The Significance Of Work Efficiency

As humans, we have a limited number of hours each day to get our work done. No way around that. While we have no power over time, we do have control over how efficient we are. At ElementIQ, we work with a variety of clients in different industries, so making sure we put our best foot forward every hour is something we have to get right every time.

I sat down with our in-house Web Developer Kevin Hashimoto to discuss how he likes to tackle the challenge of maximizing your effort in a given time-frame. Take a look below.

Stivian: Hey Kevin, thanks for joining me today. You’ve had a pretty extensive post-secondary background so far, mind sharing what you’ve studied?

Kevin: I went to film school, business school and then I went into programming. I’m currently dabbling in design, so it’s been quite the range of experience.

Stivian: What do you like about development? Is it scratching that creative itch or getting to think strategically?

Kevin: A bit of both, actually. With development, it’s not so visual, but I love creating things from scratch. I’m a very do-it-yourself kind of person. If I need something and it doesn’t exist, I’ll just make it.

Stivian: Have you always had an interest in work efficiency?

Kevin: I think so. I’ve always wanted to work as efficiently as possible. It bothers me when things aren’t going as smoothly as they can be.

Stivian: Have you seen things at ElementIQ that could be more efficient?

Kevin: With ElementIQ, it’s more that everything’s always in the process of change. We’re continuously improving processes as we find them. There’s a lot to improve on, and there’s a lot that we do well.  

Stivian: What’s something you’ve seen implemented at ElementIQ that’s made a big difference in how we work?

Kevin: Me joining is one. *laughs*

I think how we structure our project management with Teamwork. Since we don’t have a dedicated project manager, getting organized with that tool has been keeping projects in order. If we misuse it, our communication gets disorganized and projects get chaotic.

On the design side, Invision has been really good. There’s a lot of tools inside of it that help with development workflows.

Stivian: How do you get ready for the day? Does your routine start in the morning or at night before work?

Kevin: I’m a night person, to be honest. I just work so much better at night. Somewhere from 10 PM to 2 AM is my sweet spot. My morning routine is pretty relaxed. I wake up and hang out for a bit until I get in the mood. I’ll eat some granola bars, drink a protein shake, check out Instagram and get to work. I’m not a morning person but I’ll get up and do what I need to do to prepare.

Stivian: There you go. I know you freelance on the side, do you find working at an agency 9 to 5 and working on the side to be difficult?

Kevin: Oh yeah, totally. Even if I were to be just freelancing full-time, it’d be really difficult because it’s so volatile and unpredictable. Juggling a full-time job at an agency and then freelancing right after that is pretty tough but I’ve got goals I want to get to, so they keep me going.

Stivian: Nice, what are some of these goals?

Kevin: I’m launching my own branding agency, and my other goal is working fully remote, preferably on a beach somewhere.

Stivian: That’s the dream. What’s the Pomodoro technique? I’ve heard you mention it before.

Kevin: It’s a technique where you work for 25 minutes at a time and take a 5-minute break, and so on. The urgency of the timer keeps you focused because you know you don’t have a lot of time. I find I’m more focused throughout the day with the 5-minute break in there. It’s a good power-hour.

Stivian: I guess you could call it a power-25. How do you like to spend your 5-minute breaks?

Kevin: I like to get up, get a glass of water and walk around a little bit. I don’t want to be in front of my computer waiting for the 5 minutes to expire, as I need to refresh my brain for the next session.

Stivian: Have you been using this technique for a while?     

Kevin: A little while, yeah. I’ve been experimenting with different times blocks, just because development has a different workflow. I tend to work for longer than 25 minutes at a time.

Stivian: What are some of the challenges with being a web developer compared to previous jobs you’ve had?

Kevin: Thinking ahead is a big one. You need to structure how you develop things ahead of time. You need to make things scalable and maintainable so you’re always considering the future when building.

Stivian: That makes sense. What does the ideal workflow set-up look like to you?

Kevin: In terms of development, I like to have the design finalized before I touch development, just in case things change because I have to go back and re-do my work. Getting everything finalized before actually building anything is ideal, and it’s what we’re in the process of standardizing here. On the design side, you want the scope of the project before you get to work. Having clear steps detailed before getting to work makes for smooth projects.

Stivian: At ElementIQ, we work two days of the week from home. How do you find remote work? Do you find yourself more productive or focused with the extra time to rest?   

Kevin: Honestly, it’s a mix. Some days I feel more productive, some less. Some, I’m more focused, others not so much. I find the flexibility to work at my own pace and catch up after 5 PM a bonus. It’s also a little more relaxing working from home. Some days I go to a café, grab a warm drink and some pastries and work from there.  

