Blogs – Do it right or don’t bother

October 30, 2019

Does anyone really care about your blog? If you don’t know or can’t answer, chances are they don’t. If you look at blog writing as a chore or something you simply race through to publish before a deadline, don’t bother. The following tips can help minimize the pain and maximize the impact your blog content can have on your business & your website.

Blog better with these steps:

1. Stop writing posts one at a time


Skip writing the next post you have scheduled and take that time to stop & think. We find it helps to get out the office or away from your computer for this. Start writing down ideas or topics to write about and see what you come up with. A lot of times these might be related or similar topics you can group together when finished.

Take your list and group it together or edit into ideas for 3-4 different blog posts. This helps avoid the issue we all face of scrambling for topics each post. It also helps group similar content together that can be interlinked and easier to research.

2. Think about the messaging before you write anything

Without getting to philosophical – think about the purpose of each post. Do you want it to tell your readers something new, answer a question they might have, motivate them to take an action, solve a problem etc.? What do you want them to do when they’re done reading? This gets a bit messy and might not be easy, but at least push yourself to try and answer them before you write.

3. Make a simple outline with headings or sections for each post

A good post needs room to breathe. You should be able to scroll/scan down the page without reading a word and get an idea of what its about. Breaking the post down into sections with headings, using images and keeping paragraphs short helps with readability. We’ve all seen those long pages with nothing but text after text and we’ve all done the same thing – bailed to read something else.

Creating these outlines and headings doesn’t just help the reader, it helps you when writing and creating the post. When you know what pieces you need to make up the post, it’s easier to write or research it.

Semi-pro tip: Try to add lists, bold items, images, underlined items etc to keep your post flowing. Most times you can stand 10 feet back from a computer and have a person scroll down and you’ll know if that post structure looks interesting, readable and easy to scan. It shouldn’t look like a medical journal 🙂

4. Let someone else read it or take a few days off and re-read it

Sometimes in the heat of the writing moment (or deadline) your post sounds amazing. Chances are it isn’t and if it is you don’t need my advice. Take a few days off and revisit the post or have a co-worker or someone else read it and see what they say. Don’t be shy and demand brutal feedback from people – the internet is merciless and better to get feedback from someone first before publishing.

5. Consider next steps – if you have the resources

A compelling blog title really goes a long way. This is an art form in itself and even if you aren’t great at it spend some time thinking about what might compel a person to click through and read more.

Keyword research – this is a monster topic in itself so we won’t get into it, but long story short you’ll want to consider that there are people searching for the things you write about and how hard it is to rank or compete for it.

Write a few posts and schedule them. Sometimes the weekly pain of writing a post is easier condense and get over with. Consider writing 3-4 posts at once, scheduling them and forgetting about it for a few weeks.

Never publish something simply because you’re afraid to publish nothing. This is a complete waste of everybody’s time and should be avoided at all costs. Google hates it, nobody reads it, you waste your time and even if your boss likes it – try to avoid it.

Focus on publishing something interesting or valuable. Even if you know it isn’t amazing, it should never suck.

7 Proven Reasons Law Firms Use Email Marketing

November 20, 2018

In this post, we detail 7 proven reasons your law firm needs to use email marketing. Law firm email marketing has a high return on investment, low cost and is less complicated than some of the other types of online marketing campaigns.

There is an abundance of information out there on different marketing channels – which is most effective, which are hot right now, how you should allocate budget etc.  Before you jump into launching any marketing campaign, read this post about why you should focus on email marketing first.

#1 – It’s easy to get started fast


It sounds simple enough but it’s true. Launching a new email marketing campaign is fast! Most lawyers, attorneys and law firms we work with are very busy. They don’t have a lot of time to dedicate to understanding new marketing efforts. They want results.

