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Are Your Customers Finding You On Google?

Find out on your own with this easy, 5-minute DIY audit. There’s no registration, subscription, or paywall – just scroll down and get started.

See Where Your Business Ranks On Google Maps

These rankings are especially important for brick and mortar businesses – ones that serve customers on-site, at a specific location. Businesses that are significantly impacted by Google Map rankings include restaurants, medical clinics, salons and spas, just to name a few.

Why does it matter?

Searches with the terms ‘near me’ were at an all time high before the coronavirus caused a change in behavior. But with businesses reopening, we can expect searches for providers in a specified geographic location to increase again. This is especially true for businesses serving local markets.

Search phrase examples:
dental clinics in los angeles, roofing contractors in langley, internet marketing agencies in coquitlam

When people make geo-specific searches like the examples above, the search results include what’s known as a “map pack” – 3 Google Map listings which appear on the first page of the search results. These map listings rank higher than organic search results, which makes them very visible to searchers. As a result, businesses that appear in the map pack for keywords that are relevant to their business receive a lot more leads than businesses that don’t.

How can I do it?

1. Go to maps.google.com

2. Search for: ‘your service’ in ‘city’ (E.g. Dental Clinics in Los Angeles)

3. Make a note of what position your business appears at in the search results

Video Guide

Understand Where You Need To Improve Your Organic Search Performance

For most businesses with an intuitive, easy to navigate website, organic search is the most important website traffic source for top and mid-funnel leads. It’s these leads that are most likely to convert into paying customers for your business.

Why does it matter?

Organic search results are especially important while potential customers are in research mode. People looking for specific information will most likely find it from organic search results.

Search phrase examples:
cost of dental implants in vancouver, asphalt shingles versus cedar shake roofing, how digital marketing can benefit dentists

If you have content on your website that answers important questions that people have during their research process – and that content ranks well on search results – then people will find your website. And if your website provides these organic leads with value and a good user experience, then there’s a good chance some of them are going to contact you.

That’s why it’s important to understand which search terms – also commonly referred to as “keywords” – potential customers are using to find your business, then check where you rank for those keywords. If you aren’t ranking highly, then it’s a good sign that you need to put more time and effort into search engine optimization (SEO).

How can I do it?

1. Go to www.google.com

2. Search for: Your business name

  • E.g. ElementIQ
  • Make a note of your position

3. Search for: A primary keyword relevant to the main product(s)/service(s) you provide

  • E.g. digital marketing agencies in ‘your city’
  • Make a note of your position

4. Search for: A query that you believe may be commonly used by your target audience to research product(s)/service(s) you offer

  • E.g. does google pagespeed matter
  • Make a note of your position

Video Guide

Check If Google Is Missing Important Pages From Your Website

This is a quick and simple way to find out how many pages of your website Google is able to discover, and double-check to make sure all of your website’s most important pages are showing up in the search results.

Why does it matter?

Simple – if Google can’t find your website’s pages, then they won’t appear in the search results, and potential customers won’t be able to discover your business. Having a greater number of indexed pages than your competitors does not mean you will outrank them; however, the top ranking websites on Google tend to have more indexed pages than low-ranking websites.

By checking your site’s indexed pages, you’ll be able to discover if important pages on your website aren’t showing up in Google’s search results. From there, you can note down which pages are missing, then take steps to have them indexed by Google.

How can I do it?

1. Go to www.google.com

2. Search for: site:www.yoursite.com

Video Guide

Make Sure Your Website’s Loading Speed Isn’t Hurting Your Search Rankings

People are impatient – and Google knows it. Websites that load slowly won’t rank well on search engines, so you need to make sure that your website loads quickly and provides visitors with a zippy user experience.

Why does it matter?

There are hundreds of factors that influence which websites rank higher on Google Search. One of them that is definitely important is website speed. If a website is slower than average to load on mobile or desktop, Google views it as providing a bad user experience.

That’s why checking your website’s load speed is essential – websites with faster load times have a higher probability of outranking websites that are slow. Essentially, helping your website load faster is helping it to rank higher too.

How can I do it?

