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AKvertise: An agency passionate about its clients

  Article , Tech and Telecom , Success stories

Building a business

Headshot of Akvile DeFazio, president of AKvertise, Inc.

In 2014 Akvile launched AKvertise, Inc., a search and social advertising agency in Paso Robles, California.

Akvile DeFazio, president at AKvertise, Inc., is one of those rare individuals who knows how to tap into both sides of her brain. Artistic and science-minded, for DeFazio, the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. Her parents, Lithuanian immigrants who left during the Cold War, were artistic and scientific as well. “My mom was a professional piano player and became a piano teacher,” DeFazio shares. “My father is a doctor who started his own practice. Watching them create their businesses was a powerful inspiration for me. Even with ups and downs, it was clearly very rewarding for them, which made a big impression on me.”

In 2014, DeFazio launched AKvertise, a search and social advertising agency in Paso Robles, California. As a conversion-driven marketer, she's passionate about helping businesses understand their customers and the path to decisions, and then creating a digital strategy to help reach their goals. Her expertise is in e-commerce, event marketing, mobile apps and lead generation, among other things. Most of her clients are midsized businesses, but she also works with enterprise-level and small businesses.

My mom was a professional piano player and became a piano teacher. My father is a doctor who started his own practice. Watching them create their businesses was a powerful inspiration for me. Even with ups and downs, it was clearly very rewarding for them, which made a big impression on me.

Akvile DeFazio, president, AKvertise, Inc.

Opening doors

After going to school for physical therapy, DeFazio realized she wanted work that used more of her creativity and passion for connecting people. Bringing people and brands together resonated as the right business for her, which led her to advertising. The first person to give her an opportunity was a marketing manager at a ski and snowboard company, who offered her an internship. Though she was the only applicant without a marketing or business degree, the manager felt she had the right mindset and was the best choice. “I owe a lot to him,” DeFazio says. “He was a huge inspiration and really got me started on my path.”

Eventually she began working for Third Door Media. While there, she decided to make the move to California. Third Door was fully remote, which made her move easier. “Working from home gave me the experience and discipline I needed to realize I could work for myself,” she shares. “I loved working there, but eventually I was ready for a bigger challenge.”

The tipping point

The transition from employee to entrepreneur began as a pipe dream. Her good friend Pamela was a successful PPC agency owner. DeFazio wanted to shadow Pamela to learn more about the business but was afraid to ask. Finally realizing nothing was going to change unless she took action, she reached out to Pamela. “Pamela laughed and said I couldn't have asked at better time,” she remembers. Pamela was launching a new company and wanted to scale back her agency business, but she had taken on too much work. She took DeFazio under her wing and gave her half of her clients to start her own business. “Pamela changed my life,” DeFazio says. “That was the tipping point. I felt like the universe was telling me it’s time to go for it. Pamela gifted me my livelihood, and I gifted her time to create her new livelihood.”

The downside of the upside

Akvile discusses her challenges and personal growth associated with owning a business.

The first two years were incredible because she had Pamela supporting her. But as Pamela’s business grew, she scaled back, prompting a big change for DeFazio’s business. “Pamela still mentors me,” she says, “but I really came into my own over the past year. I learned more about business development — how to proactively cultivate clients and get more creative with my business.” Building out her network was challenging but ultimately rewarding. “I’ve truly grown as a business owner,” she says. “Now I'm doing everything I can, using everything I learned last year, because I want to keep going and growing.”

While DeFazio conquers her own challenges, her clients face different obstacles. Many of them are trying to get more exposure and inspire online conversions. At the same time, they’re often uncomfortable with awareness campaigns or spending money. “I’ve had clients who were hesitant to do remarketing,” she says. “It takes some time to educate them and get them comfortable with testing advertising options.”

A creative approach

DeFazio helps clients shape many aspects of their marketing campaigns. If needed, she’ll share insights about user behavior. “We don't live in a one-click, one-conversion world anymore,” she says. “So potential customers will check you out online, then come back through different channels as they do their own research and eventually convert.”

Bing Ads is key to her strategy. “I always recommend that my clients jump into Bing Ads because of the great return on investment,” she shares. “I like that you can break Bing Ads down to small, bite-sized chunks for people who are afraid or hesitant. I tell them: ‘Let’s try it with a small budget, run it for a week or a few days and then we'll see the results.’ It works well, and then the client is comfortable investing in it.” To inspire them to try Bing Ads, DeFazio shares success stories about other clients.

We don't live in a one-click, one-conversion world anymore. So potential customers will check you out online, then come back through different channels as they do their own research and eventually convert.

Akvile DeFazio, president, AKvertise, Inc.

The art of impactful advertising

DeFazio’s clients consistently see great results with Bing Ads. “This builds trust for what I can deliver through the Bing Network. That's invaluable because it's growing their business, it's growing mine, and we're getting them in front of people who want what they offer.”

Recently she launched a campaign for an e-commerce client by using Bing Shopping Campaigns. She hasn’t optimized it yet, but her client is already seeing a great return. “They're shocked at how little we spend and how much we earn in revenue,” she says. “They ask me to confirm the data's correct because it's that great. My clients are so delighted with the results that they’re eager to put more money behind it, launch more campaigns, and see what other Bing Ads initiatives we can do.” She has another client who’s getting 10 times its return on investment for the six consecutive months since she started working with the company. “It’s rewarding to see how excited they all are and how Bing Ads is truly helping them grow their businesses,” she shares.

DeFazio use a variety of different features to help her clients. For non-branded campaigns, she identifies keywords for driving traffic. She explains, “We start with broad match to get more customer visibility. Then we cut back, investigate what's performing well and narrow it down to the best performers for our clients.” DeFazio works on building awareness and then gets audiences to come back through Remarketing in Paid Search. “I first started with Bing Ads back when I worked for another company, and I remember it saved our overall marketing conversions for every single month we ran ads. Bing Ads really helped lift our metrics, and it’s helping my clients do the same.”

Artful living

Part of DeFazio’s success is due to the fact that she truly nurtures relationships. She’s transparent and willing to test and experiment with different types of campaigns, including introducing clients to Bing Ads. “In the grand scheme of things, these are small risks,” she says, “but they turn out to be powerful and effective. That makes my clients happy and they recommend me to people they know through their own businesses. That says a lot.”

Now that her business is thriving, DeFazio can take a deep breath and turn some attention to her own artistic endeavors. “I'm delving back into drawing and painting,” she shares. “I’m on the computer for work all day. Art is an outlet for my creativity that’s really uplifting for me. I’m also developing a side project. It’s hush-hush for now, but it’s very exciting.”

Photography shot by SLOtography.

See a summary

View or save the infographic to see how AKvertise used Bing Ads to help clients increase return on investment and reach their target audience.

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