Quarantined? Here’s How To Seamlessly Switch Your Small Business To Remote Work

Lockdown. Shelter-in-place. Social distancing. There are a lot of things happening right now – and for good reason – but the end result is the same: you and your team are stuck at home. So what are you going to do about it?

For a lot of people, the answer is the same: work remotely. While that’s become common and even necessary in bigger organizations, it isn’t something that small businesses have always been readily willing or able to accommodate. But with COVID-19 taking the decision out of people’s hands, there are a lot of small businesses that are nervously dipping their toes into remote work for the first time.

Here at ElementIQ, we know a thing or two about getting things done remotely. It’s something that our team has been taking advantage of for years; different countries, different time zones – you name it, we’ve made it work. Armed with that knowledge, we’ve put together a rundown of habits, tools, and activities that’ll keep your team on their toes no matter where they are.

Remote Working Tips from Our Team

Keep People Accountable, But Don’t Be Big Brother

Mr. Zuckerberg? Mr. Putin?! Nope, it’s just your boss.

You don’t need people giving you status reports every hour, but you do want to keep people securely moored to their professional obligations. For us, that means meetings: a daily morning meeting for 15 minutes, an hour-long weekly review, and one-on-one meetings whenever we need them to get things done. The daily morning meeting, especially, is a must-have for making sure everyone is on the same page and has the support they need to complete their tasks.

Create a Structured Schedule (With a Bit of Wiggle Room)

The truth is that there’s no such thing as too much caffeine.

Nothing is more useful for staying on track than organization, so that’s a habit you’ll want to start building right away. If you’ve got a workday morning schedule, stick to it – as the days go by, it’ll be your anchor for staying professional and in “work mode”. Ditto for the end of your day; tidy up your workspace as if you’re leaving for the day. Use your phone calendar to set reminders for meetings and deadlines at the start of each week, and make sure you have achievable goals to complete every day. Things will inevitably come up, but structure and a schedule will make it much easier to slot in new tasks and prioritize them.

Define Your Workspace

They may look innocent, but they’re actually remorseless productivity killers.

The trick here is to have everything you need within arm’s reach so you won’t wander and get distracted. Now, that won’t be much help if distractions start coming to you, so make sure your boundaries are your family’s boundaries too. That might mean doing a little extra planning in advance – like getting up early to tucker out your pupper or planning an activity schedule for your kids – but whatever it takes, stick to your guns and ensure that the boundaries of your workspace are respected.

Take Breaks for Your Mind and Body

Contrary to popular belief, it is indeed possible to meditate without yoga pants and a sports bra.

All these tips on staying focused, and now we’re telling you to break your concentration? Yes! Of course, if you’re in the zone and working at peak productivity, that’s probably not the best time to take a break. But if you’re feeling fatigued and notice yourself getting distracted by your phone or other family members, that might be a good sign that you should call a timeout to let your mind and body get their bearings again. 10 minutes of meditation (you can call it a brain break if the M-word scares you) or a quick stretching routine will do wonders for your ability to focus.

Recreate Your Workplace Atmosphere

Not that we’d know from personal experience or anything, but be careful about leaving your webcam on if you’re fond of singing or dancing at home. Just saying.

Certain folks just flourish in a communal environment. If that’s you, some of our team members recommend setting up a group call to work alongside friends or family for brief periods over the course of the day. Even if nobody’s actively speaking, just having the ambient sounds of a keyboard and mouse or shuffling papers can be a great way of preventing yourself from feeling overly isolated. And if you don’t know anyone who’s keen on leaving a video call on, there’s a huge selection of background sound videos on YouTube for places like coffee shops and offices.

The Digital Nomad Starter Kit

Communication and organization are always important, but once you make the switch to working remotely, they become absolutely crucial. Since every organization has different needs, there’s no universal toolbox that’ll work for everyone; that’s why it’s so essential for you to take time to pick tools that’ll support an optimal workflow for your team instead of just rolling out the first approach that seems like it can get the job done. With that in mind, here are the tools that work for us:

Zoom

Nothing makes distance disappear quite like video calling, and that’s a big plus when you’re accustomed to physically sitting with your colleagues. It gives messaging that human touch, and with intuitive tools like screen sharing, it’s phenomenal for recreating those quick, get-things-done collaborations that make every workplace tick.

Slack

If Zoom replaces power meetings and the boardroom, Slack basically fills in for all the other internal communications – workplace banter included ;). Whether it’s one-one-one messaging or team-wide client updates, Slack can keep you organized and up-to-date. For us, that means separate channels for each client, plus a few other app integrations like HeyTaco! – which recognizes good work and keeps things light – and G Suite to streamline document sharing. And speaking of G Suite…

G Suite

If your team can’t access the files they need remotely, it’s safe to say they’re not going to be getting much work done. That’s why we love Google’s G Suite lineup; by putting all the essential productivity tools online, it makes the process of creating, sharing, and reviewing documents completely seamless. Coupled with Zoom for instant communication, we’re able to work together just like we’re sitting side-by-side.

Teamwork

How far along is this project? Who’s doing that task? When is it due?

Getting clarity about those questions isn’t easy when everyone’s in the same place, and it can be doubly troubling when teams are spread across different cities and countries. Thanks to Teamwork, though, our team always has an easy way to stay on the ball with our projects. Since we’re often working separately, we use it to centralize our workflow into projects and tasks. From there, it’s easy to keep track of progress and make sure that any documents and collateral are clearly tied to specific tasks.

Experiment to Keep Things Exciting 😉

By the time this is all over, you and your team could be finger tutting masters. 

The thing about going to a physical workplace is that there’s so much more to it than just projects and meetings. All those moments of camaraderie in-between tasks are the mortar that holds great teams together. We don’t have a perfect formula for capturing that magic from the other side of a screen (yet), but we’re certainly going to try to find one!

One of the things we’d like to try is team matinees. That could be in the form of watching a TED Talk together, or even just getting everyone online for a Netflix Party.

We’re also going to kick the tires on group wellness sessions – right now that looks like it’ll be focused on meditation and 15-minute lunchtime workouts, but it feels like that’s just the tip of the iceberg.

Last but not least, we’ve mooted the idea of dabbling in a bit of virtual team-building with group activities like scavenger hunts, costume challenges, and Jeopardy. There’s no two ways about it; we’re a competitive group, and with no sports on air right now, we’ve decided to pick up the slack ourselves.

