The Intern’s First Week – Rounak Sardesai

Exordium

“There is no passion to be found in playing small – in settling for a life that is less than the one you are capable of living.”

-Nelson Mandela

I was a sales and marketing professional with a degree in computer science before I came across the ElementIQ Internship program. Having a stable job which was paying the bills comfortably was not something I thought I’d complain about, but this thought was soon changed.

Have you ever skimmed through your résumé and felt like you really want to see something meaningful on there? Well, I did!

The moment I realized that I was not doing something that I really wanted to do, I opened my eyes to the opportunities that were out in the market. Whilst scrolling through my Facebook, I came across an advertisement for the ElQ internship. Although I was well aware of what traditional marketing was, I had no clue what digital marketing was.

Thus, the first step to my application was a google search titled “what is digital marketing” and “what does digital marketing include.” I realized that I had immense potential in this field because I had had some sales experience and I was computer savvy.

I shot out my résumé to EIQ and within the next 24 hours, I knew what to do next. Ramesh replied to my application promptly and asked me to complete two tasks before a probable interview – An inbound certification from HubSpot and an English grammar test. To be honest, I thought this was the most relevant pre-interview checklist I’ve come across.

The next step in my application process was a face to face to interview with Ramesh and Vikram at the Spacekraft office (a co-working shared space that reflects the start-up essence) in Burnaby. Suited up, I met with the two EIQ employees who were extremely welcoming and easy-going.

The interview was set up in the spacecraft lounge that turned it into a constructive conversation rather than a formal interview. The questions I was asked were very relevant to the job and were well aligned with the expectations mentioned in their advertisement. The interview that went on for just over an hour, was one of the most productive conversations I’d had in context to a job.

Next, I met with Sam a few days after the initial interview and we discussed what he expected from his employees and gave me a brief introduction of what EIQ believes in as a team. Sam came across to me as a person who motivates his team and wants his employees to grow with the team.

This was exactly what I was looking for in my life – to be a part of a motivated team where my opinion is valued and new ideas are a result of constructive conversation with fun being the by-product. I must admit, the Spacekraft office was also a catalyst to my affirmative decision once I was offered the position a week later. Allow me take you through the journey of my first week of work at ElementIQ.

The Pilot (Day O):

As soon as I accepted the offer, I was asked to come in for an onboarding meeting with Vikram. On a beautiful Thursday morning, I walked into the Spacekraft office in Burnaby and had the same expressions Harry Potter did on his first visit to Hogwarts. I knew there was so much I was going to learn and so much I was going to be good at. I may sound presumptuous when I say that I knew I was going to be good at so many things, but here’s why I am not:

“Surround yourself with people that reflect who you want to be and how you want to feel, energies are contagious.”

-Rachel Wolchin

My confidence came from a vibe, a vibe I got from my welcoming colleagues and the people I was surrounded with.

We went over a variety of tools and software I would need over time at EIQ to successfully carry out daily tasks. Some of the tools were as simple as an email account and an instant messenger and some were more detailed like Teamwork, Quip and Slack. Have you ever watched the detail in which the Quartermaster (Q) describes his exhibits to James Bond? Vikram was as passionate as Q in this scenario – you could tell that he was passionate about his operation space.

Following the tools of the trade were the tricks of the trade – Vikram went over some of the essentials of digital marketing concepts with me. Some of these concepts were The Marketing Funnel, Buyer Personas and Social Media Channels. What I appreciate most about this session was the fact that it was assumed that I was fresh to the field and all information was delivered without the need of a prerequisite.

(It was like enrolling in Comp Sci 404 at Uni without completing the pre-requisites and finding out the instructor is going to recap Comp Sci 304,204 and 104 again. Instructor goals!!)

The session had an open-ended activity to it which included me trying to market one of my favorite brands. All in all, my orientation day made me realize (for the first time) that following your passion could not go wrong!

The One With The First Huddle (Day 1):

The following Tuesday after my orientation was my first official day with the EIQ team. I was welcomed by the team and the day started with a morning huddle. This was the first time I was going to be a part of the huddle and I was curious to know what it was all about.

What Makes An Effective Daily Huddle?

