this is the thing
These days marketing is hard. It’s hard because people have so many choices as to what they look at and listen to. There is so much noise! Some of you might be old enough to remember days gone by when there were only thirteen TV channels and half of those were from the same broadcaster. Now there are hundreds of channels, never mind internet based services such as Netflix, Shomi and many others.
Once upon a time there were no social networks and then MySpace came along followed by Facebook. MySpace pretty much died but there are now over one thousand social networks with the current top five being Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, LinkedIn and Pinterest. Now you can advertise not only with Google via Adwords but also on most of the social networks. So many choices! What do you do?
And it used to be you could get someone’s attention by showing them something three times. Now the magic number is a minimum of seven. With so many distractions, the average attention span is about 30 seconds. Have we hit yours yet? Stick around because we have more to offer you. Much more!
Marketing methodologies are changing with the massive changes in both technology and social behaviour. Websites are pretty much mandatory for most businesses. As a minimum a website acts as your online business card. But smart business owners know that there’s more to it than just having a website. A website on its own is only useful for the people that actually know you exist and are looking specifically for you. What about the people that are searching for a product or service via Google or other search engines? That’s what people do these days. And more and more that search is happening on a mobile device.
Lets say someone is searching on Google for a plumber or a dentist or a service such as teeth whitening? If your website isn’t ranked high on the first page of the search results that come up, then you’re losing business! Getting your website ranked high on Google is called SEARCH ENGINE OPTIMIZATION or SEO for short. This is one of the services we provide at StoneHouseMarketing.
Even if your website ranks well, you might still want to engage in proactive advertising to reach a larger audience. In that case you need to understand your advertising options. StoneHouseMarketing Solutions, Inc can also help you with that. Because we work with a number of different businesses we see what works and what doesn’t work.
We love doing strategy work!
Nothing is more interesting than coming up with a highly viable strategy, helping a customer to implement it and then seeing it come to fruition. Strategy gets us excited.
We believe in the importance of having a viable high level strategy. We embrace the concepts of Blue Ocean Strategy which in a nutshell aligns with our business slogan “Dare to be different!”
Markets are saturated. Trying to do things the way everyone else does it means getting lost in the masses. You need to differentiate. That can start by creating a strategy canvas that outlines you and your competition’s current strategies against perceived customer values. Then you look for meaningful ways to differentiate. We can help you to understand Blue Ocean Strategy and work with you to establish a viable Blue Ocean Strategy for your business.
We provide general marketing services either on an a la cart basis or on a lower cost per hour monthly retainer basis.
StoneHouseMarketing can help you maximize your advertising dollars by working with you to:
- Choose where you advertise
- Plan out your advertising campaign
- Make sure that the proper elements of good advertising are in place e.g. eye-catching graphics that offer meaningful engagement, call to action and so on
- Ensure that metrics are in place to measure the results of your campaign
- Monitor and fine tune your advertising campaign
Because we work with many local businesses, we gather valuable marketing intelligence as to what works effectively and what doesn’t. We can both save you money by avoiding common marketing mistakes and pitfalls as well as make sure you are directing your money to the most effective marketing available for your business. Note that we can provide these consulting services on a remote basis if necessary by using Skype and other communications tools.
There are many things you should be aware of when you search for someone to do your website for you. We can help you to understand these things so that you can make informed decisions.
You might want to ask your future provider some questions such as:
1. Where will my website be hosted?
2. How fast will it load?
3. Will the website be responsive? (mobile-friendly)
4. What infrastructure will you use to build my website e.g. WordPress, Joomla, raw HTML, other?
5. What do you do to make my website safe and secure?
6. What do you do to provide support when I need it? What hours are you available? How much does support cost?
7. What is your back-up strategy?
8. What do you do to keep my website up-to-date?
At StoneHouseMarketing Solutions, we take these things very seriously. We build cost-effective, secure websites. And we also know how to get websites to rank well in Google Search (see the next accordion for more information on that).
The art and science of getting your website ranked higher for a Google search is called Search Engine Optimization or SEO for short. Frankly the effort it takes to get a website ranked first in Google search is non-trivial – it can be as much work or more than the effort to build your website in the first place. But the rewards of this effort can also be tremendous – typically the number one ranked website gets about 48% of the search traffic while the number two ranked website gets 12%. Therefore, if your website moves up the ranking from number two to number one you can expect that the number of people who come and visit your website will increase by approximately FOUR TIMES! This is huge. And the increase is even more dramatic if you are moving up from a lower ranking than number two.
No one can guarantee you a first place ranking on Google so be leery if someone offers you that kind of guarantee. That said, we’ve had very good success in getting websites ranked well for Google search. Very good success indeed. One of our clients, for example, as of this writing has 7 keywords ranked number one nationally and over twenty keywords on page one of Google! We have many clients with number one keyword rankings.
Most businesses understand that social networks are increasingly relevant to their business. But most businesses don’t know what to do with social networks.
Here at StoneHouseMarketing Solutions we fully embrace the power of social networks.
We believe for example that Facebook pay per click advertising is the lowest cost, most targeted advertising available at this time. We have clients who are paying two cents per video click to audiences specifically targeted to them! If you know of something more cost effective than this, we’d love to hear about it!
