Spring has finally arrived! We can finally say goodbye to our heavy winter coats and boots (for a few months anyway). And what better way than to get outside! The number of hours we spend online grows every year and technology is coming ever closer to becoming our One True Master. In the process, most of us have forgotten the old-fashioned approach to market research.

All of our blog posts come from the personal experiences of our team (and killer, up-to-the-minute research), but perhaps none of the points we’ve brought up before are as close to our hearts as this one. Our own Sanjeev Rajput is a dedicated volunteer for YWCA Cambridge Walk A Mile In Her Shoes inequality awareness campaign and our team pitches in, too.

The Internet is a BIG digital world. Your business is just one of many that are trying to conquer a piece of it. You might think you’ve got it covered if you have a website, but a memorable domain is only the beginning.

For a business, your email address is the digital equivalent of an invitation to stop by your home every now and then. Imagine how crazy it would be if a representative for Best Buy just stopped by with information for a sales promotion every month. And yet, that’s how email marketing essentially works.

You know that YouTube is one of the top 3 search engines in the world, you know that click-through and page view rates go through the roof when video is involved. What you don’t know is how easy and budget-friendly it is to harness the power of video to market your company. We got this!

Imagine how many more happy customers you could have if you could get inside people’s heads. Think Being John Malkovich with an entrepreneurial twist. Unfortunately, you can’t literally get yourself in someone’s head, but you can get your brand in there.

What if you don’t necessarily own what you paid for? Sounds suspicious, almost scary, right? (No offense, Karl.) The truly frightening thing is that this incredulous catch might apply to the website your business depends on.

"Here, nana, this is the website for my business. I told you the Internet is real.”

“… Hmm… But dear, what do all these numbers and letters mean?”

“What… Oh no…”

You get up and turn on your laptop… But, wait… No, no way… It’s not working. The blasted thing won’t turn on!

If you could write 25-year-old you a letter and fire it off in a time machine, what would it say? Consider those times at the start of your business when you sat at your desk in the dead of night worrying how you were going to make your dream job work while still paying your bills.

The Waterloo Region Small Business Centre (WRSBC) has an epic track record of hosting valuable seminars and workshops. We’ve all been burned before by workshops that didn’t live up to the hype. What’s WRSBC’s secret to success? We chatted up Rob Clement, Senior Small Business Advisor for the WRSBC to get the scoop on why their workshops are packed and leave attendees begging for more.

Contemplating a new website? It’s probably time. Even Jelly Triangle-designed websites become antiquated. But how old is too old?  And how long can you put it off before your website starts to look like 1995 called, and they want their website back? There are a lot of moving parts that you have to look at critically and competitively in order to make a sound decision.

Can you imagine if brand giant Starbucks had called the company something ludicrous and truncated like Il Gioronale Coffee Company? Or, if multi-billion dollar soda giant Pepsi had called their product Brad’s Drink? If Nike had called themselves Blue Ribbon Sports? What about if Google had called themselves Back Rub? Insane, right?

It’s an exciting day when we flip the switch on a new site for our clients. The culmination of their investment and hard work is always worth the celebration. With a retention of over 90%, we’re always happy to hear from our clients and continue to work with them in the future as their business thrives and prospers. What no one looks forward to, however, is calling us because their site has been hacked.

So your SEO guy or girl is telling you he can get you on page one like, tomorrow. Sounds great, right? Beware the promise of a quick financial return when it comes to SEO! It could mean a long-term penalization with Google that might hurt you in a big way in the long term. This is what we call a black hat technique.

When you’re working in a small business with a small team, every person is a pillar that the business stands on. It can therefore be roof-shattering when, for a host of different reasons, one of your key players decides, or has to, leave the team. It might not be because Jimmy got a better job at a competing firm; it might be because Suzie’s mom got sick and she needs to move to Antarctica for 6 months. Either way, what do you do when an important member of your team leaves? We’ve got tips to cover all your scenarios here.

Let’s talk about cows. Specifically, let’s talk about how more than a century ago, cattle ranchers used branding irons to differentiate which animals were theirs in the herd. No wonder a lot of folks directly associate the word “brand” in business with a company’s logo: but, over the last few centuries, the word brand has evolved to include a lot more.

In the words of the great Annie Dillard, we all want waking; and in a digital world, sh*t is loud, and congested. Golden content is given the same equal opportunity to get found as gaudy political merchandise. In light of this, inspiring victory over apathy (let alone convincing someone to buy whatever your selling) can be downright defeating. I mean, have you seen all the series you can binge watch on Neflix lately?

What I tend to find surprising/not surprising, since most of our clients are small business owners, is when we tend to hear the same thing a few times within a short span of time. Here’s what it was this week: “We’re too busy for more business right now: so maybe we shouldn’t be doing fill-in-the-blank service.”

Have you ever struggled with the question: should things change in the business, or should they stay the same? When market research or feedback from your network reveals it might be time to overhaul your logo, tweak your signature product, or change the name of your company, it’s worth considering. But… won’t you damage your credibility or affect that long-standing reputation you’ve built on being responsible?

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