This is how Voice-Controlled Amazon Alexa is Changing Content Marketing

AlexaAs voice-controlled home devices such as Amazon’s Alexa have been on the rise, content marketers have long predicted a dynamic shift in the industry. As customers and marketers have now been interjected into a new arena to connect in, users are almost begging for interactive, entertaining ways to connect with their favourite brands. 

There are some companies who have already adopted voice-enabled content marketing strategies to take advantage of tech like Alexa. It’s by their example that we highlight the future – and, actually the present – of content marketing, at least according to how smart home devices are guiding things.

Marketing School

Neil Patel and Eric Siu have teamed up for one of the first marketing strategies specifically targeting Alexa. Every day, the team releases to its subscriber base roughly ten minutes of marketing tips, tricks, and advice, almost like a personalized mini podcast of sorts. By having an established brand and speaking on subjects that their subscribers care about, this type of strategy which has been aptly named “daily briefing” is working!

Multi-Billion Dollar Investments in AI are leading Mobile App Personalization

AI BotThere’s been mass interest in artificial intelligence (AI) with companies such as Google investing billions of dollars annually in developing different AI-related technologies. The rate of expansion for AI is unlike anything we’ve seen before with healthcare, education, and finance each putting forth big investments. Mobile app developers have taken notice of the ongoing developments in AI, beginning to incorporate them into app personalization. The result – significant improvements in user satisfaction and retention. 

Within a mobile context, there are few restrictions to how AI can be used. Currently, AI has taken the form of chatbots and context-aware sensors though there are endless uses for the growing body of tech. Some of the world’s biggest companies have been paying attention. It is estimated that more than 200 of the world’s largest companies will accommodate AI into enterprise mobile applications by the end of the year.

At the centre of the rise of AI in mobile applications are user preferences and consumer trends. Putting it simply, users want to have personalized experiences with their apps. The expectation is increasingly predictive mobile applications and in order to deliver a strong performance, artificial intelligence is almost a requirement. There are numerous applications who use AI to fulfill a range of requests including food orders, such as with Taco Bell’s TacoBot and Starbucks’ My Starbucks Barista. These are early examples of how applications are going ‘smart’ with AI in large part to thank. Smartphones are ideal devices to use for AI-infused apps as they provide location information and have the potential to access microphone or camera with consumer permission. The latest release of smartphones even have face recognition AI tech embedded into the devices. Through features like these, it becomes easier than ever before to create customized consumer experiences that are accurately contextualized to a consumer’s behaviour and preferences.

7 Lessons to Learn from the World’s Most Successful companies in how to manage Business Reputation

Public ReputationThere’s a lot to be learned about how to manage a company’s professional reputation from some of the world’s biggest corporations. By learning how to combat challenges, those that overcome succeed towards the future while those that struggle with PR nightmares see major losses. For businesses of any size, it doesn’t hurt to take a read-through of these reputation management lessons that can make the world of difference in your credibility and competence.

#1 – Be Proactive, not Reactive

Managing a business online means staying ahead of any negative comments that could be affecting your company. Keep ahead on Google reviews, blogs, and review forums (including Facebook). Some of the world’s biggest companies have entire departments tasked with handling negative remarks online. Though you may not need a whole department to keep up, invest in techniques such as setting up a Google Alert, an account at, and/or regularly checking review sites online.

#2 – Innovation makes a Company the Authority on a given subject

When you innovate, it puts you at the forefront. For example, Apple has dominated the conversation in several product categories throughout the past two decades because of their long-term commitment and financial investments to innovation. Take a look at your competitors and see where you can improve upon the gaps in their products or services. Browse online reviews for ideas. When you have a key piece of innovation developed and ready to execute, promote it.

Don’t Fall Asleep behind the Wheel: Innovate how you Approach Content Marketing to Maximize Value

Woman a sleepIt is unfortunately way too common in content marketing to settle into a single approach that may work well initially but, over time, may stifle growth. Always, content marketing should be evaluated to see where there are opportunities to potentially evolve the way content is being created and released. 

