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Working Remotely Can Be Great for Business: Tips to Succeed During the Coronavirus Crisis

working from home at desk

As it turns out, pyjamas are not just super-comfy. They can also be great for productivity.

As Inc. reports, working remotely can get more work out of the same workforce. It can cut overhead costs and boost creativity. It can empower workers to take ownership of their roles because they feel trusted and valued.

Plus, working remotely is good for the planet. With less smog comes more blue and green and even visible twinkling stars amid the city lights. It feels good to be kind to our world.

Still, there is no question that many individuals and businesses are struggling economically during the coronavirus crisis. If you are feeling stressed, honour that. You are not alone. It is normal. Take a deep breath. Take good care of yourself.

Then, rather than focusing on what you can't do right now, we invite you to use this blog post to brainstorm what you can do to take even better care of current clients and generate new business.

Dare to Do Things Differently

Have you heard of Goat 2 Meeting?

An enterprising animal sanctuary recently launched a, well, udderly unique way to bring in some extra business during the coronavirus quarantine. Several other similar charities quickly followed suit.

Looking for a surefire way to get all your remote workers to the Zoom meeting on time? Rent a goat! Or a llama. Or a donkey. Or an alligator.

We're not saying you should rent a farm animal, per se (although it is for a great cause).

But it might be time to take that zany idea you've been hoarding out of its time-out corner and launch it. You might just discover a whole new revenue stream you otherwise could have missed.

Reinvent Demand for What You Offer

To be honest, no one was that surprised when companies that supply hand sanitizer and face masks started to see huge spikes in demand.

But after bracing for the worst, some less obvious vendors found themselves pleasantly surprised by sales upticks.

For example, one small company that makes aloe vera gel, a necessary ingredient for homemade hand sanitizer, had to mobilize literally overnight as demand for the gel nearly outpaced existing stock.

Other pleasantly surprised businesses include photo editing apps, booksellers, gardening stores, delivery services, mail-order subscription boxes, home and garden supply stores, and phone headset manufacturers.

Could your business be next?

Resell What You Can't Use

Yet another way to repurpose your business strategy to stay in the black is to simply resell what you are not able to use.

Many restaurants have reinvented themselves as small mom-and-pop grocers, selling extra food stores they cannot use that would otherwise go to waste. Customers are drawn in by the chance to score premium-quality foods without the long lines and stress.

Distilleries have addressed the shortage of sanitizing supplies by brewing up hand sanitizer in their on-site distillery barrels.

Print out your existing inventory list, then look over the items and brainstorm other ways to use each. You may just land on a readymade market for those items close to home.

Rethink Your Storefront Model

You might think all “live event” businesses have gone belly-up in the wake of this extended quarantine period - doubly so for any businesses labelled non-essential.

But as we all know, what is non-essential to one person may be urgently needed by another.

Dog trainers have taken to YouTube to conduct virtual training seminars. Crafters are selling DIY homemade face mask kits by mail order. Bookstores are sending employees out to deliver book orders door to door.

Complementary companies are partnering up to create virtual retreats, teaching everything from jewelry making to gardening and canning.

Whether your new business-as-usual is an online storefront, a delivery service, virtual classes, or a brick-and-mortar pivot, it feels a lot better to spend your energy trying something new than sitting around worrying. And your own creativity might just surprise you into a big success.

Partner to Weather the Quarantine Together

In many areas, business owners are coming together to co-promote and support one another, pool inventory to create unique products and services, and reach out to their surrounding local customer bases to ask for help.

In one smaller artsy town, local businesses decided to co-launch a website to sell gift cards to local customers.

The website joint venture has also begun to serve as a hub for resource links and breaking news that affects small-business owners and workers, and local consumers.

Dig In and Do That Thing Only You Can Do

It is no small thing to sit at home, day after day after day, willing yourself to stay calm while you wait out these uncertain times.

But consider for a moment how often in the past you have wished for even just a bit of extra time to start an email newsletter or launch a blog or create a digital storefront or revamp your website or whatever it is to better support your business.

Now is your moment! Finally, you have that extra time you once thought would never arrive.

Even though it often doesn't seem as if it will ever end, this quarantine period will be gone at some point. How do you want to use this precious pocket of extra time?

Is there something you want to do, something only you can do, that just might change everything in your business and your life for the better?

