Need Employees? Our Agency Is A Fraction Of The Cost!

Marketing and your website is an INVESTMENT. Just as your physical location and office staff are an investment.

Essentially, InSilico Media Group takes your physical, tangible assets such as employees, location, products, services, etc. and creates them on a digital platform.

How does a website help your business?
Think of all the bills attached to your physical office – rents/leases, design, furniture, utilities, insurance, etc.  A website comes with one cost: the cost to design.  This website becomes your digital office/storefront.  It never closes, enabling customers and potential customers to find the information or products they are looking for.  A website can be designed to be your virtual assistant.  It can help you grow your business through easy-to-use information request forms, so you gather as  much information as you need to respond to a prospect with a customized quote quickly.  It can help you schedule meetings, collect payments, or share documents.

How does marketing help your business?
You can’t operate a business if you never tell someone it exists.  Using marketing, you’re placing your message in front of the people who are likely to use your services or buy your products.  Unfortunately, most businesses have several competitors in the local area.  Marketing research helps you find those who are still making a decision about what to buy, or who to buy it from and place your advertisement in front of them at the right time in their buying decision process to make yourself an option.

How does hiring a marketing agency help your business?
Let’s face it – a website that’s never maintained is essentially the same as a physical building that’s never maintained.  While your physical building may start to crumble or fall apart or even just gather dirt, your website will stop being functional as technology changes (a prime example: a few months ago, Google changed the way their maps worked on websites, so websites that did not update the API no longer have functioning maps).
And marketing is simply not effective if you’re not going to make a long-term, multi-faceted commitment.
Instead of paying several employees, as well as the costs of insurance, taxes, etc. to have a staff focused on marketing, sourcing an agency like InSilico helps reduce your costs and offers you up-to-date marketing, graphic, and web services in an all-in-one fee for less than one full-time employee. (Let’s face it, finding one FTE with formal training and experience in all three fields for less than $30k, especially$15k, a year will NEVER happen!)

It makes sense to partner with an advertising agency to grow your business.  If you’re ready to speak to our team, shoot us a quick email.  We’ll schedule a brief meeting with you and go over your goals, give you ideas on areas we can help your brand grow, and provide you a practical, reasonable proposal.

We’re ready to work for you!

A Quick Note About Business

From time to time we receive requests to extend credit to our customers.  InSilco’s policy regarding the extension of credit, or offering “payment terms” is to simply not do so.  Payment must be made in full payment of contracted agreement/invoiced amount up-front. We accept all major credit cards, checks, money orders, plus cash.

Why we operate strictly on “due upon receipt” terms?

We believe it’s best to focus on our strengths, so we leave the evaluation of credit-worthiness to the bankers. Especially as an online company, we are at a disadvantage in the collection process.

We rarely get to meet our customers or see their operations frequently enough for our comfort, and quite frankly we don’t know a thing about the money-lending business. Inevitably, if we offered terms, some percentage of these debts would be uncollectible or steeply discounted (even without terms, to send 4 clients in 2 years to collections speak volumes toward our firm stance on this matter). Yet all would increase our bookkeeping costs and distract us from our primary business. Best case scenario would be delayed cash-flow which in turn would impede our goal of keeping ample staffing. Worst case would be debilitating losses… we’re still a small mom-and-pop at the end of the day and many of our employees are sole earners for their families.

The business landscape is littered with companies who failed for no other reason than poor cash-flow. InSilico chooses to avoid that path. While we realize that offering terms would probably increase our sales, we don’t believe it would necessarily improve our business. Instead we compete by offering great service and competitive prices to our customers. After over five years in business, this policy has worked well, and we have no plans to change horses in the middle of this particular stream. So for now, InSilico shall remain a proud participant in the deleveraging of America.

In addition to not offering credit terms, InSilico does require clients to pay upfront for services.  For marketing services, we require full payment up front each month before services start. For web development clients, we require 60% up front and 40% at completion.

