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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 Sanj Rajput.

Person using a laptop and computer devices with colour palettes around it

 

Colour is one of the most important visual elements to consider when designing your website. Each colour is associated with a different meaning and can elicit various feelings and memories depending on the person. However, most people make snap judgements about products based on colour alone, which is why so much consideration should be placed on the task of choosing the right palette.

 

Therefore, it’s necessary to seriously think about the colours you want to use when thinking about the look of your website, as they can have a direct influence on the people who engage with your business’ online presence.

 

REM’s in-house designers and our marketing team are available to help discuss different colour options for your business website. In the meantime, check out the tips below for the most effective ways to use colour on your website and understand colour symbolism and connotations before you speak with them.

 

1. Warm colours

Warm colours are yellow, orange, and red. These colours are associated with energy, passion, positivity, enthusiasm, pleasure, and interest, to name a few. Be mindful of how you use these colours, as they can appear harsh and over-stimulating if they’re used too extensively.

 

2. Cool colours

Cool colours are blue, green, and purple. These colours have a calming effect on viewers, which is why they’re so commonly chosen for websites. Be wary about overusing them, as they can appear cold and impersonal if incorporated incorrectly.

 

3. Neutrals

Neutrals include white, black, grey, and brown and are popular choices for design. If used correctly, neutrals balance out more overpowering colours and can be incredibly elegant and chic.

 

4. Include an accent colour

When planning out the basic colour layout of your website, apply the very effective 60-30-10 ratio. When broken down, this means the main hue is applied to 60% of the website, the secondary is applied to 30%, and the remaining 10% applies to an accent colour that heavily contrasts the other two colours. The accent colour should be utilized as emphasis for the most important site materials and content.

 

5. Don’t go overboard

One of the worst things you can do is go overboard with your colour choices. Don’t feel the need to clutter your website with an overabundance of different colours, hues and tones. Less is more in this instance, and you don’t want to visually overwhelm the users on your site with too many conflicting and overlapping colours being used at once.

 

6. Think about your target audience

Really delve into your primary target audience, as this can help you narrow down your top colour choices. If your market is mainly women, studies have shown that they prefer blue, green, and purple. Men prefer blue, black, and, green. Blue seems to be a universally liked colour, so when in doubt, try to lean towards using blue. Lighter shades are typically associated with health and wellness, relaxation, and travel.

 

7. Consider the contrast of the background and text colours

Think about the colour of the background and the colour of the font you’re using and whether they will work well together visually. Colour combinations with enough contrast so the content is clearly visible and distinguishable on the page are important to consider for website visitors with visual impairments.

 

8. When in doubt, use a colour chooser tool

Colour scheme generators can be incredibly useful tools that can help you create a palette that’s professional and unique to your website. Play around with different colour wheels and try out various combinations to see what works best.

 

Conclusion:

Deciding on just the right colour scheme is so important for the efficacy of your website. Make sure you’re considering the symbolism and connotations of different colours, and you play around with combinations that are best suited for your target audience.

 

When you’re ready to go forward with an amazing business website design, contact your REM sales rep to get the process started.

 

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This is a headshot of Sanj Rajput.

REM website in a computer monitor in an office environment

 

Building an effective business website takes time and effort, and there are multiple factors to consider in the process. It’s an overwhelming and daunting ordeal to make a website when so much of the health of your business is tied to its success.

 

Read the tips below to find out how you can work with REM to build the best business website possible. Creating a great website will help establish your brand, cultivate conversations, and generate leads.

 

1. Customize your theme

You want your website to stand out and be a unique reflection of your brand, which is why customizing your website’s theme is key or else it will blend in with the countless other websites that all look the same. Personalize your site and look through customized designs that will be the best reflection of your business’ image and content.

 

All REM websites are custom designed by our talented web designers. We can guarantee that your site design isn’t just a template that is downloaded and then re-sold to hundreds of companies online. And because the design is custom, we can do almost anything you like for the look and feel of the site, including changing the layout.

 

2. Make your site mobile responsive

It’s critical that your website operates well on mobile devices, considering the average adult spends at least 5 hours per day on their phone and is how the majority conduct their online shopping. Mobile optimization for your website is important.

 

Offering a positive user experience for potential customers will encourage them to stay on your site. If text is difficult to read or the mobile site is hard to navigate, prepare for users to abandon your site altogether in favour of a competitor.

 

All REM sites come mobile-friendly with responsive designs that change so that they display in the best possible way on any device.

 

3. Prioritize readability

Users should have no difficulties reading the content on your site, which means you should be thinking about your website’s design and how easy it is to read.

 

Keep font sizes consistent, choose fonts that are known and prioritized for their overall readability, and always opt for contrasting colours. Background images should never drown out or overshadow your text. Readability should always be your number one priority.

 

Speak with our marketing team if you would like help with having your content written. We do the research on your target audience and write content that converts visitors into paying customers.

 

4. Make it easy to find and navigate

Your website should be simple to understand and easy to navigate. Don’t overwhelm users with unnecessary elements. Less is more. Stick to the basics in your navigation bar and keep your navigation standard.

 

5. Keep your pages tidy

Your site should not be cluttered with an overabundance of information and detail. Text and graphics should be tastefully balanced so that pages look clean and are simple to use. Don’t feel the need to add any “filler” info like a Twitter feed social widget, for example. Prioritize the data your audience will truly care about and cut out the rest.

 

6. Keep information accurate and accessible

No one likes to spend an unnecessary amount of time searching for information that they need. On top of that, they especially don’t like finding info that’s out of date or inaccurate.

 

As simple as it may seem, try to keep your most basic and important information (like contact details, store hours, etc.) readily visible and accessible to users on your website and make sure that it’s regularly updated.

