Sparq Designs awarded as one of Pittsburgh’s best places to work

Yes, we have office dogs, travel for video shoots, explore Pittsburgh’s finest coffee shops, and of course – shop at Whole Foods. But these elements of our day-to-day in Wexford, 10 miles north of the city of Pittsburgh, make up only a small fraction of our company culture.

This month we were awarded in the Pittsburgh Business Times as one of Pittsburgh’s “Best Places to Work.”

Jim Blundo, Vice President of Sparq Designs, believes we won this award by “sticking to our core philosophy of hiring people that love what they do and putting them in a position to keep doing it. We don’t stray from that idea and the result is a team of people that come to work everyday because they enjoy the work that they perform.”

As a collective whole and energetic group of millennials, we are passionate about our industry and our clients. We always go the extra mile to implement strategies, prove ROI, and build trust with our client base. Sit in on one creative deep dive meeting with the Sparq team and you will leave oozing with inspiration and excitement.

President of Sparq Designs, Nick Brucker, exclaimed “to be one of the best places to work in Pittsburgh is an honor that speaks to the quality of people that we have as a part of our team. It is an award that we have had our eye on for some time and it means a great deal to each and every one of us. It’s never been about having the coolest office with the ping pong tables and video games. It’s always been about developing something where everyone can be successful and caring about one another. That is just who we are!”

We plan on being on the “Best Places to Work” list for years to come.


5 Reasons Why You Should Hire a Google Certified Partner

It’s one thing for a company to say they can run Google AdWords for your organization, it’s another thing to run them through an agency that is a Google Certified Partner. Google Certified Partners earn that title and badge through countless hours of AdWords management, ongoing training, and by meeting certain performance requirements from Google.

You wouldn’t hire just anybody to be your nutritionist – you’d hire a Certified Clinical Nutritionist – someone who has received adequate education in the field, kept up to date with emerging trends and they have experience handling clients and their needs. You should look at a Google Certified Partner in the same respect.

Unlike a self-dubbed “AdWords professional,” Google Certified Partners have the opportunity to be in contact with a Google representative, are the first to know about exciting new tools and they’ll get to host Google AdWords & Google My Business events.

1. If you’re running AdWords by yourself, you may be losing money.


Without the help of a Google Partner you may be putting too much of your ad dollars into clicks or conversions. Google Partners know how much money to invest in negative keywords and focus their efforts in specific locations. Too many times, we’ve inherited accounts where an account manager plugged in too many keywords into one singular ad group, which completely discredits the specificity of ad groups and campaigns. Rather than searches converting into sales, a lot of money was spent on a few wasted clicks on a general keyword.

2. Without a Google Partner, your ads won’t get to experience beta features.

One of the key reasons to work with a Google Partner is the fact that they have access to beta features that haven’t been released to those without that prestigious badge. Anytime Google is ready to trial run a new feature or tool, Google Partners can implement them into your AdWords strategy. Using the beta features also gives you a one-up on your competition if they aren’t working with a Google Partner.

3. Working with a Google Partner means working with someone required to stay up-to-date with their certifications.

Each year, Google Certified Partners are required to remain up to speed with their Google Certifications. This means studying up on AdWords and Analytics and taking the necessary tests to maintain their certifications. A Google Partner will never be “out of the loop” when it comes to emerging or changing trends in search, display, video, mobile, and the like.

4. Monitoring your AdWords performance is part of a Google Partner’s daily work routine.

In order for Google Partners to maintain their badge, they must also constantly monitor campaigns. It’s very easy to create a campaign and forget about it until it has stopped running. Not only is it part of their day-to-day responsibilities, there is a lot more pressure for a Google Partner to monitor and manage their clients’ campaigns. According to Huffington Post, constant tracking, analyzing, and optimization is required for success.

5. Google Partners have their own team at Google to answer questions and resolve client issues.

Google Partners have their own Google Agency Team that allows them to bypass long wait times whenever an issue occurs with a client’s account. Issues that once took days – ads are disabled due to a failed site audit or a problem with malware – now are addressed immediately. Your account is no longer treated as a number, but as a functioning client.

At Sparq Designs, we’ve met all of the criteria that Google has given us to attain this title – we’ve employed talent with up-to-date Google Certifications, we’ve seen success by way of conversions for our clients, we’ve handled fairly large scale accounts for 90 days or more, and any new tool or addition Google has pushed out, we’ve been able to implement and utilize it for our clients.

