Behind the Design – Adele Stewart

Learn a little more about the crew ‘Behind the Designs’ with our newest Q&A series. Next up up is our Senior Project Manager, Adele Stewart. Get to know her a little better!

Q: Give us some insight into your morning routine!

A: 6:15 (after hittin’ the snooze button a few times) and take my dog Jackson (“Jack”) out on a walk. Then I’ll take him back home and go on a quick run or walk by myself. I’ve stopped taking him with me because he LOVES to stop and sniff everything, and when I run I cannot be stopped! When I get home I shower and get ready before heading out to work. Even though I get my bags packed and lunches ready in the evenings, I still can never manage to get to the office on time – Pittsburgh, your traffic pattern bewilders me.

Q: Three apps that help with you work…ready go!

A: Pinterest – I get a lot of campaign ideas and insights from Pinterest. Often times, I will create private boards for clients and develop a campaign for each client based off of what I see.
iTunes – I purchased Apple Music back in October, and I have no regrets. It builds recommended playlists for you based off of your interests and I can listen to ANY song. It’s basically the same as a Spotify Premium membership, but I tend to like their recommended playlists a lot more. Music can either make or break my focus, so I have to choose my tunes wisely in order to be productive!
the Berry – the Chive’s sister site. I know that it can sometimes be a distraction, but it gets my mind right when I begin to find myself thinking about things other than work. I’ll allot myself a few hours to get work done, and then I will check out a Berry post for a laugh or an inspirational post. Actually, sometimes they give me ideas for our clients. Our Good Highdea campaign for Glass Gone Wow on 4/20 came from Berry inspiration.

Q: What music do you listen to while you’re working?

A: I actually pride myself on being able to find the right music for the right mood. House chill or oldies in the AM, Acoustics or symphonic in the afternoon. Anything you can sing along with or dance to leads to way more distractions.

Q: What’s your dream job (besides working at Sparq =] )

A: I’m a dreamer. If I could, I’d dabble in everything from event planning to acting. Currently working on a way to incorporate all of my passions into one complete – and possible – career. Everyone at Sparq is really supportive in the pursuit of all of our dreams, which is not something you come across every day.

Q: If you could sit down and have a hour-long conversation with any person alive or deceased who would it be?

A: My dad. He lived in Pittsburgh for most of my life, so now I am constantly trying to remember places we went to and people he knew. Places feel familiar, I’m just not sure if they actually are. Plus, I’d kill for another one of his guitar lessons I took for granted as a child.

Q: Who is your idol in the business world? Why?

A: Oh, Beyonce. I think I have always admired her ability to invest and create. I remember when she appeared in a Pepsi commercial alongside Britney Spears and Pink (I think I was around 12 years old at the time), and I just grew a strange attachment to her. Pepsi had their pop princess, the rebel Pink, and the incredibly fierce and fiery Beyonce who shreds through her part so seamlessly that you wondered why they even chose the other two. I wanted to drink Pepsi after that, and let me tell you, Pepsi to me tastes like acidic, liquid garbage. Apparently, this Pepsi deal was a multi-year one that raked in $50-million dollars. This money was also used as an investment to fund her future projects including her fashion label House of Dereon, and clothing lines with H&M and Topshop. She plans every aspect of her tour campaigns – audio, visual, and more, AND oversees her own image. She also has made it a point to remind everyone that success didn’t happen overnight. She has worked very hard from childhood to get where she is today. I aspire to be like her, and I am well-aware of the hard-work and networking that goes into it. I think whether people like her music or not, she should be recognized a business magnate within the branding industry, that has hustled to get there – it’s truly something to respect.

To learn more check out our team page!

The individuals at Sparq Designs believe in quality, and are huge advocates of setting ourselves apart from the competition. We do not believe in a cookie-cutter approach because we feel it’s more important to stand out in a crowd and we want our clients to do the same. We get excited about turning a concept into a design, developing a web presence, writing and optimizing content, and creating a buzz around a brand. Meet more of the team here.


Choosing an Online Marketing Company in Pittsburgh

Choosing an Online Marketing Company in Pittsburgh to Grow Your Business

Do you own a business in Pittsburgh or the surrounding areas? If so, you’re well aware of the importance of growing your business online. Over 80% of people conduct research online before purchasing products or committing to your service, and potential customers are doing the same about your business. The problem arises when those potential customers are unable to find you online—and you eventually find yourself needing an online marketing company in Pittsburgh to help grow your business and gain visibility in the search engines.