Basic steps to get started with email marketing:

  • Sign up with an email marketing service (No Cost, takes 5 minutes)
  • Start creating your email list or import any existing lists
  • Choose an email template (No Cost)
  • Create your professional message
  • Schedule to send in the future or send immediately
  • Measure who viewed or opened
  • Wash, Rinse, Repeat (Keep it up or schedule future blasts)

What’s an email marketing service and how to I choose one?

choosing an email marketing service

An email marketing service handles the sending, tracking, subscribing, lists and legal aspects of email marketing. In a nutshell it is software where you login and manage your email marketing campaign. You can’t use your regular email account to send commercial email. This is against the law.

Signup is easy, it’s typically FREE for the first few thousand subscribers/messages. Templates, forms and everything else you need to get started are included.

At VWM, we have worked with multiple services.  We like to recommend MailChimp to clients that are just starting out. There are lots of other options depending on CRM, enterprise use or other preferences and each company may have different specific needs.

Creating Email Lists

Most law practices have a decent list of email subscribers. It’s also easy to export/import older lists you have if you are trying to reignite an old or dormant email marketing campaign.

Building a fresh group or list of subscribers from existing email addresses is another option. You can start with clients and/or prior business contacts and ask them to join your list.  A lot of times contacts can be exported from Outlook and cleaned up using Excel and then bulk imported or filtered against lists to compare. These might be able to act as the initial email list building block but there are some important legal considerations (jump to the end of this post for details)

The best way to get started building a new list:


people jumping

Once you sign up with an email marketing service, they allow you to easily create a signup page or form. You can use this link or add it to your website giving new users a place to signup.

Once this form is setup, members of your practice and attorneys can send this to contacts directly, add a link in their email footer or encourage contacts to subscribe in other ways. People who signup up get automatically added to your list.

Pro Tip – Many companies put a subtle link to subscribe to their newsletter in their individual employee email footer message.

Having an email list of subscribers who actually want to hear from your company is ALWAYS the most successful when it comes to engagement and impact. This also ensures you’ll be compliant with your email provider and any laws that might apply. It might seem like a bit of work and you might hear some grumbling from employees, but building a great list from the beginning the right way pays off big down the line. Think long term when building your law firms email list.


#2 – Email Marketing has a high Return on Investment

There are so many statistics showing how effective and efficient the return on email marketing is we will spare you the pain (Google it). Just know that it has and continues to be a dominant force in the marketing channel mix – especially for attorneys, lawyers and law firms.

email marketing roi holding dollars


To maximize the impact of your law firm’s email campaign, use these common sense best practices to get the best ROI. Following these best practices will help your law firm retain existing clients as well as start to attract new attention.

  • Professional Looking Layout
  • No spelling errors
  • Smart Email Subject line
  • On Brand colors or logo
  • Send on effective day/time

Make sure your email marketing message looks professional. You definitely want to protect your firm’s reputation. This also allows partners and members of your practice to trust that providing their contacts won’t be something they regret later.

Spelling and grammar sound obvious but it’s always the little things that get missed. Make sure to proof your email thoroughly, or better yet, have more than one person read through it. Always send a test email that others can review.

Email marketing subject lines for attorneys matter a lot so stay on topic.

Pro Tip – Avoid email subjects like this graphic:)

Think about how many email messages you get every day. Your goal when crafting the subject line of an email blast is to compel a person to open it or at least peak their interest. The best email marketers know that a great email doesn’t matter if nobody clicks and reads it.

All email messaging that gets sent out as part of your email marketing campaign should stay on brand. At a minimum this means using the correct colors and/or official logo of your firm. Font choice is also something to consider if your firm has a standard.

The day and time you send your law firms marketing email matters. Very few people are reading business email on Saturday morning of after hours compared to the work day. You have much better odds that someone will click and open your email if it is sent out during business hours.

Pro Tip – Sending out email Tuesdays thru Thursday from 10am – 12pm is a great time for open rates, but you should test this over time to be sure.

Segmentation and Personalization can help move the needle even further – but we’ll get to that later.