  1. Blockers: Any blockers that may be a hindrance to any tasks that have been assigned
  2. Daily Tasks: Any tasks that may need attention or discussion
  3. Chatter: Any mention-worth items from client tasks
  4. Share Something: Each day one person shares something interesting, usually motivational or influential

As someone who tries hard to be organized in life (with little or no success), the huddle seemed like a very important part of my day.

The huddle was followed by a walkthrough of our clients and Vikram walked me through each client’s case thoroughly. I understood that each client was different and each case was interesting in its own way.

Although we had already touched base on some of the tools that I was going to need during my tenure as a digital marketer, Vikram took the effort to thoroughly walk me through each of the tools starting with TeamWork (a project management and task manager with collaborative capabilities). This was followed by Quip (a modern replacement of docs with uber-collaborative functionality and integration capabilities) and Slack walkthroughs.

The walkthroughs were followed by realistic activities that directly aligned with our line of work and enabled me to communicate with the team easily and manage my tasks to perfection (just what a true procrastinator needs in life).

The day went by so quick that it almost felt like an elementary school field trip. At the end of it, I was full of things I had newly learnt – my body relaxed and my mind tired enough to let me sleep like a baby.

The One With The Reports (Day 2):

I was the kind of student that went off to a library every time I needed to get some serious work done. I always thought that I wasn’t able to get work done at home because it wasn’t the right environment. This was proven wrong on my second day at EIQ.

My second day at work was another first-timer. The EIQ team works from the Spacekraft office three times a week (Monday, Tuesday and Thursday) and remotely twice a week (Wednesday and Friday) so my second working day was going to be the first time that I would be remotely connected with the rest of the team. To my surprise, it was as smooth as a face-to-face meeting with great coordination and pre-assigned tasks.

“Choose a job you love, and you’ll never have to work another day in life”

-Confucius

The challenge I faced was a different one. Whilst I was in school, mathematics and statistics was something I absolutely dreaded and my second working day at EIQ was meant to introduce me to analytics and reporting which can be broadly categorized as a result of statistics. Vikram introduced me to a software unlike any other called NinjaCat that is used in the marketing world to analyze the real-time ROI situation for a particular business.

As and how I got used to navigating around the software through the day, I realized that I was now dealing with real data, real numbers, and real situations. As unnatural as it may sound, real-world problems are what make our lives interesting! The moment I started to understand that my analysis or reports would make a difference to a business and its marketing strategies, the hidden mathematician within me rose out of the grave.

The day can be summed up into three great sessions where I learned a lot about Facebook Advertising, Google Analytics, and Reporting.

The One With The Norman Doors (Day 3):

The next day back at the office started off with some reporting tasks I had been assigned the previous day. I worked on these analytical puzzles like a child trying to find the right way to join two Lego blocks and I absolutely loved the challenge! By the time I had finished my task in hand, it was almost time for the most awaited activity of the day – a UX/UI walkthrough session with Joseph.

As a computer science student, I had a fair idea of the importance of ease of access or ease of use of a particular object. However, what I didn’t know was how often we come across bad designs and how they are introduced to us. Joseph had a great flow to his session. In fact, an exemplary one. One of the key takeaways from this session was the Norman Doors anomaly. Joseph set up a presentation explaining how bad doors are a part of our lives and how we have to face awkward situations trying to overcome the push and pull battle! As simple as this may seem, it was the start to a great insight on User Interface and User Experience Design.

This session was followed by some reading to be done on UX/UI and taking a look at the resources shared by Joseph. Following the session was the weekly meeting that the EIQ team assembles for every Thursday. This meeting was a more elaborate meeting in comparison to the daily huddle. The weekly team meet can be divided broadly into the following:

Weekly Meeting Composition:

  1. Wins: Mention worthy achievements
  2. Numbers: Numerical representation of our performance
  3. Deep dive: Topics that need to be discussed in depth
  4. Tasks and Challenges: Follow-up tasks in line with discussion

With the end of the weekly team meet, an eventful Thursday had come to an end.

The One About This Blog (Day 4):

My fourth day at EIQ was not only my second remote working day but also a Friday. FRIYAAY! The tasks I had for the morning were read a little bit about our clients. I got to know what our clients do in terms of business and what their business goals are. This study was followed by a short analysis of what these clients do, again using google analytics and NinjaCat.