The Takeaway

Who doesn’t love a good motivational wallpaper?

Making changes isn’t always easy, and even if you’re following guidelines and best practices from experienced remote workers like ourselves, you might still have some hiccups. Which is okay – like climbing any learning curve, it’s just about making those iterative improvements and discovering what works best for you, what works best for your team, and how you can harmonize both sets of needs.

It might be COVID-19, a financial downturn, or some hotshot upstart dropping their disruptive innovation into your industry’s lap, but obstacles are bound to come up from time to time. When changes are coming fast and often – as they are right now – a successful business needs to be agile and versatile to respond, and with our tips and tools your team will be well on its way to creating a remote work routine that lets your business thrive.

Show Your Customers How Your Business is Adapting to COVID-19

ElementIQ has created a collection of templates, tools, and tips that your business can use to share updates with its customers and the community.

 

 

 

An Interview With Jason Smith – Co-Founder of Klue

Man working at desk

Have you ever wondered how to stay ahead of your competitors, while creating more sales opportunities for your business? Klue, a software platform founded in 2015 from Vancouver, BC lets you do just that.

In an ever-changing technological world, having insight into your competition helps your brand succeed. Whether it is an updated website, a new CRM system or email marketing campaigns – your online presence can make the difference between keeping a client or losing them to the competitor. In the age of inbound, client-focused marketing, the company that makes the buying process easy and seamless for the client gets the sale. 

According to a recent article by BC Technology, “Thirty percent or more of deals are lost directly to a competitor.” Whether they offer better content, more streamlined information or a user-friendly platform, it is absolutely vital in the age of technology to monitor competitors. 

Competitive Intelligence for B2B Companies 

Klue tackles this problem head-on – the software utilizes machine learning to collect, and compile information shared by your competitors online. The platform displays the information collected in easy-to-understand dashboards that provide active tracking on all B2B competitor activity. Klue

Jason Smith is the co-founder of Klue. He and his partner Sarathy Naicker created a solution to a problem most B2B companies have – primarily, “How do I get ahead of the competition?” 

This is the founding idea behind Klue, Smith comments  – “ There were no real solutions that could keep a monitoring eye on all of my competitors. Nor, actually, reduce all of that intel into a manageable set of information for my salespeople. So, we went ahead and built that and ended up with a collection curation distribution system that helps companies understand what’s going on with their competitors.” 

Smith and his partner were able to find a gap in the market; one that would prove incredibly important in the age of technology and corporate monitoring. 

Klue takes a three-pronged approach to market intelligence: 

  1. It tracks competitor activity 
  2. Centralizes the information 
  3. Enables sales with the information they need. 

Never before have we seen a platform that takes abstract information gathered from competitors online and centralizes it to track how your brand and online presence measures up with the competition. This tool provides groundbreaking market intelligence. It utilizes bot and machine learning to filter through web content so your team is always aware of your competitors’ next move. 

The incredibly fast success for Klue saw the company double in size in the past year. The extensive growth for Klue is certainly not the result of overnight success, the team found a pain point in the industry and created an incredibly powerful platform to overcome the problem. 

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A Lesson In Start-Up Success 

Jason Smith, Co-Founder of Klue, is a self-proclaimed “geek” with over 20 years of entrepreneurial experience in start-ups. He was kind enough to share a few tips with the team at ElementIQ and invited us to visit the Klue head office in Vancouver, BC. 

As a young, tech-savvy entrepreneur, Smith is not new to the start-up industry. He and his partner previously founded a successful web development company called Columbus Group, which was acquired by Telus. He currently is also focused on investing with start-up companies both locally and internationally. 

Smith describes his success in marketing and business innovation as a result of his fascination with branding from an early age. “I was always thinking about things from somebody else’s perspective. And that is fundamental to branding and marketing, it’s thinking about how others are gonna perceive your company or person or asset.”

He notes that the key to start-up success is perseverance. “I think that’s one of the core things that you need to succeed is the determination and grit.”(Smith) 

Klue was born out of a problem – the need for transparency in a competitive market. Smith was able to see that gap in the industry. He and his partner worked tirelessly to develop Klue as a platform, once B2B companies saw the inherent value of the product, there was no going back. 

From an investor’s standpoint, Smith notes that the key to success as a startup is the product itself – “The marketing and branding side is secondary to the product and the people and the technology.” Indeed, Klue stands out as a successful startup, due to the solution it provides. At its core, it is a valuable product, with a powerful marketing team to back its success. 

Klue shares profiles of your competitors
Klue gathers competitor updates and swiftly shares them with your sales team

The Future of Klue

Klue was recently named a Gartner Cool Vendor in an article released by Gartener for its success in sales enablement. It is used by millions of companies daily and things are only looking up for the platform. 

In the words of Jason Smith, “we think we’re on to something that a hundred million companies need, and that is providing them with insights around their competitors and their market that, once understood, can help them accelerate their own business.” 

Klue provides a unique answer to the needs of millions of companies worldwide. It gives companies a lens and insight into their competitors’ markets. As Jason Smith mentions “Our mission is to make sure that every company is well equipped with not just the alarm monitoring, but the functions that enable them to accelerate their business by understanding that competition.” 

Indeed, Klue has provided an unmatched solution to help businesses gain insight into their competitors. Klue helps to bring your sales and management teams the confidence they need to navigate and dominate their markets while keeping competitors in check. Click to learn more about Klue today. 

ElementIQ and Klue

At ElementIQ our team aligns with the core values that Klue promotes. Klue helps businesses grow by giving them the tools to stay one step ahead of their competitors. Likewise, at ElementIQ it is our job to enable and empower our marketing clients; so that they can succeed in a modern, competitive, digital world. 

Like Klue, our team has changed the lives of hundreds of small-medium sized business owners. We ensure they are equipped with the latest technology, to help navigate the modern world of marketing. Learn more about what we can do for you by visiting our case studies page. 

Both ElementIQ and Klue value entrepreneurship, knowledge sharing, transparency in business, and technological collaboration. Our team was honored to meet Jason and the staff at Klue. It is always a pleasure to connect, collaborate and share ideas.

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.