#3 – Maintain reputation and strengthen relationships

Building and keeping a good reputation always helps attract clients. This is true in any business. This is especially true for attorneys, law firms and practices in the Tri-State area that face heavy competition competing for clients.

good reputation matters woman drinking graphic

Sending out an email blast keeps your law firm top of mind. This is great for existing clients and helps cement an already good reputation. The content of various or individual e-blasts can vary, but the message it sends is clear – your firm is active and engaged.

Regularly scheduled email blasts help to build your list and often generate referral business. Existing clients can forward these emails or share with others. When they might be looking for attorneys or interested in the specifics of your message, they know where to look.

Success stories or featured cases and litigation might also be something that clients can promote to their networks or other contacts.

# 4 – Email marketing costs less than other channels

There are a lot of email marketing programs and software suites to choose from. Most of these are free for the first few thousand users and/or email blasts.

email marketing costs graphic


When you compare the costs of email marketing with PPC (Pay-Per-Click), Content Marketing, Social Media Marketing or other digital marketing channels, it’s easy to see how much more cost-effective email marketing is.

Just because the software is free doesn’t mean you should skimp on effort. Put time into crafting a professional message that looks good. It doesn’t have to be long or flashy (at least to start), it just has to look good.

Pro Tip – Invest your time and let email marketing save you money.


# 5 – Easy to automate and segment

email marketing segmentation

All marketing campaigns have to walk before they can run – but automation and personalization can be powerful.

Most Law Firms and businesses should already have some level of personal information from members in their subscriber list – first and last name, address, etc. Email marketing programs make it easy to personalize an email to include a person’s name. You can also send it to them in their own time zone or include their company’s name. This can be done automatically in the software, even if there are thousands of subscribers on your list.


This isn’t as scary to setup and configure in email marketing campaigns. The best way to start with automation is to consider drafting a ‘Welcome’ type email or ‘Thank You for being a subscriber’ type email that will automatically get sent out to new people on your list.

If you have first names of members on your list, you can automatically include that in the beginning of any email message. This is an easy way to save time and make a good first impression with new and potential clients.

Including FAQ’s or general Contact Info, location or hours could also be helpful without sounding too salesy.


This is another very powerful tool, but again, only if you have the time and want to take your legal email marketing campaign to the next level. For example, you could send a message out that only goes to existing clients and a separate email that goes out to colleagues, prospects or leads.

Being able to control who gets what message by segmenting your list can be a powerful tool if used correctly.

#6 – Re-purpose email blasts for newsletters or blog posts

If your business is doing any existing public relations or content marketing, you can re-leverage the existing content in email marketing for even more exposure in other areas. This helps your business by re-using assets you have already created.

Lots of companies are publishing blog posts weekly or print newsletters on a monthly/quarterly basis. If you work for a company that has been considering a blog or even a better SEO strategy – re-purposing the content you already create into email blasts, blog posts and/or sharing on social media is a great way to maximize exposure.

Content can be shared across different channels ‘as-is’ or for best results you can slightly modify to seem unique or better fit a specific channel.

#7 – Easy to measure clicks, opens and impact

One of the things we love about email marketing for attorneys, lawyers and law firms is how easy it is to track . Most popular email platforms automatically include basic information on who opens and clicks on every email you send out in a campaign.

Depending on how many members or subscribers are on your email list, this info can be really useful.

For example you could use it to test the effectiveness of different title and subject lines. Sending out similar emails each month to similar lists is a great way to gauge the effectiveness of titles when it comes to open rates. Obviously the more people who open your email the better – but knowing why they opened it is even better.

This is also a great way to see who the most active and inactive users are. For example, if you notice that there are some subscribers who open the email every time it gets sent out and others who never open at all – you can use that to your advantage. Saying thanks or offering something special to active users and/or purging inactive users can help keep your list clean and more productive.

