House Special (www.HouseSpecial.ca) is a new restaurant in Yaletown that is worth visiting often. They are located on 1269 Hamilton Street in Yaletown and are usually open from 11:30am to 11pm most days and open till 12am on Fridays and Saturdays – good call.
Unlike your standard Vietnamese restaurant, House Special serves craft beers, wines, and cocktails. Here’s what I have to say to that.
House Special is run by siblings Victoria Do and Patrick Do whose parents run another restaurant called Green Lemongrass with locations on Kingsway and Richmond, as well as another on East Hastings called Broken Rice. The reviews for those restaurants at 4/5 aren’t bad. With years of experience they are looking to found one of the best Vietnamese restaurants in the Downtown Vancouver area. They couldn’t have picked a nicer location in the heart of Yaletown, Vancouver, British Columbia.
In case you didn’t guess it, the idea for the name of their restaurant comes from the House Special Pho. So just remember that next time you decide to cheat on House Special with another Vietnamese restaurant.
There is seating for roughly 50 customers as well as a patio area that sits 20.
Note: Something they should fix is their GMB map address listing to remove the duplicate postal code in front of their address and work on building out their directory listings and citations with consistent NAP.
There are many places where you can get traffic. The 80/20 method is to focus on the places where you can get the most results for the minimum spend on advertising (ROI). As a small business just starting out you need to hustle and get sales fast right?
If you are limited on time and have a budget: Set up a lead funnel and targeted traffic from Facebook Ads, Google Adwords, and test retargeting if it is a higher ticket item. The following assumes you don’t yet have a big marketing budget. I know what that is like as every business I’ve ever started was bootstrapped. Getting free methods set up and then adding paid strategies also works well.
If you have time and no budget: participate in forums by sharing your knowledge or curating other good pieces of content that is of interest to your target audience. Avoid the temptation to sell as you may get kicked off from the forum as well as be shunned by the community.
Insert your signature and fill out your user profile with social media links and a link to your website or lead capture page.
Look for partnerships with other active forum members and leave good comments. Establish yourself as an expert on a certain topic that fills a need in the community.
Create funny, amazing, inspirational, motivational, or informative content. Be sure to optimize your videos prior to uploading them by using the keyword phrase you are attempting to rank for in the video filename, in the video details, and also using related keywords in the video description. Have your main keyword at the front of your video. Use the tags section to input longtail keywords, your brand name, your channel name (so YT shows your other videos in the autoplay list) and also fill out the section where it says ‘share on google+ and twitter’ by inserting your keyword, a clickbaity message, and a hashtag.
Use your keywords in your videos if you are speaking and also upload a closed caption transcript with your keywords if time allows. YouTube likes high quality videos and they will also rank better. You also want your videos to be useful to have a high viewthrough rate and not get a high bounce rate which indicates that the video might not be relevant or popular (not worth showing).
Upon uploading, insert ‘cards’ by verifying your website and putting in links to your website. Also add annotations with your keywords.
If you are trying to rank for a local term click the advanced tab on the video editing page and add a video location.
Getting backlinks to your video: Apart from social shares, you can also embed your video on blogs, share your url, and treat your videos and YouTube channel like a website. As it is YouTube, they can take more abuse as far as links goes. If you own a private blog network then you could potentially rank any of your videos for local keywords with just a few links! There is almost no saturation for video SEO as there are so many markets to go for with more things to promote coming out every minute than you can keep up with.
Try to get lots of likes, views, and shares. Uploading your video is only the start! Now it is time to promote your video. Share it on your social profiles, embed your video to blogs surrounded by relevant content, and even do some outreach asking influencers to check out a video you made in response to theirs and they may even retweet or add it to their blog posts. Tools like Buffer and IFTTT can automate an initial sharing process to all your social profiles. If you don’t have time to get your social profiles made you can outsource the creation of web 2.0s and social accounts to a search engine optimization, search engine marketing, and social media marketing company that can do it for you.
If you are looking to rank your video for organic search terms it is best to begin with effective keyword research. In some cases you can find untapped keywords with tens of thousands of searches a month. I recommend Longtail Pro but there are free methods as well that just take longer.
