NORTH SHORE DIGITAL https://northshore.digital Your Online Growth Partner Thu, 06 Oct 2022 13:50:55 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=6.0.2 https://northshore.digital/wp-content/uploads/2018/09/cropped-Untitled-5-01-32x32.png NORTH SHORE DIGITAL https://northshore.digital 32 32 How to Make Blog Writing Easier, More Fun, and SEO Friendly https://northshore.digital/easier-seo-friendly-blog-writing/ Thu, 06 Oct 2022 13:27:49 +0000 https://northshore.digital/?p=20556 What should you do about digital marketing in a recession? SEOptimer asked our founder, Andrew Jackson, some critical questions. Find the answers here.

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Are you finding it harder and harder to write blog posts that are both engaging and SEO friendly? You’re not alone. A lot of small business owners feel like they’re stuck in a rut when it comes to this kind of writing. But don’t worry – there are a few things you can do to make the process a lot easier, more fun, and more effective. Check out the tips below!

Key Takeaways:

  • Know what keywords your brand should be ranking for (and how to find them)
  • Write content that provides quick and easy answers to search queries
  • Promote your blog on your newsletter, social media, and other online platforms

One of the best ways to come up with blog topics is to start by brainstorming a list of keywords related to your business or niche. Once you have a list of keywords, try to think of creative ways to incorporate them into a blog post. For example, if you sell Halloween decorations, you could write a blog post about the history of Halloween or share some fun facts about the holiday. Brainstorming a list of keywords can also be helpful when it comes to optimizing your blog post for SEO. including keywords throughout your post will help search engines index your content and make it more likely to show up in relevant search results.

Not sure what keywords you should be ranking for? If you’re a client of North Shore Digital, your Account Manager can help you find the right keywords to make writing blog posts easier. Other tools online that are helpful for finding keywords are SEMRush, Keyword Planner from Google Ads, and Keyword Explorer from Moz.

When you know what keywords you’re after, it’s time to create a blog structure and find an angle to write about. By structuring your blog post around a specific keyword or topic, you can ensure that your content is relevant and informative. We recommend using an inverted pyramid structure for your blog posts. This means starting with the most important information at the top of the post and then gradually including less important details as you go down. This structure is perfect for blog posts because it allows readers to quickly get the information they need and then dive deeper if they’re interested.

Google favourites web content that is helpful and easy to find, which means your blog posts should provide quick and easy answers to search queries. Add a “Key Takeaway” heading near the top of your blog post that covers the most important information. You can use branded fonts to make the Key Takeaway section more visually appealing, or header text. We’ve added a Key Takeaway heading in this blog to give you an example of what this looks like.

blog post

Once you’ve got your blog content prepared and ready to publish, add images. People are more likely to engage with content that is accompanied by images, so be sure to add some to your blog post before you hit publish. If you don’t have any professional photos, no worries – you can find free stock photos online that you can use instead. If you’re using our ticketing system to publish your blog, simply attach your photos along with your blog and our team will handle the rest.

Once your blog post is live, it’s time to start promoting it! The best way to promote your blog is by sharing it on your newsletter and social media channels. You can also submit your blog post to directories and aggregators like Medium and Alltop. By promoting your blog content, you’ll reach a wider audience and increase the chances of driving traffic back to your website.

With these blogging tips, you’ll be well on your way to creating content that’s both fun and informative.

If the prospect of blog writing is downright terrifying, North Shore Digital is here to help!

If you’re looking to take your blog to the next level, or if you’re just starting out, be sure to contact North Shore Digital. We are experts in all things digital marketing and would love to help get your blog off the ground (or help you improve what you already have). Thanks for reading and we hope these tips will help you create amazing content that engages your readers and drives results.

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Expansion of Niche Marketing Services https://northshore.digital/niche-marketing-services/ https://northshore.digital/niche-marketing-services/#respond Thu, 29 Sep 2022 21:08:12 +0000 https://northshore.digital/?p=20490 North Shore Digital was founded as a generalist agency. We now represent a hybrid model with some niche verticals.

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In 2018, North Shore Digital was founded as a generalist marketing agency

This means we work with prospective clients so long as we share similar values, they have a budget for marketing and we are confident of getting results and success working together.

This is the typical business model of most agencies in Western Canada.

In the US, the message to agency owners, is niche down at your earliest opportunity.

If you only work in one industry and help one type of client, you can go much deeper and be the expert authority in helping achieve growth and marketing goals.

This helps attract and retain clients.

When you are a generalist agency, it takes a very talented team and a lot of hard work to wear many different hats and really understand and act on the needs of every client.

At North Shore Digital, we prefer a hybrid model.

This means we retain the parent generalist agency where we work with different businesses and industries.

This is important to us as we understand the business culture locally and we want to help our community succeed.

It is very meaningful when you work with a local business and get great results together.

However, we have also worked on niching down in order to help our clients more and improve our knowledge and skillset to get better results.

This has spawned dedicated websites to reflect the verticals we work with most: ones where we have the greatest results, affinity and opportunity.

You may have seen activity recently on our social media about our exhibit and presentation at the Grow West Coast Horticulture Trade Show.

We were there wearing our Landscaper Marketing hats. Quite literally.

We now have a thriving Landscaper Marketing website detailing all our success stories and a collection of guides for landscaping company owners.

We also have a Home Services Marketing website since these are companies we have a fantastic impact on, in terms of generating new clients and revenues. Various industries are included in this expanded vertical include: landscaping, electricians, plumbing, HVAC, painting…

Last year, we launched Financial Services Marketing as our website to really represent our partnership with HUB Financial and the over 6,000 advisors they have.

