As we often say at Stealth Creative: Your website IS your brand; it acts as a virtual gateway for customers to discover and engage with your products or services.
So, as long as your website leaves a good first impression, you’re all set. Right?
Turns out, it’s not that simple. Because not all websites are created equal. To ensure your online platform effectively represents your business and reaches your target audience, it’s vital to invest in a website that’s built to best-practice specifications.
Let’s explore the key steps involved in creating a website that not only looks great but serves you exactly how it should.
The first step for developing your website is building a solid foundation. Wireframes and a site map serve as the blueprint for your website, outlining its structure, navigation and key functionalities. At Stealth, we understand how crucial it is to work closely with clients at this stage to ensure we have clear understanding of YOUR business goals, target audience and desired user experience.
Once the wireframes and site map are approved, the design phase begins. Aesthetics play a key role in engaging your website visitors. This is where you get to meet our design team! They love to collaborate with clients, helping to spin their visions into a appealing and cohesive experiences. Logos, color schemes, brand guidelines and any specific design elements that reflect your brand’s personality are developed (or incorporated if already existing). This collaborative process will help create a website design that not only looks stunning but also reinforces your brand’s message and values.
After finalizing the design, the development phase takes center stage. Stealth’s skilled developers will transform the approved design into a functional website, employing best practices for coding, responsiveness and usability. And since more than half of overall web traffic comes from mobile devices, we take a mobile-first approach to design and development. This phase may involve content creation, integration of e-commerce functionalities and customization based on your needs.
Throughout this process, we prioritize regular communication with you, so you can provide timely feedback and we can agilely address you concerns or modifications. Once the website is thoroughly tested and refined, it’s time for the highly anticipated launch.
Your newly built website is ready to be unveiled to the world, but its success relies on driving traffic and attracting visitors. Incorporating search marketing strategies is the key to improving your website’s visibility in search engine results.
This is where Stealth’s digital marketing experts work to ensure SEO elements, such as keyword optimization, meta tags and proper site structure, are in place. Depending on your business’s needs, our content team can also help to create engaging and shareable content to attract organic traffic and explore paid advertising options to amplify your website’s reach.
Investing in a well-built website is an investment in your business’s success!
By partnering with an experienced agency like Stealth Creative, you can be confident that best-practice specifications are followed, and you can ensure your website is optimized for performance, user experience and search engine visibility.
Check out our Web Services page to get a sense of what we can do. Then, drop us a line when you’re ready to start your website build. We can’t wait to be your guide!
Jack Eschmann is a Senior Copywriter who has worked on both the account service and creative sides of the advertising business. He enjoys crafting messages that are strategically sound, action driving and true-to-brand for each client he serves. He is also a leading member of Stealth’s content team, is an avid musician and production nerd—and can often be found laying down voiceovers in the agency’s production studio.
There’s a lot one can learn during an internship at Stealth Creative. We like to think the experience is immersive, and truly valuable when it comes to helping the next generation of marketers begin their career. But we realize that there’s a lot we too can learn from enthusiastic grads and newbies to the industry. We want to hear fresh perspectives—and keep a check on ourselves as the world continues to move at a blistering pace around us.
So, we sat down with Samantha Spaulding, (the latest honorary Stealther who’s making big waves in our Joplin office) to hear what she has to say about her experience as a Stealth intern so far.
I’ve learned a lot from my work within the agency. The classroom taught me some of the technical knowledge and terms, but it really is a different experience living through it and seeing it all in action in the real world. I help with financial advisor (The Princeton Group), internet provider (Sparklight), and livestock product (US Whip) clients. I’ve enjoyed creating and presenting creative briefs internally to kick off projects for our creative team, and helping with research, building presentation decks and social media tracking.
I’ve known my entire life that I was meant to be in business, but it wasn’t until I was 15 that I fell in love with advertising. I was selected in high school to attend a leadership program where we had three days to create a business. Everyone had to select a role (management, HR, finances, marketing, etc.) I chose marketing because of my history with creating art and interest in designing our company’s logo. This experience taught me many components of marketing–logo designs, social media, advertising, budgets… I loved the mixture, and immediately felt like it was meant for me!