Quantity or Quality; there are Arguments for both

Among the most common questions clients have about content marketing is how often to release content. The answer begins with consistency. Whether content is being released once a week, monthly, or quarterly, the most successful content marketers adhere to a consistent schedule. Secondly, it is important not to saturate the content market so ideally a release schedule should have dates spread out appropriately. Thirdly, it is true that less is more – usually. Instead of writing and releasing fifty average-sounding blog articles, focus on five or ten unique and exceptional pieces that will attract views. To this point, finding niches that resonate with your audience can help in elevating the quality of pieces and in finding readers on social media.

Cost Plus v. Value-Based, a Comparison of Inbound Marketing Pricing

Cost ComparisonInvesting in inbound marketing efforts can lead to high costs that customers may not always understand. Where all that inbound marketing money is going is no trade secret. It’s usually based off of one of two models – cost plus or value-based. In terms of inbound marketing agency pricing standards, you likely fall under one of the two. In this article, we hope to outline a little bit about how each model uses its resources and to define what exactly it is that you are paying for. 

Cost-Plus Inbound Marketing

The cost-plus model is built off of overall costs including a mark-up which may range from thirty-five percent to 100 percent or more depending on the digital marketing agency you selected. The costs paid on a cost-plus model are going towards the oversight required to complete a project, in addition to overhead and the general costs of doing business.

No two agencies divide their costs the same, sometimes making it difficult for the consumer to choose the right one for their needs. For example, one agency may pay $20/hour for a service that another agency pays three or four times the same rate. Also, if one were to compare two agencies offering a $3,500 monthly fee, it does not necessarily mean you will be getting the same services from both. Thereby, cost-plus hinges on knowing what services you are being provided with and what costs make the most sense for your business.

7 Industry-Changing Trends in Social Media Marketing in 2018

People on BeachIt’s been well publicized how social media platforms are constantly evolving. In turn, social media marketing has been subject to major changes throughout the past year. In the year to come, as we look ahead to how to promote on social media, these social media marketing trends are set to re-define how we do business in 2018. 

#1 – The growing platform of Pinterest

Pinterest is somewhat underdeveloped when it comes to social media marketing. As Pinterest continues to make itself more advertiser-friendly, expect better keyword search to take hold this year. The platform has already committed to delivering better ad targeting. The rise of Pinterest’s video feature is also expected to continue to gain acceptance among users.

#2 – Choosing YouTube for Lead Generation

Ad costs are rising across the board. In an effort to generate leads for free, YouTube may be your best bet. Though largely untapped, YouTube provides the opportunity to reach consumers with attractive, informative videos that provide real-time value. Think of all the times we type in something to search on YouTube, whether it be instructional videos, news reports, music, video games, or whatever the case. YouTube is a hotbed of qualified leads that are there for the picking.

Why not to Hire a Digital Marketing Consultant

Digital Marketing ConsultantDigital marketing agencies sometimes come with a price tag that not every client is willing to accept. In an effort to save money, some go the route of hiring a digital marketing consultant instead. Though hiring a freelancer instead of an agency has its benefits, there are many reasons not to consider it. 

To begin with, hiring a freelance digital marketing consultant online does not guarantee you will find someone from Canada or the United States. In many cases, small businesses may find themselves challenged by international off-shore marketing consultants who lack quality and experience, unable to deliver the results you desire. In the short-term, they may be cheaper but no one wants their business to be represented by a consultant who does not understand your business or how to do the agreed-upon work.

The nature of freelance digital marketing also means that you’re investing a lot of time and money into one specific person. Your business will suffer if this one person ever unexpectedly gets sick, is in a car accident, or simply disappears. Sure, you can always hire another but then you have to re-educate a new consultant on your business. Why not to hire a digital marketing consultant boils down to the fact that the risks outweigh the costs. As a short-term fix, there’s not enough value in it to seriously consider anything less than some form of an agency.

5 Disappearing Digital Marketing Trends that are on their way to Extinction

Disappearing TrendsAs we look ahead towards the changing landscape of social media and the internet, it’s clear that digital marketing is in for quite the overhaul. Numerous trends are on way to disappearing and here are just a few. 