We’ve presented various webinars for HUB and CustomPlan Financial about best practices for financial services in online marketing and websites.

Finally, we have Schools Marketing due to the great success we’ve been having helping independent schools grow their admissions and enrolment.

This vertical has excellent alignment with our agency as our three founders have more than 25 years of schools marketing experience between them.

So far, we haven’t generated any niche websites for our health and wellness vertical, but we don’t rule that out in the future.

The key message for our current clients is don’t be surprised if you see us working on new websites and verticals.

We are committed to getting you the best results and improving your online marketing.

Any changes we do reflect this.

Our 2022 client survey results showcase the wide-range of clients we serve and the high level of service and results produced.

Please contact us if you think you’d be the right fit to work with us on your digital marketing goals

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How We Use Google Analytics to Power Your Home Services Marketing Machine https://northshore.digital/how-we-use-google-analytics-to-power-your-home-services-marketing-machine/ https://northshore.digital/how-we-use-google-analytics-to-power-your-home-services-marketing-machine/#respond Wed, 31 Aug 2022 23:17:52 +0000 https://northshore.digital/?p=20408 How We Use Google Analytics to Power Your Home Services Marketing Machine

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Since you’ve started reading this blog you’ve probably come to the realization that your website and online presence is an essential part of your landscaping business.

Having a strong online presence is not only extremely important for new online customer acquisition (it’s very likely that a large chunk of your new customers are finding you online, specifically on Google), but it’s also essential for offline marketing & reputation as well.

Growing your business online not only requires careful & precise planning to put all the correct pieces in place (SEO, paid marketing campaigns such as Google Ads, high performing and engaging website, building online brand equity and more) but also a robust and ongoing strategy to continually grow and improve.

The primary function of analytics for your business in this whole equation is tracking and analyzing online customer data to answer high level business questions in order to grow your business.

In this blog we’ll answer 4 important questions about analytics to show you why and how you should be utilizing this essential tool to grow your home services business.

  1. What Does Analytics Even Mean?
  2. What is Google Analytics?
  3. Why is Analytics Important for Your Business?
  4. How we Use Analytics
  1. What is Analytics?

Analyzing data from various sources in order to help a business reach it’s goals. It’s that simple!

For North Shore Digital this equates to analyzing customer, online and website data to improve marketing ROI for home services based businesses in Canada.

One example of this at it’s highest level could be comparing year-over-year service revenue generated from online sources to see if it tracks with yearly growth goals. Another example, at a more granular level, could be analyzing organic website traffic conversion rates to see how leads & service inquiries are growing month-over-month.

One very important (and often unasked) question of analytics is: “how does what I’m measuring directly relate to the highest level business goals and bottom line”. Analytics is only as good as its ability to contribute to, and impact, business growth. This is where a lot of organizations (and even some marketing agencies) miss the point. Analytics is only as good as the actionable intel it can provide to grow your business.

Analytics is also very useful for answering the “what, where & when” questions (exp. what marketing campaign and content led to that HVAC service call? Where are most of my landscape maintenance contract inquiries coming from? When do I get the best ROI on Google Ads campaigns for seasonal landscape lighting or snow plowing campaigns?

But Analytics can’t do everything! You need an expert to interpret all the data layered with business context in order to answer the “whys”. You also need a marketing strategist to implement effective changes that impact your online performance and, ultimately, your bottom line. This is why we take a team approach at North Shore Digital with experts in all these areas of digital marketing.

  1. What is Google Analytics?

From the horses mouth, “Google Analytics is a web analytics service offered by Google that tracks and reports website traffic”. And at a higher level, “Google Analytics gives you the tools you need to better understand your customers”.

The latter being the most important function of Google Analytics. It’s a platform that allows you to analyze customer interaction on your website with the primary goal of growing your business. You can use this customer data to improve online performance ranging from website usability to SEO to paid marketing campaigns.

Google Analytics is also highly integrated with Google Ads & Google My Business which are 2 very effective platforms we use as part of our search engine marketing machine for home services based businesses.

A final note; recently, Google Analytics announced it will be transitioning from their long running flagship service, Universal Analytics, to the updated Google Analytics 4. In just a few months, Universal Analytics will stop working. So if you’re currently using Universal Analytics we highly recommend migrating to Google Analytics 4. Just make sure you have an expert do this so you retain all your previous data and don’t have to start from scratch. Benchmarking is important to not only see where you’ve been and what worked and didn’t work but also where you’re going and how quickly.

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Most Utilized Analytics Technology
  1. Why is Analytics Important Home Services Businesses?

To hammer home the messaging: Analytics, and Google Analytics, can provide you with important data and insights to help grow your home services business online. It doesn’t only answer website questions. It can also answer business questions outside the scope of your website and provide valuable intel to help with everything from developing customer personas to improving marketing campaigns.

These insights are particularly important for Home Services business (such as landscapers, electricians, plumbers & HVAC companies) since a large portion of new customer acquisition happens online. Even when initial awareness occurs offline (exp. a potential customer spots your service vehicle or employees near their house) there is an extremely high chance they’ll then follow up online by visiting your website, searching for you on Google Maps or finding your online business profile and reviews.

Some important questions that Google Analytics can help answer for home services businesses:

  • Which of my paid marketing campaigns is giving my business the best ROI?
  • Which demographic & location are most likely to convert to a customer on my website?
  • Which content on my website is most likely to engage and convert?
  • Is my organic presence growing over time and how is this translating to service inquiries and revenue?
  • Which call-to-action or website configuration is most likely to convert to a service inquiry.