The highlight of the day was a session on content writing with Karmen. Her session on writing for the web included multiple examples of good and bad writing. She made me understand that writing for a crowd is just like trying to read their minds. It is important to read their thoughts and cater to the needs of that crowd.

A brief part of the session also included information on structure, images, formatting and other such neglected factors. Some of the resources that she shared helped me in writing this post.

Well, with the week coming to an end, I had just one task to complete before I could sip onto the madness of the weekend – updating the notes for our daily huddle for Monday morning.

The One With WordPress (Day 5):

My fifth day at EIQ was a Monday. This was also my first Monday as a part of the team. Honestly, the best part of this day was just after I woke up and realized that I did not have the Monday Blues. I guess that is how it feels to work a job you really like. My Monday was a busy one, and what I had most to look forward to was a Web Development session with Lincoln and a Local Search Optimization session with Vikram.  

The morning started off with some pending tasks from before the weekend. Just after lunch, Vikram and I got together for a short session on how Local SEO is carried out. The session was a great add-on to the other sessions I’d had with him as they were like joining different pieces of a puzzle.

After my first session, it was now time for a Web Dev walkthrough with Lincoln. This was the most technical session as yet and gave insights on how websites are developed, how they are themed and what goes into making an effective web page. Lincoln also walked me through some of the applications that would come in handy when wanting to create an effective website or landing page. This session definitely gave me a thorough introduction to Web Development.

This was the end of not just a great Monday, but also a fantastic first week at ElementIQ!

Guest Post: How To Get More Students For Your Online Course

In the 21st century, education has become more advanced. You can actually take a course on the other side of the world. Learning is no longer restricted to textbooks and e-learning has taken over. Both students and instructors find online courses appealing. Online studies improve accessibility for those who may not be able to sit in a classroom.

Why Choose Online Learning?

Distant learning gives instructors a greater reach. They make education accessible to those who may not live near a school. Online courses are exceptionally popular, and they are only improving.

Managing an e-learning business is just like running any other type of company. The success of your online course depends on how well the content of it appeals to your target audience.

You need to gain credibility and trust with your clients. You can do this by building a reputable website with good reviews and ratings. Advertising plays a key role in catching their attention. In this post, we will discuss how you can get started in promoting your own e-learning program. We will focus on how you can promote your services online, and attract an audience that is ready to learn.

Start An Email Marketing Campaign

Email marketing is a great way to keep those interested and updated about your online courses. Gather emails from your subscribers. List building is critical to an effective email marketing campaign.

Be sure that your website has a call-to-action. Let users know that if they want to receive more timely updates on your programs and enrollment, they should subscribe to your email list. You cannot send emails to them without their permission. It’s against the law to use purchased email lists.

When your course is ready to go live, you should send an email to your subscribers. It’s because, as per Cognique, 91% individuals check their inbox routinely. And 74% say that they prefer correspondence through emails.

In your emails, highlight what students will learn from your course along with testimonials of successful students that have taken it in the past. People love user reviews.

Likewise, include a call to action (CTA), where you give them the option to register for your course.

Reach More People Over Social Networks With Paid Advertising

Social media has consistently been a stand-out option for promoting any kind of business. You should definitely use social media networks to promote your online course.

You can easily connect with individuals over Pinterest, LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and so forth. Setup accounts for your company/institution if you haven’t already and post valuable content that appeals to your target audience. Include a link to your website in your bio so users can learn more if they are interested.

Share content that would incentivize someone to like or follow your page. The very content you create needs to relate to the audience you are trying to attract – students. Create different content buckets that will frame the kinds of content you share on social networks. This means critical updates about your course offerings, eligibility, enrollment, deadlines, and benefits should all be within the content buckets you create.

Furthermore, given that platforms like Facebook prioritize advertising platforms. It’s obviously a main source of revenue for them and they want you to invest money with the benefit of being able to reach people in a targeted manner. You should target a particular group of individuals who you believe will want to register for your course.

Post Frequent Blog Posts

You may be writing articles habitually for your site, but in order to maximize your business, it is best to post on a regular basis. Create a monthly blog post calendar, with topics and titles that are ready to go.

