Local SEO for Small Businesses

Small-to medium-sized businesses contribute to approximately 41% of Canada’s gross domestic product (GDP). With small businesses playing such a big part in our nation’s GDP, it’s time to shine a light on how important digital marketing- more specifically localized digital marketing is to the success of an SME. As a result, we’ve outlined three amazing tips that will help support independent business owners in attaining the right strategies to bring in leads through the door.

  1. The importance of localized keywords

At the end of the day, you want to make sure that your website shows up first on every search engine. That’s why it’s incredibly important to focus and know your localized keywords, essentially words that people in your local community would search to find you. A great way to figure these words out is by surveying some of your customers to see which search terms they would use to find your business. This will vary from area to area, hence the localized aspect of it.

  1. Configure your Google Plus business page

Your business can benefit from using Google Plus in many ways such as:

  •   Standing out – You’re able to share your latest information with customers such as directions, opening hours, pictures and offers
  •   Compare – Now your customers can compare you to multiple business so you can show how much better you are
  •   Engage – Customers have the ability to leave you reviews and let you know how you can improve your business. This is also a great platform for you to speak to them and understand their needs and wants more intimately

Google My Business is a significant online directory that no localized business can ignore. So make sure you optimize your Google My Business page as it can help you get targeted exposure from your local audience.

  1. Online Directories

Getting listed on various online directories not only helps with your SEO but can also help you generate qualified leads. The more local you get the better, so check out your local newspaper to see if they might have an online directory. Also look into your local chamber of commerce and any other local directories.

In short, local search engine marketing or local SEO as it is commonly called, is here to stay. It’s slowly yet steadily turning out to be a crucial part of a successful small business online marketing strategy, so make sure to hop on this wave for 2019.

8 Questions to Ask Regarding Marketing Automation

Scaling is hard. Marketers have so much going on from email marketing to social media management and other website requirements. These to-do lists for scaling deem to be an incredibly difficult task. That’s where marketing automation comes in. If done properly, marketing automation can facilitate the lives of marketers and business owners. The difficulty arises when you need to make sure it is properly done. Why does everything have to be so difficult? Winston Churchill said it best, “a pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity: an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty.” Marketing automation isn’t easy but nurturing your leads in an efficient way will produce actual paying customers.

To make your lives easier, we’ve put together a list of 8 questions you have to ask when implementing Marketing Automation for your company.

  1.     When should I start implementing a marketing automation strategy?

When a company grows, it becomes more difficult to speak to every individual lead at each section throughout the customer journey. Not only that, but it becomes more difficult to track every conversation with your potential leads and record proper follow-up steps after each conversation. You have the option of  hiring a few new sales and marketing professionals, however this can be expensive and inefficient. When you find that manually managing your lead relationships is at stake, marketing automation should be your go to!

  1.     What are some features I should look for when looking into marketing automation tools?

Marketing automation is more than just managing email campaigns- it’s a life saver! Marketing automation helps you automate everything from drip campaigns, auto responding to leads, lead tracking and scoring, CRM integration, social media integration, marketing asset management and more! The bigger your company is, the more features you’ll need. So choose your marketing automation tool properly.

  1.     Can both marketing and sales team use it?

Marketing and sales are directly related! So both marketing and sales teams can and should be using the marketing automation tool. When looking for marketing automation tools make sure that you can add enough users for your needs.

  1.     How is marketing automation different from CRM?

Marketing Automation is all encompassing. Automation tools are mainly designed for marketers so they can see where sales are coming from and what marketing campaigns to focus on in order to drive more leads. CRMs are more tailored towards when leads are actually generating and passing them along the sales funnel.

  1.     Can I automate social media outreach?

Social media is a lot in today’s day and age, everyone is connected. It’s a great way to show off your brand and even generate new leads. Automation can help you target the right demographic with an easier and more effective strategy . The underlying question that you have to ask yourself here is can you reach out to more people and the right people using your automation tool? If the answer is yes, then kill it!

