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Everyone is inundated with emails every single day. You get emails from clients, colleagues, superiors, friends and family members.

There are emails you read and let’s face it – there are emails you don’t read. Too many companies are barking for your attention and you don’t have attention to spare.

Marketers need to understand this. Even more importantly, we need to understand the very people we send email campaigns to so we can deliver information they want and desire. We need to understand their roles, lives and interests.

I contend that understanding your own email inbox habits are essential to understanding what makes for great email marketing.

If you think an email, maybe from a digest you subscribed to years ago is so repugnant that you wouldn’t want it showing up in your inbox, isn’t this something you should (re)consider sending out to your own contacts and clients? Would they want equally repulsive content?

I suppose it’s a classic case of “treat people the way you want to be treated” or “treat your list the way you want to be treated.”

A better question is: Do you know what they want and what they consider repulsive? Understanding who is on the other end of your email marketing initiatives is vital. They have needs, wants and interests and it’s up to you to serve them the right content.

In this blog post, I’ll talk about a method that few business owners or marketers employ in their email marketing campaigns: Serving content their audience actually wants to consume. I’ll also talk about the process to determine what that content can be.

A Tactic To Help You Understand Your Contacts

To properly understand what your contacts do and don’t want to consume, do a role reversal. What information would you NOT like to consume if it was sent to your inbox one week? What if it was sent to your inbox in consecutive weeks or months? How would you feel?

Now, think about this. What if a business you bought a product from, now with consent to send you emails, sent you an email with special promotions? Depending on a number of factors, you may like it or you may not.

Now, what if you received a similar email every single week advertising a particular sale at this business? How would you feel? If you’d be leaning towards that ‘Subscribe’ button, I’d like to welcome you to the ‘Rest of Us’ club.

This was just a basic exercise. There are methods of doing more formal exercises to properly understand the people you’re sending emails to.

Fully Understanding Your Contacts – Using Buyer Personas

The best way to understand your contacts while streamlining your marketing efforts is to understand your organization’s buyer personas.

Buyer personas are fictional representations of your ideal buyers. These are created based on qualitative data you’ve collected about your customers.

A business could have one buyer persona or several. It all depends on your business. A buyer persona is based off a person and not a business.

What I mean is that a business, let’s say an agency like us at ElementIQ – we are a B2B business. Our clients are businesses. However, the people we want to attract are decision-makers on digital marketing campaigns.

This could be:

  1. The owner of the company
  2. The marketing manager, in the case of a mid-size company

To create these personas, you’ll have to take several of your clients aside and ask them a set of questions. HubSpot has a nice list of buyer persona questions you can ask.

Since we’re talking about email marketing campaigns, it may be useful to ask more email-centric questions, like what they currently subscribe to and what their criterion are for deleting emails and unsubscribing from email lists.

The next step is taking the responses to the buyer persona questions and forming personas from them. HubSpot has some neat persona templates you can download to assist with this process.

Once you’ve created your personas, you’ll know more than enough about your ideal buyers to understand what interests and engages them. From this, you can determine the subject matter of what is in your emails.

Content Marketing + Email Marketing = Success

So much of successful email marketing depends on the content in the actual email and how it can help the reader.

If you bought tires from Michelin, would you need more tires the next week or the week after that? Unless, you are a poor driver, probably not.

However, what if Michelin sent you emails on how to take care of your tires so that they last longer? That might be pretty appetizing! That’s helpful information that could literally save you money down the road.

You might be thinking – “Why would Michelin do this? They’re pushing money away!”

It’s about the relationship they’re building with their customer. They know that helping the customer in some way will build a stronger bond through increased trust. This is a major benefit of investing in content marketing – and this can help your email campaigns succeed.

The Michelin Guide To Cars – Content Marketing At Its Finest

Michelin actually did this, way back in 1900. Andre and Edouard Michelin were saddled with a problem. More cars needed to be sold in order for more of their tires to be sold. So they published the Michelin Guide. It educated car owners on their cars. It talked about latest news and how to take better care of their cars.

More cars mean more tires. That means more money for Michelin. It worked.

The guide is still published today, over a century later.

