Why Hiring a Marketing Specialist is Better than a Marketing Agency

I love the phrase that appearances are not always what they appear to be. That is so true in the marketing world. In this world, it’s our job to sell and promote – and some use smoke and mirrors to make it work.

 

There’s an emerging trend in the marketing world – specialists over the traditional agency. Agencies – marketing and advertising – are seeing a nationwide decline in favor of marketing being moved in-house or outsourced to specialists who work with strategic partners. We, of course, fall in the latter of that.

 

I’m going to take a bold stand and make a statement that needs to be said – when you work with a marketing specialist who works with strategic partners who are experts in their fields, you and your business will be better off than with a one-stop-shop marketing agency who does it all for you.

 

Why? Read on.

 

I know you’re saying, but wait, isn’t ME Marketing an agency? Well, no, not in the true definition of an agency. We are marketing specialists – yes, we can do all facets of marketing, but we specialize in the field of digital marketing, and going even further, social media. Social Media Marketing is our area of expertise. We are not a one-stop-do-it-all-for-you agency. We do not have a videographer, or photographer, or multiple account managers, or graphic designers on staff. We know what we are good at and stick with that. We are a speciality marketing company – specializing in the field of marketing on social media.

 

But what if I need more than that?

 

That’s fine – we have strategic partners we work with that are experts in their own fields. We are partners with an SEO expert. A branding and identity expert. A videographer. A graphic designer. A promotional products company. The ones we partner with do their own lanes 100% and when they have clients who need social media, they call us. A wise mentor once told me, “know what you are good at and outsource the rest.” So I started working with strategic partners (my theme for 2019 – strategic partnerships).

 

So why not just use that one-stop agency?

 

The problem with the one-stop marketing agency in this day and age is that rarely are any of the staff there experts in any one marketing field. They have some experience, yes, but they don’t specialize. So you get an overall half-way done job because you have a bunch of pseudo-experienced people handling your marketing. And marketing is expensive. The only exception to this would be if you were located in a major city like Atlanta, Chicago, or New York.

 

When you work with a specialist, you are not going to be upsold on other things your business may not need. For example, if you hired us to help with your social media marketing, we are not going to sell you on having new photographs done for your business. Or make you buy ads on TV. Or update your logo. Specialists do what they are hired to do and if another marketing need came up, that specialist would help to make sure that need was taken care of by someone who knows what they are doing.

 

Another reason to use a specialist is that you know who you are working with. Typically you work directly with that specialist – you aren’t signed then passed off to an account manager, who may or may not have any experience in marketing strategy or know your business.

 

I’m not going to lie, working with a specialist who pulls in other experts to fill the needs you have may cost a little more, but isn’t it worth spending a little more to have true experts who know their field handling your marketing and knowing it’s being done by experts?

 

I would pay. Gladly.

 

But it may just not be in your budget. And us specialists get that. We work to network with people so we have a broad network of professionals who can fit your budget.

 

What will you opt for this year for your business? The choice is yours.

 

This year, we are focused on strategic partnerships to bring our clients the absolute best to make sure their marketing is a success. If you are a creative and interested in being a strategic partner, contact us!

 

 

Mandy Edwards is the founder of ME Marketing Services, a marketing company specializing in digital & social media marketing located in Statesboro, Georgia. A proud graduate of the Terry College of Business at the University of Georgia she has a thorough marketing background of 17+ years. In the fall you can find her along with her family at Sanford Stadium cheering on their beloved Georgia Bulldogs. Mandy has been mentioned in Forbes, named to the Statesboro Herald’s Top 20 under 40, has been ranked as a Top 100 Social Media Power Influencer by StatSocial and is a Sprout Social All-Star Elite. In 2016 she was recognized as a member of the University of Georgia’s top 40 Under 40 Alumni.

12 Marketing Ideas to Try Out in 2019

By now I’m sure you’ve read numerous posts about your marketing strategy for this year. Although it’s beneficial and important to lay all of this before the end of the previous year, that doesn’t work for everyone.

 

If you are still working on your marketing plan for this year – or you are just open to new ideas – this is a post for you.

 

I love to see what other businesses are doing – that is one of the greatest resources we have, watching each other. We can see what worked and what didn’t. Who stepped outside the box and who fell on their face. Every great marketing campaign started with an idea from somewhere. And maybe this is that somewhere!

 

Here are 12 marketing ideas to try out for your business this year.

 

Review your existing strategy (and if you don’t have one, make one).

