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We've written some insightful, entertaining articles that span topics from support to design to content management and beyond!




This is a headshot of Shauna Ramsaroop.

Illustration of a phone with store-related things coming out of it

 

There is no doubt that with the pandemic businesses have made a shift towards providing products and services online. Whether your company has built a hybrid model, or you’re operating solely online, here are a few tips provided by Big Commerce to help you start and stay afloat:

 

Learn from your customers.

As you grow your business, listening to feedback from your customer base is crucial.

It can be easy to weed out negative feedback, but the truth is, both positive and constructive criticism can bode well for your business.

 

Prioritize customer support.

Prioritizing customer support gives your business the chance to turn unhappy customers into loyal ones. If you can be there in a pinch, you can relieve the issue and deliver your brand promise.

 

In addition, high quality support can often lead to more brand awareness and brand loyalty and trust. Sammy has found that “with brand trust comes social media tagging between groups and good word of mouth.”

 

Stay focused on your niche.

When you begin a new business venture, it’s easy to get excited and want to tap into different markets. But, spreading yourself too thin can result in missed opportunities to capture an engaged audience.

 

Dan Kogan, CEO at 1Digital Agency shares what he believes small business owners should focus on as they grow their brand.

 

Deliver an experience your customers won’t forget.

 

Think of some of your favorite brands, what is it about them that keeps you loyal?

 

The customer experience.

 

Customer experience has a domino effect. If you do it well, you will see a boost in positive brand awareness, traffic, and loyal customers to your online store.

 

Be time-efficient.

As you grow your business, you must use your time efficiently. To help you do this, look to technology and automation.

 

Think omnichannel.

Omnichannel strategies are on the rise, and it’s no surprise.

 

In 2020, customers are shopping in more places. On your eCommerce store, on Amazon, on Instagram…the list goes on.

 

To make sure you are building brand awareness and offering more flexible options for your customers to purchase your products, start developing an omnichannel strategy.

 

Find a balance.

Buckle up for long nights and early mornings, celebratory wins and trips back to the drawing board. Owning and running a small business takes hard work.

 

Don’t fear larger, more established competitors.

You’re fresh meat in a competitive market. That can feel pretty intimidating.

 

Remember, you’re introducing new products into the market because there is a need for them. You have something that your competition lacks.

 

Take an organized approach.

Keeping every part of your business organized will keep functions running smooth.

 

Scott Ginsberg, Head of Content at Metric Digital, shares that his “personal mantra for knowledge management has always centered around one principle: If you don’t write it down, it never happened.”

 

Writing ideas down will help you brainstorm different options for your business, and keep your priorities in check.

 

Choose your battles wisely.

Just like your personal life, it’s important to choose your battles wisely.

 

Starting a business and experiencing growing pains can be stressful. Focus on your most valuable assets and plans to stay steady on the path to success.

 

Build a team.

While you may be very passionate about your business, you won’t achieve success by going about it all on your own.

 

When Kim Terry, CEO at Subscription Systems LLC, began her business, she learned that she needed to rely on both human and technical resources to achieve her dream.

 

Learn to be flexible.

Being flexible allows you to be a better listener to your customer base, be adaptable to change, and always be ready to embrace what’s next. This will keep you ahead of the game.

Be true to your business.

 

Don’t follow the crowd.

When you sought out to start your own business, you did so because there was something missing in the market. By staying true to your passion and purpose, you will be able to communicate your genuine and organic message to your customers.

 

Tessa Wuertz, Director of Marketing & Partnerships at efelle Creative, believes success comes from authentically made brands.

 

Be the best at what you do.

For a couple of moments, forget about the competition, the state of the market, the small details in your logistics strategy.

 

Come back to your purpose and brand purpose. Your goal should always be to be the best at what you do. When you look at the big picture and ask yourself how to be the best at what you do, you will find that your priorities arrive much easier.

 

Think holistically.

Look at your business as a whole — how do you tie together your brand message and experience? How does it connect?

 

Be passionate in everything you do.

The reality is owning a small business is no easy task. Being passionate about what you do, the products you sell, and the customers you do business with will help give your business purpose and a drive for growth.  

 

This emotional connection and drive will keep you having fun in your day-to-day journey to success — and extend in to how you manage your business.

 

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This is a headshot of Shauna Ramsaroop.

Doodle of marketing related things in a dark background

 

As we’ve discussed in previous marketing blogs, having a detailed buyer persona is incredibly important when building out your marketing plan. One of the characteristics that you should be identifying is what generation does your customer fall into. The differences in buying habits of each generation are crucial in understanding your potential customer. It allows you to tailor your marketing and business plan increasing adoption rates.

 

In this blog we’re going to look at Generation X, Y, and Z’s. Entrepreneur.com has done a wonderful job highlighting the key factors in defining each generation and their buying habits”

 


 

Generation X

“People of this generation were born from 1965 to 1982, according to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). They are between 56 and 40 years old.

 

It is a generation that has been held back by constant economic recessions and unemployment. This has led to a delay in their emancipation and economic independence.

 

This generation experienced the first transformations to the "traditional model" of families - birth control, divorces and households headed by single mothers - as well as the fight for the civil rights of the violated groups and the principle of gender equality.