Stivian: That sounds pleasant. What do you think are your best habits that have resulted in professional success?

Kevin: Being straight to the point, and not too humble about things. When you sugarcoat some things, your points might not get across at times. I used to be pretty humble and sugarcoat everything, just because I wanted everyone to like me. The way this comes back to efficiency is if you want things to change, you can’t sugarcoat them.

Stivian: I agree. I think it’s important to acknowledge the difference between dishonest harmony and being truthful for the sake of productivity. Were you a disorganized person before? Did you have to work hard to develop good habits?

Kevin: I think I was pretty disorganized. In terms of school, I never liked it so I was disorganized from the beginning, but my accumulation of experience and experimenting with different methods has brought me to where I am today.

Stivian: Do you have any advice for people who might be disorganized and are trying to build good habits?

Kevin: Every person is different. I’d suggest exploring different methods of working and finding that zone that you’re comfortable in.

Kevin has recommended this video series from InvisionApp that goes over workflows for design teams, a must watch for anyone involved in design projects!

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CMPNY Coquitlam And The Importance Of Coworking Spaces

ElementIQ has a fairly unorthodox approach to where we work. We currently spend two days of the week remotely, and the other 3 are spent at CMPNY, a coworking space in Coquitlam.

Wondering what a coworking space is?

Coworking spaces are shared workspaces with desks in the open, private offices, and meeting rooms making up the majority of the floor. The flexibility, price point, and amenities offered are stealing entrepreneurs, freelancers, and small businesses from traditional workspaces.

We had the chance to sit down for an interview with boss lady Alicja Mazur, Director of Communications and Community at CMPNY to discuss how these innovative hubs are creating opportunities and fostering communities for teams of all sizes.

Stivian: Hey Alicja, thanks for doing this. Tell us a little bit about your professional background.

Alicja: I started out in retail, as we all do, where I perfected my salesmanship skills. Then I became an Executive Assistant for a software development company, whereupon I started working for the Port Moody Arts Centre as a Communications Manager. Then I landed this gig, where I was a Space Manager for about two years.

Stivian: Word on the street is you recently got a promotion?

Alicja: Yup, I’m now the Director of Communications and Community.

Stivian: What’s that gonna entail?

Alicja: It’s an experiment! I’m hoping to grow the community in Burnaby and Coquitlam. I’m going to come up with a strategic plan for us in regards to communicating the benefits of coworking.

Stivian: That’s exciting. Big role. Tell me a little bit about CMPNY, what you guys do, and what your values are.

Alicja: CMPNY is a coworking space that primarily focuses on shared office space, shared desks, shared meeting rooms, etcetera. Our clients are small business owners, entrepreneurs, contractors, freelancers and the like. They can share among the resources of CMPNY and the community to grow their business and look more professional to their clients, and be in that continual phase of growing and acquiring knowledge.

Stivian: Makes sense. Is there anything behind the name? You guys were Spacekraft before, right?

Alicja: We were Spacekraft before. That was a stylistic choice because we wanted to represent innovation. That being said, we felt that we’ve grown quite a bit from our original choice, so we rebranded as CMPNY. The reason it’s CMPNY with no vowels is because it’s such a striking visual. If people recognize the brand, that’s the first step to success.

Stivian: It’s a strong name, I like the look. What sort of impact have you seen CMPNY have in the local community?

Alicja: The impact we’re having in the Tri-Cities right now is that we’re getting people used to the idea of coworking spaces. What we’ve noticed is that most people in the suburbs either commute all the way downtown or work from home. There’s very few local jobs that allow people to commute in 5, 10 minutes, and the people that work from their homes are comfortable doing so. Something that CMPNY’s doing right now is making sure that talent comes here because that brings the zest of business relationships, and that grows the businesses inside the coworking space.

Stivian: Nice. Why do you think businesses are coming here? What’s drawing them in over traditional working spaces?

Alicja: Well, there’s scientific-based research that says that working remotely isn’t healthy for people. People who work remotely are more likely to experience depression, they’re more likely to be divorced, and people who commute long hours downtown typically experience decreased life satisfaction overall. So for those able to work remotely, over the internet, and not having to be at a workplace, all of a sudden you have this opportunity to be at a workplace. You might not want to work at your house, per se, because there’s so many distractions there.

Stivian: That makes sense. I think the whole loneliness thing, being alone Monday through Friday, 9 to 5, that’s got to have an effect on those working from home. I guess some people can pull it off but…

Alicja: Well that’s why you see an increase of people working out of coffee shops. They want to be around people because we’re inherently social creatures.

Stivian: So you get a lot of freelancers and solopreneurs, do you guys do anything to build a community for them?