The beginning of any year is a good time to look at what you have planned and see if anything needs to be tweaked as we move forward into 2019. And don’t worry if you don’t have a marketing plan at all – it’s never too late to get started on one!

 

Focus on your best performing social media platform.

What platforms are you currently using? Do you see one (or two) out-performing the rest? Stop wasting time on the ones that aren’t working and focus on the one or two that are. It will save you time and give you time to focus on that core community.

 

Create an editorial calendar.

We create editorial calendars 30 days in advance, so we know what is going to post when – because you have to have a purpose behind every action you do. You can do this one or two weeks in advance if it’s easier, but have a plan and be purposeful about it!

 

Put your customers first.

There’s a rebellion coming, and your marketing will soon be in your customer’s hands. Put their needs first – solve their problems and stop pushing why you are better.

 

Get involved in something locally this year.

Not only is personal philanthropy important, but having your business involved is too. However, do it for the right reasons. Don’t do it to get your logo on a banner or your name mentioned in an article. Do it with a servant’s heart and you will be rewarded.

 

Use your data to guide your decisions.

Study your social media insights, Google Analytics, and email marketing reports and see what your audience is doing. What type of content are they clicking on? What are they responding to? Let these results help guide what you need to provide in your content marketing strategy.

 

Start a referral program.

In a time when customer loyalty is at an all-time low, reward the loyal customers you have by offering rewards and incentives when they refer their friends and family!

 

Add a photo booth in your store or office.

If allowed, set up a place for customers to take pictures and post to social media! Use a backdrop with your logo, or just a plain wall with some props. This is an easy way for your customers to share the love on social media.

 

Get stickers printed.

If you’ve been to a coffee shop, chances are you’ve seen laptops covered in brand stickers. Why not get some of your own and hand them out! You can get some awesome ones from Sticker Mule – that’s where mine came from in the picture below!

BTW, want one to the awesome stickers in the picture above? Just email us and let us know you want one!

 

Get in front of the camera.

Video is here whether we like it or not, so grin and bear it and get in front of the camera! Your customers want to see you (and/or your staff), so take them on a tour, or just say hi. You can even do it very easily and take advantage of Instagram Stories.

 

Get your staff involved.

Employee advocacy is huge. Get your staff involved in sharing content – and creating it as well! It will show off your business online and can provide some light-hearted entertainment as well.

 

Personalize.

This will forever be an idea because it’s what marketing is becoming – personalization for our customers, making the user experience unique. From emails, to ad campaigns, make sure you are tailoring your efforts specifically to them, the customers.

 

What ideas will you be taking advantage of this year? Share with us some of your favorites that either worked for you or someone you know!

 

Mandy Edwards is the founder of ME Marketing Services, a marketing company specializing in digital & social media marketing located in Statesboro, Georgia. A proud graduate of the Terry College of Business at the University of Georgia she has a thorough marketing background of 17+ years. In the fall you can find her along with her family at Sanford Stadium cheering on their beloved Georgia Bulldogs. Mandy has been mentioned in Forbes, named to the Statesboro Herald’s Top 20 under 40, has been ranked as a Top 100 Social Media Power Influencer by StatSocial and is a Sprout Social All-Star Elite. In 2016 she was recognized as a member of the University of Georgia’s top 40 Under 40 Alumni.

Why I Stopped Blogging for 6 Months

Hello! Let me introduce myself. My name is…

 

I’m sure you’ve noticed, but I haven’t posted a blog article is almost six months. I talk to clients about the importance of blogging and how it can help their business, yet I stopped doing it.

 

Why?

 

My heart just wasn’t in it.

 

I had a punch to the gut towards the end of 2017 when my father passed away and it took until about February or March of 2018 for me to really come out of the fog I had been in that previous five to six months. When that fog lifted, my priorities shifted. And with my business, that included my blogging.

 

I trucked along blogging the first part of 2018 and then got to the point where I was just recycling and updating old posts because I just did not feel I had anything new to say that someone else was not already saying. So around July, I just stopped. I figured why reinvent the wheel if it was already rolling.

 

But I missed it.

 

Blogging (writing) is a great exercise in getting out what you want to say. I can write out my thoughts better than I can say them (and also not stumble over my words, which I have a problem doing). Blogging gave me a platform to help other businesses – and help Google come back to my site over and over. Thanks to my Revive Old Post plug-in, older posts continued to be shared on my Twitter account so traffic still came, but nothing new ever published.