ElementIQ Announces Membership With 1% For The Planet

BURNABY, BC, – APRIL 6, 2017 — ElementIQ joined 1% for the Planet, pledging to donate 1% of annual sales to support non-profit organizations focused on the environment.

In the coming weeks, ElementIQ will be announcing the local non-profit organization it will be pledging resources to over the next year.

“Our member companies have donated more than $150 million to our environmental nonprofit partners to date. Currently, only 3% of total philanthropy goes to the environment and, only 3% of that comes from businesses. The planet needs bigger support than this, and our growing network of member businesses is doing its valuable part to increase giving and support on the ground outcomes. Our members lead with purpose and commitment, characteristics that consumers support. We’re excited to welcome ElementIQ to our global network,” says Kate Williams, CEO of 1% for the Planet.

“We are thrilled to officially become 1% for the Planet members,” said Ramesh Ranjan, Digital Marketing Manager at ElementIQ. “We see collective contributions from private sector companies for the public good as a responsibility.”

Members of 1% for the Planet contribute one percent of annual sales directly to any of the approved non-profit environmental organizations in the network. Non-profits are approved based on referrals, track record, and environmental focus. Thousands of nonprofits worldwide are currently approved.

“ElementIQ is proud to be working towards a healthier planet for all,” added Ranjan. “We all rely on drinkable water, healthy food, and clean air to survive. We are proud to be doing our part, for the planet.”

About 1% For The Planet

1% for the Planet is a global organization, leading a network of businesses, nonprofits, and individuals working together for a healthy planet. Launched in 2002 by Yvon Chouinard, founder of Patagonia, and Craig Mathews, former owner of Blue Ribbon Flies, our network consists of more than 1,200 member companies and thousands of approved nonprofit partners in more than 40 countries. Brands whose products and services feature the 1% for the Planet logo give 1% of sales annually to nonprofit organizations dedicated to protecting the environment. Our members have given more than $150 million back to the planet since 2002. Look for our logo and visit www.onepercentfortheplanet.org to learn more.

About ElementIQ

ElementIQ is a digital marketing agency based out of Burnaby, BC. Our goal is to help grow your business online. We take all the elements of Inbound Marketing—Content Marketing, Search Engine Optimization, Pay-Per-Click Advertising, Local Search, Paid Search, Social Media and Google Analytics—to drive businesses to increase conversions, improve search engine rankings, and manage your online reputation. We’re ready to get to work for you.

Celine’s First Week In The ElementIQ Internship Program!

One of the benefits stated on the hiring page of the Internship Program is “Learn by DOING (your classmates won’t be learning these important marketing skills at their jobs).” The moment I read this, I know I had to apply for the ElementIQ Internship Program.

Starting my career in a marketing agency has always been the goal ever since I found my passion in marketing. It is no doubt that I have limited experience, but I am always eager to learn and grow. I was seeking for a company that would provide me with a positive learning environment.

At ElementIQ, that opportunity is present where I could make real contributions from day one. Because only by doing can you find your real passion. So, let me bring you to the start line.

The Intern

Sorry for the downer, but this ain’t a Hollywood-polished storyline of a 70-year-old bored retiree going out of his way to start an internship in a youngsters-dominated company, nor am I Anne Hathaway. This is actually more exciting than that. Okay, maybe not the latter, but certainly the former.

On a freezing morning in late November, I slung on my charming bright orange backpack to enter a significantly spacious coworking space called Spacekraft as the new intern hustler to join the tight team at ElementIQ.

I arrived at 10am (start-up perks #YAS), only to be turned down during my first chat-in with Lincoln that we actually start at 9 (JK. The early bird catches the worm). My commitment with them is working 2 to 3 days in the office, and then the other days remotely. Why do another internship as a fresh grad after completing 3 semesters of internships during your school period, you ask?

As a fresh graduate from SFU FCAT with background experience in social media and creative writing, I was more intrigued by the possibility of exploring my career options early on. I prefer to think on my feet and be accountable for a variety of duties than just focusing on the same daily duties.

Contrary to popular belief, my duties do not include standing in front of a photocopy machine for hours. Although this is how cool our photocopy machine looks like:

Nor does it include brewing coffee just to kill time until the clock hits 5pm. Starting as an intern with an agency is more rewarding than you might prematurely perceive and you’ll see why.

Here’s the outline of my first week:

Dia UNO (Day 1)

This is a sneak peek at what a chunk of my training agenda looks like:

**10 am**
* Welcome!! with Ramesh and Lincoln 🙂

* We will always make things right.

* Admin – hours – lunch – payroll review – equipment – supplies – washroom – garbage – expenses – Spacekraft – Huddle at 9:08 each day – HubSpot Learning – ideas/questions?!

* Google Apps setup and walkthrough

* Email, Calendar, and Docs

* Quip setup and walk-through

* TW setup and walk-through

* Slack setup and walk-through

* Paperwork, etc

* TAKE LOTS OF NOTES!

* Work on your Bio for the website (HOMEWORK)

* DistilledU as a resource

* Good Apps to install (HOMEWORK)

* Check out Stencil and Canva

* Internship Program First Week Blog Post (HOMEWORK)

* What to subscribe to? Marketing Land, Search Engine Land, Moz Top 10, HubSpot Blog

Note that this is the agenda only for 10AM, not the entire first day. Upon setting up my email and Slack, my colleague Ramesh presented my full first week agenda on Quip. It is broken down into time slots of what I’m going to learn and be assigned each day. To start off, I needed to get the flow of how the team operates and communicates.

I could see right away that they are very effective in everything they do, from logging tasks to filing things where they are supposed to go. For example, they have approximately 30 channels on Slack, each designated to a specific client and other relevant topics.

Another tool that I find useful is Teamwork. You can easily keep track of accomplished and upcoming tasks by logging in your work time through Teamwork. When you’re done, simply check it off and it will automatically take it off the list. It feels as good as physically striking things off your to-do list.

Are you a reliable self-starter looking to kickstart your digital marketing career?

Overall, the tasks are exciting while appropriately challenging. Which is why it’s extremely important to stick to deadlines while progressing at your comfortable pace. Tracking the time of how much you spend on each task will allow you to be able to review your productivity and adjust your pace if necessary.

Dia DOS (Day 2)

*This is the second time I came into the office that week, but technically was my third day.

Growing up as a wired Millenial, I would have thought that all these apps are self-explanatory, lessening the need to take a lot of notes. I was wrong. The next day I couldn’t figure out where the link to the Google Hangout for the team’s daily huddle was.