  1.     How does lead nurturing play into this?

Not everyone converts into sale right away, so making sure that your marketing automation strategy is able to nurture your leads is incredibly important. Lead nurturing has many actives that are incredibly hard to accomplish manually when you have many leads. The tools you should be looking for should not only help acquire new users, but also help nurture and retain potential leads and clients.

  1.     How important is price when choosing a marketing automation tool?

Budgeting is important. You don’t want to overspend, but you also don’t want to penny pinch when it comes to marketing automation tools…and they’re not usually cheap. Saving at first might cost you more in the long run. Marketing automation is an investment that will help your company grow.

  1.     What sort of data and analytics should I expect from my marketing automation tool?

Without numbers and metrics, marketing automation can be thrown in the trash. Making sure your automation tool gives you the right data and analytics is incredibly important with the right integrations. These analytics will allow you to make the right business decisions in real time to get the most out of your tool.

Every business has different needs and expectations from a marketing automation tool. It’s a long and difficult process, however once set up, it’ll make your business run at full efficiency allowing for business growth and scale. Efficiency and organization? Sign me up!

Top Ways to Utilize Email Marketing

How Effective is Email Marketing?

Email Marketing has been around for a while, and businesses still to this date use it as an effective means of customer acquisition, retention, and informative marketing. With good content, and a proper list, email marketing can be used to successfully increase sales, growth, and build positive customer relationships.

Sales Pitch

Whatever industry you may operate in, email marketing has a myriad of benefits for increasing sales volume. Sure, the majority of your email list won’t purchase a service or product, but that can be said about any mechanism of digital marketing (i.e. targeted search engine marketing). The most important thing to keep in mind is ROI, and for email marketing, statistically speaking, the ROI is $38 for every $1 spent on running campaigns. Beyond that, there are tons of free email marketing platforms on the market, so spending is only necessary in certain cases.

Customer Retention

One of the fundamentals of any business operation is not only acquiring a customer, but retaining them for the future. Repeat customers are extremely profitable for any business and a good way to retain customers is to ensure they don’t forget about your company. You can communicate with your customers via email marketing on a monthly, bi-weekly, or quarterly basis, depending on the product or service being offered. Customers usually appreciate personalized emails especially during times like birthdays, and major holidays. This will also make your brand seem more customer-friendly.

Which Email Marketing Platform is Right For Me?

When choosing an email marketing platform, there are a lot of factors to consider. It depends entirely on your industry, scope of campaigns, budget etc.

Some of our favorite email marketing platforms are listed below:

  • MailChimp – One of the largest email marketing platforms offering a variety of services and plans to fit every budget, including a free plan that allows you to maintain a list of under 2,000 emails.
  • Constant Contact – Allows you to create create effective email marketing and other online marketing campaigns to meet your business goals.
  • GetResponse Create exciting landing pages, email marketing campaigns, and more. GetResponse is an all around solution that has tons of functionality for all types of marketing campaigns.

Most email marketing platforms on the market have either a free trial, or a free account with limited functionality. Test it out and see what works best for your company!

Need help with your email marketing campaigns? Operatio Marketing has helped tons of businesses around North America grow their brand and increase their sales with email marketing.

 

Top 3 Influencer Marketing Trends of 2018

Influencer Marketing has really shot up in the past few years. With the rise of social media marketing, influencers are being leveraged in a multitude of ways to promote and acquire loyal customers. As a result, we’ve put together a list of some awesome trends we noticed in 2018 that will help you kick-start your 2019 influencer marketing strategies. Enjoy!

B2B Influencer Marketing

How great would it be if someone who people actually listen to, spoke about your product and/or service?

The benefit of influencer marketing for a B2B operation, is that you have the ability to build long term relationships with your customers.

The Influencer Marketing Hub mentions that 55% of marketers believe they get better customers from influencer marketing. That’s Huge! There’s nothing better than getting a long-term customer…foreseeable ARR is everything when you scale.

Starting with small groups of targeted and specific B2B influencers will help you accelerate building deep relationships with your new customers. As the influencer grows, so will you.

