All About Marketing

By Rochelle Murray 18 Apr, 2017
We’ve been talking a lot about paid vs. owned media here with such a large part of our job being to create compelling content not only for ourselves but clients as well. We’re bringing the creative and data together. It’s time to start having a constructive conversation about digital advertising.
By Kaitlyn Roberts 04 Apr, 2017

As a designer, one of the very first things you learn in art school is utilizing white space (which is more commonly known as negative space.) At first I really didn’t think that leaving spaces in designs would be all that beneficial, but boy was I wrong.

White space is key to creating designs that are impactful and leave a positive impression on the viewer.

You may think, hmm, why would I leave areas blank if I’m trying to convey a message? The answer is simple, when it comes to design: less is more.

By Rochelle Murray 21 Mar, 2017

Sometimes, I think marketing has a lot more in common with gambling than it does business.

Think about it. You invest money in hopes of getting more money, relying on outside factors you can’t control for your success.

Sure, you can create brilliant strategies and plan out every detail in advance. But in the end, all you can do is hope your customers are actually interested in your product or service. Which, more often than not, is blind luck.

Marketing is risky by nature. Nothing is ever guaranteed. Every chance you take is a gamble. So why do so many businesses fill their deck with crappy cards? I’ve known so many small business owners who make easy-to-avoid mistakes with their marketing. They fall for gimmicky techniques, refuse to let go of their old methods, or just don’t do any research ahead of time.

If you’re going to gamble with marketing, shouldn’t you at least try to improve your odds? An easy way to start off on the right foot would be through avoiding blunders other businesses make. This can help you stand out from the competition. And, it’ll increase the odds of your marketing being successful.

Before you roll that dice, check out the five most common marketing mistakes small businesses and entrepreneurs make when it comes to promoting their company.

By Aaren Ruggles 16 Mar, 2017

The other day, I realized I have a problem.

Ok. I have a lot of problems, but this one is serious. I’m addicted to Pinterest.

It’s true. Like millions of other girls, I’ve gone deep into a pinning obsession. I check it at least once a day. I’ve pinned thousands of recipes, of which I’ve tried four. And that “ten minutes” I spend on it every day quickly turns into two hours.

Maybe you understand my pain. Maybe you and I need to find a Pinners Anonymous class together. Or, maybe you’re like my dad, and you think Pinterest is some sort of weird knitting needle.

Regardless, you’ve probably noticed that Pinterest use (like the time I spend on the site) has skyrocketed over the last few years. It’s now the third most popular social network, surpassed only by Instagram and Facebook. With its increased popularity, you might be wondering, “Should I use Pinterest for my business, too?” And that is a very good question.

As I’m sure you know, all social networks are unique. And not all of them are a worthwhile investment. To determine whether Pinterest is right for your business, we should take a look at some of its pros and cons. This will allow you to make an unbiased decision about what's best for you, even if it involves not using Pinterest.

By Aaren Ruggles 09 Mar, 2017

Want to start a fight in a marketing agency?

Talk about social media.

It's one of the biggest controversies of our industry, one that everyone has an opinion on. Business owners. Marketing agents. Digital gurus. Random twenty-somethings who scroll through Facebook during work. Yep. Everyone.

Some people go all out with social network marketing. Others are hesitant to invest the resources. Regardless of their stance on the issue, I've noticed something. When it comes down to it, people aren't sure that social media actually pays off.

And there are some convincing arguments against it. For one thing, consumers are  highly adept  at tuning businesses out. And  only 13 percent  of people are comfortable buying products off social media.

But, there are also plenty of reasons to give social media a try- the biggest of which is lead generation.

Because of its high popularity, social media has the potential to connect your business with potential customers. If you can grab their attention, then you can theoretically grab their business. There’s a lot more to getting leads out of Facebook than just posting, of course. You need a long-term strategy to get the most out of your social media.

Think of social media like fishing . Every time you post, you cast your line out on the water. It might get a nibble. It might even get a few bites. Or, it could just sit there for hours. Floating. Catching nothing but a few strands of seaweed. The success of your fishing depends on two things: 1) Your bait, and 2) What the fish are hungry for.

You can’t make your followers visit your business. You can’t make them purchase your goods or services. But you can utilize awesome lead generation practices to increase the chances that they will.

So how do you generate leads using social media? Well, here are the three best strategies to get sales from Facebook (and other social networks).
By Aaren Ruggles 02 Mar, 2017

Several months ago, my dad and I took the exciting drive to Lubbock. If you're an Amarillo native, you'll know what I mean. 

The drive is about as fun as doing your taxes. It’s one straight road in, one straight road out, all over miles and miles of flat cotton farms. Oh, the joys of living in the Panhandle.

