marketing during covid

As the global pandemic continues, it’s fascinating to watch as certain industries transform and grow as a result of unique demands caused by COVID-19. 

The pandemic has had a significant impact on the way we fundamentally function as a society. As incredibly social beings, the effects of long term isolation, loss of community events, constant fear and tragedy have led millions to search for new forms of connection. Ones that did not require face to face interaction, in-person events or large gatherings. This sparked a dramatic increase in the use of social media and the demand for social media and content marketing skyrocketed. 

Many turned to the digital world in order to stay connected with loved ones. Online shopping, online orders, streaming, social media and gaming services all experienced tremendous growth during this pandemic and it doesn’t stop there. 

As there is no immediate return to ‘normalcy’ insight, this shift in buying habits and online usage is only going to continue growing and developing. As a result of this shift, there has been increased demand for all forms of digital media. Brands are looking for digital content such as ebooks, online magazines, blog posts and videos to share online with their rapidly increased following on social media and subscribers. 

With all of that in mind let’s explore the changing landscape of social media and content marketing through the lens of the global pandemic. 

1. A Shift To Digital Storytelling 

2020 has sparked a unique opportunity for digital creators. In past times of financial crisis, marketing was the first line item to be cut from the budgets of businesses both big and small. But there is something very different about the pandemic. With internet use up over 70% and a massive increase in online buying, digital marketers are in a position to thrive. Quality digital content has a chance to shine, capture new audiences, and connect with followers in a new way as a result.

Leading brands are actively listening to their audience and adapting content to meet these new digital demands. People are looking for information and support, so serviceable, timely stories and reflective first-person posts have proven successful. Live-streaming and lighter content – that serves as a form of escapism have also done well.

A recent article by Forbes titled “ How Covid-19 Will Have A Lasting Impact On Marketing” illustrates: “Marketing strategies — now and after the pandemic  — should center on using content to create powerful online connections. By humanizing your brand and speaking to consumers’ concerns. Support isn’t always tied to revenue; the quarantine has taught us that online conversations can be just as meaningful as face-to-face interactions, and marketers should take note.” 

Indeed, a key factor in buyer decision making is trust, and digital storytelling is an excellent way to establish this ‘face-to-face’ feeling of connection and trust, remotely. Content marketers have the opportunity to digitize company stories and connect with clients online. 

2. Online Community, Concerts and Events 

One novel result of the pandemic is a rise in digital events such as concerts, celebrity Instagram Live sessions and even remote versions of live TV. Coming into the pandemic most people were unsure about Instagram Live – because it’s raw and unedited, anything can happen during a live event. But brands have been forced to pivot to meet the new needs of their audiences within the restrictions of quarantine. 

This concept of raw, unedited, ‘home-made’ footage has bled into the TV industry. One of the most interesting examples of this is Jimmy Fallon’s “The Tonight Show” running live episodes shot and filmed at home by Fallon and his guests. The program, which usually features a live audience and celebrity guests successfully kept running during the pandemic with some quick thinking. Saturday Night Live, The Voice and countless other entertainers were quick to follow. 

Instagram live usage was up 70% from March to April – Brands are using the platform in incredibly unique ways. Some are trying to build programming schedules, to replicate a media version of a traditional TV schedule. For example, companies like Refinery29 have been making digital book clubs and live videos with beauty editors and staff members, all filmed by staff remotely. 

Likewise, Delish, a popular cooking channel, embraced remote video content creation as they had their Senior Food Editor film a self-shot, budget-friendly cooking series from home in the midst of the pandemic. The topic focused on making budget-friendly meals, in isolation, in New York, one of the most expensive and heavy hit locations. Delish knew their audience and jumped on creating content around the key things that would appeal to them during this time. 

You can try this on your own social media accounts by inviting users to tune in to a community event. The challenge is to stay true to your brand’s tone while adapting content. Try new forms of content and new delivery formats, which can support your audience and remain aligned with your existing narrative. Be okay with imperfection, especially when experimenting.

3. Social Media and Content Marketing Through A New Light

Social media has existed in some capacity since the late ’90s, but these platforms were still considered relatively novel by businesses, even when companies such as Facebook allowed ads in 2007.

social media and content marketing Often small to medium-sized business owners put these platforms on the backburner as it was difficult to see the value in things like brand awareness and digital community when walk-in customers were the real source of revenue.

The older generation was also slow to adopt social platforms and they made up a large proportion of buyers who preferred to shop ‘the old fashioned way.’ 

With the sudden shift to digital platforms, it’s interesting to look at the audience-shift on social media and the digital market as well. The older generation is ordering things remotely and using Zoom, and for a lot of people, it’s a real experience of broadening their horizons and discovering new possibilities. For business, this means there’s a massive opportunity to connect with a broad audience and extend your message to a larger viewer base.

The quick, easy-to-digest nature of social media platforms also resonates with users during this time and this could partly be attributed to its rise in users. Viewers often browse social media when they are looking for a break in their day – it’s a time to relax and laugh at a fun video or photo. Now, many people will gravitate towards content that isn’t so reflective of the current situation. We like to laugh and think about the future.

Recently, many brands have been portraying a more joyful tone, with lighter content. Viewers are looking for connection and positivity. A perfect example of this is the rise in Tik Tok users. This lighthearted platform offers a means of sharing funny, quick content that is easily digested by the viewer. It offers a laugh, a means of connection and a distraction from the current situation. 

You can apply this knowledge to your own business as well. Determine what channels are doing well for you and shift your focus to those spheres. The rise of Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and even Tik Tok, reflects a deep need for self-expression, people look to media and content for stories and connections as well as information. It is vital to keep those channels moving. With every disruption, something new comes out, like Tik Tok, and the power is in the hands of the creators using these platforms.

Reflection 

Content and social media marketing cover a wide range of sectors – photography, blogging, videos, ebooks, case studies, infographics and much more. The content is all carefully constructed to increase brand awareness, share a company’s story and connect on a personal level with interested clients in order to ultimately build trust drive conversions. 

Media and content are extremely in demand and readership is up across all channels during COVID-19 – this exemplifies the importance of companies creating and promoting their content long term. Brands that have existing content on hand are able to quickly repurpose it into Instagram live videos, Tik Tok content, email campaigns and new blog posts. It’s essential to have a long-term content strategy in place. 

The pandemic is changing the way viewers expect to see content and it’s vital to keep up with their needs. Looking further into 2020 and beyond, there are some interesting concepts that may stick in the world of content creation, even after COVID-19. What do you think will resonate with viewers in the future? Share your thoughts in the comments below. 