1. Go to GTmetrix

  • Type in the address of your website
  • Make a note of “Fully Loaded Time”
    P.S. You want this to be lower than 7.2s – the lower the better

2. Go to Google PageSpeed Insights

  • Type in the address of your website
  • Make a note of:
    • Mobile Score
      P.S. You want this to be higher than 50, the higher the better
    • Desktop score
      P.S. You want this to be higher than 50, the higher the better

Video Guide

Example Audit Template

You can create an identical table on your computer on a document or a spreadsheet, or on your notepad if you prefer using pen and paper. Follow the steps listed in the blog post to document results for your company. Repeat the step using your competitors and you’ll have a nice and easy one-page view to compare your digital presence on Google search with your competitors.

Better yet, download your free printable digital marketing audit here

Do-It-Yourself Digital Marketing Audit Results

Date: 
Your BusinessYour Competitor #1Your Competitor #2
Google Maps Ranking: maps.google.comPositionPositionPosition
Search for: ‘your service’ in ‘city’

E.g. Internet marketing in Coquitlam

Google Organic Search Rankings: google.comPositionPositionPosition
Your business name
Search for: A primary keyword relevant to the main product(s)/service(s) you provide

E.g. Digital marketing agencies in Coquitlam

Search for: A query that you believe may be commonly used by your target audience to find product(s)/service(s) you offer

E.g. Does google pagespeed matter

Number of Indexed PagesResultResultResult
Search on Google for – site:www.yoursite.com
Website Load TimeResultResultResult
GTmetrix
Fully Loaded Time
Google PageSpeed Insights
Mobile Score
Desktop Score

Using Social Media to Rebuild Trust with Your Customers

Social media

Social media usage has skyrocketed globally during the COVID-19 pandemic. This rapid shift to digital media prompted businesses to adapt and find ways to communicate with their customers and prospective clients online, rather than in person. As government restrictions begin to lift, and businesses begin to re-open, it is essential to share updates with followers on social media. 

As a business owner, you may be wondering ‘how do I communicate new office hours, restrictions, and new rules to followers?’ Many companies have turned to social media to alert their followers about updates to their business. There are several ways to send the message out, and we suggest experimenting with multiple social channels to determine what works best for your business. 

Determine Your Message 

It is important to outline a clear message of what you want to convey to your customers before you post on social media. Ask yourself: “What are we doing to adapt to the current situation?” “What steps are we taking to keep our staff and customers safe?”

For example: if you’re a dental clinic, do you need patients to come in with a mask in order to attend them? 

It is essential to be transparent with your clients and let them know what has changed and what to expect. You can use social media to inform patients about your weekly schedule, things they need to bring, and any precautionary measures you are taking during this time. 

Create or Update your Social Accounts

There have been many changes going on during COVID-19 and several are actually quite positive. Businesses that previously did not have social media accounts have created them to share updates and information with customers. We highly suggest you create social media accounts for your business if you haven’t already. Here are the key social channels that every business should have in 2020: Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter, Youtube, and Linkedin. 

Communicate Updates on Social Media  

Once your social media account is set up and you have customized it to your business, it’s time to get started and share your message with your customers. 

Publish a Welcome Video

In a time of social isolation, social media has become an incredibly important source for digital, social interaction. An excellent way to put your customers at ease and share information ‘face to face’ is by posting a video update on your social media channels regarding your new operating hours, rules, and restrictions your clients must follow. 

You will immediately establish a connection with your following and you mimic an in-person interaction, which will come as a welcome change to isolation. Face to face interaction helps to rebuild trust with your customers during this time. If you have never filmed a video to post on social media before, we have some helpful tips to get you started. Visit our blog to learn the “8 Best Practices for Recording Videos With or Without Professional Equipment.”

Go Live

In a similar vein to video, you can use Facebook and Instagram stories to communicate with your customers. Leverage stories to update them about your changes or if you are open. Instagram and Facebook stories appear at the top of your users’ screen when they are posted, so you get their attention right away. 

You can also use the stories platform to ‘go live’ on Facebook and Instagram. Your stories do not need to be overly complicated. Check out the examples of two Instagram stories we created for a local restaurant below for ideas: 

Instagram stories

You can also go live on Facebook and Instagram to talk directly to your customers. Let them know you are there and that you are doing your best. Use Facebook and Instagram lives to update customers about changes your business is undergoing or updated for opening dates. It is an easier way to share lots of information all at once. If you are unsure about how to go live, both Facebook and Instagram make it very straightforward to do. Here are their how-to steps “How to go live on Facebook and Instagram.”

