7 Reasons Your Marketing Isn’t Working

a businesswoman frustrated because she doesn't know why her marketing isn't working

In the fast-paced world of business, effective marketing is the linchpin that can either propel your brand to new heights or leave it languishing in obscurity. If you find yourself scratching your head, wondering why your marketing isn’t working the way you thought it would, or your efforts aren’t yielding the desired results you hoped for, you’re not alone.

At Paragon Marketing Group, we understand the intricacies of successful marketing. Let’s delve into some common reasons your marketing isn’t working and explore how you can unlock marketing success.

Cracking the Code: Understanding Why Your Marketing Isn’t Working

Here are seven reasons your marketing isn’t working (and what you can do to change that):

Do you know why your marketing isn’t working?

1. Not Defining Your Target Audience

One of the most common reasons your marketing might not be working is if you haven’t clearly defined your target audience. Marketing is most effective when tailored to a specific demographic. You can have an amazing, even life-saving, product or service, but if the audience who will most likely convert into customers isn’t receiving your message, then it can’t be effective.

Here are a few tips to define your target audience:

1. Compile Your Audience’s Demographic Information

  • How old is your audience?
  • Which gender is most likely to make the purchasing decision?
  • What place of life will your target audience primarily reside?
  • Is your audience married or single?
  • Where does your target audience live?

2. Get to Know Your Audience’s Lifestyle and Habits

  • Does your audience like to spend time at home, or go out?
  • What type of background will your target audience have?
  • What interests will your audience most likely indulge in?
  • What things are important to your target audience?
  • Does your audience shop more online or in-person?

3. Understand How Your Product or Service Solves Your Target Audience’s Problem

Without a problem, there’s no need for a solution. Once you know which problem(s) your product or service solves, go deeper to understand how your product or service can specifically solve your target audience’s problem(s).

Takeaway: When you know exactly who your target audience is, you can more effectively market to them.

2. Lacking Consistent Branding

Inconsistency in your branding efforts can dilute your message and leave customers confused. Ultimately, you want to employ a cohesive branding strategy that create a strong, recognizable identity across all channels, fostering trust and loyalty.

So how does inconsistent branding happen in the first place? Here are a few common suspects:

  • Lack of Team Communication: The larger your team becomes, the more opinions you have, and the more challenging it can become to ensure there’s clear communication among all team members. When everyone isn’t on the same page, guess what? Your branding won’t be either. At Paragon Marketing Group, we recommend having clear brand guidelines that can be shared among your entire staff.
  • Conflicting Online Listings: Have you ever visited a company’s Facebook page, and then their Google My Business page, and then their website, only to discover three different phone numbers or addresses? This confusion can lead to customers abandoning your site and giving their business to another company that has invested the time and effort into ensuring all their listings match and are up-to-date.
  • All Talk, No Action: Companies can pledge customer loyalty all day long, but if their marketing makes promises their business can’t keep (or offer services they can’t fulfill), people won’t just take notice: they’ll leave negative reviews and tell their friends.

Takeaway: Brand consistency needs to carry through every aspect of your business, from using the same color scheme and fonts, all the way down to how you treat your customers.

3. Neglecting a Digital Presence

In today’s digital age, a robust online presence is non-negotiable. If your marketing strategy lacks a compelling digital component, you’re missing out on a vast audience. While networking and word-of-mouth play pivotal roles in your marketing strategy, neither of those channels are replacements for a company website, digital ads, emails, or social media pages.

Not to toot our own horn (okay, maybe we mean to just a little), at Paragon Marketing Group, we leverage cutting-edge digital marketing techniques to enhance your online visibility and engagement through different digital avenues, including the following:

Takeaway: A complete marketing strategy will include both traditional and digital marketing channels.

4. Ignoring Data and Analytics

Marketing without a data-driven approach is akin to navigating a ship without a compass. If you’ve read our blog before, you’ll know this isn’t the first time we’ve covered this topic.

Similar to not defining your target audience, when you avoid or ignore data and analytics, you can’t know whether or not your marketing is working. Without context, your sales are just sales, neither improving nor declining. And even if you can determine an ascent (or descent) without tracking data, you’re still missing the biggest piece of all: the WHY.

At Paragon Marketing Group, we utilize advanced analytics to track and analyze campaign performance, which provide invaluable insights for strategic adjustments and continual improvement. Whether you hire a marketing agency to do this for you, or you utilize programs yourself, we can’t emphasize enough how important tracking and analyzing your data is to the success of your marketing.

Takeaway: Tracking and analyzing your data will provide invaluable insights into your business.

5. Not Updating Your Content

Oftentimes, it’s easy to think that once your website (or social media page or listing) has been completed, you’re good to go . . . forever. Unfortunately, not updating your content can lead to more problems than you might think, such as:

  • Customers might drive to the wrong business or call the wrong number from outdated listings.
  • Website visitors may consider a competitor instead if they find your site boring or outdated.
  • Potential clients might not understand what type of business you have if your logo doesn’t well represent your business.
  • Social media visitors might think your business isn’t active or open if you’re not posting regularly to your social media pages.

Takeaway: Your content doesn’t just matter five years ago — it matters today. Keeping your content updated will demonstrate that your business is open, active, and ready to serve your customers.

6. Posting to Social Media with No Strategy

Have you ever posted to Facebook or Instagram, but wondered why you weren’t getting any traction or engagement? Social media is a powerful tool, but a lack of strategy can lead to ineffective efforts. Here are a few strategic steps you can take to boost engagement on your social channels:

  • Research days and times when people are most active. This will help you grab people’s attention when they’re most likely to be online.
  • Post content that is going to help solve a problem. The more value people can find in your content, the more likely you are to get their attention — and keep it.
  • Incorporate video and images into your posts. People are far more likely to engage with an interesting video or inviting photo than just straight text.
  • Include a CTA (call to action) in every post copy. Whether you’re encouraging people to laugh, inviting them to think, asking for their opinion, polling them, or directing them to click a link, it’s important to have a clear and direct message in every post.
  • Be patient. This one is the hardest because we often associate social media as something that can give immediate, instant results. But that couldn’t be farther from the truth.
  • Consult the experts. If you’re a business owner, odds are you aren’t an expert in every aspect of business, and that’s okay. Outsource the social media to a marketing agency, like Paragon Marketing Group.