Long-form, “expert author” e-books

E-books are still a great marketing tool – they’re just going to have to be a little bit shorter. Every year, consuming content gets a little bit faster and a little more instant. To build authority, e-books have their limits. If you’re writing one today, making it short, informative, and to the point is recommended. The days of long-style e-books designed to generate leads is all but dead. Invest that time and effort in other places.

Say bye to an organic Facebook

Facebook’s organic reach has long been seeing diminishing returns. At this point, if you want to reach an audience on Facebook, you’re going to have to enact paid ads. There’s almost no way around it. Sadly, organic reach has come to its end. Even at the current 5-10% organic reach that some brands have today, we can expect it to fall even further in 2018.

6 Things to Consider if your Digital Agency is Not Getting the Job Done

Business woman dead endHiring a digital marketing agency sometimes doesn’t get you everything you wanted from the relationship. We’ve had many clients approach us with these concerns and/or past experiences of having worked with digital marketing companies who did not follow through on their promises. Lately, if you’ve been thinking that you might be wasting your time or money on a digital agency, here are some things to consider. 

#1 – Do you Have established Marketing Goals?

Digital marketing companies should always be hired with specific goals in mind and not just under a general purpose. If you have not established clear marketing objectives or if a digital marketing agency has not committed to achieving defined goals, there may be no way for them to attain the success you expect from them.

#2 – Marketing is not always Responsible for Sales

There are times when the problem is not the digital marketing company but is instead something else. There are always other factors at play, such as product accessibility, pricing, and other elements that are not in direct control of digital marketing. Consider that there may be a disruption somewhere else in the sales chain.

Will Marketing Adapt with Consumers moving to an Audio-Dominant, Post-Screen Digital Experience

Voice ControlThere is a revolution happening in the world of smartphones and mobile screen devices! 

Smart home devices, Bluetooth software development, and audio-friendly wearables such as the upcoming Apple Watch release all mark a shift in consumer behaviour, from screen to post-screen. The Apple Watch, in particular, is a unique example as it comes with LTE cellular connectivity and has the potential to become the world’s first major post-phone digital device.

All of this means that it’s now possible to play music, text message, make phone calls, retrieve directions, and to Google without ever seeing a screen. Today’s landscape is dominated by screens however tomorrow’s won’t be. This equates to marketing needing a desperate change in focus.

Why Google is not the Only Search Engine a Website Owner needs to be Aware of

Search EnginesMore than 90 percent of all online searches are conducted through either Google, Bing, or Yahoo. As someone working in website marketing and search engine optimization, it’s easy to get caught up in satisfying the three big names in internet searching. These are big companies, yes, who dominate the marketplace however these are far from the only search engines out there. 

Why you might want to do some research into alternative search engines is because there are a handful of companies gaining notice that may provide hefty benefit if you know how to work them. There are literally dozens of search engines out there, each with their own growing fan base and niche. Here’s our list of some alternative search engines to keep an eye out for.

How your Face’s Hidden Emotions may Dictate whether you Get the Job or Not

Emotion DetectorWhipping up a quality resume is far from the only thing you need to worry about when getting ready for a job interview.

Today’s technologies have advanced to the point where it’s now possible to use emotion analytics to read facial reactions not visible to the everyday human eye. 

It’s been suggested that using this software could assist HR reps in deciding whether you fit the job or not.

Imagine the impact it would have if a computer could read the involuntary facial reactions that happen to anyone in a job interview. It’s a little twisted, is it not! Instead of being judged on the merits of your qualifications, your appearance, your accomplishments, or your conduct, emotion analytics software some argue is a more accurate way of hiring in some fields.

Attract more Customers with Pinterest and Build More Traffic

PinterestFor businesses having trouble finding ways to attract people to their site, in Pinterest lies an amazing opportunity to generate more traffic and build a growing subscriber base. More and more, Pinterest is attracting marketers, advertisers, and entrepreneurs for these reasons. We love it! See big results with these tips and tricks on how to attract more customers with Pinterest. 

Create Big, branded Graphics and Images for your Page

Pinterest hinges on the visual. To keep a user on your page and attract more eyes, you need to have big images, appropriately branded, and in a vertical, easily digestible format.

Let’s say you’ve never done graphics or images before. No worries! Building from a simple guide of two fonts or less, three colors or less, and ensuring the background image is relevant and high-quality can be a starting point.