Summary, Takeaways and Links to further reading:

  1. Email marketing for law firms is easy to implement quickly and in a professional way.
  2. Law firm email marketing can be especially effective at building and maintaining reputation and attracting referrals.
  3. The Return on Investment for email marketing campaigns is high and the cost to get started is low.

Further Resources, Email Program Recommendations and a shameless plug for our agency:

What is the best email marketing program?

This is a question we get asked a lot as an agency. 90% of the time we like to recommend Mailchimp.  This serves most new clients that are just getting started and want an easy to use professional email marketing provider. The setup is fast, and you get up to 2,000 subscribers and 12,000 emails in their FREE tier.

We also hear some good things about the email marketing platform Emma but haven’t had a proper chance to kick the tires.

Email List compliance and legal FYI

It’s important that you don’t just bulk import random contacts/lists that haven’t specifically subscribed. Creating lists via import is technically possible, but sending out email to a list that hasn’t specifically subscribed can get your company flagged by your provider.

Doing this is also against many top providers terms of service. The CAN-SPAM Act created specific regulations that apply to commercial electronic email messages. There’s not enough coffee or time to delve into the legal details of the CAN-SPAM act but here’s the main takeaways.

Quick CAN-SPAM Act takeaways for commercial email

  • Applies to all commercial electronic email
  • Requires a way for users to opt-out
  • Prevents the use of misleading headers and deceptive subjects
  • Requires sender to provide valid physical address

Note: If your business is based in the European Union (EU), or you process the personal data of EU citizens, the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) may be something you need to keep in mind. Read more GDPR here.

Email service providers take care of most legal requirements for email marketing and monitor open rates, clicks and other activity. Not only do you want to avoid coming off wrong to those on your list, but it is important you also stay compliant with the law.

If your law firm is in New York, check out our free guide – Top Marketing tips for New York Law Firms. There is a particularly good section here related to the rules of conduct and staying in compliance.

Links to more free Email Marketing resources from trusted sources

Here are some links to a few free email marketing guides, eBooks and articles. Only links that are valuable were included.

Web Rules for NY Law Firms – Free Ebook
Download this free eBook with the top 5 tips for 2018-19 on the NY Rules of Professional Conduct, Email marketing and more. (*Shameless disclaimer: we produced this eBook)

2018 Statistical Fact Book from the DMA (Data & Marketing Association formerly the Direct Marketing Association) The DMA offers advocacy, innovation, education and connections to help marketers seize the full potential of their data.

Statistical Facts – Table of Contents PDF
Sneak Peak chapter download link

Digital Marketing Depot – Agencies Talk State of Email Marketing
Hear straight from marketing agency execs on ways they use email marketing for client and agency growth.

2018 Email Marketing Industry Report from Campaign Monitor
This 10-minute read is a great guide into the email marketing industry. Do not take it for granted when compared to other channels

Marketing Sherpa
Get this free download Bundle of 6 checklists to optimize your email marketing. This site has been around a long time and has extremely valuable info on a wider range of marketing.

Van West Media selected among the 10 Best Law Firm Web Design Agencies

What I’ve learned these past two years at Van West Media

June 28, 2017

This past June marked the two-year anniversary of Jaqueline, our Marketing Coordinator, working for Van West Media!

Her journey with VWM began during her final year studying Communications at SUNY New Paltz. After two years she’s sharing what she’s learned so far working at a digital marketing agency in the heart of New York City.


Can you explain a bit more about your journey from college student working part time to full time marketing coordinator withb VWM?

Well, I landed an internship for the summer in June 2015 working closely with the Social Media Director. Originally, this was a temporary position for the summer that wrapped up at the end of August and I planned to head back upstate to complete my last year of undergrad at SUNY New Paltz. Instead, I was lucky enough to be offered a part-time position working remotely for the duration of my senior year. When I graduated that May, I was offered a full-time position and now here we are!