Get in Touch

During this time, our staff are working remotely to remain safe and at your service. Do you need support to pivot your business quickly? Are you struggling to find the right words to let your customers and community know you are still here and you care?

We can help.

Please bookmark our UPDATE page so you will know how to contact us quickly via email or support ticket with any questions or requests.

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6 Digital Strategy Steps to Launch Your Online Business in the New Gig Economy

online business

These pandemic times definitely caught us by surprise. People are worried about having to reinvent their income source or are already actively trying.

Is it a coincidence that the rise of the gig economy took place only a handful of years before the events of the last few weeks created a new work-from-home necessity?

We may never know. But one thing we do know is this: if you have ever thought about or wanted to work from home, earning your income on your own terms, now is definitely the time to take that aspiration seriously.

The truth is, the tools are all there. You have the resources to launch or grow your own work-from-home business from wherever you are with whatever skills and talents you have.

What you may not have yet is the know-how. This is where we come in. After reading this blog post, you will have learned the basic steps to take to launch a digital business.

1. Choose your niche

For many aspiring digital entrepreneurs, this first step is the hardest. Maybe this step is easy for you because you already have an idea for a niche product or service.

But if you don't, this is the place to start.

A "niche" is a business sector. Examples include parenting, fitness, travel, finances, home decor, pets, teaching, and cooking.

Your niche may be broad or narrow. "Fitness" is a broad niche. "Yoga" is narrower. "Travel" is broad. "Camping" is narrower.

The key here is to pick a niche you are really passionate about. Your passion will sustain you through all the hard work that is yet to come.

Once you have your niche in mind, it is on to step two!

2. Select a hosting provider

A hosting provider is the entity that will ensure your blog remains online and highly visible (hi-res photos, streaming videos and all) to site visitors.

Did you know that most website visitors will leave a site if it takes longer than three seconds to load? You have probably left sites that were "taking forever" to load without even realizing that "forever" was actually just a matter of seconds.

So you really want to avoid this when launching your digital business. This is why we highly recommend SiteApex.

You can opt for DIY or premium hosting, depending on how web-savvy and hands-on you want to be with the more technical aspects of your digital business.

3. Build your blog

Guess which blog platform nearly three-quarters of bloggers today choose? If you guessed Wordpress, you already know more about blogging successfully than you realize.

What you may not know is that Wordpress offers two tracks: Wordpress-hosted and self-hosted. It is this second track that the majority of digital businesses choose.

You can easily adapt the basic Wordpress software to your business needs using the hosting platform of your choice.

There are so many benefits to using the Wordpress platform through a self-hosted provider. First and foremost is that you retain full control over your content and site up-time.

Wordpress is simple and intuitive to work with if you are technologically inclined. Otherwise, give us a shout for help creating a functional, beautiful blog design complete with a ready-to-launch online e-commerce store.

4. Set up your email list capture software

Email may seem very old-school in today's lightning-fast, real-time social media scene.

But email is still where the big money starts rolling in.

In short, the email list you build for your new digital business is your gold. The reason is simple: every person who willingly gives you their email address is someone who has already received value and wants to hear from you again!

Before you get too far into building your digital business, you want to have software in place to invite web visitors to give you their email address (email capture software).

Once you have your email list capture software set up, you can integrate it with every piece of content you write to capture new subscribers.

5. Brainstorm your first 20 blog post topics

You are already deep into the behind-the-scenes creation of your new digital business. You may have lots of ideas for products you can sell, services you can provide and clients who may need your expertise.

But how are you going to reach them?

You reach them with content. Your blog posts are the equivalent of cold calls by phone or old-school knocking on doors but less intrusive.

Not only are your blog posts what tell Google's algorithms that your blog is active for indexing purposes, but those same posts are also what can attract new organic and paid search traffic to your website.

In order to attract this new traffic, you have to create content (blog posts) that speaks to people's needs. And this content must be SEO (Search Engine Optimization) friendly so people searching for your content can find it easily.

Let's take "fitness" - "yoga" as an example. What might people interested in yoga be searching for? How about "the best yoga mats for pregnancy?" Or your audience might be searching for "the best online yoga courses" or "best yoga for beginners."

When you have 20 blog post ideas, it’s time to start creating your blog content, linking it to your email capture software and building your contact list.

6. Populate your online e-commerce store

Whether your tastes, interests and expertise run to printables, e-books, online courses, webinars, one-to-one coaching sessions, swag or something else, your online e-commerce store is the place to sell it.