So, to help the ride go by faster, my dad plugged his iPod into the radio and played an episode of the Nerdist Podcast

For those of you who don't know, the Nerdist Podcast is hosted by Chris Hardwick, who also hosts the Talking Dead. He invites well-known and lesser-well-known celebrities from beloved “nerdy” shows and movies to talk for an hour or so about random stuff. Some of the celebrities I’ve heard him interview include Kaley Cuoco, Paul Rudd, Arnold Schwarzenegger, and Stan Lee. They're usually entertaining to say the least.

Anyway, we listened to a few of those in a row. It helped the hours go by at a less painful pace.  And as we were listening, I got to thinking. 

I never listen to podcasts (other than during these drives with my dad). I don’t know anyone else who does. So, are podcasts still a thing? Are people (other than my dad) listening to them? And, if they are, why don’t we hear more about it?

So I did a little research to determine the status of the podcast in 2017, and here’s what I found out:
By Aaren Ruggles 22 Feb, 2017

Turn on your TV, and I guarantee 70 percent of the ads you see will be targeting women.

Razor commercials, lotions, clothing, makeup, even food...They all feature young female models in a female-centric world, doing "girly" things like shopping, cleaning, cooking, or taking care of the kids.

Of course, if you leave your TV on ESPN or the Fishing Network, you might see a greater variety of ads. But, for the most part, many marketing agencies have decided to steer their efforts toward a feminine audience.

Which is great. If your audience is predominantly female.

But what if most of the people who walk through your doors aren’t ladies? What if your products appeal more to men? Or, better yet, what if you want to incorporate some masculine ads into your existing strategy to balance out your marketing segmentation?

Well, as you’ve probably figured out, men and women are pretty different. Everything from their buying patterns to their thought process varies drastically from women’s. Consequently, a marketing strategy geared toward men must also be very different from one geared toward ladies.

So, here are 3 things you should take into account when marketing to men:

By Aaren Ruggles 16 Feb, 2017

So you’re searching Google for specific keywords to see how high up you rank. (Because of course you do this all the time, riiight?) You type in something relevant to your business, like “Best auto-repair shops in Amarillo.” Then you scroll. And scroll. And scroll. Three-and-a-half pages later, you find your business. Buried under all your competitors.


So what went wrong? Well, according to researchers and SEO enthusiasts, there are two monumental factors to high search rankings:  relevance and authority .

A website with high relevance posts content tailored to a specific niche search query. (For example, I searched “How to increase Google trust” and the very first site on the list was for a blog post titled, “How to increase Google trust.” The following sites were somewhat relevant, but not as specific as this one.)

The second biggest factor for search engine ranking is domain authority. Or trust, in other words.

If Google or Bing or Yahoo labels your business as an authority domain, your pages will rank higher on searchers than other pages even if your content isn’t always amazing. Additionally, you’ll receive less punishment for penalties. So if you slip up and link to a spammy site, it won’t jeopardize your entire domain.

Think about Wikipedia. It’s almost always near the top of search lists. Type in “spider monkey,” "List of cities in China,” or “species of onions,” and you’re sure to find Wiki entries at the top.

We both know Wikipedia’s content can be edited by anyone, and is therefore not always a "reliable research resource." But because Wiki pages require sources, post detailed content on just about every topic in the universe, and are frequently scanned for mistakes, Google trusts the domain.

Trust is the key to a successful relationship. Even with Google.

But how do you build a search engine’s trusts? How do you get yourself labeled an authority site? Well, here are three simple and effective tools to improve your domain’s authority and ranking higher on searches:
By Aaren Ruggles 09 Feb, 2017

Millennials get a bad rap.

I would know, seeing as I am one.

Egotistical. Dense. Self-absorbed. Lazy. Ignorant. Yep, I’ve heard it all. And then some.

People seem to think that because we’re born in the ‘80s and 90s, we got the short end of the gene pool.

And I get it: A lot of cringe-worthy things came out of the ‘80s and ‘90s. Soul patches, for instance. Rat tails. Snap-on bracelets. Those creepy Furbies. But for the most part, Millennials aren’t one of them.

Sure, we have our faults (like every generation does). On average, we have a high rating on the narcissism scale. We spend a little too much time glued to our phones. And, yeah, we might be a  little too obsessed with Beyonce. 

But we also have a lot of good qualities. Like our great senses of humor, for instance. We're the ones who created memes and reaction GIFs. (You’re welcome for that.) We're also the founders of hilarious blog sites like Buzzfeed and the Onion.

There’s a lot more to Millennials than cellphone addictions and college debt. If you want to target us (check out our  Marketing Minute  video to see why you should), you have to understand who we really are. 

So who are we, really? According to researchers, we're actually not that different from other generations. But we do have a few characteristics that stand us apart from our parents and grandparents. Here are a few of the most overlooked and under-acknowledged Gen Y characteristics, according to the facts. And, of course, a little personal experience. 

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