A combination of both—whatever trends are occurring! AI is a more unexplored field, so I think we should begin to pour our focus into learning the technology and seeing how we can use it in advertising. There may be some risks when it comes to AI, but I still think we can use it to our advantage. With the incredibly fast access to a great amount of knowledge, we can carefully and responsibly use them for research and training.
I like seeing small business advertisements. Since they’re typically on a smaller budget, they often must be extra creative to get attention in their niche. Seeing more small online businesses experiment with aesthetics, following TikTok trends or monitoring overall market trends is inspiring—and fun to see when it works!
I like to constantly stay busy! Design was part of my education, and it’s also my side gig. I do glass paintings and digital art and produce prints and stickers for various shows and voice actors. A vacation to me is going to a weekend anime convention and networking with voice actors from big shows with artwork of the characters they voice. I sometimes sell my work online, in stores, and at conventions. I also love fashion, reading, and pretending to be a gym rat.
No surprise, because according to Statista, 78% of us do some kind of spring cleaning every year. But that doesn’t just have to mean purging your closet or scrubbing baseboards. Today, we’re giving you some tips on how you can spring clean your marketing strategy.
While there are assets that you should keep handy – logo files, for example – there are plenty that could likely move to an archive. For instance, creative or copy files that have already been produced can be moved to a server or hard drive. This way, you can still access them, but they won’t be taking up precious desktop space. Decluttering gives you a chance to take inventory of what you have in your library – while also allowing for inspiration when it’s time to freshen up those assets!
If it’s been a while since you’ve examined your target audience and messaging, now is the perfect time to look “under the hood” of your marketing strategy!
Ask yourself these questions:
Because if you aren’t where your target audience is, you need to think about how to get there.
While you might keep some marketing in-house, consider if letting a trusted partner help expand your team’s capacity makes sense. Picture this: You no longer expend energy improving your social strategy or media placement. Instead, you get to do what you do best: run your business!
While we can’t help you organize your life, we can help you organize your marketing strategy. If you’re looking for a partner who wants you to succeed as much as you do, we’re here to help.
The Initiative for a Competitive Inner City (ICIC) 2020 Inner City 100 (IC100) award recognizes the 100 fastest-growing firms in under-resourced communities across America. The winners were picked based on revenue growth and job creation during the four-year period from 2015 to 2019.
Stealth ranked 64th out of 100, based on our four-year revenue growth rate of 113.26% and job creation of 9. Not too shabby!
This year’s IC100 list had the highest number of women-owned/led companies (which includes Stealth, as a certified Women Business Enterprise). It’s an increase of eight companies from 2019 and 17 since 2015.
“IC100 companies are forces of economic opportunity, optimism and transformation in their communities, and it’s an honor to recognize Stealth Creative’s leadership,” said ICIC CEO Steve Grossman. “Especially during this incredibly challenging time, as small business owners reckon with the economic fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic, these pioneering entrepreneurs have demonstrated a deep commitment to and passion for their local communities.”
Countless companies and business owners have had to pivot, re-think, transition and find creative ways to thrive in the ever-changing landscape of our modern world.
We’re so proud to be included on the IC100 list. It is incredibly rewarding to be recognized alongside leaders from so many industries across the country, particularly during this really challenging year.
Even as the majority of the Stealth team have been diligently working from their home offices this year, our sense of togetherness and our focus on continuing the positive trends of the past few years is stronger than ever.
As your marketing and advertising force, you can bet that we’ll continue to embrace every challenge that comes our way.
Take a minute to read more inspiring entrepreneurial stories from the list of IC100 recipients here.
The Future Has Never Looked Brighter!
Mindy Jeffries — President and CEO, Stealth Creative
Like most small businesses in the US, Stealth is adjusting to the new normal of social distancing. We’re working from home, taking guitar lessons on zoom and going to church on YouTube. We are finding it’s harder to decline a virtual happy hour. What can the excuse be? I am too busy. That doesn’t seem to work in times like these!
As a company, we are helping our clients in different ways, depending on the category. We are reducing media for some and increasing for others. Some clients, we’re advising to keep a “heartbeat” of media going, so they can jump in faster once we are on the other side.
We are also looking at short term digital solutions and moving dollars between mediums. Social media is a good alternative! People are engaging more with family and friends and turning to social media for entertainment and news. Social allows us to stay light on our feet as messaging changes daily, sometimes hourly.