Working remotely is becoming more and more common. Give us some insight on any challenges or benefits of working remotely while still attending university:

I honestly think this depends on the kind of person you are and what factors play into how you do your best work. For me, working remotely allowed me to become more organized and taught me to manage my time in a way where I had a good work/life balance going on. The challenge is in limiting all distractions during work hours so that tasks get completed, but also being able to turn off your laptop on a weekend and go enjoy some time with friends. The biggest benefit from this experience, for me, was learning how to prioritize and also how to adapt to alternative ways of working with and for a team back in NYC.

What is the best part about working for a small business?

There are a lot of positive factors working for a small business. I like the fact that it’s a more intimate environment so I know everybody that I work with and can easily communicate with everyone on any given day.

I also like that the “all-hands-on-deck” aspect of a smaller company gives me the chance to learn about and even attempt tasks outside of my given role. These past two years I have gained experience in social media, the website development process, project management and client support, to name a few.

What is the biggest lesson you’ve learned these past two years here?

Personally, one of the main things I’ve learned is to never stop asking questions and to always look for opportunities to learn something new. When I started working for VWM I jumped right in; this learning-by-doing mentality really helped me gain confidence in my ability to successfully work on projects but also led me to find the areas in which I enjoy working most on.

I started here working mostly on social media but in the past two years, I have seen that what I thrive in is organizing and structuring projects behind the scenes. This led to me to start taking on the kind of tasks necessary to help all team members execute projects into completion. A couple of title changes later, I’m excited to have found a position where I can continue learning what it takes to one day manage a team.

What advice do you have for recent college grads or those just starting out in the digital marketing industry?

Always be willing to engage in learning and evolving with the industry. There is always some new program to try or a new strategy to implement, etc. and it’s important to be able to understand why and how you can help a company make things happen! There is so much value in taking your responsibilities seriously and showing a company what you can bring to the table – it always results in a win-win situation.

Where do you see yourself in the next few years?

I would like to see myself being a part of the team that has worked for and achieved the goals that we recently have set for the company.  One of the best things about working for Van West Media is that I’ve had the chance to see where my strengths are and essentially customize my own role within the company. Hopefully, in a few years, I will have continued to grow with the company and will be showcasing my managing skills!

Why VWM? What would you say to someone interested in working for Van West Media?

 If you want to explore the world of digital marketing without sticking to just one niche, this is the place to be! We work with many different clients across various industries, which allows us to work on so many unique projects from web design, web development, marketing and more.

I also need to acknowledge the entire team behind this company. Every single one of us really cares about each individual client and ensuring that they are happy with the result. Our objective isn’t just to complete a project and move on, we seek to form long standing relationships with anyone who chooses to work with VWM.

Van West Media Client Spotlight: Twin Parks

March 14, 2017

Twin Parks Montessori School is the largest accredited Montessori program in Manhattan with three premier preschool campuses in New York City.

Guided by the Montessori philosophy, Twin Parks helps children learn in a secure, prepared environment, laying a firm foundation for them as they grow older.

Van West Media began working with Twin Parks nearly a decade ago. This partnership began with initial branding and a website build and has evolved into Van West Media’s coordination and implementation of a robust marketing strategy revolving around the website, marketing materials, paid search, and social media. Most recently, we launched a custom website for Twin Park’s exciting new program for infants and toddlers, The Nurture Center. This strategy focused on driving visibility of Twin Parks and served as an initiative to welcome younger children into the Montessori philosophy.

Working with Van West Media has not only provided a framework for all of our branding and social media context but has taught our administrative team how to think and respond to social media. We are all a team and enjoy our brainstorming sessions together. Van West Media’s level of communication is top notch.

