found myself lingering in the European Art wing looking over the works of Corot, Bazille, Renoir, and Pissarro. I was stopped in my tracks though by Monet’s Houses of Parliament in the Fog. The vague simplicity of shape and color, the mysterious boatman in the foreground, the looming form of Parliament; I was inspired.

When I arrived back home to Florida, I spoke to my wife about commissioning a piece for our home. Something that would tell a story, foster conversation for visiting guests, create teaching opportunities for our kids, and inspire my wife and me in our daily routines. 

After creating some mood boards and an outline of the premise, my wife and I sat down with incredible local artist Evi Marie to undertake this feat. 

The premise was simply life as told through three pieces: The Storm, The Sunset, The Calm.

So often we think of life as the good times and bad, the highs and lows, the sunsets and storms but we wanted to show those moments that were in between as well; the calm moments, the moments that you feel like you’re standing still, just running through your daily routine. It can be easy to be frustrated by these times in our lives, thinking they are a waste of time. 

We long for the sunsets, those gold-colored surreal memories, or the battle hardening storms that toughen our skin and teach us those hard life lessons, but it can be difficult at times to live and find rest in the mundane consistency of the calm. I know I’ve struggled with that; that’s why these pieces speak and reach out to me.

They remind me that life is about seasons.  Seasons that come and go, just like the winds and tides and that each of these seasons is vital for us to grow as artists, friends, family, parents- to grow as strong and healthy people. 

Everyone’s voyage is different. Everyone’s boat is unique. Just remember that through life’s cycle of these seasons, live and appreciate every moment you can. Show love and grace to those ships around you and know that we are all on the ever-changing sea of life together.

 

Evi’s Take

A Word from the Artist: Well… the time has come. These three beautiful pieces I created for Stephanie and Justin are finally complete and in their lovely home right where they belong. As always, I’ve tied so much emotion and love within these works of art. And as I left their house I had some serious separation anxiety. I am so grateful for this opportunity and the amazing support I received from friends and family.

These 24×48 Acrylic paintings emerged from a vision Justin had for The Storm, The Calm, and The Sunset. After much talking and planning I was off to start. I spent weeks thinking and staring at blank canvases almost as tall as me, & I honestly had no idea where to begin. There was so much uncertainty, and many days where my head was just filled with doubt. But I’m so thankful for my friends and family who told me to start, to keep going and to keep pushing forward. Then one morning I said “I’m going to paint”( just like that) it all hit me like a wave, once the brush came in contact with the canvas. It was quite magical, and it felt very natural. Although the size of the canvases were intimidating, I found excitement and passion from each stroke of the brush. And as I moved my hand the vision just became clearer.

I’m thrilled with how these pieces came out, and I’m glad they are going to a lovely home.

 

A sneak peek at the masterpiece partially completed!

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! 

 

Did Your Organic Ranking Tank? We know why…

This is a safe place, can we all agree on that? Great, then it’s ok to admit the word “algorithm” mystifies you — perplexes you — even scares you a little bit.

So, when you hear Google is updating its algorithm it can cause fear, panic, and the like. Google has admitted to a March 2019 update that actually LOST entire web pages from its index. Gone. Poof. And the effect on organic rankings was HUGE.

In March 2019, Google did what it called a “Broad Core update” – meaning Google is not “fixing” something directly, or even addressing specific industries or areas of need – but rather, creating and implementing more sweeping adjustments to organic searches.

As one tech blogger explained it:

Broad core updates are improvements to Google’s overall algorithm for the purpose of better understanding search queries and webpages. These improvements help Google to more accurately match search queries to webpages and improve user satisfaction.

Everybody, Stay Calm!

Did you feel that? Did your site feel the full brunt of the digital earthquake? Or maybe you just felt a little aftershock. Either way, Google’s “advancements” truly hurt many sites’ rankings about a month after the update’s release.