Alicja: Yes! So, one of the main missions of the Space Managers, and one of CMPNY’s main missions is to make sure we host events that people want to go to and make connections. Not necessarily rigid business connections, but more-so friendly, neighbourly, communal connections. I come from a Political Science and Communications background, so the value that people get out of micro-communities and micro-villages is stupendously strong and influential. That’s where you form friendships. That’s why the eradication of neighbourhoods causes so much panic.  

Stivian: Are people enthusiastic about the events? Do you see them come out pretty often?

Alicja: Yep, we have really great turnouts and we usually have a bunch of different people that come out to them. We have a mix of social events, and their primary reason for existing is for people to get to know one another. We have education programming where we bring in an expert on a certain topic so you can learn more and bring a new tool to your arsenal. Next week we’re doing a lip-sync battle. It’s just one of those things where if you can lip-sync in front of a bunch of strangers (who might be friends now), you now have the confidence to do that pitch in front of an investor that can take your business to the next level.

social lunch
One of CMPNY’s beloved social lunches.

Stivian: If you could organize one event – your DREAM event, what would it be?

Alicja: If I had unlimited funds, I would take all the CMPNY folk on a 7-day retreat cruise where we would talk about professional development, and bring in a business coach, a life coach, a psychologist and a business planner, and have each person go through that, and go through it together as a community. That would be a cathartic experience.

Stivian: That’s better than what I had. For some reason, my brain jumped to bringing in like 12 llamas to the office. So the Digital Nomad movement has become very popular within coworking spaces, do you get a lot of these people coming through?

Alicja: Absolutely. Again, it’s one of those things where you want to connect. Correct me if I’m wrong, but Digital Nomads usually specialize in specific areas, and while they might be able to Google a resource or call a colleague in Alberta, it’s way easier to just talk to somebody face to face. That face to face interaction is key to improving and learning better. If somebody shows you how to do something, as opposed to reading a blog about it, that’s much more likely to stick.

Stivian: Has the industry changed a lot since you started at CMPNY?

Alicja: The industry has changed quite a bit. A little history of coworking – the connotation of coworking started with the dotcom movement in Germany. A bunch of hackers rented a basement and were like “…This is pretty sick. It costs us all virtually nothing and it’s fun working together.”. It then migrated to Silicon Valley, where it was more of the bean-bag chairs recreational area and developing personal relationships. You can see that at Google’s headquarters where they have a bunch of benches, a cafeteria, ping pong, and things like that. And then it came here because there was a need for it. With the whole Digital Nomad movement and the fact that office spaces were becoming increasingly more expensive, why not work out of coworking spaces?

Stivian: That’s a big impact. Last question. What role do coworking spaces play today and how do you see them evolving in the future?

Alicja: Coworking spaces right now fill a niche for community building and a lack of affordable building space. I see coworking spaces expanding like franchises, similar to Starbucks and McDonalds. People want to work close to home, as they’re increasingly starting to value work-life balance. For parents who have careers that are demanding, it’s important to spend as much of your time with your kids as possible. You want that balance.

I think coworking spaces are going to be a-dime-a-dozen, and what that’s going to mean is they’re going to really differentiate themselves. For example, there’s L’Atelier downtown that’s primarily catered to creatives. For us, 10 to 15 years down the road, I can see us having a coworking space primarily for Digital Marketing people, a coworking space specifically for engineers, a coworking space for X, Y and Z. It’s just going to silo.

Stivian: That’s really cool. Any last words you want to add?

Alicja: CMPNY is cool. We love ElementIQ. #love.   

The Importance of Call Tracking

What is call tracking, and why should you care?

You’ve probably heard that call tracking is important for your business, but why is this the case?

Online marketing campaigns typically drive traffic through multiple channels, such as paid search, email marketing, and social media. These channels work together to drive people to your website, where they can take any number of actions.

As a business owner, you want these people to eventually become your customers. However, when they reach your website, this probably won’t happen right away. Instead, they might show their interest or try to do more research before determining if your business best addresses their needs. Only then will they hand over their hard earned cash.

To understand and improve your marketing efforts, you need to be able to clearly visualize what is working for you and what isn’t. You need to know what activities are causing people to show more interest in what you have to offer, as well as understand their behaviours and how your internet presence can influence these behaviours.

One way of capturing marketing data is by tracking content form submissions. Almost all websites with contact forms will automatically track them. So why don’t we do the same for calls?

Despite the fact that we are living in an increasingly digital area, people are still calling businesses, especially when they’re interested. In fact, the number of calls to businesses is only increasing as smartphone capabilities improve. Phones now, making it easier to call a business than ever before. As well, according to digital marketing expert Neil Patel, calls convert 10 to 15 times more often than web leads.