Publish Updates Directly to your Feed

Once you have a clear message you want to convey, you can share it as a post on all of your social media channels as well. Below are some examples of what your message might look like: 

Post Updates if you are Open“We are now open! These are the measures we are currently taking…call to book appointments…we will be doing health assessments before you enter our premises (temperature)…use a mask”

Post Updates if you Aren’t Open Yet “We are currently closed to ensure the safety of our customers, however, we are expecting to open on such and such date. Keep an eye out for updates…sign-up here if you want to receive our updates.” 

  • Posts to feed – **pro tip – don’t forget to pin your post to the top of your Facebook page.

Dental Facebook post

Update Your Bio Information 

Your bio is the first thing your clients will see when they visit your social media profiles. It’s essential to keep your profile up to date during this time. That way, new clients visiting your page will be aware of your current situation. Be sure to update your bio information on each of your social media profiles to ensure that your message is consistent across platforms. Check out the example below: 

Instagram Bio

Likewise, if you are not opening yet make sure you let customers know what you are doing to provide your services remotely. This could be through virtual consultations or by offering delivery services – be sure to inform them in your bio.

Dental Facebook post

Pro-Social Media Tip from ElementIQ 

As a team of Digital Marketers, we have been working to keep our clients’ social media profiles up-to-date with new information regarding COVID related changes. Here is our key pro-tip when it comes to social media; it allows you to share more information with your clients, all in one place. 

Linkin for Instagram 

At ElementIQ we have started implementing LinkIn Bio’s for instagram accounts. It’s a new way for Instagram profiles to share organic content on Instagram. Instagram limits businesses to share links on their platform. Links shared on posts are not clickable and they limit you to one link on your bio. LinkIn Bio allows businesses to share links to website blogs, YouTube videos, service pages, pretty much anything. This is done through a Landing Page that users can access through your Instagram Bio. 

  • Implementing LinkIn Bio from Later has allowed us to share valuable resources within Instagram for us and our clients. Users can now access your blog, resources, and videos from your Instagram page. It is pretty simple – LinIn Bio makes your posts clickable, allowing businesses to send traffic to their website. 
  • In our case, we have used LinkIn Bio to share valuable COVID-19 resources for businesses to use. 
  • This is what our Instagram page looks like:

Linkin Instagram Profile

  • When users click on the link displayed in our bio; they are sent to a landing page, where all our linked posts will be displayed:

Linkin Instagram images

  • From here users can navigate to the home page and access our resources and blogs. As you can see above we have been able to share COVID-19 resources with our Instagram community quite readily and easily. 
  • LinkIn bio can be used in different ways, businesses can send their followers to their COVID-19 update page, to their contact page, to their contact form, to their virtual consultations page, resources, YouTube videos, and their blog. 

In the end, it is important to experiment and determine what your users respond to. If you find that you get the most engagement on Facebook, consider focusing your efforts on that platform. Or, if you have a high YouTube following, that would be the place to target your message. If you have any questions about social media marketing, the team at ElementIQ is also always ready to help. 

Contact ElementIQ for More Information 

Whether you are just getting started with social media, or you are an industry expert, now is the time to be using social media to build trust with your customers. ElementIQ has helped several companies pivot, adapt, and thrive during this time, and social media marketing has played a large role in making this possible. 

Our team of Marketing Specialists are committed to helping your business grow and prosper during this time of uncertainty. If you are interested in learning more about what social media management can do for your business, give us a call or contact us for a digital consultation. 

How to Re-Open Your Business Post-COVID

Woman in an office

Restrictions are lifting as we move into phase two of COVID-19. It is an exciting time, with a hint of normalcy in sight, however, it is also important to keep health and safety in mind. There is no doubt that many things have changed during this pandemic. Now, some businesses are allowed to gradually re-open, with restrictions. As a business owner, it is important to communicate with your clients and let them know about your new policies, office hours, and health measures you have in place to ensure their safety.  

We have created some helpful tips to communicate your message in a friendly way and keep your clients informed. Customers will feel more at ease coming to visit your business when they know what to expect. Of course, all businesses will differ in protocol and requirements, and naturally, this global situation is constantly evolving. This is a general outline that can be adapted to and modified for your unique field. 

Send out the Message 

Your clients are likely waiting to hear updates about your hours, availability, and new guidelines. As soon as you decide to re-open, it’s a great idea to send out the message. Let your clients know you’re ready for them.  

A fast and simple way to market your business is through email marketing and social media updates. Send out an email to your subscribers and update your social media channels with a consistent message, directing your clients to call and book an appointment. Be proactive and get the message out as soon as you know you’re re-opening. 

