How To Use Google My Business To Drive Your Local Business in 2018

In the digital era, the value of search engines in our decision-making process has become undeniable. In fact, a 2016 survey showed that search engines have become our most trusted online source for finding information. Compared to the other marketing channels, local searches have a higher chance of generating in-store visits and offline sales. However, the value of having a strong business profile listed on a search engine results page (SERP) is more underestimated than many realize.

 local searches status

Maintaining a strong business profile on Google, a.k.a a Google My Business (GMB) page can add value to your local marketing efforts by generating foot traffic and driving online traffic to your website, and it costs you nothing but your time.

Nexera Law-GMB

One question you might be wondering is: how do I optimize my listing locally? Here are some tips to help you make the most of your GMB page:

Stay Fresh

Whether you are new to Google My Business or not, treat it as your digital real estate on Google. Keep it as fresh and welcoming as your home by updating your business information on a regular basis. This should include:

  • Business name, address, phone number (NAP)
  • Website URL
  • Appointment URL
  • Business hours
  • Categories
  • Business logo
  • Profile photo
  • Property photos
  • Virtual Tour (if applicable)

(Google My Business Community)

If your business has over ten locations, no worries! Through bulk verification, you can manage all of your listings quickly, although it does require managing a spreadsheet.

While you are setting things up, make sure all the content has as much detail as possible, now is not the time for shortcuts. This is important because in order to serve your business, Google needs to understand your business.

Be Social

This newly released feature allows businesses to get social with the public directly on Google’s search result page and it is no doubt a huge benefit for startups and small brands to get wider exposure online.

business listing on Google

(posts can be seen in Google search result page and Maps, both on desktop and mobile)

Mimicking how you would execute your social media posts on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn, you can decide what and when to post on this platform. Although posts will only be “live” for 7 days and used for sharing purposes only (no commenting or likes), here are some highlights:

  • Posts will show on the Google search results page and Google Maps, but also on desktop and mobile device.   
  • You are not limited to plain messages, you can also post events, creative images, new promotions, announcements, etc,.
  • You can choose to include a call-to-action button in your post, like “order online”, “learn more” “sign up”, or “get offer”. Treat this opportunity as an extension of your digital ads.

This is a breakthrough for online business listings – brands and businesses are finally able to start the conversation with users on Google rather than passively waiting for someone to show up at the door or send them a message.

Nurture Customer Relationships

Aside from business listings, using GMB for customer service can elevate your local search ranking and drive your customer retention to the next level.

– Customer Reviews

People leave reviews on Google to share their positive/negative experiences not only with the business but with future customers too! In fact, 90% of today’s consumers rely on these reviews to make final decisions. So, having a communication strategy for your Google reviews helps you to capitalize on positive customer experiences, and provides an opportunity for outreach in case a customer had a less than ideal experience. Over time, your efforts spent on GMB help to increase your brand visibility and boost local traffic from Google.

If you need more reviews, here is a BONUS TIP: you can send people a link connected directly to your Google business review page. We recommend issuing a follow-up email to guests and clients, asking them to kindly leave a business review via their Google account after their experience with your business.


To take this to the next level, you can generate a shortened URL or QR code through Google URL Shortener. Feel free to display it on your social media profiles, in your newsletter, on your receipt or your printed menu card wherever customers are likely to see and leave a review. The best part of doing this is that you can track how many people end up clicking your link!

shorten GMB links– Q&A

Other than leaving a review, people can also leave a question directly on your GMB page. If questions are being answered, users can upvote answers that are helpful to them.

Again, like customer reviews, if you have a bustling Q&A section, there is a higher chance of ranking for your key search terms on Google, and that is a big deal!

– Direct Messaging

Direct messaging is another field for you to exceed your customer expectations: you can set up a phone number on your GMB page for customers to text you. You can manage these messages from the device of your choosing. You can also create a welcome message (exactly how you would for your Facebook page). Once you download Google’s messaging app Allo, you can chat with your customers anytime, anywhere.

GMB_Direct message feature– Monthly Analytics

Whether you are doing the GMB page on your own, or someone is managing it on your behalf, all effort will be measured and a visually presented in a monthly report delivered straight to your inbox.