Lesson learned: With the amount of information you have to absorb on the first day, your brain will thank you later if you jot down all the important information. There is especially a significant amount of new material to absorb.

Day 2 is when the real lessons begin. My agenda was packed with learning the basics of SEO, Local Search Marketing, and Website Development. All of which I have never learned before. Fortunately, Payman, Vikram, and Lincoln have excellent teaching methods. They incorporate relatable elements in their explanations, making it easier to grasp how these strategies work.

For instance, Payman, our Inbound Marketing Strategist, underlines that “Linking is king.” But in leveraging your credibility and mentions from authority sources, you need to make sure that your site provides quality content. The point is, I aimed to connect the dots between what I already knew and what I was currently learning. In this case, between content marketing and SEO.

Learning new things this way makes it easier to understand how each element complements each other on the periodic table of digital marketing that we live by at ElementIQ.

A Few Key Takeaways From The Internship:

1. Ask questions! Always try to think on your feet and come up with hypothetical cases to easily understand what you are learning.

2. Don’t forget your notes. Jotting them down is only the first step, reviewing them is a major key that should be followed.

3. Read great books and articles. Stay curious. Stay humble, and don’t be afraid to stumble.

In the upcoming weeks, I look forward to checking off more and more tasks on my Teamwork dashboard.

Inbound Marketing Internship – End Of The Line

It was the middle of December 2014 when I started working with LocalTrifecta Internet Marketing agency. With the weather changing from winter to spring, my 4 months of internship agreement has come to an end in the middle of April 2015. Before joining here, I was a full time student of the MBA program at Beedie School of Business in Vancouver. I continue to be a student, but having successfully completed 4 months of internship, I am now officially eligible to graduate in June this year. As exciting as graduation may be, currently I am feeling the sorrow of parting from my colleagues.

In this blog post, I will attempt to summarize my entire internship experience…reflecting on the work, people, culture and training.

The Wake-Up Call

One of the most important things wise old men tell me is to choose a job that you are excited to wake up for. I take this advice very seriously and can speak with certainty that for the last 4 months, I have woken up excited on majority of the days. I look forward to seeing my colleagues at the office, checking my email and slack messages, and participating in the daily huddles where we discuss priorities for the day. There are times when the nature of work may be dull, but the vibrant culture in our office keeps us smiling through the toughest of sails.

The most important asset of this company is its people. Without elaborating on each individual’s personality and turning this blog post into a novel/thesis or a controversy, let me share some selective interesting facts:

  • The average age between the 7 of us who regularly work from the office is around 30. This includes the founder who is in his early 40’s.
  • Between the 7 of us, we represent 6 different ethnic backgrounds – Japan, China, Malaysia, Iran, India and Portugal.
  • Some of us were more suited for movies and some more for politics. A career change maybe on the cards in distant future, for some.
  • Our heights range from 5 feet 3 inches to 6 feet 3 inches.
  • Not everyone here is a Canucks fan.

On a serious note, every person here is skilled, knowledgeable, motivated, trustworthy, and above all, extremely helpful. Together, we have shared an excellent work relationship.

Sharpening The Axe

Abraham Lincoln had famously quoted – ‘Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe.’

Learning to manage and optimize digital assets is a key skill set to succeeding as a marketer in this era. Joining the internship program at LocalTrifecta Internet Marketing agency was a calculated decision on my part. I was initially apprehensive of how I would fit in, but it was incredible how well the company accommodated a new recruit and how quickly I felt comfortable and became a contributing member of the team.

Training is an essential element of the internship program and my colleagues never shied away from teaching. I was pleasantly surprised when I requested a training session in the last two days of my internship and it was not turned down. The best part is that you get trained with the opportunity to get hands-on-practice while getting paid for it.

I am sharing a list of some of the topics covered in the training module:

  • Inbound Marketing with an introduction to all 6 channels within it – Search, Blogs, Content, Emails, Pay-per-click, and Social Media.
  • Organic link building and broken link building via outreach
  • Optimization for local search
  • Web hosting
  • Blog post optimization
  • Google Webmaster tools & Google Analytics
  • Site page improvements
  • Content marketing key performance indicators and strategy
  • Social media management and strategy

This is not an exhaustive list as I learned a number of other skills and tactics while faced with unique challenges on client accounts. Many a times, small jobs were tasked to me while being given an understanding of the reasoning behind the tactics. This opened my eyes to a range of challenges and workarounds.

For example, a company had it’s website hacked multiple times despite having changed their web hosting domain server and login information. The client had no alternative but to build a new website. I learned how to de-index every site page of that website from Google and Bing. This is an important pre-step to avoid the new site from getting penalized.

Hands On Deck

I have already spoken of how the training was complemented by hands-on experience. In the 4 months here, I have had the chance to work on every training topic that I mentioned earlier.

Outside of that, being that this is a start-up and that the company is in a stage of self-discovery and growth, I had the opportunity to manage my own secret projects. These are initiatives that I was able to take to improve on the companies operational efficiencies. The following are the main projects that I was in charge of:

Local Search

Managing citations (online business listings) was one of my main projects and one that added direct value to our clients. Before I came here, we were doing a rather ordinary job in managing this project and it needed to be ramped up. My job was to learn everything about citation building and create a system and a training module such that any new recruit could pick-up from where I left off. Now, we have a clearly laid out system to manage information, achieve consistency, and save a lot of valuable time. The system has been documented in the form of a powerpoint presentation and has been tested with a new intern that we hired.

I could go on speaking about this project endlessly, but I have spoken of this in my previous blog posts and have published a blog post specifically on this topic. Hence, I’ll spare you more details.

Information Management

Internet marketing is all about managing information. With loads of spreadsheets, documents, images, account logins etc, it was important to have it managed in a way that it is secure and easily accessible. I created a spreadsheet with all of our clients listed there, the scope of service provided to each and the people responsible for the various services. This spreadsheet was also linked to various important documents/spreadsheets that relate to the various services. My hope is that long after I am gone, this spreadsheet will continue to serve the needs of the business.

Monthly Reporting

Sending out monthly reports to clients is a process that I am tightly integrated with. It has helped me gain an in-depth understanding of all the services we provide to each of our clients. It has also allowed me to dig into data and make sense of the numbers. Reporting to clients is an important aspect of agency operations, and I consider myself fortunate to have been trusted with this responsibility.

