Each day my clients are bombarded with emails from companies saying their website needs to be redone, that they can help them climb the SERPs (search engine results page), or there are a host of errors on their website that only they can solve. Many of these emails are from money-making schemes from international companies. In addition, there are many web designers looking to gain your business, often bundled with marketing firms, as well as SEO companies that will take lots of your money and make big promises.
Hence, it’s hard to stand out among the crowd and showcase our local small business’ differences when the often aggressive marketing of our competitors drown out and dilute our message. So today, I’d like to point out the differences of Startup Production from other firms, what I’ve learned in my almost 20 years in business, and how you can determine the best internet marketing firm for you.
Spam versus Genuine Marketing Emails. I get clients emailing me a least once a week panicked by an email they’ve received that says their site needs redesign, they’re not ranking well on search engines, or worse yet, their site has broken links, errors or has been hacked. These are all scare tactics to get a knee-jerk reaction from clients to give them a call or reply. These are often not real web design firms or from those running money-making scams. Be aware that the high majority of these emails are from desperate, suspicious companies located outside the United States. Caution: don’t reply and never click on any links! Why?
“If you respond to spam e-mail you let the spammers know that your account is live and in use, meaning you’ll get more spam. Don’t even click the ‘unsubscribe’ link. Any response at all lets them know your address is ‘live,’ making it more valuable when they sell it to other spammers.” – PC Magazine
We have almost 20 years’ experience. I started my business in 1997, when I was in college, freelancing a bit with friends and family who needed a website. By 1999, I had expanded that to a full fledged web and graphic design business, actually making a profit. In 2005, we relocated to Kentucky, from NY, and I had to restart my business in a new market with no local clients or references. I learned over the years, how to establish a presence in the community, how to reach my target audience and how to market in KY’s small towns versus big cities. It was a struggle getting my first few clients but after those sites were completed, their great design, content and functionality easily led to more and more referrals. These days still more than 60% of business comes from referrals.
Over the years, I’ve seen the industry, technology and internet marketing strategies change dramatically, and each time I had to retrain, revise and reboot. In the technology field, change is routine. You have to roll with it, be open to it and not be afraid to learn new things.
“Slowness to change usually means fear of the new.” —Philip Crosby
All the experience as an entrepreneur, as a web designer and as an internet marketer, I’ve learned (1) what works and what doesn’t; (2) how to quickly determine clients’ issues so I can provide specific solutions; (3) never sell a client what they don’t need or can’t afford; (4) offer only services that are practical, easily administered and will bring results; and (5) it’s always more important to teach your clients than to sell to them. I am also proud of the HUGE portfolio of websites and logo designs on my website and I thank all the clients who trusted in me to use my services. (Our portfolio does not include the many clients we provide internet marketing, blogging, content marketing, social media marketing, search engine marketing and consulting.)
“Showing them what you can do is more memorable than just telling them.”
We understand SEO (search engine optimization). We know that SEO is never an overnight success, but it’s a long game that takes time, patience and hard work. We never stop learning, reading, taking courses about SEO, evolving search engine protocols and algorithm changes. There are no shortcuts and we only see results when our clients are committed to the work and time needed to invest in their web presence. We understand that Age, Authority and Content are the basic building blocks of building your page ranking and increasing traffic to your website.
We understand Content Marketing. Major brands now spend more on Content Marketing each year, realizing the impact of reaching your audience in a way to teach, inform or entertain, rather than sell to them. We know that people are exhausted with traditional marketing channels, often ‘tuning it out’; statistics even show that most people no longer trust traditional outbound marketing. ‘Content is King’ when it comes to SEO, thus writing original, keyword rich and engaging content is key. My staff and I love to write, and do it well. We thoroughly research our articles, write original content for each client, and then promote the content.
“Content Marketing costs 62% less than outbound marketing, brings 7.8 times more traffic to your website, and drives higher conversion rates.” – Content Marketing Institute
We understand Web Design. I know this may sound obvious as I’ve been designing and developing websites for nearly two decades, but web design is so much more than how the website looks and works. While design is important thus we spend a lot of time customizing the branding, style, layout and graphics of each website to our customers’ wants and preferences. After the design is established, we then spend a great amount of time to create an enjoyable user experience. Our content work includes:
- We organize content so it’s easy to navigate through the site.
- We develop a homepage that is visually appealing, gets to the point, has a clear-call-action, and an appeal to click on other pages to get more information (to increase their CTR rate/decrease bounce rate).
- We understand that content makes or breaks a website’s success, so we focus on keyword rich content that tells your story fully, answers your visitors’ questions and hopefully converts visitors to customers.
- We understand you have about 15 seconds or less to get user’s attention, so you need to capture their attention quickly with visual appeal. Then we structure the homepage to easily convey your mission (session rate), who you are, what you do, what need you can fill and encourage visitors to click through your site (CTR rate).
- We help write content, if needed, to attract search engines and appeal to your target audience. Studies show that pages with over 2000 words rank higher, but we also make content easy to read and scan for those with short attention spans.
“The average content length for a web page that ranks in the top 10 results for any keyword on Google has at least 2,000 words. The higher up you go on the search listings page, the more content each web page has.” – Quicksprout
We’re honest with our clients. When I meet with a client, whether it’s a new site or an existing one, I take time to listen to them, ask questions and explore their current marketing efforts. Then in an easy to understand way, I explain how they can get the results they want even if those items were not in their original plans. Of course, my client has the final say in all decisions, but I want these decisions to be informed ones. And informed clients understand the process and are more appreciative of the results. A recent new client told me that his firm chose Startup Production over other bids because we were honest, knowledgeable and eager to inform him of the whys and hows of what we do.
We finish what we start. We do not walk away from projects. We do not stop working on a project until it’s finished or it’s halted under direction of the client. There is only one reason a project stalls, and this is due to the client. Let me explain: The project especially in the early phase is a partnership between us and our clients. If they get too busy to provide needed content, graphics, approval or feedback, then of course the project is temporarily stalled until they provide what we need to continue working. We have a huge portfolio of completed projects from the last 12 years.
We’re here for ongoing support and marketing assistance. We don’t disappear after your project is completed, but often work with our clients on an on-going basis, as per their request. Whether it’s updates, revisions or new functionality for their website, training, or internet marketing, we have as many repeat customers each month as we do new clients.
We are a local small business. Based out of Lexington KY, we are locally owned and operated, with a local team of skilled professionals. We never outsource our work and work closely with our clients to provide quality work at an affordable price.
“Choosing to support an independent business is an act of respect; it’s acknowledging the tremendous risk and challenges inherent to starting your own thing.” – Matt Kliegman
If you want to truly understand the difference, set up a time to meet with us (in person, phone or skype).