If you don’t track calls, you are losing valuable data. Calls are far more important than you think.

How Does It Work?

Call tracking provides you with data that shows which marketing efforts are driving calls to your business. In fact, if you don’t track calls, you might not be tracking up to 80% of your conversions. Without accurate conversion data, you can’t appropriately allocate resources towards your most effective marketing efforts. You’re basically throwing money at all sorts of channels, with no idea of which ones are giving you the best ROI. You won’t have any idea which pages, tactics, and campaigns are effective and ineffective, as you will only be seeing part of the picture.

Check out this handy infographic we made to visualize how this works:

To track calls from different sources, digital marketers use something called dynamic number insertion. What this means is that your leads will see a different phone number to call, based on the channel and geographic location they are on. All of these numbers will lead back to your actual number, so the visitors will contact you directly. However, the usefulness of this is that you will receive data about the referring URL, search keywords, landing pages, and ads the caller came through. As well, the tracking code will remember the original channel for each visitor, so they will see the same tracking number each time they visit your site.

When Is It Useful?

Unlike traditional marketing, online marketing has the ability to clearly demonstrate which activities are yielding specific results. When you have this information, you can then make adjustments as needed and optimize your activities.

Imagine you’re working on an email campaign for your business which redirects visitors to a unique landing page. There might be a form on there for visitors to fill out, but there might also be a phone number at the top. If you only track the form submissions, you’re completely missing data about the email campaign. You won’t know how many people called your business because of that specific email. Call tracking will give you that data so you can see how successful the campaign is, and learn and make improvements for the next email campaign you do.

Call tracking can track calls from a wide variety of platforms. If someone calls your business from directly accessing your website, an ad campaign, Google My Business, or even from Yelp, you will know and be able to see exact data. This data will then allow you to better understand your consumers, drive conversions, and help your business flourish.

Create A Great Email Marketing Campaign

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!

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

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

Why Choose Online Learning?

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

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

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

Start An Email Marketing Campaign

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

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

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

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

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

Reach More People Over Social Networks With Paid Advertising

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

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

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

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

Post Frequent Blog Posts

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

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

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

Promote Yourself In Conferences

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

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

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

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

Get Started

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

Author:

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

The Best Kept Secret In Content Marketing

Keyboard and coffee

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

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

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

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

Get To Know Neil Patel

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

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

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

What Is Content Marketing?

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

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

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

Content Marketing: A Genius At Work

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Keywords Are Key

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

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

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

Write Long Content

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

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

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

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

Step By Step Content Marketing Recap

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

Final Thoughts On The Summit

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

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

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

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

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

5 Easy Social Media Hacks To Better Engage Your Audience

Social media is a frequently overlooked realm of digital marketing. It tends to be an afterthought in business, with leads and immediate results as a priority. The truth is that your presence on social media is essential in modern marketing.

Your social accounts are like your digital business card. They represent what you want to reflect as a brand. They may not produce instant results or sales, but they are part of a larger concept of creating brand awareness. Social media is a company’s key to promoting their personal image and interacting with organic traffic.

They are a front-line for interacting with existing customers and potential leads. Your social accounts have the role of welcoming new users in, as well as pleasing and entertaining existing customers. The role of social media in marketing cannot be overlooked. It is a powerful tool for advertisement.

With that said, social posts, especially when there are multiple companies involved, can be very time-consuming. When you incorporate things like paid search, it becomes a full-time job to monitor social accounts, to be sure they are growing and doing well. Here are some easy hacks to quickly and efficiently jumpstart your social media campaign.

1. Schedule Social Posts In Advance

Scheduling your social posts is necessary. Especially if you are running more than one social account. The key to staying organized and on top of your accounts is proper planning in advance.

Keep a spreadsheet or document where you can plan out your social posts for the upcoming week. Designate specific roles such as content creation and copywriting. There are a variety of different tools that can help you schedule your posts:

HubSpot 

HubSpot, the inbound marketing tool for small to large businesses makes it easy to organize and schedule your posts on all social media platforms. HubSpot also notifies you when you receive comments or messages on your social platforms, so you won’t miss a thing.

Buffer

Buffer is another social media management tool. It allows you to schedule content, link to analytics and sync with multiple accounts, so you can ensure your posts are coordinated. Buffer can be used for all social media platforms.

Grum

Grum is a scheduling tool used specifically for Instagram. It allows you to switch between multiple Instagram accounts and schedule posts and captions.

These tools and many like them help to organize and align your social media plan. They give you a tangible way to control the timing and consistency of posts. They also give you insight on optimal posting times.

2. Adopt A Theme For Your Social Media Accounts

The highest ranking social accounts in marketing these days all have a certain theme. This theme accurately represents the brand and the content they want to be associated with.