On April 7th, Google tweeted:

We’re aware of indexing issues that impacted some sites beginning on Friday. We believe the issues are mostly resolved and don’t require any special efforts on the part of site owners. We’ll provide another update when the issues are considered fully resolved.

We won’t bore you with the nerdy details to indexes, search impacts, etc. etc. – but basically Google admitted “Houston, we have a problem.”

Here at RPS we experienced it on our own site. One day we’re trending along, enjoying the top spot in our market for the organic keywords we’ve identified in our marketing strategy, and then the proverbial bottom dropped out. It was easy to recognize, and virtually impossible to explain.

We saw the same trend in several client websites as well. Even after efforts to optimize, the organic search metrics didn’t seem to follow a logical pattern. We weren’t rattled, but rather challenged ourselves to find out why. Don’t get us wrong, we love a good mystery, BUT not without an explanation or a resolution. (Every good mystery movie ends by solving the mystery — haven’t they ever seen an episode of Scooby Doo?!)

Oh, that algorithm, it’ll get ya every time! And, just like it seemed to “get us” for a time, we’ve been digging in to deeper understand the update and its aftermath. Google is not really in the practice of explaining in depth the reasons behind updates, or the predicted effects. Sometimes they just drop an update and see if anyone notices.

We Will Rebuild

So, how do you overcome the aftershock of the Broad Core update of March 2019?

First, know that Google has since come out an assured the web community that it is reindexing sites already, and you can directly ask for Google to index your site. Not a great solution for sites with a lot of volume, but an option nonetheless.  

The dust will supposedly settle. Google is quick to assure it’s back to business as usual… but we’re a little more proactive than that. We trust the system but also believe in strategy implementation for the win.

We don’t believe major adjustments are ultimately your best move. Instead, we believe there’s value in monitoring. Organic rankings are the long-game in an often frantic, mile-a-minute digital marketplace. Craft a solid strategy, modify as needed, and remain calm.

We’ll get through this, together.

VR, AR, AI, Oh my!

Virtual Reality (VR), Augmented Reality (AR), Artificial Intelligence (AI)… If your head is spinning, you’re not alone. It’s a lot to keep up with, and even more difficult for your business to master.

Customers crave a more transformational experience with brands, products, services, and information. And there’s power in delivering those experiences.

Augmented Reality is defined as “a type of interactive, reality-based display environment that takes the capabilities of computer generated display, sound, text and effects to enhance the user’s real-world experience.” It is predicted Augmented Reality will grow to be a $35 billion industry by 2022! Talk about opportunity knocking!

So, how are brands using AR effectively and strategically to not only increase brand awareness but to create meaningful customer experiences (and loyal fans?) How to do go beyond the gimmick and make AR work for your company? How does AR become your brand differentiator?

Here’s how industries and brands are leveraging AR to do more than simply impress and entertain.

There’s an app for that

Nike is using Augmented Reality to assist shoe buyers to not only find the right shoe for their activity, but the correct SIZE. Their research showed up to 60% of their customers were purchasing the wrong size shoe, which was leading to more returns and more unhappy customers. Their sizing app, Nike Fit, lets buyers scan their feet at home to get their correct size (within a 2mm of accuracy which, we don’t measure things with rulers much these days but we’re pretty sure that’s super close to perfect) The result – a rise in consumer confidence, more brand loyalty, and fewer returns.

How Will I know?

Companies like Ikea, Wayfair, Target, and Amazon are augmenting the purchases of items, especially larger ones like furniture, and allowing buyers to “try before they buy” — you can virtually place the item in the room to see the piece in the real world before buying and potentially assembling (and we all know the joys of assembling an IKEA piece…) The result again is consumer confidence and a higher likelihood the buyer will ultimately make that big-ticket purchase.

Not sure if you’ll love a paint color? Try it out through AR and get it right the first time — companies like Sherwin-Williams are having extreme success with their ventures into Augmented Reality paint selection and it’s reinforcing the brand’s commitment to helping customers get it right the first time.

