Five Tips to Help Your Next Creative Project Run Smoothly

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Guest blog by David Fallin

Are you looking to refresh your business or company’s visual identity?

Maybe you’re in need of a high-quality advertisement for an upcoming event or an eye-catching display for a trade show.

If quality is important to you, and you want to do it right, then you will need to work with a graphic designer. This designer could be a freelancer or someone working within a larger business or design firm. Regardless, there are some basic and important things you should know when working on a creative project with a designer that will make everyone’s experience rewarding and productive.

Here is a list of helpful tips I’ve compiled based on my experience as a freelance designer and a designer working within a larger organization. Every designer works differently, and I certainly can’t speak for everyone, but I’ve found that having a ground-level understanding with my clients helps the process flow much more smoothly in a timely and efficient manner.

Communicate Clearly

This is a no-brainer. Clear communication between a designer and client is vitally important to the process and helps bridge the gap between an abstract thought or vision, and a concrete, deliverable product. This is even more important when you are working with a specific designer for the first time.

When I begin working with a new client I like to sit down and have a face-to-face conversation so I can get a feel for the individual’s personality and tastes as well as find out what has and hasn’t worked for them in the past in terms of creative projects. Doing this allows me to find common ground with my client and gives me the ability to form a working language with them. Gaining insight into my client’s likes, dislikes, and past experiences helps me anticipate their needs and communicate with them in an effective way. This is why it’s important for my clients to communicate their thoughts and experiences clearly. The more information that a client gives me, the better. I use it all, along with my expertise, and creativity to craft a creative solution suited to his or her needs.

Read Emails Thoroughly

Our number one goal in project communication is to help our client reach the best result with no frustrations along the way. Email is one of the most useful tools in this process, but there are times when email can become part of the problem. We try to leverage meetings, calls, and emails strategically to keep things on track.

When we use email to send a comp, there are usually some important notes in the email that merit your attention along with the design files. Your project will run more smoothly and efficiently if you respond to questions and notes your designer includes in the email as quickly as possible.

Consolidate Your Project Feedback and Corrections

Some clients have multiple people involved in the review process of the creative work. This often leads to multiple (and contradictory) feedback. Corrections that are sent to the designer in a “leaky faucet” manner, can cause frustrations for everyone involved in a project and kill workflow and efficiency.

To better serve you, gather all the feedback from your team and consolidate it in a single email. This leads to a better result and a quicker turnaround time, keeping your project on track and within budget. When a designer needs to make revisions due to feedback confusion, it increases the amount you pay.

If You Want Your Images and Project to Look Great, Supply Great Images

Your designer’s goal is to provide the highest quality work for you and to do that they need you to provide image and logo files that are the largest and highest resolution available. If you don’t have access to great files then speak with your designer about possible solutions. I’m always quick to let my client know if their image and logo files won’t work with the dimensions and scale of their project. We discuss the alternatives and I offer potential solutions in order to get the best results.

Designers Always Need a Vector Version of Your Brand Identity/Logo

The bulk of my workload consists of advertisements, flyers, t-shirts or other projects that involve the brand logos of one or multiple companies or businesses. At the beginning of the project, when I’m gathering assets and information, I always ask for vector versions of all of the logos that need to be included in the piece I’m designing.

Many clients are not familiar with this type of file or they aren’t sure if they have one. This could be because the original logo designer never provided a vector version of the logo. This can cause real problems and project delays, so here is a little info about vector files that will help you prepare for your next project.


[vec - tor]

A flexible, high-resolution file that allows your branding elements to be
resized without losing any image quality.

Vectors files are flexible, high-resolution files that allow your branding elements - like logos, banners, etc. - to be resized without losing any image quality. These files can also be converted to other common formats (JPG and PNG, for example) when needed.

Common vector file formats include:

● AI




Since vector files are scalable without losing quality the actual size of the file is of no concern. Vector files will also be requested from your printer to ensure the highest quality final product, so it’s important to know where these files are within your digital filing system. A designer should always supply you with vector versions of your branding elements at the end of a project. If you’ve lost these files or never received them, most designers can build a vector version; however, this takes time and could add to the cost of your project.

Here’s to Your Next Successful Creative Project!

I hope these tips have been helpful and provided you with more confidence, knowledge, and direction that you can take into your next creative project. Creative projects can be a fun and rewarding experience when communication is streamlined and a basic working language is created between a designer and client. It’s a rewarding experience for both designers and clients alike to see an idea or thought turned into something that looks great and sends the correct message.

If you’re interested in viewing my work and learning more about me, visit or my Facebook page

A New Day at Electromagnetic Marketing

You never know where a conversation is going to lead. One little phone call on July 1, 2019, changed my life.