As I’ve illustrated, it can be applied to email marketing too. The lesson is to provide the best possible information in whatever method of delivery – in this case, your emails.

An Example Of An Email Campaign Delivering Great Content

One email digest I subscribe to is Vega, a company that sells plant-based nutritional products. In my humble opinion, I think they do a fantastic job of providing great value in the form of information, discounts, and specials in their emails.

They give you a 15% off discount simply for subscribing to their list – a nice incentive. Their emails are filled with recipes, how-to information, and more.

They often use themes. Here’s an ice-cream-themed email:

This one is full of recipes. I’ve received other emails where they’ll have recipes and near the end of the email is a call-to-action for buying ingredients for that recipe in their store.

One email for National Smoothie Day entails a section of the email to purchase smoothie supplies, followed by consecutive sections containing a Raspberry Biscotti Smoothie recipe, the 7 Day Smoothie Challenge and a blog post on How to Build the Best Smoothie.

The folks at Vega have identified who their buyer personas are and what their ideal buyers like. They know that their subscriber base cares about health – otherwise, why would they be interested in a company selling plant-based products? They include in plant-based recipes that have nothing to do with their brand, recipes that could include a Vega product and other pieces of relevant, valuable health information.

Also note the layout of their emails, as depicted in the above screenshot. It’s picture, text and call-to-action. Always in that order. The layout is simple and clean – how marketing emails ought to look.

How We Layout Content In Our Email Marketing Campaigns

At ElementIQ, we use a very similar approach to Vega, with respect to content. We go through a process to understand and create buyer personas for the business we’re working on. We want to understand their subscriber list so we know what content they’ll want to consume. This means the agency you’re working with must have not only email marketing experts but content marketing experts.

For each email, there are 3 components:

  1. About the Business. This section is some piece of relevant, new information about the business. Could be an open house, something your business is doing in the community or what your office is like.
  2. Evergreen Content. You’ll need to understand the term ‘evergreen’ – it’s a piece of content that is not time-relevant. It could be useful to the reader at any point in time. This section would include a link to an evergreen blog post on your website, for example.
  3. An Offer. There must always be a call-to-action in every email. Give them an action to take and make it enticing. This can be a sale or discount, for example.

Vega’s emails are more like this:

  1. The Evergreen Content #1
  2. Evergreen Content #2
  3. Evergreen Content #3
  4. Offer

Again, how you structure your emails does depend on what your list looks like and what they want to hear. For the average local small business, their customers are local and are interested in local activities. So the structure we’ve set out above would work for them.

However, a larger company, like Vega, may want more evergreen pieces because their ultimate goal is to educate and inform (while still selling in a very subtle manner).

Reviewing The ‘Undisputed Method’

I’ve given you a lot of information here and there’s quite a bit of work for you to do.

To summarize, you’ll need to:

  1. Survey your clients with a buyer persona questionnaire.
  2. Create buyer personas.
  3. Identify what kinds of content and the topics each persona would be interested in and engaged by.
  4. Plan out your emails to have a balance of information that your buyer personas would actually be excited to read.
  5. Send away!

If you’ve got any questions, don’t hesitate to leave a comment below and I’ll reply to you as soon as possible.

field with blue sky and clouds

BURNABY, BC  — ElementIQ will be contributing 1% of annual sales to support The Sharing Farm, a non-profit organization that helps grow food, farmers, and community through its various programs.
“We were so excited when we heard that ElementIQ wanted to partner with us for 1% for the Planet,” said Sarah Drewery, Executive Director of The Sharing Farm. “We are a small organization with limited funding and this contribution really makes a huge difference, enabling us to carry on growing nutritious food to donate to families in need.”

This is all part of ElementIQ’s commitment to give back to the community.

In April, ElementIQ officially joined 1% for the Planet, pledging to donate 1% of annual sales to support a non-profit organization focused on the environment.

The Sharing Farm is a community farm that produces food for those less fortunate in Richmond. In 2016, The Sharing Farm donated 20,500 pounds of produce to neighbors in need through community meals and the Richmond Food Bank.