Today's e-commerce platforms are so sophisticated they can actually act as an online salesperson for you. Properly configured, your online store can be selling on your behalf 24/7, growing your business even while you are on vacation or asleep.

Get in Touch

Like so many of our clients, we are working remotely at the moment. We are available to assist you by phone, email or support ticket

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Is Your Website Serving Your Customers Well? How to Know & What to Do

website add to cart

As a busy entrepreneur, you don’t have time for time-wasting do-overs. You really need to get it right – whatever “it” happens to be from one moment to the next – the first time.

This includes trusting your employees. For example, you simply can’t be there every second to make sure your workers are taking great care of your company’s customers. You have to train them and then trust them.

This can be a tough balance to maintain!

The same holds true for your website, which is basically your online staff. Is your website doing a great job inviting current and potential customers to browse what you have to offer? Is it greeting people warmly – the way you would greet them if you were there personally?

Is your website giving them the red-carpet VIP tour, advising them of all the latest specials and making a plan to keep in touch? When your website serves your customers and prospects well, there is a much stronger chance they will be back.

If it doesn’t, you can bet they will take their business somewhere else...and likely for good.

How to Know When Your Website Needs a Facelift

Approximately 81 percent of customers go online before they make a purchase decision.

Take a look at your website and ask yourself, “If I were shopping online, would I shop on my site?”

Perhaps right about now you are thinking, “I don’t think my website is that great, but I don’t have money to do lots of expensive Google ads to bring people to us.”

Guess what? You don’t have to place pricey ads to generate more traffic! What you DO NEED to do is first make sure that if new visitors find you online, they will want to stick around and shop with you.

This is called “website optimization.”

It is what most websites need more of, so if your website has it, you are way ahead of the bell curve and much more likely to generate what is called “organic traffic,” which is the biggest generator of new business anyway.

So let’s talk about how to do this without having to invest a small fortune to make it happen.

Understanding Organic Versus Paid Website Traffic

Have you ever watched one of those televised awards shows where the stars show up on the red carpet and just look flawless?

They make it so easy to look perfect. But behind the scenes is another story. They might have spent all day, all week or even all year working up to that one big spotlight moment. The investment will be worth it if the cameras decide to turn in their direction.

But not all red-carpet stars get front-page features the morning after. The reporters choose of their own free will who to photograph, video, interview and feature.

This is the principle of organic website traffic in a nutshell.

Your website shows up. Your customers decide of their own free will whether to give you their attention or turn toward your competitors’ websites instead.

It is your job to make your website look flawless, effortless, perfect, to attract and hold your customers’ attention.

This means it is a misnomer to say that organic website traffic is “non-paid” traffic.

It is paid for in terms of how much time and energy and investment you put into your website behind the scenes. But once launched and visible online, a well-designed, optimized website will generate inbound traffic – new site visitors – without any help from Google Ads.

In fact, the most recent 2020 statistics tell us that up to 80 percent of people who use the internet to research or shop ONLY look at organic search results (i.e., they ignore the paid ads that pop up at the top, bottom and sides of their browser window).

How to Optimize Your Website to Get More Organic Traffic

The first step to optimizing your website is to identify where you are now and where you want to go. This is often the hardest step because it involves gathering data, analyzing that data and making sense of it to create goals.

Unless your business is website design or online marketing, you probably want to bring in an expert to help with this.

A five-star optimized website 

  1. is rich in SEO (search engine optimized) keywords

  2. is responsive and interactive on multiple platforms (mobile and voice search-friendly)

  3. is optimized for local SERP results (SERP – search engine results pages, i.e., local organic traffic via Google, Yelp, etc.).

  4. makes full use of email signup, social media, webinars and freebies to collect prospective customer data and begin building that relationship.

A website that is optimized to perform in these four areas is like a trusted worker you don’t have to micro-manage.

They are “you” when you are busy elsewhere. They are so good at their job you might just award them “Employee of the Month” or even “Employee of the Year!”

Getting your website to this point represents the bulk of the behind-the-scenes workload required to capture more organic traffic, or more visitors to your website.

Once you start to see results, with more online eyes turning your way, then the rest is simply about refinement, making small adjustments and tweaks to continue to improve your online marketing results.

Get in Touch

Are you ready to turn your business website into your online Employee of the Year? We can help!

