Marketing and Design Without the Bullsh*t

You Suck at the Internet.

Digital marketing is hard. There is too much to learn and best practices change constantly. Nobody’s an expert at everything, and since you’re busy running a business, it makes more sense to work with a freelance digital marketing consultant who knows that the hell he is doing.

This Is How We Do It

Your marketing strategy currently resembles a headless chicken sprinting around spraying poultry blood on everything in it’s path. It’s disgusting, and when people come in contact with your marketing they are in utter horror.

Strategy is a fancy word for having a plan. You know who doesn’t have a plan? Charlie McLazyass from down the street posting photos of his ugly kids and promoting his Popsicle stand on Facebook.

Marketing must DO and not simply BE. It is a means to an end. There are very few people who walk around admiring billboards for their great layout. You may know a few, but they are advertising industry losers like me and they are definitely not your target.

Marketing strategy is all about planning out a way to use promotional platforms to make yourself some money. After all, that’s why we’re here. To make money, buy some fancy crap, and stay out of nursing home as long as possible.

It takes a mad scientist to truly understand the subtle nuances of website analytics and marketing data. Seriously, you have to be a huge fricking nerd to understand this crap. Who the hell cares?

I care. I’ve spent ten years learning this boring-as-hell nonsense so that I could be marginally better than my colleagues and build a case for that 3% raise every three years. I want to send my kids to college with something more than permanent emotional disabilities, so I’ve hedged my bets on being a data analytics nerd.

You don’t want to be a nerd. You want to drive a Ferrari and sip Mai Thais on the beach while you hire an army of nerds to do your bidding. That’s the American dream and anyone who disagrees deserves a solid punch to the jawline.

Why should you care about cost per conversion, bounce rates, and click-through percentages? Because when you get someone to watch this stuff you’re going to be better than the guy across town who desperately wants to put you out of business.

It’s a hard world out there. It’s gonna take some real nerds to figure out how to clean this place up.

Some people will tell you that design is art. They are stupid morons. When is the last time that oil painting hanging on your wall convinced someone to buy your services?

Here’s the truth: design is a practice of building things that are simply useful.

Good design is very useful. Bad design is not. Your greatest goal in design is to build something that works so incredibly, stupidly easy that people cannot possibly screw it up with their idiot monkey brains.

It’s very easy for something to be pretty, yet completely useless. Whatever you are designing — business cards, websites, applications, magazine ads — it has to serve a function and do it well. It’s the difference between a pretty photo on the wall and a convincing argument from a trustworthy partner.

Right now there is an entry-level account manager with a bachelor’s degree in PR reading a list-porn article on Mashable about how to make a Facebook page “more engagement worthy.” That’s not what you need.

Here’s an idea: stop posting irrelevant, soulless garbage for people to share with their dumb-ass friends. Start building useful content based on what your users need.

As people move from “just looking” to “shut up and take my money” their needs will change. Your job is to fill in all of those gaps with useful web pages, tools and information that will convince this person you are the best business for the job.

Or you can just keep paying that intern to scan Pinterest all day looking for the perfect video for #CatsDoingStuffThursdays.

Regardless of what your Grandma thinks, email isn’t just a way to forward racist chain letters. I’m going to go out on a limb here and bet that at least a couple billion people use email everyday. There is plenty of potential.

There is certainly a good way and a bad way to use email as a marketing tool. The bad way results in me hiring a hit-man to track down “Heather” from “Cyberdyne Industry Solutions” and put 4.37 oz. of American lead between her kneecaps after she contacts me for the 25th time to “RE: just check in.”

Email is awesome because you can do cool things like build 12 week cooking lesson courses, or give your restaurant customers entry to a secret menu club, or hell, you could design an ongoing graphic novel series only available to email subscribers.

You can build dynamic content placements so that people in Alaska see your article about the best winter socks while your subscribers in Florida get something about sandals with bottle cap openers built-in.

Email can be so amazing and so special, but there are so many assholes out there using Marketo to send the same shitty follow-up chain to their purchased list from

You can be better and your customers will thank you for it by subscribing, opening, engaging and loving your business a little bit more than the 10 competitors in your space.

Social media: Planet Earth’s smartest inhabitants have discovered a way replace real human interactions with indulgent selfies and algorithm-tricking click bait. Welcome to the future.

Don’t get me wrong. Social media marketing has certainly shown to be useful in many ways. I spent years doing closely-measured, well-analyzed social campaigns for global brands and I’ve seen amazing things happen.

However, the majority of social media marketing has divulged into the control of self-proclaimed “experts” who vomit a putrid mixture of half-assed execution and meaningless buzzwords directly down your esophagus.

Social media is not a marketing strategy, regardless of what you are told by that super famous blogger your buddy’s company hired to deliver her presentation on “Engagerizementization.”

Social media is a useful cog in your marketing machine. But unless you give your social media presence a specific job to do — like deliver leads or build better customer service — it will become a black-hole of waste and ineptitude.

SEO gets a bad rap thanks to a cottage industry brimming with snaky salespeople. They force business owners into questionable 12-month contracts. They take advantage of unknowing clients with vaguely-defined services and promises to “make you #1 on Google.”

These people should be tarred, feathered, and strung up in the town square for the entire village to see.

Yes, you do want to climb to the top of Google rankings. It can be extremely valuable, but anyone who promises they can make you #1 is not to be trusted.

Search engine optimization is a practice of building things online that 1) are easy to find, and 2) do what they say they are going to do. Your code should be clean and Google-friendly, and when people take time to visit your website you should provide something useful.

Sure, you can slam some keywords into your page titles, but there is more to be accomplished through great user experience, informative pages, and interesting blog posts.

Stay away from the churn and burn agencies with giant client rosters. Their business model is to sell air and spend as little time as possible on delivering results.

Work with someone who has the know-how, time and attention to build you an overall awesome web presence over time.

Google Adwords and Facebook Ads are incredible. Seriously. It’s like someone just handed you a magic wand that produces customers.

In fifteen minutes we can find a niche audience of every Beanie Baby fanatic who lives within a two mile radius of a vintage toy store in Ypsilanti Michigan and hit them with an ad for $2 off their next purchase.

You can use a list of people who have already made a purchase or visited your website, and programmatically find a huge audience of people who share the exact same interests and purchase habits.

We can use conversion tracking to precisely measure every single dollar spent by every single person who has clicked on one of your ads.

As a business owner, you should think this shit is pretty cool. Because even with a small budget, the right advertising strategy can connect you with a very specific audience of people who are ready to hand you their hard earned cash.

Of course, you could be one of those people who thinks “why should I pay for marketing?” YOu probably also refuse to pay $0.99 for an iPhone app. In which case, feel free to leave this web page because I think we’re done here.

Hire a Digital Marketing Consultant

Most “advertising agencies” are all flash and cost lots of cash. They move slowly, charge overhead for their fancy offices, and lock you into lengthy contracts. How are you supposed to get shit done with all those roadblocks in the way?

When you need to quickly add a strategic-thinking, nimble partner to your project, you should hire a freelance marketing consultant. I like to think I’m one of the best digital consultants in the Denver, CO area. Let’s rely on my 10+ years in digital marketing to put together a smart, strategic marketing plan, and then put that plan into action. Or, you know, you could pay 12 jerks to fill your head with buzz-words and play ping-pong all day.

Now Accepting Good Clients

Your competitors are probably out hiring a world class agency right now. They want to leave you in the dust. You can’t let that happen. Let’s get started.

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