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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.

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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 WebWiz@rd 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 WebWiz@rd 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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This is a headshot of Shauna Ramsaroop.

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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 (WebWiz@rd) 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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As you move along building out your business plan, you spend a significant amount of time preparing yourself to ensure your products and services meet the needs of your potential clients. To date we have touched on many different tools that you can use as leverage when building your go to market strategy. We have discussed how to develop your Buyer Personas, Unique Selling Proposition, and how to define your company’s placement within The Brand Triangle. Majority of these tools are customer focused which is great, however there are external factors that you cannot afford to dismiss and using the PEST Analysis will help you prepare for barriers that you have little control over.

 

 

What is a PEST Analysis?

In 1967 a Harvard professor named Francis Aguilar created the PEST acronym to help businesses understand how external factors can inhibit the success of their products and services. As you build out your business plan it is critical that you complete this analysis as it will help you adjust your plan, product or service to best fit the needs of your potential customers based on political, economic, social and technological factors.

 

Political

Understanding how political factors can influence your product/service offerings is incredibly important. For instance, if you’re shipping products overseas, logistically there are a lot of hoops to jump through. It is essential to understand the political ramifications that may occur. Other issues like trade agreements, tax guidelines and employment laws—to name a few—are factors that your business should be well versed in. It is also incredibly vital to understand the government structure of the regions you may be doing business in, as there may be limitations imposed by government officials that you are unaware of.

 

Economic

Understanding the state of the economy can be incredibly useful when building your business plan. Being knowledgeable on inflation, interest rates and economic rates will allow you to weather some storms that other companies may not be able to. For example, if you are selling a product/service to a consumer, knowing and understanding how much money they have allows you to adjust things such as pricing and your marketing efforts.

 

Social

Making informed decisions about your business offerings based on social factors help you establish and quantify the needs of your target market. Knowing what consumers find valuable based on societal trends proves to be a significant tool. For instance, perhaps you are a landscaping company and you’ve done research that suggest people are more conscious of the products they use and how they effect the environment. Leveraging this information by offering fertilizers and goods that are environmentally friendly and organic can be a significant selling point for you.

 

Technology

As we navigate through what is known as the Information Age of technology, it is necessary that you are aware of how it affects your business. Technology can be both a good thing and a bad thing, information is easily accessible by almost anyone now, with a quick keyword search anyone can find info about anything really. This can be difficult because consumers are far more educated than before and they have options accessible to them. Another issue that comes into place with technology is innovation, it seems like every day something is being created to automate the solution that you are trying to solve for consumers. Therefore, it is critical to stay on top of technology trends and use what you know to your advantage.

 

Now that you are aware of the importance of creating a PEST analysis for your business, go ahead and try completing one. Keep in mind that once you do this analysis; it is not written in stone as external factors are everchanging. To keep your business relevant. we recommend that you complete a PEST analysis every 6 months. This will help guide your business and allow you to determine whether certain aspects of your product or service should be changed to keep up with political, economic, social and technology trends.

 

We also recommend that you include all departments of your company to help you with this analysis. Each department will have a different outlook on how each of these factors will affect sales, marketing, product development and management. By creating a PEST analysis, you will have a better view of how your organization functions; you’ll be far more prepared to deal with potential threats to your business, and it will also allow you to generate more opportunities within your product/service offerings.

 

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I know it seems like our Marketing 101 series is never-ending, however that’s because building out your Marketing strategy and implementing it is a never-ending process. It requires constant updating and refreshing; however, if you have built a clear and concise plan, you need not worry because now all you need to do is continue to push what you’ve built and share it with the world!

 

Ah… and there she said it… SHARE IT WITH THE WORLD. That’s right, friends, we’re finally going to start talking about the best ways to deliver your brand via multiple advertising vehicles. When businesses implement an Integrated Marketing strategy, they are far more successful with capturing the attention of potential customers and creating a sustainable plan of action to increase returned business.

 

What is Integrated Marketing?