SEO – search engine optimization – long tail keywords -aka low-hanging fruit
SEO is not as easy as many people make it sound. Just like you wouldn’t invest all of your money on your first Forex trade based on something someone said or an article you read online, you don’t want to assume that you fully grasp it. SEO is constantly changing with search engines constantly changing their algorithms hundreds of times per year. Also don’t forget that you are competing with other people performing search engine optimization all fighting for page 1 real estate.
Long tail keywords typically consist of 4 keywords or more. These can typically rank without a backlinking strategy. One technique is to pick a niche and create authoritative content around that niche. Eventually your blog will start to rank for a lot of other related keywords that you might not have been trying to rank for. Refer to your Google Analytics account and Webmaster Tools accounts for that information.
Good on-page optimization and silo structuring is often the easier place to start for basic search engine optimization. If you are a local business or want to dominate Google for your brand, claim your GoogleMyBusiness account and complete it. Geotag images and upload as many as you can. Claim quality directory listings and fill them out using a consistent NAP (name, address, and place). If you want faster results you can also build some quality backlinks to your directory listings such as ic.gc.ca, yelp, or Google+ and also drive some steady real traffic to them as well.
Have your meta description optimized for higher clickthrough rates. You can use competitors PPC ad copy if applicable for ideas because if they spend money on ads they probably A/B test to see what drives higher CTRs (click through rates).
Use schema.org markups. If you are using WordPress you can use the All In One SEO plugin or do it manually from Google Webmaster Tools by hilighting various sections of your website. Telling Google what your website is about also gives you an advantage of being able to rank higher as a reward. In some cases this was enough to move some of our own websites from position 29 to position 3 within weeks with nothing else.
The 80/20 for SEO is exact match anchor text on a relevant authority website (quality backlink). 6 backlinks can be all it takes to rank #1 for a keyword that fuels a 6-figure side-hustle.
I don’t advise building backlinks especially on a new website unless you know what you are doing. If you know how to leverage private blog networks (PBNs) then you already know how to rank for any keyword and how many links it will take. PBNs are still extremely effective BUT for local businesses they aren’t necessary unless you are creating parasite properties, alternate blogs, and ranking those as well to dominate your target keyword phrases in more competitive niches. With PBNs you can rank a brand new website for your city’s most competitive keywords like plumbing + city, best plumbers + city, and use those calls for your own business or give those leads to your friends 😛
You might be thinking – but won’t that stop working in the long run? Well, if you are bad at SEO then nothing lasts forever. Good SEO’s just look at their data and not what Google says to try and scare off amateur SEOs. You can hide your tracks when building PBNs to rank your websites but there are costs involved. Something to keep in mind to make them look legitimate is making them look like a real website would. I can recommend several courses on PBN building or provide a done for you service if you don’t want to invest thousands of hours learning it.
That is 10% of what I do for SEO and the rest is for private coaching clients.
Borrowed Authority SEO
Straightforward, you use other people’s authority to rank your content.
Guest blogging is not dead. You just need to do it on quality sites while contributing great content.
While not as good as it once was, you can still use blog commenting to drive traffic to your blog as well as gain some nofollow links which are also a good idea when you need to fix over optimization with your anchor text.
Social Media Sharing
Share your content, like other people’s content, and engage with people. You can to into people’s following if you get creative enough. You don’t always have to make your own content as even curating good content with credits to the original owners is also very effective in growing your own traffic and fans. If you have a team that produces content you can repurpose content that is proven to be popular and promote your own version instead.
Use as a lead generator by inserting your URLs into your kindle book. Can drive a good amount of targeted traffic to your optin pages (landing pages, squeeze pages, lead capture pages).
There are plugins that you can use as well as software that encourage people to share your content thus helping it go viral.
These are only basic steps to getting started online. If you’ve ever spent any time online you may have realized that there is a lot of spam online and people trying to sell you something. Personally everything I’ve learned was information readily available online (knowing where to get the information is key). It does however pay to have a coach helping you.
If you want to get into paid traffic it isn’t as cut and dry and there are many things to look for as you can easily lose your shirt if you forget to make even the slightest adjustments. Many of the default settings on paid traffic campaigns are rigged. However, paid traffic is the way to go if there was only one area to focus on. I would put PR above paid traffic but it really depends on the industry that you are in. There is no single solution and being able to get everything going and having them tie together is best.
