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.
One huge advantage of digital marketing is that real-time data is available to show you how effectively your campaign is engaging your audience. Another advantage is that you can use that data to make informed decisions about ways to increase that engagement, even mid-campaign.
That’s why it’s important to work with a marketing partner who believes in the power of data and has the experience and discipline to read and respond to the story it tells.
At Stealth Creative, we’re devoted to data. We think being able to identify key metrics, dig into the numbers and communicate results in clear language is table stakes. What we do with those results to fine-tune tactics, placement and frequency is the real difference-maker.
Because our digital clients represent a wide array of industries, we use an assortment of digital tools and platforms to drive the results they desire. Whether it be ecommerce, ticket sales, form fills or email opens, we never lose sight of our goal to deliver a strong return on investment for our clients.
We may design a programmatic digital display campaign to reach a custom audience, create and optimize an ecommerce search campaign, drive form fills, create segmented content for an email campaign and improve a customer’s Google review ratings—all to ensure our clients’ marketing dollars are being spent efficiently.
A recent ecommerce search campaign for one of our national health and beauty clients produced a return on ad spend of 33:1. Not only did we track spend and correlate it with product sales, through access to their ecommerce and Google Analytics, we also were able to identify the users who made purchases from the campaign, which products they purchased, the dollars spent and other identifying characteristics. With this information, the client was able to send personalized messages to folks who made purchases for similar products or routine maintenance.
We all know how important online reviews have become for companies. Some of our clients have asked us to help them develop a strategy to engage with customers so they will leave reviews or contact the company directly if they are not satisfied with the product. By working with one of our clients in the insurance industry, we identified customers who had recent contact with the company and created a personalized email asking them to leave a 5-star review. This approach resulted in a significant increase in the ratings for our clients.
A well-planned and developed social media campaign helped one of our entertainment clients set a record attendance at their event. More than $56,000 in ticket sales resulted from a spend of $3,600.
Our media buying, from traditional to digital, is handled in house, resulting in greater efficiency for our clients. We took the Joplin Convention and Visitors Bureau’s digital media buying in house and reduced their cpm by 40 percent, which allowed us to buy an additional 1.2 million impressions. For more details, check out this case study.
Madison Mutual Insurance Company wanted to increase the opens and clicks on their policyholder newsletter. Our solution was to segment the newsletter by geography and policyholder type. The result was an increase of 36 percent in opens and 250 percent increase in clicks. For more details, read the full story.
Spend some time with our other case studies or drop me an email at email@example.com.
Charlie Kolsky is a digital and analytics specialist who’s dedicated to delivering results for our clients. He’s also a pretty mean pickleball player.
Maybe your company has its external, customer-facing communication dialed in to a T.
You’re seeing results. Sales are up.
That’s great! But have you been putting the same effort into your internal messaging?
It’s okay to admit if you haven’t. The customer comes first, right? Right. But…
While maintaining relationships with customers and winning new ones may be your primary objectives, keeping your people engaged and informed should be just as much of a priority. Strong internal communication not only helps maintain the health of your company, it also helps protect the bottom line.
And it’s not as simple as repurposing your existing customer communications or firing off a few company-wide emails. You’ve got to be strategic and consistent from the ground-up.
In other words, you have to be in touch with the intrinsic values of your organization.Invest in ‘The Employee Experience’
Work environments and employee priorities are evolving at a quicker pace than ever before, so it’s never been more important to make sure your HR and workforce teams are on the same page.
The journey your employees take during their time at your company and the various factors that affect their satisfaction, productivity and longevity—that’s the employee experience.
Benefits, compensation, work-life balance, work environment and company culture all shape this experience, but a good internal communication strategy should be the common thread that unites all of these elements. Because:
A good employee experience fosters loyalty. You want to retain and grow the employees you have. Not only because turnover inherently costs more, but also because experienced employees can become powerful ambassadors for your brand.
A good employee experience means you’ll be attractive to prospective employees. There is a lot of fierce competition for good candidates; you have to put your best foot forward wherever you can.
A good employee experience is defined by and maintained through solid internal communication. People work better when they know what’s going on and believe in what they’re doing.
If you take nothing else away from this post, at least take this: IT’S NOT A GIVEN THAT YOUR EMPLOYEES ARE FIRM BELIEVERS IN YOUR BRAND.
If the goal of internal marketing is to wind up with fulfilled employees who are nothing short of walking brand ambassadors (it is), they must have a firm grasp on your company, processes and offerings. Effective internal communication gives your team an opportunity to be more active in the company, from onboarding to further training and company education.
No matter how big or small your business, it’s easy to focus so intently on external or product messaging you’re putting out into the world that you lose sight of what’s going on right under your nose.
And even though it may seem overwhelming, getting your internal game aligned doesn’t have to be a mammoth task. Just remember:
Customer-facing and internal-facing materials should go hand-in-hand. In many cases, we don’t have to reinvent the wheel. Your existing marketing materials are often a good starting place for employee education. This product explainer video we created for Friendship Village employees is a perfect example of creative that’s adaptable for internal and external use.
Internal marketing strategy is just as important as external strategy. Just as you would define goals for your marketing and/or sales teams, you should develop a roadmap for your internal processes at all levels, too. What does success look like? How can your leadership and HR teams help to lift up other departments?Tactful Tactics
From digital onboarding programs, to training videos, to business accountability tools, there are plenty of ways to maintain the health of your organization on all levels.