In the report, ‘insights’ will show you how customers interact with your listing across all devices, including:

  • How customers find your listing
  • Where customers find you on Google
  • Customer actions
  • Direction requests
  • Phone calls
  • Photos

We highly recommend our partners utilize this report, as it is helpful for understanding your customer journey and behaviour like:

  • What are the top search terms leading customers to your business listing?
  • Where do they find your business listing? On Google Map or on Google search result page?
  • Which location are they looking for your services? For how many times?
  • How many customers have called you during a certain period?
  • Which photo gets the most attention?

Infusing these insights into your digital marketing strategy can mean the difference between a less than impressive website performance and clicks that consistently convert.


If you’re currently looking for a way to get more support from your local market, as most businesses are, Google My Business is a great place to start. Just remember – consistency is key. If you’re going to do it, do it regularly, strategically, and always referencing your analytics and insights.

In the digital age, there’s more to running a long lasting business than having an incredible location or product. If you stuck with your marketing strategy, we are here for you.

Contact Web Toaster for your free online presence audit today!


Net Neutrality

When you go online you have certain expectations. You expect to be connected to whatever website you want. You expect that your cable or phone company isn’t messing with the data and is connecting you to all websites, applications and content you choose. You expect to be in control of your internet experience.

When you use the internet you expect Net Neutrality.


Net neutrality is the internet’s guiding light. It is the principle that internet service providers (AT&T Internet, Verizon, Comcast, Rogers, Bell) must treat all data on the internet equally, and not discriminate or charge differently depending on user, content, website, platform, application, type of attached equipment, or method of communication.

Under these principles, internet service providers are unable to intentionally block, slow down or charge more for specific websites and online content.

Here is a real-world example – Comcast the service provider, and NBC the television network are affiliated. Comcast would probably like to promote NBC’s content over ABC’s to its internet subscribers since there is a real incentive for NBC to outperform ABC. Net neutrality prevents Comcast from being able to discriminate content over its network, and it must display both NBC’s and ABC’s content evenly as a result. This means no slower load time for ABC, and definitely no blocking of ABC altogether.

So, what is the issue? IT’S POLITICAL!

In December 2017 – the Federal Communications Commission voted to scrap the Obama-era net neutrality rules. The rules prevented internet service providers from favouring some content over others. Essentially turning internet packages into cable packages where you have to pay your service provider more for certain services and channels.

The FCC’s vote underlined the partisan politics that have shaped the net neutrality debate: the agency’s three Republican commissioners voted in favour of repeal, while the two Democrats on the five-member commission voted to keep the rules.

A case for net neutrality:


Net neutrality creates an even playing field among content providers — both large and small.


Net neutrality is good for consumers because they can access everything they want online for no extra charge.


Net neutrality gives consumers the “whole library” and without it, Comcast, Rogers and Bell could be the masters who dictate exactly what we’re able to view online.

A case against net neutrality:


Free data – maybe… Getting rid of net neutrality would allow service providers (AT&T, Rogers) to charge content providers (Netflix, Buzzfeed, Google). Enter, sponsored data. The additional revenue stream might mean free data plans for consumers. Never paying for a data sounds pretty nice.


Financial benefits for telecommunications companies – obviously.

What does this mean?

No one is exactly sure just yet, but there is no shortage of speculation. Most simply, the elimination of net neutrality means that internet providers can technically carve up service into “fast”, “slow” and “blocked” lanes, charging more for higher speeds, specific websites, and applications.

Did you see any images like this on Instagram in December?

This image was a rally cry from Instagrammers to protect net neutrality. It provided a stark glimpse of what an internet with no regulation might look like. Looks like it could get expensive, right?

Does this affect ME?

Yes and No.

Not really, because…

  • This is an American repeal and we have our own rules in Canada.
  • In Canada, we will continue to get the “whole internet.”

But yes, because…

  • We can expect to pay more for the American (all) services we love – if Netflix has to pay to ensure people have access to it, you can bet that that will trickle down into higher monthly fees. Same goes for Spotify.
  • Censorship – Bell has already filed proposals for censorship to start blocking content (things that undermine their content and cable efforts).
  • More and fiercer competition – this will make it harder for Canadian businesses to compete in the U.S. If companies in the U.S. have to pay to play, what do you think will happen to Canadian businesses marketing online in the U.S.?

Worst case scenario

In Portugal, there are no net neutrality rules and broke out internet packages already exist. The other countries without net neutrality enforcement include Argentina, Belgium, Brazil, Chile, China, France, Israel, Italy, Japan, Russia, South Korea, and Slovenia.

What if MORE options actually mean less?