Advanced Scheduling 

Once you’ve let everyone know you are open, it’s essential you prepare for high demand. Whether you are a dental clinic, salon, or restaurant, you can expect an influx of customers. 

Many peoples’ lives cannot be fully put on hold and things like dental health, haircare, and dining out have simply been postponed, rather than canceled entirely. This means that there may be an influx of clients looking to book with you. Put yourself in their shoes and understand that they have been patient, waiting for your reopening. 

A great way to stay organized and keep your clients happy is to use an advanced scheduling platform. There are some businesses, like gyms and walk-in clinics that have come out with apps, where a client can book a timeslot in advance. This is an excellent idea, but for those looking for a more simple solution, there are many existing platforms that can make scheduling easy. For example, Calendly is a free appointment scheduling software that allows clients to see your availability and book with you in a simple email. 

In-Office Screenings 

If your place of business is open and receiving customers, it is a good idea to have a member of staff available to perform customer screenings. This person should ask your customers about whether or not they have experienced any COVID symptoms recently. In some fields, you may even be required to check clients for fevers before entry. It’s best to communicate with your clients beforehand if you are doing in-office screenings and temperature checks so that they know what to expect when they arrive. 

Increase Cleaning 

As mentioned in the Times Colonist’s business guide to re-opening “the main safety issues revolve around the general principles of maintaining distance, not just between workers but with members of the public as well. The principles also include good sanitation and hygiene, cleaning, and rethinking business practices.” 

Thorough cleanings are an essential part of re-opening your business during phase two. Cleanings should be performed multiple times throughout the day. It is suggested that professional cleaning crews clean high traffic areas after hours. 

Reduced Hours

Many companies are re-opening with reduced office hours. This gives staff the opportunity to clean thoroughly in-between scheduling and it allows for reduced staff on-site; which improves social distancing. Operating at reduced hours may seem tedious at first, but it is a very effective way to ensure a clean, safe, and sanitary work environment. 

Personal Protective Equipment  Personal protective equipment

The Government of Canada encourages the use of Personal Protective Equipment or PPE such as gloves and masks at work. Although medical-grade PPE should be reserved for healthcare workers and related industries, PPE is a great way to protect yourself, your employees, and your clients. 

Use PPE if your employees must work within close proximity. Due to the shortage of PPE, it’s acceptable to make your own masks and homemade devices, given you understand the limitations involved. 

Increased Distance 

One of the most important aspects of re-opening your business is ensuring both your customers and your employees are a safe distance apart. WorkSafe BC suggests: “Consider reducing the overall number of workers at the workplace at one time. This may be done by implementing work-from-home schedules or rescheduling some work tasks.”

Depending on your industry, this may mean moving desks apart, having fewer people on staff at once, or monitoring those coming and going. Either way, you must ensure that your customers and employees are a safe distance apart (2 meters). If closer proximity is required, install physical barriers such as plexiglass. Promote the use of masks and other forms of PPE to prevent the spread of germs and particles. 

Be Sure Employees are Up-to-Date

It’s so important for you to ensure your staff is up-to-date with regards to your COVID policies. If you are operating with reduced hours, ensure all employees understand their schedule and follow social distance requirements while working. Have a clear COVID safety plan outlined to share with your employees.

You can meet with your staff digitally; have them share their concerns and ideas regarding operations and sanitation upon re-opening. It’s a great way to ensure everyone in your business is on the same page. 

Display Your Safety Plan

As noted by WorkSafe BC  “before reopening, businesses need to ensure they have a COVID-19 safety plan to protect workers and it must be displayed.” Your safety plan does not have to be fancy, it simply must be clear and easy to understand. It should be posted in a place where both your customers and employees can easily see and reference it. 

Stay Up-To-Date with the News

This situation is constantly evolving and now more than ever, it is essential to pay attention to the news and updates regarding COVID. There are many helpful online resources that can help you stay up to date with general and industry-specific guidelines. 

  • WorkSafeBC has a detailed overview to help employees and business owners return to safe operations. They go in-depth if you are looking for more industry-specific information. 
  • Google My Business offers an in-depth support page for businesses looking for guidance during this time. Google includes helpful tips and walks business owners through updating their profiles with modified office hours and much more. 
  • The Government of Canada website as well as the public health sector also releases information frequently, as soon as it is known. They also have an email sign up so you can be notified of any changes or public updates. 