There are many reasons for requiring payment up front, but the primary reasons are:

  • Keeps Cash Flowing – This is the number one reason why upfront payments are so beneficial. It ensures that we have the money coming in to pay all of the expenses and overhead required by your specific project(s). This is particularly important when we have a long-term web development project that may take weeks or months to complete. Instead of scrambling to pay salaries and bills until the invoice has been paid, we already have the funds to handle our expenses and your project fees and expenses.
  • Covers Out-of-Pocket Expenses – Most projects come with those additional expenses, such as the cost of materials, supplies, software, or outsourcing that are needed to complete a projects. This also covers all travel required by clients when needing meetings or assistance on-site.
  • Prevents Us From Getting Played – As mentioned earlier, there’s no worse feeling than completing a project and not getting paid from the client. An upfront payment, even if it’s a partial payment, ensures that we won’t get played by a client and that at least some of our time and hard work will be compensated.

By asking for upfront payments, we are insisting our clients trust us as professionals to deliver the project on-time.  Without trust built between the contractor and contractee, there’s no point in working together.

Believe it or not, there are a majority of clients who aren’t opposed to paying sourced companies like InSilico upfront. Not only because it proves to them that we’re a team of professionals, but also because it gives them the cost of a project upfront. Our clients would rather front the cost upfront instead of receiving an invoice that is higher than initially imagined.

 

 

SEO for 2017

SEO has evolved significantly over the years. For those of use who have been working on SEO, we know how overwhelming these changes have been. As it continues to evolve, our efforts remain focused on the user.

In years prior, we used to have a few content writers that wrote SEO content for brands, packed with keyword, focused on a good keyword density and a multitude of internal linking. Success came from repeating this technique over and over again. The more times, the better. The more keywords we could stuff into our content, the better. The more links we included, the better.

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In 2017, content writing remains critical and industry experts encourage brands to have actual experts write branded content. Expert writers know your brand and have content come to them naturally. They bring real valuable, useful information to your audience with the content they produce.

With a content marketing focus, linking to external blogs and sites to provide more information for your users, as well as external links to your own content will continue to grow SEO performance.

Page speed will remain important throughout 2017, so managing the user experience on specific pages for different browsers and different internet providers, and different devices will continue to challenge SEO marketers, as they strive to build content that loads under 3 seconds.

Good content is like a good plate of food – your eyes have to be tempted to make you want to consume it. Large chunks of plain text with no graphics or headlines will not likely engage your users. Visuals need to be optimized for best performance.

Content also must stay current and be relevant. If there is a certain topic everyone is talking about, identify it and write about it.

Make sure your users can easily navigate through your site—from the first landing page to the exit page.

Marketing to promote your content will continue to be critical in 2017. By using strategic marketing tactics, you can earn links to your site by becoming an authority that offers high-quality content, bringing a real value to your reader. Your content and SEO strategies have to overlap.

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Good SEO work measures success. In 2017, traffic analytics tools will continue to develop and offer better before/after comparisons. Marketers will continue to rely on these analytics throughout 2017, as technology continues to grow. But if you don’t start now, then you might never start. Be patient. It will be worth it.

Keys to Agency Partnership Success

The right marketing agency can be a tremendous asset to your organization. Here are seven factors to keep in mind when evaluating, selecting, and managing a firm:

1) Insist on “A” players.

The greatest value an agency can bring to clients is staffing its account teams with “A” players. These professionals are analytical, confident, creative, detail-oriented, highly motivated, and strategic — all traits that consistently translate to success. “A” players boast knowledge their counterparts at other agencies do not have. Insist on hiring agencies (like InSilico Media Group) that require their employees to have multiple certifications, from Google Adwords certifications to Hubspot Inbound Marketing certifications, and everything in between.

2) Find tech-savvy partners.

Agencies that are immersed in technology trends and innovations are able to more readily adapt their own business models, continually increase efficiency and productivity, evolve client campaigns, and make strategic connections to seemingly unrelated information.

3) Demand that digital is ingrained in their DNA.

Every agency, or at least the ones that will still be relevant in the coming years, is a digital agency. Having a digital division or group within an agency is not sufficient. Digital has to be ingrained into the agency’s culture and talent as a whole.