Here is an example of a data package – remember this if for the internet. This is unheard of in Canada right now but could be our reality in the future. What package would you choose?

At the end of the day, net neutrality is big deal. Although no one can say for sure what is going to happen to the days of an “open internet”, there is enough information to cause concern that this move might not in the “peoples” best interest. Time will tell.

Do you think Net Neutrality is a good idea? Contact us, we would love to talk to you about it!

8 Takeaways From The Snapchat Redesign


I just updated the Snapchat app on my phone and felt familiar upon seeing the Camera in a seemingly similar interface the first time I opened it. As I explored further, I realized that the pages to the left and right had received an unrecognizable facelift. I had to relearn how to use it.

As a Snapchat fan and active user, I found the new interface to be un-intuitive and this made me annoyed. I was not alone – 1.2 million people feel the same way – I guess we all find comfort in routines and dislike radical change.

But as a marketer, I wanted to know more. Was this redesign pivotal to Snapchat for some reason? Was it an attempt to provide a better experience for us? Or was this driven by brand advertising? Either way, the response has not been positive and has left Snapchat dealing with public criticism from celebrities and a tumbling stock value. Although the motive for the update remains speculative, there are 8 factors I find interesting  about the redesign that that we can apply to our user experience and app development strategies:

Separate ‘Social’ From ‘Media’

Snapchat provided another interpretation of social media that we have not seen before – by splitting friends’ updates from branded/promotional content. The app has a clear focus on interpersonal relationships:

“Our service was really built on this idea of helping friends communicate, we chose friends.” – Snapchat CEO Spiegel 

Opposite to the old version, where content from friends, celebrities, influencers, and publishers were all tangled together in one place.

In the redesign, Chats and Stories from friends are on the left side, and Media Stories from celebrities, brands, and the community are separated on the right side. If you understand how Snapchat set themselves apart as being a private messaging app, you would agree that this move by stays true to the brand image.

Tap Into Psychology (Feelings)

I still remember how the app amazed me at first. Once knowing that pictures would be gone after the recipient viewed them, I felt so relaxed sending pictures to my pals on Snapchat, even if I might look a little messy. In fact, this was part of the fun of it.

This “everything-happens-in-real-time-and-disappears” form of ephemerality taps into the majority’s fear about personal information being hacked or distributed elsewhere on the internet. And the tips from Snapchat made users consider ‘what does it feel like’ rather than ‘how does it look’ which was a new concept for this audience.

Focus On Mobile

In the mobile era, people have access to all sorts of digital content right in the palm of their hand, therefore everything needs to be optimized to suit that. The worldwide philosophy that ‘mobile is everything’ has been keenly reflected in the app design and features exclusively tailored for mobile, and often described as what happens in Snapchat, stays in Snapchat:

  • Making the selfie camera the default screen to cater for the urge of capturing photos – we are the “me generation” after all.
  • Easy access to texting, video call, and voice call without leaving the app.
  • Option to save images and videos to the Memories tab (not your iPhone’s photo album), and all the content are searchable.
  • School newspapers, custom stories, news and even TV shows are all provided in the app – all focusing on local content.

Data shows that there are 178 million active Snapchatters, and they open the app 25 times and spend 30 minutes every day on average.

User-friendly Advertising

(Source: Business Insider)

The rise of ad blockers is affecting text ads and display ads on search engines and websites, and meanwhile making video ads on social media channels like Facebook and Snapchat a viable alternative. However, advertising costs on Snapchat are too high for small businesses. Snapchat’s struggle was how to improve user engagement and offer more competitive advertising options for businesses:

So far, the app has been paving the way to mobile advertising with constant updates:

  • Snapchat Ad Manager, a self-serve ads tool for creating maximum 10-second full-screen vertical video ads.
  • Geofilters, location-based illustrations featuring brands or events for users to decorate selfies.
  • Context Card: show business information (reviews, contact information, business hours, websites, etc.) based on locations.
  • Snap Map: show other users’ locations and activities on a world map.
  • Allowing hyperlinks in posts which is a big change – Instagram has yet to do this.

These features all have super user-friendly designs and are expected to generate in-app transactions, location-based advertising and online-to-offline sales, at least that’s what they were hoping.