I’m not sure what the first conversation between Batman and Superman was like when they formed the Justice League, but what happened next may be as close as I ever get to finding out.

I’ve been working to build Electromagnetic Marketing since June of 2017, and Scott Elliott has been working alongside me since February of 2018. We’ve been blessed beyond anything that we could have imagined, but we’ve also faced challenges and hurdles that were hard to anticipate.

Scott and I were walking to lunch on Monday, July 1st when one of our clients called with an interesting question.

“Are you interested in taking on additional partners in Electromagnetic Marketing?”

The Answer Would Have Been “No”

At that time, we were not looking for just any investor or partner because we didn’t want to do anything that would take our eye off of the vision that we had set for the kind of agency that we want to build and how we serve our clients.

The answer would have been “No” if it had been anyone else calling. But in this situation, I was all ears. This call was coming from two of our long-term clients who understand our vision for Electromagnetic Marketing, so I was intrigued.

Call(ed by) Waynes!

About a month after I started Electromagnetic Marketing, Randy Webb, the Creative Director at Key7 Investments reached out to me for a little help on a Google Ads campaign for one of the companies that they owned, Waynes Environmental Services. We had worked together on Waynes advertising in the past, and they turned to Electromagnetic for some help getting their arms around their advertising campaigns.

Our working relationship was mutually beneficial. Working with Waynes enabled me to hire my first 2 employees and get Electromagnetic Marketing off of the ground. Waynes grew dramatically as we got their campaigns cleaned up and optimized.

Our companies developed a real appreciation for the way the other did business. We learned a tremendous amount from Waynes and used them as a model for many of our business practices and strategies.

Eric Frye and Steven Splawn, the principal partner in Waynes, built their business from a small regional company into a major player in the pest control industry. In August of 2019, Anticimex acquired Waynes in a deal that was a tremendous endorsement of everything that the Waynes team had accomplished over the last 15 years.

A New Opportunity

Since Waynes was no longer a part of the Key7 family, Steven and Randy started having conversations about how they could continue to work together. All of the Key7 companies have marketing needs, but building an agency from scratch presented a number of challenges. This led to the phone call that I received on July 1st.

“Are you interested in having Randy and Steven as partners in Electromagnetic Marketing?”

This was an easy question to answer. Randy and Steven are two individuals who understand our vision and believe in what we are trying to accomplish. Between Randy’s design expertise and Steven’s business acumen, they also round out our skill set and prepared us for the future.

Three months later, our “Dream Team” has come together. Just like the Justice League.

Today, we would like to introduce the new Electromagnetic Marketing. (Electromagnetic Team). In addition to Steven and Randy, we are thrilled to welcome Kasey Moore to our team. She is a marketing specialist with experience at Key7 and in the non-profit sector at Red Mountain Park.

I can’t tell you how happy I am. This gives us operational resources that free Scott and me to think about proactive strategies for excellence in serving our clients and growing Electromagnetic.

This brings new skill sets to the table in the exact areas where we previously had gaps. Thanks to Randy, we now have the branding, design, and video capabilities that made Waynes dominant in its space.

I’m thrilled. For our clients. For Electromagnetic Marketing. For all of us who are involved.

It’s a brand new day.

PS. A brand new day and a brand new Creative Director deserve a brand new logo! We are proud to reveal our new logo!


Why Video Marketing is a Must!

Is it really necessary to jump on the Video train? Um, yes. Get this crazy statistic from HubSpot

Online video will account for 82% of all online traffic by 2020! 

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Whether you welcome this type of creativity with arms flung wide open or embrace it as much as you would a pillow made of porcupine needles, it’s time. Either way, let us help you step up onto that train. 

Why is Video so Dang Popular? 

  • Images attract the eye. Most people would much rather look at colorful objects than stationary black and white text. Let me show you:

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  • 65% of us are visual learners. Instructions can be difficult to comprehend on paper. A video showing how it’s done accompanying that same instruction makes it easier to understand. I bet if I had a video explaining this, it wouldn’t be so boring!

  • 97% of businesses using explainer videos say it helps users understand their business better. 

  • 73% of consumers say they’ve bought a product after watching a video.

  • Viewers retain 95% of a message after watching it in a video, compared to 10% when reading it in text.

  • When given the option, most people will watch something over reading it. Reading takes energy, concentration and time. If a picture is worth a thousand words, then watching a short video takes less energy, concentration and time. Bingo.

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Now that we’ve driven that point into the ground, let’s move on.

Types of Video that Accelerate Your Business’ Growth

What kinds of videos are being used in b2b marketing? This isn’t just a list. It’s a strategy. When used together, these babies can leverage some awesome ROI!

  • Brand Videos

    • According to a recent study, 84% of consumers surveyed were convinced to buy a product or service after watching a brand’s video. 