 

They are children of baby boomers and they are parents of millennials. This generation has an X that represents, above all, the idea of indefiniteness.”

 

How to Advertise to Generation X

According to Salesfloor:

“Gen X prefers honest explanations of product usage and trusts clienteling techniques that cater to their own habits. When marketing to Gen Xers, it’s critical to make products and services especially visible and accessible online by using SEO strategies to optimize their research and an active social media presence to demonstrate a personable and authentic brand image. Digitally, email is one of best channels for reaching out to this generation. Gen Xers check emails on a regular basis and are more likely to respond well to personalized offers based on their previous purchases. Like Baby Boomers, Xers also rely on quality customer service for brand loyalty as they see store associates as people who can relate to them on a consumer level and relay the best options for their purchases without an upsell.”

 


 

Generation Y

“The millennial generation. It is made up of people born between 1981 and 1996, according to Pew Research. They are between 40 and 25 years old and are true digital natives.

 

Millennials are the children of baby boomers and GenX. It is more difficult for them to become independent than for people of other generations. They tend to buy what they want even with few financial resources.

 

This generation witnessed the arrival of the Internet in homes and the expansion of its educational use, as well as the arrival of devices such as smartphones, laptops and tablets.” (source)

 

How to Advertise to Generation Y

“You should keep in mind that they are the most economically active audience today, and that they also like to read. Therefore, contact with them should be through articles, instructions for choosing a product, reviews and descriptions of various services.

 

Generation Y representatives value the opinion of recognized personalities, so if a brand invites a popular specialist to its advertising integration it will be successful.

 

Generation Y internet users love their egos, so personalization is an effective strategy for them. In this way, companies have to worry about addressing the recipient by name, remembering their order history, and making personalized offers.” (source)

 


 

Generation Z

“Better known as Centennials, they are the people who were born after 1996, until 2012. They are the children of the Millennial generation. They do not know the world without screens, digital social networks or smartphones, so they are always connected, they are multitask and multiscreen.

 

They feel like citizens of the planet , they believe that what one does, institutions and companies included, affects everyone, they are aware of the problems of society and that each one must help solve them and they are hyper-connected, but at the same time they feel alone.” (source)

 

How to Advertise to Generation Z

“Catering to Gen Z’s online expectations by providing consumer-generated content is crucial for retailers, because not only do these teens respond extremely well to word-of-mouth, but they actively participate in it as well. Spivey claims that 40 percent of Gen Zers give online reviews “very often,” which in turn encourage others within their generation to purchase products. In this sense, Gen Z consumers sharing brand content on social media can easily be considered unofficial brand ambassadors.” (source)

 

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This is a headshot of Shauna Ramsaroop.

Top down view of a hand picking from 3 different smiley faces

 

As businesses start, scale, and grow during the pandemic a need for an online presence is becoming increasingly important – we’ve discussed the benefits of this in previous blog posts. Finding the right company for your needs whether they are website design, photography, content creation, social media strategies etc. can be a tiresome task considering there are thousands of options to choose from when completing a simple Google search.

 

As you sift your way through the endless options available to you, you may find companies that offer services to assist you by cultivating a “team” of companies to provide you with the multiple services that you seek. Here’s the thing, by having a middleman you’re handing releasing control and placing into the hands of individuals who don’t necessarily view your needs as a priority.

 

We have noticed more recently that businesses in the Waterloo Region are being targeted by companies such as bark.com who offer up services like those mentioned above. If you’re looking to build a new website for your company and start a marketing campaign, we highly suggest that you veer away from companies like this. Why? After looking up reviews on this specific company, customers who have invested in them have made some pretty alarming reviews about how terrible the experience has been for them, here are a few:

 

“I purchased a number of credits to hopefully get more pet sitting clients. I have not received any clients and feel that the product I was sold was not actually what was advertised. Bark.com guaranteed return on investment, and I have yet to see any clients. When I asked for a refund, I was told that the company does not offer any refunds, despite their "satisfaction guarantee." I also tried to end a free trial subscription, but was forced to fill out a form. I have not heard anything back from the company about the cancellation. I want a refund of my money as well as a confirmation that my subscription is cancelled.” (source)

 

“I purchased credits from Bark.com for video productions "gigs." These credits cost me around $200 a year ago. The leads that were sent to me never responded back to me. It was as if they were fake leads. I can't confirm that, but I just know I used up all of my credits and never had a single lead respond back. So, I stopped using Bark and had not had any contact with them for a year. Today while doing my bills and looking at my bank account I noticed that Bark had taken out $30.25 last month and $30.25 this month for a pro subscription that I had never signed up for. I called them and they refunded me this month's payment, but they told me it was my fault for last month's payment. I had no idea about this "Pro" account. I asked them to delete my account and remove my credit card information. They refuse to reimburse me for last month's payment. This company is running a scam and they need to be held accountable. A class action lawsuit is needed hault this companies’ theft.” (source)

 

These are only two issues of pages of complaints that have been posted by the Better Business Bureau. As you start planning your website, we definitely suggest doing your research and reach out to companies that you may feel are a good fit for you. After 20 years of website services to businesses of all sizes, in the Greater Waterloo Region we know a thing or two to help you along the way. Each one of our sites are custom designed and built to meet your requirements, our marketing team is here to work WITH you to help you generate leads through a thoughtful and meaning full branding strategy.