Also, make sure your domain is featured in your image so that people know where it’s from.

7 Ways to Build the Most Secure Password

Password ProtectionIt’s not uncommon for the average user to choose some scarily easy passwords that are easily guessed. For hackers, the easiest way for them to find their way into a system is by guessing a password. Though there are many things that can be done to create more secure passwords, few people do them. To create a stronger log-in, here are the 7 things we recommend starting with. 

Password Managers will Protect your Passwords

Every internet user should have a password manager to create and secure for them strong passwords. Instead of using easy passwords across every log-in – or worse, the same password for all accounts! – a password manager will generate individual passwords for you. If you’re concerned about having to remember all of your passwords, this is precisely what this tool is for!

See all of your passwords in one place with secure authentication in place, ensuring no one gains access other than you. Choosing a high-quality password manager, you should be able to sync these to any desktop or mobile device. In this day and age, there’s no reason to not have a password manager set up so be sure to check out some to find what appeals to you.

6 Marketing Approaches to Augmented Reality that are Trending in 2018

Augmented RealityAugmented reality is changing the way that customers interact with brands. The day when the screen experience shrinks down to a pair of glasses or even contact lenses, AR is going to have an even larger impact on the way we live our lives.

In 2018, a number of brands are taking advantage of AR – building innovative releases, finding new ways to penetrate markets, and delivering to the marketplace unique, personalized content experiences.

This year, if you’re interested in building or getting involved with AR, here are some key recommendations to follow.

Buzz Fades quickly so act fast

When a new piece of AR hits the market, it’s never fast before it’s duplicated by others. Any novelty AR release needs to be enacted quickly for maximum ROI. For releases like Pokémon Go, there’s always a window. That said, even the biggest of these releases don’t have a lot of staying power. Being first to market is key for novelty AR applications.

Venmo Continues to Rise in the Payment App Marketplace


Venmo AppFor those that know, the PayPal-owned and operated Venmo app is likely one of their favourite payment methods. For that that don’t know, they should. In the fact of Apple Pay, Square Cash, and other competitors, there is one name who is dominating the payment app space and that is Venmo

In three short years, Venmo has gone from quarterly volumes of $1.3 billion in person-to-person payment processing in the first quarter of 2015 to $9.0 billion in the third quarter of 2017. There is no other payment app that has been able to demonstrate this level of growth, including Apple. As one of the first in the marketplace and one of its biggest names currently, Venmo may in fact win the race against Apple to become the first widespread payment app in the world.

Let’s make no mistake, the competition is pretty fierce. Apple Pay has the licensing in place and the technology integration behind it to reach a wide range of consumers. For example, earlier this month, Apple introduced its Apple Pay Cash feature into iMessage. This feature allows any user to send money to family and friends easily through their messenger app. Though PayPal provides this same service, it does not quite have the integration that Apple Pay has.

To Surpass the Limitations of Human Intelligence, AI is Needed and Necessary

AIThe progression of AI is an inevitability in the next decade and may in fact re-design the way human beings interact, in the same way that computers, text messages, and smartphones have. 

There’s no denying the impact that computers have had on our lives. It’s been a long, long time since the first general purpose computer was commissioned by the United States Army. Today, consumers everywhere have computers surrounding them and in their pockets.

Since the 1970s, computers have been used to augment human intelligence. The calculator may be the simplest example of this, supporting and expanding the problem-solving skills of a user.

Throughout the past few decades, scientists have struggled with what the next major step in computers is with regards to human problem-solving. There are some who have aligned with intelligence augmentation (IA), which is the building of systems designed to encourage collaboration between human being and machine. Then, there are those who have put their eggs into the basket of artificial intelligence (AI), which is to outsource intelligence tasks to machines without any human involvement in the process.

Learn How to Create Hybrid Digital Marketing using Augmented Reality

Augmented RealityAugmented reality (AR) is bringing together physical and digital marketing in a way that has never been done before. By combining the physical and the virtual, brands are now able to create convenient, fast AR experiences that are just as technologically impressive as they are personal. Building on existing trends in AR marketing, a company can successfully navigate the marketplace and capitalize on a consumer base who are looking for as much value as possible. 