Takeaway: Like in all aspects of marketing, you need to apply strategy to your social media posts to get results.

7. Failing to Adapt to an Ever-Changing Marketing Landscape

Perhaps one of the most exciting and frustrating aspects of marketing is that the landscape is dynamic. What worked yesterday might not work tomorrow. Now this isn’t a call to fix marketing methods that aren’t broken. If what you’re doing is currently working, you might not want to change everything about it.

But more than likely, there’s probably something about your business that needs to be updated, from outdated processes to poorly-functioning equipment to possibly even your marketing strategies. If there’s one thing we can leave with you, it’s that we encourage you to not let fear of something new, something different, or something unknown, keep you from moving your business forward and into the future. At Paragon Marketing Group, we work to stay ahead of industry trends, ensuring your marketing strategy remains agile and adaptive to changing market dynamics.

Your job is to run your business. And if you hire us, our job is to run your marketing.

Takeaway: Don’t let the fear of the unknown or different keep you from moving your business forward.

Here’s a Quick Recap:
  1. When you know exactly who your target audience is, you can more effectively market to them.
  2. Brand consistency needs to carry through every aspect of your business.
  3. A complete marketing strategy will include both traditional and digital marketing channels.
  4. Tracking and analyzing your data will provide invaluable insights into your business.
  5. Keeping your content updated will demonstrate that your business is open, active, and ready to serve your customers.
  6. You need to apply strategy to your social media posts to get results.
  7. Don’t let the fear of the unknown or different keep you from moving your business forward.

If you resonate with any of these challenges, it might be time to reevaluate your marketing strategy. Paragon Marketing Group is your partner in overcoming these hurdles and helping your marketing work.

If you’re trying to find out why your marketing isn’t working, please contact us. Visit our website at paragonmarketinggroup.com or call us at 262-443-9092. We’d love to hear from you.

10 Small Business Marketing Resolutions for 2024

setting small business marketing resolutions for 2024

As the new year approaches, the opportune moment has arrived for small businesses to chart a course for success with actionable marketing resolutions.

In this blog post, we’ll unveil key strategies that can make a substantial impact on your brand’s visibility and success in 2024. Brace yourself for an exciting exploration of innovative approaches, ensuring your business not only keeps pace but triumphs in the ever-evolving marketing landscape.

Marketing Resolutions for the New Year

Here are ten small business marketing resolutions you can employ in 2024:

1. Establish an SEO-Friendly Website

In the vast landscape of digital marketing, your website is your digital storefront. But what good is a store if no one knows where it’s located? That’s where search engine optimization (SEO) comes into play.

Ensuring your website is optimized for search engines is the key to getting visitors. And more visitors equates to increased leads, expanded customer reach, and ultimately, a surge in purchases. To get more visitors, your website needs to be optimized for relevant keywords, improved page load speed, and a design for mobile users.

Takeaway: When executed effectively, SEO acts as a strategic ally, channeling a steady stream of visitors to your site through search engines.

2. Embrace the Power of Blogging

Beyond writing a few paragraphs on occasion, regularly publishing informative and engaging blog posts can become a cornerstone of your digital strategy. It’s a dynamic process that will establish your expertise and act as a catalyst for enhancing your website’s SEO.

When you deliver valuable content that resonates with your readers, you position yourself as an industry authority and create a virtual space that encourages visitors to return for more.

Takeaway: Consistent blogging can capture the attention and loyalty of your audience.

3. Leverage the Influence of Social Media

Leveraging the influence of social media is a resolution with immense potential. Brand awareness, a key ingredient in your marketing plan, can be achieved using platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn. The interactive and personalized feel of social media not only informs your customers, but also transforms your business into a source of regular news and relevant updates.

In addition to sharing information, social media forges a direct line of communication with your customers (and potential customers), fostering a loyal online community. Through positive interactions, this digital camaraderie conveys a business deeply invested in its customers. Moreover, social media acts as a gateway, channeling prospective customers to your website and generating new leads through carefully crafted ads.

Takeaway: Whether through engaging posts or targeted paid ads, social media can be the catalyst for steering your business towards growth and success.

4. Introduce a Referral Program

Word-of-mouth remains a formidable force in the realm of small business marketing. One great way to implement word-of-mouth is by creating a referral program to tap into the influence of your satisfied customer base. By encouraging existing customers to refer others, you’re not just fostering brand advocacy but transforming your clientele into enthusiastic promoters.

To make this strategy even more compelling, offer enticing incentives in your referral program. Rewards will encourage your customers to become active participants in expanding your brand reach.

Takeaway: Allowing your customers to be vocal champions of your business can propel your brand into new realms of recognition.

5. Invest in Analytic Tools

Understanding your audience and their behavior is essential, and by investing in analytic tools (such as Google Analytics), you can gain insight and make informed decisions that go beyond guesswork.

The ever-shifting landscape of small business marketing demands a keen eye on analytics, ensuring your business decisions are strategically aligned with your audience’s preferences. By embracing analytics as a core element of your marketing arsenal, you’re not just deciphering numbers; you’re deciphering invaluable insights into your customer base.

As we venture into the new year, we encourage you to make a strategic resolution to invest in cutting-edge analytics tools.

Takeaway: Analytic tools will help you better understand website traffic, user interactions, and the overall performance of your marketing campaigns.

6. Garner Customer Reviews

Trust is the currency of commerce, and positive reviews are your most valuable assets. By proactively seeking reviews, you’ll amplify your brand’s online presence and build trust and credibility among potential customers. Every positive review becomes a testament to the quality of your products or services, acting as a persuasive force that influences purchasing decisions.