Write content based on keyword research. Get to know what your leads are searching for when they find your course. Try to answer any questions they might have in your blog posts.

You can also write helpful tips for those who are currently enrolled in your e-learning program, or address questions they have in a Q&A blog post. Include a CTA at the end of your blog post, so that users who are interested in your writing and your program can learn more on your website.

Promote Yourself In Conferences

There are many ways to meet other people in your industry. Mingle with others who are interested in online learning. Try to attend summits, conventions and online events whenever possible. You can make valuable connections at these meetings and promote your company as well.

It is a good idea to bring your business card, pamphlets, and infographics about your business. Distribute this information to the individuals who have expressed an interest in your course. Introduce yourself at conventions, you can exchange knowledge with others hosting online courses.

If you meet people who want to register for your program, use a sign-up app to properly gather and archive those who are interested in learning more.

You can use an amazing tool like LeadDigits which can be downloaded easily and synced with a number of Email Marketing Providers (ESPs).

Get Started

Now that you know the basics about marketing your e-learning program, you can go ahead and get started. Simply follow the above steps and you should have a better idea about how to gather leads and properly market to them.
This is the best way to eventually retain more students in your online courses!

Author:

Clara Decker is the marketing manager at CouponsMonk, a deals, and discounts provider company. She is passionate about money saving, investment, and the finance industry. Clara supports non-profit agencies that provide healthcare solutions to handicapped and disabled individuals.

The Best Kept Secret In Content Marketing

Keyboard and coffee

I recently had the opportunity to attend the Neil Patel Advanced Online Content Marketing Summit, 2017. The summit lasted for three days and featured leaders in the tech industry, including speakers from Hubspot, Marketing Profs, Hello Bar, Axe Wellness, Wishpond, Buzzsumo, KISSmetrics, and many more.

The summit was packed with loads of useful information and tips that you can utilize for the best content marketing strategies.

The one session that stood out to me the most was the livestream with Neil himself. This session kicked off the marketing summit and left viewers excited for what they would learn.

During this livestream, he shared his screen with those in the online summit and demonstrated exactly how he optimizes his content for maximal SEO benefits for search engines. In this post, I will go through his tips step-by-step, so everyone can benefit from his simple yet groundbreaking advice.

Get To Know Neil Patel

Neil Patel began by introducing himself. For those who don’t know, Neil Patel is a highly successful online marketer. He is ranked by Forbes as one of the top 10 online marketing influencers in the world. He has helped many companies grow and improve their online presence.

Neil was attracted to entrepreneurship and consulting at a young age and got his first glimpse into digital marketing when he founded Crazy Egg, a software company. He made Crazy Egg profitable largely through internet marketing techniques. Neil grew his digital empire and has become one of the most important people in the field.

He holds regular summits and seminars, where he shares his own knowledge while giving other speakers the chance to share tips and tricks as well.

What Is Content Marketing?

Content marketing is a powerful means of connecting and communicating with your target audience. In short, it is a type of marketing that requires the creation and sharing of content and new information.

Content marketing uses the right words to attract leads, inform interested buyers and convert them. Content marketing can take many different forms and can range from copywriting, email marketing, social media marketing and creating web page content. Content marketing is used at all stages of the inbound marketing funnel.

Neil Patel is a respected and renowned inbound marketing master. He uses content marketing to successfully drive interest in his brands and eventually convert leads. He offers some of the best content marketing advice.

Content Marketing: A Genius At Work

Neil demonstrated a very brief glimpse into his thought process when he creates content for the web. The segment I will talk about in this post was called “A Look Into Neil Patel’s Brain: How He Does Content Marketing”

Neil was allocated an hour for this session, so everything he did was done very quickly. He went straight into his personal site via the Google Analytics platform. While sharing his screen, he toggled to reports on the Analytics home page.

Neil checked his stats on his blog posts. He reminded the audience that you should never check a blog posts’ stats until after it’s gained some form of traction. Usually, it requires 3-6 months before it really gathers traffic. After this time span, you can start to notice patterns in individual keyword searches that lead and direct viewers to your post.

Neil clicked through to the icons labeled Behaviour > Site Content > All Pages. As a beginner using Google Analytics, it was baffling to see how quickly he navigated the platform. You could tell he was intimately familiar with the tool.