 

Social media news came and went and I just shared other’s content instead of my own. I mean, seriously, how many times can people report on an Instagram change or another Facebook data breach? It’s like beating a dead horse with a stick. People are going to go to the sources they are used to – I know I do.

 

That brings me to January 2019. I start this year with a renewed spirit and focus on the business, and more importantly, my blog.

 

So, welcome back to the blog, where you’ll see a new post every other Tuesday, and let’s rock 2019!

 

Mandy Edwards is the founder of ME Marketing Services, a marketing company specializing in digital & social media marketing located in Statesboro, Georgia. A proud graduate of the Terry College of Business at the University of Georgia she has a thorough marketing background of 17+ years. In the fall you can find her along with her family at Sanford Stadium cheering on their beloved Georgia Bulldogs. Mandy has been mentioned in Forbes, named to the Statesboro Herald’s Top 20 under 40, has been ranked as a Top 100 Social Media Power Influencer by StatSocial and is a Sprout Social All-Star Elite. In 2016 she was recognized as a member of the University of Georgia’s top 40 Under 40 Alumni.

Balancing Life as a Mompreneur

Balancing Life as a Mompreneur

Many women have the same struggle as I – balance owning a business with being a mom (not to discriminate, this can apply to dads too!).

We feel pulled towards giving 150% to our businesses while having children that need us to care for them, take them to school, dance, sports, etc.

#thestruggleisreal

My daughters are 9 and 13, and I am now the “mom Uber” going from school to dance four days a week (and multiple times each day) to church, all week long. I’m not complaining – I have looked forward to this since they were babies. However when they were born I never imagined owning my own business. The freedom and flexibility of owning my own business is something I won’t ever leave. I love being able to still be a mom and a business owner.

During the school year, it’s easy – work while they are in school, and while they do homework, and maybe a little after bedtime. The summer is something different. We have a slew of things on the schedule for the summer – VBS at church, dance camp, church camps, a trip to the beach, a trip to Texas – wow, I’m already tired just typing all of that! Working from a home office, I am fortunate that I can do more than some 9-to-5 office moms can do (props to them and how they fit in all in too!).

But all boils down to balance.

Let’s get something straight – there is no such thing as work/life balance. It’s a myth. Life is all about balancing and managing what season of life you are in and this is an ever-evolving thing. What works for me may not work for you, and vice versa.

Here are some things I do to balance owning a business and being a parent, and maybe one or a few of these will help you!

Set a schedule.

This is very important. Know when you are going to work, and when you are going to put on the parent hat. This could be different every day of the week – and in the summer. Set the tone with your children so they know when mom (or dad) will be working. I will admit, there are times that I cannot do it all, so there are friends and babysitters that pitch in. It’s okay to admit that you have help. We’re not Superwoman (or Superman).

Set expectations – for both your clients and your kids.

If you are going to be on summer vacation or having to work different hours because of school activities, let your clients know.  Be upfront about it – they need to know when they can contact you. Also, tell your kids what you expect from them during school breaks, after school, and the summer. With your schedule, tell them when you need to be left alone (if they are older) for a period of time each day or what you expect of them if you have a conference call. They need to know that even though you are home, you still have a job.

It’s okay to bribe every now and then.

I do this more than I care to admit. We have a pool & waterpark we like to go to in the summer. I tell my girls, during the summer, if they let me get my work done, then we can go to the pool that afternoon. This especially comes in handy if I have a big conference call. The reality is that sometime we do what we have to do to get it done. It’s easier during the school year because they are gone from 8am-3pm, but if I am chaperoning a school trip, expectations need to be in place.

Enjoy the time.

Yes it may get crazy working with kids around, but your kids are only kids for so long. If you need to take a day and just be a mom (or dad), do it and don’t feel guilty. Next year your kids will be a year older and may not want mom or dad around, so soak it up as long as you can! Chaperone school trips, go to honors day and school parties, take a mental health day and go to the beach. Make sure to spend quality time with them. It’s so hard to believe how fast my girls have grown up in the seven years I have had ME Marketing Services. Blink and they will be all grown!

 

How do you find balance and manage it all? Share what you do so we can all learn from each other!

