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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.

Illustration of a digital shield and lock on a dark blue background

 

According to the Canadian Centre for Cyber Security, the Covid-19 pandemic presents an elevated level of risk for the cyber security of small businesses. Not only should you protect your website and email servers from attack, but you should also harden the security on your company devices.

 

Read the recommendations for the best cyber defense practices your business should be implementing below.

 

1. Enable security software

Your business should be protecting itself against malware–malicious software that is designed to infiltrate or damage computer systems. You should educate your staff about accessing non-work-related websites and content when on a company device, especially when they are working from home.

 

Your organization should enable secure anti-virus and anti-malware solutions and any software firewalls on all company devices that can access the Internet. These programs should also be configured to conduct automatic updates and regular scans and your IT admin should receive warnings if staff are disabling them.

 

2. Use strong multi-factor authentication (MFA)

Multi-factor authentication is a reliable and secure method of account or device login that requires more than just one verification that uses something you know (PIN or password) on something you have (a token), and something you are (a fingerprint). Whenever possible, multi-factor authentication should be used.

 

3. Improve your password use

More often than not, passwords are not strong enough to deter cyber threat actors. Organizations should be implementing cohesive guidelines around password creation and should instead opt for passphrases. A passphrase consists of a sequence of mixed words, numbers, and punctuation that contains at least 4 words and is a minimum of 15 characters in length.

 

4. Have an incident response plan

A cyber incident is defined as any unauthorized attempt, successful or otherwise, to gain access to, modify, delete, or destroy any computer network or system resource.

 

An incident response plan helps ensure that your business is properly prepared to detect, respond, and recover from a cyber-attack incident. An effective plan will limit any disruptions and reduce data loss. A written incident response plan should highlight an established set of guidelines that are in place so responders can be ready to carry out the tasks necessary to minimize damage and deal with the incident at hand.

 

The incident response plan should include contact information for every person involved in response activities, instructions for how to handle incidents, the roles and responsibilities of everyone involved, and the actions that are required for mandatory incident reporting.

 

5. Secure websites

Your company’s websites should be secured using the Application Security Verification Standard (ASVS). ASVS proposes a standard list of security requirements and controls to implement during each phase of website development.

 

REM clients have their websites stored on highly secured servers with back-ups and redundancies to minimize any downtime. Your webhost should also do regular backups of your site and store those backups for at least a couple of days just like REM does. In case of an attack, being able to roll back to a clean version of the site can save you thousands of dollars in downtime and lost sales.

 

Your business should be investing in the proper tools for security requirements on all websites that are developed. If you are worried about the security of your website, speak to an REM business website sales rep today.

 

6. Provide employee training

Making sure your employees are properly educated about cyber security threats can help protect your business and minimize any potential risks. Effective employee training includes the implementation of unique passphrases, safe use of the internet and social media in the workplace and identifying any malicious emails. Companies should be investing in security training and should consider creating a cyber security training policy if they don’t already have one in place.

 

7. Back up and encrypt data

All essential business information should be backed up regularly to a secure and external location. As well, back-ups should be encrypted and restricted to individuals who are responsible for testing and restoring functions.

 

8. Secure portable media

There are risks involved with portable media. If sensitive information is lost or misplaced, your organization’s data that is stored on these devices can be potentially gone forever. Information stored on portable media should be encrypted to prevent any unauthorized individuals from accessing sensitive data.

 

Conclusion:

All small businesses should be taking cyber security extremely seriously to be better prepared for any sort of attacks and to be able to spot, respond, and act as efficiently as possible in the face of any potential cyber threat.

 

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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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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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Illustration depicting automated robots and web marketing elements

 

The majority of small business owners are overworked and are often overwhelmed by demanding schedules and unending responsibilities.

 

Enter: automation. Automation has quickly become a sought after tool to evolve and adapt businesses in order to streamline processes and improve overall productivity.

 

There are many benefits of automation, and it can free up a few hours of time during each workday.

 

It can be an intimidating process to introduce automation to a business. The workday of a small business owner is comprised of a variety of different tasks that range in complexity and importance. What should company leaders automate? What tasks are best left to humans to handle?

 

There are countless routine duties that take up a business leader’s focus and attention when they don’t need to.

 


 

Seven tasks you should automate:

 

1. Email Responses

Emails are one of the biggest thieves of time in a workday, often taking up more focus than what is actually needed. If you often find yourself on the end of repetitive questions and similar messages, there are ways to make email responses more efficient.

 

Canned Gmail responses and automated replies are a great way to save time while also increasing your chances of qualifying a lead.

 

2. Social media posts

Scheduling and automating social media posts on platforms that allow you to do so can be a huge time-saver with content publishing and distribution.

 

Consistent posting is the key to a successful social media presence, and there are several automation tools that can help you organize posts in advance and share them across different networks. Automating content so that it’s posted during the highest-traffic parts of the day will also help with increased audience engagement.