 

7. Go easy on the pop-ups

One pop-up can serve as a helpful reminder about joining your company’s mailing list, following your social media accounts, signing up for an upcoming event or offering a discount. Multiple pop-ups can be jarring, disruptive, and turn someone off from staying on your website completely. Use pop-ups sparingly and save them for the most important information you want users to see when they go onto your website.

 

8. Ensure your website is responsive

The staggering majority of people will quickly leave a website if it is loading too slowly, and the loading time on a webpage directly affects the purchasing decisions of most people as well. It’s necessary to prioritize website responsiveness.

 

Test your website to make sure it runs smoothly, all software is up-to-date, and you’re using the proper website host for your needs and demands.

 

REM works very hard to make sure your servers are fast and secure. We also make sure your site design loads quickly and that important items on your site are loaded first. Speak with your REM sales rep to get the full details.

 

Conclusion:

The overall efficacy of your website can be the determining factor for a client when they’re deciding on whether they would like to learn more about your business or purchase your products. Prioritize your website’s design and ensure you’re looking for ways to make it faster and more reliable.

 

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This is a headshot of Sanj Rajput.

3D illustration of devices, hearts and digital media elements

 

Quite often, people will interchangeably use the terms “digital marketing” and “social media marketing” as though they mean the same thing. It’s a common belief that simply using different social media platforms is a form of digital marketing, and that simply is not the case.

 


 

What is digital marketing?

Digital marketing is an umbrella term that can cover a variety of different aspects related to marketing, but it uses a combination of online and offline digital means to reach audiences.

 

A variety of digital channels are incorporated in order to target the goals and growth of a business.

 

The goals surrounding digital marketing are typically as follows:

  • Promoting your brand and creating brand awareness
  • Advertising your products or services
  • Creating customer trust
  • And much more!

Digital marketing does not have to encompass all of the elements that fall under its jurisdiction. Rather, marketing campaigns should be tailored to specifically fit the business in mind and address the audience its structured for in the most effective ways possible. Including all digital marketing channels at once is not likely to be an effect strategy, as different channels will work better for different companies based on their needs, goals, products and services, etc.

 

This is why digital marketing involves a lot of trial and error and measuring various outcomes to find out what campaigns are best suited to each business. There is no point in wasting the time and energy on strategies and channels that do not provide satisfactory growth or results.

 

What is social media marketing?

Unlike digital marketing, social media marketing focuses solely on strategies implemented across social media channels like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, TikTok, LinkedIn, and more. Companies on these social channels use social media marketing campaigns to promote and advertise brands, products, etc., as well as engage with consumers and target audiences.

 

Social media marketing is an effective way to post creative content and to grab the attention of different audiences depending on the social platform that’s being used.

 

What kind of tools do digital marketers use?

 

The job of a digital marketer is an extensive one. Quite often, they are required to use a multitude of different tools and platforms at once, search for and analyze specific information and data, as well as continuously fine-tune marketing strategies to keep improving their campaigns. Some of the marketing tools that are often used include:

  • SEO tools
  • Website analytics
  • Email marketing
  • Customer service tools like chat bots
  • Content curation

 

Speak with your sales rep or contact our Marketing Director to book a free no-obligation conversation about digital marketing to see if we have a solution that can help your company.

 

Why is it important to incorporate social media marketing?

 

You should be including social media marketing in your digital marketing strategy. Our world has become increasingly tied to social media and it’s evolved into an essential aspect of our online-focused society.

 

Focusing on elevating your social media channels can not only expand your reach globally, but it can also create a more personal connection with your target audience. These social platforms also serve as an option for users to receive quicker response times.

 

It’s necessary to still include digital marketing in your campaign and not abandon it altogether. While social media marketing has a growing list of advantages and benefits, it should not be your only priority.

 

The success of your social media channels will rely heavily on your content strategy. It isn’t enough to just post – you need to be mindful of what you’re posting and when, the platform you’re sharing content on, and the audience you’re trying to reach.

 


 

Digital marketing and social media marketing: in summary

Social media marketing–while different from digital marketing–is a part of the same category. Both are important for ensuring the success of your marketing campaign and should be treated with complimentary attention for achieving the goals you desire.

 

REM offers a suite of Digital Marketing and Social Media Marketing services to help you get noticed online. Contact us to get started on improving your online presence today.
 

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This is a headshot of Sanj Rajput.

3D illustration of a laptop and video editing elements

 

YouTube has rapidly grown to be one of the most influential social channels on the internet.

 

Filming and editing high-quality videos do not have to be expensive. There are countless tools on the internet that are available at little to no cost to video creators.

 

Here are some of the best free tools YouTubers can use to help make better videos and grow their channels.

 


 

1. TubeBuddy

TubeBuddy is a highly recommended and valuable tool that you add as a free browser extension. It isn’t software that needs to be downloaded and launched separately each time you need to use it, which is part of what makes it such a strong choice for YouTube content creators.

 

It integrates with YouTube and helps you effectively manage your channel, and will run tests to help you improve the overall performance of the videos you post. It also has great options for scheduling content, and allows you to update videos in bulk batches if you happen to have a lot of content you need to edit at once.

 

TubeBuddy is definitely one of the best options for a comprehensive YouTube support tool that will help you optimize your content strategy (it also helps you reach subscribers on other social media channels), and of course, it’s completely free to use!

 

2. vidIQ

If you want to track and monitor your YouTube channel’s audience analytics, then vidIQ is the right tool for you. VidIQ provides users with detailed reports that break down information about the people watching your videos, and it also offers SEO tools.

 

VidIQ is available as a free Google Chrome extension and can allow you to see the top keywords and tags used by other YouTube accounts.