The list goes on, but you can see how answering questions such as these can greatly help online performance and business growth.

We helped GCLC use analytics to grow their landscaping business to over 1 million per month in online revenue
  1. How We Use Google Analytics To Power Your Home Services Marketing Machine.

At North Shore Digital, our analytics infrastructure is carefully planned out before we put even one line of code on your website.

Analytics needs an action plan and we make sure to track and prioritize only that which is most important to your business growth and bottom line. Every home service business’ goals are unique and we work closely with you and your team to ensure we are collecting the most impactful and actionable data.

We being with an onboarding call to identify your most important business goals, then reverse engineer these to create a holistic strategy and home services marketing machine that delivers performance aligned with your growth goals – this is the reason you hired us in the first place!

Next we identify important website actions that align with your business goals. For example, online landscape design inquiries through your specific services pages.

Finally, we connect these goals to SMART KPIs and online targets. This is where Analytics can really deliver. Ensuring online efforts are delivering on targets and high level lead and revenue goals are being met.

ONLY after we work backwards from your highest level business goals to specific online targets does it make sense to set up Google Analytics.

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Sample Analytics Measurement Targets

A Final Word

You may have noticed a recurring theme in this blog. That is, the use of analytics to grow your business. Or else, what’s the point? This is why we don’t use analytics in a silo. We start with a depth of experience with home services businesses combined with a thorough and ongoing consultative process to ensure we are using analytics effectively and aligned with your business goals. We offer a complete marketing solution for home services companies that can be found at homeservicesmarketing.ca

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Digital Marketing in a Recession – Reactions from Agency Founders https://northshore.digital/marketing-recession/ https://northshore.digital/marketing-recession/#respond Tue, 30 Aug 2022 00:28:03 +0000 https://northshore.digital/?p=20394 What should you do about digital marketing in a recession? SEOptimer asked our founder, Andrew Jackson, some critical questions. Find the answers here.

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Recently, we were asked by SEOptimer to take part in a series of questions and answers about the looming change in the economy and what we were doing to prepare for it.

Below is a list of answers we sent back to their questions.

There is some information that our clients and community should find helpful about digital marketing in a down market.

Has your agency experienced any increased client churn or budget cuts attributed to the current economic downturn?

Not yet. I think this has a lot to do with which vertical or industry you focus on. Currently, we have a few specific verticals that we help grow their businesses online – home services, financial services, schools and health practices.

We have dedicated websites for each industry. Home services and trades are somewhat recession resistant – if you need a plumber or electrician you will call them even in a down market, especially where we are based in Vancouver, Canada due to your home being so valuable.

Financial advisors, on the other hand, will be affected by how much cash people have to put into investments and insurance. It also comes down to the type of clients you work with – we primarily work with SMEs (small-to-medium sized enterprises) with revenues of $1 million dollars plus per year.

The rule of spending 5-10% of your revenues on marketing depending on which phase of growth you are in rings true. This means our clients with the lowest revenues should still be spending 50-100k on marketing every year so there is budget available.

In fact, during times of recession our advice is to keep spending on marketing as your money goes further. For Google Ads and online promotion you are bidding against competitors for impression and click share. If they stop or reduce spending, this means your money will go further and you will get more clicks for less dollars (providing your ads are run expertly).

As the Sage from Omaha, Warren Buffet, says be “fearful when others are greedy, and greedy when others are fearful.”

This market could be your company’s time to shine. If you do need to cut expenses, discretionary items like meals and entertainment and travel is where companies should look to reduce.

Your marketing should be showing positive ROI and if you work with us an agency our ROI conversion calculator will prove that. 

What is your current view of the 2nd half of 2022? How positive or negative are you of the current market conditions for digital agencies (specifically in relation to client retention & new business)

Like all agencies we are in a particular phase of growth. It’s our third fiscal year and so far we are growing at approximately double the revenues each year. We are on track to meet this for 2022.

As mentioned in the previous answer, we have a few different verticals we focus on. What’s happening right now more and more is that we are going all in on the Canadian home services market.

Up here in Canada, digital agencies tend to be more generalist whereas in the US agencies are niche-focused so that they can scale and have authority to easily win more clients.

We so far have adopted a hybrid model that is becoming more and more niched as we progress. We also focus on bigger small businesses with at least one million in revenues.

This means we’re very hopeful about the 2nd half of 2022.

We have trade shows and other events lined up as well as some other very interesting projects on the go including a rebranding project that means we are going full steam ahead with confidence that our agency is in good shape to weather any stormy waters. 

Are you making any structural changes to service lines, personnel, go-to-market or operations as a result of the current market conditions?

Not really. We have an amazing team ready to service our current and new clients.

Our sales, operations, fulfilment, content and technical departments are first class and we want to add more personnel and not lose anyone.

We have a certain amount of our own budget that goes towards innovation and new product development and so we are looking at marketing automation systems and white labelling right now and how that can benefit our new and current clients.

In addition, we’re looking at potentially acquiring businesses that fit our strategic direction and help us gain new streams of income and widen our sales funnel. 

Are you making any changes to your client retention strategy or processes?

We have a robust system of account management and fulfillment for our clients that takes into account consulting, website design, search engine marketing, SEO, Google Ads, Google My Business as well as analytics and reporting.

We are going to add value-adds but the core system is there.

Retention ultimately comes down to results, fit and perceived value by the client.

These are all things you can control as an agency and if you fail at any one of these retention is at stake. 

What is your longer-term view? What do you anticipate the market conditions to be like in 2023?