ElementIQ has already begun its contributions and will also be doing a team-building volunteer day at the Farm in August. Stay glued to the ElementIQ blog for updates on this exciting new partnership.

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Alright, folks. It’s here. Google is now allowing businesses to create short snippets of content in Google Knowledge Graph.

In this post, I’m going to tell you how to publish a post on Google – with some recommendations!

What Are Google Posts?

First, here’s some context behind what Google Posts are and what they can do for your business.

Posts appear on your Google My Business listing. They can be viewed in Google’s Knowledge Graph result for a search for your brand.

Searchers can tap/click to read the full post. They can also share that post with friends via social networks directly from Google.

Why Do Google Posts Exist?

If you’re still wondering why you should even care about Google Posts, let’s dig briefly into why these are even a thing.

The purpose of these posts are to allow businesses to publish timely information, like specials or events. If you have a time-limited sale or weekly special, this would be a good place to publish it.

Google also wants to give searchers a “one-click path” to connecting with a business.

They originally only limited it to celebrities, museums, sports teams and movie studios to use. Now, every business can publish a post.

Step-By-Step – How To Publish A Google Post

Step 1: Go to Log-in. Then, scroll all the way down until you see your page(s) come up.

Step 2: Select your Google My Business page.

Step 3: Click on “Posts” on the left-hand side.

Step 4: Click on “Write your post”.

Step 5: Write your Google post. Add an image too.

Make your copy captivating. Think about your ideal customer. What would make them want to take action? What visual might they want to see here?

Step 6: If you would like to make the post an event or add a button, scroll down and select that option.

If you’re highlighting a particular offer, your call-to-action button should match the offer.

Step 7: Preview your Google post and hit “Publish” when ready!

Step 8: Verify that it published.

Your Turn – Publish A Google Post!

Go ahead and publish a Google Post to your business listing! Let us know by posting a link to your Google Post in the comments below.

phone in hand with uber on screen

Uber’s been hot after the Vancouver market in hopes of extending its ride-sharing service to our west coast hub.

They’ve run massive campaigns targeting Vancouver highlighting the economic potential it can have for the city.

Its entrance into our market has had a number of obstacles: The lack of a reasonable regulatory framework, the enormous pushback of the taxi industry and little political buy-in.

Their targets are clear: Win people over and empower them to pressure Vancouver City Hall and the Province of British Columbia to create clear regulations for ride-sharing.

The History Of Uber

Uber was founded in 2009 by Garrett Camp and Travis Kalanick. They were trying to hail a cab and simply were not able to.

That bred the idea – why not press a button and get a ride? With technology as advanced as it is, they set out a vision to make this very idea come to fruition.

The ride-sharing startup received their first stage of seed funding, a cool $200,000 that same year. In 2010, they received more funding – $1.2 million and by the end of 2011, Uber had raised $44.2 million!

Opposition To Uber

With any movement, there are going to be opponents. When it comes to companies offering rides on the road, there’s one major opponent: The taxi industry. Companies like Uber and Lyft are a threat to taxi companies.

This resent for Uber has been evident all over the world. Berlin banned Uber in 2014. Taxi drivers in Berlin, London, Paris and other cities staged a massive protest on June 11 of that year.

We’ve seen taxi companies become increasingly frustrated with the possibility of Uber coming to Vancouver.

Vancouver’s Taxi History

Vancouver is a relatively young city but its taxi industry has been around for as long as the city. Harry Hooper became the first taxi driver, way back in 1903. Just seven years later, he opened Vancouver’s first taxi company, Harry Hooper Ltd.

The lack of a regulatory framework in the 1920’s led to the Canadian Taxi Wars. The result: Present day’s set of regulations. Much of this strife occurred because too many people were just starting up taxi companies out the ying-yang.

The larger companies that made sizeable investments in establishing systems and metres were having their market share eaten into.

So what exactly ended ‘the Wars’? The imposition of a minimum wage, standardized fares, liability insurance, taximeters and limits for new entrants to the industry.

This perfectly sets the stage for Uber’s significant efforts to enter markets all around the world, particularly Vancouver where challenges persist.