Look at RedBull for example – the energy drink is associated with more than simply staying awake. They sponsor athletes and extreme sports competitions around the world. This commitment to action is reflected in their social accounts. They display the idea that drinking RedBull does more than energizing, it promotes individuals to go that extra mile and live an active life. Their social accounts attract younger target audiences with photos that all follow the brands’ theme. The social accounts play a large role in creating this consistent image for the company.

Just like this example, it is very important to have a specific audience that you tailor your content towards. This helps you determine what themes you would like to use. Arrange your posts in a theme that accurately reflects your brand. You can analyze your target market to gain insight on what they like to see. You can also do competitor research in order to set your brand apart.

Helpful Tools For Social Themes

Some great editing and planning tools that help to quickly and visually improve your social accounts include:

Canva

Canva is a very straightforward design app. It lets you quickly create beautiful images and promotions. You can also pick from pre-made templates and stock images for inspiration and practical use.

VSCO

VSCO is a mobile photography app that lets you design custom filters for your images. It is an interactive platform where you also have the opportunity to share a gallery and interact with a community of photographers. This app is useful if you are looking to create a unique or signature filter for your images across social media platforms.

Unum

Unum is one of the most straightforward planning tools for Instagram. It allows users to upload images to a mock gallery to see how they fit with your Instagram’s theme. The app connects to your account and displays your existing gallery, as well as blank spaces where you can upload images to see how they fit with your gallery visually. Unum also has a scheduling feature, so you can plan and schedule your gallery to post consistently.

A themed social media account is becoming less of a stylistic preference and more of a necessity. You want your accounts to reflect your professional abilities and your brand. You need to tailor your accounts and adopt a theme that’s consistent throughout for easy brand recognition and association.

If you are not sure what type of theme to adopt, check your competitor’s accounts. Look at other successful pages and draw inspiration from that. Chances are, you have a similar buyer persona, that will be attracted to the same style. Pay attention to what your followers post, and post things that would be relevant, attractive, and useful to them.

3. Be Consistent – Manage Brand Reputation

In the vein of creating a consistent image, ensuring external factors don’t negatively affect that image is also important. Have your brand guidelines in mind when you create social posts. Use specific colors or logos so that your viewers are able to associate your posts with your brand easily.

Manage your digital reputation carefully. Unfollow or block unsavory accounts. You want your followers to be organic and interested in your profile because they are interested in your brand.

Delete unwanted comments and block spam users. No matter what kind of business you are, there will always be a time when you encounter negative feedback. Take the time to create a plan for reputation management on all social accounts.

Clearly outline content that you want to be posting, sharing and associated with, as well as users and content that you want to stay away from. It is also important to note that you should have complex passwords for all of your company social accounts and change them frequently.

The biggest part of social media brand reputation management is ensuring your image stays far away from negative associations. You want to connect with buyer persona’s, people interested in your brand and filter out internet trolls and spam accounts.

These accounts can tarnish your online image. You can add a watermark to your content or your logo, to ensure it isn’t being used by others on the web. Having a clean and positive digital image promotes credibility towards your brand, and builds trust in your potential clients and customers.

4. Be Interactive Online

One of social media’s core benefits is that it’s inherently interactive. It is easy to connect with people when they have inviting images and a theme that projects your interests. Be approachable online, and know that social is a great place to generate leads. People connect with your image and message you.

Use Automated Messages

It is very common, especially if a user really likes one of your social accounts, for them to message you as a business. This is done directly through social channels via comments or private messages. If you notice this happening frequently, and you have a lot of private messages on multiple social media accounts, it is a good idea to employ an automated system.

This automatic reply can be pre-written and it assures the person interested in your brand that their message has been received and they will have a chance to connect with a human soon. This saves you time so you can prioritize responses for those who are messaging. Facebook has this feature built in and you can choose to enable it in your messaging system.

Facebook has an automated reply option on the platform, but you can also generate your own through external apps.

Hold Contests and Secret Sales

A great way to reward your dedicated followers on social accounts is by hosting secret sales, only accessible by social media. It is also a great way to get noticed and get your name shared with others.

Depending on what you are looking for, you can have followers share a photo and tag your company, or use a company hashtag to indicate everyone participating in the secret sale or benefits. Contests create a sense of community while promoting interest and excitement about your brand.

Run Polls

Polls allow you to gain greater insight into what your users like. They are also much more direct than simply observing user behavior. With polls you can ask your users what they like, fun questions to get them involved, or simply inspire conversation amongst your followers.

Respond And Interact With Your Users

Interact with your users directly on social media platforms. Test your knowledge of your buyer personas and use what your followers are posting and saying to help add insight into what they like and what they are interested in.