You cannot build digital marketing strategies and campaigns in silos. Social, search, mobile, web, email, and other digital strategies must be fully integrated, along with traditional activities, into every program and budget.

One of the easiest ways to ensure you’re partnering with a tech-savvy agency is by looking at their website and how much they embrace social media. Find a brand that practices what they preach.

4) Look for data lovers.

Leading marketing agencies turn information into intelligence, and intelligence into action. They build campaigns that consistently produce measurable outcomes, including inbound links, website traffic, leads, and sales. Hybrid agencies are staffed by measurement geeks who are obsessed with data.

Look for an agency that shows you the data before you sign the contract. InSilico Media Group leads with a data-first conversation to show our clients why they need to invest in marketing services or a website. If the demand is not there, we’re not afraid to tell you.

5) Invest in the do-ers.

The marketing services world is full of thinkers, talkers, and self-proclaimed gurus, but after a while, they all start to sound the same. The greatest value for your organization is in agencies and professionals that drive change by practicing what they preach.

Turn to agencies with demonstrated track records of success, starting with their own brands. Evaluate the strength of their website, the power of their staff’s personal brands, the value and frequency of content on their blog, and their reach and engagement in social networks.

6) Seek systems for success.

Prototype hybrid agencies are powered by systems that continually increase efficiency and productivity, encourage creativity, accelerate innovation, and push professionals to realize and embrace their potential. All of this produces higher performance levels and more satisfied clients.

Align your organization with agencies that take a systemic approach to professional development, project management, client services, monitoring, measurement, reporting, and communications.

7) Find partners, not providers.

Agency professionals must understand the importance of each client. Employees should be 100% focused on your happiness and success. Your agency team has to become indispensable through their hard work, insight, consultation, services, expertise, friendship and professionalism. They must do the little things that build relationships and take the time to show you they care about your successes, both on individual and organizational levels.

Find an agency that focuses on effective time management. For example, InSilico Media Group posts a timeline of “shared responsibility” on every website build.  This ensures the client knows what we are doing during the 12-week build process, and the client knows up front when content is expected from them, and what their “homework assignment” is throughout the contract.

Your Thoughts?

Find a company that practices what they preach

If you’re thinking about hiring a marketing agency to keep you ahead of your competition and industry trends, you absolutely should. But before you sign on the dotted line – do your homework… if a marketing company can’t keep on top of their own competitors and industry trends — how are they going to do that for you?

I’ve noticed so many marketing agencies, not only locally in the MOV, but all over this country (even those I used to work with on the West Coast) that have taken an “eh, oh well” approach to their own appearance.

Guys — if you’re seriously considering marketing agencies, whether you go with InSilico or you go with another company, sit down and get a few proposals and DO YOUR HOMEWORK on a marketing agency. Ask yourself the following questions:

1. Do they have a mobile-responsive website? Thanks to Google’s newest algorithm update this spring, aka “Mobilegeddon”, websites that are not mobile friendly are not favored anymore. Website design trends change every year… if you think their website is too “ice cream shop” or too “bland” – research the year’s current design. While not every body style on a car is appealing to some (even the biggest die-hard Corvette lovers all seem to have an era where a specific body style made them cringe and go “Oh jeez, Chevy – what are you thinking?”), not every website trend will appeal to you. Nonetheless, you want an agency that’s got a modern, fresh website, because at least it shows that they do pay attention to new trends, and they are capable of creating for them.

2. Are they a chronic industry buzzword offender? Meaning, do they claim things like “we offer innovative solutions through technology” and give no immediate, clear example of what that truly means? Research them (use CTRL + F) and see how much they use “paradigm” “forward” “solutions” “innovative” “outside the box” “strategic” “best” “value-added” “synergy” and “cloud” … and how many of those are actually in the same sentence as each other. You’re not hiring a company to fill your campaigns with buzzwords to confuse your customer … so why would you hire someone to market you when they can’t even tell you in a conversational tone what exactly they do?