Influencer Marketing Technology and Solutions

Currently, there is no one solutions that covers everything from discovery, connecting, engaging, recruiting, reviewing, and measuring the success of a potential influencer marketing campaign. Notwithstanding, on a regular basis there are new solutions coming out that individually solve each and every pain point.

The development of influencer marketing and the increase of the micro-influencers (an influencer with less than 100,000 followers) are the main fundamental reasons for rising Influencer Marketing solutions.

Check out these cool Influencer Marketing Technologies that we found incredibly helpful in 2018:

  • AspirelQ – Self-service platform that offers access to over 150,000 influencers across major social media platforms
  • Upfluence – With a focus on bloggers, Upfluence changes the way companies can plan, create, and deliver on their content marketing strategies
  • Influence.co – Create exciting, fresh content with influential creators that drive new followers and customers to your brand

Influencer Marketing and the Customer Journey

Micro-Influencers, Macro-Influencers, and Mega Influencers.

On a year-over-year basis there are more and more types of influencers that are being discovered, all of which have various benefits along different periods in the customers journey. A huge trend we see happening towards the end of 2018 and continuing in 2019 is the rise of merging different influencer types throughout the customer journey.

These integrated influencer marketing strategies will weave together Micro-Influencers, Macro-Influencers and Mega Influencers along with other word-of mouth strategies such as loyalty, advocacy and referral programs in order to generate leads and help convert customers faster.

Building relevant content touch points along the entire customer journey will help target the right customers, thus resulting in significant increase in customer loyalty.

 

Top 4 Tips for Online Reputation Management

Online Reputation Management is an integral part in your customer journey. The best
customers are referral customers because A. They don’t cost any money to acquire and B. They
have more loyalty than a brand-new customer because they were referred. 88% of people trust
online reviews as much as they trust their best friends’ recommendations.

1. Google My Business

You and your friends are looking for a new Chinese restaurant to check out. You go on Google and search up “Top Chinese Restaurants Near Me.” Google then proceeds to give you a list of restaurants. As you’re scrolling, you take into consideration the pictures, proximity, and most importantly what people are saying about the restaurant. You’re more inclined to go to a restaurant that has 4.5/5 stars on Google as opposed to a restaurant that has 2.5/5 stars. 80 percent of people choose to go elsewhere if they read bad reviews of your business online. That’s the benefit of Google My Business. You’re able to make sure that your reputation relative to other competitors is great by leveraging reviews, pictures, chat features, and content.

2. Leverage Social Media Interactions

In today’s day and age, companies are lucky enough to be able to communicate with their customers through various social media outlets. Whether it’s through direct messaging, articles/blogs, videos, or competitions you can promote a consistent message that your customers can relate to.

3. Listen to Customers

Your customers are the best people to help you in improving your services and/or products. Getting their opinion and acting on it will help your business adjust to customer needs. But, how will you be able to track all of your customer reviews? Especially since there are so many platforms they can leave it on. Lucky for you, there are a bunch of tools out there such as Google alerts and social mention that can send push notifications each time a review is left. Never miss a review again!

4. Encourage Customer Reviews

If a customer has something bad to say, they will go out of their way to spread the message on various digital outlets. Customers who have a bad experience are two to three times more likely to write a negative review than customers who had a great experience are to post a positive review. That’s why it’s incredibly important to encourage all customers to post reviews. By following these tips, you will have the ability to not only create a strong digital reputation, but also restore a tarnished one.

3 Reasons Why You Should Outsource Digital Marketing

In today’s digital landscape, growing your business online is not the simplest of tasks. What makes it even more difficult is trying to balance multiple sides of your business at once. When making the decision of having your marketing done in-house or outsourcing, one fundamental question comes to mind: which option will give me the biggest bang for my buck?

Ultimately, the choice between outsourcing or hiring a marketing team depends entirely on your business, operations, and processes. Before making the leap and internally hiring an expensive team of marketers, take a look at this list of the top reasons why companies should  choose to outsource their digital marketing to a professional marketing agency.