 

Tracking engagement metrics is a very useful feature that can be used on both Youtube and Facebook through the use of vidIQ.

 

3. Lightworks

High-quality videos are often made through the editing process. You don’t need an expensive editing software to curate impressive videos for your YouTube channel. This is where Lightworks comes in.

 

Not only is it free to use, but it’s also available for Mac and Windows systems, which gives it an advantage over iMovie – which is limited solely to Apple devices. Lightworks is a video editing software that offers a variety of tools and is a non-linear platform that provides users with a long list of capabilities.

 

The one downside of Lightworks is that you can only download videos in 720p. If you’re looking for a reliable, free editing software though, Lightworks is a good place to start.

 

4. Canva

Canva is an excellent, web-based creative tool that provides content creators with endless options for free graphic designs that can used with any platform.

 

YouTube thumbnails are the first thing viewers will notice about your videos, so it’s necessary to make a strong first impression. Canva offers a wide range of potential thumbnail art that you can design yourself with the elements they provide, as well as YouTube channel banners, and designs to include at the end of your videos.

 

5. Tubular Insights

Tubular Insights is a great option for keeping up to date with current video marketing trends and providing users with helpful analysis and tips for video content creation.

 

The platform tracks video content from all over the world and breaks it down by trends, and marketing pros share their advice.

 

Utilizing this tool is an excellent way to gain insight into popular video trends and to see what works well for other YouTubers all over the world. For anyone looking to really break down what works well for a YouTube channel, Tubular Insights is the perfect choice.

 

6. YouTube Audio Library

YouTube Audio Library is an easy to use, free feature that allows content creators to find free music they can include in their videos. Make note of the attribution specifications on each track, as some will require you to link the artist in the description. There is also a variety of sound effects for YouTubers to choose from as well.

 


 

In Summary

Youtube is filled with so many possibilities for budding video creators who want to expand their social presence online, and these tools can help you produce the best content possible– while not breaking the bank in the process.

 

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This is a headshot of Sanj Rajput.

3D illustration of devices, megaphone and digital media elements

 

A new year gives businesses the opportunity to introduce and adopt different trends into their digital marketing strategies. There are a variety of ways you can freshen up your marketing plan and get ahead of the trends that will become popular.

 

It’s important to look ahead with the strategies you implement, but also remain practical and aware of what digital marketing trends can bring your business results now. Read the suggestions below to find out more about these trends.

 


 

1. Cryptocurrency and NFTs

2022 has seen a steady rise in popularity with online currencies like crypto and non-fungible tokens (NFTs). Although this may not sound like it would play a role in your marketing strategy on the surface, don’t discredit the possibility of it just yet. Cryptocurrencies haven’t seen a huge boom with mainstream groups just yet but it is something marketers should be paying attention to as a trend towards decentralized finance.

 

Cryptocurrency could help businesses attract an entirely new group of customers – if the demographic for the brand is the right fit. Jumping on the bandwagon for online currencies is a smart move, especially when social media platforms like Twitter and Facebook are introducing cryptocurrency payment options and NFT display tools.

 

Consider the ways you can sell your brand beyond the products and services your business offers in order to successfully integrate NFTs and cryptocurrencies.

 

2. Video marketing

Video production has gained a lot of traction over the past few years, especially with the booming popularity of TikTok. Video streaming has become easier than ever, which is why it’s important to prioritize this trend in your digital marketing plan.

 

Producing videos doesn’t have to be overly involved or complicated – simple but effective videos can be filmed and produced with nothing but your phone and some video production know-how. Especially with the “mobile-first” approach gathering speed, it’s necessary to adapt your marketing strategy in order to keep up with these trends.

 

3. Conversational marketing

Research indicates that modern consumers are expecting faster responses to their questions – so much so that many anticipate an immediate reply from businesses. Customers are no longer content with waiting days or even hours to hear back from a business, even if their question is being asked at an odd hour of the day. If they don’t receive an answer right away, they may look to take their business somewhere else.

 

Conversation marketing is an excellent tool to help customers right when they need it, remove any guesswork, and push forward a dialogue-focused style of communicating that encourages engagement. It can be used in a multitude of different channels, which can mean meeting the expectations of each client has become easier than ever before. This can include chatbots and virtual sales assistants and personalized email messaging.

 

4. Social media stories

Social media stories have been integrated into countless social platforms, and have been an increasingly favoured way for people share snippets of information since Snapchat first introduced the concept. They’re different from traditional social media posts, since they’re only available for users to witness and engage with for 24 hours before they disappear.

 

Stories are the perfect digital marketing trend to get on board with for 2022. They don’t clutter up people’s news feeds, and they can be an effective way to drive customer relationships.

Some ideas for social media stories include:

  • Collect consumer data using story polls
  • Include live video
  • Increase engagement with story Q&As
  • Share causal updates and connect with local consumers via geofilters and location tags

Stories are a great method to cultivate authentic connections with consumers, so make sure to join the many others who are including them in their marketing strategies.

 

5. Creator Collaborations

Forward-thinking young adults are now turning to creative outlets in order to make a living. This is where you come in – forging mutually beneficial relationships with local creators.

 

Independent creators also have experience making personal connections with consumers and likely have their own social media followings.

 

Partnering with these creators can introduce your business to an entirely new set of potential consumers, so investigate this growing trend while it’s still promising and continuing to evolve.

 

6. Voice search

Many of us have verbally asked Alexa or Siri to search for something instead of manually typing it in a search engine.

 

Voice-search optimization has become an incredibly popular way for users to not only seek out information, but specifically details about businesses and products. Virtual assistants will eventually begin sharing sponsored content alongside their specific answers, and voice activated ads aren’t too far off either.