– Kathy Roemer, Executive Director of Twin Parks Montessori Schools

Twin Parks Blog post 6

The Website:

Van West Media built a custom website for Twin Parks that clearly and effectively showcases the three different preschool campuses, provides accreditation and financial aid information, and allows easy access to an online admissions application. From a visibility and SEO perspective, Van West Media created “Kathy’s Insights”, a personal blog from the Executive Director that builds and reinforces the school’s identity, leadership position, and mission, as well as a constant stream of custom content that helps optimize Twin Park’s search rankings with Google.

Paid Search:

When developing a paid search campaign for Twin Parks, Van West Media identified three specific opportunities: targeting families within the New York City Metro area searching for preschools, targeting families outside of New York City searching for preschools in New York City, and re-marketing to families who visited the website but did not complete a conversion. Our team began by creating campaigns targeting key neighborhoods in New York City and location-based keywords across the globe.

Our team also developed a display re-marketing campaign that excluded bouncing visitors and existing students’ parents, who visit the site to read blog posts and log into their child’s classroom details. These strategies led to a month over month performance increase of 36% during peak enrollment months. Additionally January 2017 saw the lowest Cost Per Acquisition in six months, and a record 95% increase to a 12-month record for paid assisted conversions.

Twin Parks Blog Post 5

Social Media:

Van West Media recently overhauled the Twin Parks social media profiles and implemented a best-practice strategy that is both engaging and visually appealing. This strategy focuses on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram and is used to provide information about the school, build visibility and online engagement, and to drive new leads to the school.

New Program Launch:

In 2016, Twin Parks approached Van West Media with the idea of creating a new program for infants and toddlers that would complement their existing offerings, just to a younger audience. It would also allow parents to try the Montessori Method in a very comfortable and relaxed setting. Van West Media created the new program’s name, logo, and branding, and also built a custom mini-site that would allow perspective parents to learn about the new program and apply online. In late 2016, The Nurture Center launched.

We receive weekly updates and immediate replies to any question we put to their team. We feel we are in a partnership with Van West Media to share the story of Twin Parks Montessori Schools to our community.

– Kathy Roemer, Executive Director of Twin Parks Montessori Schools

Twin Parks Blog post 3

Twin Parks is an extremely valued client of Van West Media. But, more than a client, Kathy and her whole Twin Parks’ team have become partners with us. Together, we work extremely hard to bring visibility to this incredible school and its amazing teaching environment that has been carefully and thoughtfully created at all of Twin Parks’ campuses. Because of our services, Twin Parks has greatly expanded their online visibility, created greater social engagement, and increased the number of applicants to the school. Our team at Van West Media looks forward to our ongoing work with Kathy and her top-notch team of educators and all of the amazing work they are doing for the next generation of children.

CEO Spotlight: Van West Media’s Strategy for Success

January 24, 2017

Our CEO, Shad Mohammed, recently sat down to answer some questions about goal setting for 2017, what it’s like running a small business, and what to expect from Van West Media in the year ahead.

What is your primary goal for Van West Media this year?

“One of my main focuses for 2017 is to continue building from the inside out by focusing on investing in our team. When we focus on the growth of our employees and team members, we can increase our capabilities and improve the services that we provide to our clients. This year we took a trip as a team to the Unbounce Conference in Vancouver. This trip proved beneficial not only for all of the knowledge we acquired but also for the level of camaraderie and team building that the trip provided. Part of growing a business is deliberately making sure that Van West Media’s team members fully understand new technologies and capabilities as they come to market within the industry. Staying aware of the ever-changing evolution within digital media allows us to provide our clients with the most current and state-of-the-art capabilities to build their business.

It’s not easy to run a small business successfully. Who do you turn to for guidance?
final (11)

“In the past, I would get lost in small business minutia, but last year I began working with a business coach, John O’ Connor. There is no doubt that the work done with him over this past year is one of the key reasons that Van West Media had our most successful year ever. Every two weeks, John sits down with me and the team to talk strategy, goals and the most effective way to execute them. These sessions provide a great opportunity to discuss issues and thoughts among the team that may not otherwise come to light. Furthermore, they also help me to step back and see the company and operations in a new and differentiated way, allowing me to make important decisions and goal setting for the future. For any business owner or entrepreneur trying to grow their business, I would strongly recommend a business coach.