Your followers will identify with you more as a brand if you are always on their minds (or phones). When you personally reach out to connect, be it through liking other photos, commenting or responding to comments, you promote direct interaction with your brand. You make your followers feel welcome and heard, they will look at you more as a friend than as a brand.

5. Track Change And Monitor What Does Well

It can be difficult to know exactly how to manage your social accounts right off the bat. It is best to monitor your progress over time.

Base new posts on posts that have done well in the past. Use the process of trial and error to experiment with your posts, theme and subject matter and see what content does well. Get feedback from your viewers both directly and indirectly.

Hold a poll to determine a new online theme, or simply observe which posts perform best and why. Perform competitor research and look at what is trending, as well as ways to stand out.

The best way to perform well online is to be observant. If a particular one of your posts is doing well consider investing in ads and promoted posts. These boost your reach to viewers who may be interested in your business.

Social media mastery isn’t learned overnight. Due to its ever-evolving nature, some might argue that constant change and experimentation is the key to getting ahead with social media marketing. Use the platforms to your advantage and get your brand involved in social media.

How To Write Copy For The Web

How to write copy for the web

The internet is filled with every different type of writing you can think of. So how do you make your words stand out? Good copy attracts people, it motivates them and inspires action! It is useful in sales, marketing, educating and even simply entertaining.

Without copy, there would be no content on the web. Copy is essential, to the internet. Be sure that your writing stands out, gets your point across and sticks with the reader.

There are certain guidelines and techniques that you can use in order to write effective copy for the internet. Whether it is for your personal blog or a web page for a Fortune 500 company, there are unifying factors to all good writing. So let’s get started!

1) Make Your Writing Easy To Digest

Unless you are writing in a technical setting, for other professionals, it is best to avoid language that is too complex. Take a conversational approach.

Visitors are scanning your copy for valuable content that stands out to them. They’re not reading for quality. They aren’t your English professor marking your Hamlet essay.

It can be difficult, but you will need to unlearn the tactics of written English that were taught in school. When you write for the web, you can break certain rules of written English in order to better relate to your audience.

Tips To Break The Rules Of Written English:

  • Use conjunctions: don’t, can’t, won’t.
  • Don’t be afraid to start sentences with “but” or “and”
  • Ask questions in your copy
  • Use one-word sentences
  • Write in the style of the target audience
  • Appeal to emotion, use “you” and “we”

It is a good idea to have a target audience in mind when you are planning your copy. However, your writing should be so easy to comprehend, that someone without former knowledge of the topic can have a basic understanding of what is being said.

Write in short paragraphs. No longer than three sentences. The best way to create fast and visually pleasing content is by using lists. Numbered lists are both beneficial for Google and for your readers. You can scan information quickly in bulleted format.

When in doubt, pretend you are writing to a close friend or family member. Begin all of your copy with “Dear Mom” and proceed to write in a way you’d speak. Definitely, delete your greetings before your publish your post!

2) Pick The Right Tone

Writing for the web is a very human experience. You want to connect with the people who are passionate about reading your writing. Let your personality shine through!

Whether you are writing for a corporate audience, a nonprofit, potential sponsors, a small business or a personal blog, keep in mind that you are writing for humans. Web optimization is important, but it doesn’t matter if you rank #1 online if no one can read your site pages.

Write for a positive user experience. The most disappointing thing in copy is arriving at a site, only to find repetitive keyword stuffing with thin, uninformative content.

Appeal to readers’ emotions and use the language that they use! Be quick and direct, don’t waste time with long words. Your goal in whichever tone you pick is to relay the essentials. Your reader should easily understand and connect with the copy on a more personal level.

3) Add Photos And Visual Aids To Your Work

It is difficult to read large chunks of texts, without any whitespace or photos. People are visual creatures. (Look at popular apps: Facebook, Pinterest, and Instagram.)

They favor web content that is supplemented with plenty of images.

Readers will often scan pictures to determine whether or not they want to read the related content. So photos are vital in attracting readers.

Your pictures should be condensed and optimized with the appropriate alt text so that Google knows that you have images on the page as well.

Search engines don’t “see” photos like people do, they read them instead.

Always keep in mind that your viewers are your priority. Visuals are important to them. They should be there to help visually guide your readers. Use related images as much as possible, not awkward or unrelated stock photos.

Use screenshots when appropriate. You can even add videos to your copy if they are related and available. Always remember to cite your photos. Give credit to photographers and get permission before you use images that aren’t your own.

Stock photos are a great option, as long as you don’t go overboard. The images should pair well with the content at hand.

4) Format Your Writing For The Web

It is always a good idea to keep in mind that if your writing isn’t optimized for the web, it is less likely to be seen, and attract the readers you want.