Equally important is your responsiveness to reviews, regardless of their sentiment. Engage with your audience by promptly responding to both positive and negative feedback. Demonstrating your commitment to customer satisfaction showcases your brand’s integrity and provides an opportunity to address concerns openly.

So, in 2024, let your customers be the voice of your success. Encourage them to share their stories on platforms like Google, Facebook, or industry-specific websites.

Takeaway: Cumulating customer reviews can build trust with potential clients and set your business apart in the competitive digital landscape.

7. Utilize Video Marketing

Video marketing isn’t just a trend; it’s a transformative tool that can propel your business to new heights.

Whether you’re looking to livestream an event, create engaging website videos, record compelling podcast content, launch video ad campaigns on your social channels, conduct insightful interviews, develop training materials, or simply enhance brand awareness, harnessing the power of video isn’t just an option anymore — it’s a strategic imperative.

Embrace the video revolution, and consider partnering with Paragon Marketing Group to create engaging videos that tell your brand story, showcase products or services, and connect with your audience on a more personal level.

Takeaway: Video marketing can tell your brand’s story, help sell your products or services, and elevate your business visibility.

8. Employ Professional Graphic Design

Visuals play a crucial role in brand perception, which is why your graphic design should be a cohesive, professional representation aligned with your brand identity. So while anyone can attempt graphic design, not everyone possesses the time, knowledge, or skill to craft effective, eye-catching materials.

From making that critical first impression with prospective clients to establishing a consistent brand identity and outshining competitors in effective communication, professional graphic design services are your pathway to visual excellence.

Whether you require brochures, a website facelift, attention-grabbing online ads, a new logo, or any graphic design expertise, your brand’s narrative matters.

Takeaway: With professional graphic design, your designs can resonate and leave a lasting impact in 2024 and beyond.

9. Revisit Direct Mail Marketing

In the digital age, traditional direct mail marketing remains an effective strategy for businesses to connect with potential customers. To leverage this channel, you need to craft targeted, visually appealing mailers to reach specific demographics or geographical areas.

Direct mail isn’t just about sending something in the mail; it’s about outshining competitors. Benefit from targeted customer lists, first-class postage, and customized pieces that make your brand stand out in the mailbox.

If you want to learn more about accessing customer lists, targeting ads, or customizing mailers, contact Paragon Marketing Group today.

Takeaway: Direct mail marketing can target your desired audience demographics in your desired geographical areas.

10. Incorporate Online Advertising

Online advertising, specifically through pay per click (PPC), can revolutionize your digital marketing approach. With PPC, advertisers pay search engines each time their ad is clicked. This method, including search engine advertising like Google Ads, allows you to secure visits to your site without solely relying on organic traffic.

Developing a targeted advertising strategy within your online ads can give your business a competitive edge by placing your content at the top of search engine results and help you reach potential customers actively searching for products or services like yours.

Takeaway: Incorporating online advertising into your marketing plan can help your business and keywords appear at the top of search engine results.

Here’s a Quick Recap:
  1. Ensure your website is optimized for SEO to attract more website visitors.
  2. Post consistent, engaging content to your blog to position your business as an industry authority.
  3. Share content on your social media platforms regularly to foster your online community and engage directly with your followers.
  4. Introduce a referral program to enable your customers to vocally champion your business.
  5. Invest in analytic tools to gain audience insights and make informed decisions.
  6. Garner customer reviews to build trust and credibility with potential customers.
  7. Utilize video marketing to tell your brand’s story and showcase your products and services.
  8. Employ professional graphic design to establish a cohesive, professional representation aligned with your brand identity.
  9. Consider direct mail marketing to reach specific demographics or geographical areas.
  10. Incorporate online advertising to reach potential customers searching for your business’s products or services.

As we step into 2024, these marketing resolutions can serve as a roadmap for small businesses. By implementing these strategies, your brand can build a strong online presence, connect with your audience, and achieve sustainable growth.

Whichever resolutions you strive to achieve in 2024, Paragon Marketing Group wishes you a successful and prosperous year ahead!

If you need help incorporating these marketing resolutions in 2024, feel free to contact us. Visit our website at paragonmarketinggroup.com or call us at 262-443-9092. We’d love to hear from you.

Marketing Strategies for Start-Ups

marketing strategies for startups

If you just started your business, congratulations! That’s a huge accomplishment. As you probably know, there are many strategies that business owners can use for running, managing, and marketing their start-ups. But we have to warn you: the road ahead isn’t an easy one. And unfortunately, the odds are not in your favor:

Almost 25% of all business start-ups fail within the first year.

That percentage doubles to 50% within the first five years of business.

So how can your start-up be part of the other half of businesses, the ones who succeed, who persevere, and who stay in business?

The good news? You’re at the beginning. You have the luxury of time on your side. Right now, you can choose to avoid the mistakes many small business owners make when they’re first starting out.

At Paragon Marketing Group, we want to equip you with some helpful marketing strategies designed for start-ups.

3 Marketing Strategies for Start-Ups

Here are three marketing strategies to employ for your start-up:

A happy business owner using marketing strategies for startups
Are you using any of these marketing strategies for start-ups?

Start-up Marketing Strategy #1: Don’t Try to Do It All Yourself

The entire purpose of marketing is to get people interested in your products or services. And while the idea of doing marketing on your own seems simple in theory, it’s often not.

There are two big reasons we advise small business owners – especially start-up owners – to not try to go it alone:

1. You Need Expansive Marketing Knowledge

Marketing is no longer something that requires a few print advertisements. Digital marketing has unlocked massive opportunities, and all of those opportunities come with a set of rules. Consider the following questions:

  1. Are you certified in Google Ads?
  2. Do you understand all the nuances of every social media platform?
  3. Can you apply an effective SEO strategy to your website content?
  4. Are you a content writer?
  5. Do you know how to professionally design graphics and logos for your business?