 

With this specific kind of convenience in mind, consider looking into voice-search optimization for your marketing strategy, and get ahead of this fast-developing trend.

 

7. Interactive marketing

Connecting with your consumers on an intimate, personal level doesn’t have to be a daunting task. Interactive content has been taking over social media platforms, and is sure to continue dominating social feeds in 2022.

 

Stay ahead with immersive marketing techniques and connect with consumers through this fast-growing trend.

  • Polls, questionnaires, quizzes
  • Interactive calculators 
  • 360-degree virtual reality

 

8. Environmentally-conscious marketing

More and more consumers–specifically millennials–have indicated that they will pay more money for sustainably produced products. Sustainability has become a growing importance to modern consumers, which provides a unique opportunity for businesses looking to operate with current social trends in mind.

 

Integrating green initiatives into your marketing strategy can give your business a competitive advantage against similar businesses and help you win favour with younger customers.

Ways you can incorporate sustainability into your marketing strategy include:

  • Include environmental actions in your business practices and company culture
  • Show your company’s sustainability support through social media stories
  • Demonstrate your business’ commitment to environmental causes

 


 

Wrap-up

Successful digital marketing campaigns are best executed through planning. Speak with our Marketing Director to see how REM can help integrate these popular and up-and-coming trends for 2022 into your business strategy to help you achieve your goals this year.

 

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This is a headshot of Sanj Rajput.

Bright lightbulb with whiteboard sketches behind it

 

With winter behind us and spring on the way, what better time to refresh your marketing strategies and start tackling new ideas for your small business? Use the sunnier weather to your advantage and implement these tips to incorporate green content into your marketing plan and keep your customer engagement blooming.

 


 

1. Freshen up your social media presence

Your business’ social media presence should be something you’re always closely monitoring and working to innovate. Spring offers countless ways to engage with your followers on your social media platforms. Follow a bright colour scheme to match with the spring season (incorporating pastel shades that are seen with Easter can be an excellent way to do this), post consistently and make sure the messaging to your followers is cheerful, positive, and pleasant. Include photos of nature as the weather improves and people are going outdoors more.

 

Watch for REM’s upcoming Social Media Management service which can help you boost your presence and increase engagement in your social channels.

 

2. Incorporate tax season into your marketing strategy

From March through April, make the most out of tax season. National Tax Day falls on April 18. It’s estimated that roughly two-thirds of people expect tax refunds during April. This is a great chance for retail business owners to encourage customers to spend that cash. An excellent incentive to attract shoppers to your business is to offer a free item or discount with proof of filed taxes or you can celebrate Tax Day by waiving taxes on purchases in your store. Market these tax incentives and sales around this time to help improve your sales by advertising these deals to your current and future customers.

 

Email marketing is an easy way to market these incentives to your existing client database. Talk to REM about adding the Newsletter module to your site or to get a new email template for the spring season!

 

3. Promote a variety of holidays (especially the less popular ones)

Springtime is filled with holidays and recognition weeks that many people are not likely aware of. Take this opportunity to structure your social media posts and marketing around these specific days. Offer specialized deals and promotions and engage your social media following with eye-catching and aesthetically pleasing content that recognizes these holidays. For example, offer coupons for Mother’s Day gifts if people shop in-store between May 5-9th.

 

Some examples of holidays you can include in your marketing promotions throughout spring:

  • National Women's History Month (full month of March)
  • National Day of Unplugging, Employee Appreciation Day
  • St. Patrick's Day – March 17th
  • First Day of Spring – March 20
  • April Fool’s Day – April 1st
  • World Health Day – April 7th
  • Siblings Day – April 10th
  • International Moment of Laughter Day – April 14th
  • Easter – April 17th
  • Earth Day – April 22nd
  • World Book Day – April 23rd
  • Star Wars Day – May 4th
  • Cinco de Mayo – May 5th
  • Teacher Appreciation Day – Tuesday of the first full week in May
  • Mother’s Day – May 9th
  • Bike to Work Day – third Friday in May
  • Armed Forces Day – 3rd Saturday in May
  • Geek Pride day – May 25th
  • National Burger Day- May 28th

 

4. Host a giveaway

People love entering social media giveaways. They’re a fantastic way to encourage new customers to check out your business and engage with your content, they incentivize people for following, liking, and tagging your business, and they encourage word-of-mouth advertising. So use the change of seasons to run a spring-themed Instagram giveaway for a free product or service. Have people like the post with contest details, tag their friends in the comments, share on their Instagram stories, require them to follow your account, and post a photo of themselves at your business with a custom hashtag for extra entries. Use a random choice generator to pick a winner and congratulate them on your profile so people can see who won.

 

5. Organize an outdoor event

With the weather improving and pandemic restrictions lifting, people will be eager to spend time outside and enjoy the company of others. Arrange an event outdoors that engages with your local community and encourages them to learn about your business and the products and services you have to offer.

 

6. Raise awareness for important causes

There are countless important causes that occur throughout the year, but make note of the ones in the spring. Use these months to highlight and raise awareness for movements that mean something to you and your company.

 

Here are some examples:

  • Public Service Recognition Week
  • Women’s Health Week
  • ALS
  • Stroke victims
  • Celiac disease
  • Mental health

 

7. Take advantage of National Small Business Week

National Small Business Week happens every year during the first week of May.

 

This is a time dedicated to celebrating and raising awareness for small businesses and the hard working owners behind running them. This week is an excellent opportunity to implement marketing strategies modelled around the importance of your business and all that it has to offer.