That’s a good question and if you watch various YouTube channels and videos right now, there’s enough material to get you running scared.

The costs of borrowing to get society through COVID by governments has been huge.

Quantitative easing and continually printing money by national and private banks plus the growing national debts of Western governments shows a house of cards has been stacked up.

When larger society and consumers are affected through growing inflation and rising interest rates, the psychology of the market can be affected and recession hits.

It could be really bad or we might just keep borrowing to get through it.

Either way, in any market there are things we spend money on as a necessity whether as individuals or businesses.

It’s our job as responsible agency owners to make sure we align ourselves with the necessary and not what can be cut from the budget.

If a recession does hit, we want to be the superhero that powers the small businesses we work with through to the other side in a better condition than when they entered it. For this to happen, they need to have faith in working with us and take brave steps forward. 

If you have any questions or concerns about how much to spend on digital marketing in a recession or down market, speak to us and we’ll give you advice.

SEOptimer is a useful tool we use to analyze the SEO scores of client and prospective client websites.

You can use our branded version here to check out your website’s score for free.

Bonus: it takes less than 2 minutes to do it.

Here is a link to the article they published in which I was one of a handful of agency founders featured.

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Client Survey 2022 Results https://northshore.digital/client-survey-results-2022/ https://northshore.digital/client-survey-results-2022/#respond Fri, 29 Jul 2022 17:29:33 +0000 https://northshore.digital/?p=20369 In March and April this year, we sent out our first survey to all our online growth clients. The goal was to get honest feedback on how we are doing. We mad the survey anonymous or clients could leave their name if they wanted to. Here are the results and some of our key takeaways.

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In March and April this year, we sent out our first survey to all our online growth plan clients.

The goal was to get honest feedback on how we are doing.

We made the survey anonymous or clients could leave their name if they wanted to.

Here are the results and some of our key takeaways.

Thank you to our wonderful clients for all your efforts in responding.

We will do this on an annual basis so that we can continue to get better at serving you.

What are we doing well?

Overall, we are very happy with the feedback we got. We are on the right track.

Even though we serve clients in a number of different industry verticals our clients are very happy with our efforts and results.

1. Which vertical is your company in

Our clients agree that we are helping them with a variety of online marketing initiatives e.g. generating leads, getting found online, digitization, growing their online presence and authority, as well as business consulting and online strategy…

2. How does NSD help your company

There are a number of things we are doing well:

  1. We scored an average of 4.7 out of 5 on the key question ‘North Shore Digital has grown my company’s business online’
  2. We scored 9.5 out of 10 on the key question ‘How happy are you overall with North Shore Digital’s services?’
  3. We scored 9.2 out of 10 on the key question ‘North Shore Digital provides good value for its services’
3. NSD has helped grow your company online

4. How happy are you with NSD
5. NSD provides good value

Where can we improve?

Although we love hearing positive feedback from clients, it’s critical feedback that helps you learn and grow.

Here are some areas where can improve:

  1. The response rate to our survey was pretty low at 34%. In order to improve this we will look at incentives for 2023.
  2. We scored 8.25 out of 10 on the question ‘If we run Google Ad campaigns for you, how are results?’
  3. We scored 7.2 out of 10 on the question ‘how useful do you find your monthly marketing report and analysis?’

These are not terrible scores but definitely gives us things to improve on.

The Google Ads question shows we have some work to do to show the value and results of what we do with a client’s ad spend. We also noticed some clients answering the question even though they don’t run Google Ads.

The marketing report overall score was brought down by an outlying score of 2 out of 10 by one client.

The biggest thing to work on to learn more is really the client response rate to our survey.

The clients more likely to answer are most likely our biggest fans and most engaged clients.

For next year, we will push to get 50-75% client response rate before we are happy.

6. How are Google Ads results
9. Monthly report

Any other takeaways?

As well as asking about how we can improve and how are clients rate us on various aspects, we also asked about communication methods, our ticket system and what they most need help with in the future for online marketing.

8. Favourite methods of communication
12. Ticket system
15. What do you need most

Marketing automation systems are going to become more and more important in the near future as companies look to grow and get the most out of their marketing budget and resources. It’s important to build workflows and triggers that remove so much of the manual work in the sales and marketing process. The challenge is to do this in a way that makes sense and doesn’t take the people-first approach out of marketing. We don’t need an Internet just full of bots and algorithms. We have to think what’s best for the end user.

Check out all the slides of our Client Survey Results 2022 below:

We sincerely hope that if you are thinking of working with us that you have found this article useful.

Please contact us if you think you’d be the right fit to work with us on your digital marketing goals

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5 Reasons You Should Be Using Google Ads For Your Home Services Business https://northshore.digital/5-reasons-to-use-google-ads-for-your-home-service-business/ https://northshore.digital/5-reasons-to-use-google-ads-for-your-home-service-business/#respond Thu, 23 Jun 2022 01:55:11 +0000 https://northshore.digital/?p=20297 At North Shore Digital, we've focused our team and energy on becoming Google Ads experts for Home Services Businesses in Canada

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Let us preface this by saying that Google Ads is not necessarily for everyone and every business.

When deployed incorrectly or in the wrong circumstance, Google Ads can be ineffective, a time suck and downright waste of your marketing budget.

It’s fairly easy for inexperienced Google Ads users to blow through their ad spend with not much to show for it. Google would love nothing more than to have you to spend more money on their platform. It’s ultimately in their best interest to encourage you to keep bumping your budget – regardless of the impact to your bottom line.