 

3. Payroll

A tiresome aspect of business accounting is payroll. If your employees don’t receive paper paycheques and you’re using direct deposit, there are tools that you can utilize to automate this process.

 

Payroll software can automatically schedule, send, and track payroll so that you can remove it from your regular task list altogether unless there are changes you need to attend to directly.

 

4. Chatbots

Chatbots are a great tool for bridging any communication gaps and making your business available to consumers 24/7. Chatbots are particularly useful for basic interactions involving customer service or technical support and can help push forward more sales.

 

5. Backing up files

Nearly every important aspect of businesses is now digitized, meaning that backups for files are more necessary than ever before.

 

Automating the process of backing up your business’ files is something you should do to avoid human error. Just make sure you find a file storage service that best fits your current and future space needs, and you’re good to go.

 

6. Recurring invoices

Bookkeeping is one of the most tedious parts of running a business that owners often cite as the worst part they have to tackle.

 

Offloading invoicing is possible with a variety of solutions that can help alleviate this strain. Recurring invoices can be automated with options for auto-reminders for clients who may have forgotten to pay an invoice.

 

7. Reporting on metrics

Compiling important data is an essential part of business ownership. Tracking how many people visited your website and the number of sales you completed in a month, for example, is needed in order to accurately assess your business’ success.

 

Automation isn’t something you want to overuse, either.

 


 

Here are five times you don’t want to automate:

 

1. Difficult or sensitive customer problems

For time-sensitive or difficult customer issues, it’s best to address those problems head-on through personal contact.

 

Satisfactory customer service is often best achieved over the phone or in person. For more delicate concerns, chatbot technology won’t be able to adequately process and properly respond to complex language.

 

A business representative who is knowledgeable and polite is a more reliable option when dealing with customers directly in this way, and can contribute significantly to a consumer’s loyalty to a brand.

 

2. Employee recognition

When employees are rewarded, incentivized, and genuinely appreciated for work that’s done well, it’s often reflected in their overall performance. Recognizing the hard work of employees should come directly from a supervisor and not be automated.

 

Authentic recognition should come straight from the source and be honest, individualized appreciation, which is not possible to achieve in the same way with automation.

 

3. Creative work

While automation has proven to be extremely effective for numerous different menial jobs, it hasn’t completely replaced the need for human workers just yet.

 

Creative work like graphic design and product brainstorming hasn’t been taken over by automated systems —this more refined work is best left to human ingenuity.

 

4. Relationship building

While automation can be useful in maintaining strong relationships with reminders about important dates, sending thank you notes and follow-up emails, it is not a complete replacement for human interaction between employees and clients.

 

Much like difficult customer issues and beneficial employee recognition, relationship building between various parties cannot always be replicated through automation.

 

5. Excessive targeted marketing

Be respectful of the information your customers trust you with and treat it with care. If they give you their contact information, it’s best not to spam them with generic daily emails or they’ll likely cut ties and close the door on that line of communication.

 


 

Time is a limited resource that all business owners want to use as effectively as possible. Automation can certainly take away a lot of the daily burden that’s brought on by overwhelming, repetitive tasks.

 

Just make sure you approach automated technology with a well-informed strategy and apply it to the most applicable tasks. Once you find a balance between automated and human responsibilities, your workload is sure to feel a bit lighter.

 

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This is a headshot of Rob Matlow.

Illustration depicting people using a giant magnet to get customer contacts

 

Sales is a tough thing, and it’s become even harder with the pandemic, we very quickly shifted to a new norm that doesn’t include networking events, face to face human interaction, and honestly, I feel like handshakes are no longer a thing. This is why it’s incredibly important to get ahead of the game when it comes to creating more churn in your sales process. In this article, we’re going to provide you with some knowledge on Lead Magnets, what they are, how they work and pointers on how to get them started.

 


 

What is a Lead Magnet?

 

In a recent article by Will Kenton at Investopedia:

 

“A lead magnet is a marketing term for a free item or service that is given away for the purpose of gathering contact details; for example, lead magnets can be trial subscriptions, samples, white papers, e-newsletters, and free consultations. Marketers use lead magnets to create sales leads. The marketers attempt to convert the leads into paying customers of a product or service, or they may market unrelated offerings to the sales leads.

 

When a customer signs up for a trial version or provides a name and other details for a free sample, they effectively exchange their information for a lead magnet. Sometimes the nature of this exchange is made explicit, but not always. As a result, some types of lead magnets are criticized for their deceptive nature.”