You are a big believer in goals. Looking at when the company started 5 years ago, would you say you have achieved your five-year goals?

“Five years ago, my dream was to create a passionate team of talented people who would work tirelessly to provide the best possible solutions to our clients. Five years later, I realize that Van West Media has succeeded beyond all my expectations. To have an office full of team members who love coming to work and love creating content that helps our clients is all I could ask for. The office culture within Van West is one of its greatest strengths. Some of our employees have been with me from the beginning. To see them grow as the company grows has been an incredible experience. To stop now and reflect on what we have built together is quite sentimental and joyous. Because of their dedication to work and immense talent, we have built a strong reputation for reliability and delivery of service. Clients continually return for re-launch after re-launch of their websites and to look for better ways that we can help them improve their brand. Overall, I am extremely proud to have created a client centric, employee focused company like Van West Media.”

What should we look for in the coming months from Van West Media?

“We are excited to be launching some of our biggest projects to date in the next several months. This on top of some major recent launches including SSRGA, FLOS, and Pyramid America. We will also continue to build our social media team, as social has become a game-changer for many of our clients in terms of driving visibility and customer engagement. We look forward to a wonderful and prosperous year where we achieve our goals while bringing our passion, experience, and expertise to each and every one of our clients so that their business can continue to grow with ours.”

Setting Goals VWM Style:

Setting goals at the start of a new year is a wonderful way to benchmark progression within a business. At Van West, we believe that the more specific you are when setting goals, the easier it is to achieve them. That’s why every team member breaks down an overall goal into smaller ones that can be reached in 3-month increments. This process helps keep our team on track and allows our progress as both individuals and a company to be measured. Has your company set goals for 2017 yet?

The Tao of Marketing, Part II: Three Business Philosophies

February 25, 2015

Marketing Philosophy

This is Part II of Van West Media’s series of blog posts “The Tao of Marketing.” If you’re just joining us, be sure to start with Part I.

I’d like to discuss three business philosophies– three possible attitudes to a customer, three mental priorities that directly impact the success (or failure) of a business enterprise.

Marketing Philosophy of Van West Media

These three attitudes or priorities are production, sales, and marketing. To the degree to which your business is production – or sales-oriented, it’s forfeiting on the marketing, and as mentioned in Part I, lack of a properly focused marketing effort is what undermines the best effort of business owners and managers to keep their ventures successful.

Even though most businesses would insist that they are marketing-oriented, it’s usually not the case.

First, let’s take a look at production-focused business. It’s a noble business paradigm, inherited from small crafts shop of the XVIIIth and XIXth centuries. Production philosophy prides itself in putting quality first: “build the best product possible, and the customer will come.”

For example: If Van West Media was a production-oriented agency (we could be because we do strive to achieve the highest attainable quality of all our products and services), we would simply focus on making great websites and web applications (and possibly on creating great online content). We wouldn’t care much about promoting ourselves – and I wouldn’t be writing this blog post. The quality of our work would speak for itself, and we’d be famous for it.

Production-type of businesses don’t care if the customer says, “no,” because the product is so good that another customer will step in and buy it.

It’s an interesting approach, but not for the modern age. It lacks the essential part of any healthy system: fast feedback. In our overpopulated world, there is abundance of competition. Superior quality is not recognized until after it has been experienced for a prolonged period of time. By the time the customer begins to think warmly of the high-quality product or service he purchased from the production-oriented company and is ready to buy again, that company is out of business, and the former owner now works for his competitor, who delivers at a lower quality, but knows how to sell.

This brings us to the second possible attitude: focus on sales.

