So a guy with a faux leather padfolio walks into a bar...
No, this isn't the start to a killer joke, but it is the beginning of a well-rehearsed sales pitch that may well end in you spending too much money for an out-of-the-box, cookie cutter website.
We're continually surprised by how many of our local, small businesses have been sold sites and services that don't truly reflect who they are, and clearly don't speak to their audiences. It's definitely a way to make a lot of money while using very little creative bandwidth - and while money is a necessary evil when running ANY sized agency, it's certainly not all that matters.
At North of Eight Design & Marketing, we pride ourselves on providing individualized websites and other digital marketing services to every single one of our clients. We take the time to sit down with you, to talk about what makes your business tick and what you need to focus on to set it apart on the internet. But that's not specific to North of Eight - most small, local agencies think this way. Take a look at the top 5 reasons to hire a local marketing agency below - whether it's North of Eight or another kickass business trying to make it work in the Northwoods of Wisconsin.
1. Local Agencies Understand your Local Market
The more your marketing agency knows about your local area, the less hand holding you'll have to do. Beyond just a general familiarity, a local agency will know that your ad should use the word "water fountain" and not "bubbler," or "casserole" instead of "hotdish" - lingo that resonates with the folks you're trying to reach. They'll be privy to the 22" mega snow storm and know to check in and help you update your Google My Business when you're unexpectedly closed.
You know what they say...once you go local....
2. Local Marketing Agencies Offer more Individualized Attention
If you work with one of these mass-media conglomerates, have you had the opportunity to meet with the President? Or basically anyone other than your sales person and perhaps another employee executing your web design?
When you work with a local marketing agency like North of Eight Design & Marketing, you'll meet with the entire team and have the ability to communicate directly with the owner and/or CEO at any time. And from personal experience, let me tell you that it's imperative to me that my company offers each client the individual attention it needs to thrive. After all, I'll probably see you in the grocery store sometime this week.
3. Local Businesses Support One Another
Guess who's not looking to you for their next purchase, their next service call or their next meal out? That big-name national company. When you spend your hard-earned dollars with your local agencies, they'll support you back - whether through referrals or direct purchases.
4. Local Agencies Offer Competitive Pricing
Not all digital advertising agencies can adapt their pricing to accommodate budgets of varying sizes. Your local agency is better equipped to work within your budget to deliver results - rather than a one-size-fits-all approach to packaging services and fees. You may think sticking with the little guy costs more dollars in the end, but if you compare our rates to that of any of the larger or national digital marketing companies vying for your business, you'll find the same quality of work is available at a lower price point at your small-town agency.
5. Local Agencies Create Content Relevant to your Target Market
Have you seen those local sites with blog rolls that are obviously written for companies in different geographies? I've seen roofing companies in the Northwoods "blogging" about terra-cotta tiles and their maintenance and similar non-relevant content too many times to count. These national agencies work on scale, using the same content across all clients in the same industry. Again, it's a great way to make a quick buck for them, but it isn't servicing your business at all.
At North of Eight, and of course the other amazing small agencies trying to make it, we craft relevant content that engages your target market in a way that helps increase conversions - or dollars in your pocket. We never reuse content from one project to another...because that's just lazy.
At the end of the day you need to make the best decision for your business, hands down. Whether that means going with your local agency or using a national company to help you build your business, just be sure to gather as much information as you can in order to make the most informed decision possible.