This is where you make a positive first impression. Keep it so short and simple that “even a caveman can do it”...or understand what you’re all about. Props to Geico for that genius tagline. 

It’s Important to be creative in relaying your messages. Animation isn’t always the best choice for professionals, but if it jives with your brand, use it!

  • Explainer Videos

As mentioned above, explainer videos explain how to use your product and how it will make your customer’s life easier. This is extremely valuable information to the consumer! People won’t buy things they don’t understand.

  • When video and text are both available on the same page, 72% of consumers prefer video to learn about a product or service. 

  • 95% of people have watched an explainer video to learn more about a product or service.

  • Viewers retain 95% of a message after watching it in a video, compared to 10% when reading it in text.

  • 73% of consumers say they’ve bought a product after watching a video.

 That should be enough to start your Explainer Video fire.

  • Product Video

Nothing promotes a product or service better than displaying it in all its glory to highlight its benefits. According to a recent study, 84% of consumers surveyed were convinced to buy a product or service after watching a brand’s video. (If you like statistics, click ⇨ here.)Here’s another thought; you can also highlight products that aren’t yours, but could still be useful to your customers. This builds viewers’ trust and relays the message that you care about more than just your sale; you care enough about them to recommend something that you won’t profit from. 

  • Company Culture Videos

People buy based on how you make them feel. Giving your brand a human side makes them feel good about purchasing from you and helps them make a more personal connection. Have fun with this one and allow your staff to let loose a little. Examples range from non-boring virtual office tours to employee interviews - ”a day in the life of…” You get the idea; I hope. If not, email me.

  • Event Videos

People LOVE to be in-the-know. When you let them know, they like you. Remember MTV’s “Making the Video” series? They let people in on the entire process to your fave music videos. You can do that here too. Start filming before the event, get the meat of the event, and even capture some footage for the breakdown. Give them the inside scoop and make them feel special.

  • Testimonials and Product Review Videos

Admit it, you’re guilty of buying based on that 5-star scale. Most people are. That’s why you need testimonial videos! When other people rave about you, it creates interest, confidence, and excitement. Be sure your testimonial videos reflect enthusiasm for your business and a genuineness. Consumers can sense forced emotion.

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  • Vlogs

People may not take the time to read your very well-written blog post, which really stinks, because I know you put a lot of time and effort into it. But making an alternative way for them to enjoy all that hard work is the next best thing, right? You can either go all out and create videos that take the blog’s place; this is the true definition of a vlog, or simply use an online video tool to create a short introduction to your blog’s topic. 

Creating videos to support blog content applies one of the principles that we hold dear at Electromagnetic Marketing. 

When you create a high-value piece of content of any type, get as much value from that content as possible by presenting it in multiple formats. 

Said another way, videos make great blog posts and blog posts make great videos. This helps you reach a larger audience, and keeps you from doing the same work twice. 

  • Live Videos on Social for FUN 

People have a fear of missing out. That’s why most are strangely compelled to finish watching a Facebook Live video. And according to Facebook, their live streams get 10 times more engagement than regular videos. Don’t be scared. Live video isn’t that bad and it helps keep your brand human. So get over it and...

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One More Reason to Love Video

Before we wrap this up, here’s one more fun fact. Using the word “video” in an email subject line boosts open rates by 19 percent. Half of the marketers who used video in email campaigns saw increased click-through rates, increased time spent reading the email, and increased sharing and forwarding. That’s a lot of increase.

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Time to Jump on that Train

So, still need help stepping onto that train, or are you good? If you have information overload, hire us. We’ll help you figure out a plan best suited for your business and do a lot of the implementing for you.


Marketing on Facebook. Is it worth it?

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Facebook. The virtual land that controls emotions. It has the power to send you to cloud 9 or searching for a quarter so you can call someone who cares. We don’t want to admit that the number of likes, shares, and comments affect how we gauge our success and especially not our self-esteem, but if we’re honest, sometimes we are using it as a means to determine how our business is really doing. 

A friend recently observed that her business page is getting fewer likes than it used to. Her first thought was that the posts must be less interesting. That could make sense. But is it true? Time to evaluate the situation.
Why aren’t you getting as many Likes?

  1. Now you see me, now you don’t.

By now, many of us are aware that Facebook has changed its Newsfeed completely to make it more of a “friends and family” platform. Your brand’s posts don’t necessarily show up in their newsfeed like they once did. Your posts now show up under “Pages” on the lefthand sidebar of your fans’ Newsfeed. That’s where your followers have to go to see your content (and every other business page they have liked), causing engagement to drop like a hot potato. 

But notice, I didn’t say your posts never show up in their Newsfeed. Facebook's updated News Feed algorithm sets different priorities for which content gets prime News Feed love. So what are these new priorities? According to a private Facebook webinar, you get more exposure when:

  • The content is shared over Facebook Messenger.