Analytics Are A Must

(Source: Snapchat)

In-app analytics tools have also been added to Snapchat’s new update – amid the latest controversial redesign after neglecting influencers’ demands for years and experiencing a painful audience growth in 2016. Now, the app has to make a move to catch up with Instagram in order to win back influencers by focusing on:

  • A data-driven content strategy: metrics like story views, time spent viewing stories, and audience interests help creators produce the right content for their target audience.
  • More sponsorship from brands: using metrics like audience demographics and daily unique story viewers help brands to understand and define potential opportunities doing advertising or partnership with influencers who has huge followers on the platform.

Other than creating an analytics tool, some changes on Snapchat like allowing people to store old videos and images to Memories seem smart and could be potential for remarketing opportunities in the future, but are they getting away from the original premise of the app? Does it matter?

Seize Video Power

Recognized as a video messaging app since it first started in 2011, Snapchat has proved to be a pioneer in the video category. Some great learnings from its success are:

(source: Snapchat)

  • Make the video part of your design: the camera-centered design is quite a feature of Snapchat that generates millions of video clips on a daily basis.
  • Distinguish yourself from the masses: you need a special value so people know when and why post to your channels. For example, Snapchat video is raw and authentic, while Instagram video is thoughtful and elaborate.
  • Always optimized for mobile: ALWAYS!
  • Be fun and creative with features: people love Snapchat AR Lenses, Geofilters, Bitmoji, etc, – so much so that the puppy dogs ears have become a part of our pop culture.

Algorithm-based Feed

No matter how great your design or content is, the algorithm is queen. An algorithm-based feed is key to user engagement on social media by showing the content that users are interested in.

Snapchat is using a new “Best Friends algorithm” to show content on a friends-come-first order rather than a chronological order. Messages and videos from friends will be sorted by who you interact with most, not people who update the most. And content from the media like celebrities and publishers, and Snap Map in the Discover section will be sorted by your past viewing behaviour. Although it takes time for the updated algorithm to learn the user’s information, but the idea is saving users the trouble of scrolling and searching.

User feeds are packed with more content than ever, without a smart feed, Snapchat could face a stalled user growth. Finding the right way to serve the right content to the right person is an ongoing effort for all social media products.

Be Fun, But Creatively

(Image resource: AdAge)

People love to laugh and feel good about themselves, and Snapchat keeps adding new features to make sure that. Users can take goofy selfies, doodle on images, create custom Bitmojis, personalized ScanCode, AR Lens, Geofilters… all interactions and activities that fun in a creative way. And that’s why Millennials and Generation Z are crazy about the app!

So far, the app’s redesign seems unpopular among millennials, and the ongoing disses from celebrities have wiped out over 1.3 billion in Snap’s market value in a week. Losing profit is definitely not pleasing, but since the loss has already started in 2017, we hope the redesign could be a trade-off between profitability and user growth.

Are you still a loyal Snapchatter? Tell us on Twitter!

Web Design Trends For 2018


At BTI, we are always on the lookout for the next best thing in design, and we know that design trends often have roots in unconventional means. For example, how does a 2018 runway show impact websites in 2019? How does an update to mobile software manipulate the way we design websites and apps? It is all relevant. Continue reading to see what we’re predicting to be the top styling trends this year:

1. Think Mobile

Studies show that an increasing amount of web surfers are tuning in from their devices, taking part of 52.64% of total online traffic in 2017. Today, all e-commerce sites should be functional from a phone. Customers take action while they’re waiting at a bus stop, on a road trip, while comparison shopping in stores; and your site needs to be ready. Why does this matter? No matter how big or small your company is, it is time to take responsive design seriously. That is – how your website displays across various screen sizes and devices.

2. Duotone And Vibrant Colour Schemes

If you haven’t noticed the rising trend of colorful schemes in a lot of different brands, take a look at Spotify. Since 2015, brands have started maximizing colours in their advertising collateral and brand identities.

Packetlabs IT Security

Lazeez Shawarma

EgWine Co


Milk Beauty

3. Big, Bold, Stylized Typography

Retro styles have started to come back into visual design, and typography has become a focal point.

Typography has been playing a significant role in design and most brands use it as a tool to tell a story or to strengthen the brand’s identity. Therefore, we predict that 2018 will be ALL about font treatments. See the 8Faces example below. As the minimalism trend is getting more popular, a lot of designers are having typography  interact with empty space to create a sense of sophisticated quality.

BTI Colours

8 Faces Beauty

Capo Capo

Ours Roux

4. Stylized Illustrations

Illustrations have been a great medium for storytelling and are widely used in different marketing materials.