Even if Google wasn’t encouraging you to spend more marketing budget, there are still a lot of ways you can waste your ad spend: conversion/lead tracking not configured properly, poor keyword research and management, irrelevant ad copy, not utilizing targeting (audiences, demos, scheduling), not utilizing extensions, incorrect bid strategies – the list goes on.

Even if you happen to be a seasoned Google Ads expert and nail all these settings, there are still certain circumstances where you may want to avoid this platform. These include: CPC is too high and cost prohibitive, your service location is flooded with Google Ads competitors, your business/industry is a poor fit for Google’s campaign types etc.

All that said (we didn’t want to scare you off!), Google Ads tends to work particularly well for Home Services focused businesses. This is especially true when you have experts managing your campaigns for you.

Below are the top 5 reasons why you should use Google Ads for your Home Services business:

Google Ads for Landscapers
  1. Your Customers Are Finding You On Google

Let me hit you with some stats:

  • As of May 2022, Google accounted for 91.84% of the search engine market share in Canada. If you are searching online for a service, it’s almost always on Google.
  • 97% of people looking for a new local service based business searched online.
  • 46% of Google Searches are seeking a local service or product and most of these will call or contact within 24 hours of their search.

I could rattle off these stats all day long, but the moral of the story should be pretty clear; if you want to reach home services clients where they’re searching for your business, Google is a great solution.

Google Advertising
Google Ads is far and away the largest advertising platform for business
  1. Services Based Businesses Are Perfect For Google Ads

At the start of this article I highlighted a few of the potential pitfalls of Google Ads. For certain businesses and in certain circumstances Google Ads might not be the right fit. However, for Home Services businesses, such as plumbers, landscapers, painters, roofers, contractors, electricians etc. Google Ads works very well.

This is because Home Services businesses tend to address more immediate customer needs, they tend to offer more essential services and the marketing funnel tends to be more transactional in nature.

For this reason the Google Search Engine is a highly effective advertising channel.

If your plumbing is broken, water heater needs replacement, circuit breaker is busted, roof is flooding and septic needs digging up you aren’t likely to spend weeks or months vetting and interviewing dozens of home services companies to whittle down your list. You’re going to immediately ask your friends who they can recommend or, more likely, make a quick Google search for “24/7 plumber” or “electrician near me” and get sorted!

Even if you’re planning to purchase a higher end or more expensive home service, such as the installation of a new retaining wall, EV charger or even a full kitchen renovation, you’re still likely to kick-off this process starting with Google.

A final (and amazing) benefit to Google Ads is that they catapult you to the top of the search engine. This is a major advantage over organic search. You pay for that #1 spot for the exact search keyword you want to rank for. And being in that top spot pays!

Google Organic CTR
Google Organic CTR – being in the #1 spot gives you a 10x greater chance of a website visit than position 10 on the top page!
  1. Google Ads Works Great For Local Targeting

Google Ads are particularly useful for local market targeting.

If you service a well defined geographic region (a specific city, suburb or municipality) you can add another layer of precision to your advertising and save that precious marketing budget.

With Google Ads, not only are you able to hone in on your desired target city (for example, Vancouver or Toronto). You can further target specific service areas that may be more efficient for your business/vehicle logistics (for example, Richmond or Markham) and even as granular as postal code areas that may be ideal for your desired audiences (exp. post code regions that contain the largest % of upscale detached homes for services such as landscape design or Tesla EV installs).

Finally, you have a nice little ancillary benefit of being able to use the Google Ads geo data to help inform other aspects of your business. Which areas convert to leads and business more readily and why? Should you build a dedicated landing page focused on these specific high converting areas? Are there specific services you offer that resonate and convert better in different regions?

  1. Google Ads Is Flexible

We love the flexibility Google Ads offers our Home Services clients.

More than likely, there are services you offer that have huge variance in seasonal demand (exp. Snow Plowing). There are also likely certain seasons/months/weeks where you may be unpredictably busy or quiet.

With Google Ads you have the ability to quickly adapt to these changing business needs by adjusting spends, pivoting focus to different services, changing location targets, switching up ad scheduling and more much more.

You can even adapt to external factors, such as your competitor’s behavior, by “buying” clicks cheaper when competition is lower.

Google Ads for Electricians
  1. Outperform & Outrank Your Competitors

Last but not least, we really like Google Ads as a differentiator for Home Services businesses that have multiple competitors, offering a very similar service in the same service area.

Google Ads can be a fantastic supplement to help you gain market share when your competitors are either not using Google Ads at all or underperforming/inexperienced on this platform.

We’ve found that most Home Services companies that approach us have either not tried Google Ads or have been running them inefficiently. This offers a great opportunity to get ahead of your competition and own your local market!

More Resources!

  • For more info on how we help home services businesses grow their revenues with Google Ads check out our Google Ads page here.
  • We also offer a complete marketing solution for home services companies that can be found on our sister website, homeservicesmarketing.ca
  • Ready to dip your toes in the water with Google Ads? We can offer a free consult to see if it’s right for you. Or call us at 778-900-0983

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10 Social Media Best Practices for Summer https://northshore.digital/10-social-media-best-practices-for-summer/ Tue, 14 Jun 2022 20:56:10 +0000 https://northshore.digital/?p=20225 Are you ready to get lucky with your SEO this Saint Patrick's Day? Check out these tips for a successful SEO strategy!

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Summertime is the perfect time to relax and take a break from work, but that doesn’t mean your social media strategy should take a break too! In fact, there are a few things you can do to make sure your social media accounts are summer-ready. In this blog post, we will discuss ten best practices for social media in the summer. Follow these tips and you’ll be able to enjoy your vacation while keeping your business’s social media accounts running smoothly!