There are numerous ways that you can grow your business with the help of an online marketing company in Pittsburgh. Sparq Designs has multiple services to choose from, and your marketing strategy is customized to fit the unique goals of your business.

Business owners in Pittsburgh can grow their business in the following ways with Sparq Designs:

Brand Development

Finding your voice and telling your unique story is crucial for cutting through the noise. According to CBS news, the average American can see up to 5,000 ads per day. In order to make your business stand out, you’ll need to transform your establishment from a run-of-the-mill business to a standout brand.

Sparq Designs specializes in helping brands perfect an influential voice across all mediums, from your website content to your next Tweet.

Web Development

Poorly designed and outdated websites can actually make potential customers disengage from your business. If your company website is hard to navigate or doesn’t offer exceptional user experience, an online marketing company in Pittsburgh such as Sparq can help increase customer interaction. Furthermore, you can make updates to your website all on your own with the ultra user-friendly WordPress platform.

When you need the perfect balance of professionalism, functionality, and trendy design, Sparq Designs hits the mark every time.

Social Media

The average online marketing company in Pittsburgh will only update your social media account when you have a special or promotion. Unfortunately, this technique does not engage your customers and rarely results in sales.

Instead, Sparq Designs creates a custom social media strategy for your business in order to:

● Increase traffic to your website
● Build a social media following
● Encourage customer engagement
● Establish a voice for your business
● And more

Search Engine Optimization

At the end of the day, your Pittsburgh business needs to be visible in the search engines. Scoring top spots on Google can take a lot of time and effort, but Sparq Designs is up to the challenge of helping customers easily find your website online.

As your online marketing company in Pittsburgh, we only use SEO (search engine optimization) techniques that are recommended by Google. This includes implementing a keyword research strategy, supplying great content, and creating the ultimate user experience through your website.

Contact Sparq Designs: An Online Marketing Company in Pittsburgh

When you’re ready to grow your business online and cut through the noise, Sparq Designs can put you on the right track. Get in touch with us today to get started with your next project or address questions or concerns—we’re standing by to help your Pittsburgh business grow and thrive online.


7 Reasons Why You Should Outsource Your Digital Marketing


We see it all the time – businesses on the hunt for that one qualified candidate; that one digital marketing professional that is going to make their lives easier once and for all when it comes to searchability and social media. However, finding a single candidate with the required experience, who wants to get paid at the wage you are offering, can sometimes be a challenge. It just makes sense to look for a digital marketing team instead of having one person do all of the work and here are 7 reasons why:


When you hire a digital marketing team, you are hiring a group of professionals who have expertise in exactly the area you are looking for. People who work at digital marketing agencies are hired based off of their prior experience and are then trained to handle various other accounts. You’re actually hiring experts who have seen digital marketing work for a wide array of clients.

Inbound Marketing

A digital marketing team is not just experienced in one element of your digital marketing needs. They often have a social media strategist, search engine optimization experts, graphic designers, email marketing professionals, developers, and so much more. The campaign ideas never stop flowing, plus the teams have to stay up-to-date with any technological advances in their field.

Cost Effective

Depending on experience, one digital marketing professional may require a yearly income of $28k to $55k. Why pay salary for one person, when you could hire an experienced team for the same price (or less)?

Measurable Results

Digital marketing teams are not only up-to-date with advances in their field; they are also well equipped with knowledge when it comes to measuring key performance indicators (KPIs). A lot of the tools that agencies use cost money and are often cost-prohibitive to small businesses. Agencies have to use these tools in order to manage multiple accounts.

Peace of Mind

Often time’s businesses hire a digital marketing team for the sole reason that they do not have time to do the work on their own. Although the companies play a part in communication and overall approval of content, they can relax knowing that their digital agency is handling all things social media while simultaneously boosting their search engine results.

ROI Driven

The difference between an employee and a team is that there is no such thing as “job security” for an external team. Teams work hard to ask the right questions in order to create content that will produce results. Agencies are focused on proving return on investment for their clients because often times they don’t get a second chance to redeem themselves.

New Perspective

As a business, you know what works best for your company, but a different perspective adds an outside point-of-view. Marketing agencies will do all of the necessary research to design and execute a strategic plan that makes sense from a consumer’s perspective.