Integrated Market is the practice in which a business unifies all marketing communication through their advertising, social media and public relations. It is meant to align your brand’s messaging that is being shared with the world. The goal for creating an Integrated Marketing plan is to ensure that your customers receive the same message and feeling about your brand whenever they receive communiqué and interact with your business.

 

As the basketball season comes to an end, I figured the best way to describe the effectiveness of an Integrated Marketing campaign is to use the branding of our beloved Toronto Raptors. A few years back, The Toronto Raptors released an explosive marketing campaign and the words “We the North” has resonated globally. The Toronto Raptors are typically the first thing that comes to mind whenever we hear this catchphrase… and this, my friends, is a successful integrated marketing campaign.

 

Any brand messaging that is delivered from the Toronto Raptors is oozing with anything and everything that signifies “We the North.” Commercials, social media, advertising, merchandise and any sort of public relations efforts all convey that the Toronto Raptors is a collective beam of hope for representing the North in the National Basketball Association. Smart right?

Now that we have and understanding of what Integrated Marketing is, let’s review the basics on how to build an integrated marketing campaign.

 

What is the goal of your campaign?

Before you start any work on your integrated marketing campaign, you must establish the goal of the entire campaign. When crafting your objective, make sure you follow the SMART method, this will help you create a clear and well-defined plan and allow you to monitor your success.

What marketing channels do you intend on using?

 

Once you have a clear understanding of your marketing campaign’s targets, the next step is to decide which marketing channels you intend to use. When deciding on your marketing channels, it is important to use a variety to make sure your campaign is reaching a large spectrum of customers. Some of the most common channels are:

  1. Advertising

  2. Email marketing

  3. Direct marketing

  4. Public relations

  5. Sales promotions

  6. Personal selling

  7. Digital marketing

  8. Social media

  9. Packaging

  10. Events and sponsorships

 

Buyer Personas

Once you have decided which channels to use for your integrated marketing campaign, it is important that you define a buyer persona for each channel. It’s incredibly vital to construct your theme in way that is well received by each persona. This provides you with the ability to create a clear theme and attract the attention of the specific target audience. Once you have decided the buyer persona for each channel, it’s crucial to assign a manager for each one. This makes certain that the marketing campaign is being thoughtfully and carefully managed.

 

Content is King

Now that we’ve established Who, What, Where and When, we can get into the How. Creating content for your marketing campaign is the most exciting part. Keep in mind when constructing your content that you should be able to continuously use it across all platforms. Remember, the key is a clearly defined campaign, you want to deliver the same message across all channels to clearly share your brand with the world.

 

Launch

Once you have all your messaging, it’s time to launch your campaign! Once you have launched, remember this isn’t the end of the process. You want to make sure you are tracking your metrics and understanding how your marketing campaign is being received. Always remember that you can tailor your efforts and tweak them as your review your metrics, this does not mean that you want to change your theme, you may just want to adapt to what is working for your business needs based on what isn’t working.

 

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This is a headshot of Shauna Ramsaroop.

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It’s been over a year of some businesses struggling to stay alive as a result of the pandemic. This year has taught us how to restructure our teams, building work from home infrastructures, taking every precaution in the book for essential workers that are required to physically be around each other. This year has truly taken a toll on our businesses, unfortunately some were forced to close their doors, but many were able to adapt, and with the inevitable changes that we face moving forward we see new opportunities and new businesses rising from the ashes of COVID-19.

 

As we continue to soldier forward, now more than ever is the perfect time to re-evaluate your business’ online presence. Do you have one? Do you have social media accounts? If you do, are you easy to find? Are you attractive to your target audience? Are you reaching your target audience? These are a lot of questions I know, but having an online presence is the most important thing you can do for your business today and it’s extremely important to make sure you’re doing it right.

 

Websites

I know this sounds strange, since most companies do have websites, but it’s something that we need to bring up, having an updated website is incredibly important these days. Here are a few questions I suggest you ask yourself in regards to your website:

  1. When was the last time you did a redesign on your website?

  2. Is the information that you have on it accurate with the services and products that you have to offer?

  3. Is your site responsive – meaning does your site automatically change based on the device it’s being used on?

  4. Is your contact information up to date?

  5. Do you have links to your active social media accounts on your website?

  6. How are you ranking in terms of Search Engine Optimization?

  7. Is your website AODA compliant? Should it be?

  8. How are you informing your clients of changes on how you do business?

These are all very important questions that you need to be asking about your website, and if you don’t have a website yet, these are most definitely questions that you want to ask when designing your new website.