After clicking All Pages, he was directed to a list of all of his site’s pages. He sorted them from highest to least views. From here, he stated that you can click on a post that you want to look into further and see its individual stats.

Once noting down his top ranking content pages, Neil proceeded to navigate over to Google Search Console (formerly Google Webmaster Tools.) This is the platform he uses to see individual terms and phrases people type when they are searching for a post. From the webmaster homepage he went to Search Traffic > Search Analytics > Pages.

You will again see your top pages. Select the top ranking page you want to analyze and select Queries, sort by Impressions. Once these are selected Webmaster Tools generates all of the keywords that the page is getting traffic for.

Keywords Are Key

It is here that Neil suggested an oddly simple, yet profoundly overlooked tactic. He selected all of the keywords that were driving traffic to an individual blog post and integrated them into his original posts’ content. He chose only the keywords that had the highest impressions and click through rate, to maximize chances of future searches leading to his post.

In copywriting and writing for anything online, it is well known that pages rank on Google for certain keywords. Google can effectively understand what your post is about when its crawlers see that your keyword is in particular on-page areas, like your title tag, headings, and alt text.

Some websites go overboard and include so many keywords in their content, that it becomes difficult to read and understand. This is called “keyword stuffing” and it will heavily impede your ability to rank well. Neil said that he was not suggesting keyword stuffing. He noted that you should only incorporate these new keywords if they make sense in the context of the existing content. You want your readers to experience the best content, not content filled with buzzwords.

Write Long Content

He also said that the best way to add new keywords to your existing content is by adding more content to the page or blog post itself. Most blog posts on the web range anywhere from between 300-1000 words. Neil said that a lesser known secret is that longer content ranks higher. It makes sense, that long, well researched, quality posts are ranked higher by Google.

Google wants to show readers the best possible answer to their question. So if you write long and applicable content, there is a good chance that you’ll rank higher. Neil said that the minimum word count for any blog post should be no less than 2000 words. He said in order to incorporate keywords and continually update your post, simply add additional paragraphs to your existing content, using the new keywords. This both extends your content and adds in keywords while avoiding keyword stuffing!

Neil stated that you have to continually update and rewrite parts of your content. What better way to do it than by using key terms that you know people are already using to search!

This method seems deceptively straight forward. Those of us who write for the web know that keywords are “key” but we seldom go back to our old posts to update them and revisit keywords.

Step By Step Content Marketing Recap

  1. Gain insight on your popular content pieces via Google Analytics
  2. See which pages drive the most traffic (older content, 6months+)
  3. Navigate to Google Webmaster Tools
  4. Revisit the pages you noted down in Analytics
  5. Look at their individual stats, most importantly, “queries”
  6. Sort keywords by impressions and click through rates
  7. Select them and input them into your original piece of content
  8. Expand your content pieces to over 2000 words with updated information and keywords.

Final Thoughts On The Summit

I think that Neil shared valuable and straightforward information that can dramatically improve traffic if done correctly. I am only focusing on this specific section of his summit because the amount of information covered during the summit was extensive.

If people gained anything from watching the live event, that this was one of the most important key takeaways. Neil gave a few additional tips in a live Q&A session to close the summit on the final day. In this session, he covered hundreds of guest questions.

A few additional, closing facts that really stood out to me were:

  • Neil translates a lot of his websites and blog posts into multiple different languages, so they not only rank in English, they rank globally.
  • Neil suggests posting a quality blog post every day to your website. If this seems excessive, you can start with once a week. He indicated that influential sites like HubSpot rank high because of the sheer amount of content their sites contain. They naturally drive traffic and interest because of how much content they have online.
  • He noted that it can be difficult to predict what content will get traffic and what will be neglected online. This is partially why he emphasizes the need to write on everything and come back to posts after 6 months, to see what has traffic and what doesn’t.

Neil Patel clearly knows the in’s and out’s of the best content writing and web optimization for content. I would highly recommend attending his future summits if you are looking to improve your marketing tactics, or simply gain new insight on the topic. If you want to learn more about content marketing, there are plenty of resources online. Don’t be afraid to get started!