Training Presentations

I prepared powerpoint training slides for each of the training sessions that I received. These were created to improve the induction process for a new intern/recruit.

Time Flies When You Are Having Fun

My father used to say, ‘Do what you like or like what you do. If you choose your hobby as your profession, you will never feel like you are working.’

Personally, I really enjoy marketing. Working at an agency has been a refreshing experience as one is always thinking of ways to add value to clients, thinking about what can we do better and what else can we do. It’s exciting to evaluate the results of your actions, keep informed of the latest trends and look to apply new techniques to maximize returns. A lot of our time goes into execution but we constantly exchange great articles and share ideas that can improve results.

When managing multiple clients with varying expectations, internal operations can sometimes turn chaotic. The owner of the agency clearly understands the value of creating efficient operations and this company has come a long way in finding order within the chaos. There continues to be scope for improvement in the way certain activities are managed. But I have felt a sense of satisfaction knowing that I have played a role in helping the company progress towards becoming a more robust organization.

Closing Thoughts

Someone once said it’s not the geography but the people that make a country. Similarly, it’s not the location but the employees that make a company. Despite not being a lavish office in an exotic location, I must say that I have been thrilled to walk through the doors of this office every day – all credit to the wonderful people here. It feels like just the other day when I had come to the office to interview and met every one. They were all strangers back then, but not anymore.

It has been very pleasing to be acknowledged for my efforts by my colleagues and I will continue to be engaged with the company on a part-time basis to see certain projects through to the finish. I have also been given the liberty to take independent initiatives in designing tools and processes to add to operational efficiencies. Although this is the end of the internship, this is not a closure as I will continue to cherish and nurture the relationships that I have established here.

Is ‘SEO’ Changing? Yes, Business Owners Take Notice

One of the great things about the digital marketing industry is that it’s always changing. Flat out – it’s always changing. Google changes its algorithm. Social networks rise and fall. Search behaviour changes. Buying behaviour changes. All this change makes things enjoyable though. How we do things as an agency now is, in some ways, different from how we did things a year ago or two years ago.

One of those Inbound marketing channels, ‘Search Engine Optimization’ (SEO), is a perfect example. It’s the perfect example of an Inbound channel that has been bastardized over the last 5 years — mostly by black hat ‘marketers’. I say ‘Search Engine Optimization’ because that term has eroded a little bit and I’ll explain why in this blog post. In my view, the term ‘SEO’ (the term, not the concept) is rapidly changing.

What Is SEO?

Let’s start off by defining what the heck SEO is from words of the grand wizard of SEO himself, Mr. Rand Fishkin of Moz. Fishkin or for those of you on a first name basis with him, Rand, says that SEO is “the practice of increasing the quantity and quality of the traffic that you earn through the organic results in search engines”.

SearchEngineLand says basically the same — that it’s the process of getting traffic from the “free”, “organic” and “natural” results in search engines.

You type something into Google and you’re served a bunch of results that are determined to be the best and most suitable — in Google’s eyes. Google has a long list of factors that determine how suitable or relevant a search result is. So the optimization part of the term Search Engine Optimization involves optimizing for these various factors.

How SEO Was Done

Terms like cloaking and keyword density were immensely important back in the day. Google’s eventual algorithm changes cracked down on these old spammy tactics.

Here’s a list of things that were done (and that you shouldn’t do anymore):

If you hear any of this from those responsible for your web presence, get out while you still can, business owners.

But let’s think about this all for a second. SEO’s were to optimize a web presence unnaturally for specific keywords that were deemed profitable to a business. It’s kind of like jimmying a padlock or trying to break into your locked car after you left your keys inside. It’s not the right way to go but it’s a way to go.

SEO Today

Now that has changed a little bit. Given all that has happened and transpired in the past, all of the aforementioned heavyweights in the industry have gone in a different direction. And this isn’t bad. They’re responding to Google’s algorithm changes and to search behaviour.

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The results? The emphasis today is on determining user intent, enhancing user experience and satisfying that intent seamless, creating highly valuable pages in the process. This involves creating incredible content that people will naturally link to. You write a blog post that’s so good that people link to it in their own blog posts and share it via social networks. This creates natural backlinks. Plus, the importance of social signals cannot be ignored.

It also involves making sure all pages of your site serve a purpose and that these pages provide users with relevant information. The more valuable information, the better the site is in Google’s eyes. In fact, they cracked down on sites with too little information with the Google Panda penalty.

Of course, all of the on-site SEO items still matter and play a big role — HTML factors, site architecture factors and so on. Take a look at the Periodic Table of SEO for a nice visual representation of that.

Do We Still Call It “SEO”?

If you looked at that Periodic Table for just a second, what was the longest column? Content. So the creation of good, quality content that informs and educates searchers is critical to organic success. There’s already a term for creating content that educates, informs and eventually, brings in business. It’s called content marketing.

Links is the 4th column and there’s plenty of grey area as to what is good in Google’s eyes in terms of building links and what is not. Hence, why all the heavyweights advocate creating content that builds links naturally. I outlined what you shouldn’t do earlier. So if link building has come down to creating content that builds links naturally, then isn’t link building simply about content? So modern link building is just content marketing.

The second-to-last column is “social”. It just means that the more you share and the greater your following is, the better the reach for whatever you are sharing. Now, what do we call the stuff you share over social networks? Content! Social media is almost wholeheartedly content-based and the connection to organic search is that studies have shown that there is a correlation between tweeting or sharing a link and how quickly a post gets indexed in search results. But again, for any of this to transpire, content must be created.

So What Am I Saying Here?

Well, I definitely won’t say that “SEO is dead” as so many out there have. I just argue that much of it is encompassed by other Inbound marketing channels like Content Marketing and Social Media.

And in my breakdown of the Periodic Table, there were still 4 columns remaining and #2 and #3, HTML and Architecture, respectively, are extremely important to the health and viability of any business’ web presence.

So SEO is not dead, but changing and slimming down. What business owners need to understand is that SEO is just one Inbound marketing channel. It requires other channels, like Content Marketing, Social Media, Email Marketing and Paid Search for it to work harmoniously in success. You can’t have amazing content but a poorly structured site with a bunch of broken pages and oversized images. You can’t be running Google AdWords ads and pointing them to a bad landing page or an awful site altogether. All Inbound channels have a place and ought to hold their respective hands together for businesses to reap the benefits.