Yaletown SEO provides full-service solutions helping small businesses reduce overhead expenses by delivering twice the results at a fraction of the cost on SEO, PPC, marketing, advertising, social media, web design, development, and more. Get in touch to see how we can be your long-term partner and support the growth of your company through a more personalized approach.
Ecommerce related question from Siddharth P. Vancouver, BC for free Q&A call.
I have a store and we are facing problems with getting enough orders to be in profit. We are selling Free+Shipping with the product costing $9.95 and every added product $5 extra like $14.95 for 2 units, $19.95 for 3 units and so on. The store was doing really well in the months of November and December. The ad budget in those months was $300/day and we were regularly getting orders of $600-700. We even had a few $1000+ days in those months.
Things have changed dramatically now. January was a disaster as we even struggled to reach $400 on some days with $300 ad budget and on few days we went past $500 but never went past $600. In Feb the ad account was put under review by Facebook and after submitting some doc it was finally released after 2 weeks. We have reduced our ad budget to $100 and we are making about $147 but its still a loss and we need to a make a min of $160 to make any kind of profit. I would really appreciate all suggestions and help so that we can start making profit again.
Reply from Yaletown SEO
Normally when I do a F+S offer it is using a product that costs less than $1 to buy and make up for that + whatever your cost per customer acquisition is ($2) so charge $4.99 for shipping e.g. credit card knife (e.g. SurvivalLife.com did it with the folding credit card knife) and charge only enough on shipping to cover your cost for acquiring ‘buyer’ customer emails. Once you have a break even funnel, just continue to build it up. The point isn’t to make money on it but to grow your subscriber list. When you have a subscriber list of 10k+ emails there is a lot that you can do from there.
Once you have the subscribers, you can then market higher end products. Market low ticket items as you would a high ticket item that costs $1000 with nice videos and so forth and your conversions will go through the roof (since they are impulse purchases). When dealing with Facebook traffic you are interrupting customers who will mostly buy out of impulse or be willing to give their email to receive a free offer. With Google Adwords traffic on the other hand you are usually trying to position yourself for when the customer has an intent to buy.
$9.95 is high for a F+S offer. I think you’d have better results marketing a lower priced F+S offer even if you are losing some money on the front end. The real money is made on the back-end.
The bigger picture is attracting sales from people who are already spending money on larger purchases. Build a relationship with them through email, social media, video, and through other channels that your target market hangs around in. Webinars (especially automated webinars) are a great addition to any sales funnel. Eventually some customers will trust you and also buy your higher ticket items so be prepared to deliver your best. Get referrals, continue to tweak your offer/landers, and also introduce some new traffic sources… I recommend focusing first on Google Adwords and Facebook Ads.
Here is an example of what that might look like using a product I randomly picked that has high sales volume in online marketplaces.
You can do a lot with 500 new buyer leads! Every business can benefit from having such a funnel because there are unlimited ideas of creative offers for virtually every business out there. It’s how you monetize on the back-end that counts.
I recommend picking up a copy of Dotcom secrets by Russel Brunson. I don’t agree with everything in there but it is a good book. As an example he says for upsells, don’t sell more of what someone already bought but sell something complimentary. I’ve tested it many times and people will buy more of what they already bought as long as the offer is good. It also makes things a lot easier for inventory and fulfillment.
A good tripwire offer fulfillment service that I recommend for small lightweight items like jewellery is dollarfulfillment.com. Just ask for Jason. You pay just a buck to get your items fulfilled. When you ship larger items use a service like Shipwire, Amazon FBA, Shipstation and look up other alternatives best suited for your product weight and type.
Once a front-end funnel and autoresponder sequence is set up, the ROI should drip over a few days.
Other things to look into.
Using new Facebook ad images and ad copy to prevent ad fatigue.
Retargeting ad – Dynamic.
Use apps like cart abandonment protector, Klaviyo, upsell app (the upsell app by Bold Apps version is not as good as one we can custom build for your store).
Using software like rare.io, try segmenting your repeat buyers, plugging them into a custom audience (emails), and then setting up a lookalike audience. From there, serve the ads to your lookalike audience and let Facebook find buyers most likely to convert for you. You don’t need narrow targeting at this point. Just have your conversion pixels ready and run website conversion ads. Sales should start coming in again as they were.
If not it could be something else — maybe even friction on the checkout pages — so verify that.