 

Some ways that you can do this include:

  • Run a deal-a-day for the week, promoting different products or services each day. Or, run an online sale with a link to your landing or product page in your Instagram bio.
    May marketing ideas—instagram post promoting small business week sale
  • Give out coupons with purchases this week, that can only be redeemed on an upcoming holiday or on the last day of Small Business Week.
  • Offer a downloadable, small business-themed piece of content that is of value to your target audience in exchange for their email addresses.
  • Write a blog post with a schedule of the deals, events, and contests you’re running and include it in your emails and social media posts.
  • Increase your exposure on Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, etc.: Use #nationalsmallbusinessweek and #nationalsmallbusinessweek[your location] and other relevant hashtags in posts and promotions.

 

8. Marketing emails

Marketing emails are an excellent way to keep your consumer base in the know about all of your deals and promotions throughout spring. Offer customers a promotional discount if they sign up for emails or your newsletter. Incorporate spring colours and designs into these emails and newsletters, and make sure they’re informative without being too densely packed with information. Simple and eye-catching are always best.

 

9. Cross-collaborating with other local businesses

Cross-collaboration with other local businesses in your area can equally benefit both parties. Run a social media giveaway together that includes promotions and items from both of your businesses, plan a local business market or event that you can all collaborate on, create advertising that has information and potential deals/coupons. You could also put together a guide outlining the specials offered by other small businesses in your neighbourhood. This is a great way to connect and network with nearby businesses and strengthen your ties to the community. – the ideas are endless!

 

10. Take this chance to hop onto TikTok

TikTok has seen a huge boom in popularity over the past few years, with one billion annual users in 2021. More and more businesses are starting to use the video-sharing platform to advertise their brand and engage with potential customers. Take the time to become familiar with the platform, follow popular trends, and make note of the videos that are doing well for other businesses so you can get a sense of what could work for you. Spring is the perfect time to try out TikTok and reach a completely new audience!

 


 

If you need help with any of these marketing opportunities or any help with digital marketing in general book a quick no-obligation chat with our Marketing Director.

 

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Food truck owner serving food to a customer

 

As the weather gradually gets warmer, the sun stays out longer, and the snow melts away to reveal another spring season, business-minded people are likely asking themselves one question: how can I make the most out of it? With a long and dreary winter behind us, people are itching to go outside, enjoy the nice weather, and soak up the sunshine. This is the perfect opportunity to take advantage of potential seasonal business ventures and turn them into successful investments.

 


 

Here are some spring business ideas to get you inspired and started on the right track. REM can help design a professional, business website for your new company and help promote the business online.

 

1. Food trucks

Food trucks have seen a steady rise in popularity, especially over recent years. They’re incredibly convenient options for providing tasty food to customers wherever they happen to be in the moment: the beach, park, festival, concert, and even weddings. Whether you’re a professional chef or just starting to tap into your affinity for good food and quality cooking, operating your own food truck can be a very lucrative spring business option to jump into just before the start of summer.

 

So, you’ve decided to open up your own food truck. You’re ready to gas up your new truck and flip on that griddle. Before you get ahead of yourself and channel that excitement into your new culinary craft, you’ll need to sort out vendor permits, licenses, and government sign-offs. This process takes time, so be sure to start it as soon as possible if you want to capitalize on the late spring-early summer customer crowds.

 

Now to the physical food truck. Along with the truck, you’ll also need the proper equipment to prepare, cook, and store food. You may want to investigate an equipment financing loan to do this. Consider looking into a business line of credit to finance the costs associated with stocking ingredients and other supplies that you’ll need to operate.

 

2. Landscaping and lawncare 

There is a huge market for homeowners who simply don’t have the time or ability to maintain their lawns and gardens. If you love the outdoors and won’t back down from some physical labour, this venture may be for you. 

 

Luckily, there isn’t a long list of requirements that are needed to start your own lawncare and landscaping business. Consider applying for a business credit card for larger purchases and determine whether you will be supplying the necessary equipment and supplies for your business or use what is offered on-hand by clients. 

 

Channel your green thumb into providing others with outdoor spaces they can be proud of. 

 

3. Microtasks 

If you’re tech-savvy and have knowledge about things like cryptocurrencies and blockchain, there are different ways you can make money online with minimal effort or investment. 

 

Microtasking involves earning money for doing short tasks such as completing surveys, online quizzes, digitising receipts and invoices or filling in entries on encyclopedia websites. Completing a multitude of these smaller tasks can result in a fairly lucrative business if you play your cards right. 

 

Many of these tasks will only pay in Bitcoin, which is why you need to have knowledge of this unique currency option before getting started with microtasking. If you’re able to start, microtasking is a great work from home business opportunity to tackle for the spring. 

 

4. Tutoring 

Spring signals a daunting time for many students who are going to be tasked with cramming for exams and working on end-of-term assignments, projects, and essays. Students who are looking to bump up their grades and improve their scholarly skills will be looking for tutors to help them.

 

Tutoring can be as simple as helping a group of neighbourhood children with their after-school homework or assisting college students with learning certain concepts or retaining pieces of knowledge before their finals. 

 

There’s little investment involved with tutoring, as the students who will come to you for help will have most or all their own supplies. Just put your school smarts to good use and find the subjects you’re most qualified to teach. 

 

5. Party planning 

Spring is a popular time for celebrations. Barbeques, outdoor birthday parties, weddings, wedding showers, baby showers, the list goes on. And although people love attending parties, many don’t enjoy the planning process that’s involved with them. 

 

If you have an eye for detail and a passion for putting on a good time, this side hustle is for you. Start with small-scale gatherings and work your way up. Make connections within your local community so you know where to get the best deals and quality for venues, decorations, catering, etc. After securing a few successful parties under your belt, word will start to spread about your business. 