  • The content is Liked or commented on.

  • The content receives multiple replies.

  • "Meaningful interactions" between users take place. 

2.  “Boost” me up, Scotty.

Sadly, you are now expected to dish out those Benjamins if you want your posts to land in front of your fans’ eyes. It almost inspires the question: Does Facebook really care about being more friends and family-focused...or is that a disguise for other motives? Regardless of the answer, you are now expected to pay for ads in exchange for fame. That doesn’t mean you boost every post. Just supplement here and there and keep those organic posts going.

     3.   You had me at hello.

Judging your own posts is almost impossible. You are in fact biased. With so much content flooding social media, making a strong impression quickly is key. Here are some tips for creating engaging posts that will pull your audience in. By the way, if you get all the following references, you must be a child of the ‘80s or ’90s. 

Sweet Emotion. Are you focused on targeting emotions instead of sales? A picture of one of your products surrounded by flowers on a pretty farm table may not be as inspiring as you think. In Steve Tyler’s words: “You’re talking about things that nobody cares”. If people are interested in the products you sell, they will visit your website. Put effort into connecting with people’s touchy-feely side and they will pay attention. People buy based on how they feel. In case you have lost touch with your feelings, here are some examples:

Be funny - making them laugh can be a challenge, but people are attracted to humor. Funny memes get more likes and shares than your friend’s dinner plate. Even your business doesn’t have to be all business all the time. It’s ok to crack a smile!

Be inspiring - this can be done through something heart-warming or encouraging. If you struggle with coming up with inspiration, share videos that are inspiring! It doesn’t all have to be brand focused and it shows you have a human side...and a life outside of your brand.

Create Excitement - Post a contest or giveaway! Don’t be cheap. Give them something to get excited about! There’s nothing like a little competition and everyone wants to win.

Let’s get visual, visual. What makes people stop scrolling to pause on an image? Striking colors and breath-taking landscapes are a scroll-stopper. But they aren’t the only way to break a scroll addiction. Stop using all those stock images and get REAL! Take candid pictures of your staff, for example, and enhance the photo. There are many easy apps that help you to enhance any really have no excuse. Use those filters! They can work miracles. Don’t try to appear perfect. People disdain other people’s perfection. They only love their own.

Video killed the radio star. Facebook live is a beautiful thing. DYK that live videos get 3x more watch time than traditional ones? Don’t be shy, keep it rolling for a couple of minutes, at least. Show behind the scenes footage and don’t be afraid to be silly sometimes. This goes along with the theme of people wanting to see your human side. They care about more than just your services and products. When you leave an impression, they will return.

Ain’t nobody got time for dat. Keep it short! Can they read it as it scrolls from one end of their screen to the other? That’s about how much time you have to grab their attention. You can condense that 5 sentence post to 1 or 2 if you try. 

Who’s the Boss? A simple call to action (CTA) can work wonders for engagement. One way to do this is through a question. People want their opinions to matter and they love to be heard. Giving them that chance helps you when they leave a comment. Encourage them to speak up instead of asking them to like or share your post. When they leave comments, answer them! Make them feel important and you have won them over. 

I wanna talk about ME. Worst Toby Keith song EVER! And a huge mistake in marketing. If all you post about is your brand, interest wanes. Your posts can be relevant without being sales-y and brand-focused. Let your audience know you’re more than what you sell.

     4.     Use the Force, Luke.

If you want proof of what is working and what isn’t, get a little technical. Take advantage of software that offers you valuable insight into the what, when, and how of social posting. We could literally spend days on this one, but for the sake of sanity, we’ll keep it short and sweet.

Timing is everything. Posting when the majority of your target audience is gallivanting around in Facebook land is the best time to ensure interaction. This awesome chart by Sprout Social can be your Yoda. 

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Facebook Analytics. Take advantage of the fact that Facebook can tell you which posts are doing the best. You can pinpoint which posts your fans like and build on that. There are plenty of tools available to dig deeper and help you here. Sproutsocial and HubSpot are two definitely worth checking out. Or just hire us and we’ll do all the treacherous legwork for you. How’s that for short and sweet?

We just click. Your ultimate goal on social media is to gain more customers, right? Provide plenty of opportunities for them to click their way to your website. 

  • Always post links to your latest blog post leading with a witty statement or question to create curiosity. 

  • Use website click ads. Use the visual method discussed earlier to create something worth stopping for and drive them to your website by promoting a specific page or product - don’t use a picture of the product unless you do something crazy with it. Remember, products are emotionless.

