Full Service Agency vs. Marketing Consultancy
How Brands Utilize Marketing Has Changed
Marketing is ever expanding with new additions in marketing channels. As the world has evolved, how brands market their products and services has too. Growing from traditional media like tv, radio, and print into social media and apps, marketing has seen some pretty significant changes over the years. While the opportunity to reach a target audience has expanded, creating content, choosing channels, and knowing how to utilize these channels can be a pain point for brands.
Luckily, new channels aren’t the only addition to the marketing industry. The industry has grown to include niche marketing agencies and consulting firms. Brands now have more options than ever when it comes selecting experts to manage their marketing investment, so how do they choose?
Full Service vs. Niche Agencies
Full-service marketing agencies use a holistic approach to marketing strategy, but they are not cost efficient. Large agencies have overhead that inflate pricing. (Think about it–you have to keep everyone paid, but may not have enough work. During slow months, you still have to pay for web architects, graphic designers, writers, project managers, etc.) Niche agencies have sprung up–but don’t have inflated pricing (because they don’t have the overhead). Niche agencies are composed of experts in a specialized area of marketing and they charge only for services related to that area. Rather than relying on full-service agencies to sell you all they can do, business owners can now choose to pay for just the services they need (and the quality is just as good if not better with the specialized agencies).
What a Consultancy Offers Brands
Consultancies focus on the 360 degree view of the business goals, offering lean marketing strategies that bring accountability and roi to the table. They analyze market potential, channel potential, the behavior of the target audience, and historical performance. Solutions fit the business goals and the budget.
Focusing on too many channels at once can actually hurt a business. Or investing too much in creative services can reduce the ability to get the necessary reach. Consultants are constantly evaluating the efficiency of channels and the effectiveness of the overall marketing investment to ensure less waste and better results. Consultancies (like OpGo) can partner with niche agencies to bring the most effective solutions to the table.
How Does OpGo Fit?
OpGo Marketing is a consultancy that offers centralized marketing solutions. We work with brands of all sizes throughout the country to plan, measure and optimize marketing investments. Rather than becoming a full service agency, we see our future in lean marketing budgets and strong partner relationships to help businesses reach their goals. We are different than full service agencies in many ways…such as we don’t charge commission for media buys or mark-ups for partner services. An investment in OpGo is more like hiring a team member. We work right along side our clients and their existing marketing teams to help bring effective solutions to the table.
The first step to optimizing your marketing investment is to measure your marketing efforts. A great place to start is to ask questions like these:
- How have customers found you in the past?
- What is the cost to acquire a new customer?
- Which channels are driving leads and conversions efficiently?
- What percentage of your traffic is organic?
- What is the path to purchase?
- What is the close rate by sales person?
The answers to questions like these and others set a baseline for allocating funds when building an optimizing a marketing plan.
Customer research is also key. OpGo takes a look at your target audience and how they interact with your brand. Knowing how your customer feels about your brand will help businesses learn where they can improve, which will in turn, increase repeat purchases and referrals to bring in new customers.
By examining the performance trend of your past goals, we determine which channels will help achieve future goals. Then using analytic tools, we continuously measure growth, trends, and cost…because marketing channels and consumer behavior are in a constant state of change. Thanks to automation of data and dashboards, our team helps makes informed recommendations. Knowing what works and what doesn’t will allow you to tweak your strategies and help you reach your goals more efficiently and cost effectively.
Should You Use PDFs in Place of a Web Page?
The purpose of a PDF is written in its name—it stands for Portable Document Format. Adobe Acrobat designed PDFs to open with the same formatting and content across all operating systems. This makes PDFs ideal for content that requires graphics and text to remain in the same position, usually meant to be viewed as a hard-copy. Although Adobe has since developed features that support PDF editing (form-fills, e-signing, etc.), the PDF was originally praised for its consistency—especially in printing. Keeping this in mind, these are the pros and cons of PDFs:
- Formatting consistency (on-screen and printed)
- Inexpensive to create
- Accessible without internet
- Font, images, and other elements are embedded (independent of browser)
- Fewer, more costly interactive features
- Requires a PDF reader to open
- Files can become excessively large
- Less opportunity for SEO and data analytics
What is HTML to SEO?