To help businesses in this time of need, we are offering a free 60-minute consultation to give you ideas and action plans for your business! Please email email@example.com to sign up.
At Stealth, we are thankful for the internet! Right now, we are all one step from being Little House on the Prairie. We plan to take this one day at a time, but now with everyone being able to work remotely, we can take it one month at a time, which is comforting.
Take a Breather
If you have anxious moments, designate 15-30 minutes each day to write down what you are worried about then cross off everything you can’t control. This exercise can be a great way to refocus on your day and enjoy time with family.
Remember the six basic emotions we all have:
Let’s focus on Peace, Joy, Power.
If you can work from home during these challenging times, remember it’s a luxury that some can’t enjoy. Embrace the back to basics shift!
We aren’t experts yet, but with a few weeks under our belts, we’ve decided to compile some tips from our employees about how they are making their home offices a productive workplace.
Here are our tips so far:
We are sending gratitude, love, prayers and support to the essential workers who have been working around the clock to fight COVID-19.
Life is good; you are a blessing! THANK YOU to all the businesses that made the difficult decision to work from home while we fight this virus as a country. You are making a difference.
For me, it truly is the happiest time of the year! Why? I am in the midst of Stealth Creative’s planning cycle for 2020! Wow! New year, new decade, new moleskine! New clients with new needs! Our tried-and-true clients are looking for new ideas! The new year is invigorating. And oh, yes… I love the holidays, and how they give me energy to launch into the new year with vigor!
So you’ve decided an ad agency could help you. Now what? Where do you turn to begin your search? What type of agency do you need? How do you know if it’s a good fit?
When I was on the client side of the business, it crossed my mind a few times to hire an agency. The thought was just as quickly extinguished because it was frightening! I immediately thought: Too expensive! More people to manage! Interviewing time and hassle! If only I’d had someone back then to help me realize it doesn’t have to be any of those things!
So let’s walk through these steps one by one to understand how you can easily hire an ad agency that’s the right partner for you and your company.
A long time ago in a faraway land, I was a beginning marketing person. I had no staff and was responsible for a pretty big marketing budget. The first thing I wanted to do was hire more help, but even more important was ensuring diversity of thinking within the marketing team.
My product was telecommunications, and my target market didn’t want it. We needed to perform some foundational work and reposition the product in the customer’s mind. And it would’ve been great to enlist the help of an agency for that heavy lift.
Many times the first battle when thinking about hiring an ad agency can be within your own company. Leadership asks: Why do you need an ad agency? How much will this cost? Why can’t you handle the marketing yourself?
Here’s my checklist to build your case for hiring an ad agency.
Copywriting, design, coding, events, digital media, PR, direct marketing and traditional tactics, SEM/SEO, video, website, email, social media, oh my! There are so many tactics today, and each tactic requires specific expertise and perhaps tactical software to manage.
One marketing person cannot possibly have expertise in all these things, as many of the tools in marketing require different skill sets. And even if you find an amazingly talented person, there is still is a limit on how much one person can do effectively. You may have team members with expertise in the majority of these disciplines, but chances are there’s a resource gap or two that an agency can help fill.
Most business owners are busy running their business and at best have lean marketing staffs. By hiring an ad agency, you get the tools and experience of experts in specific disciplines without needing to hire, train and pay benefits to a new staff member. It’s generally more cost-effective than building your own in-house agency.
Understanding your current marketing spend, revenue and overall budget is a good place to start when deciding how much you have to spend on agency services. Keep in mind the revenue numbers might vary depending on if you are marketing to businesses or consumers. Remember, even a little help can be a huge benefit to your marketing resources.
Marketing is not black and white, and it really helps to have a few different brains coming together to offer different ideas for projects, tactics, creative and more. Hearing different perspectives can also help you get inside your customer’s viewpoints, which is crucial for your marketing efforts.
When you hire the right ad agency, it’s pretty easy to measure success when the correct KPIs are put into place. It’s critical to have that discussion up front to ensure your agency partner understands your business goals and objectives to work with you to develop a strategy that can accomplish those goals.
By hiring an agency who is truly a partner to help you with your marketing tactics, you can do more marketing without needing to hire more staff! You’ll have more arms and legs to help who also serve as an extension of your team.
As you work together more and more, the ad agency learns your business, which enables a good agency to expose you to new ideas and constantly share the learning.