Contact ElementIQ for Content Marketing Services 

Our team has helped several clients pivot and stay up-to-date in this changing digital landscape. If you’re feeling lost or overwhelmed by the rapid change going on in the digital sphere, or if you are looking for content ideas, content creation or some guidance on the next steps for your business, contact us today. We have a team of qualified content specialists, graphic designers and SEO experts that can help you stand out online in a time where it is more essential than ever to share fresh new content and establish your company’s digital presence.

dental marketing

This past year has been turbulent, to say the least. Companies in all sectors of business have had to adapt greatly in order to meet the needs of their clients in the ‘new normal.’ The field of dentistry faced several unique challenges, as this medical practice most often requires in-person consultations and procedures. Although it was not officially deemed an essential service, dentistry had to adapt quickly in order to service clients in need. Patients still had dental emergencies during the lockdown and they still required dental care. 

As a dentist, it is your job to communicate with your patients to help them understand your COVID safety measures, operating hours, and requirements needed in order to run your clinic. Your communications should also involve letting your patients know if you offer emergency services and reaching out to those that have had appointments rescheduled due to COVID. But it can be difficult to know where to start, especially in these changing times. 

 

A Path to Dental Marketing Success

At ElementIQ, we know a patient’s need for dental care does not pause even if dental clinics do. Life must still go on, which is why – even during COVID – marketing must remain an essential part of your clinic’s success. The patients are still there and looking for a trusted, safe and reliable dentist; it is just a matter of getting in front of them at the right time. The best way to do this is through dental marketing. Marketing is the one key way to drive sales and gain new clients, even during a global pandemic.

VCCID and LA Dental Clinic, both marketing clients with ElementIQ, each saw excellent results from continued marketing during COVID.

Like many other clinics throughout the United States, LA Dental Clinic had to shut down during quarantine. They could still take emergency patients, but they nevertheless saw their average revenue numbers dip throughout April and May. During this time, our team put in extra effort to ensure patients were well informed about the clinic’s hours, online booking details and COVID policy.

Beyond that, LA Dental Clinic did not cut back on marketing. Instead, they doubled down on the aspects of marketing that would make the biggest impact on prospective and current clients. In June, the clinic’s revenue numbers began to recover and they maintained those numbers throughout for a strong July and August as well. By changing their strategy to adapt to the times, LA Dental Clinic was able to maintain their relationships with existing patients and immediately re-gain average pre-COVID revenue levels upon fully reopening.

VCCID, a dental clinic based out of Burnaby, BC, experienced similarly positive results. Their lead numbers dipped in April and May during the lockdown, to about half of the leads the clinic was used to. As a result of continued marketing, however, their lead totals shot back up to pre-COVID levels in June, July and August once health restrictions were loosened. 

These clinics got excellent results by marketing consistently during COVID, and we want to share how they were able to get there so that your clinic can experience the same results. 

As counterintuitive as it may seem, the best thing you can do as a dentist or clinic owner is to continue marketing to your patients. Try innovative new ways to reach your patients online, where they’re spending most of their time. 

Here are some of the ways we recommend that dentists continue to market themselves to their patients during the ongoing global pandemic.

 

1. Increase Your Engagement on Social Media

COVID created a massive influx of social media accounts and users. With the quarantine, people have been using social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube and Pinterest to connect with family and friends, while also distracting themselves from the harsh reality of these times.

If you are a clinic that was hesitant to go on social media before, now is your chance to adapt and really get involved with creating your online presence. Many dentists object to this because sometimes it can be difficult to create an account and advertise online while actively running a clinic. But now, with COVID going on, you as a dentist may have time to get more involved. 

Use your social media platforms to communicate with your patients. Post about your office hours, updates or any changes in your schedule. Post images of the clinic itself in order to reiterate that it is a clean and safe space for those that do come in for emergency care. 

Social media opens up a plethora of possibilities for dentists to interact with clients in a new way. According to Holly Neilsen, CMO at Renew Dental: “46% of consumers are using social media more vs a week ago, so more people are going onto Facebook or wherever…so social is something we should consider talking about.” (Holly Nielsen, CMO at Renew

Your clients are online now, they have not left, and when it comes time for them to visit a dentist, you will be at the top of their minds if you are front and center in their newsfeed. 

 

2. Communicate Updates With Emails 

Keep in touch and top of mind by sending your patients updates directly to their inbox. It’s an excellent way to let clients know about changes to your hours and the safety measures you have in place. Chances are, you already have a mailing list for your patients where you send promotions and reminders of upcoming appointments. 

But with COVID going on, increasing your level of communication with your clients is a good idea. Email them and let them know about your new social media accounts, and invite them to follow you for updates. If you are running remote clinical sessions via video, use your mailing system to let your clients know how to access you by video. 

Email may seem like an outdated form of communication but “email marketing drives more conversions (66%) than any other channel” (Campaign Monitor) – even in 2020. With patients working from home, they are still avidly checking their email. It is time to let them know that you are there for them. 

 

3. Share Informative Content 

Even during COVID, it is very important that you keep your website up to date with relevant information for your patients. Create content that applies to the current circumstances, such as advice about at-home dental care routines, or a post on the signs of a dental emergency. Content is a great way to position yourself as knowledgeable and helpful. Give your clients useful information that can help them maintain their oral health during these times. 

This is also an excellent time to start creating video content for your clinic. Videos are a way to connect ‘face to face’ with your clients and establish that sense of personal interaction and connection so that they see you as a trusted source of information. 

 

4. Update Your Website 

Whether your doors are open and you’re already seeing patients, or you’re still waiting for the green light from your local health authority, COVID should be spurring you to update your website and turn it into a foundational part of your clinic’s operations. Make it user friendly with your COVID statement front and center. Now is the time to bring your website into 2020. If you have changed your hours due to COVID, make sure that information is there on your contact page.

If you offer new virtual services or other forms of dental treatments such as emergency care, ensure that is on the website as well. Add a place for potential clients to subscribe to your mailing list, and add links to your social media channels if they are new. Now is the perfect time to establish better communication and overall upkeep, and the best place to start is your on website, which acts as a digital storefront for your visitors. 

 

5. Consider Teledentistry 

Many doctors and professionals in the medical field have started holding patient consultations online for non-emergency visits. Whether it is a prescription refill or general check-in, this convenient digital way of meeting with clients has expanded into the dental industry as well. Teledentistry is perfect for non-emergency consultations, and it makes it possible to video chat with your patients and discuss their oral health needs, concerns and questions. 

