How to be a Jersey Shore Influencer: Food Edition brought together powerhouses to discuss how to stand out in the crowded digital age.
Joseph Lamberti, Cherry Hill Courier-Post
SPRING LAKE HEIGHTS – Growing up in Spring Lake Heights, Vincent “Vini” Iachetta Jr. was always into the arts, drawing and painting.
He also loved football and played for both Manasquan High School, where he was an All-State and All-Shore player during his senior year, as well as Montclair State University — until a knee injury derailed his professional football dreams. But that change of direction would eventually lead to his business today, digital marketing agency Peppermonkey Media.
“I’d always identified as a football player and had no other plan,” recalled Iachetta, 35, today a resident of the Leonardo section of Middletown. “I ultimately went back to what I loved and graduated from Montclair with a degree in fine arts.”
Peppermonkey Media is a Spring Lake-based provider of digital marketing solutions, including web design, social media and search engine optimization. Owner Vincent Iachetta Jr. in his workspace. Spring Lake, NJ Tuesday, November 12, 2019 (Photo: Doug Hood )
Inheriting the entrepreneurial gene from his grandfather Frank Delpizzo, “I started doing freelance lead generation, website illustration and graphic design for companies after college, at which point search engine optimization (SEO) was just coming up,” Iachetta said.
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In 2009, he joined the digital marketing division of information-services company Martindale-Hubbell in New Providence, where he did digital marketing for law firms.
Two years into that job, “I remember sitting in a meeting and drawing animals in pepper that I poured out of a pepper shaker left on the table to make my colleagues laugh,” he said. “After I drew a monkey, one of my colleagues told me I should name my own company that and it stuck; I ended up registering the name Peppermonkey in 2011 as a side project.”
Though it would be another few years before he was ready to move on the idea, “I ultimately found office space on Route 71 in Spring Lake Heights and launched Peppermonkey Media in 2018,” said Iachetta, who grew his clientele through his own lifelong knowledge of area businesses as well as by joining a local business network.
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Wide variety of clients
Meeting with scores of local business owners to discuss their goals, “I found that most need leads and new business coming in, so I create digital lead generation systems using tools like website development, SEO, Facebook ads and Google ads, which are part of pay-per-click marketing (through which we place an ad on the Google search results page and clients only pay when customers click on it),” he said.
“Our clients vary widely, from law firms and contractors to chiropractors, restaurants and more — one of my first clients was Fitcrunch protein bars — but if your business has a brick-and-mortar presence and you want people to find you, I can help you,” Iachetta said.
According to Iachetta, “we create the strategy and execution of the ads, from determining your target market and where your customers are online to what your business wants to offer and how you’ll follow up. Fees start at $500 per month and we offer a free trial to get people acquainted with and comfortable with our services.”
With well over 100 satisfied clients since launching last year, “our ads get the phone ringing and get interested customers reaching out immediately,” he said. “We’re a lead-generation, ROI-focused company and can significantly change the trajectory of our customers’ businesses.”
Such has been the case for Eastern Shore Heating & Air Conditioning, an over 40-year-old business based in Brick.
“I learned of Vini through a business networking group and found him to be very knowledgeable and driven,” said Aran Harper, general manager. “While our company is very heavy on new construction, we wanted to add a replacement division and knew that online marketing would be the way to get there.”
Since starting up with Peppermonkey Media this summer, “Vini redesigned our website, ran multiple ads on Facebook and Instagram, and is doing pay-per-click and SEO for us,” Harper said.
“He’s honest and down to earth, very results-driven, and has increased business for us dramatically; a lot of people are finding us through these ads. If you’re not using Vini,” Harper said, “you’re shortchanging your company.”
Importance of Google
Among industry trends, Iachetta confirmed that the Google business listing platform “Google My Business” has become extremely important for small businesses as much search activity has migrated there in recent years.
“Facebook is also extremely hot for generating new business, especially if the business is digital and features media beyond simple text, such as photos and videos,” he said. “Digital media is where much of today’s communication has gone,” he added, noting that more and more companies, including Adidas, have opted to move nearly all of their marketing to digital mediums.
“Online marketing is effective, powerful and enables more detailed targeting of potential customers than ever before,” he said.
Among industry challenges, “there’s a lot of noise and clutter out there, but a good marketer knows that you don’t have to be annoying to be effective,” Iachetta said.
Currently a force of one, “I’m often working on vacations and holidays — you’re never really off the clock,” he said of the long hours.
In addition, “a lot of competitors have entered this field as it’s become increasingly perceived as the latest get-rich-quick scheme that can be done from home, but business owners need to know that the quality of these providers and their services varies greatly, so they have to do their due diligence,” Iacehetta said. “I pride myself on my honesty — I never overpromise and underdeliver — and the hands-on, boutique approach I take to all of my clients.”
As the industry evolves, Iachetta said that he’s always learning, reinventing and refining his strategies. “But while new tools are always coming up, such as voice search, we focus on the main ones; though the tools may change, the principles behind generating more business for owners remain the same,” he said.
Looking ahead, “I’d like to see Peppermonkey Media continue to grow and someday I hope to add the right employees so that I can do even more creative things in the community and support more causes,” Iachetta said.
For now, however, “it’s exciting to build trust with clients and hear them say that they’re doing great after we executed their digital strategy,” he said. “I love helping fellow entrepreneurs address the same problems that I’ve had as a small business owner because I now have the solutions.”
Location: 2025 Route 71, Suite #2, Spring Lake Heights
Owner: Vincent (Vini) Iachetta Jr.
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