You can learn more about our involvement with social networks on our social page.
facebook auction application
We created a very unique Facebook application called the Do-It-Yourself-Auction application. This application allows the user to post items for sale on their Facebook business page wall. It’s somewhat like combining eBay with Facebook.
The Facebook auction application increases a physical storefront’s presence in the virtual world providing 24/7 customer access, thereby extending the market reach of the business. Moreover, auction winners then go into the store to pick up and pay for their purchases thereby increasing the business’s foot traffic in the store! Based on real world performance, we know that our Facebook Auction Application can be a significant revenue generator for the right kind of business.
introduction to our values
At StoneHouseMarketing we think HOW we conduct our business is critical to both our customers’ success, our success and our collective peace of mind. In the early days of our company we put thought into what mattered to us in terms of business conduct and decided upon four key value statements that form the basis of how we operate. Clicking on the accordians will give you more insight and detail into our thought process and subsequent value statements. We feel strongly about these…strong enough to have included them here on our website.
We believe our values are both congruent and synergistic. While we believe each of our values is important on its own, collectively they reinforce one another.
If you resonate with these and are in need of marketing services, perhaps you will consider doing business with us.
we do what we say we will do
This seems so simple and so straight forward but how often have you seen this to not be the case? You were promised ‘something’ on Monday. Now it’s Wednesday and it’s nowhere in sight! When we mean we do what we say we will do, we mean exactly that. If we promise to have something to you by Monday, we will. If in the rare exception, we find we are unable to meet the commitment, we will COMMUNICATE this to you as soon as we are aware of the issue giving you a chance to adapt and then we’ll do everything we can to recover.
Doing what we say we will do is a succinct way of saying we will operate transparently, openly and honestly with you and we’ll commit to doing the things we tell you we will do.
We in turn know that we often have customer dependencies too e.g. we need information from a customer in order to complete an assignment. So we value customers who do what they say they will do too!
we think win-win
This too seems obvious to us! We take the long term view of business. While we want to be successful ourselves, we know that our customers need to be successful in order for us to be successful. There have been times where we have turned down business, or re-directed a potential customer elsewhere or suggested modifications to customer requests because we felt that was the best way to serve our customer.
We’re also more than willing to collaborate with businesses that can be viewed as being in competition with us. We do this because we see the ‘win-win’ potentials and we’re confident in the value add that we can provide.
We know that marketing can be a nebulous business and we work hard to do ‘quantitative marketing’ i.e. we establish ways and means to measure the results of our marketing efforts and with this quantification we can further optimize our marketing efforts. We do our best to go the extra mile for our customers.
we provide quantitative performance
We believe in quantitative marketing i.e. measurable performance. We work with our customers to put proper metrics in place to measure the output of our efforts. We feel this is very important because marketing can be very nebulous.
Furthermore, we are willing to do get paid on a ‘pay for performance’ basis whereby our compensation is completely linked to a set of agreed upon performance metrics (as an example ‘gross revenue’ has been used as one such metric). We think that there are very few marketing companies that are willing to engage in this kind of compensation model! It takes confidence both in our own abilities and in the company that we are partnering with.
we value ‘low maintenance’
We try hard to accommodate our customers. We feel we’re easy to get along with. We try to keep our arrangements very simple and straight forward and we put considerable time and effort in communicating with our customers making sure we understand their business as well as we can in order for us to be able to provide maximum value. We’re accessible too. You can generally reach us by phone any day of the week at any time. Many of our customers regularly communicate with us via Facebook messaging. We also offer an email ticket support service (emails sent to our support email address go into a support ticket system with tracking and other features). And finally, all of our customers have our direct access emails as well.
We’ve had examples where we’ve won business simply because ‘the other guys’ were too difficult to do business with – for example, ‘they’ wouldn’t let the customer make changes to their own website (isn’t it ‘THEIR’ website?) or ‘they’ wouldn’t take the time to show them how. We’re not like that. We believe in enabling our customers to the largest extent possible and providing them with true value.
Customers that have us on a marketing retainer are free to stop this arrangement any time they like. All they have to do is let us know. There are no long term commitments or complicated contracts. We believe in providing VALUE and if a customer perceives that we are not, then we are not comfortable in being compensated by them. It’s as simple as that.
We like customers that we consider to be ‘low maintenance’ too. This doesn’t mean we don’t want customers that are demanding or particular! We don’t mind that at all. Instead we are talking about things like:
1. When we need to talk to you, can we reach you?
2. If you’re not available, will you return our call?
3. When we make a set of plans and some of that involves things you have to do, will you have them completed in the time frame you committed to?
4. Do you pay your bills on time?
Life is too short to deal with ‘high maintenance’ customers. We’ve ‘fired’ a few customers because we’ve found them to be too high maintenance. On the other hand, we’ve got lots of customers that we’ve been working with for years now too!
We’re frank. We’re direct. We believe in clear and honest communication. Sometimes it’s blunt. We don’t sugar-coat things. We don’t expect you too either. If we think something won’t work for you, we’ll tell you and we’ll tell you why we think that is the case. And we’ll try our best to give you the best options we can think of. You deserve that, right? Should you not be happy with our efforts, we expect you to tell us as soon as possible, giving us a chance to adjust accordingly. We believe in constructive feedback.