Don’t Just Tell Me, Show Me

We all know how essential visuals are to a brand. AR is taking this fact to an elevated level (basically, it’s like a picture times a million). Gone are the days of just showing an illustration to explain how something works. Or dropping a logo onto a piece of collateral to brand it as your own. The possibilities are endless when it comes to AR showing, versus telling, about your brand.

Jack Daniels is using AR to bring customers into the whiskey manufacturing world to immerse them in the distillery and makes the brand more relatable. The bottle’s label becomes a virtual pop-up storybook to show consumers the process, the location, and the history of the company. And, frankly, it’s just cool to watch.

Make The World a Better Place

Augmented Reality is being used as assistive technology for the visually impaired. One service “connects blind and low-vision people to highly trained, remotely-located agents.” The goal of this brand is to make information available to everyone regardless of disability, making life more full and enjoyable and further enhance everyday experiences.

Social and Search

Social media platforms have been on board with the utility of AR, and are leading the charge. Snapchat and Instagram have built entire identity on filters, which brands are now monetizing into awareness, relationship building, and just plain fun. The use of AR on social communicates the organic voice that a basic post simply cannot convey.

And of course Google is in on the frontlines of AR. Google maps are interactive with walking navigation and visual overlays. Google searches include AR immersive experiences to feel connected to the content that comes up on your next search — it’s fun to see an 18-foot great white shark floating in your backyard as you help your child research sharks for a school project.

Just Plain Fun

A Snapchat filter for a special event is a small investment to create a memorable impact. (Check out the filter we used for our recent RPS Open House event…)

But, be careful. There still has to be value to be, well, valuable to your base. Otherwise, it’s just a novelty that could hurt your brand more than help. Your AR experience has to have a strong message and clear function, and go beyond the initial “coolness” factor.

If your AR experience doesn’t drive customers to take action (buy that IKEA sofa, it’ll fit perfectly!), make an informed decision (that lipstick is totally your color!), meet a customer’s need (“What does this error message mean, oh wise AR tech support guy?), showcase your capabilities (have your smartphone out next time you’re in the RPS offices for our full AR experience), or directly align with your brand’s message and values it could end up being just a novelty (a moment of silence for QR codes…)

Bottom line: Don’t be Pokemon Go (hot one minute, obsolete the next). Using AR, and any other Experiential Marketing tools, correctly can have a lasting, positive effect on your business and brand. The key word — “correctly”.

The Backyard Team Building VIP Experience: Sponsored by Rock Paper Simple

The Backyard Team Building VIP Experience: Sponsored by RPS

What: An event for HR professionals to learn about The Backyard, and what it can offer your team

When: Wednesday, May 8th from 9am-2pm

Where: The Backyard Games and Eatery, located at 5270 N US Hwy 1
Palm Shores, FL 32940

At RPS, we’re all about doing things as a team. We work as a team, eat lunch as a team, and some of us even throw the frisbee around as a team. So when our good friends at The Backyard said they wanted to partner with us for their Team Building VIP Experience, we were thrilled!

Happening on Wednesday, May 8th, this event is designed for anyone in the human resources field to come and enjoy a free day of games, education, food, and fun! You can expect to experience a comprehensive overview of what The Backyard can offer your team, an introductory tour of the facility, and plenty of games and activities. Breakfast and lunch will be provided, and the day will conclude with a motivational presentation on success.

If you would like to register or learn more, visit backyardgamesandeatery.com/vipevent or call (321) 426-7480.

To keep up with the event on Facebook, click here.

Pre-registration is required. We hope to see you there!

 

Facebook’s Secret Weapon for Businesses

We are all about working smarter, not harder. And marketing is striking a balance between effort and time (and money, of course. But time equals money – round up to the next whole number, take the square root of pi and… sorry, we get nerdy sometimes.)

Where were we?

Oh yes, working smarter. This is why we love using a “secret weapon” within Facebook Insights for Business that is helping marketers and small business owners capitalize on powerful vicinity-specific statistics.If you run a brick-and-mortar business, the information you can glean from Facebook Local Insights can impact your ad strategy, staffing decisions, and more.