Social Media Best Practice #1 – Schedule Content Ahead of Time

Scheduling content ahead of time is always a good idea, but it becomes especially important in the summer when you might be taking a few days off. By scheduling your posts in advance, you can rest assured that your social media presence will remain active even when you’re away.

Social Media Best Practice #2 – Use Data to Inform Posting Time

In addition to scheduling your content in advance, you should also use data to determine the best time to post. If you’re not sure when your target audience is most active, take a look at your social media analytics. This will help you determine when people are most likely to see and engage with your content.

Pro Tip: Don’t be surprised if this data changes in the summer months. If you start to notice more of your followers drop off on the weekends, or are more active in the daytime, go with flow and adapt your scheduling time to what makes sense. There are different social media tools that can help make analyzing this data is easier.

Social Media Best Practice #3 – Highlight Seasonal Content

When it comes to choosing content for the summer months, think about what your audience might be interested in. For example, if you run a travel company, now is the perfect time to share video content and stories from your latest trips. Or if you own a restaurant, highlight some of your seasonal menu items. The key is to provide value and interest to your audience, even when they’re not actively thinking about your business.

Pro Tip: Take your content outside. With more people spending time at the beach, in their backyard, or at a picnic, find ways to incorporate the great outdoors into your feed.

Social Media Best Practice #4 – Keep Biz and Personal Separate

Of course, one of the best parts about summer is the opportunity to travel and explore new places. And while it’s tempting to share photos of your personal travels on your business account, it’s important to remember that not everyone wants to see vacation photos in their feed. Stick to sharing photos that are relevant to your business and leave the personal snaps for your personal social media channels.

Pro Tip: There is an exception to this best practice:

If YOU are your product or service, and you know your following closely, then go ahead and share some family pics from your holiday or that crazy beachside cocktail shot. Professionals such as financial advisors or individual health professionals like naturopaths would fall into this category. That being said, if you run a sushi restaurant or a landscaping company with dozens of team members, keep the personal shots to your personal account.

Social Media Best Practice #5 – Think About Your Tone

When crafting your social media content strategy, it’s important to think about the tone you want to convey. In general, summer is a time for relaxation and fun, so your social media posts should reflect that. Avoid being too sales-y or promotional, and instead focus on creating content that is entertaining or useful.

Social Media Best Practice #6 – Be Consistent with Your Posting Schedule

Even though summer is a slower time for many businesses, it’s important to maintain a consistent posting schedule. This will help you stay top of mind with your audience and keep them engaged with your content.

Pro Tip: If you’re struggling to come up with ideas for summer content, try repurposing some of your older blog posts. For example, you could create a social media post that highlights the key takeaways from a popular blog post. Or you could create a series of social media posts that each feature one tip from a longer article.

Social Media Best Practice #7 – Use Engaging Visuals

In addition to interesting and original content, your social media posts should also include engaging visuals. People are more likely to stop and read a post that includes a photo or video, so make sure to take advantage of this when you’re creating summer content.

Social Media Best Practice #8 – Take Advantage of Summer Events

Summer is full of holidays and events that you can use to promote your business. For example, if you sell swimsuits, you could create a social media post about Canada Day. Or if you run a restaurant, you could highlight menu items for Father’s Day. Research upcoming, relevant summer holidays for home-run content ideas.

Social Media Best Practice #9 – Use Relevant Hashtags

Hashtags are a great way to reach a wider audience and get your content seen by people who might not be following you. When using hashtags, try to be specific and relevant to your business. For example, if you sell ice cream, you could use hashtags like #NationalIceCreamDay or #SummerFun.

Social Media Best Practice #10 – Stay On Top of Trends

Summer is a great time to experiment with social media and try out new trends. For example, you could start using Instagram Stories or TikTok videos to share behind-the-scenes content with your followers. Or you could try live streaming an event or Q&A session on Facebook. By staying on top of social media trends, you’ll be able to leverage additional opportunities to connect with your followers.

When it comes to social media, summer doesn’t have to be a slow season

By following these social media best practices, you can make sure your social media accounts are summer-ready! So go ahead and enjoy your vacation – your social media strategy will be just fine.

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6 Improvements for WordPress Website Hosting for 2022 https://northshore.digital/6-wordpress-website-hosting-improvements-2022/ https://northshore.digital/6-wordpress-website-hosting-improvements-2022/#respond Fri, 10 Jun 2022 16:14:43 +0000 https://northshore.digital/?p=20223 At North Shore Digital, we've invested a lot in 2022 to improve our WordPress hosting and technical infrastructure in order to improve speed, security and technical optimization for SEO. Here are our top 6 recommendations for professional WordPress website hosting that you should have.

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We host over 60 websites for clients who use WordPress.

In our opinion, WordPress is the still the best choice for lead generation business websites due to the functionality you can add through plugins and themes.

It’s also pretty easy to use for blogging and content creation making it great for SEO.

That being said, 9 out of 10 websites that are hacked are WordPress.

WordPress sites can also perform sluggish and become bloated with too many plugins that conflict with one another or are unnecessary.

The speed of bigger WordPress sites often pale in comparison with simpler CMS’s like SquareSpace, Wix, and Webflow.

However, the other CMS’s just can’t compete with the ease of use combined with SEO and scope of functionality that the size of the developer community enables for WordPress.

If you want to make sure your site has the latest technology, WordPress is a safe bet.