When looking for a digital marketing agency to run AdWords in Pittsburgh, look for the Google Partner badge on an agency’s site or contact Sparq and we’ll get you headed in the right direction.


NADG Relationship

An integral and pivotal turning point for us happened at the beginning of 2017. In February, we launched gorefreshdental.com which serves as a hub for cosmetic and general dentistry, a location finder for all 65+ Refresh Dental offices, and a dental appointment scheduler. In June, we launched psgdental.com, which is similiar to Refresh in functionality, but with a focus on speciality dentistry like orthodontics, endodontics, and periodontics. We were able to do all this through a partnership with North American Dental Group.

North American Dental Group, an Inc. 500 company, is a premier dental group with a commitment to industry-leading service and care for each patient. They have acquired Refresh Dental, Precision Specialty Group, Corner Dental, Dental Care of Michigan, and Dental Express and continue to grow. They brought us on this year to aid in their development and growth.

Working as a preferred vendor for NADG opened up many doors for our team including, allowing us to build our video department and bring on a Creative Director to manage and build our design team.

Our partnership with NADG utilized all of our departments:

  • The design team helped rebrand Refresh Dental with a revised logo and color palette. They also created the designs and user experience for the new gorefreshdental.com and the new psgdental.com websites.
  • Our developers built these custom sites as well as custom scheduling software to request appointments, and soon to schedule appointments with a few clicks of a mouse. They also developed mobile responsive versions of both sites to better accommodate website visitors.
  • Our copywriters were kept busy writing location pages specifically to be picked up by search engines.
  • Our videographer was able to travel across Pennsylvania and the midwest to film testimonials at every practice.
  • Our social media team created and continues to implement a strategy that focuses on building a presence and creating overall awareness.
  • Developers, designers, and the online marketing team also were responsible for creating landing pages to be accessed by a strategic Pay-Per-Click (PPC) campaign.

Sparq Designs foundation has been built by the motto, “when our clients succeed, we succeed.” Because of this vision and the digital marketing plan that was put into place for NADG, Refresh Dental was able to acquire new dental patients per month at each location through PPC and our “Request an Appointment” landing pages. NADG’s success has been one that, using our entire time, our creativity, our talent and our grit, we were able to build up from the ground up. Our trajectory for NADG is continued growth by way of new patients and the acquisition of new locations and partners.

With NADG’s continued success, we can only see more success for Sparq Designs as well. We are excited to see what Q3 will bring for our partnership with NADG.


2017 Announcements

Sparq Online Marketing Manager graduates with master’s degree from Point Park

Sparq Online Marketing Manager graduates with master's degree from Point Park

Our online marketing manager, Kaitlin Roth, graduated in April with a Master’s in Communication Technology and social media. She will use her newfound education to implement strategic social media plans and immersive online marketing campaigns.

Kait states that: “My career-focused courses explored social media best practices, crisis and strategic communication, analytics, search engine optimization and social media campaigns. Diving into these from a corporate marketing and research focus allowed me to become more creative in the content I produce at Sparq. Now I am able to more effectively consider the target demographics and really leverage my creativity to deliver the best messaging to them.”

Sparq Project Manager wins award to expand solo photography business

Sparq Project Manager wins award to expand solo photography business

Our online community manager, Bri Nellis, was awarded a second place prize of $5,000 in the sixth annual PASSHE Student Business Plan Competition.

As stated in the write-up on Clarion’s website: Bri will use the funds to expand her business, Bri Nellis Photography, into the Pittsburgh market, as well as to add drone photography/videography services to her menu of sports, portrait and commercial photography services.

“Our focus is to tell stories through our photos, whether it be under the Friday night lights, candid personalities in portraits, focusing on the friendships made in high school sports” or capturing “breathless views,” said Nellis, describing her business plan.


Web Developer travels to America for the summer to intern at Sparq

Web Developer travels to America for the summer to intern at Sparq

Web Developer, Hemnath Mouli, left his home in India to spend the summer months interning with us in Wexford, PA. As our web development intern, Hemnath has spent the summer streamlining the site launch process for our clients, and of course – attending Pirates baseball games, canoeing down the Clarion river, and eating as many tacos as possible. We are so thankful to have him as an important member of our growing team.