If it is an issue of customers right clicking on the image in Google Chrome and doing ‘search google for this image’ and then seeing Aliexpress or another site selling it for less, that might be costing you conversions as well. I recommend taking your own product photos and also looking at your suppliers images. Often times when you dropship and they see you doing well they will hijack your listing via SEO, image SEO, main keyword + manufacturer SEO, and so forth. They (manufacturer sales agents) also tend to be on niche specific forums, social media (facebook messaging), as well as email spamming.
In the long-run it helps to have a better understanding of what makes a good manufacturer. Too many ecommerce companies rely on suppliers that are just competitors. But if you are not doing your part as the marketers, then don’t blame the manufacturers either (in general).
Take a look at the website’s reviews. Try searching for “brand + reviews”. Are there negative comments on your Facebook fan page? Never leave questions unanswered as it simply looks like the company doesn’t bother to respond. It wouldn’t inspire confidence in your customer support. Also, leverage existing customers by soliciting positive feedback. It may cost you some money in the front-end but remember, you are building a long-term business asset. By increasing trust, you are also increasing your conversion rate and retention rate.
Continue to build your fan base. Perhaps not directly on pages where you direct traffic from Facebook but on other pages, you can add exit intent popups with your product and a coupon code if they make a purchase. You can also collect an email or generate likes to your social profiles. Try to extract as much as you can from your paid traffic so you can reinvest and achieve higher ROAS.
Those should be enough for starters.
Examples of sites with low-high offers. If you have good products and margins, you don’t necessarily need a break even funnel.
Note: I had a few drinks so I don’t necessarily even agree with a lot of what is said here. Business is not cut and dry. There is no cookie-cutter ‘one-size-fits-all’ solution. That’s what makes it so interesting. You don’t need to be 50 years in business to know things either. With the amount of free resources available through the internet, entrepreneurs can cut their learning curves drastically by going to the best sources of information. Going from point A to point B becomes a lot clearer.
How Much Should Small Businessses Spend On Marketing? – Answer – Spend as much as you can to bring in customers with the highest long-term customer value, least headache, and lowest cost per acquisition. If you follow this strategy, you will be in a good place 5 years from now. If you don’t grow and reinvest then you could very well be out of business. Offering great customer support isn’t as good as focusing on customer acquisition. McDonalds didn’t become the most successful fast food franchise by focusing on serving their existing customer base and relying on word of mouth. They got there by systematizing their delivery and getting the word out through marketing. The company that spends the most on marketing generally wins (so to combat companies with more money – you just have to plan smarter). While people may say the average is 10-15% of annual revenues it is different for all industries. You might be the type of person who would rather invest for long-term gain. Most business owners ARE this way but make the mistake of hiring the wrong people to do the job. The online landscape is constantly evolving so you want to ensure that what you are doing is not something that ‘used’ to work in 2006 or 2013 but working NOW.
Yaletown SEO provides results oriented direct marketing campaigns for businesses in Vancouver, BC, Canada
Important: Email firstname.lastname@example.org for a discovery form template and consultation to get started
Yes, the future is online BUT never ever forget offline. Less companies are advertising offline because they are going for the quick fix and getting distracted by everything like social media. Sure you want to do those things but if you are going to invest money, invest in direct response where you can get instant measurable results.
Businesses should spend enough to where they are building a solid foundation to set themselves up for FREE leads in the future.
You might be thinking this is impossible… But consider the fact that all of the websites that currently rank high on Google when people search for example “surgeons in (city)” that they are either ranking because they have been around for a while or because they hired someone to optimize their website and online presence for those particular keywords.
I’m here to tell you that FREE traffic is the best. But you don’t start out getting free traffic right off the bat. There is legwork involved and hiring an experienced marketer to get there is very important. If you fail to hire the right person that is both qualified and experienced with a proven track record then you will have spent the time and money for nothing (and time is more valuable than money as you can’t get it back once it’s spent!).
Therefore, it’s self evident that investing in marketing is important to your business growth. So to tackle the question of how much should small businesses spend on marketing per year? Some say 10% and others say 5%. Large companies with huge advertising budgets spend as much as they can for branding purposes. But small businesses need to see a return. Most small businesses will soon be out of business if they are not smart with their marketing budget.