 

In addition to our expertise, unlike companies such as bark.com, we have a support staff to guide you along the way, you call, we answer. If something isn’t working for you, we’re here to help you re-evaluate and advise you on industry best practices. When it comes to your website, you definitely don’t want to cut corners, I like to say – it’s your business’s resume, it should be the best that it can be and work for you. Our team at REM Web Solutions takes pride in what we do, our customers and their success always come first.

 

If you’re in the Region of Waterloo (Kitchener, Cambridge, or Guelph) and you’re looking to create a new website, start a marketing campaign, boost your digital presence and branding strategy feel free to reach out to us!

 

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This is a headshot of Shauna Ramsaroop.

Block letters on a table that say content is king

 

Entrepreneurs in the digital era are starting to master the ability to communicate with their potential and existing customers through social media platforms. Applications such as Instagram, Twitter and LinkedIn have cultivated ways that allow business owners to share images, short thoughts and customer reviews with simple imagery and text. Digital marketing strategies are at the front of the battle lines as they should be, however it’s important that we don’t forget the importance of writing, although it is easy to say a picture is worth a thousand words, words are in fact still words and are incredibly important for your business.

 

As an entrepreneur knowing how to write can be a pivotal skill for your business. Communication is key, being able to craft information about your business in text is more important now than ever. You’ve heard the saying “Content is King” and that includes written communication, whether it’s on your website, social media platforms, emails – it’s crucial that your text is being crafted in conjunction with your brand.

 


 

Nick Wolny, Founder and Consultant at Hefty Media Group recently wrote a blog post on this exact topic and he presented some tips and tricks on how writing as an entrepreneur can be useful:

 

Learn the tools of the trade 

Author Natalie Canavor put it best when she wrote “You are what you write these days.” 

As a business owner, nothing will lessen your credibility faster than poor writing. And unless you discover you have a natural gift for words, you'll likely find yourself struggling in the early days. A reputation for bad writing is hard to shift, so save yourself time and stress and learn the tools of the trade.

 

Headline construction, copywriting, email marketing and storytelling are all important levers for growing an online business. The investment of even a few hours to master the basics will pay you tenfold throughout your career.” (source)

 

Crafting messaging in a clear and concise way will help you communicate your thoughts to your customer, learning how to construct informational communication is extremely important, as Nick states, take the time to truly master the basics before you start communicating with your customers.

 

Write like the expert you are

"… In the real world, I was comfortable, confident even, talking about my business and offering advice to others. But when it came time to put those thoughts into words to be shared online, I felt cluttered. This lack of confidence manifested itself in the form of apologetic, passive writing that served neither readers nor clients.

 

Then one day, someone reached out and thanked me for a tutorial-style blog post. They appreciated not only the information and insights I shared, but also the way I shared them and peppered in personality along the way. It dawned on me at that moment that being an expert doesn’t have to mean being the best in the world. It simply means you have insights and perspectives about your industry that are valuable to others. It’s your duty to share these insights, and as a bonus you’ll see a credibility boost along the way.” (source)

 

Remember, you’re the expert in what it is that you do, and this should be communicated clearly on your website, social media, and blogs. Brag about your knowledge and what problems your products and services solve in text.

 

Lean into your personal journey

"… Get a little vulnerable and share with us how it’s really going. Show us some nitty-gritty behind-the-scenes insights from your business. Allow your audience to see your highs and lows and experience them with you. Providing this context is an effective way to get your audience engaged with your content and, more importantly, related to you on a more human level. 

When you truly connect with your audience and capture their attention, your business will grow. As John Kotter and James Hesket write in their book Corporate Culture & Performance, companies that can demonstrate their values through storytelling outperform their counterparts in both stock price and profit performance.” (source)

 


 

At REM Web Solutions, we take pride in building relationships with our customers, we relish in being a team that that is personable, and accessible. We share who and what we are collectively and individually and in my opinion it’s one of our best features as a company. In all forms of communication, we share strengths, journey and roadblocks with our clients and in turn our clients feel comfortable and trust us. Whether it’s content on our website, virtual training sessions and day to day communications the written components of our day-to-day life reflect who we are and builds the trust we have with our clients.

 

If you’re looking for ways to re-craft your communication, please feel free to reach out to us, we are experts in marketing, communicating and developing plans and strategy to help you use your words to generate profit!

 

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Young business man looking at a laptop

 

The blogosphere that exists online is massive, which is fantastic news for you as a small business owner. Blogs are great for sharing things about your business, but they are also great to use as resources to help your business grow.

 


 

According to Feedspot, these are the Top 10 Canadian Business Blogs and Websites:

 

 

The Canadian Business Journal

“As the cornerstone publication of George Media Inc., The Canadian Business Journal (CBJ) is sent digitally each month to 30,000 individual senior executives in Canada. The CBJ - written by Canadians, for Canadians - is essential reading for Canada's top business leaders who want to stay informed of current business news, industry topics and trends. The magazine offers readers a glimpse into major Canadian industries including construction, energy, food and drink, healthcare, manufacturing and more, through comprehensive profiles of successful Canadian enterprises.” (source)

 


 

Futurpreneur Canada

“Futurpreneur Canada has been fueling the entrepreneurial passions of Canada’s young enterprise for two decades. We are the only national, non-profit organization that provides financing, mentoring and support tools to aspiring business owners aged 18-39. Our internationally recognized mentoring program hand matches young entrepreneurs with a business expert from a network of more than 3,000 volunteer mentors.” (source)

 


 

Merchant Growth

“We are Canada’s fastest and most friendly alternative financier. Our innovative approach blends thoughtful customer care, complete transparency, and the latest technology to provide fast accessible financing to small businesses in Canada. Our mission is to bring business owners the most convenient and accessible financing experience.” (source)

 

“The Merchant Growth blog has been created to provide you with tips, tricks, general information and things that might help from industry experts.”