Get More Advice from ElementIQ 

The team at ElementIQ has worked remotely throughout the COVID pandemic to ensure businesses are equipped with the information and technology they need to pivot and succeed. If you have any questions about marketing your business during this time, our team of experts is here to help. Whether it’s an email marketing campaign, social media strategy, or website redesign; we want to help you get ahead in this time of unprecedented change. Contact us or call 604.909.3750 to see what we can do for your business. 

 

Re-opening Marketing Checklist

re-opening signage

Many businesses are getting ready to re-open as COVID-19 restrictions around the world begin to lift. This is excellent news for many as both customers and owners are excited about getting back to some version of normalcy. Naturally, it won’t exactly be ‘business as usual’ for many companies. Client and employee safety is still incredibly important and many companies have updates that they need to share with their customers. 

With reduced hours, personal protective gear, limits on occupancy, and social distancing measures still in place, it is vital to communicate your company’s new policies to your clients. Marketing plays a vital role in communicating this new information. There are many different ways in which you can utilize marketing resources to let people know that you are reopening. 

Here is a quick checklist to be sure your reopening goes as smoothly as possible. 

1) Update your Social Media Channels 

As you may have noticed, social media has played a powerful role during this period of isolation. Many people have turned to social media to interact with family and friends and keep up to date with what is going on in the world. 

Many companies have also made use of this rapid shift to social interaction online and pivoted their marketing to cater to the digital world. Clients use social media as a way to get information and updates about their favorite local businesses. 

One of the first things on your marketing checklist should be to update all of your social media profiles and let your clients know that you are re-opening. It’s best to act early and let your followers know as soon as you plan to re-open. There are several excellent ways to spread the message on social media, here are some ideas to get you started: 

  • Go live on Instagram and Facebook, or post a video to update your customers 
  • Post to your Facebook and other social feeds with information about your new schedule. Include any changes you plan to make and any new rules your clients must follow. 
  • Post to Instagram and Instagram Stories to alert your followers 
  • Update your bio on all of your social media channels (this is the first thing your followers see when they see your page) 

All businesses are different so it is important to target your message and focus on the social media channels that are most effective for you and your followers. 

2) Update your Google My Business Profile ElementIQ Google My Business Profile

Your Google Business Profile is a free resource that Google provides. It lets you appear on Google Search and Google Maps. As a business owner, you can customize your profile and add up-to-date information for those searching for your company. 

It’s your digital, local business listing online. Log in to your Google My Business profile and add your updated hours, and update your COVID-19 post. 

When clients search your business name, your profile will show with up to date information, so they will know you have reopened.

3) Send Out an Email Campaign 

Your mailing list is an excellent way to alert your followers and let them know that you are open. The best way to do this is to set up a series of emails that inform your customers of any new policies you have regarding health and safety, as well as new operating hours. 

Make sure to add a call-to-action at the end of the email – it can be to call you, buy/book online, or to take advantage of a special offer 

If you are unsure about how to get started, you can learn “How to Create a Great Email Marketing Campaign” for new ideas and guidance. 

4) Update your Website

Your customers will visit your website to learn more about your operating hours, book appointments, and send general inquiries. If you previously created a pop-up, a banner, and/or a site page devoted to your COVID-19 message, you should update the content there. 

This will let people know that you are open and ready for business. It is also the perfect place to share in-depth details about your new operating hours and policies that your clients must follow when they visit you. 

5) Use Outdoor Signage Outdoor Sign

If you have a storefront in a high-traffic area, you can use a “we’re open” sign to let any local clients know you’re ready for business. 

A simple sign in the window can also go a long way, and it’s visible to both foot traffic, and those driving by. This is a small detail, however, it can make a big difference for certain businesses that rely on walk-ins and visitors walking by. 

6) Update Your Yelp Profile 

Lastly, just as you updated your Google My Business Profile, it is essential that you update any additional online company profiles you have. For many companies, this means updating your Yelp profile. Update your operating hours and the COVID-19 message on your Yelp profile to let users know the latest status regarding your business.

Yelp is a platform that often ranks quite high on Google when prospective clients search for product/service providers, so it is likely that your Yelp profile will show up when someone searches your company online. It’s therefore important to have your Yelp profile updated and informative. 