When Google crawls your web pages, it follows a certain set of algorithms. It needs to organize and compile every piece of content on the web. It wants to deliver the most relevant search results for a given search.

In order to get your content to the top of search results, optimization is key. Write copy first with your audience in mind. Compose content that you know your viewers will engage with and love.

But at the same time, keep in mind that search engines don’t read like humans do. Optimize your content after it is written.

Write content within their guidelines so that Google can also “read” what you’ve written, and sort it as helpful, reliable information. There is a great article on how to rank first on Google here.

Google looks for keywords, formatting, and tags. It checks to be sure that the title of your work is related to the content.

It also monitors what sites you hyperlink to, in order to ensure that the information is related to what you’re writing about.

Be sure to organize your writing so that both readers and search engines can benefit. Have headings, numbered lists and titles, metadata and alt text on images. Brainstorm your copy beforehand and set up an outline so that you write in a coherent structure.

5) Add Hyperlinks To Your Copy

One of the best things about writing for the web is that there’s information everywhere. Make it easy for your readers to access related content by providing them with links to similar information in your copy. You can also link to your older posts that are relevant or helpful for your readers.

Hyperlinks make your writing interesting and interactive. They are a good way to keep your readers engaged while they are reading. Hyperlinks are a great way for you to write focused content with additional, informative links.

You can use hyperlinks to inform your readers on things that may take too much time to explain in your copy. For example, you can link readers to a “how-to” article. It saves you time and space in your copy, and it keeps your readers informed.  

6) Close With A Call To Action

What was the reason for writing this post, page or whitepaper? There is always a reason for why you’re writing online, even if it’s simply to gain awareness on your personal blog. End all of your writing with a type of conclusion that motivates your reader.

Your reader found your copy because they were looking for specific information. Whatever you’ve written has been beneficial for them in some way and has ideally given them the answer to what they were looking for.

If you have written about a new recipe, it is likely that your reader is going to go start cooking after reading. Motivate them and get them to share your recipe with others.

Likewise, if you are writing about a product, let the reader know that you not only know about this product. You also know where to buy it and provide them with a link to a sale.

7) Edit, Rework And Revise Your Writing

Editing is essential to all copy, online or otherwise. Read your writing out loud to check for flow and consistency. Have someone edit what you have written, and provide comments and suggestions. There are several excellent apps to help with editing and content writing.

Hemingway, for example, is an app helps you determine the readability of your writing. It indicates when sentences are simple or complex. It also checks for common grammatical mistakes.

Grammarly is an automated proofreading tool that can be used as a chrome extension. It actively corrects your grammatical errors and spelling mistakes. It also sends you fun weekly updates, highlighting your most common grammatical mistakes.

Proofreadbot is an application that has both paid and free options. It is useful for editing shorter snippets of writing. Simply copy and paste your work into the “check your writing” box and it will scan your work for errors.

Read your copy in the mindset of your readers and ask yourself: Is this writing helpful? Does it answer my readers’ questions? If your copy seems like it needs more work, add to it and change things until you are satisfied with it.

A great part about writing for the web is that there is always new information emerging and evolving. It is vital to continually update your old copy with new information when it is available.

Key Takeaways

  • Write like you speak
  • Keep it simple
  • Do keyword research
  • Optimize for the web as well as the reader
  • Metadata and a clean title
  • Add photos and visual aids
  • Short sentences

Great web content takes time, and the best way to learn how to write effectively is through experience! Copy is always changing and it can always be improved.

You should now have a better understanding of how to write copy online. There are plenty of other tips on web content writing if you are interested. Test out what you have learned and leave comments on your own personal tips as well!

Why Dentists Should Blog

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.

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).cosmetic dentistry vancouver Google Search

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!

How We Increased One Dental Practice’s Leads By 205% And Traffic By 1500%

“Today, if you look at most of our patients, we didn’t have to go out and look for them. They contacted us, because they found us in the top positions of search results for all of our primary keywords and landed our website,” – Peter Balogh, Dentist and Owner of the Vancouver Centre for Cosmetic Implant Dentistry.

By investing in online marketing and focusing on Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and content marketing, VCCID transformed its formerly bare-bones site into a tool to leverage business and drive qualified leads.

Learn how this dental company was able to dramatically increase dental inbound leads by 205% and organic traffic by 1500% over two years.traffic increase stats in google analytics

The Customer

Three years ago, we were introduced to the owner of VCCID based out of Metrotown in Burnaby. The practice has been around since 1991 and specializes in cosmetic dentistry and dental implants.

Dr. Balogh was looking to grow the online presence of his dental practice. He understood that more and more people were going online and conducting their dental research online before they stepped into his office.