 


 

Mentor Works

“Mentor Works provides the critical pathway to connect businesses with government funding resources to foster innovation, productivity improvements, and as a result create new jobs and wealth in Canada. Our involvement is the key determinant in the simplification of government funding processes to leverage maximum cash for strategic growth.” (source)

 


 

GoForth Institute | Canadian Entrepreneur Training

“Most small businesses fail. Why? Because most entrepreneurs lack small business skills. In 2009, GoForth Institute launched Canada’s leading online entrepreneurship training program to solve this problem – affordable, convenient, comprehensive small business skills training delivered to every corner of the nation. Over 10,000 entrepreneurs have used GoForth education to help them “know what they don’t know” about running a small business.” (source)

 


 

CorePro8

“After spending over 15 years as a tax accountant, Coreina Hubert and her team have rescued countless small business owners from the dreaded mistakes of starting up their own business. Over that time, she kept seeing the same pit falls that new entrepreneur find themselves in and decided to create a solution to the ultimate business startup problems.” (source)

 


 

Ontario Business Central

“We are excited to support entrepreneurs and business owners to cultivate ideas and dreams into reality for business start-ups and growth within Canada. Our mission is to provide the easiest, most informative online experience to start a business, whether you are looking at registering or incorporating a business.” (source)

 


 

Hustl.works

“We're empowering entrepreneurs to market themselves and their online businesses authentically and help you learn, build and grow your online business through the entrepreneurial lifestyle, branding, marketing best practices, email marketing, and social media marketing. Check our News or Money blog, plus, get exclusive coursestools, and more.”

 


 

Canadian Women’s Chamber of Commerce

“CanWCC is Canada's first chamber of commerce for women business owners. It is a powerful network of female entrepreneurs advocating for equality in business.” (source)

 


 

REM Web Solutions

Shameless plug, I know. The reality is, we do a lot of leg work to inform our community about industry specific topics and how we can help, and how others can help you make the most of your digital strategy. Parooze through our blog posts, there’s a lot of valuable resources available to you.

 


 

In conclusion, blogs can be an absolutely fantastic resource for you and your business, there is a lot of information out there that can help guide and educate you as you start and grow your business. If you don’t have a blog yourself, we definitely suggest that you do! You’re an expert in what you do and there are lots of people out there trying to find solutions to the very problems that you fix!

 

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This is a headshot of Shauna Ramsaroop.

Computer monitor in an office desk

 

The pandemic has brought many changes to the way that we socialize, with the social distancing restrictions placed on us through Covid-19 people are now spending 87% (source) more time on social media platforms such as Facebook and Instagram. These social media platforms have paved a way for people to communicate with each other, to stay relevant in each other’s lives, and most importantly (for businesses) to share their lives with their community.

 

I cannot stress this enough – now is the time for you to take advantage of this shift in digital communication to increase revenue and growth creating digital marketing strategies into your business plan. In this blog we are going to talk about why it’s imperative that you start moving towards a digital marketing plan from the traditional ways of reaching your target audience.

 


 

Examples of Traditional Advertisements

The best way to visualize the importance of moving away from more traditional marketing tactics is to look at what they are and understand their level of relevance to consumers today.

 

The Newspaper

Do you remember the physical newspaper? Maybe you had a paper route? When was the last time you or the people around you subscribed to have a newspaper delivered to a house? I don’t know about you, but I think newspapers are special, but physical newspapers are rapidly becoming a thing of the past and with that so are print advertisements.

 

The use of print media is no longer effective, as a business owner you have a better chance at reaching a larger audience by using digital marketing tactics.

 

The Television

Almost everyone has a television in their homes, but watching tv has evolved and gone are the days of commercial breaks and paid advertising. At least for the smaller business owner.

 

“According to a study by LiveMint, the global advertising rate is set to rise by 3.9% over 2020 and the subsequent years will witness further growth. As you can understand, you’ll have to pay a lot to promote your business on television. Further, you cannot keep a track of the effectiveness of this advertising effort.” (source)

 

The key here is that with a digital marketing plan, you’re spending less money and getting more usability out of tools available to you for measuring the progress of your marketing efforts.

 


 

Social Media is a Marketing Goldmine

Social media platforms have evolved quite quickly over the past 3 years, and more people are using it. More people lead to a wider audience. Think of it this way, let’s say you own a renovation company and your recently posted pictures of a job that you did for Person A on your business’s Instagram and Facebook accounts which combined have 200 followers.