As there is no sign that  COVID will be resolved in the near future, teledentistry is a great way to maintain that connection with any of your existing patients who aren’t comfortable visiting your clinic. Show them that you care and that you are still there for them, even in these uncertain times.

Moving forward, when we do finally see an end to COVID, it is possible teledentistry will remain popular with patients. This is because it is legitimately useful, patients find it convenient, comfortable and accessible. They no longer have to take time off work or make time on the weekend to visit your clinic for a general check-up. They can connect with you anywhere, without detracting from their busy schedule. 

As stated by Dr. Anna Singh, VP of Clinical Training and Development at Heartland Dental, “This secure platform, integrated with proven processes of traditional dental care, provides our supported doctors the ability to quickly and easily interact with their patients to assess oral health, discuss concerns, and plan a course of action regarding treatment. Fully integrating this technology will significantly improve our existing model of care for the future.”

Teledentistry may have become popular due to COVID, but it is not going away any time soon. Patients will soon expect this as an option and it is a good idea to get ahead of the curb and begin to offer this new form of consultation now.

 

6. Create Targeted Ads

If you do not run targeted ads for your dental clinics, such as ads on Google, Facebook or Bing, now is an excellent time to start. If you are currently running ads for your office, it may be a good idea to re-think the search terms that you are paying for. 

According to Holly Nielsen at Renew Dental: “The one other thing that’s interesting is the search terms have also changed. So, increased traffic on two search terms: dental emergency services and online dental consultations. Those are both just interesting how that increase in traffic is going to keywords that we didn’t have before, that didn’t exist before. (Holly Nielsen, CMO at Renew)

Paid ads allow you to get right in front of a potential client who is searching for dental clinics. By looking at user intent and bidding on certain words, such as “dental emergency” you know that the person searching for that term is likely experiencing a dental emergency and is in need of a dentist. 

As tempting as it may be to reign in your advertising budget during COVID, the prudent move is to reallocate funds so that they’re being spent on the search terms that are getting traffic as a result of COVID. Patients may be searching for clinics that are open, clinics that offer teledentistry or in the case of an emergency, “dentist near me.” As a business, you want to be there when potential patients are looking for dental services, now more than ever.

 

7. Monitor Your Online Presence 

You may have heard of Yelp and Google My Business, but are you aware of your business’ image on these platforms? These customer-centric review platforms are where your potential clients will look to read reviews, see images, find your location and determine whether or not you seem like a good fit for them. Clients can upload images of your clinic and write reviews of their experience, so it’s important that you put your best foot forward and address any questions and concerns that come up.

While you can’t remove reviews and user-uploaded information, you – as the owner of the business – can edit information on these platforms by claiming your business’ profiles. From there, you can freely upload images, reply to reviews, share your office hours, and links to your website and social media channels. 

However, according to a national study by DMscore, “Nationwide, 71% of dentists have a Yelp profile, but 20% of these profiles are “unclaimed” by the practice itself. Businesses that claim their own profiles can exert more control over the way their business is perceived.” (DMscore

Right now, it is more important than ever to have a positive online presence. You want to use these platforms to update your clinic’s information, provide accurate opening hours, and upload clean and welcoming images of your clinic. If you’re based in the United States and are interested in checking your current online reputation and the effects of your current marketing efforts, DMscore is a great place to start. It works like a FICO score, but for dental clinics. With a database of over 54,000 dental practices in the US, it can help to show you where you stand in comparison (Check your DMscore here).

Be Patient, Focus on Long Term Results

So much of your dental clinic’s success post-COVID depends on what you do now. It is very important to take a long term approach to your COVID dental marketing strategy and be proactive with your planning and marketing efforts. 

COVID has changed how businesses market themselves, but it hasn’t made marketing any less important than it was before. When patients are looking for a dental clinic online, you want to be sure you have made your presence known. 

At ElementIQ our team has helped several dentists with continued marketing efforts during this pandemic. As restrictions began to be lifted, all of our dental clients saw an increase in business, so much so that many of their clients are now on waitlists due to the volume of clients. 

Life does not stop during times of crisis, it simply must adapt. Similarly, your patients’ oral health problems do not stop simply because we are in a global pandemic. They will still need a reliable, trustworthy dentist to visit during an emergency or for a checkup once this is over. You want to stay relevant to patients who matter most and use this as an opportunity to grow and update your digital presence online. 

If you are looking for advice or marketing management, ElementIQ is a digital marketing agency that specializes in marketing for dental clinics. Our team has the experience and understanding needed to help your business thrive in these changing times. We provide website design, content creation, graphic design, social media and online reputation management. We have a firm grasp of the dental industry and are ready to act as your digital marketing team during COVID and into the future. Contact us or call for a consultation at (604) 909-3750.

6 Key Real Estate Marketing Tactics Used During COVID-19

While many companies were forced to pivot dramatically during the COVID-19 quarantine, the real estate market in Vancouver, BC remained largely stable. It lulled to a brief pause, before skyrocketing back during phases 2 and 3. In BC, construction was deemed an essential service, and developments continued as planned, despite the province-wide lockdown in the spring. 

With multiple offer situations occurring daily on the market, the lowest mortgage rates in decades, and developers looking to expand throughout Lower Mainland, there is little doubt that the real estate market was able to adapt quickly to the changing times and thrive with effective forms of real estate marketing. 

The Vancouver market has always been a bit of an anomaly, however, there are some interesting channels that agents leveraged to market themselves and their listings during this global pandemic. Let’s dive in and explore some of the key real estate marketing tactics Vancouver professionals used to capture an audience of interested buyers remotely, effectively convincing them to buy homes which they had never set foot in. 

1. Remote Video Tours 

With open houses out of the question and strict social distancing measures in place, the real estate market needed to adapt and cater to a completely online home buying experience. Video real estate marketing was already in use, as several listings included 3D tours before COVID-19 occurred.

During the quarantine, buyers could not go to open houses and sellers were hesitant to show their homes. It became the new standard to include a 3D walkthrough of all listings that were posted during the first phase of the pandemic. 3D rendering software like Matterport created an immersive experience for interested buyers. Sellers with 3D tours had a competitive advantage when buyers were no longer able to visit their listings in person. 

Realtors leveraged 3D tours and remote video software to give buyers a sense of the home, simulating a traditional open house. Buyers were able to make decisions based on these virtual viewings which generated offers on properties, site unseen. 