  • Explore Messenger ads. There are three different kinds and with 1.3 billion active monthly users, it’s worth considering. The 3 types are:

    • Standard Messenger Ads

    • Click-to-Messenger Ads

    • Sponsored Messages

All 3 have significant advantages. Educate yourself. I would do it for you, but it’s almost breakfast time

Hopefully, you understand that in order for Facebook to work for your business, you have to increase engagement with your posts and possibly dive deeper into ads. It’s time to put on your creative hat and get busy. 

For an anti-aging approach to marketing, hire us.


How do I set a marketing budget?


How much does marketing cost? How do I set a marketing budget? How do you price your services?

These are among the most common questions that we hear from clients and potential clients, but they can be difficult to answer. Answering the question “How do I set a marketing budget?” is similar to answering the question “How much does a house cost?” There are a lot of factors that affect home pricing like location and size, so we can't just throw out a number. We wait to talk about pricing until we have completed a custom analysis and developed a quote tailored to the client’s needs.

We are Tailors, Not Walmart

There's nothing wrong with Walmart for light bulbs or flip flops, but you wouldn't go there to get a fitted suit, right? For bespoke tailoring, you would visit a business like Kirpalani’s Hong Kong Tailors in Homewood (by the way...I rarely wear a suit, but Kirpalani’s has fixed some things for me in the past, and it is literally the best customer service I have ever received anywhere).

We believe that a marketing package should be tailored based on the business’ needs, so our approach is more similar to Hong Kong Tailors’ than Walmart’s. The good news is that because we focus on the most strategic services for each situation, the custom approach is not necessarily more expensive than the “Walmart Approach”.

We can't answer your marketing questions until we ask a few of our own. Based on our experience, no two businesses need exactly the same services. A dentist won't give you a price for fixing your teeth without taking x-rays (and if he will, RUN!). We perform custom analysis and provide a quote that will achieve your profit goals.

Time for Clarity

Businesses deserve direct answers. As we have worked on our transparency pledge, we started feeling a little funny about being vague on pricing early in our conversations with potential clients. We have determined that true transparency must include clear communication about how we price our services.

Spoiler Alert: This post includes sample pricing, and the numbers are real.

Whether you work with us or someone else, we want to equip you with the knowledge to make an informed decision on marketing for your business.

Projects vs. Retainers

Marketing work can be quoted as a project or as a part of a monthly retainer. The word “campaign” is often used to describe a set of strategies that are coordinated around a specific goal. Campaigns can be projects or they can be managed under a retainer.

Retainers allow us to balance short-term and long-term goals, so this is the setup for most of our clients. Our retainers are flexible, so they can expand or contract as your needs change. We can also quote supplemental projects to build on the retainer as needed.

Hourly Rate, Time Tracking, and Deliverables

Agencies assign value to their services in a variety of ways. Here are a few examples of how this is done

  • Assign value based on time: Track time spent on a project and bill an hourly rate

  • Assign value based on services: Determine the value of each service and bill accordingly

  • Assign value based on the ROI: Determine the value of the benefits the client receives from the services provided

Electromagnetic Marketing tends to fall in the middle category. We know how much it costs us to produce a blog post or manage an email campaign, so we plan each month based on the impact that the services provided have on the available budget.

When we provide services based on time, our hourly rate in most cases is $150.

3rd Party Cost

We use a variety of 3rd party pro tools on the work that we provide for our clients. Some of these tools have a flat fee no matter how many clients benefit from the service, while there are other services that we have to pay for on a client-by-client basis.

Here are some examples of services that we pay for on a client-by-client basis. These are services that would affect the amount that an agency might charge you.

  • Email Marketing

  • Marketing Automation

  • Enhanced Analytics

  • Call Tracking and Recording

  • Answering Services

  • Transcription Services

  • Directory Optimization Tools

  • Website Hosting

Most of these services have variable pricing. For example, email tools base their pricing on the number of contacts in your account and transcription services base their pricing on the number of minutes transcribed.

Some agencies pad the fees that they charge for these 3rd party services.

We do not.

In accordance with the Electromagnetic Marketing Transparency Pledge, if we bill you more than we end up paying for a 3rd party service, we apply the surplus to your account.

Contractors and Partnerships

Electromagnetic Marketing employees perform the vast majority of the work that we do for our clients, but there are times when we bring in someone with a particular skill or expertise. We leverage relationships with a variety of designers and developers whenever they are beneficial for our clients. We price these services according to the value delivered, just as we would if we did the work.


Advertising budgets (also called advertising spend) can vary more than any other part of a marketing budget. Setting advertising spend requires a lot of thought and planning. Some forms of advertising like retargeting and social media advertising are generally beneficial whether you spend $5 or $5,000. This isn’t necessarily the case with Pay Per Click (PPC) search advertising. In most cases, we don’t recommend PPC ad budgets lower than $1,000 per month because:

  • PPC requires tweaking and optimization to reach peak performance.