Overview: Your Marketing Checklist

  • Post to all social media channels, update your profile and let people know you’re open
  • Update your hours, COVID-19 post, and additional information on Google My Business 
  • Send an email campaign to your subscribers and tell them about your business updates
  • Update your website banners, chatbots, pop-ups, and COVID-19 policy page
  • Use outdoor signage to indicate you are open
  • Update your Yelp profile 

Contact ElementIQ for Marketing Support 

ElementIQ is here to support you and assist with any questions you may have about marketing your business during this time. We have helped many businesses pivot their marketing strategies during the COVID-19 pandemic

Contact us to book a digital consultation with our team and learn about how you can go above and beyond to stand out and market your business as restrictions begin to lift. 

Where to Post COVID-19 Updates Online: The Complete Digital Checklist (with Examples!)

Your business connects with its customers through so many different online avenues. There are social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram, business directories like Yelp, and – of course – your very own website too. That’s great for helping your business build a strong and effective digital presence, but it can become a real headache when you need to deliver important updates to your customers. To help you out, we’ve put together a fast and simple checklist that you can apply to your business. It’s an easy way of ensuring that the primary online channels your customers use to find you are updated with crucial information about how your business has adapted to the COVID-19 situation.

Digital Communications Checklist

Update Your Website

  • Publish a COVID-19 policy page
  • Use a pop-up to share the most important message along with a link to the policy page (Example 1.1)
  • Use a website banner with your COVID-19 message that is visible at all times on all pages (Example 1.2)

Update Google My Business

  • Update ‘hours of operation’ if applicable (pro-tip: edit special holiday hours instead of changing the regular hours)
  • Add a COVID-19 update using Google My Business ‘posts’  (Example 2)

Update Yelp

  • Update ‘hours of operation’ if applicable
  • Use the COVID-19 update feature to share your message (Example 3)

Update Facebook

  • Publish your message as a post (pro-tip: pin this post to the top of your page) (Example 4)
  • Publish your message to Facebook stories

Update Instagram

  • Publish your message as a post
  • Update your business description and link (if you have a COVID-19 designated page) (Example 5)
  • Publish your message to Instagram Stories

Email Your Clients

  • Deliver your message to your clients’ email inboxes (Example 6)

Visual References/Examples

1.1 – Website Pop-up


1.2 – Website Banner


2 – Google My Business COVID-19 Post


3 – Yelp COVID-19 Update


4 – COVID-19 Facebook Post


5 – Instagram Description Update


6 – Email to Customers

Inform and Reassure Your Customers with this Quick and Easy COVID-19 Business Policy Template

Keep Customers Up to Date on Your Business

As your business adapts to the new restrictions that COVID-19 has brought, it’s essential for your customers to be kept in the loop. After all, your customers won’t be able to support your business if they don’t know that it’s open and that you’ve taken steps to operate safely.

To help you do that, we’ve created a handy template that you can use to clearly communicate how your business’ operations have been affected by the current situation, and what precautions you’ve put into place to safeguard the health of your customers, your employees, and the broader community.

Ready to get started? Use the template below – it’s all you need to create a reassuring and informative policy for your customers in just a few minutes.


[Your Business Name] COVID-19 Policy

As the current COVID-19 (coronavirus) situation evolves, we’ve taken steps to adapt our business to the current situation. As we continue to serve our customers, these measures will protect their health, the health of our employees, and the safety of the community.

Critical Updates

Is our business open?
Have our hours of operation changed?
Have there been changes to the selection of products/services that we offer?
How can you contact us?

Safety Protocols To Protect Our Customers

1. How are we practicing social distancing while interacting with our customers?

E.g. Managing all communications over the phone or by email, accepting payments online, no-touch delivery…

2. How are we practicing social distancing with our client’s in our office?

E.g. Only serving one customer at a time, using video-conferencing in lieu of face-to-face meetings…

3. How are we practicing social distancing with our clients at their homes (if we provide on-site residential service)?

E.g. Not having any member of our team go inside the house (not even to use the washroom), not asking clients for any items (not even a glass of water), ensuring a minimum of 6-feet of distance from the client(s) under all circumstances…

Safety Protocols To Protect Our Team

1. How are we practicing social distancing in the workplace?

E.g. Maximum 3 people allowed in the office at any time, virtual offices set up for team members to work from home…

2. How are we keeping our office, tools, and supplies disinfected?

E.g. All washrooms have an alcohol-based liquid hand soap, the office is being professionally cleaned with a disinfectant every morning, use-and-throw surgical gloves are being used to handle tools and equipment…

3. What measures are being taken to promote healthier lifestyles among our employees?

E.g. A mandatory routine of 21 push-ups a day for all employees…

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.