 

Person A see’s that you’ve shared these photo’s and was thrilled by the work you completed and want to show it off to their friends and family – Person A shares your posts on their profile to be seen by their 500 followers. Persons B, C, and D see the work you’ve done for Person A and reach out to inquire about services that you offer.

 

How much did this type of lead generation cost? How much work did you have to put into it? Not a lot – it happened organically all by you taking the time to show case your brand and efforts via a digital platform.

 


 

Research Suggests…

“A Harvard study on 4,700 public listed companies found that over 37% of the companies outweighed their rivals by opting for a strategic digital marketing approach. Also, the study estimated that taking the right decision during the bad phase will significantly impact on the companies’ exponential growth once the economy improves later.” (source

 

There is a new normal when it comes to marketing in the Covid era, and for small businesses to stay afloat now is the time to implement a digital marketing strategy. Consumers are online and they are spending a significant amount of time scouring social media platforms more than ever.

 

We have spent a lot of time this month focusing on Digital Marketing for a reason, we want to shed light on the importance of having a digital marketing plan and what better place to start is with your website. When designing and developing your website we work with you to ensure that your site reflects your brand, we also work with you to develop a digital marketing strategy to help generate leads and growth.

 

If you’d like help on implementing digital marketing strategies, feel free to reach out to us, we’re here to help your business grow and educate you on how to build out a digital marketing plan.

 

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Tablet with digital marketing letters on it and blue icons

 

Now that we’ve understood the difference between Traditional Marketing and Digital Marketing, let’s take a deeper look at how digital marketing can be used as a way to give your business a competitive advantage.

 

The importance of staying up to date in digital trends is more important now more than ever. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic and its effect on the economy, the consumer market has shifted significantly to meet the needs of buyers.

 

At REM Web Solutions we have taken great pride in our customer connections, and one of our greatest strengths has always been our in-person communication. Much like all businesses during the pandemic we had to adjust using Digital Marketing strategies so that we did not lose this very important piece of our business model.

 

“Digital marketing enables small business owners to fight equally against the industry giants. It helps businesses stay current with digital trends and appeal to a wider audience, all the while securing client loyalty. With over 70% of buyers preferring to learn about a product through online content rather than traditional advertising, an online presence has become a necessity.” (source)

 

Communicating your Brand Digitally

In previous years, when a business would implement practices to communicate their brand we would receive physical reminders through the mail, in magazines and television commercials to name a few. Now businesses are using platforms such as:

  • Blog Posts

  • Articles

  • Facebook

  • Videos

  • Youtube

  • Twitter

  • Instagram

 

In a recent study, it was determined that only 64% (source) of small businesses have a website. This means that based on your industry, if you already have a website, you’re looking much better than some of your competition. Your website is a great place to start when communicating your brand, making conscious decisions in your design and development of your website. Your website can also be used to reach your target audience, by tailoring your content and design to be more attractive.

 

Digital Communication and the Consumer

In 2018 Kleiner Perkins completed a study regarding Internet Trends and found an astonishing 3.6 billion people (more than half of the world’s population) are Internet users. The average adult spends 5.9 hours using digital media every day. (source)

 

It is crucial for businesses to make use of the screen time to communicate with their target audience. When crafted correctly, your company has the opportunity to become more connected and build relationships with your consumers on a higher level.

 

Money Talks, and Digital Marketing is Budget Friendly

Digital Marketing isn’t cheap; however, it is budget friendly. Having an online presence provides you with the opportunity to reach billions of users, an option that not so long ago didn’t exist. The cost of physical campaigns that have minimal potential to reach hundreds of individuals can be extremely high. With plenty of options to choose from, investing in digital marketing provides your business with significant reach.

 

Analytics

One of the most important benefits of digital marketing – the ability to monitor and track the success and pitfalls of your marketing campaign. Physical marketing tactics are not easily measurable, however with tools like Google Analytics you can now review real time statistics which allows you to analyze your marketing strategy and optimize it when needed.

In addition to tweaking your marketing strategy, investigating, and researching trends within your analytics, provides you with the ability to optimize your SEO. This is extremely beneficial as it can increase the amount of people who visit your website. Your small business now has the ability to quantify its efforts and boost revenue.

 

Building Online Relationships with Consumers

Fostering relationships with customers has always been the key to success for businesses. Now you can develop honest and trustworthy relationships with your customers. Companies can now create online communities for their customers where they can provide feedback, share experiences, and directly influence potential consumers to choosing your company over your competitors.

 

Digital marketing can do wonders for your business, it can help you grow and build relationships with your customers. When produced carefully and thoughtfully your digital marketing strategy can educate your target audience and your business. There is no doubt that the world is changing and with the help of technology the rate of change increases each day. Ensuring your business has an online presence and is always updated to match current industry trends is imperative, you will see the benefits directly via your revenue stream.

 

If you have any questions on how to start building your digital marketing strategy, feel free to reach out! REM Web Solutions has experienced marketing professionals willing to help you!

 

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Laptop with books leaning on it

 

The practice of Marketing for business has been around since the 18th century, at the time of the Industrial Revolution. During this time mass production of goods provided by many industries changed the world of the consumer market. With this growth came the need for producers to find better ways to develop products customers needed and a more sophisticated approach to informing them about these commodities (source).

 

As the consumer market evolved, so did the competition and there came along the need for businesses to employ subject matter specialists to formulate plans to attract consumers to their products over the competition leading to the birth of Marketing and Strategic Branding.  