#1 Cost:

Hiring employees is expensive. This especially comes into play with digital marketing—where you need to trust that the hired entity is a certified “expert.” Employees are typically good at one specific digital marketing service, but finding an employee that is proficient in all digital marketing services is a task in itself. On average, agencies are 20% of the cost of assembling an entire marketing team. This saves money, times, and improves reliability.

#2 Efficiency:

Efficiency in digital marketing is a key asset of long term digital success. Wasted money on lackluster campaigns and improper handling of marketing duties is one of the leading causes of a failed growth in online presence and the ultimate downfall of long-term sustainability of marketing endeavours. Digital marketing agencies have one job—be efficient. The final goal of any digital marketing agency is to increase their clients sales, growth, or other relevant KPI’s. They also need to keep up with your standards or risk being dumped for a better performing agency.

#3 Technology:

The technology around marketing has and still is changing rapidly. Digital marketing agencies tend to use the latest technologies that can turn even the worst marketing campaigns positive. When it comes to growing your business digitally, you simply cannot afford to utilize leading technological platforms. They undoubtedly improve performance, cost-effectiveness, and growth as a whole.

 

Ready to make a change?

If you are interested in enhancing your digital marketing strategy, contact us.

To find out more about our all our digital marketing services click here

 

The Synergy Between B2B and Digital Marketing

85% of B2B marketers say lead generation is their most important digital marketing goal. At the end of the day, there are many different results that B2B companies look for from a digital marketing campaign. Digital Marketing helps in both acquisition of new business and customer retention which is vital to any growing business. Before we go into the top 5 reasons why B2B companies should be using digital marketing, I’d like to mention that without identifying the right audience, the rest of the article can be thrown in the garbage. B2B companies have incredibly specific requirements. It’s a very specific niche that is difficult in identifying. Notwithstanding, if you really take the time to understand what problems your customers are having, you can target them with specific educational, data driven, and decision supporting marketing strategies that will solve their issues.

Now, onto the benefits of using digital marketing for your B2B company:

1. Lower Advertising Cost

Generally speaking, traditional marketing costs can be a significantly higher investment that may or may not give a good ROI. The issue is whether or not, your local ad for example, will be seen by the right people at the right time, yielding in significantly more variables that can affect your ROI. Digital also lasts. Printing multiple flyers only gives you one-time exposure, however creating a website or an awesome article will last for a long time.

2. More Business Opportunity

With the click of a button, you now have the ability to get exposure not only to your customers, but their vendors, suppliers and other partners affiliated to them, which yields for a higher possibility of a customer coming into the door…online door if you will. These potential customers might even be leads that you can nurture into actual customers through awesome Digital Marketing strategies like SEO focused content marketing, email marketing, social media marketing etc.

3. Testimonials

Through testimonials you get to build significant rapport with any potential customers. With digital marketing, you can leverage videos, case study’s and various review outlets to drive leads to your business. You’re only as good as your customers say you are.

4. Data

In God we trust, everyone else bring data. Who’s engaging with your content? What ways are they interacting? You can learn from each campaign you implement and target each individual customer in a unique and customized way. Customer Journey is incredibly important, and data will help you make the right decisions in creating a strategy for it.

5. Brand Awareness

You need to stand out. No matter whether your industry is price based or not, and your company brand doesn’t matter, you still need to stand out. You need to create awareness and constantly show evolvement. If you’re the cheapest option, great, keep on pushing for brand awareness so you can stay on top of mind for appropriate channels as the cheapest option.

 

Now remember, no matter how well these 5 categories are leveraged, nothing will work if the wrong audience is targeted. Figure out who your target is, understand their problems, how you can fix them and whether your company is the right fit. We’ve put together a diagram below showing what you can share for each ask your customer has. Best of luck and happy marketing!

Downtown Toronto skyline with CN tower

Top 4 Digital Strategies in Construction

The 15-storey Traders Bank Building located at Yonge and Colborne, was the first true skyscraper built in Toronto and was completed in 1913. Fast forward to today, where Toronto has one of the world’s most iconic skylines with 19 buildings that are over 200 metres tall. Like how different the Toronto skyline is, the overall construction business landscape has changed, with digital marketing being one of the main reasons. Around 93% of construction companies said that they would be increasing marketing activities in 2018.