Like all relationships, chemistry is probably the first criteria to focus on. Meet with the ad agency team to understand their personalities, and if they’ll mesh with you and your team.
Make sure you meet and like the head of your account as well as your day-to-day account manager. Some marketers are so wowed by the ad agency; they become intimidated by them, which does not make for a good working relationship. You and your agency should be in a true partnership.
It’s important for there to be good respect both ways. After all, you’re hiring them for their expertise and experience in specific marketing disciplines. Put that expertise to good use! Likewise, they’ll learn from you and your business to make the partnership the perfect combination.
You and your agency of choice should ask: How can we best achieve my goals on this budget?
Working with an ad agency should be fun and energizing. It should be based on two-way trust and help you achieve much more than you and your team could do internally with current resources and expertise.
It should be a relationship that improves as you each get to know one another, and it should be mutually beneficial.
Coming up next, we’ll talk about how to work effectively with your ad agency! There are certainly tricks to that trade.
As always, feel free to reach out to talk more about working with an agency or to set up your own discovery session
Many years ago, when I began my first leadership marketing job, I was still doing most of the work myself. I was the marketing leader for the organization, but for sure I was a lone ranger.
I, alone, thought of new ideas to execute. I alone did all the work! So ideas were limited to what I could dream up – and accomplish. And I didn’t have many tools, but to be honest, there weren’t a lot of tools available. (Marketing has come a long way since the 80s for sure.)
So, rather than continuing to go it alone, I hired an ad agency! After hobbling along for a year a so, I thought: Why not leverage the things an ad agency could bring to the table to help enhance my marketing efforts?
When you’re a sole contributor in the role of marketing it’s very lonely. Who do you ask to verify an idea is valid? The finance guy? How expensive is it? The boss? How soon can you do it? An ad agency can offer rational collaboration and immense help with preparation and planning to help you succeed:
After asking one of my agencies for a ‘bubbling cauldron of ideas,’ they took a picture of the entire agency in a hot tub! I got that and much more from this agency. They were super creative and always bringing fresh perspective to my business.
…even back then, such as media-buying software to ensure we didn’t have to accept for granted whatever the media outlets were telling us. Direct mail assistance with years of expertise in this specific tactic to offer best practices, A/B tests and more. And that’s just scratching the surface.
Often, you and your team know what you’re doing, have the expertise to do it – but just don’t have the time or resources available to execute. That’s where the right ad agency can serve as a seamless extension of your marketing team.
You can accomplish so much more to move the needle if you’re not always focused on the details. You can do more to move the bigger needle if you’re passing off the smaller ones. Take advantage of the effectiveness and efficiency an ad agency can bring to the table to free you up to focus on the things you need to.
Most of us love our companies, and that can often mean our perspective may be a little myopic. Sometimes it’s difficult for us to see our brand from the customer’s perspective. There are many tools available today to help us see ourselves as our customers see us. Take advantage of those – and of your ad agency’s expertise to help bridge that divide.
Copywriters, media buyers, graphic designers, social media experts, videographers, website designers, PR professionals, and more. No training needed. Your marketing team may include several of these, but maybe not all. Using an agency for those areas of expertise you may not have on staff is a great way to expand your marketing team – without actually expanding your marketing team.
Ad agencies are all about achieving results for you, your team and your company. That’s their job. Why not take advantage of all they have to offer?
I always feel extremely thankful for those agencies from my early days. The people I reported to took a chance – and bought into the vision I had of leveraging an agency to enhance our existing marketing efforts. And it truly paid off.
Interested in learning how an agency may help enhance your marketing initiatives or serve as an extension of your marketing team? Reach out. We’d love to chat. And check out the second part of the Puddle Jumping With Mindy series: How Do I Hire the Perfect Ad Agency?
As the sun set on 2018, 2019 quickly brought us an exciting opportunity! Stealth acquired a new client in Joplin, MO – Freeman Health System. We are so excited to welcome Freeman Health as a Stealth client; they are a wonderful hospital that has been operating since 1925, with a health network that extends into outlying areas.
Google “fatigue,” and you’ll find several meanings for the word: Exhaustion, extreme tiredness, reduced efficiency.(more…)
Seasons greetings from all of us here at Stealth! Wishing you and yours a wonderful holiday season and happy New Year!
The answer? It depends.