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Frequently Asked Questions

What you need to know: a little about us...and a lot about you.

Got a question about what your business can and/or should be doing? We’ll help you find your answer!

At Simpson Square, we believe expertise is not knowing all of the answers all of the time; expertise is the ability to understand and care about what our clients need and having the talent, drive, and experience to find the right answer. It’s this foundational belief that drives our commitment to continuous learning and fosters our environment of discovery. It is also what makes a business successful. So if you have a question, ask us. We’ve gotten better at what we do through what others have shared with us; we’d like to pay it forward by doing the same for you.

How long has Simpson Square been in business and what do you do?

Simpson Square was founded in 2002 as Mae Communications. Our initial focus was on branded content and public relations. In 2009, due to growth and expanded capabilities, we restructured and rebranded as Simpson Square Media Group. We now provide clients with a full range of marketing communications services, from brand and identity to public relations, web design and development, graphic design, trade show marketing, search engine optimization, and social media management. If we don’t do it, we have skilled and trusted partners who can. We can be your one-stop source for all of your traditional and digital marketing needs.

Who do you work with? Are you taking on new clients?

Our client roster and range of industries we serve is diverse by design. We believe every business is unique, has a unique story to tell, and has a unique path to success. And we like to learn and tackle new challenges. And yes, we are always accepting new clients…with one qualification: we must believe in their product(s) and/or services. If we don’t believe we can work with you to achieve your a business’s desired outcome, we’re simply not the right firm for you. Does this mean you need a well-defined vision when you come to us? No, but it does mean you must be willing to commit to defining a vision and working with us to set a path to developing projects that deliver.

What are your rates and fee structure?

Our rates are competitive and vary based upon the service being rendered. Our fee structure depends on our history with the client, the needs of new clients, and the scope of the relationship. We do take on a number of flat-rate projects that have a very clear delivery schedule. However, because we have the capacity to meet a wide range of client needs, the majority of our work is retainer based according to our rate schedule. To learn more about our pricing practices and request a quote, please contact Michael Conlin.

Does my business need a website?

Yes, and it needs to be a professional website that is developed to be compliant with current web standards. Not only does a website demonstrate that you are a legitimate business, but it also provides you with the opportunity to expand your reach, increase sales, and directly engage your customers.

Why is a standards compliant website important?

The simple answer is this: a standards-compliant website allows you to reach the most amount of people across the broadest range of web servers. The more complicated answer is this: if you do any type of online advertising, incorporate e-commerce into your website, or need to manage your website in-house, a non-compliant website will cost you money. For example, most people don’t know that Google AdWords has varying fee structures that are determined by complex algorithms. A highly weighted variable is the quality of the website to which a Google Ad points. As with search, the more you can improve relevance and reliance, the better your results will be. Also, what if your cart isn’t cross-browser compatible? Do you really want to limit your transactions to customers using only the most popular browsers?

Do I need to own my own domain?

Yes. The difference between purchasing your own domain and creating a website through a web hosting site like WordPress, Tumblr, or other DIY website builders is huge. For example, you will never own a WordPress domain like you would yourcompany.com. Owning your own domain not only gives you complete control, but it also makes it easier to switch web hosts if you ever choose to. Also, the goal of every website owner should be to build page rank. Think of it in terms or real estate: do you want to build equity in a house you own or build equity for your landlord? While there are many other factors to consider in real estate, the answer when it comes to domain ownership is clear and definitive: own your domain name. Equally important, register your domain in an independent account you own. We’ve seen too many businesses struggle to transfer their website and switch firms because they allowed their service provider to register (and thereby control access to) their domain. It’s a headache that is easily avoided, and if you don’t have complete control over your domain, don’t hesitate to request that your domain be transferred to your ownership. It is a very simple, inexpensive process.

How effective are online advertising programs, such as Google AdWords?

This may seem like a self-serving answer, but it depends on who is managing your account. For example, what’s great about Google AdWords is that you can set your own budget and only pay if people click your ads. However, getting legitimate leads can be tricky. When it comes to managing your Google AdWords account there’s an algorithm that must be followed. The more effectively you can meet the variables demanded by the algorithm the more effective your conversion rates will be and the less you will pay per click. Factors such as site content, page rank, and ad to landing page relevancy are all important. Our advice to clients when it comes to advertising comes down to three things: how will the campaign build brand awareness, what is the desired outcome, and how will the campaign’s success be measured. We don’t believe it’s as easy as saying digital over traditional advertising. Most of the times, the best solution requires a strategic balance of both.

What is SEO, why is it a big deal, and does my business need it?

SEO, or search engine optimization, is the process of getting site traffic from a free or organic list on search engines, like Google or Bing. To put it simply, SEO will help ensure when a customer types your business, product, services, or relevant keywords into a search engine the results show your business website toward the top of the list. This is extremely important because research shows that 75 percent of people don’t click past the first page of search results. In recent years, to improve search relevancy for users, the major search engines have been updating their algorithms. The result of these changes: SEO practitioners are finding it difficult to cheat the system and when they do, the penalties for their customers are severe. Be wary of SEO companies who make big promises and guarantee immediate results. Are they achievable, yes, but are such practices in your best interest? No. Effective SEO is all about building relevancy to your audience, becoming more visible, and establishing your site as a valuable resource or destination for web users and website owners.

Why should I pay a firm for public relations support?

Good question. You don’t necessarily have to. In business, it’s always important to assess your internal capabilities, which should be dictated by a number of factors: skills, expertise, opportunity, and resources. Ultimately it comes down to whether you have the staff to effectively develop and execute a plan to achieve desired results…and if that is the best use of their time and/or your business or department’s money. For example, a lot of our public relations work supports the activities of public relations departments at major corporations. Sometimes it’s because of the things we do well—create great content—and other times it is because we can provide an experienced, outside point of view. Either way, it is more cost effective to hire us than it is to hire someone internally. In addition, we offer a broader range of expertise for the same amount of money. Other firms, particularly start-up companies, hire us due to a need to make their products and services identifiable within their market, bring consistency to their messaging, and consult on opportunities…and pitfalls.

Not finding what you’re looking for?

We’ll continue to add to our list of frequently asked questions. If you don’t see a question you’d like an answer to, please don’t hesitate to contact us. We love meeting new people and learning about new businesses. More important, we like to share our knowledge to ensure that you, as a business owner, key stakeholder, or manager, have the information you need to make informed decisions that position your company for growth. At the end of the day, we believe the best way to win your business is to be a trusted and valuable resource. Most of the time, that relationship begins with a question.

Ask Away!

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