Uber’s Efforts To Get Into The Vancouver Ride-Sharing Market

In October 2016, Vancouver City Council voted to extend the moratorium on issuing new taxi licenses to next year. Regarding Uber, their position has been that it’s up to the Province to conduct a review of the taxi industry to determine whether it can co-exist with ride-sharing companies, like Uber.

Vancouver City Councillor Geoff Meggs told CBC News: “We all agree more service is warranted. But no one is I think keen to put out new taxi licenses if they’re not going to be economically viable in the face of ride-sharing or any other changes the provinces could impose.”

Uber knows that Vancouver would be the testing grounds for getting into other Metro Vancouver municipalities.

However, they also know that the Province of British Columbia can set overarching ground rules for ride-sharing companies, like Uber to play by. That’s also what Uber is counting on – a provincial framework.

Uber’s Marketing Campaigns In Vancouver

Uber has made one giant campaign to get into Vancouver’s market but tapping into sensitive areas in the taxi industry, like wait times.

A series of Uber ads in 2016 highlighted the long wait times for taxicabs in Vancouver and Victoria. One ad even showcased a fictional mother who missed her daughter’s doctor’s appointment because the taxi they requested never showed up.

Of course, it begs the question: Who takes a cab to the doctor’s office?

Yet, it also makes a powerful case for the desire for ride-sharing in Vancouver. A growing segment of the population, burdened by the rising cost of living doesn’t necessarily need cars or have the time to wait for public transit or taxicabs. The solution is Uber.

Can Uber Survive In Vancouver?

Sure, it can. With a regulatory framework that allows the taxi industry and ride-sharing companies to coexist and compete fairly, the possibilities are endless.

For example, the Government of British Columbia outlined a Taxi Bill of Rights. The Ministry of Transportation teamed up with Consumer Protection BC to lay out the rights and responsibilities of both the taxi passenger and the taxi driver.

However, many questions remain. Will similar rights be established for ride-sharing users and drivers? Will the Taxi Bill of Rights be reformed and overhauled to include ride-sharing users and drivers?

Such regulations must govern the safety and security of cars that operate under the Uber banner. Cab driver Terry Sahota has those same concerns. “Will Uber cars have a safety inspection every six months like taxis?” he asked The Province newspaper. “What about insurance, security cameras, criminal background checks?”

Then, there’s the fact that driver defections to Uber will have a major impact on the industry. In other cities, drivers are attracted by Uber’s better hours, better pay, and reduced costs. A taxi company in New York claimed to have lost 40 percent of their drivers to Uber.

Taxi licenses are very expensive and controlled in supply by Vancouver City Hall. People have put their life savings into buying a taxi license. This has been a big barrier to entry into the market and is a reason why many current cab drivers are upset at Uber’s entry attempts.

Selling that license with Uber in the fold will likely result in a dramatic fall in price, nevermind the reduction in cab sales.

The Reality: Ride-Sharing And Taxis Must Co-Exist

Given the tough economic situation that cab drivers and taxi companies are threatened by, the reality is that if the demand and political will are there, ride-sharing will be existent in Vancouver. It’s not a matter of if but a matter of when and how.

An industry that has long gone without any competition now has to face the test that so many entrepreneurs encounter upon starting up their own companies.

This is how it is all around the world in the taxi industry. Vancouver is next.

What are your thoughts on Uber? Does Vancouver need ride-sharing? Leave a comment below!

mobile pop-ups Google

Websites with mobile pop-up ads will not be ranking as highly when the changes go into effect, starting January 10, 2017, Google announced this week.

The world’s largest search engine announced a change to its algorithm this week that affects mobile user experience – and how sites are treated and ranked. Google will be cracking down on what it call “interstitials” or mobile pop-up ads, as we know them.

What Google Says

According to Google’s official announcement, these pop-up ads provide a poor mobile user experience:

“Pages that show intrusive interstitials provide a poorer experience to users than other pages where content is immediately accessible,” Google’s official announcement states. “This can be problematic on mobile devices where screens are often smaller.

How Does Google Determine What Is A ‘Poor’ Experience?