2. Social Media Marketing 

Realtors and developers also turned heavily to social media channels to not only promote themselves and their personal brands, but also to communicate remotely with prospective clients. During the midst of the pandemic, different firms and independent realtors posted video updates, virtual tours and full photoshoots of homes to their social media channels in order to engage viewers and sell homes remotely. 

Social media strategies helped to build local awareness and established a sense of community and human connection during the quarantine. Social media channels saw a sizable increase in active users in general and realtors were able to use these platforms to place themselves directly in front of their active, interested audiences. 

Paid social media campaigns were and still are excellent resources for realtors. At ElementIQ our team has extensive experience in high-end luxury real estate and developer marketing and one of our recent projects focused on growing clients for a boutique luxury development in Nanaimo, BC. The campaign focused heavily on paid social media marketing campaigns, which in turn fuelled a lengthy list of interested subscribers.

3. Email Marketing 

Email campaigns became a vital part of communication between realtors, clients and pre-sale developments in the Lower Mainland during phase 1 of the pandemic. Websites like Vancouver New Condos continued to email detailed market reports and updates on upcoming local developments available. Emails acted as a constant reminder that the market was still moving forward. Likewise, websites such as REW allow buyers to subscribe to email notifications which let them know as soon as new listings become available within their price range. 

In the case of our development project, our client wanted to gauge interest in their presale condos in order to predict their potential sales. We used an email campaign in order to communicate with interested future buyers and connect those ready to purchase with a sales team. 

Our client saw a 43% increase in leads in just a few short months as a result of tailored email marketing campaigns. 

4. Website Creation 

Most companies that did not have websites prior to COVID-19 jumped to set them up quickly. Realtors and developers were no different and they used websites to convey their brand, listings and message during COVID-19. Some presale developments even utilized simple landing pages to monitor interest and traction, and collect emails from interested prospects.

At ElementIQ, many clients have reached out during COVID-19 with web design projects. We completely transformed the website for a luxury real estate development. The client’s website was not up to the standard of its competitors and the team at ElementIQ helped the client revamp and launch a website that rivalled competitors in the market. There has never been a better time to create your digital presence online as a realtor. 

5. Content and Market Updates 

Monthly market updates kept buyers interested, informed and confident in uncertain times. The Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver released monthly market reports and blog content updates that kept their audience informed. Many reports mentioned the positive outcomes of the pandemic, including historically low mortgage rates. This spiked interest and buyer confidence in a time of financial uncertainty. 

They communicated the changes caused by COVID-19 and helped to educate buyers and sellers so they could navigate the market in changing times. Despite the drop in inventory, the market was still buzzing as buyers encountered multiple offer situations in the early summer months. Buyers were feeling confident, equipped with knowledge and reassurance from the market reports. 

6. Paid Advertising and Remote Lead Generation 

Pre-sale developments and real estate firms often use a combination of paid advertising as well as signage and traditional marketing in order to spread awareness and generate leads that are interested in buying. With the onset of COVID-19, paid advertising took the lead as an incredible tool for remote lead generation. This highly targeted form of recruitment created awareness in order to generate interested prospects and subscribers. This is an excellent tool moving forward for those looking to generate interest and capture potential buyers online. 

real estate marketing for developers

Contact ElementIQ for Real Estate Marketing

Unfortunately, this global pandemic is not yet over. Despite moving into phase 3 of COVID-19, the numbers are still rising in BC. Moving forward, a second wave is entirely possible and realtors must be ready to adapt their marketing efforts further to thrive in these changing times. Now is an excellent opportunity to look into real estate marketing services for your business. Whether you are an independent realtor, a builder or a developer, the right marketing team can put you in front of your desired local audience using safe, remote and digital marketing tactics. 

Our team of consultants are ready to assist with your marketing goals. We streamline the marketing process, saving you time and money while generating data-driven, tangible results for your company. Real estate marketing tactics are shifting in these changing times and with ElementIQ you can rest assured, you have an entire team to help you succeed. Contact us or call (604)-909-3750 for a complimentary consultation.

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 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. 

home in a hand

What is SEO and how does it apply to my homebuilding business? It can be difficult to determine exactly what your new website needs in order to reach your audience of interested homebuyers. In digital marketing, the word SEO is used frequently and it’s often not entirely understood outside of the industry.

SEO is the shortened version of Search Engine Optimization. This is the term used to describe the factors required for your website to appear readily on search engines. When you optimize your homebuilding website in compliance with good SEO practices, it will make it easy for your prospective clients to find. Here’s how to optimize your homebuilding website for SEO.

Top SEO Elements For Your Homebuilding Website

Optimize Your Content For SEO

Your content makes up the majority of your website. Content includes every written, visual or video asset you have online. Content is a very important factor in SEO and ranking status because it tells your users and search engines what your website is about.

There are a few techniques you can use to optimize your content for search engines. As you may know, search engines like Google do not read in the same way that humans do.

Google wants to help searchers find the most relevant information quickly, it does this by scanning keywords on your website. When an interested buyer searches keywords that match the keywords on your site, your site will appear in their search results because Google has determined that your page is a good match for the information that they search.

Google will crawl your entire website, but the important areas within the content that are significant for SEO are your page URL, titles, and headings on the site, meta descriptions, keywords, and images. In this post we will discuss each of these SEO aspects and how they apply to your homebuilding website.

Appeal To Your Target Audience: Use Keywords

Define A Clear URL

Each page of your website has a URL. You want your URL to appear as clean and easy to understand for your readers. Aas well as for Google.) When a URL is specific and to the point, it clearly displays your website name and any brief, additional page keyword information.

Messy URL: “housingcompany.5678234_78/8”
Clean URL: “housingcompany/houses-for-sale-vancouver”

Your URL should contain the name of your homebuilding company and the essential keywords for your specific site page. If your page is about a housing development in Vancouver for example, the URL should contain the name of your company, the name of the development and the location of the development. This type of URL format makes it easy for Google to read, as well as easy for searchers to understand.

If you do not create a custom URL for your site pages, your site will auto-generate URL addresses. These often appear messy and are difficult for users to understand. They often lack keywords and this makes it difficult for Google and other search engines to read as well. Never create two pages with the same URL, make sure that each is unique and specific to the page, just like an address.

Add Title Tags

When prospective clients are searching for your housing developments, they may not know specific terms like the name of your housing company. Clients that live locally may search specific terms, however, the large majority of interested buyers will begin by searching general phrases in Google.