There is more to this question. First you need to ensure that you have the right strategy. No amount of budgeting will work if you don’t have the right plan. So an actionable tip would be something like looking at where other companies in your vertical, niche, or industry get their clients from. 9 times out of 10 this is just through word of mouth or offline advertising because honestly, most companies ‘suck’ at online marketing. Furthermore I would guess that less than 10% of that 10% got there by planning. Most get there by luck when it comes to generating leads through search engines.
Word of mouth and referral marketing is excellent and a result of good service but you are also at the mercy of your customer base. What if instead you had the ability to turn on the ‘tap’ so to speak whenever you want? This is what marketing platforms such as Google Adwords allows companies to do (when their campaigns are properly set up of course). Most companies fail miserably when it comes to PPC because they find the cheapest provider to set up and manage their campaigns not realizing that in the long-run they are losing valuable time and money. You lose big-time in lost opportunity costs.
Where should you invest your budget?
There are many different areas with subsections per practice.
Digital, online advertising, search engine marketing
Content creation and management
Social media marketing
Search engine optimization
Website design and maintenance
What should you do? There are dozens of things per section that needs to be taken care of. How does the average business owner know what to look for when they are busy dealing with their clients? Fortunately there are consultants out there who live and breathe these things while putting them into practice to gather real world data.
Initially you want to ensure that all of your social media profiles are claimed. You want to claim your citations/directory listings, Google My Business profile listing, and begin to give Google more reasons to show your website. Add proper keywords and relevant pages to boost your web rankings in local search results. Ensure proper mobile friendly optimization strategies are put into play so that you have the best chance of ranking.
Before getting into PPC marketing, ensure that your website developer also understands the fundamentals of PPC or has experience with PPC itself so they can create compliant landing pages that are fast, mobile friendly, and geared for high conversions. Most websites fail miserably at converting clicks into leads because most web designers are not experts at PPC and conversion rate optimization – let alone search engine optimization. In fact, most web developers think search engine optimization is just about keywords and building a few links. This is why many web developers will perform their version of what they think SEO is only to find that their websites are deindexed in Google a few months down the road – blaming it on Google’s algorithms. If you are a good SEO, you don’t lose your sites to penalties and changes in algorithms but rather benefit as your competitors sites get pushed down the SERPs.
Back on track, I would say that digital marketing has a tremendous amount of ROI potential compared to offline advertising. It is also the best place to invest your money (your online real estate) because more and more people turn to Google, Yahoo, and Bing to quickly find what they need. Nobody carries a phone book around with them or takes a drive around town to look at various billboards until they find let’s say a plumber. No, they just pull out their phone and type Plumber +city and call the first company they find.
Should you outsource your marketing as a small business owner?
Yes, definitely! Initially you want to outsource your marketing to experts who will set things up properly and then show you how to manage it from there moving forward. It might cost more initially to have an expert handle it but you save time, get things done right, and your ‘inhouse worker’ can focus on the other tasks like helping take photos and videos (things that inhouse workers do). Inhouse workers will not have time nor experience to know how to set things up properly because they are limited in terms of hours in a day. You can demand everything but there are still only 8 hours for them to accomplish those tasks. When you pay someone by the hour you want to make sure they are spending most of their time on A level tasks that generate fast results.
Online vs Offline marketing for small businesses
Spend 80% online and 20% offline initially. When you scale and have more staff you can start to spend more on offline marketing.
Online marketing is much cheaper and easier to track/scale right now. I do recommend learning a bit of it yourself if possible so you know what you don’t know which helps you outsource more effectively. If you are looking for effective ways to advertise offline my recommendation would be mobile advertising e.g. guerilla marketing, yard signs (bandit signs – hey it works), vehicle signage, cross-promotions, and so on.
Yaletown SEO provides local businesses with everything they need to dominate their local area whether it is online or offline. Using savvy marketing tactics and leveraging both online and offline efforts, we are able to help our local businesses reap huge returns on their investment as soon as 3 months with results really kicking in after 2 years (whereas it might take 10 years hiring an amateur if your business still exists in that time).
Business is cutthroat and hard when you don’t have a clear strategy and plan. Not planning is like planning to fail and nobody starts a business to fail! Let Yaletown SEO based in Vancouver, BC help take you to the top of Google, Yahoo, Bing, spread the word about your services, and create a positive experience for your customers. Complete the form for a free audit today. http://www.yaletownseo.ca/request-a-free-seo-analysis/