 

Search Engine Optimization

This is one of the most common questions that we are asked about from our clients and prospective clients: “How do I get my website to show up on Google’s first page?” Search engine ranking is one of the most sought-after results and there are things you can do on your website to help increase your ranking such as having a responsive website, blogging, redesigning your content to ensure you have proper heading structures in place, and optimizing images that you have on your website. If you’re looking to boost your ranking, give us a shout – we’re here to help!

 

Social Media Marketing

The concept of social media marketing for businesses has really taken off over the past year. Businesses have turned to social media applications such as Instagram and TikTok to attract potential clients and highlight their products and services. Are you making the most of these applications to help generate business?

 

eCommerce

In a previous blog we touched on some of the eCommerce tools that we have available to you, with the increase of curbside pickup methods, businesses are now required to offer their products available to purchase online and picked up at a specified date and time. We have built solutions to help businesses meet the needs of their customers – allowing them to browse online, request quotes, and make purchases. This functionality has almost become an absolute requirement for the survival of businesses.

 

In conclusion the reality of face-to-face interactions is dwindling and it’s incredibly important that the world can find you online, not only should they be able to find you, but they should be able to KNOW you based on your website, social media, SEO and eCommerce platforms. Having a well-rounded online presence will directly increase your sales and we’re here to help you make sure you’re well prepared to tackle the new normal of business. Aside from our tools, our team is here to support you throughout your journey, make educated recommendations, provide you with industry knowledge to help increase your profits and guide you through your marketing efforts.

 

If you’re an existing client and are looking for suggestions on ways that you can improve your online presence, or if you’re a new business looking for some guidance feel free to reach out to us at support@remwebsolutions.com. We want to help you be the best you can be!

 

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Social media marketing is one of the most important aspects of your business these days and Instagram has truly become one of the main vehicles for promoting your products and services. Having an online presence on Instagram is imperative these days, however if you don’t have a following you might as well stop right there.

 

Building up a following on Instagram can be a difficult thing, and sometimes it’s tempting to buy into the services that offer you followers. What does this mean? Well, you can find online companies that offer up followers on a monthly basis, but here’s the thing… when you buy followers, that’s all you are buying. How does this benefit you? Well, it really doesn’t. Sure, when someone visits your company’s Instagram account it will show how many followers you have but that’s it, and it doesn’t really help your marketing efforts.

 

Creating social media content is imperative and when used properly this marketing tactic can be extremely beneficial for your business. The goal of social media marketing is not to have a certain number of followers (albeit this used to be the case). These days, what you require is organic activity from your Instagram account. You want people (followers) to interact by liking and sharing your posts. The more activity your account has, the more it will show up in feeds. This is exactly what you don’t get when you purchase followers – mainly because the followers you’re purchasing are bots.

 

Now that you know my stance on buying followers, you’re probably wondering how to start building out a following and creating content for your Instagram account. Here are few tips:

 

Prep

Once you have created your business Instagram account, your best bet it to curate a set of posts that you’re going to use for a couple weeks or even a month. By planning ahead of time, you’ll be guaranteeing activity on your Instagram account – people want to see an activity, Instagram algorithms want to see activity. The more you post, the more you’ll show up in news feeds! While preparing your posts, keep in mind what you’re trying to convey, keep it simple, aesthetically pleasing, professional and fun. Don’t forget, you’re not just preparing graphics or photos – you’ll want to prepare your description for each photo and this includes #hashtags. Hashtags on your posts are incredibly important, here’s a great article on them: https://blog.hubspot.com/marketing/instagram-hashtags

 

Post

Now that you’ve created a pool of posts plan how often you want to post them, I would suggest scheduling 2 posts per week based on the pool that you have. This gives you ample time in between to post fun things that you’re doing allowing you to build content that is more personable to your followers. If you’re in a shop, post about what you’re doing, if you’re in an office, snap a picture of something cool in the atmosphere, add a catchy description, load up your hashtags and have fun with it! Remember activity is key, and followers like relatable content.