Example of phases users search:

“Homes For Sale In Vancouver.” “Apartment Developments In Langley” “Custom Homes In Burnaby” “Vancouver Real Estate”

There will only be a small number of searchers that know the specific name of your company or development. There will be many more interested searchers who type phrases like “Homes For Sale In Vancouver.” when you include both the development name and the location in your headings and title, you are telling Google that your page has information relevant to both possible search methods. As a result, you will show up more frequently in searches as your title content indicates that your page is informative.

The headings and subheadings on your pages help Google, as well as your site visitors, understand what your page is about. When they search these general terms, your content will appear if it has the same keywords in the title. Just like in your page URL, specific keywords are important in the titles and sub-heading of your housing company page content.

Your heading should match the keywords that you use in your URL as well as your page title.

Write Captivating Meta Descriptions

You want to take every opportunity possible to catch your prospective client’s attention in a sea of other real estate listings and housing developments.

Your meta description, although not an official ranking factor by Google, plays a very important role in your ability to grab your viewers attention.

In the search results displayed below, the meta descriptions are the grey text under the page title and the site URL. When a viewer is scrolling down a page of search results, they are quickly scanning the meta descriptions to find a page that stands out to them. Google helps your searchers along by highlighting their key search terms in the meta descriptions. In this case, the search was “Housing Developments In Vancouver.” Those keywords are highlighted in the meta description below:

seo for homebuilders

This means that when you are publishing a page, you should take the time to edit the meta descriptions. Write a captivating preview of what your page is about. It’s a good idea to incorporate the keywords that you used in your page URL and your title as well.

Optimize Your Images For The Web

Your home building company is likely to have many images and visual content of your homes and developments. Images are an excellent resource for your website and when they are properly optimized for SEO, they can be a great way to gain visibility and rankings on search engines.

  • Use Alt text that is relevant to your images
  • Name your images differently using keywords specific to the image content
  • Write an image description wherever it’s relevant
  • Ensure your images are properly condensed (Large images can slow your housing website down)

Competitor Analysis and Link Building

A major factor in SEO ranking is the number of links that point to your website. Google and other search engines place a high value on content. When your content is credible and helpful to others, businesses and other websites will link to your content. Google takes these links or “backlinks” as they’re called in SEO, and uses them to determine the credibility of your website. If you have several different, credible and related websites linking to your pages, Google will deem your site as helpful and important.

A great way to determine your backlink profile is by performing an SEO audit. It’s also important to understand how your homebuilding company ranks when it’s compared to your top competitors. If you have a company that is competing closely with you for rankings on Google search results, chances are, they’re one of your competitors.

Eventually, you may want to rank above your competitors. In order to do this, you must first assess your competitor’s websites. You can perform a competitive link analysis in order to gauge the level of authority your competitor’s website maintains. A link audit helps you understand what companies and websites your competitors are associated with.

Contact A Digital Marketing Agency

Many developments and housing companies hire an external digital marketing team to help organize and implement an effective SEO strategy. If you are looking to optimize your website for prospective clients, a digital marketing company could be beneficial in helping you achieve these goals.

It also gives you time to focus on your homebuilding business! ElementIQ is a full-service digital marketing agency located in Vancouver, BC. They have worked with housing companies as well as developers to help create a clear brand image and increase visibility for home builders.

google analytics update

Recently, Google announced an important update that will affect your Google Analytics historical data. Google noted that they would be changing their data retention policy, in order to align with Europe’s new General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). The update affects users historical data on their websites. Starting May 25, 2018, the new data retention settings are being applied automatically to your Google Analytics account. The new settings will make you lose all your historical data that is more than 26 months old.

Continue reading or watch the video included to find out how to fix the problem in 2 minutes if you don’t want to lose your historical data.

Why Is My Historical Analytics Data Important?

Google Analytics is a powerful FREE tool used to generate and analyze reports on website traffic. It’s an IMPORTANT tool for reporting, analysis, and benchmarking.

Your website is one of your most powerful digital assets. Historical data allows you to compare data collected from years ago and compare it to your website’s current performance. It offers incredible insight into your user experience, behavior and web traffic.

With the GDPR update, you will lose data that could have been used to generate great insights. Imagine not being able to see a 5-year trend line of users and sessions, or comparing last 24 months of website traffic with previous 24 months. Google has provided the option to retain your historical data before the update occurs on May 25th, 2018. Follow the steps below in order to save your historical data.

Here’s How To Save Your Google Analytics Historical Data

  1. First login to analytics.google.com
  2. Go to the Admin panel from the left navigation menu
  3. Click on ‘Tracking info’ from under Properties
  4. Choose ‘Data Retention’
  5. From User and Event Data Retention, choose ‘Do Not Automatically Expire’
  6. Save

And “Voila!”

We’ve also created a helpful, step by step infographic to further illustrate how to save your Google Analytics historical data!

google analytics historical data

Contact Us

If you have questions about the Google Analytics historical data update or you would like to see more insight from your Google Analytics account, give ElementIQ a call at 604.909.3750. We are a full-service digital marketing agency and we are able to assist you with all of your marketing needs. You can also check out our Google-related blog posts for more information regarding the Google Search Engine and Google Analytics.

avoid networking mistakes

Even the most seasoned businessperson can find themselves in the midst of a networking nightmare. It doesn’t matter how much practice you’ve had, there’s always room for improvement. When it comes to professional development, networking events often come to mind.

Whether it’s your first day navigating a company party or you’re representing your brand at a nationwide event, there are a few simple things you can do to avoid networking mishaps. Here is a list of common networking problems, and how to correct them!

1) You’re A Wallflower

As tempting as it is to stick to the sidelines, networking is an inherently social activity. It may seem a bit daunting at first, especially if this is your first networking event. However, it is vital to get out and circulate the room. If you appear visibly nervous or anxious when meeting new people, take a few deep breaths and try to calm down. Force yourself out of your comfort zone with these simple steps.

Find A Common Connection

The fastest way to break out of your bubble in a sea of strangers is to find someone in the room who you already know. Look for a friend or co-worker, even someone in your same line of work and start a conversation. Have your friend or colleague introduce you to their friends and so on. When you have a mutual friend introduce you to others, it’s an immediate conversation starter.

Appear Open To Communication

Convey open and welcoming body language and personal confidence will follow. When you carry yourself well, people will sense that you are approachable and open to interaction. Here is a useful article about how to convey positive body language while networking. Don’t forget to smile. It is the single most important way to appear relaxed, approachable and friendly (even if you’re nervous.) There was also an interesting study done by Scientific American that noted that smiling can actually make you feel physically happy as well. Use a natural smile to both ease your nerves, and convey to others that you’re approachable.