 

How to Set Up a Lead Magnet

If you don’t have someone on your team that knows how to set up a lead magnet that’s okay! We’re here to help. Anita Campbell at BizSugar Blog created a fantastic step-by-step guide to help you start! We’ve pulled some key points from this blog, but be sure to check out the full thing:

 

Create the Lead Magnet

“The first step is to create your lead magnet. A lead magnet is a digital thing — an ebook, template, whitepaper, video course or other item.” This product does not have monetary value, the price is the contact information that you receive that becomes a warm lead.

 

Create a Landing Page

“A landing page is a simple, uncluttered page where people can learn about your lead magnet.The landing page is a place where someone can enter their email address and/or other information you request.”

 

Confirmation

“After the person enters their information and clicks the button, the next step is a thank-you confirmation. You can direct the person to a separate thank-you page. Or there could be a popup message or similar mechanism. Whatever the mechanism, the person entering their information should know:

  • Their request for the lead magnet was successfully submitted.
  • You appreciate it by thanking them.
  • The next steps are outlined (such as “look for an email with a link to confirm” etc.).”

 

Organize Contact Data

“You need a place to store the lead contact information you collect, so you can later use it.  This is another key piece of the system.

 

Some landing pages can be made to integrate with your email marketing software or your CRM system.  This is ideal. Then you don’t have to manually enter contact data into another software application for follow up.”

 

Follow Up

“Create a process to follow up on the leads collected. Usually this includes a sequence of automated emails. The emails are scheduled to go out every few days (or weeks).  Or they may be based on triggers, such as if a person opens a previous email or clicks on a link:

  • Email 1 (after double opting in) might contain a link to download the lead magnet.
  • Email 2 might remind the person if they didn’t click the download link.
  • Email 3 might offer a companion worksheet.
  • Email 4 might share a recent blog post.
  • Email 5 might offer a complimentary webinar.
  • Email 6 might ask if the person would like to speak with a sales rep.
  • Email 7 might be a personalized one-on-one follow-up to introduce yourself.”

 

Promote

“The next step is to get traffic. The more people who get to your landing page, the more leads you will collect. Link to your landing page prominently on various pages of your website and blog.  Highlight it with a popup or alert strip on your site to make sure visitors see it.”

 

As mentioned above these are just the key points for each step, please be sure to check out the full blog here.

 


 

If you would like to know more about how to build out this process, feel free to give us a call or email [email protected]. We have a fantastic marketing team that could provide you some more tips and help you build your Lead Magnet!

 

 

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This is a headshot of Rob Matlow.

Illustration depicting a woman looking at reviews

 

Google reviews today are a gold for business. Think about it, how often to do you read them when deciding whether to do business with a company? Scanning the comments of previous consumers has become one of the first things potential consumers do which means your Google reviews are the most important piece of the puzzle for search engine optimization, marketing, and profitability.

 

Before we get into the meat and bones of this blog, if you haven’t set up a business account with Google, this is probably something you should do! To create your account, follow this link to Google Business.

 


 

According to Rocket Digital,

 

“…the power of the customer testimonial cannot be underestimated in its influence on other potential customers. You can tell me you are nice, and I may believe you. However, if an unbiased third party tells me you are nice, I’d be much more inclined to believe it. In fact, one recent study suggests that customer reviews are the most powerful purchase influence. Another study found that 88% of consumers consult reviews before making a purchase, and yet another study indicated that 63% of consumers are more likely to make a purchase from a site that has customer reviews.

 

One hesitation businesses have in soliciting online reviews is the fear of receiving a bad review. However, receiving the odd bad review is not necessarily a bad thing. Actively replying to bad reviews and looking to resolve a situation illustrates to your new potential customers that you care about your clients. A study actually found that bad reviews can increase conversion by 67%.”

 

Now that we understand the importance of reviews, we need to talk about Fake reviews, because they do exist. According to Hubspot:

 

82% of consumers have read a fake customer review in the last year. This can be a real problem for brands that rely on third-party review sites, like Google Reviews, to attract new customers. On Google, anyone can write a fake review that goes public instantly upon submission.”

 

So, how do you spot a fake review? HubSpot has created a list of review characteristics to look for to help you determine whether a review is fake or not:

  1. Pay attention to the details in the review.
  2. Look at the complexity of words.
  3. Check for repeated exclamation points.
  4. Examine the reviewer's name and avatar.
  5. Flag reviews without comments.
  6. See if the reviewer has reviewed other businesses.
  7. Look at how frequently the reviewer leaves reviews.

Once you do spot a review, HubSpot has provided a plan of action for you to remedy the issue:

  1. Determine if the customer review is fake.
  2. Log into Google My Business.
  3. Navigate to the reviews tab.
  4. Select the review(s) you'd like to flag.
  5. Choose the 'flag as inappropriate' option.
  6. Complete the follow-up survey.
  7. Respond to the customer review

This may seem discouraging to business owners who either have Google business accounts set up or are in the process of setting one up, but if you carefully monitor your reviews, it can definitely lead to a positive impact on your business.