Take Advantage of the AR Opportunities already here

The first step to building a successful digital marketing campaign using augmented reality is by utilizing the tools that are already in play. Research existing AR apps instead of developing your own augmented reality technology. Attempt to collaborate with existing AR platforms and reach out to creators to find out what value they may be able to add to your business.

Embed Product scanning into an AR Model

Imagine being able to take a picture of a product in-store and then, through an AR platform, be able to bring up product information, reviews, pricing, and other details. Retail might not be there yet but this is where things may be headed. All it requires is the ability to scan products, similar to how existing barcode scanning systems work.

Did you Know Google has a Search Engine AI – Meet RankBrain

Google RankBrainArtificial intelligence is feared by some, deemed an inevitability by others, and has seen increased use online within the last five years. As one of the biggest tech companies in the world, Google has sought to find innovative ways to build and implement AI into its existing products. 

Meet RankBrain

RankBrain is a unique development to the world of Google search engine optimization. This AI is designed to learn about websites, take in new information, and assist in ranking it on the platform’s search engine. With more than two hundred different factors that affect search engine rank, RankBrain is the third most important – this is behind only strength of content and backlinks. Since 2015, this AI has been in place on Google search engines and since then, engineers have constantly been seeking to improve RankBrain. In getting to know RankBrain, it’s important to understand how it may impact your search engine ranking and how it works.

RankBrain is not an Algorithm

First things first, this is not an algorithm – it’s an AI. RankBrain does not replace any current Google algorithm but what it does do is that it influences the search process itself. Prior to RankBrain, a user would enter their search into Google and algorithm bots would then crawl sites looking for that specific search term. Now that the internet has developed to the size it has and search requirements have expanded, the algorithms are limited in terms of what they can accomplish.

2017’s Biggest Changes to Ecommerce came from Artificial intelligence (AI)

AI and E-commerceArtificial intelligence has made its way into all of our lives, whether we recognize it or not. It powers our search engines with Google, oversees the controls on self-driving cars with Tesla, acts as voice assistant with Apple, and makes shopping recommendations with Amazon. 

Beyond these more obvious examples, AI has also been used in increasing amounts in ecommerce through giants such as Amazon, Wal-Mart, and eBay. Now, small business ecommerce can take advantage of the same AI technologies that bigger players do. More than ever before, AI is helping to heighten sales and grow numerous components of ecommerce. In 2017, the argument can be made that the biggest trends in ecommerce all point back to artificial intelligence (AI) which is truly changing the game.

Re-Pricing Merchandise according to the Market

Pricing in ecommerce is as competitive as ever. For smaller ecommerce sites, re-pricing is time consuming especially as SKUs grow. Through corporate ecommerce giants like Amazon, artificial intelligence is being used to re-price as needed, according to complex algorithms that focus in on market dynamics.

If Net Neutrality is Done With, Online Marketing is Going to see some Massive Changes

Net NeutralityA mid-December FCC vote is expected to put an end to net neutrality. Though many horrifyingly negative consequences are on the horizon should this be true, among the less considered is what may happen to the way digital marketing works.

Let’s just think about the impact that net neutrality has had on keeping the internet a free, open community of websites. Since the mid-1990s, the internet has always been a level playing field of all businesses and internet service providers, encouraging growth and free thought. In this framework, small businesses could successfully compete with and win over much larger corporations. There was no preference given or pricing disadvantage that meant small websites did not have a fair shot at gaining visitors. With the end of the net neutrality, this shifts the dynamic to a place where internet service providers (ISPs) essentially decide who wins and loses.

If net neutrality is left gone with the wind, internet providers would then be given the right to block sites that they don’t like, to charge premium fees for access to sites, and/or to purposefully slow internet speeds on certain websites. This means websites having to pay more to get a fair look from consumers, something that admittedly gives larger corporations the advantage because of the budget they’re working with compared to what small businesses have.

What am I Supposed to Do when I can’t Afford Digital Marketing – a Discussion

Afford Digital Marketing?For small businesses, money can sometimes be pretty tight. When you want to get to the next level, it can be tough deciding the best route and whether digital marketing is worth it. Evidently if you don’t have the funds and you don’t think the reward is worth the risk, you may decide digital marketing is not right for you.