You need to set it up right though otherwise you’ll create a ‘Frankensite’

(this is a joyous term coined by our Web Dev Manager, Sasha Kevac, for sites that are a mish-mash of ill thought out styles, content and plugins)

At North Shore Digital, we’ve invested a lot in 2022 to improve our WordPress hosting and technical infrastructure in order to improve speed, security and technical optimization for SEO.

Here are the 6 top things we recommend:

  1. Pay for Fast Hosting

Previously our hosting environment at InMotion was good. It was LAMP-based and pretty quick. It was hosted across multiple IPs on SSD VPS servers with decent specs: 12GB RAM / 10 core / 150GB disk space for 60-odd websites. Sites were pretty easy to maintain and optimized individually via CPanel.

What we decided to do though was up our game.

We moved all our sites to Cloudways cloud-based hosting over a couple of months in January and February this year.

We did this because they promise scalable performance, better speed and uptime for websites.

We created 3 new servers located in Toronto, Canada that we are able to scale up or down to suit the needs of our clients.

There is no Cpanel but we get the ability to easily create staging sites and the speed and uptime of sites is now much better.

If you have a WordPress website, pay the extra and get fast hosting. Don’t settle for basic WordPress shared hosting.

Note: there is a difference between wordpress.com (a site that hosts your website and offers an all-in-one solution like SquareSpace versus wordpress.org (a site that offers you the CMS to port to any hosting of your choice. Go with wordpress.org for business websites and pay for professional hosting.

Use an agency like us to do managed hosting and website maintenance…

  1. Get Managed Hosting

Managed hosting means you have a team monitoring the site 24/7 to ensure if anything happens, it goes back up.

A bit like having roadside assistance for your car, although you at least know when your car breaks down.

Who is checking your website all the time to make sure its up and working as it should?

Managed hosting is well worth it for peace of mind.

  1. Pay for Website Maintenance

Website maintenance is crucial for WordPress.

You can’t just set and forget WordPress sites.

WordPress sites are like hungry beasts always needing fresh updates, scanning for malware, and pruning of spam.

Every day, there are 100s of new updates available for WordPress core, themes and plugins.

We do these updates for our clients and ensure if anything breaks or a style changes, we fix the problem so you can have the safest latest versions on your website.

The hacked websites are normally the ones with tons of outdated plugins.

You have to keep on top of this.

In addition to the updating of software, our website maintenance also includes easy backup and restore functionality, 24/7 uptime monitoring, security vulnerability scan and alerts as well as monthly reports to put your mind at ease that your website is in safe hands.

We give you an easy to look-through report that showcases your website health and all the work we’ve done in the past month to keep it safe and working.

  1. Use CloudFlare Enterprise

We’ve just added all client multipage sites to CloudFlare Enterprise.

As an agency we get advanced technical support for our websites at Cloudways, our hosting provider.

We also qualify for a discount bundle on sites that we add to CloudFlare Enterprise.

We do this without passing on extra costs to our clients.

It’s worth it for the extra speed and security.

Here are some of the extras you get with CloudFlare Enterprise.

Here’s a short video about CloudFlare if you are new to it and want to understand how and why to deploy it:

It’s magic that happens behind the website without you even realizing or being concerned with it.

  1. Remove Spam with Akismet

We also signed up to the paid version of Akismet and added it to client sites.

Spam is affecting so many sites in terrible ways.

You have to try a few tricks to beat the bots and humanoids who spend forever sending you contact form submissions about SEO, chatbots and the latest greatest new website software.

I’m talking about you, Eric Jones. We know who you are. Actually we don’t and that’s the problem!

Akismet is tough to implement for all WordPress websites.

It doesn’t work with Divi, for instance. For that reason, you need more tools in your toolbox…

  1. Sign up for Google Recaptcha Enterprise (GRE)

This is new from Google. Version 2 had the checkbox. Version 3 was invisible but didn’t work and was buggy. This is their latest effort.

I’m searching for a solution that stops spam and also doesn’t make humans tear their hair out figuring out which pictures have a donkey in it or something silly like that.

Is that too much to ask? I don’t think so. And neither do Google apparently. GRE promises to do both.

It only asks you to do a silly challenge if there’s a high probability you are a bot. It uses machine-learning to track suspicious bot-like behaviour and also uses a global database to filter out the bad guys.

Watch this short video for an explanation:

If you have any questions about WordPress hosting or the technical side of websites, get in touch with us here.

Also, check out our hosting service page.

Hosting is available as a standalone service if you are looking for professional help with ensuring your site is secure, safe, up-to-date and fast.

It’s also included for all our WordPress clients on full-service marketing plans.

Schedule a meeting if you want to hear more.

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Local SEO Citations & Adding Your Business to Apple Maps (Guide) https://northshore.digital/local-seo-citations-apple-maps/ https://northshore.digital/local-seo-citations-apple-maps/#respond Thu, 02 Jun 2022 19:11:46 +0000 https://northshore.digital/?p=20189 In order to rank locally for your industry keywords it is important to add your site to local directories that use a consistent NAP (name - address - phone number). You may have heard this be referred to as ‘local citations’. For some directories, we will add for you. However, for others like Apple Maps we require client verification.

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In order to rank locally for your industry keywords it is important to add your site to local directories that use a consistent NAP (name – address – phone number). You may have heard this be referred to as ‘local citations’.

By doing this, Google is able to locate where your website is most important for your service areas and office locations. 

By making your website show up more in places where it is relevant for your target keywords, this really improves your local SEO rankings. 

An example, here would be “digital marketing North Vancouver” for our business, North Shore Digital. 

At North Shore Digital, we use Google My Business (GMB) extensively and have a configuration checklist we perform for all office locations for your business. We also add monthly content to your listing to make sure your profile gets clicks and impressions in Google Search.