 

6. Spring cleaning services 

Help tackle the yearly task many people dread: spring cleaning. Spring is often a time for a reset and refresh, and assisting people with cleaning their homes can be a successful and fulfilling side-hustle. Apart from taking care of your own supplies and transportation, the investment for cleaning services is fairly low. Take advantage of local ads, and if you’re able to secure some reliable clients early on in your travelling cleaning venture, you’re likely to receive positive reviews and word-of-mouth advertising that will help expand your client base. 

 

7. Pet sitting and dog walking 

If you like animals and enjoy their company, this side hustle is for you. Becoming a pet sitter or dog walker is straightforward and doesn’t require a lot of steps or too much investment. As we move into the spring months, people will be starting to plan family vacations and will need to find someone to make sure their pets who are left at home are properly taken care of. 

 

As you start out with your pet sitting business, you shouldn’t need more than a business credit card. You won’t need to purchase too many things (apart from some client approved treats if you want to spoil the pets you’re looking after) and you will likely be driving to and from these homes, so it makes sense to choose a card that earns you cash back on gas and other small business expenses. 

 

8. Pool cleaning 

Similar to landscaping and lawncare, people who have pools often don’t have the proper time to dedicate to cleaning and maintaining them consistently. This is where you come in. Look into the permit laws for your area so you can begin registering your business and get your permits in order before you begin. Make sure you invest in the right tools for the job and gain knowledge about how to provide the services properly and effectively.

 


 

Once you know which business you want to start, contact REM for help in getting it online. Every new business website needs a strong online presence to establish credibility and compete with others in their market. The earlier you involve REM in the process, the more we can help you get noticed!

 

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Illustration depicting people and a large hashtag/pound-sign symbol

 

Instagram has quickly become one of the most competitive and sought-after social media platforms for small businesses to utilize. With now over two billion monthly active users worldwide, Instagram is an app that you should be using as effectively as possible to boost your business profile’s engagement and relevance.

 

After going through the steps to create an Instagram profile for your business, which is simple and quick to do, the key is getting noticed and standing out in a crowd of countless other users. This is where hashtags come in.

 

Hashtags are your ticket to reaching specific audiences that you want to see your posts. Targeting desired audiences through tagging is nothing new for users on the now decade-plus old platform, but Instagram has an additional feature that can help increase your visibility on the app if it is used correctly.

 

Instagram’s Weekend Hashtag Project (#WHP) offered users the potential to be promoted directly by the app, and this was one of the ways they actively did so. Each week, the project suggested different themes and hashtags, where users were encouraged to submit posts that fit the designated criteria.

 


 

Is the #WHP still relevant?

Short answer: No. As of May 2019, Instagram’s Weekend Hashtag Project is no longer an active campaign. However, this doesn’t mean you should stop being mindful of the hashtags you use. It’s important to stay on top of current trends promoted by the app and follow the best social media marketing practices so that your business can receive as much exposure and recognition as possible.

 

Why you should still be using hashtags in your posts

Even though the #WHP is not currently active, that does not mean your business should not be 
Conscious of the hashtags you’re using on the photos you share. Hashtags serve as Instagram’s sorting process. With millions of photos shared each day, it would be impossible for the platform to deliver every photo to the perfect people. By using hashtags, you’re increasing the chances of your posts (and profile) being discovered by people who are the most interested in seeing them. Reaching your target audience is one of the main advantages of using hashtags effectively, and you’re more likely to see engagement with your posts as a result.

 

Best hashtag practices

Becoming hashtag savvy will help you become successful in using your Instagram to its fullest potential.

 

How many should you be using?


The limit on hashtags for each post is 30, with the average number of hashtags per post standing at 11. It’s up to you to discover what number works best for you and your marketing goals but remember more doesn’t necessarily mean better.

 

Should you put hashtags with every post?

Yes! Undoubtedly, hashtags are the key to leading more people to your photos and your profile. Narrowing your hashtags down so they’re as specific as possible can be hugely beneficial in reaching people who are directly interested in that subject and content.

 

Should you use the same hashtags for every post I make?

No. Even if you’re sharing similar photos each time you post, Instagram’s algorithm may penalize you for sharing too many repeat tags by pushing down your posts. They could also ban your account altogether if they suspect you’re spamming users with identical tags, or they may think that you’re a bot. So be careful and intentional with the tags you’re using on each post you share.

 

How do you hide hashtags, so they don’t clutter up a post?


Many Instagram users have now found ways to “hide” hashtags on their posts so that they aren’t the primary focus of a caption. There are a few ways to do this effectively. One way is to leave a comment on your post with the desired hashtags you want to use. This way, users won’t see it until they physically go to the comment section, and it doesn’t take away your post’s chance of being discovered by target audiences. Alternatively, you can push the hashtags down in a caption, so they aren’t immediately visible by either making your text more than three lines long or including three- or five-line breaks with punctuation.

 

What hashtags should you avoid using?

Instagram has a list of banned hashtags that users are not permitted to use. Many are obvious, but others can be discovered by typing them into the app’s search function. If no results appear after typing in the desired hashtag, that means it’s banned.

 

Utilizing the most effective hashtags for your company

Hashtags offer a lot of versatility and opportunities for such small fragments of text. It’s important for you to keep track of what hashtags will benefit your company’s posts the most.

 

Some examples of hashtags to use include:

 

Product hashtags

These hashtags narrow down what your business does and the kind of services and products you provide.

 

Branded hashtags

These hashtags are incredibly important for building a community around your business and brand. This can be a short phrase, business name or a specific product. Something that is ultimately specific and recognizable to your business.

 

Instagram community hashtags related to your industry or business

Using these hashtags are a good way to gain visibility and recognition in communities of other brands (and by extension their like-minded customers) who do what you do.