Main Takeaways

Let me give you some things to take away from this post:

  • Always be publishing great content
  • Always approach your site from a user’s perspective
  • Always have SMART goals
  • Always have a strategy in place to achieve those goals
  • Never look for just an “SEO company”
  • Consider every Inbound marketing channel

BONUS: Here’s a terrific post on the Top 10 SEO Myths by Cyrus Shepard. Please give that a read as well!

I’d love to hear from you on everything you’ve read above! Leave your comments and questions below and I’ll respond!

Halfway Milestone – The Inbound Marketing Internship

‘Change is the only Constant in Life’ – Heraclitus

Don’t we all know this? Don’t we see it all around us? And yet, are not many of us afraid of change? The reason I reflect on change as the opening to this blog is because ‘change’ is such a visible constant in the Digital Industry. As an example – Google, Facebook, and Twitter are constantly in the news for evolving their algorithms. Such changes require Digital Marketers to persistently keep themselves updated.

To be successful in this industry, I strongly recommend following knowledge-leaders in this field by subscribing to their blogs and following them on twitter or other platforms. Some of the people/organizations we follow include Neil PatelNoah KaganMarketing LandHubSpot Academy, and Moz to name a few. And I thought the school was done – who was I kidding?

Introduction

With that opening discourse, let me move back to reflecting on the Internship Program at ElementIQ Internet Marketing. In my first blog post, I wrote about my background and the reasons for choosing an Inbound Marketing Agency for an Internship. In the second post, I shared some of my major contributions. Now, 2 months have passed since I joined the program and with that, I am halfway through this journey.

If you are reading this blog, chances are that you are flirting with the idea of choosing digital marketing as a career or you are an agency/company contemplating incorporating an Internship program yourself. Given that is true, I believe there are two things that you are most interested in knowing:

  1. What the Internship program entails?
  2. What is the company like?

With those two questions in mind, I intend to first reflect briefly on the program in a personal context so that you get a glimpse of the training and assignments. Second, I will share my observations and opinions about the company in an organizational context.

The following is the blog-post-architecture:

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Personal Context

Citations – The First Project

  • The Project

The first major project assigned to me was to understand and master the skill of citation building. Citations (as I had mentioned in my earlier post) in the context of SEO, are having your business information listed on various online directories like the Yellow Pages. This is a task that requires one to be tedious and meticulous and, by all means, is not very thought provoking. However, the exercise has made me gain new perspectives on the online world and taught me invaluable lessons in project management.

  • Why Citations?

As mundane as the task of citation building may sound, it has been thoughtfully chosen as a key focus area of the Internship. This is because building citations gives you hands-on-experience in helping businesses rank in local search. This ties in with the lessons you learn in search engine optimization (SEO) and gives you greater familiarity with the Google search algorithms. These insights will be very useful when you get down to creating digital marketing strategies.

The Training

  • Cross-Job-Training

There are many roles within a digital marketing team – Web Developers, Social Media Managers, Content Marketers, SEO specialists, Data Scientists etc. There is a good chance that you may be more inclined towards one domain as compared to another. However, there is a remarkable connection between the various functions and hence, collaboration has become very important. To foster more effective collaboration, one is trained in all departments and functions.

  • What Are You Good For?

Once you reach the mid-point of the Internship, you would have completed many of the planned training sessions. Moving forward, one gets to choose his/her area of interest for more specialized training. Personally, I am finding this choice a tad-bit-hard as the desire is to specialize in everything.

The Start-Up Advantage – Opportunity To Take Initiatives

  • Contribute To The Core

As organizations grow, roles and responsibilities get better defined. But, when a company is still in the stage of infancy to childhood, there are tremendous opportunities to take initiative. Systems and strategy are continually evolving and working in a start-up can give you the opportunity to contribute to the very core of an organization.

  • The Spirit Of Intrapreneurship

Most entrepreneurs start with identifying pain-points and creating solutions around the same. Successful and efficient solutions can become long-lasting businesses. Similar to this approach, I identified certain pain-points when it came to the ease of accessing information. This led me to take the initiative of creating a better system for management of information. The fact that many start-ups allow for an individual to flex his/her entrepreneurial muscles without assuming the risk of owning one’s own business has led to great job satisfaction for me.

Organizational Context

  • History & Evolution

I take great interest in the history and evolution of an organization. LocalTrifecta was founded in 2010 as an Internet Marketing agency with the focus on helping small-to-medium size businesses. The focus remained the same, but the scope and quality of service kept increasing as the company moved from being a general SEO agency to becoming an Inbound marketing agency. Interestingly, Sam had a background in communications and finance and the world of Internet marketing was all new to him. Yet, with relentless reading, he learned a new language. Today, he corresponds fluently with web developers & designers, SEO specialists, content marketers, and social media marketers. This is an inspiring trait that has remarkably influenced the learning culture of the organization.

  • The Forward March

Things are constantly changing in the digital marketing industry as I said at the very beginning of the post. Old ways constantly become redundant making it necessary to get new knowledge. Since its inception, the company has grown to learn the best practices in the industry and has recently started offering a much more comprehensive partnership to clients. We understand that many moving parts have to come together to make a digital strategy successful. Hence, we are choosing to become a full-service digital marketing agency in the near future, incorporating many of the philosophies of Inbound Marketing.

  • Structured for Success

To be successful in this industry, I cannot emphasize enough on adopting a lean and flexible organizational structure. Adaptability to change is a key success factor and with all things digital being so inter-linked, collaboration and teamwork have become more important than ever before. At LocalTrifecta, we all work together in one big room. Not only that, but we also practice cross-job-training. Knowing each other’s strengths, weaknesses, the scope of work and major challenges significantly promotes greater effectiveness and efficiency.

Discipline & Accountability

  • Rules and Regulations

Let me give you a little inside scoop of the work culture at our place. In an office vibrant with jeans and t-shirts, music and humor, X-Box and Jenga – we are just here to have a good time – or are we? Here, there is no concept of micro-management or a long list of formal rules and regulations. Liberal as it may be though, everyone is expected to take interest and follow through with what is expected of them.