 

You also may find comfort in knowing that Small Business Trends reported that the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is:

 

“…sending out Notice of Penalty Offenses. The Notice of Penalty Offenses enables the FTC to seek penalties against a company that it knows has been unlawful in a previous FTC administrative order, other than a consent order.

 

The notice warns a business of unlawful practices relating to the use of endorsements and testimonials. The notice informs a business that it could incur significant civil penalties – up to $43,792 per violation – if they use dishonest endorsement.”

 


 

In Conclusion

Consumer reviews are an extremely valuable source for lead generation, brand awareness, and overall insight into your business. Here are some tips provided by Google Business Profile Help on how to get reviews:

 

“You can request reviews from customers through a short URL that’s specific to your business. To get reviews on Google, encourage your customers to spread the word about your business with these best practices:

 

  • Verify your business so your information is eligible to appear on Maps, Search, and other Google services. Only verified businesses can respond to reviews.
  • Remind customers to leave reviews. Let them know that it’s quick and easy to leave business reviews on their mobile device or computer. You can also create and share a link that customers can click to leave a review.
  • Reply to reviews to build your customers' trust. Your customers will notice that your business values their input. If you read and reply to their reviews, customers may leave more reviews in the future.

 

Reviews are most valuable when they’re honest and unbiased. For example, business owners shouldn't offer incentives to customers in exchange for reviews. Customers should always follow our posting guidelines. You can request to remove a review if it’s inappropriate or violates our policies.”

 

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This is a headshot of Rob Matlow.

Illustration depicting people in a virtual reality world

 

At first when I heard that Mark Zuckerberg was renaming Facebook to Meta, I thought it was purely cosmetic, you know… like a stage name for a rapper an example being: Puff Daddy changed his name to Puffy, then Diddy, and all his other aliases. I quickly realized that there was a lot more going on, it as all over the news and a lot of chatter online about this “Meta” name change. So, I took to my trusty Google search bar, and was astonished at what I found, and honestly, I’m still shocked and still trying to make sense of it all – which thankfully is normal.

 

“Meta” Comes from Metaverse

The first thing that I learned was that the name “Meta” was inspired by the idea of building the Metaverse, there was a lot of information out there about the Metaverse, however Investopedia was the one to make the most sense of it for me:

 

“The metaverse is a digital reality that combines aspects of social media, online gaming, augmented reality (AR), virtual reality (VR), and cryptocurrencies to allow users to interact virtually. Augmented reality overlays visual elements, sound, and other sensory input onto real-world settings to enhance the user experience. In contrast, virtual reality is entirely virtual and enhances fictional realities. 

 

As the metaverse grows, it will create online spaces where user interactions are more multidimensional than current technology supports. Instead of just viewing digital content, users in the metaverse will be able to immerse themselves in a space where the digital and physical worlds converge.”

 

What does this mean for Facebook?

Now that we kind of understand what a Metaverse is, what does this have to do with Facebook? Well, once again Investopedia came to the rescue:

 

“Facebook has been talking metaverse for a while, noting in an Oct. 17, 2021, press release that the metaverse is "a new phase of interconnected virtual experiences using technologies like virtual and augmented reality. At its heart is the idea that, by creating a greater sense of "virtual presence," interacting online can become much closer to the experience of interacting in person."

 

Interest in the metaverse is expected to grow substantially as investors and companies want to be a part of what could be the next big thing. The metaverse is "going to be a big focus [of Facebook's], and I think that this is just going to be a big part of the next chapter for the way that the internet evolves after the mobile internet," Zuckerberg told technology site The Verge before announcing the name change. "And I think it's going to be the next big chapter for our company too, really doubling down in this area."

 

What does this mean for Us?

The creation of Metaverse changes the way we do business and how we operate as consumers. Forbes explains why this is such a big deal:

 

“Companies will need to transition their marketing strategies from online ad buys to existing in a shared, virtual economy. Companies will need to do market research on their new customers in the metaverse. How people act and what their preferences are in the metaverse could be totally different than how they behave and what they shop for in real life. Add to that the layer of business to robot to consumer, where virtual assistants and robots own the relationship with the consumer and it all starts to make sense. 

 

While there are sure to be ads in the metaverse, brands can actually be part of creating the metaverse itself. Frederic Descamps, CEO of Manticore games said, “Even in [the film] ‘Ready, Player, One,’ who actually made the Metaverse there? It will be all about the act of creation.” Brands should approach this with responsibility and ethics and not make our world one giant ad. This is of the utmost importance.”

 


 

In Conclusion

Life as we know it will be very different with Meta paving the way to a Metaverse. Businesses will once again need to adapt. In the meantime, keep an eye out for news on the Metaverse, the more you know, the more opportunities will present themselves for your products and services. There isn’t much information available out right now as Mark Zuckerberg and the Meta team pushes new technological boundaries.

 

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