  • Lower budgets rarely generate enough data to make informed decisions about keyword and ad performance.

Our management fee is based on a percentage of your total advertising budget. This percentage decreases as the monthly ad budget increases because the size of the budget isn’t the only factor that determines the amount of time required to manage a campaign to peak performance. Here is a list of the percentages that we usually charge for campaign management at different budgets.

  • $1,000- $2,999: 25% of ad spend

  • $3,000- $9,999: 20% of ad spend

  • $10,000+: 15% of ad spend

So if your company set a $10,000 monthly advertising budget, $8,500 would go directly to placing your ads and $1,500 would go to Electromagnetic for managing the campaign.

Some ad campaigns are highly customized and targeted based on current and historical location data for the people that you are trying to reach with those ads. These campaigns can cost more upfront when we purchase data to help us target the ads, but the ad spend can be very low if we are targeting a relatively small group of people. In these cases, we assign a value to the total value of services involved in developing the campaign and the required ad spend rather than taking a percentage of ad spend.

So...How do I Set a Marketing Budget?

Your company’s marketing budget should account for time in addition to money. You can save money working with a marketing agency if you have someone on staff who can write well, but this will take time from their other responsibilities. Businesses have to walk a line in balancing time and cash expenditures, and a good marketing plan can help you do that.

Setting a marketing budget is like pressing the accelerator when you are driving a car. You can drive any speed you like, but some speeds are a lot more efficient than others, and nothing wastes more fuel than a lot of stops and starts. When we offer a proposal, we usually offer 3 different options. We don’t propose a program that is too small or too large to be efficient, but there is usually a range where the business can determine how aggressive they want to be.

3 Real-World Options

Here are 3 real-world packages that show how we quote our services. We provide custom quotes, so the pricing for each package can vary based on deliverables.

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We never want clients to struggle with doubt or insecurity when it comes to pricing and agency billings. I would love to chat if you have any questions. I’ll do all that I can to share any additional information that might help you set a marketing budget for your business, and I promise to do that without a high-pressure sales pitch.

Contact us or schedule a conversation today to find out more about setting a marketing budget for your company.

The Electromagnetic Marketing Transparency Pledge


Electromagnetic Marketing delivers value and ROI to our clients with complete transparency and open communication. We give our clients clear and easy to understand reports on campaign results, accounting related to ad spend, and any compensation that we receive from ad networks and other 3rd parties.

We forego financial incentives except for the compensation that our clients give us in exchange for the services that we provide. When we receive payment or credits from advertising networks, software vendors, or other 3rd parties, we credit these funds to our client’s account or donate it to the charity of their choice.


One of the most common things that I hear from friends that own businesses is “I don’t understand how your business works.” The accounting for marketing and advertising agencies looks a lot different than accounting for landscape companies or manufacturers. The lack of clarity on how agencies operate leaves a lot of gray area in the agency/client relationship.

Ken Auletta describes these problems in “Frenemies”, his book on agency/client relationships. He tells a dramatic story about the Association of National Advertisers Convention on March 4, 2015. Industry insider Jon Mandel played the role of whistleblower, taking the stage to deliver a keynote address that exposed a system of kickbacks and payments that he characterized as “criminal extortion”.

We are small potatoes compared to the agencies at the ANA convention, but we have seen similar problems. I have observed 3 primary areas where small and medium-size agencies are not always transparent with their customers:

  • Measuring results

  • Accounting for ad spend

  • Compensation from 3rd parties

Here are some of the ways that transparency and accountability get off the tracks in those areas.

Measuring Results

There are things that I have observed over and over again during my career that I jokingly call “Jamie’s Laws” (as in The Law of Gravity).

For example:

Jamie’s Law of Programmers
All programmers truly believe they are more experienced than they really are.

If someone says they are qualified as a mid-level programmer, they usually only have entry-level programming skills.

The law that is relevant to measuring results is:

Jamie’s Law of Analytics
If you look hard enough, you can find a positive story somewhere in the campaign results.

Modern marketing generates so much data that there is always something somewhere trending in the right direction.

Even marketers that have integrity and the best intentions spend less time talking about the negative aspects of a monthly report because it’s so much easier (and more comfortable) to talk about the positive ones.

This works for a while, but eventually, clients realize that all of this data doesn’t seem to be related to improvements in their bottom line. At this point, they are usually disillusioned and ready to move on to the next agency with big ideas and promises of ROI.

Electromagnetic Transparency Strategies

We have 2 strategies to help us avoid the temptation to report only positive numbers and minimize the negative numbers.