Even at Paragon Marketing Group, not one of us is an expert at every aspect of marketing. We all have our different levels of expertise that we bring to the table to best help our clients.

2. You Need Adequate Time to Dedicate to Marketing

A successful business needs a marketing plan, but that’s usually something business owners don’t have time to do:

Especially when you’re first starting out, your focus is everywhere. And no matter how many hours you’re clocking per week, time moves on. Basically, every moment you spend on sales, finance, or technology is a moment lost on marketing.

Takeaway: You’re only one person. Today, life moves so quickly that business owners try to do everything faster, more efficiently, and more productively, and it’s taking a toll. Don’t let your health, family, or life pass you by while you’re trying to do the work of many people.

Start-up Marketing Strategy #2: Don’t Shortcut Your Marketing

If you’re not trying to do all your marketing yourself, we often see small business owners trying to shortcut their marketing.

Common Examples of Marketing Shortcuts
  • Not proofreading content – customers are far less likely to trust a business that has a website or social posts riddled with spelling and grammatical errors,
  • Linking a website or blog post to an untrustworthy site – if you’re linking to outdated information, a broken website, or a site with a negative association, you’ll lose trust with potential customers who click on it.
  • Keyword stuffing ads or website – everyone wants their website and ads to be easily found online, but search engines have gotten smarter. Did you use your focus keyword 30 times on a 300-word webpage? Google and other search engines will not only take notice, but they’ll penalize your site for keyword stuffing.
  • Sending emails to people who didn’t give you permission to email them – no one likes to be bombarded with sales emails from a business where they didn’t even subscribe to emails. This is a quickfire way to encourage potential clients to unsubscribe, turning them off to future sales.
  • Expecting to see instant results when effective digital marketing takes time – just like with all good things in life, marketing takes time. And expecting instant results won’t get you any closer to your marketing goals than eating healthily for one day will help you reach your target weight.
  • Not applying any kind of SEO strategy to advertisements or websites – clients are far less likely to find your business online if you don’t use SEO (search engine optimization). Today, your website will be lost in the millions of sites online unless you employ SEO.
  • Not having consistent listings across the internet – whether your business goes by multiple names or has changed locations, it’s essential that your listings are consistent if you don’t want to confuse clients with faulty information.
  • Relying solely on AI/volunteers/technology to do things that require more attention – while improvements in AI and technology are fantastic tools to utilize in your marketing, they shouldn’t fully replace your marketing. There’s no replacement for attention to detail. Plus, an over-reliance on technology is more likely to hurt than help your marketing.

Takeaway: While taking shortcuts can often benefit your business in the short-term, the overall, long-term effects can be detrimental to your business. Therefore, we recommend doing things the right way the first time.

Start-up Marketing Strategy #3: Don’t Overspend on Marketing

At Paragon Marketing Group, we can’t stress enough how important it is to not overspend on marketing.

Here are a few ways you might be overspending on your marketing:

1. You don’t have a marketing budget/aren’t tracking your marketing spend.

Something we see with many clients is that either they don’t have any business funds dedicated to marketing, or they aren’t tracking their marketing dollars.

When you’re spending $50/month per Meta ad, it doesn’t seem all that bad. But when you don’t take into account your website costs, digital ad costs, all of the annual or monthly marketing programs and software costs, the price can start to add up . . . and you may not even realize it. 

This information is crucial to keep track of. When you aren’t defining your costs and keeping them organized, you’re not going to struggle just at tax season . . . you’re also probably spending way more money than you’re aware of.

2. You got caught in a marketing scam.

This one hurts the most, because frankly, it’s happened to all of us at some point. 

You don’t know all the ins and outs of marketing, so you bought a software program that you haven’t taken the time to learn, or you enlist the help of someone who claims to be an expert, but they’re really just taking advantage of the fact that you aren’t an SEO or social media marketing expert.

You need someone who’s going to have your back, and who is going to advise you when you aren’t sure whether or not you should take your marketing in a certain direction or use a certain marketing tactic.

3. You’re paying a salary to one person in-house to do the job of many people.

Once you realize how much work goes into marketing, you understand how crucial it is to make every dollar count.

And while one in-house marketer can be effective, no one person can be an expert in every aspect of marketing. Plus, the dollars you’re spending to pay that one person could be used to pay several people.

Imagine the value you could gain from taking that one salary and using it to outsource to an agency with a team of experts, like Paragon Marketing Group.

Takeaway: Marketing expenses can add up quickly. Make sure you have a dedicated marketing budget, keep track of your marketing dollars, and don’t overpay an individual to do the job of many.

Here’s a Quick Recap:
  1. You don’t have to do your marketing alone.
  2. You don’t have to take marketing shortcuts to be successful.
  3. You don’t have to overspend on your marketing to get great results.

When you’ve just started your business, your head is spinning. You’re just trying to make it to the next day. And as a small business, we understand how challenging it can be.

At Paragon Marketing Group, our desire is to equip you with information to help your business succeed.

If you need help employing these marketing strategies for start-ups, feel free to contact us. Visit our website at paragonmarketinggroup.com or call us at 262-443-9092. We’d love to hear from you.

Want to learn more about this topic? Check out our podcast, the Main Street Marketing Podcast, on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, or your audio platform of choice.

Social Media Secrets for Small Businesses

uncovering social media secrets

While it seems like everyone is a social media guru today, the industry is oversaturated with advice and different methodology about how, where, and when to post. But what about marketing your small business on social media? It’s difficult to know where to start or which methods to apply. So today, we’re going to uncover some social media secrets that often aren’t talked about, and then share how you can start applying them to your business marketing today.

4 Social Media Secrets for Small Businesses

Here are four major social media secrets we’d like to share:

Paragon employees pointing to social media platforms on the wall
Did you know any of these social media secrets?