 

Stories

Instagram Stories have really taken flight over the past couple years and they are great ways to share snippets of your company, whether they are actual videos, images of promotions, things that you’re excited for… posting Instagram Stories are key as real-time marketing tactics. If you’re having a sale or about to launch a special promotion, do it via a live story where you can very well reach your target audience in real-time and convince them to act.

 

Followers

As I mentioned earlier, building an organic following takes time, but it really does benefit you in the end. Share your account with your family and friends, and just like the good old days, word of mouth will help you boost your following. Encourage your followers to share your content and tag you in posts as well – I do this quite often myself, if I buy a product or get great service from a company and I have them on social media, I’ll be sure to share with my friends and family by tagging them in a post or a story!

 

Now that you have your plan in place make sure that you have your Instagram profile link on all other marketing material, let people know how to find you by sharing you Instagram name and handle on your website!

 

While we’re on the subject, feel free to follow REM Web Solutions on Instagram, we post often enough to keep you informed on what’s going on with our team, new blog posts and featured clients.

 

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This is a headshot of Shauna Ramsaroop.

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As we move through our Marketing 101 series, one critical element that most businesses forget is the importance of internal marketing. In this blog we’ll discuss what internal marketing is, why it’s important and provide some tips and tricks to ensure you reap the benefits of having an internal marketing plan.

 

WHAT is Internal Marketing?

Internal Marketing refers to the process of promoting your company’s goals and vision to your team. Marketing efforts are not limited to advertisements, websites, social media marketing, etc. Marketing includes the whole customer experience, and it’s incredibly important that your employees embody and advocate for your brand at all levels of the organization in each department. This includes administrative, finance, operations, project management, etc.

 

Does this apply to every employee?

Yes! It is very important that each employee has a marketing component written into their job description. By clearly stating each employee’s marketing responsibilities, it will help them tailor their day-to-day activities, ensuring your marketing efforts are being embodied throughout your organization on a daily basis.

 

REM’s Internal Marketing Strategy

I have to give credit where credit is due, REM has built an internal marketing plan that is not only highly effective, but truly captures the essence of our company. At REM Web Solutions we take pride in customer success. Every tool that we build, every design we complete and every phone call/email that we take from our existing clients or prospect clients is geared towards ensuring our customers know that they are our priority.

 


 

The 7 Guiding Principles at REM

 

Customer Success Comes First

A successful customer simultaneously demonstrates our worth in the market and our strength over our competitors.

 

Take Ownership

REM leaders own solutions. We demonstrate our solutions by owning the problem first.

 

Think More

There is always another option. Always. Find it.

 

Improve Everything

Good enough is only good enough for now. We improve on everything we know and do every chance we get.

 

Congratulate the Victory

Amplify our momentum with positive recognition.

 

Persevere

In the face of debate, challenge and confusion, we push forward. We make it through.

 

Customer Success Comes First

A successful customer simultaneously demonstrates our worth in the market and our strength over our competitors.

 


 

Our team at REM lives and breathes these guiding principles, if you’ve had the opportunity to come to our office, you’ll see them in large letters across our front wall. Every day that we go into the office we see them and it gives us a little pep in our step knowing that what we do is making a difference if we follow these principles.

 

Motivation is Key

It is a simple practice to market internally, however the most important part of internal marketing is having a plan to ensure that your marketing efforts are being heard and practiced. Yes, we have our guiding principles, but how do we ensure that they are continuously applied in our day-to-day activities? We motivate each other. Every quarter we nominate our peers when they embody the guiding principles. Based on the amount of nominations we get from our peers, we can “cash them out” for company perks such as extra time off, paid group lunches, etc.

 

Internal marketing is important, and we suggest that you implement tactics within your company to ensure your employees have a clear understanding of your mission and values. When your employees believe in your company, it will translate into their everyday dealings with your clients, and your clients will in turn see the benefits of working with your business.