Now, simply leveraging marketing won’t always work. 74% of the construction web marketing campaigns fail. You deserve the best. That’s why we’ve outlined the top 4 digital strategies a company in the construction industry should leverage in order to make sure they’re spending their budgets the right way.

Content

“Content is King” – Bill Gates, 1996

Although the quote is a little outdated, it’s still incredibly valid. The content you write about,  whether it’s a blog posts, info graphs or leveraging social media platforms, says a lot about you and your company. It’s simple, the better content you put out there, the more customers can appreciate it. The more customers can appreciate it, the more likely they will generate a sale. Content marketing generates three times as many leads as outbound marketing, drives six times higher conversion rates, and has the potential for a 7.8x boost in web traffic. In layman’s terms, it’s kick ass.

Not only does content marketing help in generating leads, it also helps you understand who your customers are. Every customer requires a unique customer journey, so it’s incredibly important to know who your customers are and what specifically makes them want your service/product.

Cool topics you can talk about include:

  • Industry Trends
  • “How to” Guides on performing beginner level jobs
  • Construction Safety Tips
  • Tips to picking the best contractors
  • Checklists
  • Construction related templates

Local SEO

When searching for a contractor, consumers usually look for a professional in their area as it adds to the convenience of the job. 46% of searches have local intent. This means that instead of searching for a General Contractor, you’re searching for a General Contractor in Toronto. There are a bunch of great ways to increase your SEO, here’s a few cool ways:

  • Configuring your Google My Business
  • Directory and Listing Citations
  • Website Localization
  • Review and Rating Management
  • Quality Backlinks

Don’t worry if you don’t know what some of these mean, we would be happy to explain them.

 Videos

 Construction in its purest form, is an art. You’re building something amazing. It’s one thing to explain the development of a beautiful modern home, and it’s another thing to show it. With modern day video technology platforms like Vimeo, Vidyard and Youtube , you’re able to showcase your work to your clients, in real time. Not only are you able to show it, you can choose from various cool methods such as VR, 360-videos and point of view.

Construction videos on your website will set you apart from competitors in your market. These videos can be anything from “how to” videos, to video references from customers, industry partners and anyone else who would put your company in the light.

Social Media

9.5 Million people are on social media in Ontario. That’s a whole lot of potential customers. It would take a lot of resources to capture the whole market, but there are various ways you can leverage your budget in an efficient way that yields the highest ROI.

The best way companies in the construction industry can leverage social media is through partnerships with various groups and micro-influencers.

  • Groups: Associations and Construction Specific Organizations (i.e BILD, Tarion etc.) are great groups to reach out to. Sharing your content with their followers is a great method to expose your service to a larger following base. This also allows for the associations to follow and repost your content with their followers.
  • Social Influencers: Micro-influencers are individuals with 10K-150K followers. These sorts of influencers are the best people to interact with on social media because their followers are very loyal and trust the content posted on their page. If they trust the influencer, and the influencer recommends your service, you’re golden.

Having a strong social presence allows you to engage with customer and subsequently creates brand loyalty. Having construction completed is on the higher end of a business or consumers budget, so to ensure that they choose you, they need to trust you. Social Media is a great platform to gain your customers trust and provide them with relevant content that they can relate to.

Don’t get us wrong, your brand, your quality of service and strong customer base is incredibly important to the success of your business, but in the modern era, you simply cannot afford to forget about digital marketing.

Grey background with text stating "Calculate your ROI on digital marketing"

Quantifying Your Digital Marketing ROI

Digital Marketing needs some clarity. $1,000 for SEO, a 15% management fee for PPC and Social Media Marketing and then $5,000 for a functional website…Sorry, what? For what? English please.