Social Media Secret #1: Having a Social Media Account Isn’t a Strategy

Often when social media comes up in a conversation, we hear a lot of comments like this: “I have a Facebook profile, so I can do that, too!” Or, “my nephew is on TikTok.” Or, “Anyone can do that!” And it’s true – anyone is capable of occasionally posting to social media. But what most people don’t realize is that there’s actual strategy behind social media marketing. Some of the strategies we employ early on in the process include:

  • Defining and setting goals
  • Researching a target audience
  • Establishing a consistent posting schedule
  • Curating posts, from developing the copy to designing the graphics
  • Utilizing paid advertising
  • Researching best days/times to post
  • Creating a variety of post types
  • Determining aspect ratio for video posts
  • Researching hashtags where appropriate

Takeaway: Just because you have a Facebook or Instagram account for yourself or your business doesn’t mean you’re going to get results. You have to apply strategy if you want to be successful in the long-term.

Social Media Secret #2: Successful Social Media Strategy Isn’t Glamorous

While Emily in Paris would rather you believe differently, successful social media strategy isn’t glamorous. If you want to be successful with your social accounts, you have to work hard. There’s so much thought and work that goes into each post, from the type of post, to when it’s posted, to the size of the video, to the hashtags used, to even the number of hashtags used.

Want to have an effective social media strategy? Employ these three Cs:

  • Clear – make sure your message is communicated clearly and cohesively. Your followers should know exactly what to do whenever they see a post. What is your CTA (call to action)? What is the goal behind the post? While it may require a lot of strategy behind the scenes, it should be very clear and simple to those who see the post.
  • Consistency – your social media accounts should have consistency so customers know exactly what to expect when they’re on your pages: consistent messaging, consistent posting, and consistent branding. If you don’t regularly post, this needs to change. Customers won’t come to rely on or trust your business if you lack consistency.
  • Commitment – social media strategy isn’t for the faint of heart. Commit to which platforms you’ll be posting on, and don’t stop when you get busy or it gets difficult. Giving up is the worst thing you can do! And if you don’t have the time, hire an in-house marketer or outsource to an agency like Paragon who is ready to help.

Takeaway: Successful social media strategy isn’t glamorous. It requires clear communication, consistency, and commitment in the long-term. And remember, even if you start employing the three Cs, you won’t get instant results. Good things come in time.

Social Media Secret #3: The World of Social Media Is Always Changing

Is this really a social media secret though? While the fact that technology and social media is always changing isn’t a secret, the impact of that change on strategy is surprising to many people.

That old adage, “I’m going to do this the way I’ve always done it” won’t cut it in social media strategy. What’s true today may be false tomorrow.

So many changes to Meta Business Suite have rolled out even within the past year. Every platform has its own “algorithm” that’s constantly changing. One platform comes out with a very successful strategy to gain followers, and then others often follow.

Here are a few changes that have happened over the last couple years (that are certain to become outdated once this text is published, just to emphasize this point):

  • Twitter rebranded to X – the year 2023 brought a new Twitter CEO and a new name for the platform. While it still seems to be “in a complicated relationship” with its branding, how will the language of the platform evolve (are tweets now Xs)?
  • Instagram posts can now be scheduled through Meta Business Suite – as recent as early 2022, this was not an option. Social media strategists and content creators were celebrating everywhere when this became a reality.
  • Nextdoor doesn’t allow post scheduling . . . yet – we’re still posting Nextdoor posts live, but how long will this be the reality before they permit scheduling?
  • Stories, Reels, & TikTok have changed how we record video – say goodbye to 16×9 video aspect ratio. When it comes to mobile, vertical is now king.

Takeaway: Social media is always changing. You have to be willing to change up your strategy at a moment’s notice. You need to be aware of the latest trends.

Social Media Secret #4: You Can’t Half-Ass Social Media Marketing

Is there really anything in life we should be half-assing? Probably not. But the reason this is such a big secret is because SO MANY PEOPLE DO THIS.

We’ve heard many business owners claim they can just do it in their “free time,” but what business owner do you know with “free time”? Even if they did, they don’t have the time to do it right and apply actual strategy.

Here are a few recommendations we’d make to business owners starting out with social media and trying to figure out which platforms to use:

  • Find your audience – do you sell primarily to men in their 60s? Or are 30-something aged women your target market? Maybe you sell only to homeowners? Once you know who your audience is, then research which platforms they spend time on.
  • Consider your availability – after you know on which social platforms your audience spends time, figure out how much time you can set aside to apply the three Cs – clear communication, consistent posting, and commitment to posting. Is that an hour a day? Great! Is that 15 minutes a day? That might work. If you have a realistic viewpoint of how much time you can truly spend on your social posting, then you know what approach to take.
  • Start slow – no business needs to start off posting daily to 7 or 8 different social platforms. So if you know where your audience is, you know how much time you can dedicate to your social media marketing. We typically recommend choosing 1 or 2 platforms to start getting your content out there.

Takeaway: It’s better to “whole-ass” a couple platforms than to half-ass several. And if you can’t manage that, consider finding a marketing agency like Paragon who can help.

Here’s a Quick Recap:
  1. Having a social media account isn’t enough. You have to apply strategy to be successful.
  2. Successful social media strategy isn’t glamorous. It requires clear communication, consistency, and commitment.
  3. Social media is always changing. You have to be willing to change up your strategy at a moment’s notice.
  4. It’s better to “whole-ass” a couple platforms than to half-ass several.

We hope that uncovering these social media secrets for small businesses was helpful to you!

At Paragon, we understand that it can take a lot of time, work, and research to successfully market your business on social media. As always, we want to be a resource for you. So as you have questions, we’ll be here to answer them.

Want to learn more about this topic? Check out our podcast, the Main Street Marketing Podcast, on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, or your audio platform of choice.

Unbelievable Myths About Graphic Design

Employee performing graphic design on his computer at Paragon Marketing Group

There are many myths regarding graphic design out there, especially when it comes to getting professional graphic design for your business. Today, we’re going to share three of the biggest misconceptions business owners have about graphic design, and what our recommendations are to combat those misconceptions.