Make The First Move

Have confidence in yourself, step out of your shell and make the first move. There will be those who find that connecting with others comes naturally to them, but there will also be a lot of people in the room who probably feel the same way as you! If you do not recognize anyone in the group, simply approach a group of individuals or someone standing on their own. Introduce yourself and state where you work. They will do the same.

2) You Aren’t Sure What To Say

This point is closely connected to the previous point. It can be difficult to start a conversation with someone who you don’t know. In general, you may simply not know what to say to them.

Even when you’ve planned out things to say and conversation topics the night before, there’s always the dreaded mental blank that happens mid-conversation.

Don’t Overthink It: Say Hello

Every conversation starts with a warm “hello.” This simple greeting breaks the ice, it lets the other person know that you are interested in talking to them and it will help you feel more comfortable since it is a word that you use every day.

Listen Instead

If you are at a loss for words, focus on listening instead of being the one speaking. If you listen to the conversation long enough, you can craft questions based on things that were mentioned. People love to talk about themselves and what they do. You’ll be seen as a good listener. When you are actively listening and genuinely interested in a conversation, your questions and responses will flow naturally.

Find Common Ground

A great way to segway into a conversation with someone is to make a general comment. You can compliment the person you are talking with. Or simply start by discussing the networking event. Is there food being served? Was a lovely speech just made? Find a common ground with the person you are talking to and let your general statement flow naturally into a more in-depth conversation.

3) The Conversation Doesn’t Feel Natural

Often, when you are at an arranged networking event, it can seem a little awkward at first. If you took the first step and made the introduction, there is still no guarantee that the conversation will flow smoothly. It can take years of practice to master the art of conversation, but there are still a few things that you can do to make the conversation come more naturally.

Relax, Feel At Ease

There is a good chance that your conversation doesn’t feel natural because you feel unnatural. To put that in different terms, you may not feel entirely at ease. Stay calm and try to follow the natural flow of the conversation. Do not overanalyze yourself as you’re talking. When your mind relaxes, you’ll appear more relaxed.

Be Authentic

There is a lovely, recent article from The Huffington Post about networking that I recommend to anyone looking for quick tips on networking. In the article, they discuss what they term “authentic networking.” In essence, this means that you should be “present” in every conversation you have with someone. It will feel much more natural if you simply turn off autopilot and become genuinely interested in connecting with the person you are talking to.

4) You Forget Names Easily

If you’re anything like me, you forget names almost immediately after you hear them. Trust me, you’re not alone. This is a common phenomenon, but also, one of the most awkward ones. Forgetting someone’s name can come off as disrespectful. It seems like you don’t care enough about the person to even know their name. But at networking events, there is so much going on. There is background noise, you are often multitasking and names simply escape you! Here’s what to do.

Do Your Research

At larger events, there is often a list of attendees and speakers either online or on a welcoming brochure. Use these to your advantage if you can’t quite place the face to the name.

Sometimes name tags are also worn and in this case, you have nothing to worry about. But if you’re really bad with names, you can always simply share your business card and ask that they do the same. You should be collecting business cards anyway for follow-ups so this is your best bet when you know you’ll forget the name.

Connect on LinkedIn if the timing seems appropriate. That way you can easily place a face to a name for future reference. You may also bring a small notepad and pen. Jot down names immediately if you are prone to forgetting. You can also write down other essential information like phone numbers, company names, and industries.

5) You Don’t Listen

Practice describing what you do in no more than 2 sentences. We all know you’re a busy person, and you manage multiple different tasks throughout the day. When you are preparing for a networking event, keep in mind that the others mingling may not know specific industry terminology or details. Have a general description of what you do prepared beforehand and summarize it. Do not drag on about your day to day tasks. You could end up boring the person you’re talking to. Try and ask as many questions as you answer and let the other individual talk as well.

6) You Feel Under Or Overdressed

It is always a good rule of thumb to be overdressed rather than underdressed. When you are unsure of the dress code, play it safe and dress for a corporate environment, suits, collars shirts, and blazers. If you are still unsure about what to wear, the easiest way to find out is to take to social media.

Research Past Events

Research the company hosting the event and visit their Facebook and Instagram pages. You can infer their level of formality from images they post of company events.

Layering

Keep in mind that you should dress in a way that you want others to perceive you. If you are attending this networking event in hopes of finding a new job, you should dress for the job that you want. There is nothing wrong with being slightly overdressed. A good rule of thumb is to overdress but wear layers that you can remove if the atmosphere is more casual. For example, wear your dress shirt with a blazer so that you have the opportunity to remove the blazer if you feel overdressed.

7) You Don’t Follow Up

Stay connected with your new contacts after the networking event. Send an email or follow up with a friendly call, reminding the person where you met, your company and what you spoke about at the event.

Timing Is Everything

It is most effective to follow up with those you meet at a networking event within 24 hours of meeting them. Your follow up message doesn’t have to be lengthy. Simply remind the individual of your name, position and your reasons for connecting. Share your contact information or reach out on a professional networking service like LinkedIn.

Get Out There And Meet New People!

Hopefully, these quick tips can help you ace your next networking event. If you have any personal tips you want to share about networking, write them in the comments below! You can network anywhere, including formal business events or summits. Here is one of our accounts of a marketing summit, if you are interested in learning more about the process.

person at desk on laptop with tea

I recently had the pleasure of attending a webinar lead by Eric Shanfelt, email marketing guru, and digital marketing specialist. The webinar was hosted by the Local Marketing Institute. They provide frequent webinars about various e-commerce and digital marketing subjects.

Eric shared some valuable information that can often be overlooked when you are trying to coordinate an email campaign. Sometimes we get so caught up in deadlines and clients that we forget about the most important factor in email marketing: the audience itself. Eric gave some insight into what users really want to see.

  • They want short emails
  • All emails should be mobile responsive
  • The information should be relevant and useful to the user

Eric noted that emails should be relatively short with a single CTA (call to action). You don’t want to distract your users with long, intricate copy, too many offers or irrelevant information. A good email is a simple one. In order to have a focused and clear email, there are a few things you should keep in mind first. Eric outlined six main factors that contribute to a great, streamlined email campaign. These are:

Audience, Acquisition, Content, Frequency, Delivery, and Analysis

Let’s discuss what each topic means and the ways in which they, as a whole, can create a great email marketing campaign.

1. Audience: Define Your Audience

Your audience is the first and most important factor in your email campaign. These are the people who open and interact with your messages. In order to send emails that these individuals want to open, you need to be sure you know your audience.

