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McBrayer Digital: Brothers in Business

Brothers Jameson, left, and Ben McBrayer.

Are you still using the term “Google AdWords”? If so, you might note that the tech giant actually renamed its paid search program in the summer of 2018 to “Google Ads.”

Keeping up with digital marketing is a full-time job, one that brothers Ben and Jameson McBrayer are having a blast doing in Lexington with their own company, McBrayer Digital. (The digital company is not affiliated with the well-known McBrayer law firm, although their dad is a distant relative of the namesake attorney.)

Ben started the business in the summer of 2017. His younger brother, Jameson, joined him in January 2019 and said, “I haven’t looked back.”

Ben echoed the sentiment. “I won’t ever go back to a regular desk job if I don’t have to,” he said.

Digital marketing extends beyond the internet to ads on smart TVs and streaming services, mobile apps and games.

“We lay out the strategy and placement, arranging the flight dates and the size of the buy,” Ben said. And they analyze data. So much data. “With digital, everything is tracked.”

“There are so many variables,” Jameson said, noting that it’s important to stick with your marketing company for more than a month at a time.  “What digital marketing does is allow you to track all those variables.”

In addition to Google Ads, the McBrayer brothers run ad campaigns for their clients on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn and Shopify, among other platforms, and can help set up Amazon stores and e-commerce. They’ve worked with the Lexington-based Fazoli’s chain, Jefferson County Public Schools, the Kentucky Bourbon Trail and small family-owned businesses. McBrayer Digital subcontracts other professionals for graphics, branding and other projects that fall outside their main focus.

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“The people receiving the ads are the ones most likely to be interested in it,” Ben said. “This is not the ’90s, and we are not programming pop-up ads. We’re advertising businesses only to the people who would be the most interested in them.”

As founder and owner, Ben McBrayer handles in-platform setup, campaign strategy, digital media placement, and back-end tracking and implementation, while Jameson is in charge of the project management software and keeping things on task.

Born and raised in Georgetown, the brothers graduated from the University of Kentucky four years apart – Ben with a degree in communications and Jameson with a marketing degree – and both wound up working at Big Ass Fans in Lexington at different times. Ben completed his MBA while working there.

The best do-it-yourself advice the brothers have for Facebook marketing is to have a content calendar and post regularly, boosting certain posts to get attention and gain traction.

“When you really want to start using advanced targeting techniques and putting the scientific method behind advertising, that’s when we’ll step in,” Ben said.

Facebook rolled out a major update in late summer 2019 for its ad platform along with regulations on what can and cannot be used in an ad.

“If you post without knowledge of what you should and shouldn’t put on there you could get your ad account shut down, which is a big process to get opened back up again,” Jameson said. “The minutiae does matter.”

Another tip for small businesses is to make sure you’re on Google My Business.

“If you look up your own listing and it says ‘own this’ or ‘claim this,’ you’d better claim it,” Ben said. “Take the steps to be officially recognized on Google My Business.“

With the whole world online, digital marketing has quickly become a tool for laser-focused local marketing. The brothers of McBrayer Digital are happy providing a personal touch to local clients.

“Kentucky, and Lexington in particular, is a really good business environment,” Ben McBrayer said. “It’s great for entrepreneurs; there’s a lot of collaboration and innovation happening. Businesses are growing left and right.”

Their website is mcbrayer.digital or the old standby, McbrayerDigital.com.