3 Common Graphic Design Myths

Today, we’re going to dispel a few misconceptions about graphic design. Here are some of the biggest ones we’ve heard:

a professional designer hoping to dispel graphic design myths
Do you believe one of these graphic design myths?

Myth #1: Graphic Design Is Just About Creating Logos & Designing Pictures

Perhaps one of the biggest myths we hear from people is that graphic design is just about creating logos or might include designing a pretty picture. So first, let’s get clear about what graphic design actually is.

  • If there’s information to display, it’s a graphic designer’s job to display that information. Good graphic design takes it a step farther: displaying that information in an eye-pleasing way.
  • Graphic designers are responsible to get a message across while representing your business. Good graphic design should represent your brand (your business). Great graphic design will tell a story.
  • The designs are the end product: every logo, billboard, sign, flier, brochure, (and more) that you’ve seen were made by a graphic designer. So while graphic design does include logos, it also includes a lot of other things, including brochures and billboards.

Myth #2: Graphic Design Is Easy & Anyone Can Do It

Our response when someone says they don’t need help because they can just do graphic design him or herself is, “Yes, you can, but . . . “

  • It won’t be done as efficiently or as personalized as a professional designer would make it.
  • Using a free/cheap design program runs the risk of having the same artwork as someone else.
  • It’s easy to download “free” images online that turn out to not be free and are actually illegal to use due to copyright or trademark.

Ultimately, the goal of graphic design is to make your brand unique to only you and your business – and you can’t achieve that if you’re using the same artwork as everyone else or breaking copyright laws.

Myth #3: Professional Graphic Designers Are The Same As Everyone Else

When it comes to marketing, there are so many specialized roles. And you rarely hear someone say, “Oh, Google Ads? I’ve been on a computer, so I’m an expert.” Or, “anyone can be a professional web designer!” But when it comes to graphic design, many people believe that professional graphic designers and their 10-year-old niece, Sally, can do the exact same thing.

Unlike the average person, a professional graphic designer . . . 

  • Understands the fundamentals of design 
  • Knows how to force the viewer’s eye to go where you want it to go
  • Realizes why some colors do or don’t work together, font choices, etc.

On the other hand, the average person may understand when something looks good, but can they say why it looks good?

Often, the average person doesn’t understand the technical side of graphic design.

Here’s a Few Takeaways:
  1. Good graphic design should represent your brand. Great graphic design will tell a story.
  2. Using a free/cheap design program runs the risk of having the same artwork as someone else.
  3. Unlike the average person, a professional graphic designer knows how to force a viewer’s eye to go where he/she wants it to go.

If you’ve been harboring one of these graphic design myths, we hope we were able to dispel it for you!

At Paragon, we understand how professional graphic design can be a huge asset to your business marketing. As always, we want to be a resource for you. So as you have questions, we’ll be here to answer them.

Want to learn more about this topic? Check out our podcast, the Main Street Marketing Podcast, on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, or your audio platform of choice.

4 Reasons Your Small Business Needs a Website

Getting a small business website

If you own a small business, at some point you’ve probably been told you need a website. But with social media networks and so many cheap or free website options out there today, you might question how you should go about creating a website or whether you should even have one in the first place. Is it even necessary for your small business to have one . . . ?

4 Reasons Having a Website Is Critical to Your Business

At Paragon Marketing Group, we’ve fielded every type of question about websites, from why social media isn’t a replacement for a website, to the benefits of getting a website for your business, to why getting a cheap or free website might not be the best idea.

So today, we’re going to answer our clients’ frequently asked questions about websites.

Why do you need a website for your small business?

1. Client Question: Why Is Social Media Not a Replacement for a Website?

We’ve all heard someone say, “I have a Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, TikTok page. I don’t need a website.” So then why are social media platforms not a replacement for a website for small businesses?

Paragon’s Answer:
  • You don’t own social media pages. Facebook, Instagram, or any other social network can and will go down from time to time. You don’t have control over social media platforms’ appearance or features.
  • You’re limited with SEO options when you don’t have a website. When people use search engines, your website can be optimized for local searches to attract an audience.
  • Websites offer credibility. And people buy from businesses they know, like, and trust.
  • You can have a consumer’s full attention with your website. Rather, you have to compete for it on social media.
  • Websites are far more multi-functional than social media posts. Websites can include resources, a blog, have ecommerce capabilities, be promotional, and informative.
  • You don’t have a landing place without a website. You can’t direct your social media traffic anywhere that will cause your customers to convert when there’s no destination to direct traffic.

2. Client Question: What Are the Benefits of Having a Website?

So now that we understand why social media can’t replace a website, what are the biggest benefits of a small business having a website?

Paragon’s Answer:

3. Client Question: Why Is Getting a Free or Cheap Website a Bad Idea?

We’re all trying to save money and cut corners today, but why do we recommend someone get a professional website designed rather than go the free or cheap route?

Paragon’s Answer:
  • A free web address (domain) can appear unprofessional. Do you think consumers will take a site like [email protected] seriously?
  • Free websites often come with irrelevant or inappropriate ads. These ads often look tacky and unprofessional, and they’re usually unrelated to your business entirely.
  • Your website could get shut down at any time since you don’t own it. Being free means you don’t own your site, which means you can’t control what happens with your site.
  • Your information can be sold to third parties with no repercussions. Today, these companies trade information, and you may start receiving email and phone spam, even though you didn’t give your information to third-parties directly.
  • Many free website services have little security and can often distribute malware. Unfortunately, free or cheap websites lack the security you need to protect not only business information, but also any other information you store on your computer.
  • You don’t want to have to redo it a year from now when it no longer meets your needs. What can seem great upfront often fails to meet your needs as you grow and may become more work in the long term for you.