With the evolution of the digital era, there is no doubt that marketing and branding strategies have needed to change as well. It becomes very easy to lose sight of the traditional principles of marketing in the digital era, what will give your business a competitive advantage is ensuring that you maintain a hybrid of traditional and digital marketing strategies.

 

“Because digital marketing is a relatively young industry, it sometimes lacks the legacy and formal structure that would ensure a more consistent form of training and development. That is especially true when you consider that there are fewer barriers to entry, which means many smaller businesses or agencies do not have regimented marketing training processes in place.” (source)

 

When building your marketing team, it is imperative to ensure that you have a well-rounded skillset apparent. The candidate pool for marketing professionals right now is inundated with young tech minded individuals, who are more than capable of implementing digital strategies. However, the golden nugget is in the marketing professional who has experience and can develop a marketing foundation and structure that will provide direction to your less experienced digital marketing guru.

 

What is Traditional Marketing?

According to Hubspot:

 

“Traditional marketing is not only one of the oldest forms of marketing, but also one of the most researched. Marketers lean towards this method because it’s tried and true. Everyone encounters some sort of traditional marketing in their everyday lives, whether it’s getting the mail or your daily newspaper.

 

Traditional marketing plays an important part in reaching local audiences. Ads can be kept for a long period of time, if they’re physical. Plus, there’s an audience who’s easier to reach through traditional marketing than online marketing.” (source)

 

What is Digital Marketing?

“Inversely, digital marketing is … well … digital. Digital marketing is any marketing a company conducts online, such as paid social media ads, email marketing, and PPC advertising. Digital marketing has become wildly popular due to the cultural, technological, and societal shifts around us.

 

Promoted tweets, influencer trips, and Tasty videos are all examples of digital marketing and how expansive it’s become. Even Googling “What is TikTok?” is evidence of effective digital marketing.

As the world becomes more digital, the way we market has evolved. Not only is digital marketing sometimes more cost-effective than traditional, but also it is a more direct way to connect with target audiences globally.” (source)

 

Fixing the Mindset Gap

 

In an article written by Joe Friedlein (source) – founder and marketing director of Browser Media, they provide insight on how to fix the traditional vs. digital marketing mindset gap:

 

“The responsibility to ensure that fundamental marketing skills remain front and center lies with everyone in a company, at every stage.

 

If you're hiring new starters, look beyond a CV full of certifications and consider that creative thinkers can be hugely beneficial in the long term. If you're already in a digital role, listen to the more experienced marketers around you, learning not only what they do but also why.

The most effective way to instill the core marketing basics, however, is to encourage people to ask questions. Make it normal to seek out as much information as possible, and question everything you're presented with.

 

If you're an agency marketer, that logic applies not just to those you're marketing to but also your clients. Sometimes what clients ask for isn't necessarily what they want or need. When they ask for a service or a task, your being able to identify the desired outcome and work backwards is vital, and it's that kind of independent thought that makes you valuable.

 

An in-depth working knowledge of the right digital tools and techniques will take you far, but fueling that expertise with an understanding of what you need to say to your audience, and when and why, is what the marketing industry needs more of.”

 

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Now that you understand the basic elements to building a website for your small business, the next step is to zero in on two areas of your website that can be overlooked and shouldn’t be: Content and Search Engine Optimization (SEO).

 

Before we get into the nitty gritty, one thing you must ask yourself before building out your content and making SEO plan is:

 

What is the purpose of your website?

 

Knowing the purpose of your website is crucial, it will help you create content that delivers the message that you intend. Do you want your website to be simple? Do you want your website to be a large eCommerce platform? You need to clearly showcase what your company is all about. This allows you to create a site that isn’t convoluted and filled with nonsensical information. It allows you to present only the information that you need while sticking to your brand.

 


 

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Content

What is content? It is anything and everything that you place on your website to inform potential customers about your business. Now that you have decided what you want to receive out of your website, you’ll need to build out content for multiple pages. Each page on your website should have a specific purpose that is directly linked to certain characteristics of your business. Here are some tips to help you craft your content.

 

Know Your Customer

In a previous blog post we discussed how to develop a buyer persona. Understanding the characteristics of your website audience will help shape the way you create and present your content. Remember, you can also have a secondary buyer persona and you don’t want to forget about this group as well. As you draft your content keep in mind who your customer is, detail your content to attract and keep their attention while visiting your website. This will benefit you in the long run and assist your sales process.

 

Use the Inverted Pyramid Model

If you haven’t heard of this yet, the inverted pyramid is a form of presenting information in writing, and it’s been around for decades. It suggests that you provide the most important information first, then as you make your way down the page you provide more specific information to support your message. For more information on the pyramid method take a look at this article.

 

Be Clear

It’s incredibly important that right off the bat you are extremely clear about what your business is all about. In a concise statement let the viewer know exactly what your business offers. If you look at REM’s home page, you’ll notice the first thing that you read is “We Provide Business Web Design & Development.” Our viewers know exactly what services and products we offer.