We can offer you hundreds of reasons why you should hire an outside digital marketing agency as opposed to hiring one single person, but why take them from a post? Test out the power of an agency and see for yourself.


Adele Stewart is a Marketing Account Manager & Designer at Sparq Designs, a digital marketing agency in Pittsburgh. Learn more about her, here. If you have questions about building a relationship, contact the  Sparq team today.

Follow Adele on Twitter,  LinkedIn Instagram


4 Ways to Make Your Website an Effective Sales Tool

The goals of many small businesses’ marketing efforts are to turn traffic into leads and leads into business. But often times when meeting with business owners, they have an online marketing plan and website that falls short of their ultimate expectations. Having an effective web presence can be a powerful tool to gain quality leads, and we’ve gathered 4 simple ways to do just that.



1. Make information easy to find

In the industry landscape, a brand now competes on a global scale and with this elevated competition, a website must be able to convey important information in a quick and effective manner. Make sure the most important navigation information is displayed in your website’s primary navigation area. Most of the time the main navigation area is located in the top header. However, most websites make the mistake of hiding important information within sub tabs or drop down menus.With the short attention span of individuals today, a site must provide information to the users in the quickest way possible.

2. Make sure your site is responsive

Mobile devices and tablets today have become the main form of communication. Recognizing and understanding that mobile searches now outnumber desktop searches, businesses must realize that their site needs to conform to mobile regulations. In April, Google announced an algorithm change that placed a higher emphasis on user experience. It is simple; Google wants users “to receive an uninterrupted experience.” So what exactly does this mean?

A user should receive a seamless experience on any device that they browse any particular site on, from desktop to tablet, to mobile. There should be no more zooming in and out or scrolling left to right to read content on a site when viewed in a mobile layout. In many cases users will abort a mobile site that does not layout content and information in a user-friendly manner.

3. Have SEO in place to drive traffic

If a business does not already have an SEO (search engine optimization) campaign in place, their competition most likely does. We live in an age where information is at our fingertips. If someone does not know an answer to their question, they get on Google to search for it. If someone wants to find the best coffee shop within 5 miles, they go a local directory.

We live in a world where “being at the right place at the right time” can make or break your business. For small businesses especially, investing in your online marketing can make a world of difference. A business can invest money into the creation of the most visually appealing website, but if it doesn’t show up when users are searching for your services…how effective can it really be?

SEO is marketing that is built for longevity. If done correctly, your site and online presence will continue to grow for months and years after you have made your investment.

4. Obtain user information through your site

Now that there’s an understanding of the importance for driving traffic to a site and a user has gathered information about the business and services, there needs to be engagement. Whether it’s a site that is heavily trafficked or one that receives twenty hits per day, converting traffic into business is the holy grail of online marketing. There should be multiple ways to connect and find out what the potential customer wants.

Have a phone number, email handle and address prominently placed in the header and footer of the website. There should be contact and quote forms displayed in multiple areas and pages where viewers can easily connect with you. Now that you’ve seen these four ways to make your website an effective sales tool, do you have any to add?

Nick Brucker is the President & CEO at Sparq Designs, a digital marketing agency in Pittsburgh. Learn more about him, here. If you have questions about building a relationship, contact the  Sparq team today.

Follow Nick on Twitter & LinkedIn 


Google’s Latest Update: How It May Affect Your Rankings

On July 24, Google released its latest search algorithm change. In an ongoing attempt to refine local search results, this update, named “Pigeon” puts more emphasis on the location of the user to refine the search results.

So, what do we know thus far about “Pigeon” and how is it going to affect your SEO results? So far, it seems that local business directories and review sites including: Yelp, Google+, etc., have seen greater visibility in search queries.   After taking a look at our current clients, we were able to see favorable increases in organic traffic after the July 24th update.

Although it is not completely clear how the update will affect rankings, here are some things that you may want to take into consideration as Google aims to improve “location-based searches”:

  1. Verify your  business address with Google Places
  2. Provide as much information about your business in online directories as possible
  3. Make an attempt to increase customer reviews on your Google+ page
  4. Focus on quality content for your web pages–and localize your focus keywords
  5. Look to obtain links from outbound sites to your pages

We will have a better understanding of Google’s algorithm changes in the days and weeks to come.