4. Client Question: What Is Web Hosting/Maintenance, and Why Do I Need Them?

In marketing, we hear a lot of terms get thrown around, like “web hosting” or “web maintenance.” But many people have no idea what these things are, much less understand why they’re really important.

Paragon’s Answer:
  • Web Hosting
    • A web hosting service gives your site a place to live and allows your website to be live. If you want your site to be visible, then you must get web hosting.
    • Essentially, web hosting provides a secure place to store online content; it’s like a digital repository.
  • Web Maintenance
    • Web maintenance keeps your site up-to-date and running smoothly.
    • It’s every business owner’s worst nightmare for the company website to go down. That’s why we’ll test for any issues before it goes live, keep it up-to-date, and scan for any hackers or malware.

Here’s a Few Takeaways:
  1. Social media profiles like Facebook or Instagram are not replacements for a business website.
  2. 70% of consumers will visit a store because of information found online is one of the biggest benefits of having a professional website.
  3. Web hosting and maintenance are necessary to keep your website secure and running smoothly.

If you’ve been considering getting a professional website for your business, we hope we were able to answer a few of your questions.

At Paragon, we understand how critical having a website can be in your small business’s success. As always, we want to be a resource for you. So as you have questions, we’ll be here to answer them.

Want to learn more about this topic? Check out our podcast, the Main Street Marketing Podcast, on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, or your audio platform of choice.

3 Ways to Gain Marketing Independence for Your Small Business

Close-up of American flag to celebrate independence

This fourth of July, maybe you’re planning to watch fireworks or attend a parade. Whatever you end up doing, it’s a great time to celebrate that we live in a free country where we’re free to run our own businesses. But have you ever considered what your life could be like with marketing independence?

3 Ways to Gain Your Marketing Independence

As a small business owner, responsibilities often outweigh the freedom that comes with owning a business. And along the way, we’ve learned it’s impossible to be an expert in every aspect of business.

Maybe you’ve also been craving that freedom to focus on the aspects of your business where you most excel in, but you’re unsure how to get there.

So we’re going to share three ways you can gain your marketing independence:

A small business owner celebrating his marketing independence
Let’s celebrate your marketing independence!

1. Take Ownership of Your Digital Assets

There is a freedom that comes from ownership. While there’s certainly nothing wrong with leasing a car or renting a home, there is freedom in owning your vehicle or home. When you own your home, you can decide if you want to replace the carpet, paint the walls, or even renovate your kitchen. But when you rent, there are rules in place that don’t allow you to make any significant changes when your home is owned by someone else.

So what are digital assets, and why should you own them?

Digital assets can be anything that can be stored as a file.

  • Does your business have a website? That’s a digital asset.
  • Do you have a company logo, specially designed graphics that live on your website, project files, videos, or audio clips? All of these can be classified as digital assets.
The second part of the question – why should you own them?

Owning your digital assets will give you freedom to do whatever you want with them.

  • Do you want to share a testimonial video on your social media pages? You can do that when you own them.
  • Do you want to change the color of your logo? You can do that when you own it.
  • Do you want to make small updates to your website? You can also do that when you own it.
But how do you know if you own your digital assets?

If you’ve hired an agency, a contractor, or a freelancer, you have to check with them. Many business owners don’t realize that agencies, designers, and freelancers all have the right to own digital assets – yes, we’re talking about your business’s assets. 

At Paragon Marketing Group, we do not take our clients’ assets. After you pay for your assets, they become yours forever – and not just while we work together. If you decide to leave or hire someone else, all your assets will still belong to you. We do not keep them or hold them as leverage against you if you decide to move on from working with us.

Our advice is to check with whoever does your marketing to find out whether or not you own your digital assets. And if it turns out that you are not the owner, find a marketing agency like Paragon Marketing Group that will give you the freedom to own your business’s digital assets.

2. Gain Independence from Your Competitors

No business wants to look identical to its competitors.

For example, if you had to choose between two different fried chicken restaurants that used the same color scheme, had the exact same menu, were open the same hours, and even hired the same wait staff . . . which would you choose?

You would probably ask what makes each restaurant unique:

  • What are their differentiators?
  • What makes one stand out from the other?
  • Which restaurant has the better chicken?

Obviously, this is a ridiculous question. Of course no two restaurants are identical. 

But let’s say these places are real. Imagine what would happen if one of the restaurants decided it wanted to be different from their competitor:

  • What if they updated their logo and colors to fit a theme that supported their mission to be sustainable?
  • What if this same restaurant updated the format of their menu to make it more readable and clear to customers?
  • What if they updated their hours and then advertised them across all their listings – social media pages, Google profile, website, so that customers could easily determine when they could patronize it?
  • What if they shone a light on their uniquely talented wait staff and advertised them on their website?

We could go on with the “what ifs.”

So when it comes to gaining independence from your competitors, it’s important you don’t implement the same exact marketing strategies that they are.

Consider asking yourself questions like these:
  • Are your competitors using a cookie cutter free website template? Then look into finding a clean, professional look that will accurately reflect your business.
  • Do all their graphics look the same because they use the free version of a popular design software? Then consider learning (or hiring a professional) to create unique, beautiful graphics that will set your designs apart from your competitors.

If you ever notice your competitors jumping on a bandwagon or following a trend, stop and think about it before you jump on with them. Ask yourself if taking part in something that’s trendy is actually going to help market your business . . . or maybe look like you’re just trying to fit in with everyone else. And if you’re thinking about hiring a marketing agency (or if you already have), ask the hard questions, like how they’ll help your business stand apart from the competition.

3. Find Freedom in Running Your Business

After all this talk, you might be thinking “these are great ideas, but who has the time?”

We know the struggles that come with running your own business. But no one Paragon employee knows every detail of every aspect of running a business. And if one of us did, that person certainly doesn’t have the time to implement every great strategy that exists.

At Paragon Marketing Group, our owner Skip doesn’t manage every invoice, design every graphic and website, curate every social media post, pen every video script, or shoot every video. He has a capable team who each uses his or her own expertise to accomplish these tasks.

