Throwing Darts With One Eye Closed

A foot in the door

This February, I acquired a client by asking whether or not they had done any front end work on understanding their audience and developing specific customer journeys pertaining to specific buyer personas… They were paying an agency to do their digital marketing lead by one question: what industry are you in? “Finance,” responded my client. The agency then took that broad answer and applied a cookie-cutter display advertising strategy that returned no results for my now-client.

Why This question?

You can throw all the money you want at SEO, PPC, Facebook ads, etc but without really understanding to whom you need to be talking and how exactly to talk to them it is like throwing darts with one eye closed; you may hit the board but you’re most likely not hitting the bullseye you could be. In the age of digital, implementing a strategy based on a single aspect of that establishment (a broad business categorization- “Finance,” in this case) is a perfect setup for inefficient ad spend, inaccurate targeting, and ultimately poor conversion rates.

Client acquisition

Initial steps to acquire clients with this deep-digging, back to the building blocks approach include a free consultation (foot in the door) and securing a small retainer (subsidize investment in ourselves while we build the revenue-generating marketing assets that will soon prosper).

Once we have proven our value at a low cost, we come back and say “time to pay for what you’re getting”- the ROI is obvious and trust in our performance in established. Thus, a new client wrapped around our finger.

Registering a Trademark

So, you need to register a trademark? Here’s a list of three basic ways to go about the process, along with our recommendation of the best way for a small business to handle trademarking.

Option A: DIY – uspto ‘TEAS’ portal

The US Patent and Trademark Office has all the necessary materials and tutorials to submit a filing by oneself.

  • Regardless of the final choice, this website will be the source of truth on legal guidelines).
  • This tool is the universal database against which we can search for similar trademarks. It is up to us to ensure all legal requirements are fulfilled before filling; If our application is turned in with any mistakes it could delay our approval.
  • This infographic gives a detailed rundown of the timelines and potential complications of the trademark approval process.
  • According to USPTO’s Fee Schedule, the fee for the initial electronic filing filing is a minimum of $225. This fee will apply in addition to the service fees of the following filing options.

Option B: Hire a lawyer – trademark attorney

As the trademark registration process involves numerous headache-inducing legal checkboxes, the USPTO recommends an experiences trademark attorney to help ensure your filing is done correctly to ensure the quickest approval time.

  • UPTO’s resource for finding a private attorney presents a couple money-saving options. University of St. Thomas’s Law School has a clinical program for trademark filings at a reduced rate. This could be an option but we would have to contact them and discuss the specific needs to see if we qualify for their services because USPTO says each school has different guidelines.
  • Upcounsel puts the average cost of a private attorney trademark filing at “around $1,000-$2,000 for the general trademark process, but disputes could cost the client an additional $300-$400/hour.”

OPTION C: Online Service – Legal Zoom, Trademark Engine

  • Legal Zoom, the most credible source for this kind of online service, starts at $199 for a basic filing (plus the federal fee).
  • Trademark Engine charges $69 for a basic filing (plus the federal fee).


This process is incredibly complex; while I love the challenge, this is too daunting of a process to risk making a mistake and having to endure an even more drawn out process.

If this were the next as seen on TV product and we were on the verge of being millionaires I’d say definitely go for a private attorney, but Legal Zoom or Trademark Engine cross the t’s and dot the i’s just fine for our needs.

The next step is to decide if you want to have the extra security of St. Thomas, which may cost more, or if you’d like me to go ahead and begin with an online service.

youtube: a great free seo tool

Glenn: I only use YouTube as a place to upload my videos such that I can then get an imbed code to then put them in my website(s).  It’s a “social channel” that I’m not really using in any other capacity.  And I’ve seen other YouTube’s with a bunch of out of hand stupid user comments so I just figured that it’s a channel best to leave alone.

Cody: Easy fix: we can turn comments off. Youtube, and video as a whole, are incredibly important for SEO. Not only does Google rank web pages with videos higher, but Youtube is owned by Google so linking between the website and youtube gives us credibility. I’ll come back at you with this: Youtube is a channel best utilized to the max! Besides being a good channel, it’s essentially a free video hosting tool for us (which is basically the way you are using it now).

Don’t Be Afraid to Want to Make Money

The goal is to advance this business relationship through monetization. In order to rationalize initial digital marketing activities for budget-restricted businesses, the ultimate goal must deal with the return it will bring. Impressions and click-through rates are great, but when assessing actual value and ROI, the sales numbers are what matter. Sure, 3,000 new Facebook likes sounds great; but, acquiring 3,000 Facebook likes that leads to a 5% increase in sales is great.