I interviewed Frank Flandina of FMF Strategic Communications, a Marketing Agency based out of Holtsville, NY. FMF Strategic Communications offers SEO, copywriting, public relations, websites, and social media marketing services.
Can you introduce yourself?
As a person that wears quite a few digital hats, I struggle with exactly what to call myself. I like to think of myself as a digital jack of all trades – part digital knowledge manager, part copy/content writer, blogger and online marketer. I think so many of the areas of SEO today cross into others, so you need to have a global sense of what the client needs and is looking for.
In the past I wrote for Newsday, News12, NCAA publications and various collegiate publications. My background is primarily in hyper-local news and athletic public relations, spending close to 20 years in that realm
HOW DID YOU GET STARTED IN YOUR BUSINESS AND WHAT KIND OF JOBS DID YOU HAVE BEFORE?
I got into what I am doing now a little backward. After a long career in athletic communications, I found myself faced with a shift and an opportunity to go down a different path. It was hard as I loved what I did, but my experiences prepared me for the digital marketing world, even if I didn’t realize it then. A few contacts had asked me to help out with some PR and web efforts on a freelance basis, and the light went off as this was something I can do full-time. I’m not a 9-5, sit in a cubicle type of guy. I love being on the move and having no two days the same. I like working with and meeting new people, and the possibilities of new diverse projects were something I saw as a great fit.
What is one thing that a local business can do today to start attracting more customers online?
I think businesses really need to get their base settled before anything else. They should first get their digital house in order in terms of what people are finding about them in simple online searches. That is why I make core business listings the basis for what I will start out helping clients with. Then we focus on anything we can do organically to grow their presence. If they are able budget-wise, then we can focus on paid search. Yes, blogging is key to those efforts as the numbers are astonishing! I am amazed at the figures on how much a simple blog can boost SEO and pages views. Google craves new fresh content and rewards as such, so you have to play to the Google Gods!
What is your process for helping clients achieve their goals?
Again, having your name, address and phone number, and a thorough but succinct business description readily available in places like Yahoo, Bing, Yelp. Facebook, etc. is critical. Clients must subscribe to the KISS (keep it simple stupid) principle and then build from there. Most clients are looking for help because they can’t comprehend all the options out there. But they know the usefulness of the search bar on their phone and how much they rely on it every day.
What have you found to be the biggest challenge for you in your agency?
I am not so much a salesperson, but I think potential clients may actually appreciate that. I like to develop a relationship and get to know them and create a comfort level that will allow them to trust me to put their best digital foot forward. One challenge is preaching the patience that these problems won’t be solved in a day but is rather a slow burn. In our era of instant satisfaction, it is hard to sell the “if you build it they will come” philosophy, but it does work!
How do you stay updated with news and latest trends?
I follow some online sources, Facebook groups, and newsletters, but there is so much out there and it is ever-changing. Even the experts don’t know what’s coming next week, no less next year. Being adaptable and ready to change gears quickly is important. I attended a conference in NYC recently, and most of the focus was voice search. So, it is important to keep in mind where we may be headed three or four steps down the road.
What is your biggest pet peeve when dealing with new clients?
Again, it’s the immediacy that they expect concrete results.
Do you have any upcoming events/appearances?
I am involved in local charities such as the Kiwanis Club which keeps me active in the community and grounded in how fortunate I have been in my life. I love kids and am excited to have my own someday, so their focus on helping the children of the world hits home. We are always accepting donations and run a toy drive around Christmas-time each year.
To learn more about Frank Flandina and his agency, go to FMF Strategic Communications.