 

Where to Start?

Now that you have a bit of knowledge on internal marketing, where do you start? Talk to your employees, whether it’s a meeting with your upper management for each department, or if you’re a smaller business with a close-knit team have a group meeting or one-on-one session and get their feedback. Ask them the questions… do they know what the company’s mission and values are? Do they feel like they embody your brand? Do they feel like they have the tools to ensure that your customers understand your mission? Once you have your feedback work on building out internal marketing practices!

 

Once you have built an internal marketing plan, share it with us! We would love to hear about how you went about creating yours, what worked and what didn’t work. If you’re looking for more ideas, feel free to reach out to us and maybe we can pass along some advice!

 

Remember, customer success comes first… we’ll do our best to help you where we can!

 

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This is a headshot of Shauna Ramsaroop.

Illustration depicting startup business woman using a laptop

 

When I originally started this blog, I wanted to discuss the qualities that make up a great entrepreneur or even a little how-to guide which led to me into a rabbit hole of TED Talk videos from entrepreneurs themselves. They all started out with pros and cons of being entrepreneurs, long hours are required but you can take vacations whenever you want. You don’t have to work for someone else… you’re your own boss! The passion you have for your product/service will outweigh how much money you make, because it’s all about you making a difference – and that is what Entrepreneurship is all about right? Well in my opinion, not really.

 

I feel like these days everyone is an entrepreneur from small businesses to social media influencers, however I beg to ask the question… what is the definition of an entrepreneur? Do we really know what it actually means to be an entrepreneur or has this “job title” become a buzzword for many people carrying out creative ways to make money? This led me to look up the definition of an entrepreneur and according to Merriam-Webster the definition is:

 


One who organizes, manages, and assumes the risks of a business or enterprise.


 

This changes the way we identify entrepreneurs, doesn’t it? I have been extremely lucky over the years to meet many individuals who are entrepreneurs, I also have been very humbled to meet individuals who identified themselves as entrepreneurs, however based on the above definition they would fall under the category of self-starters – in my opinion of course. I have had the opportunity to work with many start-ups during my career path and without a doubt the entrepreneurs I’ve watched grow over the years have held the title with reverence.

 

As I mentioned the perks of entrepreneurship earlier on, I found most articles I read on the subject did not outline the requirements of an individual involved with being an entrepreneur. Some of you reading may be thinking about starting your own business and some of you likely already have. So, let’s break down the most important requirements of being a successful entrepreneur.

 

Perspective

Being an entrepreneur is no joke. The amount of work and responsibility that falls on business owners require you to always be on point. When starting out your business not only do you need a great idea, you also need to ensure that people are going to buy into your product – you need to make a profit to be sustainable. So yes, you will find happiness in your success, but you do also need to make money, and typically in the early stages of your business making money is not something you’re going to do. Some of the most successful entrepreneurs have the ability to maintain perspective on their business as whole and work extremely hard through the tough times, they understand the importance of the flexibility required to be a self-starter and continue to break through barriers against all odds.

 

Thinking Lean

A couple years ago I read a book called The Lean Startup by Eric Ries, and it really did change my outlook on entrepreneurship. Instead of me attempting to relay the movement in this blog I’m going to leave this video here for you to digest. I highly recommend the book and suggest you read it as well:

 

 

Re-Investing

Once you’ve established yourself as an entrepreneur and your business model is now profitable, one of the most important things you can do for yourself is not spend all of your profits on your personal life. It’s tempting I know, but the best thing you can do for yourself is to continue to re-invest into your business. Look for areas to improve, whether it be product development, support materials, marketing efforts, etc. If you get into the habit of putting some of your profit back into your business, your return will be far greater in the long run.

 

Educating Yourself

Being an entrepreneur does not stop at “I know this thing and I’m just going to run with it forever.” It is crucial for businessmen/businesswomen to practice continuous learning. Whether it’s learning new management skills, industry trends in your field, attending workshops in areas that aren’t your strong points. To be a successful entrepreneur requires you to have overall knowledge, it requires you to always be informed, by improving your skill set you’ll accumulate better results for your business and prepare yourself to scale effectively and efficiently.