 

Keep it Simple

Remember, your content shouldn’t be paragraphs of information. The key to creating content is keeping it simple and easy to read. Your website should not act as an encyclopedia of your business, you want to keep it simple and concise. This includes the sentence structure, according to the Technical Communicators Association, a common plain English guideline says a sentence should be an average of 15-20 words. This will help your audience stay engaged with your content.

 

Write for the General Public

Depending on the business that you are in, one thing to keep in mind is that your audience will likely have no idea what you mean when you use industry-specific vernacular. You are the expert in your field, but this does not mean the individual that is viewing your website is. The rule of thumb is to create content for someone at a grade 7-9 reading level.

 

Add Calls to Action

Within your content you should strategically place calls to action, they are best used when they match the information that you are reading about. For example, on REM’s home page we have a “Blog Teaser” you will see teasers of our 3 most recent blog posts and as you scan over them you may see something interesting – there’s a “show all posts” call-to-action button right below the teasers to take you to our blog page. On our Website Design page, there is a call-to-action button that takes you directly to our Contact Us page that gives you all the options to get in touch with us.

 

Imagery

In addition to text, you want to make sure that you’re making use of imagery on your website. Placing pictures on your website assists in presenting your brand as well as informing the viewer about your company’s products and services. When building websites for our clients, our designers typically request images from you to showcase what your business is about. It’s always preferred and better to use your images, however stock photography is always an option.

 


 

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Search Engine Optimization

Now that we have some general rules to abide by when you start drafting your content, we can’t forget the importance of investing in SEO practices. When REM designs and builds sites, we keep SEO practices in mind and our content management system (CMS) supports SEO updates. Each one of our sites have predetermined titled tags based on the style of your website, there are areas within [email protected] that allow you to add meta tags and descriptions on the website as well as your web pages. Here are a few more tips for you while building and implementing your SEO strategy.

 

Keywords

Thinking strategically about keywords in your page content is a great start. Having them scattered throughout your website is even better if they are placed strategically. When selecting your keywords, you want to make sure your keywords are specific to your business. Another thing to keep in mind is build your list of keywords based on what your potential customers would be searching for. With a keyword dense website, you increase your chances of being ranked higher in search engines.

 

Keep It Current

Another great practice to increase your ranking is consistently updating your website. After you’ve spent all of this time building content and having it designed nicely, odds are you don’t want to make significant and multiple changes to it. Don’t worry – you don’t have to! Blogging is a great option to identify your website as being refreshed. If you’ve never blogged before, have no fear it’s easy! Blogging is meant to be an informal way of connecting with your audience, teaching them about your products and services and sharing news about your business. Blogging is also another area where you can apply business specific keywords.

 

Linking

Adding links to your website content is also beneficial for your SEO rankings. You can use internal and external links. Internal links are those that you add to your content that link to other pages on your website. External links are those that redirect your viewers to other high-quality websites. Be sure the links that you create on your website have a purpose and are done thoughtfully. For more information on how to achieve proper linking on your website for SEO purposes, I suggest checking this article out.

 

Optimizing Images

As we previously mentioned, imagery on your website is a great form of content to express and provide variety to people visiting your website. However, it is very important that your images are compressed and optimized to render quickly upon your web page loading. If you have large, high-resolution images that you’ve added to your website, they may take longer to load – this can damage your search engine ranking significantly. Another great trick you can apply to your images are adding alternate (aka ALT) tags and captions that are keyword specific.

 


 

Final Thoughts

When you’re working on building a website for your small business, you need to take the time to make sure your website not only depicts your brand, but also your business. You need to make sure it’s user friendly and easy to navigate, concise and informative. Your content should be drafted strategically, easy to read and keyword dense.

 

At REM Web Solutions we have all of the tools to get you moving. It’s what we’re good at and we’ve built the software to prove it. Our CMS [email protected] allows you to add content, images, links and so much more with ease. Our designers work with you to ensure your brand is expressed through the look and feel of the site, they help you create a layout to ensure your content can be easily interpreted. Our developers work tirelessly to ensure your website functions the way that you need it to. Our customer success team will guide you through the entire process by providing training and answering questions throughout your lifetime with us.

 

In addition to these services, REM has a great marketing team that can help you implement all of these tricks and tips in the correct way to ensure you launch a website that not only looks and functions great, but brings you business.

 

If you have any questions at all, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us – we’re here to help!

 

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Congratulations starting on your journey as a small business owner! As you navigate the waters and try to stop your head from spinning, we figured it would be a great time to get your feet wet on the steps to building a great website for your small business.

 

Here at REM Web Solutions, we provide you with everything you need to design, build, and support your website, we have compiled a list of services that we offer to help get you started and some key information to ensuring your website works best for you.

 


 

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Domain Name

Choosing a great domain name seems easier than you think, however it is critical that your domain name is easy to remember, is relative to your brand and company name and chosen with search engine optimization (SEO) in mind.

  1. Avoid special characters. Typically, your domain name shouldn’t have numbers or hyphens in it, word only domain names are easier to remember and have less chance of user error.

  2. Using the correct domain extension is also extremely important. You should always try to make your domain a .com unless it’s a .org, .gov, or .edu

  3. Less is best. Having a short and concise domain is easier to remember and far more user friendly. Remember, the odds of you using your domain for email addresses are high – which means less typing for those trying to reach you. When creating marketing material having your website’s domain name short will also allow you to design with less noise.