  • I Owe Me

Working with a limited number of people on a variety of clients means there are always things to do. With each member assuming a range of responsibilities, work discipline has to be intrinsic to your nature to be successful in this role. You are your own person here, and you owe yourself accountability.

  • Organize To Multi-Task

The learning curve is steep, especially in the first month. But as you transition from learning to contributing – be prepared to Multi-task. Apart from focusing on the main projects that are assigned to me, I am also involved with a number of other deliverables. Recently, I have spent a considerable time in optimizing blog posts and creating digital presentations. Things can get confusing after a while. To ease through the process, I recommend maintaining notes and using organizational tools like to-do lists.

The Highs And Lows Of An Internet Marketing Agency

  • Instant Versus Delayed Gratification

At LocalTrifecta, we build and manage the online reputation for our clients. The World Wide Web is a very intricate mesh where the cause and effect of actions may not be immediately visible. This makes client interactions especially interesting. We offer our services without the obligation of a long-term contract. Hence, every month we present monthly reports to our clients. Often times, however, the results of site-page improvements, blogs, citations etc take time to reflect positive impacts. Clients, for obvious reasons, want to see results. And when the results are not immediately apparent, it can get difficult to justify investments.

  • The X-Agency Mess

Another low of the Internet marketing world are unreal results that certain agencies claim to offer. We serve a few clients now who had previously hired agencies that promised top results on search pages in the first month for example. In doing so, they engaged in manipulative tactics to produce inorganic results. Doing so overwhelmed the clients initially, but in the long run, it had a severe negative impact to their online reputation. Think of it as being in an illegal business – it can be very rewarding at first but extremely damaging in time. Cleaning up the mess created by someone else is a huge challenge and not a very fun one to deal with.

  • Partner To A Success Story

Before joining LocalTrifecta, I had met most of the individuals working here. I had asked them to describe the company mission statement. The unanimous response was – adding value to clients, everyday. Being partner to a client’s success story is the biggest high of the Internet marketing agency, one that makes all challenges feel like minor obstacles.

Closing Thoughts

Based on demand and supply, CareerBuilder partnered with Economic Modeling Specialists Intl. (EMSI) to compile a list of the best jobs for 2015. Marketing executive featured at the top of the list in an article published on Business Insider. For a career in marketing, it is imperative that you get experience in digital media and there is no better experience than agency experience.

The Internship program at LocalTrifecta is a wonderful opportunity to get training and hands-on-experience in digital marketing for SME’s. It is also a great opportunity to work with young professionals who are passionate and talented in the trade. If you are considering this as a viable option, I encourage you to research further by reading other blogs and networking with industry professionals.

Week 1—My Inbound Marketing Agency Internship

Marketing_agency_office_seating

My name is Preeya Grewal and I’m the new Inbound marketing intern at ElementIQ Internet Marketing. Since I graduated from university in 2012, I have coveted a marketing agency position and I’m overjoyed that ElementIQ hired me as an intern! My goal for the next 4 months is to soak in as much information as possible and provide a valuable contribution to this great team. My first week has consisted mostly of learning and observation and I’d like to share some of the things that I found most interesting in my first 5 days here.

HubSpot’s Inbound Marketing Certification

This is the Inbound Marketing software platform that ElementIQ uses. HubSpot offers a free inbound marketing certification course and my colleague Ramesh suggested I take the course prior to my interview. At 11 courses and approximately 15 hours of preparation time—this was a daunting prospect for me. As I began delving into the course, however, I found the content itself to be fascinating and easy to digest. I couldn’t be more grateful that I was introduced to the course because the content is invaluable and extremely useful for anyone starting a career in this line of work. You’re given 3 chances per month to take the test and when you pass, you can display your new Inbound Marketing certification on LinkedIn, on your resume or just use it for bragging rights!

Having taken the course before starting my internship has definitely been helpful in understanding key philosophies, best practices and terminology. The first few days at a new job are already enough of a shock to the system, so having even a bit of familiarity with the material has made a world of a difference to me. You can find the course here.

Seating Arrangement

ElementIQ has an open office seating arrangement­—this is a first for me. The disruption of the traditional office set-up and its rising popularity—specifically for new tech companies has intrigued me. I always wondered what it would be like to work in this sort of space compared to a cubical or office. I’ve questioned whether this kind of set-up could potentially disrupt workflow or concentration given the potential of simultaneous conversations going on at any given time.

Are you a reliable self-starter looking to kickstart your digital marketing career?

After a week in an open office setting, I have to say that I enjoy it. This set-up has been conducive in getting to know my colleagues better, getting familiar to the technical terminology, and easing into the company culture. I asked some of my new colleagues how they like this set-up and from their answers, I’ve gathered that it allows for better teamwork and collaboration and helps everyone get to know one other better. One of the biggest benefits of this setup for this office has to be that it promotes information sharing which is important and necessary to the ElementIQ team. I’ll delve more into this in the next section.Marketing_agency_office_seating

Information Sharing

Information sharing is imperative to this team. More so, in fact, than any team I’ve worked with in the past. It’s a necessary part of the job and integral for servicing each client efficiently. Each team member specializes in 1 or 2 specific channels of Inbound Marketing and depending what each client’s needs are, usually 2 or more team members are responsible for servicing any given client. There are a number of applications used in this office to enable inter-office communications and information sharing.

  • Slack is a real-time messaging app with one-on-one messaging, private groups, and group chats organized by topic, among other things. All conversations are archived and there is a search function. This team uses Slack for general updates on clients and for keeping in the loop about office news and activities.
  • Basecamp is used to keep track of specific project updates. It includes features like to-do lists, assigning activities to various collaborators, document sharing and information management.
  • Highrise is used to house client communication, tasks and notes. When a team member has any sort of communication with a client, they send that information to Highrise where the rest of the team can access it if need be.
  • Google Drive store files through secure cloud storage and file backup for photos, videos, files and more. Here, the team can share folders that contain important files about specific clients so everyone can have access to these files at all times.

Staying In The Loop

The first week of a new job is usually intimidating for new hires and it’s no different for me. Considering how much I need to learn, I do feel pressure to get up to speed and be able to not only comprehend the conversations going on around me but to actually engage in said conversations at some point! I’m feeling optimistic that I’ll get there, not only because of how fascinating I find the content but because of the graciousness and patience I’ve experienced from the team in my first week.