Consider your audience. What methods are going to be the most memorable—even fun—for them to engage with? What processes need to be improved? What are some hurdles management keeps running into?
The right combination of tactics depends on the nature of your company. Whether you’re in need of recruitment help or professional development training depends on your current needs or goals.Let’s Get Intrinsic
You may know your people well, but it often takes an outside perspective to help you reach them effectively.
We created STEALTH INTRINSIC to bridge the gap between external and internal communication, giving you the tools to INVIGORATE your current employees, ATTRACT future candidates and help you BUILD a base of enthusiastic brand ambassadors from the inside out.
Check out some of our success stories and learn more about the benefits of Stealth Intrinsic.
The way you talk to your employees can be the difference between success and failure.
It’s time to start getting everybody on the same page!
Considering the year we just had, that’s huge.
And if you’re a member of a Convention and Visitors Bureau hoping to attract visitors to your community, Stealth has one simple message for you:
In a previous blog, Heads in Beds: The Stealth Way, we outlined the general, day-to-day challenges convention and visitors bureaus face. That was, of course, before a global pandemic rocked the tourism industry worldwide. Since then, many CVBs have had to be creative about what attractions they promoted amid shutdowns (if promoting anything at all).
So, it’s clear that the world is opening back up, and that you should be advertising to take advantage of it. (Like, yesterday!)
Now is the time to spotlight what’s special about your community—whether it’s indoor or outdoor-based! Get some traffic back through your museums, shops, restaurants and parks.
In addition to the full range of traditional advertising tactics we offer, Stealth will work with you to reach a larger audience with tactics like paid search, social media, content marketing and reviews when the user shows interest in travel.
If your community has an attractive mix of activities or destinations to offer—and you’re able to get in front of would-be visitors while in the planning stage—you’ll be in their consideration set for sure.
It’s time to get the word out. Let us help!
Whether you are a smaller community CVB with a team of five or less, or a big town with a fully functioning marketing department, Stealth Digital will integrate with you seamlessly to help you define and achieve your marketing goals.
We pride ourselves on our ability to be an extension of your existing marketing team, not a replacement.
We have experience working with local CVBs. We’re familiar with your pain points. We know how to address your concerns.
We are motivated to help America’s communities get back to business and we can help yours reach a larger, more optimized audience than ever.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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.
Though the world continues to change around us, convincing travelers to spend time in our own little slice of it remains a top objective and a driving economic force for many towns, both large and small.
In fact, tourism marketing is a major contributor to the United States economy, accounting for approximately 2.75 trillion U.S. dollars in 2018.
At the heart of the local tourism industry are Convention & Visitor Bureaus (CVBs). The CVB is the organization that pulls individuals and groups together to market their community as a whole. Hotels, restaurants, local attractions and event promotion teams all work with their local CVB to attract visitors and locals to their businesses.
Many CVBs get their marketing dollars from state agencies and local hotel taxes. The job of the CVB is make sure there are “heads in beds” at local hotels, motels and bed and breakfasts.
But what if your community doesn’t have a pro sports team, a vibrant food scene or some of the other attractions larger cities might offer?
Small markets must take a unique approach to advertising their communities. More creativity is required in determining what is considered an “attraction,” and more strategy is needed in order to speak to potential visitors in a compelling way. (For example, there is a rising number of travelers looking for experiences that are “off-the-beaten-path,” or of historical significance. This is where a smaller community can shine!)
But even after a town has identified what to say and how to say it, smaller CVBs will continue to face the same key challenges:
If your staff is being pulled in many different directions, it’s important to bring in someone who can help take responsibilities off their plate. That’s where a marketing agency comes in.
When you hire an agency, you have a full team of people ready to assist with all aspects of your marketing plan. From marketing strategy, to creative design, to media placement, working with an agency increases your staff multifold. You’ve got graphic designers, digital and brand strategists, experts in all types of media placement and account executives to help keep everything on track.
With more than 50 years of combined experience in CVB marketing and media placement, Stealth Creative can help you find the best venues for marketing your community. We have staff that have worked for CVBs and have seen the challenges up close. Based on who your ideal visitor is, we can assist you in determining the best way to reach those individuals. With so many options out there, it’s important to have an expert in your corner, helping to make the most out of the limited budget you might have.
One of the CVBs we currently work with has lost several attractions over the past few years. Their focus has now turned to the local art scene, foodies who travel for the experience of eating unique cuisine, American history buffs, and individuals who want more active vacations – hiking, biking and canoeing are all great options in this area. Stealth has been able to help this CVB determine new target markets and opportunities to promote what makes their city great… and then make sure they are advertising to the travelers that are most likely to visit!
No one can be an expert in everything. But you are an expert on your community. Let Stealth be the experts in marketing your community.
As always stay tuned until the next time we go Off the Radar.
Photo Courtesy of the Joplin Convention & Visitors Bureau.
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
I am a goal-oriented person. I set goals in every area of my life.
Here it is: the final segment of our Agency/Client relationship series. We’ll be covering the ever-crucial task of assessing your agency’s body of work. You can catch up on our posts about deciding if you need an agency, choosing the right agency and maintaining your marketing agency relationship in case you missed them.(more…)