The truth though is that if you’re not engaged with digital marketing in some capacity, you’re going to see competitors blow right by you and your company will have big limitations as it tries to grow. To anyone out there who doesn’t have the money to hire a digital marketing company, here’s what we think you should do.

How to get the Most out of a Small, Limited Budget

As a small business owner who’s looking to grow, you need to set aside some funds for digital marketing. The first step to marketing yourself in an online space is by setting up a website. When done correctly, your website is your best salesperson, your best business card, and your best opportunity for customer acquisition.

3 Ways to Use Instagram to Increase Customer Loyalty and Maximize Branding

Instagram Build Customer LoyaltyFor a few years, Instagram had a reputation for just being an app of pictures. Today, it’s far more than that. Instagram is arguably the top social media network in the world, collecting stories, developing new tools and resources for consumers and advertisers, and opening up a whole new language of branding.

Because it is so new, many entrepreneurs and businesses still may not know how to get the most from their Instagram accounts. It is not as easy as putting up a picture, writing a quick caption, throwing in a few hashtags, and then you’re set for success. It doesn’t work like that. Leveraging your Instagram account begins similarly to how you should be approaching other social media networks. Every post should be deliberate, meaningful, and branded. For businesses not already taking Instagram seriously, you should be because it’s fastly becoming the top platform for branding in part due to its focus on images. More than on other platforms, your branding on Instagram needs to be top notch and strong. By focusing on branding via Instagram, you can build customer loyalty, a credible base of consumers, and maximize revenues in this space.

#1 – Building your Consumer Base is about Attracting them First

Cohesiveness in color, message, and imaging is key to building a consumer base. Decide on a theme for your Instagram feed that is consistent with the messaging you want to send out.

5 Trends to Consider in Digital Marketing for the Holiday Season

5 Trends to Consider in Digital Marketing for the Holiday SeasonThe new era of the holiday season is unlike anything that could have been imagined decades ago. Today, retailers see bigger revenues than ever before through purchases both in-store and online. New tech and changing consumer expectations has meant adaptation on behalf of businesses.

 This year’s ecommerce sales are set to continue to grow, up 15.8 percent from last year approximately according to an estimate released by eMarketer. At such a key time for companies in the retail and ecommerce space, these are five trends to look out for.

 #1 – The Dominance of Mobile Devices and Smartphones

 This holiday season, mobile platforms are where it’s at for a lot of consumers. In many cases, they use their smartphones to do research on products and some do most of their online shopping here.

 Roughly 65 percent of consumers have at least one mobile shopping app on their phone, through which they have made a purchase in the last year. For argument’s sake, it’s possible to do all one’s preliminary research, browsing, purchasing, and scheduling delivery for products and services all from one’s mobile device. In addition to having an audience ready to buy in on mobile devices, more than 54 percent of emails opened this holiday season will be on a mobile device.

When PPC Performance is Down, handle it with a Measured Approach

When PPC Performance is Down, handle it with a Measured ApproachWhen you’re in the paid search game long enough, eventually, you see PPC performance begin to take a downturn. A lot of the time, this can happen in very unexpected ways. For times when you’re caught with an unexpected tumble in your PPC paid search performance, the important thing to remember is to accept that your campaign will not meet its expectations and with that comes consequences. The result of such a falter could be partners losing trust in your abilities and/or could see someone else come in and take over, leaving you with wheels spinning.

 Though the last thing anyone wants to see is a PPC performance downturn, it will happen at some point and when it does, your response needs to be measured. By approaching this as simply a problem in need of a solution and communicating confidence to stakeholders, you may be able to turn a negative into a positive.

 Identify and Diagnose where the Problem is At

 When you see your metrics take a swing down, you need to find out why. People are going to be depending on you to explain to them why a paid search campaign is not performing and you need to know. This can’t be guesswork. Look for when the problem first began to occur, what metrics are lagging, and examine whether there is any relationship to metrics that are working. Sometimes, this can mean hours of research. It is well worth it though because you’ll know where needs fixing.

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