They wanted to invest in extending the reach of their knowledge, service and brand.

This was done 100% through SEO and content development. Before we dive in, allow me to clarify a few things:

  • The website’s organic traffic grew over 1,500% in two years.
  • Dental leads increased by 205%.
  • This was a new domain, registered just a couple months before launch. (previous domain was redirected to vccid.com)
  • We did not focus on link building at all, but rather focused on-site optimization and developing effective site content

VCCID’s Challenge

What VCCID wanted, was to have the independence to alter their website easily and implement a marketing plan that would give them clear results.

Before starting their engagement with us, VCCID relied mostly on print advertising and Pay-Per-Click ads. Their website was outdated and hosted by an external provider. So it was quite difficult to make changes to their site to keep it up-to-date. They wanted to implement an SEO plan, but making changes to the website was challenging since we had no control of the backend.

And Worst Of All…

Dr. Balogh’s industry was getting crowded (with more than 15 clinics and practitioners located within a 100 meter radius of his own clinic.

Step 1. Update And Optimize The Site

VCCID had an outdated website. Several measures were put in place to optimize VCCID’s site. The updated site was built on a custom built framework, which allowed the site to be responsive, visually attractive and easy for a consumer to navigate.

Building A Keyword Database

Dr. Balogh’s primary goals were to increase appointment requests and to target more
lucrative cosmetic dentistry services specifically dental implants. Based on these goals, we developed a search engine strategy to optimize Dr. Balogh’s site for higher visibility for related keywords.

The main idea here was leave no stone un-turned. We first went through all of our target search verticals, as dictated by the market categories. From here, we began what started out as an in-depth process of evaluating the opportunities for each keyword and grew to compiling opportunities to distinguish which categories we needed to focus on to grow traffic.

The next step was to identify the highest valuable search volume terms and track results.

To accomplish our goals, changes were also made to the site’s copy to improve the quality of information. More images and better images were added to the site, giving interested visitors an immediate visual point into what VCCID can do and the quality of work they provide for their patients.

Special efforts were taken to fully explain in detail all of the services VCCID provided so that the site had a better chance of showing up in search results.

Improved Rankings

Over the span of three years we have been able to attain the top position in Google for the most valuable and profitable keywords for VCCID. The payoff to our approach was well worth the time and effort.

Step 2. Citations, Citations, Citations

The obstacle that we had to overcome in this case, was to find each instance of the previous Business Name, Address, and Phone Number and focus on cleaning them up because having consistent and correct citations is mandatory for any successful local SEO Campaign.

Overall, there are 3 types of citations we’re trying to fix during this process. These include:

  • Duplicates – Duplicate listings on the same directory
  • Mismatches – Listings for your business that have the wrong Business Name, Physical Address, or Phone Number (or just the 1-800 number and no local number). This can get especially complicated for doctors and lawyers.
  • Incomplete Citations – It’s important that you fill out the profiles to completion once you’ve claimed them. This includes adding photo and filling out every field there is an option for.

There are hundreds of places where VCCID’s previous business name was mentioned and by cleaning and updating everyone, we were able to accomplish our goal and improve local rankings in Vancouver and Burnaby.

Step 3. Designing A Content Strategy

The key to success in this project boiled down to becoming obsessed with Dr. Balogh’s customers because effective content marketing is based around great understanding of his audience.

Like any great content marketing campaign, our optimization strategy was dictated by our campaign goals. Our goals were pretty straight-forward, such as increase rankings to gain traffic, and increase conversions so we can grow VCCID’s revenue.

We not only embarked on an aggressive content schedule, but we constantly monitored the effectiveness of our campaign and made the adjustments necessary to reach our goals.

Creating Meaningful Content

Each piece of content we created had specific goals.

The content needed to:

  • Reflect VCCID’s goals and user’s needs.
  • Communicate to people in a way that they understand
  • Be useful
  • Stay up-to-date and remain factual
  • Be consistent
  • Be able to be found

In short, we wanted to answer as many questions people had with in-depth, relevant and useful
content that would set us apart from every competitor.

Did digital marketing give VCCID the trackable results they were looking for?

Absolutely! As I mentioned at the beginning of this post, there were clear metrics that we defined and tracked. We were able to demonstrate clear growth in traffic and leads figures, as a result of our efforts.

It’s clear that every campaign starts with goals and objectives. Then, you create a strategy to achieve those and within that strategy, there are set tactics that you must employ. At every step of our engagement, we did just that and the results are clear. Not only does he rank #1 or near #1 for every high-revenue keyword in his core services but he’s gaining traction quickly in related keywords.

Got questions? Leave a comment below and we’ll respond!