HTML is a web language. Websites are interactive, so web developers use HTML to make interactive elements—buttons, moving graphics, videos, and the like. One major difference between HTML and PDFs is file structure. While all elements are embedded in a PDF (this is necessary for its primary purpose of consistency), HTML stitches together a collection of files from an external source(s). From an SEO standpoint, this is often a positive—each individual piece can be easily tracked and crawled by search engines. It is also positive from a user experience perspective, which values the viewer’s ability to adjust her own on-screen experience by, for example, changing the browser size. In turn, she can read content with shorter or longer line lengths as she pleases. The biggest downfall of the HTML file structure is its dependence on browser and operating system compatibility for, say, fonts. However, assuming the HTML is properly developed and is compatible, the format is highly adaptable and adjusts to almost any platform.
- Highly interactive
- Adaptable to most browsers/operating systems
- More opportunity for SEO
- Can include rich media (videos, audio, etc.)
- Adjustable on-screen appearance
- Dependent on browser/operating system compatibility
- Not designed for consistency when printing/saving to local drive
- Difficult to access without internet
When to use PDFs instead of HTML
As a rule of thumb, HTML is a better option than PDFs when it comes to search engine optimization. However, there are a few instances where PDFs can be beneficial:
- Content meant to be printed (or viewed as printed on-screen)
- Content containing special symbols, especially for math
These instances assume you’re starting from scratch; you haven’t made HTML or PDFs for your content yet. Of course, every situation is unique. If you already have a few well-designed PDFs on your site that are getting traction, it’s not the end of the world if you don’t create HTML for them instead—just make sure they’re as SEO-friendly as they can be.
Checklist for Optimizing PDFs for SEO
- Create a relevant title tag
- Use text-based PDFs
- Include alt tags for images
- Add internal links and backlinks
- Select relevant keywords
- Reduce file size
Smartphones and tablets have revolutionized the way we experience online content. Website design has become simpler, and content has been rearranged to display the most meaningful information first. With mini computers floating in pockets everywhere, search engine optimization (SEO) for mobile sites is crucial to harnessing the potential of any business.
What to consider when optimizing for mobile
Some elements of mobile-friendly sites are more important than others. However, the most successful websites incorporate all of them. A customer’s online experience with a company is often the first one, so website optimization is no less important than more tangible investments. Below are some basic tips to get you started.
For mobile devices, less is more. It’s frustrating to navigate a confusing website on a desktop, but it’s not even tolerable on a 5-inch screen using only your fingers. Be clear about what you want your visitors to know about your business—don’t crowd the message with unnecessary information or too many buttons.
Effective design layouts incorporate optimized images, text and column formatting, and content prioritization. Exploring the site should feel intuitive—after all, it is literally hands on.
Mobile users are on-the-go. They won’t wait for more than a few seconds to swipe back to the search engine results page (SERP) and try a different site. Since smartphones and tablets have less room for processing hardware and are more prone to connectivity issues, website structure holds a much heavier weight in terms of loading speed.
Optimizing images for size is one of the first and easiest ways to increase page speed and improve your mobile SEO. You can also reduce or optimize special effects, but don’t use Adobe Flash as it isn’t universally supported on mobile. Take advantage of the browser cache. Remember that easy access to relevant information is more important than neat tricks—everyone is trying to accomplish something.
Meta descriptions and headings
This comes back to content prioritization. Mobile screens can’t display as much information at a time as desktop computers, so revising titles and descriptions to fit on smaller devices is key in driving mobile traffic from SERPs. When users enter your site, they should experience the same prioritization. Don’t make your visitors guess where they should click next. Trial and error is too tedious for the mobile environment, and consistency is key in SEO.
Research continues to support heavy local traffic in mobile searches and sites. Be sure your company is registered with Google My Business and place your contact information somewhere obvious on your site. This includes address, phone number, and whatever else is relevant to your visitors. How can users benefit from your business right now?
Include a link to the full desktop site
While the ultimate goal is to create an adequate mobile site for users, providing a link to the full desktop version ensures that viewers can access what they’re looking for, even if they have to take the long way. The link should be easy to find but not distracting. The bottom of the home page is a good place to start.
Finally, be sure to test your mobile site for optimization regularly. This tool by Think with Google can tell you how well your site is performing.
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