 

 

Mandy Edwards is the founder of ME Marketing Services, a marketing company specializing in digital & social media marketing located in Statesboro, Georgia. A proud graduate of the Terry College of Business at the University of Georgia she has a thorough marketing background of 17+ years. In the fall you can find her along with her family at Sanford Stadium cheering on their beloved Georgia Bulldogs. Mandy has been mentioned in Forbes, named to the Statesboro Herald’s Top 20 under 40, has been ranked as a Top 100 Social Media Power Influencer by StatSocial and is a Sprout Social All-Star Elite. In 2016 she was recognized as a member of the University of Georgia’s top 40 Under 40 Alumni.

Why Not Everyone Succeeds in Social Media Marketing

Why Not Everyone Succeeds in Social Media Marketing

Social media (and digital) marketers are a dime a dozen.

 

They’re everywhere and many people think they can aptly manage a business’ social media accounts with no prior marketing experience whatsoever.

 

About 75% of the social marketers I got to know when I started my business seven years ago are no longer doing social media/digital marketing. Some were given other opportunities, and some just couldn’t cut it.

 

I hate to see businesses fail and people give up. I know how much time, energy, love and money go into running a business. However, there are some who just are not cut out to be business owners in any arena.

 

Harsh, but true.

 

But let’s circle back to area of social media marketing. This is an area of marketing that takes a lot of time – you have to dedicate time to always staying up-to-date with the latest changes (and there have been TONS in 2018 alone), what platforms people are using, and various ways to integrate into the overall business plan.

 

Some are good at it and some are just trying to keep their head above water. So, why is that? Here are five reasons social media marketers do not succeed – hopefully we can take these reasons and use them to show us how to succeed.

They do not take the time to educate themselves and fall behind.

Social media is ALWAYS changing (think Facebook this year alone!) and it is a lot to keep up with. If you are not dedicated to staying up on the latest trends, TOS (Terms of Service) changes and new features, you can bet your competitor is and they will take advantage of that. If you follow any of the big names in social media, you will see how they keep up with everything. Now, they may have a team that does it for them, but they do know what is going on.

 

Here are some great resources I use to make sure you stay on top of it:

 

They have no marketing or sales background/experience.

Okay, I know I’ll take some heat with that statement, but not everyone is a born marketer. I know people who have decided to start handling social media for businesses because they REALLY love to post on Facebook or Instagram. Next thing you know, they hit the streets running with no idea what they are doing or any sense of what marketing really is. Their graphics and captions are full of misspellings and grammatical errors. Out there in the world, I’m sure there are successful people in this industry with no marketing experience, but let’s admit it, that’s not common. Who I’m referring to are people who have no idea what to do in a sales call or that social media marketing is more than just posting to social accounts.

 

They could never figure out who their target market was.

This is something a lot of business owners struggle within this industry. Do you want to serve everyone or one particular niche? Many just float along until they just give up or get fed up. This is why you need to have a social media strategy and define your ‘why’ and ‘how’. Doing just those two simple things will set you on the track to success.

 

Something better came along.

This is the scenario that fits most. A better job offer came along and they completely abandoned what they were doing (including leaving clients high and dry). Who can argue with more money and a stable paycheck because, let’s face it, when you own your own business, there is no such thing as a steady paycheck.

 

Poor client management/relationship skills.

This, unfortunately, I’ve seen first hand from clients coming to me because they were unhappy with who they were currently working with. I can guarantee just about everyone working in the social media marketing world has had this happen to them – you get an inquiry from someone who is unhappy with their current social media marketing company – or marketing company handling this as a part of an overall marketing package. Communication skills are VERY important in this field. No communication skills = no clients.

 

To avoid this, stay in constant contact with your clients. Ask them what you could be doing better. Getting continual feedback from your clients will not only strengthen your relationship with them, but you will be killing it in the customer service area.

 

There are many reasons and circumstances that would keep someone from making it in this field. The five reasons listed above can actually be applied to more than just the social media marketing industry. I do truly wish all business owners the best and want everyone to succeed.

 

Why do you think people either don’t make it in marketing – or simply give up? I’d love to get your feedback!

 

Mandy Edwards is the founder of ME Marketing Services, a marketing company specializing in digital & social media marketing located in Statesboro, Georgia. A proud graduate of the Terry College of Business at the University of Georgia she has a thorough marketing background of 17+ years. In the fall you can find her along with her family at Sanford Stadium cheering on their beloved Georgia Bulldogs. Mandy has been mentioned in Forbes, named to the Statesboro Herald’s Top 20 under 40, has been ranked as a Top 100 Social Media Power Influencer by StatSocial and is a Sprout Social All-Star Elite. In 2016 she was recognized as a member of the University of Georgia’s top 40 Under 40 Alumni.

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