 

Location hashtags

A simple but effective way to get the attention of potential customers in your area.

 

Event hashtags

If your business is hosting a specific event or conference, you want to bring people’s attention to it and showcase what you have put together.

 

#photooftheday

Business accounts can definitely benefit from using this specific hashtag. This hashtag is perfect for daily posts and themes and is an effective way to increase your post interactions, exposure, and daily visitors.

 


 

Ultimately, it’s most important to be consistent and up to date with your Instagram posts and hashtag usage. Follow the most popular hashtags and see what’s trending. Using hashtags that are reflective of your business, products and overall brand are what will attract your target audience and people who will hopefully become dedicated customers. In an age where social media continues to grow in importance, especially for small business exposure, it’s necessary to be mindful and knowledgeable about the most effective platform practices.

 

Contact the marketing team at REM to discuss options for your digital marketing. We can’t wait to help you get noticed!

 

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This is a headshot of Sanj Rajput.

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Often, the best exposure small businesses can receive is through word-of-mouth recommendations from current customers to their personal acquaintances.

 

It takes time and dedication to build a business up to a referable standard, so it’s important to be patient and be dedicated to this process.

 

Here are some tips on how to boost your chances of receiving more referrals through word-of-mouth marketing, as well as other methods you can use to increase the number of successful referrals you receive.

 

Before we delve in, remember you can always talk to the marketing team at REM to get help with digital marketing.

 


 

1. Exceptional customer service

Creating a positive customer experience is the foundation for referrals, and that starts with quality customer service. The impact you and your employees leave could easily influence whether a customer refers your business to other people.

 

Examples of exceptional customer service include the following:

 

Being friendly and polite

Perhaps the most crucial aspect of providing good customer service is being friendly and polite. Delivering efficient and effective service with a smile and respect towards each customer will go a long way. Pay close attention to people’s individual needs and be a reliable resource when they have questions. Always remain as calm, collected and understanding as possible, even when a customer may appear to be dissatisfied or frustrated.

 

Showcasing knowledge about the products or services you’re offering

You should be well-versed and extremely knowledgeable about the products and services you provide. This means being able to answer any questions customers may have, providing thorough breakdowns and explanations of any important features or advantages, and being readily able to troubleshoot any potential problems.

 

Being prompt in your responses and correspondence

If a customer reaches out to you, whether it’s through email, over social media, a phone call, etc. with a comment, question, or concern, you should do your best to be as prompt as possible with a response that addresses their line of communication accordingly. Timeliness in responses will always factor into a customer’s perception of your business, and speedy communication is more likely to result in leaving a positive impact, especially if it’s about a time sensitive issue or request.

 

2. Be accessible to your customers

Allowing your customers to become familiar with you personally is an excellent way to build more tangible connections and increases the likelihood of people referring your business to others.

 

A personable relationship that’s built on a mutual connection has a stronger chance of resulting in increased customer engagement and furthering your reach to outside clients.

 

While you don’t want to come across as too familiar or personal, especially right off the bat, building a friendly rapport with customers will often encourage them to continue doing business with you. Creating those connections makes people feel special and shows a genuine appreciation for their customer support. Becoming known as a welcoming and considerate business is a great way to encourage more referrals.

 

A few ways to boost your familiarity with your customers:

 

Ask questions

Asking your customers general, simple questions is probably one of the easiest ways to get to know them without being too pushy or overbearing. It shows that you’re interested in getting to know them without prying too much and can help give you a sense of how you can best serve them as a business. 

 

Engage individually with people on social media

Social media can be an excellent tool to provide insights into what your customers like, what their buying habits are, etc., but it can also be a way for you to interact with them in spaces that aren’t face-to-face or over the phone. Responding to and liking comments on posts, messaging customers when appropriate and having an active presence on your platforms, is an added and consistent way to encourage a friendly relationship with your customer base. It also provides a positive reference point for new customers to look to when scrolling through your business’ social media pages. 

 

Utilize surveys

Conducting surveys is a simple way to receive direct feedback from customers about your services, products and overall standing as a business. It’s a great way to get an understanding of their wants and needs and can help you improve your effectiveness when interacting with and serving your customers. And remember, the better you are at getting to truly know your customers, the more likely it is that they will refer you.

 

3. Capitalize on online reviews

Online reviews are a great way for people to share their experience with your business on a personal level. If you can build up a sizeable number of positive reviews, they can serve as a means to refer people to your business. Often, potential customers will now turn to online reviews and read through them first before deciding to select a particular business for their services.

 

Using reviews, both good and negative, to your advantage will ultimately work in your favour. Responding to reviews individually, especially the bad ones, can be a way to show people that you’re willing to work towards improving. Engaging with negativity in a respectful manner and showing genuine appreciation for feedback is a very effective method in demonstrating your professionalism. An ongoing and visible pursuit of growth as a company to your customers is an admirable trait as a business and something that many people will highly value and respect.

 

Managing your Google My Business page can be a time-consuming task to take on. REM can help manage your online reputation while optimising your site for search engines (SEO). We can help you get noticed online.

 

4. Aim high

It’s important for you to set yourself apart from other businesses in whatever ways you can. It’s not always enough to have a superior product - the service you provide and the dedication you show to your customers is what can make people choose your business over others and ultimately refer you to others in the process. As mentioned in point one, always strive to deliver exceptional customer service. Even the smallest examples of effort and care can make someone feel like you’re going above and beyond for them, and ultimately increase the chances of them recommending your business.

 

5. Curating more referrals

Getting to know the people who are referring you and showing your gratitude for their support of your business is necessary for securing multiple referrals.