Read our local business case studies to learn more about the kind of transformation that is possible with a professionally optimized business website.

Contact us online or give us a call at 613-969-0626.

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Josh Edwards talks Entrepreneurship / Full Interview with BlogBOQ


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4 Keys to Maximize SEO Results For Your Business Website

a/b testing

No one launches a website these days just to have a website.

Sure, it’s cool to claim your own little corner of the web, but it won’t take long for that corner to start feeling lonely if no one ever comes to visit you there!

Plus, launching a website requires an investment. It will take time and finances plus mastery of new marketing skills, like SEO, or search engine optimization.

But why invest in SEO? What the heck is that, anyway?

Simply put, if your website is your business home online, then search engine optimization is the front door through which you welcome visitors who become new loyal customers.

You need SEO to make sure visitors who are seeking what you have to offer can locate you online and navigate their way to your front “door.”

Read on now to learn the four keys required for SEO business marketing success.

What Is SEO: A Non-Technical Explanation

Search engine optimization basically translates to “accurate directions.” Let’s say you head to the web because you need to get your vehicle’s oil changed. You aren’t sure where to go. So you type in the phrase “affordable oil change near me.”

In a flash, your browser detects your physical location and delivers several pages’ worth of information about the closest businesses that perform vehicle oil changes. With any luck, one of the first few listings will be an exact match for your needs.

Before you know it, you are on your way over to get your oil changed and on to the next item on your to-do list.

This is SEO in a nutshell: keywords on a site that Google recognizes as most relevant to your search and then suggests to you. 

So now imagine someone is heading to their website browser right now because they need your product or service. What terms would they type in to find you? Would those terms find you? Or would they find your competitors instead?

How to Get Started With SEO For Your Business

If we just did our job well, you are probably already feeling more informed and confident about why SEO is relevant and important for your business success.

But even if the explanation you just read sounds simple in theory, when you go to put it into practice, you will quickly discover it is not as simple in fact.

Successful SEO marketing is hard work!

This is where we come in.

Just as we wouldn’t dream of being able to walk into your company and do your job well from day one, so too do we realize most busy entrepreneurs and small business owners have neither the time nor inclination to learn how to do what we do well.

SEO, like any skill, takes years of education, training and practice to master. Our clients trust us to do what we do well so they can continue to do what they do even better.

Four Keys to SEO Small Business Success

When you work with us to grow your business, we will implement these four critical elements of successful small business SEO marketing.

1. Target Market Business Analysis

Target market business analysis is a fancy way of saying, “How close is your website to page one of Google’s search engine results? Are you on page one? Page 20? Can you even find your website online?

If you are ranking but not on page one, we can help you get closer. If you are not ranking at all, we can help you rank and improve your ranking over time.

There are three parts to target market business analysis.

  1. Website analysis

  2. Competitive analysis

  3. Initial keyword analysis

By the end of phase one, we will know where you are now versus where your competitors are now, how far we have to go and which strategies are most essential to get you there.

2. Keyword Research

Keyword research takes the last part of phase one several steps further. We identify the keywords your competitors are using successfully to outrank you in search engine results.

Then we look at the most important search criteria and keyword combinations to reach local customers with your marketing message and increase new visitors (inbound web traffic) to your website.

3. Content Optimization

With phases one and two under our belt, the next task is to begin a process known as “content optimization.”

In a nutshell, this simply means taking what we have learned about important keywords and key phrases and strategically using them to beef up your website content.

The goal here is to make calculated changes to your online content that won’t look calculated to Google’s algorithms. This is how a website moves up in the search engine rankings and eventually becomes that website everyone else in the industry wants to copy!

4. Measure and Test

Once phases one, two and three are completed, your website will essentially become a smooth operator online, steadily attracting new site visitors, generating new customer inquiries, gathering positive online reviews and slowly but surely attracting new repeat customers to your business.

But it is not all smooth sailing from here – far from it. Because you can bet that your competitors will notice your share of the local market increasing and will respond accordingly.

As such, this is the step that can most readily propel you to the top of the local competition or send you back into online obscurity. From here, we will continually be monitoring your search engine ranking results, tweaking your content accordingly to keep your success growing.

Get in Touch

Done well, SEO marketing is a full-time job, and you’ve already got one of those! So why not give us a call to see how we can help you realize your business dreams?

Contact us online or give us a call at 613-969-0626. 

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