Whoever came up with this first, had the right idea: a customer has many products or services to choose from, and the final choice and commitment to make a purchase is typically emotional rather than rational. If we can influence the emotions of a prospective buyer, we can trigger a “buying reflex” with sheer emotional persuasion and make profit. Sales orientation is all about overcoming the customer’s inherent resistance to buy a product while motivating the customer to say “yes”… even if he doesn’t really need the product.

A sales-oriented business relies on a strong sales team, thus building and maintaining such a team becomes the business’ top priority. This is really effective. Classic, old-school advertising is all based on this, and so is telemarketing. Selling is a difficult and noble art. Selling makes the world go round. Progress would stop without sales. So as soon as you feel the impulse to hire Van West Media – ACT ON IT. Hire Van West Media to make all your online dreams COME TRUE .

(That’s me selling you the sales attitude. Notice I’m not appealing to your rational left-brain hemisphere, but creating an emotional response in the right one – I even go as far as resorting the the most vicious sales tactic: humor. That is really a punch below the belt.)

Seriously though, you should make Van West Media your sole web services provider, because when Van West Media works for you, you’re a superstar. (That was a double-punch combo. Learned it from Jordan Belfort.)

And before I wrap this up, our sales techniques certainly works for us, so when you hire us, we’ll make these techniques work for you, too. We’ll make you rich, and you’ll move to the South of France. That’s it. Hire us.

Okay, enough of that.

There is something not quite right with the aforementioned sales model. It’s archaic and not sustainable for long-term strategy. Sure, the customer made a buy, but they will have buyer’s remorse, and many customers will never be back again.

Now, let’s take a look at the third, most promising attitude a business can have toward a customer: marketing approach.

Some time ago I had the privilege to collaborate with a skilled, mid-level entrepreneur (I’ll refer to him here as Mr. Miyagi – not his real name). Mr. Miyagi loved to ask everyone who worked for him the same question: “Who’s your boss? Who pays your salary?” A rookie employee would answer, “Well… why – you, Mr. Miyagi!” – to which Mr. Miyagi chuckled and replied, “No, not me. I’m just managing the cash flow. The customer is your boss who pays your salary. Make the customer happy.”

That is marketing philosophy in a nutshell.

Satisfaction of customers’ needs and wants is the priority and the rationale for everything a marketing-oriented company does.

For example, as I mentioned in the first blog post from this series, Van West Media prides itself on being a marketing-oriented shop. We find our clients through focused marketing efforts, serve as our clients’ go-to people, and craft marketing campaigns and ongoing strategies for our clients that bring them new customers and help fulfill their customer needs. To be effective, we must understand not only the needs of our customers, but the in-depth needs of our customers’ customers.

Marketing is the healthiest business philosophy and the Golden Rule in business. The goal is to epitomize value and quality in the eyes of customers.

Marketing integrates and absorbs both production and sales-oriented approaches, assigning them to their proper places in strategic hierarchy. Quality – the key concept of production philosophy – is defined as something that helps our clients serve their clients in the most successful and effective manner. We implement effective online sales techniques for our clients to help them gauge their customers’ needs, and sell products and services that truly satisfy.

We rely on our clients’ feedback to give them high-quality websites and web applications, mobile apps – or our ultimate service: an overall digital marketing strategy that elevates their businesses above others in their field.

Here’s the marketing model:

1. Identify needs and wants of the target markets, chosen based on our resources and speculated ability to satisfy these needs and wants (adjust the choice as needed).

2. Focus the research, production, and sales effort on certain segments of the target market (satisfying not all, but the most important selected needs and wants).

3. Create products and services of value that meet prospective customers’ needs, test them and modify, if necessary.

4. Succeed in business though customer satisfaction, and request customer feedback.

5. Repeat as many times as possible, widening (or in some cases, tightening) the scope.

Ready to take advantage of skilled, talented, result-oriented marketing experts of Van West Media? Let us know how we can help!


Stand by for The Tao of Marketing, Part III: The Battle for Marketing… coming soon!