If you work in the field of e-commerce or digital marketing, you may be familiar with the concept of buyer personas. These are fictional representations of your target audience. They are the product of market research and analysis into your customer demographics. Before you create an email campaign, you must consult your buyer personas.

Ask Yourself The Following Questions:

  • What is my audience interested in?
  • What do they want to know?
  • What’s their daily life like?

You want to make sure that the people receiving your email newsletters truly like the content you create for them. Do the market research before-hand and find out the age of your audience, their interests, and daily routine. Once you have a good idea of who you’re sending these emails to, you’ll be able to create custom content, catered to what they like.

2. Acquisition: Build Your Email List

How do I define an audience when I don’t have subscribers? There are many different ways to build your email list. A powerful email campaign coupled with an organized, clean list of subscribers is the recipe for success when it comes to email marketing. You can’t send out a campaign without subscribers. Here are a few ways that you can attract new email subscribers.

How To Build Your Email List

  • Have a prominent signup form on your website. You don’t want potential subscribers scrolling and searching your site to sign up for your list.
  • Ensure you have a prominent signup form on social media. You create and share quality content on your social media channels. Build your email list by letting your followers know where they can get even more great content and insider information on your email list.
  • Leverage POS systems (point of sale systems) You can automate subscriptions to your email list. Simply incorporate it into your POS system. After a purchase, let your users know where they can learn more about you, and stay updated on your products. Create an automated request to subscribe.
  • Have a strong customer feedback system. Gather customer feedback at every opportunity.
  • Train your employees to ask. If you are a business owner, let your employees know that they should always be gathering potential email subscribers for the business. They can ask your customers directly!
  • Use incentives. Give your customers that extra push and give them an immediate reason to sign up for your email list. Let your customers know that they can receive special offers and give them a sample by offering a one time discount to those who sign up. You can use different offers or create a giveaway to get them excited about receiving your emails.

3. Content: Plan Your Content

There is nothing worse than receiving an email that doesn’t make sense, seems out of context or contains information that you don’t find appealing or relevant. Create and share quality content with your subscribers to keep them up to date and in the loop.

Ask Yourself

  • What are you trying to accomplish?
  • What information would your customers find valuable?

Email campaigns are part of your content marketing strategy. You need to carefully plan out what each email will say. Set a positive tone for your email and pick your voice. Are you speaking on behalf of your company, the owner or is the email going to sound more personal?

You can share your current site content in your email campaigns as well. Let your users know about a recent ebook you’ve created or share the latest blog post with them. Make sure that the content you share with your users is relevant, relates to your company and to your users. Here are some tips on how to write good copy for the web.

Another important aspect of content is images. Try to avoid putting all of your written email copy in your email as an image. Images are unreliable and do not always render. Have the core of your email copy in plain text. Use images to supplement your message but make sure that your email is still easy to read and understand without any images.

Pro Tip

Eric Shanfelt mentioned that you should never use canned content. By this, he means that you shouldn’t buy content that is created in mass amounts for your industry. This copy is often general, it is not tailored to your business. Share posts that are about specific aspects of your company and avoid sharing general or bought content. Your users want to feel as though you are writing to them personally. They want the content you share with them to apply to your company and their interests.

4. Frequency: How Often Should I Send An Email?

The consensus on this varies. On one hand, you don’t want to overwhelm your email list by sending too many emails too frequently. Your subscribers are likely to get irritated, annoyed or mark you as spam and abuse. On the other hand, you don’t want to send your emails out so infrequently that users forget they’ve subscribed to your list.

They may wonder why they are receiving an email from your company if they’ve gone months without seeing a notification from you. This is also a reason that many people unsubscribe. So how frequently should you send out your email campaigns?

  • No more than weekly
  • No less than monthly
  • Every other week is optimal

You want to keep your emails short and sweet. In order to do this, you should send them out on a regular basis. Otherwise, you’ll end up cramming too much information into your messages. Keep your emails as simple updates to stay in your subscribers’ minds and avoid giving them too much information all at once.

Welcome Emails

Outside of your regular email campaign, be sure to send out welcome emails to those who are new to your subscriber list. You can include a double opt-in form in this email to ensure that your new subscribers really want to receive your emails.

Thank them for signing up and share the perks or benefits of being on your list. The welcome email should leave them excited and awaiting your next newsletter. You can create a welcome email template and schedule it to send to every new subscriber. Most email service providers allow you to automate this process.

5. Delivery: Help Your Emails Get Opened

When you put effort into your list, audience, and content you want to be sure that your emails actually get opened! This can often be one of the trickiest parts of your email campaign because it relies on getting into your users’ inbox. Avoid spam filters by using a reputable email sender.

Once your email gets into the users’ inbox, you need to give them a reason to click on your message. Use a “from name” that you know they will recognize, generally, this should be the name of your company. However, if your name is used synonymously as part of your brand, you can use your name as the “from name” You can also make the email sound more personal by using your own name and the name of your company. For example: “Karmen Clark, from ElementIQ.”

Similar to your subject line, your preview text gives context and credibility to your email campaign. Give your users incentive to open your email by creating a compelling subject line.

In Summary

  • Use a reputable email sender
  • Make emails mobile responsive
  • Use good from and subject line
  • Leverage preview text

These are the most effective ways of getting a higher open rate. When your email provider sees that your emails are getting opened, you gain credibility as a business and your emails are more likely to be seen as informative, rather than spam.

6. Analysis: What Are The Results Of Your Campaign?

Whether you use your email campaign to drive online sales, provide updates to your subscribers or promote exclusive, in-store offers there should always be a clear goal in mind. In order to improve your campaigns and determine whether or not your emails are achieving your goals, you need to analyze the results of your campaigns.

  • Look at the metrics and adjust
  • Look at any replies to your email and respond to people who write to you.
  • Analyze the ROI. The rate of return is the best way to determine whether or not your email campaign is actually driving sales.

Eric Shanfelt shared a list of statistics at the close of his webinar. These were the general numbers that determine good a good email campaign. You can use these benchmarks as a basic indicator of whether or not your email campaigns are meeting your goals and serving their purpose.

Good Email Benchmarks

  • 20% Unique open rates – If it’s less than this, your subscribers aren’t that interested. How did you build your email list? You may want to clean out your list or change your on-site opt-in process.
  • 2.5% Unique click rate – This is a good click rate. This depends on the nature of your email and your brand it only applies to a direct offer
  • 0.3% Unsubscribe rate = Good
  • 0.02% Abuse report = Anything more than this and your users are thinking “I didn’t sign up for this, it’s spam”
  • 0.45% Hard bounce rate = This is an optimal percentage for hard bounces. Anything more and you should look into cleaning your mailing list.