 

Taking Risks

This one is probably the most important of them all. It’s imperative that you take risks. Keep in mind that I’m referring to calculated risks. Make use of your network, have advisors and coaches in your pocket to help you evaluate risks before you jump into something – but at the end of the day, the greatest entrepreneurs take risks and come out smiling in the end!

 

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This is a headshot of Shauna Ramsaroop.

Infographic showing the brand triangle: price, quality and customer experience

 

As you continue to lay the foundation of your Unique Selling Proposition another thing to keep in mind is where you fall in the Brand Triangle. What is this unheard-of triangle you ask? Well, it’s what we use to start the conversation of how you define the most valuable selling point of your business, from there you’ll be able to clearly develop marketing tactics that accurately reach your target audience. 

 

When attempting to sell products and services most business owners make the following statements:

  1. We make the best product / created the best solution

  2. Not only is our product/service the best, it is also the best price on the market

  3. We provide the best customer service

This sounds familiar right? Majority of the time these three statements are made by business owners because they truly believe that they are the best at what they do or have. The main problem here is found in the term “majority”. If most people feel this way about what they are selling, this increases your competition in your go to market branding strategies. If everyone is saying the same thing how are we as consumers to decide?

 

This is where the brand triangle comes into play and works by helping you provide clarity to potential consumers as well as internal departments of your business. Up until this point you have likely positioned yourself in the middle of the triangle, in a sea of businesses that believe the exact same thing as you. The secret is to move yourself towards one of the three points of the triangle, which are:

  1. Price

  2. Quality

  3. Customer Experience

This practice can be quite daunting – deciding how you want your target audience to feel about your what you’re selling and understand your market position is a big step and shouldn’t be taken too lightly. Let’s dive into some examples of each position on the brand triangle, hopefully it will help you decide where your business should be!

 

Price

A great example of how a business markets on price being their main selling point is Walmart. If you’re choosing to compete on price, you’re telling everyone that it’s the price of your product/service that makes you great and is why your potential customers to choose you. Walmart has done a fantastic job building out their branding strategy to solely focus on price. For example, if you open a flyer or view commercials, order online via their website, the main advertisements are “Always low prices”, “So. Many. Rollbacks” etc. When choosing to shop at Walmart one is not concerned about the quality of their purchase or the customer experience that they are receiving. People know what they are getting – products for low prices, anything beyond that is a bonus and is normally acceptable by consumers because that is what they are expecting based on the messaging they have received.

 

Quality

If you’re choosing to brand your product based on its quality, you’re offering up information to your target audience solely on how good your product or service is. For example, Apple: can you remember the last time you saw an Apple product go on sale? It’s a rare occasion and when it does happen, the sale is generally a minimal dollar amount off. Apple has positioned themselves as a brand that sells quality products and consumers are willing to pay a high dollar amount for it. Their focus on using the best technology and materials for all product lines and accessories inform their consumers that the quality of their product is the best on the market. You’ll also note that customer experience is not something they brand themselves as having the best of. How often do you walk by an apple store and it’s packed to the max inside with lines out the door? This is because their consumers are willing to give up the customer experience aspect of it, their willing to put aside the hoops they must jump through to get their product, and it works!

 

Customer Experience

The final position that you can take on brand representation is experience, and this means that you’re there for your consumers. Let’s take a look at a store such as Home Depot as an example. There is an array of products available to you that range from different prices and quality. However, the one thing that sets home depot aside is their customer experience. When you visit a home depot in each department there is at least one individual to assist you, you can ask them questions about what you’re trying to do and they’ll guide you through the process, make recommendations and help you stock up with what you need. They’ll load your cart for you, rent vehicles to make your job easier and much more. You’ll notice that Home Depot and their employees pride themselves on being there to help their customers.