  1. We determine the metrics that we are going to measure in advance. It’s really that simple. If we tell you what we are going to measure next month and the month after, we limit our own freedom to mine the data for anomalies that seem to tell a positive story. If we identify new metrics worth measuring, we let our clients know what we hope to see in this data in the future and then add it to our reporting routine.

  2. We work closely with our clients to identify the metrics that deliver true ROI. We love metrics like ad impressions, but impressions don’t automatically turn into sales. We identify a broad set of metrics that are affected by the campaign AND directly contribute to our customer’s sales and revenue goals.

Ad Spend: A Wretched Hive of Scum and Villainy

Ad spend is at the heart of a lot of questions that can erode the relationship between agencies and clients. I have seen a number of problems over the years.

  • Problems reconciling the exact amount of advertising purchased relative to the amount budgeted

  • Kickbacks from ad networks give agencies incentives that might conflict with a client’s best interest

  • Credits, bonuses, and incentives from advertising networks get applied to the agency’s bottom line instead of the client’s account.

In the spirit of complete transparency, I will say that I have struggled in this area. My intentions have always been good, but my disorganization has made this a real challenge. That is why Scott Elliott has been such a game changer for Electromagnetic Marketing. It seems that Scott is good at all of the things that I am not. He has transformed our accounting from top to bottom. This gives us a level of insight into ad spend that I couldn’t have imagined.

Because of the work that Scott has done in QuickBooks, we are now able to provide ad spend reports that are up to date and more accurate than ever before. These reports include any kickbacks, grants, bonuses, or incentives that we receive from the ad networks. This gives me peace of mind, and it makes me proud to look my clients in the eye when we meet.

3rd Party Services: Keys to Success or Kickback Machine?

We use a lot of software tools for tasks ranging from ad spend management to email marketing. Some of these software vendors pay a commission or offer different kinds of incentives. For example, Constant Contact compensates agencies for the accounts that they manage. This can include incentives for new accounts, rewards for revenue growth, and a percentage of recurring revenue. For the record, we don’t really think that there is anything wrong with this.

As long as it is clear to the client.

We believe that clients should know if and how we are compensated for the services we recommend to them.

For example, many 3rd party tools use variable pricing depending on the size of the account. There are frequently times when we include an amount like $400 in a budget for a 3rd party tool but only end up spending $200. When that happens we let our client know so they can decide where they want to spend it. They can choose to use it to fund additional advertising, or we can donate the savings to a charity that they choose.

So This Is Us

This is who we are and how we operate. We are a business that is growing in revenue, and we want to feel great about every penny that gets credited to our bottom line. We believe that we will be more successful in the long run because of that.

Our success depends on healthy long-term relationships with our clients. Why would we want any incentive other than our clients’ success?

What do you think about this transparency pledge? Does this resonate with your experience with agencies over the years? Do you have stories about agencies that handled these things well (or agencies that didn’t)?

We would like to hear your story so that we can continue to look for new ways to improve our transparency and our client relationships. Contact us, or click here to schedule some of my time for coffee or a discussion.


The Missing Ingredient in Your Marketing Strategy

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Almost every client that we meet with does a really good job describing their products and services. Years of experience with everything from sales presentations to trade shows have helped them hone these descriptions into something useful and effective. These descriptions are a good start, but something is missing.

These companies are missing sales opportunities because their descriptions are missing a critical ingredient and they don’t even know it: their customer’s perspective.

Traditional product and service descriptions may be helpful for some contexts, but they represent your perspective on the solution that you provide, not your clients. Listening to your client can revolutionize everything from your marketing message to your website’s SEO. Let’s take a look at an example.

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A Heavy Equipment Example

Developing an organized strategy for gathering and processing client feedback will affect many aspects of your business, but it will revolutionize your marketing communications. Let’s look at an example. ABC Equipment sells heavy construction equipment. They have a new piece of machinery that gets better gas mileage and can haul heavier loads. Let’s look at 2 ways of describing this equipment.

Traditional Description

The new XR123 Hauler is the most reliable hauler in the industry according to JD Power and Associates. This state of the art hauler from ABC Equipment can haul 10 tons, a 20% improvement from the XR122, all while achieving a 15% improvement in fuel efficiency. Test drive one today to see why the XR123 Hauler is revolutionizing the industry.

Client-focused Description

With rising construction costs, many construction managers are struggling to keep projects on time and on budget. The new XR123 Hauler decreases your job fuel cost by almost 1/3 by hauling 20% more than the XR122 while achieving a 15% improvement in fuel efficiency. You can eliminate critical bottlenecks on your construction site, keeping your job on time and on budget.

How are these examples different? Which one do you think is more likely to lead to a sales opportunity?

You probably realize that we would advocate for the client-focused description. The differences are subtle but important. Let’s take a closer look.

3 Reasons Why Client-Focused Descriptions Generate More Leads

#1: Option 2 shows that you understand the challenges that your client faces.