Note

Clean out your unresponsive emails regularly. Remove subscribers that show no activity over a year. They’re dead weight. When you send to a streamlined list you have a better response rate. Your subscribers are there because they are interested in your products and your company.

Closing Thoughts

Hopefully, the information from this webinar was helpful. Eric Shanfelt holds frequent webinars about various aspects of digital marketing. He is well known in the industry for his success with email marketing and e-commerce. He’s also the Founder and CEO of Local Marketing Institute. If you are interested in staying up to date with our blog posts from ElementIQ, be sure to subscribe or comment below!

agency and in house marketing

The question will always arise at some point. Whether you are just starting out with your small business, or you own a well-established company one question remains the same: “How should I manage my digital marketing strategy?”

Digital marketing is just a simple Facebook post twice a week right?

Social media management is just one aspect of a much larger, cohesive marketing plan in action. As your business grows, you will find a greater need for a streamlined strategy.

You need online reputation management, paid ads, an email campaign, credible backlinks, social media calendars with engaging content, a functioning website with direct workflows, consistent – keyword rich content, and so much more in order to keep up to date and visible for your target audience.

You need a marketing team. But should that team be a part of your company, or should you look for a marketing agency? The following content compares both options, so you can make a more informed decision.

Consider Your Digital Marketing Needs

As a business, you have marketing requirements that are just as unique as you are. Your choice of marketing strategy will depend on your exact needs. In general, an in-house marketing employee has a very specialized set of skills.

They may be a social media specialist, copywriter, analytics professional or focused on paid search and ad words. In contrast, when you hire an agency, you are hiring a team with a variety of diverse talents.

1. Skillset: Specialized Vs Diverse

In-House Marketing

Those working in-house are keenly aware of your brand. They intimately know your goals and desired image because they eat, sleep and breathe your business. They are generally extremely specialized in the one area of marketing that you need.

It is rare to find an in-house marketing employee, well practiced in all aspects of digital marketing. Generally, there are various specializations that need to be combined for a cohesive and successful marketing strategy to take place.

Agency

Marketing agencies work with a variety of clients. All aspects of your marketing needs are met due to the sheer number of individuals working throughout the agency. When you hire an agency, there is no need to outsource work that your in-house workers can’t complete. Agencies possess a much more diverse skill set. You have separate individuals assigned to every different aspect of your marketing strategy.

The answer here comes down to asking yourself, can I afford to hire multiple people with different skillsets for my in-house marketing team? Or should I simply contact an agency where there is a talented team already assembled?

It depends entirely on your company needs. If you only need one aspect of your marketing campaign managed, you may want to hire a single in-house employee. If you are looking for a full-service marketing strategy to manage all aspects of your online presence, then it makes more sense to choose an agency.

2. Ease Of Communication

Communication is important in any business. In order for work to run smoothly, communication is key. Types of communication vary dramatically between an in-house marketing team and an agency. Both are effective and depend on your preferences as a business.

In-House Marketing

When you have an in-house marketing team, communication is relatively easy. You can get content and projects approved the same day they are created, there is very little wait time on assignments.

Agency

Due to the number of clients and client needs, it can take slightly longer for communication between clients and digital marketing agencies to occur. Generally, your agency will update you weekly or monthly, with what they are working on and what has been done. If they are waiting on your approval or want to discuss anything with you, it is done via an arranged meeting, email or quick phone call.

Both agency and in-house communications are effective, they are simply different. An in-house employee is right in the office with you, so it is easier to discuss ideas quickly. An organized marketing agency, however, will stay up to date with all communications needed in order to keep you informed.

3. Variety

Marketing is a naturally creative career. It attracts minds that are constantly thinking, busy and interested in what’s new. Marketing teams need to effectively make a brand seem interesting, and unless you’re selling fidget spinners, it’s easy for creative minds to get bored.

In-House Marketing

An in-house marketing team is solely devoted to you, your company and your brand. They are always thinking about ways to promote your image and products online.

As beneficial as this may be ( they intimately know your brand) it can also lead to a plateau in creativity and new ideas. Your in-house team can lack variety or get stuck in a rut. This can lead to a lower rate of employee stability. You may see your in-house employees jump between jobs due to sheer boredom.

Agency

Your agency has several other unique client accounts that they work with daily. Their minds are fresh as they navigate new topics at all times. It leaves very little room for boredom. It is also possible that they have similar clients to your company, depending on how specialized the agency is.

They may focus on one sector of business (such as marketing just for dentists or real estate) Agencies are working with several different clients related to your account, which makes it much easier for them to keep on top of industry news and trends. They are always motivated and rarely bored by what they do due to the variety of topics they get to work with each day.

Factor In The Costs

Cost is the final factor that should be considered when making any decision surrounding your business. Is it cheaper to choose an in-house employee or an agency? Again, the cost will depend entirely on your needs. But here is a general overview.

In-House Marketing

Initially, it may seem less expensive to hire a single employee for your marketing strategy. However it is a long hiring process, you need to ensure that this person fits in well with the rest of your company.

There are unforeseen costs that can arise after hiring, for example, you could hire a social media manager but then realize that you also need a paid search specialist to complement the social campaigns.

When you hire in-house you also need to consider the costs of adding a new team member to your office. Aside from salary, you need to budget for an office space, computers and programs that they may need. You may even find you need to pay for extra training if your in-house employee has a specialized skill set and needs to branch out.

Agency

When you hire an agency there is a pre-set price in place. There is an entire team of talented professionals that combine their skills to cater to all aspects of your marketing campaign. An agency pays for its own software, tools, and tech. They manage their own training and ensure their employees are up to date with education on any new programs and software.

Determine the annual investment you want to make in digital marketing and meet with agencies and in-house candidates alike.

Choose What Works Best For You

In the end, the choice is yours. It is important to weigh the pros and cons of each option. It is a good idea to meet with marketing agencies and potential in-house employees as well. Some businesses even settle on a mixture of both. Whatever the need may be, it is essential to have a prominent online marketing strategy for your business in the digital era.

In order to gain visibility, leads, and sales, you need to consider your businesses personal goals and how they can best be achieved. At ElementIQ, we offer a full-service digital marketing strategy, covering everything from paid search to content creation and promotion. Let us know if you want to learn more about working with a marketing agency!

Have you worked with a marketing agency before? Do you have an in-house marketing team? Share your thoughts and insight in the comments below!