  4. Keep it simple by making it easy to spell without any slang or odd wording.

  5. When deciding what your domain should be, try to keep it nonspecific to your product or service. This gives you the opportunity to continue using it if your company decides to branch out with product/service offerings.

  6. Google it, once you come up with a domain, google it – this allows you to determine if there is a similar website based on the domain. You want to make sure your website and business stands out.

  7. Your domain should be SEO friendly, meaning it should include keywords and locations. A great example would be “kitchenercupcakes.com.”

 

 


 

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Website Hosting and Support

When choosing the company that is going to host your website, it’s incredibly important to know what you’re paying for. When you’re purchasing your domain, you are effectively in a hosting contract with that specific company. If you build your website on their platform or another platform then you’re in a contract with that company. Separating your services could potentially cause you headache in the long run, you want to make sure that your hosting provider can support you all around.

 

At REM Web Solutions we provide you with everything that you need to get your business’ website up and running. I’ll break down the services for you:

 

Domain Management

What does domain management really entail? Well, in the first part of this post we talked about choosing your domain. Once you have chosen something you have to purchase it and register the domain with a Registrar. Most companies that offer domain management, have accounts with these registrars that allow them to register the domain on behalf of a client. At REM Web Solutions, we have accounts with two main registrars, we purchase domains for you, handle the renewals, act as the admin for you so you don’t have to worry about updating nameservers.

 

DNS Hosting

Once you have your domain chosen and registered, the next step is to have your hosting provider set up your DNS hosting. Having the same hosting provider host your DNS is one of the most important decisions you will make. In the event of your site not functioning properly, email not sending, etc., DNS investigation is typically your first plan of action. Your hosting provider should be more than capable to help you manage your DNS settings, and update them when required. At REM Web Solutions, DNS hosting is part of your package when you’re a client of ours and we’re available to you during our support hours to make sure any update required can be completed for you with ease.

 

Website Hosting

Having a reputable company host your website is imperative. When you’re shopping around for a company to do your website hosting, it’s beneficial to you to understand how your website is being hosted. For example, once you’ve built your site, are backups being made of your data in the event of downtime? How secure is your website on the company’s servers? In the event that you need to make fundamental changes to your website is the company ready to meet your needs and potential demands as you grow? Working with a hosting company who can provide you this type of information is imperative. Don’t be afraid to ask.

 

Support

Once you have clearly defined the hosting aspect of the company you’re doing business with, be sure to ask them about the amount of support that is available to you. Building/designing a new website is a challenging thing. There may be moments when you’re trying to change your website, or have it function in a specific way and you’re hitting roadblocks. Having a support team available to you is crucial, especially in the beginning. At REM Web Solutions, our support team is one that we are proud of, we are dedicated to the success of your business. Majority of people aren’t designers or developers, so having a team that’s willing to advocate for you is half the battle.

 

 


 

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Content Management Systems

As defined by HubSpot, a content management system (CMS) is a software application that allows users to build and manage a website without having to code it from scratch or know how to code at all. For more detailed information on content management systems, I suggest reading this blog. When building your website for your small business it’s essential to choose one that works best for you. There are many different ones out there that are designed for different reasons – budget and user-friendly platforms are the first that come to mind. Here at REM, we have built our own custom content management system ([email protected]) that is easy to use, adaptable and comes with a bunch of support to help you navigate it.

 

 


 

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Create an Engaging Website

When designing and building your website you want to make sure that you drive engagement. You want viewers to have a positive impression when they visit your website. Make sure that your brand is clearly captured through the design of the website, this allows your messaging to be well received. In addition, not only should your website clearly describe your products and services, your graphics and fonts should be simple and easy to read. One thing to be cautious on is ensuring your graphics are optimized for fast loading; search engines decrease your ranking if they are slow.

 

Navigation and Pages

One of the things that makes your website easy to use for viewers and potential customers is having a clearly thought-out navigation. Designing a navigation that allows viewers to find information easily is crucial, your navigation should link to the most important pages on your website, which typically are:

  • Home

  • About Us

  • Products/Services

  • Management Team

  • Contact Us

  • Terms of Use

  • Site Maps

  • Privacy Policy

 

These pages can be linked in your header or footer navigation. If you have other pages that are important to your business, they should be added into your navigation as well. Our design and marketing teams at REM are here to help you create and design your navigation and pages to ensure that you’re creating the best content for your site. We’ll guide you on best practices to ensure your business is clearly and effectively presented to the rest of the world.

 

 


 

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Maintenance

Once your site has been built, it is incredibly important that you create and add new content on a regular basis. Search engines give higher rankings to sites that are continuously updated. One of the best ways to achieve this is by blogging, other options include updating customer testimonials, creating a news section on your website and updating it with pertinent news about your products or services. When updating your website, you want to make sure that you’re still using design elements that are consistent with your brand.

 

 


 

In Conclusion

When building a website for your small business there are a lot of things to consider. Remember, the key is to have your website work for you. Your website acts as your resume to the rest of the world, potential, and existing clients. Your website should be a tool that you are using to generate business and a significant amount of thought should be put into the process. Bringing all of the pieces of your business together can be quite the daunting task, however, we’re here to help you.

 

If you’re not sure where to start or if you want to make changes to your website feel free to contact us!

 

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