3. Do they use bizarre phrases or bold statements that don’t make sense? For example, does their marketing say things like “We Are Business Solutions” … instead of “we offer business solutions” or “we create business solutions” … or do they make bod statements such as “We Power Your Business” — unless they are MonPower or AEP, I’m not very sure that THEY power your business…

4. Are their clients even in business anymore? Part of a marketing agency’s “quality control” mindset should be to actually ensure the clients listed on their website portfolio are actually still in business. While businesses come and businesses go, a marketing firm should want to portray that they are focused on making businesses stay.

5. Do their own marketing tactics make sense? It’s great to post a well-written article or goofy photo once in a while, it helps show the human side of the company. But if a company posts nothing but bizarre off-topic articles, thoughts, and photos, they’ll likely try this on-tangent approach for you.

6. How is their attention to detail? If you receive a brochure that claims they have “strong attention to detail” then they list the same industry twice in a bullet-list of “industries we serve” … well, let’s just say the product speaks for itself regarding their quality assurance.

7. Do they get great referrals? I’m not kidding. Call the people on their portfolio and ask. If you’re hiring a marketing agency to represent you, why would you not treat them like an employee and call a few of their clients for a referral? Find out – do they have honest billing practices – do they work within the scope of the contract, or are they constantly adding on services, then billing you for them? Do they treat you like you matter despite how much or little you spend? Are they open to suggestion? Have their clients been pleased with the creative services, or do they end up doing all of the work for the agency?

8. Do they have a logical business plan? Are they a spaghetti-on-the-wall agency that has far too many vertical markets? While multiple vertical markets are understandable, too many vertical markets can spread resources and talents too thin. And, if the vertical markets are not related to each other, only a small handful, or even one individual, from “big team of experts” they may brag to have may actually be qualified to help you.

9. Do they remain consistent with their own brand identity? If you’ve received 3 business cards from 3 employees and all of the business cards are different, how is their brand identity? Or – if they use a different colored logo, or multiple variations of their logo (different fonts, different taglines, different symbols, different color combinations), how will they remain consistent with yours? If you’ve established your brand over the last 2, 10, 20, 100 years and you’re now entrusting that to a hired agency, ensure that they can keep your branding consistent.

10. Do they have qualified employees? That’s a huge deal-breaker that many individuals do not research before hiring firms. Just as you would call references before hiring an employee, and you should call clients before hiring an agency, you should also look online – hey, LinkedIn is the best resource … check out the team at the agencies you’re comparing. How’s their CEO, VP, or manager’s credentials? Do they have enough work experience to show they know what they are doing? Have they earned their title? If they’ve been a chronic salesman their entire life, with a year of running a Facebook campaign for a business, and are now claiming to be a “director of marketing” … or if they have operated businesses before, and run every other business into the ground, and are now a few months into running this agency, what’s the probability that you’ll finish your contract with them before they run out of money and abandon you?

11. Do they post “thank you” to clients for their business and then, a few months after the contract ends, start endorsing their biggest competition? If an agency recently had a contract end with an ice cream shop, and they thanked them for their business, then a few months later posted photos supporting the only other ice cream shop in town – this may be a clue that they’re either desperate, clueless, or lack any tact. While clients may end a contract with an agency temporarily, you can guarantee that they will not come back to this agency after seeing them suddenly endorse the client’s biggest competitor.

These simple steps can really help you make a good, solid decision before hiring a marketing agency to represent the company and brand you’ve worked so hard to build.

Experience is our middle name.

Our team of highly skilled professionals boasts over 30 years in the marketing industry.  We offer services to a variety of clients, from a plethora of industries throughout the Mid-Ohio Valley and states of West Virginia and Ohio.