Pricing is one topic in Digital Marketing that has always been questioned. There are various ways in which agencies can price, either offering a higher value or lower price. However, how can you know what real ‘value’ they’re offering? The answer? Follow the money! Will I get more value going with the cheaper agency? Or more expensive agency? What is the true ROI that’s surrounding this project? Does your agency know how to calculate ROI? This will all be answered in this blog!

The first question you should be asking your agency is if they know how to calculate ROI, pause… if within 3 minutes they can’t explain exactly how they are planning on calculating ROI, dump them. For you to understand what a good ROI is relative to industry standards, you have to know what industry standards are. Lucky for you, they’re right below. If you were to invest $1 into the following services, on average, you would see on the following returns:

Email Marketing –$6.75
SEO – $2.75
PPC- $2.25
SMM – $1.30

How do you actually calculate ROI?

Expected ROI = (Sales Value/Offered Cost)

If for example, you hypothesize an email campaign will generate 20 orders at $100/ product and this part of your digital marketing campaign will cost you a total of $250, your ROI would be ($2,000/250) or 8X. Looking back at the industry averages, an email marketing campaign should yield $6.75 for every $1 invested or 6.75X. As a result, you’re getting 1.25X more value than the industry average.

That’s great, but how do you calculate the sales value when the campaign hasn’t even started yet? Well that’s more intuitive and really depends on multiple variables, that’s why no good agency can tell you. If they do promise something, run… The Sales value can depend on:

Quality and competitiveness of the product.
How competitive the industry is altogether
How accurately conversions can be tracked.
The sophistication of the industry is as a whole

 

Just because an agency can’t tell you the specific ROI to expect, doesn’t mean they shouldn’t have a goal in place. It’s the agencies job is to make sure they analyze the variables and provide you with a ranged ROI so  there is a common goal.

Now, when choosing an agency, it doesn’t matter who’s offering the cheaper or more expensive price, it’s about picking the right agency that knows your goals and knows how to achieve them.

 

Stopwatch with facebook, twitter, LinkedIn, and instagram icons

4 Tips to Leverage Social Media Marketing

2.77 Billion social media users. That’s a big number. That means you have the ability to put your brand in front of over 2.77 Billion people. With that being said, you’d need a bunch of resources to actually reach everyone utilizing these platforms. Below, we have constructed 4 cool tips and tricks to leverage Social Media Marketing.

Live Videos

Over the past few years, more and more consumers and brands are using live videos to communicate. Vimeo recently came out with saying that 82% of consumers prefer watching live videos as opposed to reading a social media post.

It makes a lot of sense why though…

  1. It’s spontaneous and fun, consumers love watching as it lets them get to know the brand more intimately since you’re less polished.
  2. Cheaper! It doesn’t take a lot of money to create live videos. No editing, No production, all that it takes is the simple push of a button to start recording.
  3. Quality over quantity, with live videos you maintain only the most qualified and interested customers in order to specifically target them and increase ROI.

Chatboxes

Customer service is everything! Now how many times have you waited hours just to get a hold of a customer service representative?

Chatboxes can be used by brands in order to communicate with their customers about various
issues/concerns. You don’t have to wait anymore for a response about an issue or concern. This
is only one example of how Chatboxes and artificial intelligence can be used. They can be used for data tracking, sales, marketing, Customer Service etc.

It’s also the cheaper option. No need to pay for customer service reps anymore!

Influencer Marketing

Imagine having someone, who thousands of people listen to, promote your brand. Now, in order to afford Dan Bilzerian or Gary Vaynerchuk to promote your product, you need to have significantly deep pockets.

Now, not all influencers have to be that popular. In comes Micro-Influencers. Micro-Influencers typically have anywhere between 1,000 and 90,000 followers and have some up and coming content! Tackling these Micro-Influencers is incredibly beneficial because their followers are loyal, are brand relevant and most importantly trust what the influencer is saying.

 

Paid Advertising

No matter how hard you try, there will always be a cap with free. In order to target a specific demographic, a great tool to use is Paid Advertisements. It’s easy to do, easy to set spending limits and just an all-around simple and effect way to generate leads.

You can choose what social media platform you want your advertisements running on and fully control your customer journey.