Part of this learning process will involve a lot of self-study, along with all the learning I’m doing at work. The marketing and technology landscape is constantly changing and although I already try my best to stay informed, I know I‘ll be altering my personal media diet to help myself stay in the loop. Ramesh has recommended some informative marketing blogs for me to start reading—Marketing Land, HubSpot, Moz Top 10, Unbounce—to name a few and I’ve been listening to marketing podcasts on my way to and from work to facilitate my learning.

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Learning Can Be Fun!

Since I have never directly worked with most Inbound Marketing channels, I have spent the first week reading about, receiving lessons in and researching different facets of Inbound Marketing. The nuances of all the Inbound Marketing channels and how they fit together to provide a successful marketing strategy is extremely interesting and I’m fortunate that I get to learn from experts who are passionate about what they do. While I am taking in a substantial amount of information, not the least of it is dry. The more I take in, the more eager I am to continue learning and to eventually apply this to my work and this makes me excited about my next 4 months here at ElementIQ!

One Month In – The Inbound Marketing Internship Continues

As it currently stands, we are a group of 5-7 members who sit in one large enough room with 8 tables joined together, glass windows on one side and a giant whiteboard on the other. There is also a boardroom, the main office, an entertainment room and a kitchen. Apart from the core members of the team, we also work with freelance content writers, web designers, and AdWords specialists. With over 20 clients, the one unanimous need that echoes around the company is the desire to have more hours in a day. Welcome to the world of a growing Internet Marketing Start-up – one which has hustled and bustled its way through a competitive Industry and is starting to gain traction, reputation, and credibility.

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A Month In And This Is How It Feels

Having joined the company in the middle of December 2014, I was lucky to be part of a grand Christmas dinner hosted by Sam (the founder). The post-meal conversations drifted into reminiscing the previous years and articulating the goals and focus for the New Year. Everyone at the dinner other than me had been with the company for over two years and they all consensually agreed that the company has done better year on year. Each person felt the quality of clients and the quality of work has consistently improved and moving into 2015, the strategic focus of the company is better defined. The goal for the New Year, Sam emphasised, will be to streamline operations and be better organized. Those words were like music to my ear as it played right to my strengths and I will, with pride, reflect on my contributions in the month.

Once a week, normally on Monday morning, we all get together for a ‘Huddle’. This is a team meeting where we discuss priorities for the week and each member is asked to share his/her big Wins in the prior week. Sticking to that note let me share my big Wins over the month:

Big Win Number 1

The first major project assigned to me was to learn, build, and manage citations for clients; a key component of Local Search Engine Optimization. Citations, in the context of SEO, are having your business information listed on the various directories like Yellow Pages on the Internet. They help Google determine the online authority of your business. Doing so requires you to be meticulous, prudent and attention oriented. It’s nicknamed ‘the Citation Hell’ in our company and every Intern has had to go through it before being baptised and redeemed.

Hell, however, is not all that brutal with well-designed spreadsheets. Managing citations has helped me score my first big win in this company. The approach I took to it has built on the legacy of my ancestors. We are now on the brink of a comprehensive system that would ensure consistency across multiple directories and enable more effective management of information. I have also created a Citation Bible that would accelerate the learning process of the ones after me to whom this legacy will be passed on to.

Big Win Number 2

When you work in a start-up, you have to be prepared to wear multiple hats. So of course, citations have not been my only job responsibility. The next big responsibility assigned to me was to generate monthly reports for all clients. In doing so, I have gotten better acquainted with all of our clients and their expectations. What I have enjoyed most is that people are open to suggestions for improvements and they always welcome your opinions.

Reporting is another extremely important aspect of what we do and we are looking to get more efficient in being timely and qualitative. With the help of Spreadsheets (again), and using Raven (a software that connects to Google AdWords, Google Analytics, Social Networks and various other platforms), this will be yet another Big Win for me. I foresee a radical improvement in the process with the work I have done in collaboration with the other members of the company.

Big Win Number 3

It is my understanding that companies get successful when they are able to create SYSTEMs that work and are easy to duplicate. A wise man defined SYSTEM using an acronym – Save Yourself Time Energy and Money. With so many documents floating around containing various forms of information, I took it upon myself to create a Centralized Information System. This is yet another major accomplishment and I have received positive feedback for the spreadsheet (yes, you heard that right) that I created. It holds a lot of important information in one place and has internal links to other useful spreadsheets and documents that we refer to – making it yet another Big Win.

Back To The Inbound Marketing Training

The Inbound Marketing Internship is as much about contributing as it is about on-the-job training. Of late, we on-boarded a client with the vision, belief and potential to go from zero to a billion dollars in turnover in 2-5 years. We run their Inbound Marketing Campaign – designing and developing their website, creating landing pages, and managing social media. Needless to say, every member of our company has gotten busier than ever before managing all the other clients and the multitude of expectations of this new client. This back-tracked us a little in terms of the training goals as time is a limited commodity.

However, we are starting to get back in line with our goals and have started scheduling training sessions again to learn more about Social Media Management, Content Marketing and the technical side of Search Engine Optimization etc. I have also begun preparing for the Google AdWords certification and hopefully, by the time I publish my next blog post, I will be certified and can reflect on the same as a BIG WIN.

Final Thoughts

In the beginning, when I began my internship here, I was uncertain about what I could bring to the table and how I could be valuable. I had never published blogs on HubSpot or WordPress, never done SEO audits of Web sites, never worked on Google AdWords, never created landing pages and had no real experience in providing any of the services that the agency offers to its clients. During my first week, the training and the introduction to the plethora of tools and software was a little overwhelming. However, it did not take me long to find my place in this company and I would credit that to the people in this company who I find to be extremely friendly and supportive. Nobody is micro-managed here but the guidance provided has helped me make positive contributions to the company.

Digital Marketing is becoming a growing focus for businesses of all types and sizes and there is hardly a better place than a dedicated Digital Marketing agency to learn about the tricks of the trade in the digital world. This is the primary reason that I pursued this Internship as a career choice and with over a month having passed, I have had no regrets whatsoever. I am grateful to Sam and every member of the team here at ElementIQ Internet Marketing for having given me this opportunity and taking the time to nurture me. There is still a long way to go, a lot to learn and much to accomplish and as suggested by my friend J.Walker, I shall keep walking!