Within Business Manager there’s a tab that is often overlooked in the sea of other useful Insights. Even as super creative, right-brained people, we geek out over the metrics in this tab once we began to do a deep dive.

Here’s what we mean:

The Facebook Local Insights section provides super geographic-specific data that shows you what’s the busiest time for Facebook users to be in your set radius and date range, what the top age, gender and home location is of those passing by, and how often your ad was seen by those people (if you’re currently running campaigns.) It’s all privacy protected so it’s showing generalized stats and not specific users information, but there’s power in those summaries that you need to be using as you craft your marketing plans.

How does this help you as a business owner? For the three main categories you see in the screenshot above:

Activity and Peak Hours

Facebook Says:

Use info about when the most people are nearby to make smart decisions about store hours and more.

RPS Says:

We can’t make your operational decisions, but we do use this data to make sure content and ads are going out when you expect people to see it (your current followers AND passers-by alike).

 

Demographic Info

Facebook Says:

Get to know the general ages, genders and distance traveled by people near your business to inform your marketing and services.

RPS Says:

We use this data to get to know people who are not yet customers or clients and craft messages and ads accordingly to draw engagement. Creating custom audiences using this insight increases the likelihood of your ads do not falling victim to the mindless scroll.

 

Ad Performance

Facebook Says:

See if your ads reached people who are near your business.

RPS Says:

Spending money is an important decision for any business owner or decision maker. How powerful to be able to verify your ads are being seen by the people around you.

Now, like any data, it’s only useful if it’s actionable. And to be actionable, you have to understand it. A marketing partner like RPS can analyze the data in your business’ Facebook Local Insights and craft a plan to attract the people most likely to walk in your door, drive by your business, or be online when your ad is running.

We’d love to review Local Insights with you in a Discovery Session. Contact us through our site or give us a call – we promise not to be too nerdy when you come in.

2019: First Quarter

2019: First Quarter

The beginning of the year has come and gone quickly, and it’s been a busy 2019 at RPS! We’d like to take this opportunity to catch you up on what we’ve been up to in the first quarter.

Featured Blog Post

Logo vs Icon: Understanding the Difference

In an update of one of our most popular blog posts, we break down the difference between an icon and a logo, as well as defining these terms and more! To read this blog post, click here.

Client Spotlight

Family Promise of Brevard

RPS partnered with Family Promise of Brevard on their recent annual campaign to raise awareness and money to support homeless families in our county. Using direct mail letters to past supporters, as well as email blasts, press releases, and social media posting, the campaign was able to replace an entire annual fundraiser, providing $10,000 more to families in need as a result of generous giving by our community.

It’s always rewarding when we work with groups that directly impact our area. We also created a new website for the organization which, we must say, sparkles. We’re not kidding, it actually sparkles. If you’d like to visit their website, click here.

10 Wins for RPS at the ADDYs!

We had a wonderful time at the recent ADDY award ceremony and are proud to have been recognized for 10 awards, including two of the three Judges Choice awards. You can read more about it in one of our recent blog posts, here!

New Team Member Spotlight

Mackenzie Bills

Mackenzie joined our team in January as our Administrative Assistant, which basically means she does a little bit of everything, including answering phones, working on websites, fighting bad guys, and making a great pot of coffee.  If you’d like to learn more about Mackenzie, click here!

We’re looking for Interns!

We are looking for a few awesome individuals who are interested in learning the ropes and gaining some experience at the same time. If you’re interested in website building, digital marketing, graphic design, or content strategy, we’d love to hear from you! You can apply here!

The Backyard HR Team Building VIP Experience!

We are excited to announce that our sponsorship of the HR Team Building VIP Experience at the Backyard! Anyone in the human resources field is welcome to come for a FREE day of games and team building activities! Breakfast and lunch are included. Register to join us here!

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