In addition to GMB, we sync your listing with Bing Places for Business as long as you have an actual address. 

We also use Bright Local to publish your site to 25-100 new directories that takes your info from GMB and push it through a manual and semi automated process. 

Over the next 3-6 months, the listings for your site will increase so that you have more directories with your website link, consistent NAP thus resulting in better local SEO and Google search performance. 

Some directories require verification by the business owner or somebody working in the location provided. Apple Maps is one of these. 

For that reason, we ask clients themselves to add their business/website to Apple Maps. 

It’s very simple and nowhere near as complicated as GMB. It takes 2 minutes.

Here’s the guide:

  1. Go to: https://register.apple.com/placesonmaps/ 
  2. Login with your Apple ID & password. You need one to do this so if you need to create one. If you have one already, you may need to use the 2FA Apple code.
  3. Fill in the missing info below:

  1. Verify your business phone number. Apple will call you and provide a pin.
  2. Confirm business location and hours of operation
  3. Add website and social media accounts
  4. Review business information. After confirming you should expect to see your listing on Apple Maps and the Apple Business Register within a week or so.

Some other local SEO citation business directories you should fill out and claim, which require extra steps for client verification include:

Yelp, Yellow Pages, Websites

You should also set up and be in charge of all your social media business pages: Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram Business, Pinterest Business etc.

SEO/SEM Resources

We have a back catalogue of really valuable SEO/SEM resources that you can look through to find out more about how Google search results work and what you can do to take your website and business to the next level:

  1. What is SEM? Search Engine Marketing Fundamentals
  2. SEM Resources – these resources were put together for the SEM class I taught at Brainstation

Suggested Further Reading – How to Promote Your Blog Post? 15 Minute Checklist with Pro Tips

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Financial Digital Marketing Strategies That Work https://northshore.digital/financial-digital-marketing-strategies-that-work/ Thu, 02 Jun 2022 03:08:05 +0000 https://northshore.digital/?p=20139 Are you ready to get lucky with your SEO this Saint Patrick's Day? Check out these tips for a successful SEO strategy!

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In the digital age, it’s more important than ever for financial companies to have a strong online presence. Consumers are spending more and more time online, and they’re using their smartphones and other devices to research products and services before making a purchase. If you’re a financial institution or provider of financial services, it’s essential to have a digital marketing strategy that will reach your target audience and generate leads and sales.

In this blog post, we’ll discuss 10 financial digital marketing strategies that work.

1. Content marketing:

Produce high-quality, informative content that will help educate your target audience about your products and services. Use SEO keywords to ensure that your content is easily found by consumers who are searching for information online.

2. Social media marketing:

Use social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn to connect with potential and current customers. Share your content, run ads, and hold contests and giveaways to promote your brand.

3. Pay-per-click (PPC) advertising:

PPC ads are a great way to generate leads and sales. Place ads on Google, Bing, and other search engines, and make sure to target your ads to consumers who are in your target market.

4. Email marketing:

Email is still one of the most effective digital marketing channels. Send out informative newsletters, product announcements, and special offers to your email list. If you’re an agent or advisor for a large financial services company that sends out regular emails, you can often re-purpose emails you receive, and share this info with your clients in an email.

5. Search engine optimization (SEO):

Use SEO to ensure that your website and blog content are easily found by consumers who are searching for information online. Use relevant keywords, and make sure your website is mobile-friendly. Local search is one of the best ways for businesses in the financial services industry to grow their business online.

6. Affiliate marketing:

Partner with other businesses and websites in your industry to promote your products and services. You can pay them a commission for every lead or sale that they generate. Often times by joining local business groups offline, like a BNI Chapter, you can partner with other professionals in the financial services sector that are mutually beneficial.

7. Referral marketing:

Encourage your existing customers to refer your business to their friends and family members. Offer them a discount or other incentive for every new customer that they bring in. Industry leaders in the financial services market are spending big bucks on referral fees, so get creative and find a way for your financial services firm to offer incentives for existing and potential customers.

8. Online Reviews:

Make sure that your business is listed on popular review websites like Yelp and Google My Business. Encourage your customers to leave reviews, and respond to both positive and negative reviews in a professional manner.

9. Local SEO:

If you have a brick-and-mortar location, make sure you’re using local SEO tactics to reach consumers in your area. Use local keywords, and list your business on Google Maps and other online directories.

10. Ensure your website is up-to-date:

Keep your website content fresh, and make sure all of your contact information is up-to-date. By regularly checking that the links to your phone number, email, or intake forms are working, you’ll ensure you never miss a lead. This is such an important component in a digital marketing strategy, that we’ve written a whole blog dedicated to website best practices for financial services. If your website looks like something from your 90s time capsule, let’s review it together and modernize it.

Marketing Financial Services Online

Generate leads, drive website traffic, and build brand awareness for your financial brand. Internet users are just waiting to find you in the search engines. If you’re a financial advisor or financial service company that wants to grow by working with marketing teams that have a proven track record with growing financial organizations, contact us today to see if our marketing plans are right for you.

Ready to Take Your Digital Marketing Strategy to the Next Level?

Financial institutions and financial services companies need strategic digital marketing to grow their customer base. When you work with a financial services marketing agency, you get access to a highly specialized financial marketers to help you stand out in the financial sector, manage all the marketing channels you need to promote your company website. We strive to have the best customer satisfaction, and work with many financial companies to help them reach their target audience. We specialize in digitization, getting found online and boosting referrals for financial advisors.

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