If you’re looking for SMART, affordable marketing solutions for your company, look no further.
The team at InSilico Media Group is skilled in over 60 industries, including:

Accountants
Alcoholism Treatment Centers
Antiques
Art Galleries, Dealers and Consultants
Appliance Service and Repair
Attorneys/Lawyers
Bakeries
Building Materials
Carpet and Rug Cleaners
Carpet and Rug Dealers
Chiropractors
Fences
Fireplace Equipment and Supplies
Funeral Directors
Furniture Stores
Garden Centers
Gas, Propane
General Contractors
Golf Courses
Golf Equipment & Supplies
Hardware Stores
Health Clubs
Hearing Instruments
Home Care Agencies
Hospitals
HVAC Contractors
Ice Cream and Frozen Dessert Shops
Insurance Agencies
Jewelry Stores
Kennels & Pet Boarding
Kitchen Cabinets
Liquor, Beer and Wine Stores
Lumber Dealers
Motorcycles and Motor Scooters
Nursing Homes and Assisted-Living Facilities
Oils – Fuels
Oil and Lube Centers
Optical Goods
Pawn Shops
Pet Grooming
Plastic Surgery
Physicians and Surgeons
Pizza Restaurants
Podiatrists
Portrait Photographers
Recreational Vehicles
Restaurants
Retirement and Life-Care Communities
Roofing Contractors
Rubbish & Garbage Removal
Sporting Goods Dealers
Stereophonic & Hi-Fi Dealers
Tanning Salons
Taxicabs
TV, Cable and Satellite
Theaters
Tile Dealers, Ceramic
Tire Dealers
Toy and Game Stores
Transmission Repair Shops
Travel Agencies
Veterinarians
Weight Loss Centers
Windows
… and more!

“My business is very small – we’re only a team of five. Do I really need a website?”

“My business is very small – we’re only a team of five. Do I really need a website?”

That is a great question.  So should your business have a website, even if your business is small and sells products or services you don’t think can be sold online? My answer is yes, if you have a business, you should have a website. Period. No question. Without a doubt.

Also, don’t be so quick to dismiss your product as one that can’t be sold online. Nowadays, there’s very little that can’t be sold over the internet. More than 20 million shoppers are now online, purchasing everything from books to computers to cars to real estate to jet airplanes to natural gas to you name it. (In fact, you can even buy lobster on Amazon.com now)  If you can imagine it, someone will figure out how to sell it online.

What’s even better – I’ve even seen progressive clients across the country sell services online.  I’ve seen an automotive location sell emissions inspections online, allowing you to pay when you schedule, so you literally can pull up to the station, get inspected, get your sticker, and be on your way, without removing your wallet.  I’ve seen forward-thinking HVAC companies sell quarterly service packages online, allowing their customers to purchase a routine maintenance check, schedule their appointment, and not have to hand the random service repair person that shows up any of their personal information.

Trust me – even if you are not selling a physical product, the appeal of payment through a secure source is actually extremely attractive.

But – you don’t have to sell online. The point to be made here is that you should at the very least have a presence on the web so that customers, potential employees, business partners and perhaps even investors can quickly and easily find out more about your business and the products or services you have to offer.

That said, it’s not enough that you just have a website. You must have a professional-looking site if you want to be taken seriously.   We live in the digital era.  We live in an economy that has bread individuals to find the “best bang for their buck”… This new generation of young professionals research before purchasing.  They live in an almost-afraid to commit, or enter, before thorough research online.  I’ve been out shopping with friends who would not enter a store in town before looking through their Facebook posts.  We were literally outside on the store, looking in through the window, and my friends were checking out the store’s Facebook and website before determining it was safe to enter.  Were they checking to ensure they wouldn’t be eaten by zombies? Maybe. But they would not enter before they looked online.

Since many consumers now search for information online prior to making a purchase at a brick-and-mortar store, your site may be the first, or only, chance you have at making a good impression on a potential customer. If your site looks like it was designed by a barrel of colorblind monkeys, or your 10 year-old nephew, your chance at making a good first impression will be lost.

 

One of the great things about the internet is that it has leveled the playing field when it comes to competing with the big boys. As mentioned, you have one shot at making a good first impression. With a well-designed site, your little operation can project the image and professionalism of a much larger company. The inverse is also true. I’ve seen many big company websites that were so badly designed and hard to navigate that they completely lacked professionalism and credibility. Good for you, too bad for them.

You also mention that yours is a small operation, but when it comes to benefiting from a website, size does not matter. I don’t care if you’re a one-man show or a 10,000-employee corporate giant; if you don’t have a website, you’re losing business to other companies that do.

Your website is an important part of your business. Make sure you treat it as such.