Google clearly defined how sites can violate this new amendment to the algorithm:mobile pop-ups Google

  • “Showing a popup that covers the main content, either immediately after the user navigates to a page from the search results, or while they are looking through the page.
  • Displaying a standalone interstitial that the user has to dismiss before accessing the main content.
  • Using a layout where the above-the-fold portion of the page appears similar to a standalone interstitial, but the original content has been inlined underneath the fold.”

Who Is Affected By Google’s New Attitude To Mobile Pop-Ups?

This change in Google’s algorithm will primarily affect companies that make money off pop-up advertisement revenue.

These companies face a critical dilemma: Rank or profit. Taking a ranking hit on mobile can eviscerate numerous companies out there. A rising 51% of all digital traffic is viewed on a mobile device, according to the 2015 Internet Trends report. That same report indicated that 42% of all digital content is consumed on desktop. Trends suggest that number will continue to decrease.

5 Lessons We Learn From This Change In Google’s Algorithm

  • Don’t rely on ad revenue from mobile pop-ups
  • Prioritize user experience. Google’s latest updates emphasize UX and it’s been clear that they always put searchers first.
  • Stick to a SEO plan and grow your business with organically-sourced leads.
  • Gate your content behind a landing page instead and bring them to it via Google AdWords.
  • Most of all, provide something special and valuable to users. They’ll never engage unless it provides some sort of value to them.

What are your thoughts about Google’s announcement? Leave a comment below.

How to make money blogging

Blogging is an important element in an effective strategy to grow a business online. It’s the practise of communicating stories and information to your audience about or related to your business.

Blogging might sound really informal and not something a dentist would want to do – but put simply, this is all about creating content to answer questions your clients and potential clients would be interested in.

The field of dentistry is unique. At the click of a button, one can find information about solutions for any kind of mouth-related ailment or symptom.

Consider this search for “How to treat sensitive teeth”.

Notice that Google Answers has a pull-out of quick information from the Mayo Clinic? Google has determined the Mayo Clinic to be a reputable source that can provide a near-perfect answer to the query. This is thanks to them fulfilling many of Google’s 200 ranking factors, which we’ll talk about later in this post.

The first organic listing is from Colgate. Both Mayo Clinic and Colgate are reputable in Google’s eyes and they have another big thing in common: They both blog regularly! You’ll soon find out that publishing content regularly is critical to doing well in search engines.

I’ve done a lot of blogging and content marketing work for dentists. Heck, our entire ElementIQ team has! We know that dental blogging works and we know HOW it should work.

In this blog post, I’ll talk about why dentists should blog and what kind of benefits you’ll see if you invest enough time.

We Are Experienced With Digital Marketing For Dentists

Having worked with dental clinics, practitioners and labs, we know how to get you found online and drive new clients to your practice. Helping our clients present the best version of their business online is our passion.

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SEO & Local

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Paid Ad

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Email Marketing

Patients Research Before Making Decisions

Patients rely on their family dentist for sound dental advice. Think about the process: If there’s a problem, the dentist diagnoses it. They suggest options to fix the problem and communicate these options with the patient.

Now, that hasn’t changed over time. BUT, who people get information from and how they do it has varied. These days, when you need a dental implant, patients do their research. They type their question into Google and dig deep for some answers.

Dental practices should educate with their blog-writing. That’s the goal. Your dentists and associates already do this in-person. The next step is to use that advice and education as a marketing tool. One of the best ways to do this is with fleshed out, optimized-for-web, blog posts.

Pro-Tip: How To Know When A Patient Wants To Get Work Done On Their Teeth…

When someone wants information, they’ll type a keyword into Google. However, when someone wants a place to get a service done, they’ll type that same keyword and a location (city) beside it. (Example: dental implants Vancouver).

Typing a location implies you want to find a place where a service is done or offered at.

Do People Still Read Blogs?

I’ve heard business owners question whether people read blogs anymore. The terms “blog” and “blog posts” are synonyms. Blogs are places for content and blog posts are the articles themselves.

That article you read on Huffington Post about the “Top Yogurt-Related Tweets” – that is a blog post. If you read a post on the “10 Things You Can Do With Bacon”, that too is a blog post.