 

7. Create a referral program 

Referral programs can be very effective in incentivizing your customers to refer your business. There are a variety of marketing solutions that can be used for referral programs. If you’ve gotten your business to a point where you’re already receiving word of mouth referrals, a system to invite and actively track this process can provide an additional reason for people to share your business with others.

 

Finding the right software for your business to use can help make it easier for you to manage and distribute rewards and can help simplify the process for people to refer you. Ensure that you know what you’re allowed to offer in the form of incentives, as you may have to find and implement creative, non-monetary methods to incentivize your referrals.

 


 

Taking the time to establish a great reputation is a great goal. Once you’ve reached this stage with a good product/service, excellent customer service, and community involvement it’s time to leverage that reputation.

 

Speak with our marketing team at REM and see how we can help you capitalise on the good will you’ve worked so hard to earn.

 

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This is a headshot of Sanj Rajput.

Illustration depicting tech devices, analytics and CRM

 

The best New Year’s resolution business owners can make in 2022 is implementing a customer relationship management system (CRM). Using a CRM can be a very effective way to increase engagement with your customer base and it can help keep communication with your consumers fresh and functional.

 

In order to get the most out of your CRM, you need to make sure that it’s organized. Much like how a tidy and orderly work desk is important for productivity, a correctly formulated CRM can be an enormous asset to small business management.

 

Here are some strategies to help you get the most out of your CRM.

 

Become a CRM expert.

Life can become pretty busy, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t take the time to really familiarize yourself with CRM. Not fully understanding CRM can lead to disorganization and less efficiency with how your information is stored. Below are some tips to maximize your knowledge.

 

Brush up on your CRM know-how by watching tutorials and reading guides about how to best boost your CRM. Reach out to your account manager and schedule a few minutes to go over any new features you may not be familiar with. Doing so may introduce you to more effective ways to keep information more organized and find more ways to sort it efficiently.

 

Clean it up.

Regular “housekeeping” efforts once a month can be extremely helpful to ensure that any information that needs to be fixed is appropriately addressed and attended to. Even if you regularly update your CRM, it can be easy to overlook duplicate entries or some missed pieces of incorrect data, so going in and thoroughly assessing your CRM is necessary. Delete any replicated files and research and properly correct anything that needs to be updated. This way, all of the information you and your team have access to is accurate and reliable.

 

Implement your CRM into your regular routine.

Staying on top of certain tasks at work can sometimes be difficult, but it’s far better to tackle pertinent reports and duties when information is new in your mind. While easier said than done, one of the best things you can do is updating your CRM regularly.

 

How often you update your CRM ranges and is based on the preferences of your business. Often business owners who have a large volume of customers will input entries into their system as they receive new information, so nothing important is missed or slips through the cracks. Others include it as part of a weekly routine. Ensuring that you’re scheduling time on your calendar to make updates when needed is a good way to ensure you don’t fall behind.

 

If you’re having trouble making your CRM a part of your routine, consider assigning this responsibility to someone on your team who has the proper time to dedicate to it and ensure that it’s up to date. A CRM won’t be as beneficial if the information is outdated and imprecise.

 

Stay on top of tasks.

Several CRMs have useful functions that allow you to add specific tasks that are useful for expanding your outreach, like sending out newsletters and renewing contracts. Taking advantage of these features as much as possible encourages timeliness and helps you close more sales.

 

Remain active.

Make sure you’re regularly using all of the tools and features your CRM has to offer. Go through your contacts, manage campaigns, and update information. Use everything your CRM has to offer to your advantage.

 

Add new contacts.

The purpose of a CRM is to gather new clients and manage them all in one location. Broadening the reach of your business by expanding your database and accumulating new contacts more frequently increases the potential transactions you gain.

 

Collaborate more effectively with your team.

Looking back on your company’s biggest mistakes this past year, what were they caused by? Weak collaboration can affect customer experience, so it’s important ot get everyone on board—here’s how a CRM can help.

 

Multiple departments—from marketing to sales—can use and benefit from using your CRM. Onboarding new hires onto the CRM encourages them to become comfortable inputting data from the start. It also helps ensure that they aren’t missing out on any valuable information they may need access to like contact details, files or colleague schedules.

 

Make a set of CRM rules that employees are required to follow so everyone fully understands how and where to enter data. Sticking to CRM best practices will lessen the possibility of any mistakes and messy data entry.

 

Getting your team excited about your CRM is essential for success. With the proper training and patience, everyone should be able to embrace and effectively utilize the CRM—a tool that will help make their work easier and better in the long run.

 

Automate workflows.

Completing sales involves a lot of details that need to be appropriately and accurately organized. Ancillary chores like reports and file filling can be time-consuming, but they are an essential part of the sales process. CRM systems can take the burden of small tasks off the shoulders of your employees through automation. There are countless CRM tools available that are able to assist with automatically collecting new contacts and updating data.

 

Integrating marketing automation can also assist with automating workflows like sending emails to clients.

 

Ultimately, automated data collection and entry allows your team to focus more of their efforts on other projects and reduce human error in the process.

 

Boost your marketing.

Start scheduling marketing duties in your CRM. Create a sub-calendar to help make scheduling marketing-related tasks and events easier. Block out chunks of time dedicated to content writing, planning and making social media posts. This way, all of your marketing to-do’s are less likely to be overlooked and fall to the wayside.

 

Set aside time to analyze the data.

Your CRM will provide you with incredibly valuable data that you’ve stored so you’re able to assess different factors such as purchasing habits and consumer demographics. Develop an understanding of these features and what this data means so you can input it into your business strategy.

 

A new calendar year introduces a clean slate for different possibilities and opportunities for productivity and success. Make this upcoming year your business’ best yet by incorporating an organized and well-maintained CRM system.

 

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