SMART Marketing — What exactly is it?

At InSilico Media Group, we believe in “smart” marketing, focused on goal setting.

S” refers to SPECIFIC: Your marketing needs to tell the story of your brand. You can’t throw spaghetti on a wall and expect that people will remember your message.  Cross-platform marketing campaigns should complement each other, working to tell the same story regardless of which medium it is delivered.  When setting goals, ask yourself the following questions… “Can the detail in the information sufficient to pinpoint problems or opportunities? Is the objective sufficiently detailed to measure real-world problems and opportunities?”

M” refers to MEASURABLE: Many companies do not communicate marketing efforts throughout their organization, resulting in a lack of effective marketing measurement. Before launching a marketing campaign, ensure your staff is comfortable with necessary questions to ensure accurate reporting to measure the return on your marketing investment.

A” refers to ATTAINABLE: Marketing is only great when your goals can be reached.  Can the information be used to improve performance? If the objective doesn’t change behavior in customers to entice them to purchase, there is little point in it! Attainable marketing ensures your advertising has a proper “call to action” to reach these goals.  You also need to ensure your goals are established before you purchase your advertising space. If you purchase a media placement for $20,000 – you need to ensure your product/service will result in at least $20,000 to cover your costs, plus any profit you hope to reach your goal.

R” refers to RELEVANT: While companies occasionally publish blogs and social media posts that are not exactly relevant to their business, the majority of posts should be closely connected to the actual business.  If you post content that is not specific to your company’s services or products, you confuse potential clients as to what your company actually does.

T” refers to TIME-BOUND: Marketing messages have a specific lifespan.  When marketing exceeds a specific time without change, it becomes background.  Individuals that see the same message for too long can become blind to it.  Objectives can be set for different time periods as targets to review against other campaigns.  Additionally, marketing campaigns are time-sensitive.  If you spend too much time planning your campaign, by the time the campaign launches, it may already be expired.

SMART marketing through InSilico Media Group is focused on your company, and we work closely with your team to ensure your marketing produces results.

Proactive Marketing is Critical

Many companies take the “it’s not broken so why fix it?” approach when it comes to their marketing campaigns.  Well, that mentality is frightening!

Just because it is working now does not mean it will work later. Professionals get “industry blind” to new techniques and tactics in marketing. Just as website design and search engine trends change annually, marketing trends change as well to adapt to technology growth.
If you’re not in the industry, staying current on trends, your marketing will quickly become dated, and that bragging right of “we have been here since the 70s” will not work for the new audience of adults becoming your customer base.

Your newest competition that you may be laughing at now may steal a huge chunk of your market share in as little as a year by smart marketing techniques.  Competitors that are tech-savvy can launch a professional, up-to-date website and social media campaign as quickly as a few hours after creating their business concept.  In that short time, they can quickly chisel away the customer base you have fought decades to build.

As a marketing director employed by a company, half my week was spent listening to “you should” suggestions by sales reps and attending “state of the company” meetings by executives. I spent a lot of time with product development teams to learn our next latest-greatest… and rarely did I ever get to use my memberships to various professional marketing groups to catch a webinar to stay current on industry trends (often I hid in my cube and caught one during a lunch break).  Often, I found myself lost and confused when one of those “you should” suggestions referenced a social media platform that I was not familiar with.  I became a reactive marketing professional, struggling to remain one step ahead of my competition, instead of being miles ahead like I am able to be for my clients now with InSilico Media Group.

Paying a marketing professional for 40 hours a week only gets your company 20-30 hours of productive work each week. And being a marketing professional for 40 hours a week only allows you to do so much within your work week after meetings and team building events.

Whether you want InSilico to take over your entire marketing campaign, or help out to be that extra help, picking up the unintentional slack left behind from meetings, travel, client visits, etc.

We don’t want our clients to abandon their current process. We just want our clients to know that InSilico is here to be your support, helping your business stay relevant.

Don’t let your marketing fall behind. Dated marketing tactics means your company is dated.  I don’t shop how my dad shops. I don’t shop where my dad shops.  Why should I be targeted the same way my dad is targeted?