Businesses get so excited about their excellent products and services that it can be hard to stop talking about them. It’s easy to forget that your service is great because it solves a problem. How does the client describe the problem that you solve? What questions do they ask when they are looking for a solution to that problem? What terminology do they use to describe the solution that you provide?

Effective marketing listens to the client to understand the answers to these questions.

#2: The customer is the hero of the story.

In Storybrand, Donald Miller says that everyone is the hero of their own story. In traditional product descriptions, the product is the hero of the story (“The XR123 Hauler is revolutionizing the industry!”) In other scenarios, the hero might be your team of dedicated experts or a process that has been proven effective by years of delighted clients.

But effective marketing describes your customer as the hero. As Donald Miller points out, if your customer gets to be Luke Skywalker, then you get to be Yoda. You are the wise sage that can guide your heroic client on their path to success. That is exactly how you want to be positioned for marketing success.

#3: Features are described in terms of the benefit to the client.

The traditional product description does a good job laying out the benefits of the XR123. Larger capacity and better gas mileage are great benefits that anyone could understand. The customer-focused example covers the same information, but it does it in a way that shows an understanding of the challenges that the client faces and it casts a vision for how their life will be different with the XR123. In this scenario, the client can imagine themselves in the story.


Effective marketing must begin with a deep understanding of your client, the problems that they face, and the way that they understand the solution to their problem. In our experience, even companies that have close relationships with their clients fail to understand the way that their message sounds to potential clients that haven’t engaged with them yet. Since most companies aren’t aware of these missed leads, they don’t have any idea how to start working on a solution.

That is where we can help. We work with our clients every day to help them

  • Gain a deeper understanding of their client

  • Develop a message that resonates

  • Implement a strategy that gets the message to the target audience

  • Generate qualified leads

Contact us to schedule a consultation today, or download our client interview guide.

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It's Time to Market Electromagnetic Marketing

When Electromagnetic Marketing launched in June of 2017, I had a clear vision for the kind of agency that I wanted to build at the 30,000-foot level, but there were a lot of details that took some time to flesh out. When I look back at the “Meet Electromagnetic” post from last year, it’s basically an accurate description of where we were headed, but there were so many specifics that I couldn’t have anticipated at that time.

We were fortunate to have wonderful clients who helped us get off the ground. The projects we have worked on over the last year helped us grow and better refine our unique voice and fine tune our perspective.

We’ve grown from one person in a co-working space to 4 people working in an office at Innovation Depot in Birmingham, AL. That growth has come from referrals and relationships. If we ever had questions about humanity (and frankly, there has been some cause for concern), those questions have been answered by the profound kindness and goodwill that has been directed at us over the last 17 months. We’ve been especially fortunate that the clients who have come our way were a good fit for us.

While we are grateful, we know that there is one law of marketing that must catch up with us soon. In order to grow with the kinds of clients that would most benefit from our skills and expertise and avoid distractions that take us outside of our expertise, we have to start telling our story.

It’s time to market Electromagnetic Marketing.

That statement will be perceived in a variety of ways. Some of you might feel a little bit queasy when you think about yet another marketing company brazenly promoting themselves. Maybe others will shrug their shoulders and view it as a necessary evil. If you feel that way, would it change your perspective to know that we believe that educating clients is one of the best ways to market ourselves - not promoting? What if our marketing program is designed as an act of service rather than an exercise in seeking value?

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Our experience has shown over and over again that marketing plans that educate deliver the strongest return on investment. So while we are proud to approach this as an act of service, we know beyond a shadow of a doubt that it is going to be pretty great for us. I’d love to say that I’m altruistic, but unfortunately, Alabama Power doesn’t accept good deeds as a form of payment.

So who are the altruistic but realistic folks who call themselves Electromagnetic Marketing?

  • A Content Marketing Agency- We believe that educating potential clients is more powerful than promoting our services to them. And we LOVE all kinds of content including blogs, white papers, videos, podcasts, infographics. If it helps illustrate, educate, and communicate, we love it.

  • B2B Focused- We love helping B2B businesses grow. We love restaurants too but our expertise in that industry is as patrons, not marketers.

  • Client Advocates- We advocate for the voice of the client - both your clients and ours. We believe that the most enlightening voice in your company is your client and that all marketing should reflect empathy and a deep knowledge of the challenges they face and the problems that they are trying to solve.

  • Committed to Measurable ROI- Abstract benefits are great, but we strive to build measurable goals and tracking into every campaign.

We create content about modern brand development and content marketing. What does that mean? Stay tuned. We’re on a mission to share it with you.

Would you like to gain a better understanding of your business, your message, and your marketing plan? Schedule a Session to Analyze your Message and Your Marketing Today!

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