And having a team of experts to help support Paragon Marketing Group has given Skip great freedom to run his business.

We would love for you to find freedom in running your business, too. And one great way you can do that is to gain some independence in your marketing.

Maybe that looks like hiring a single person in-house to do your marketing.

Maybe that means setting aside a few hours each day to work on marketing, yourself.

Or maybe you could hire a marketing agency like Paragon Marketing Group to run your marketing so you can enjoy the freedom to run your business.

Gaining marketing independence will look different for everyone.

Here’s a Few Takeaways:
  1. Make sure you own your digital assets (and if you don’t, hire someone who will let you).
  2. Differentiate yourself from your competitors (don’t become dependent on your competitors for marketing ideas).
  3. Enjoy the freedom of running your business by not taking on all of your marketing alone (find someone who can help).

If you have any questions, we’re here, and we’re ready to help.

Want to learn more about this topic? Check out our podcast, the Main Street Marketing Podcast, on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, or your audio platform of choice.

Why Marketing Consistency Matters

Discussing marketing consistency and strategy

In business, there isn’t any advice we could offer that would discourage being consistent. But what about marketing consistency?

See, when most people hear the word “consistency,” they think of repeating the same things over and over again. And while repetition plays a role, there’s a whole lot more to it.

How to Build Marketing Consistency into Your Business

You’ve probably read a lot about the importance of brand consistency, and why it’s so important for your business to maintain it. And that’s true — brand consistency is important! But how do you build marketing consistency into your business?

Building consistency into your business marketing is key to your marketing success.
Building consistency into your business marketing is key to your marketing success.

1. Implement General Consistency in Your Business First

Before you can bring marketing consistency into your business, it’s important to understand how being consistent in general business tasks will set you up for success in your marketing.

There are several definitions for the word “consistency,” but our favorite is probably an “agreement or harmony of parts or features to one another or a whole.”

Consistency brings harmony of parts. Ultimately, consistency brings a wholeness to whatever you’re doing.

Think of consistency in the same way you’d maintain your vehicle. When you buy a car, it’s an investment. You don’t just buy it but never take care of it. You get oil changes, you wash your car, you change its tires. And these aren’t just one-time tasks. You do it multiple times throughout the year on a consistent basis, once every 2,000 miles, or quarterly.

The same goes for your business. You don’t just start a business and perform each task one time. Employees will receive regular paychecks. You’ll ensure your business information is secure every day. You’ll even lock your door every time you leave — not just the first time.

So if you’ve established general consistency practices in your business, you understand how important those processes are. Because without them, your employees won’t get paid, your confidential information won’t be secure, and your office will be open for anyone to stop in and take whatever they want.

It stands to reason that your marketing should also be consistent.

2. Understand How Consistency Will Benefit Your Marketing

You know it’s important to be consistent in a general sense. But how can consistency specifically benefit your marketing?

  • Consistency builds predictable results (You know what’s coming when you’re consistent.)
  • Consistency leads to greater financial returns (The easier you make it for clients, the more likely they’ll spend money.)
  • Consistency helps in the long-term (Better to focus on the big picture by staying consistent rather than just put out short-term fires.)
  • Consistency clears up confusion (Your message will be clear to your customers when you’re consistent with how you put it out there.)
  • Consistency builds trust with your customers (Your business information and your message should be the same across platforms.)

And those benefits just scratch the surface. The power of consistency in your marketing can enable you to accomplish far more with it than without it. But understanding that consistency is beneficial isn’t enough. You also have to put in the work.

3. Build Consistency into Your Marketing

Consistency is all about developing processes and following through with them. You can’t just hope that you’ll always be consistent.

Consider including these ideas when incorporating consistency into your marketing:

Make a long-term plan.

Planning for the next hour or day isn’t enough. If you want to repeat the benefits of long-term success, then you need to figure out how consistency will play a long-term role in your marketing. Ask yourself:

  • In what ways have I already built consistency into my business? Can I apply those methods to other aspects of my marketing/business?
  • What areas can I start adding consistency with little effort, and which areas are going to require a longer planning period to build consistency into them?
  • How can I keep myself (and coworkers/employees) accountable in staying consistent with new procedures?

Cross-post consistently.

Keep your calls-to-action (CTAs) clear across all marketing channels. Don’t give 8 or 10 CTAs on your website or your direct mailer. Your customers won’t know what to do, and they’ll probably end up doing nothing.

When it comes to your digital channels, such as your website or social media sites, or even your Google profile, keep your information consistent. For example, don’t have one phone number on your Google profile, another one on your website, and a third one on your Facebook page.

Incorporate consistency behind the scenes.

The work you put in behind the scenes may take a lot of effort, but the important thing is that it be simple for the customer on the front end.

For example, let’s say you want to run a social media marketing campaign that starts with a giveaway and ends with five people winning prizes. How can you build consistency into this social media marketing campaign?

  • Creating a social media schedule and posting consistently will help your followers know when your posts will go live.
  • Curating a list of highly-followed and relevant hashtags and incorporating them into every social post on appropriate platforms consistently will reach more people
  • Developing a process to consistently test all tagged accounts, links that will be clicked, and words to be spell-checked before publishing posts will provide a much better user experience and provide professional credibility for your business.

Notice the common theme? Consistency.

Ultimately, building consistency into your marketing is no easy task. It takes a lot of work. But understanding why it’s so important for not just your marketing, but also your business as a whole can really help you become more consistent in your marketing.

At Paragon Marketing Group, we understand that many small businesses don’t have the time or the resources to apply a large-scale strategy, which is why we love sharing that marketing load, or even taking it completely off your plate. If you’re looking for advice or help regarding your marketing strategy, we’d love to help you.

You can contact us by visiting our website at paragonmarketinggroup.com or call us at 262-443-9092.

Want to learn more about this topic? Check out our podcast, the Main Street Marketing Podcast, on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, or your audio platform of choice.