So people may not go to a blog to get information but they do get information from blog posts.

Patients Like Hearing ‘Inside’ Knowledge (From Dentists)

Dentists should be personable, in-person and in writing. There’s value to this in your writing. People like receiving ‘inside’ knowledge. It’s as if the dentist is talking to you

Of course, no blog post is a substitute for a dentist appointment or for direct advice from a dentist. Blog posts should answer patient questions. Dentists can reveal uncommon information such as process and costs in their blog posts.

It’s clear that blogging has plenty of benefits for patients. So what’s in it for dentists and dental offices? For starters, it builds trust. Patients will see you as an authority when you answer their questions. People like receiving candid information.

Furthermore, blogging builds up your website authority in Google’s eyes.

Google Likes Blogging

As digital marketers, we know that Google loves publishers. It rewards fresh content and recognizes those who are authorities in any industry.

Google wants to serve people with the most relevant search results possible. They’ve determined what factors impact relevancy. How you rank in search results depends on over 200 factors!

For you publishing dentists out there, content freshness is high on the list. If you blog and blog well, you’ll get lots of organic visits to your website. This means people type in a query, a result from your website shows up and they click-through.

If you’re a dentist and you’re not blogging or blogging, you’re missing out. You’re missing out on improving keyword rankings for your business. You’re missing out on increasing organic visits to your website. Most of all, you’re missing out on opportunities to get new patients.

Starting (Your Dental Blog) Is The Hardest Part

If you’re a business owner or marketer and you’ve decided to start blogging, what’s the first thought that comes to mind? I’ve found that it’s “what do I write about?”

Here’s my first piece advice: Don’t think about the topics before you think about your customers and what they care about.

Good blogging starts with knowing what your patients and customers are curious about. In your dental office, it’ll be important to have whoever handles content strategy and writing to communicate with the dentists, associates, and dental assistants. These 3 groups of people will be your library for topics.

Above all? Patients ask you questions every day! So note down what you’re constantly asked, and start from there.

Got any questions or comments? We’d love to hear from you. Leave a comment below!


ElementIQ is a new digital marketing agency with an approach that is more specific and less vague, more accountable and results driven.

The Origins Of ElementIQ

The ElementIQ name stems from Search Engine Land’s Periodic Table of SEO. It comes from the realization that there are numerous channels (and sub-channels) under the digital marketing umbrella that a business can invest in and grow from. Within each channel (and sub-channels) are singular elements of digital marketing, which together comprise an entire channel.

For example, in the digital marketing channel of Search Engine Optimization (SEO), there are two notable sub-channels, onsite and offsite optimization. Within those channels are literally hundreds of elements that are important.

It’s important to know that, depending on your business industry, target market, geographic reach, and other factors that not every channel may work.

That’s where the IQ or intelligence of our team comes in. We’re experts, we know what will and may not be right for you. Consider us a member of your team. We’re as motivated as you are to grow your business.

A New Agency, A New Refined Outlook

Our past has taught us, and our future will define us. Since the beginning in July 2010 as ‘LocalTrifecta’. We have more seasoned professionals with a plethora of knowledge and experience in the digital marketing industry. We have more certifications and success stories.

Rather than focusing on the ‘trifecta’ of Search Engine Optimization, Paid Search Advertising and Local Search Marketing, we’ve expanded to include Content Marketing, Social Media, Analytics, Marketing Automation and Conversion Rate Optimization.

Best of all, we have more delighted clients who have seen their businesses grow significantly with us as their digital marketing team.

A Changing Industry

The ways in which consumers search and consume have also changed. This is reflected in search engines. So naturally, Google and its 200+ search ranking factors drive what we do and how we look at the world of search. We’re on top of algorithm updates as Google spits them out. It’s a function of any good agency.

That means some of the ways we Attract, Convert, Close and Delight have also changed.

With this new outlook for our new agency, we know that there is at least one notable constant: Our commitment to doing the best possible work for our clients and being the best in the industry.

We have always committed ourselves to being thought leaders in the digital marketing space in Metro Vancouver and the direction of ElementIQ reflects that.