 


 

Once you determine where you fall on the brand triangle, it will help you define your Unique Selling Proposition, and build out your marketing plan. Take the time to identify where on the triangle is best suited for your business, products/services and your customers and start building out messaging. Once this has been completed, please note it is imperative that you stick with this brand, go all in and don’t divert from how you market yourself!

 

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This is a headshot of Shauna Ramsaroop.

Illustration of floating desktop computer with statistics and other things around it

 

I remember the first time I heard SEO I was thoroughly confused, what does it mean? How does it work? As I started my journey of attempting to make sense of Search Engine Optimization, I found myself utterly confused, mainly because I had very little knowledge of key terminology. I wish I had taken a moment to understand the vernacular used as it would have been a great help. That being said, we compiled a list of terminology for your review, when you’re having SEO discussions; I hope you will feel slightly more informed than I did.

 

Please also note, the key terms below and their corresponding descriptions were not created by myself - I wish I was that good! I have compiled this list using the following sources, check them out for more terminology!

 

MOZ - https://moz.com/beginners-guide-to-seo/seo-glossary

 

PATHFINDER SEO - https://pathfinderseo.com/guide/seo-glossary/

 

SearchEngine Journal - https://www.searchenginejournal.com/seo-101/seo-glossary-terms-definitions/#close

 


 

Crawling: The process by which search engines discover your web pages

De-indexed: a page or group of pages that are removed from Google’s index.

Indexing: The storing and organizing of content found during crawling

Intent: what users really want from the words they typed into a search bar

Organic: Earned placement in search results opposed to paid advertisements

Query: Words typed into a search bar.

Ranking: Ordering search results by relevance to the query

Search Engine: is a software program that is designed to carry out web searches

SERP: Is an acronym for “search engine results page” – what you see after a search

Traffic: when users visit your website

White Hat: Search engine optimization practices that comply with Google’s quality guidelines

Black Hat: Search engine optimization practices that violate Google’s quality guidelines

Bots: these are what scour the Internet to find content, a.k.a crawlers or spiders

Cache: a saved version of your web page

Cloaking: showing different content to search engines than you show to human visitors

Engagement: Data that represents how searchers interact with your site from search results

JavaScript: A programming language that adds dynamic elements to static web pages

Navigation: A list of links that help visitors navigate to other pages on your website

Sitemap: A list of URLs on your site that crawlers can use to discover and index our content

Alt text: Alternative text is the text in HTML code that describes the images on web pages

Anchor text: the text with which you link to pages

Header tags: An HTML element used to designate headings on your page

Image compression: Making image file sizes smaller without degrading the image’s quality resulting in a faster speed of page loading

SSL certificate: A “Secure Sockets Layer” used to encrypt data passed between the web server and browser of the searcher.

Click-Through Rate (CTR): The rate (expressed in a percentage) at which users click on an organic search result. This is calculated by dividing the total number of organic clicks by the total number of impressions then multiplying by 100.

CMS: Is an acronym for Content Management System. A web-based application that lets people create, upload and manage digital assets

Content: Words, images, videos, or sounds that convey information that is meant to be distributed to and consumed by an audience

CSS: Cascading Style Sheets describe how HTML elements (e.g., colour, fonts) should appear on webpages and adapt when viewed on different devices

Google Analytics: a free web analytics program that can be used to track audience behaviour, traffic acquisition sources, content performance and more

Keyword: A word, words, or phrase that an SEO professional or marketer targets for the purpose of matching and ranking for what users are searching for

Meta Tags: information that appears in the HTML source code of a webpage to describe its contents to search engines.

Responsive Website: A website designed to automatically adapt to a user’s screen size, whether it’s being viewed on a desktop or mobile device

Title Tag: An HTML meta tag that acts as the title of a webpage. This is typically the tag search engines use when displaying search listings. It should include strategic and relevant keywords for that specific page

User Experience (UX): The overall feeling users are left with after interacting with a brand, its online presence, and its product/services

Content is King: An often-used phrase which emphasizes the importance of content to search engine optimization. The search engines value content because it’s proof of your relevance and expertise

Mobile-First Indexing: In 2018, Google started crawling and indexing web pages based on the mobile versions of websites instead of the desktop version

 

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