While photography provides a direct visual of the product, illustrations are great for service-based brands that want to build their brand in a specific way. Creating custom illustrations can be helpful in giving the brand a character that is lively and approachable. As well as being highly customizable and versatile, a touch of illustration can go a long way.

Two Crazy Ladies




5. Integrated Animation

Instead of 2D graphics, more and more brands are using small and appropriate amounts of animations on their main page.

They say moving objects catch more attention, and that is true! Studies have found videos get more views and get the passerby to stay longer on the page.


Maverick agency

Design Better

6. Infographics and Data

Displaying data and results on a web page is a great way to tell customers that “hey, we’re doing great!” Rather than presenting boring numbers and analytics, we see web designers using infographics integrated with slight animation to spice up the visuals. When the content is eye-catching, it will intrigue the viewers to stop and wonder what it is all about.

Neomam Studios

Fire Works (app)

7. Simplicity, Simplicity

Minimalism is in.

It is a secret of designers to play with the balance of empty space and minimal content to create a visually pleasing aesthetic. Without too much distraction, the message that the brand wants to tell can come through strongly and leave a remarkable impression.

Lumina Lighting Sales



8. Artistic Photography

Photography is still the main source of product advertising that is used in all types of marketing material, from print to digital. It captures the realism of the products with a creative twist that can bring out the personality of the brand. As trust in advertising falls, people are more attracted to imagery that looks real, unedited and natural. That is why we see a lot of playful touches in them, such as 2D graphics and animation integrated with realistic photography or a simple, nicely captured photograph.

Mieu by KOMA



9. Gradients and Colour Blocks

Gradients are making a huge comeback.

They’re bringing a dynamic, strong and playful colour movement into the design scene. A simple gradient background can be the perfect on-trend solution for UI/UX design when you’re going for a simple and sophisticated look yet want to add some dimension to the design. We have seen a lot of brands redesigning with gradient colours on their website, apps, or even logos. They’re not the most print-friendly option – but for business with an online focus – it makes sense!



10. 2D And Drop Shadows

Since the trend of simplicity is on the rise, 2D designs are coming back but as 2.0. With minimal colour schemes that are carefully chosen to represent the character of the brand, they are colour blocks, divider, text, and content. With the effect of using subtle drop shadows, it creates a 3D effect that makes the visual come to life. There are more and more brands that are choosing to present their products in the most simple way possible, which is to use close-cut product photography and add drop shadows.


LAMPS. By Stanislav Myzenko and Prof-IT Company

Sweet Donut by HEZY .org and Hezy Theme

All of the trends we noted above are exciting and beautiful and can be used to tell your brand story in a powerful way.

Do you think your brand could benefit from any of these trends? Get in touch with us today, we would love to talk!

Integrated Digital Marketing: Why It Is A Must For Businesses

This weekend, I wanted to do some online shopping… So how did I do it?? I found promotional deals while checking emails at night, I read blogs that included special offers and browsed my favourite influencers on Instagram and Facebook for outfit ideas whenever I was free throughout the day. Once I had a few items in mind, I went to the store to try on clothes that I had viewed from their websites, and once I decided which to buy, I paid with my phone.

I am not alone in my shopping behaviour. In fact, the typical consumer’s path to purchase is complex and happening across all sorts of channels. Because of this new trend in buying behaviour, the traditional one-point marketing strategy is no longer enough. In order to stay top of mind with consumers throughout their journey – you need an integrated digital marketing strategy. Here, we highlight five reasons why an integrated marketing is necessary for your business:

We Are Digital Consumers

The landscape of consumers’ shopping behaviour is definitely changing. Traditional advertising just lost its top spot to online advertising for the first time in 2017. Current technology trends like mobile pay, IoT, AI and algorithms have changed the way that people think, interact, and shop; and in turn, we are seeing extensive activity on smart devices and interactive platforms. As a result, social media channels, online reviews, videos, and blogs play a huge role in consumer decision-making process about whether to choose you or your competitors.

Integrated brand messages across multiple platforms mean not missing your customers at all available touchpoints. This is particularly true for B2C business (like Uniqlo, Taco Bell, Airbnb, Uber, Lululemon) and business that have long product lifecycles (like Porsche). After all, we can’t predict when potential customers will convert, but we can be there wherever they are ready.

Consistency Triggers Trust

Often times, buying is an emotional experience more than a rational one. Consumers expect the same experience across all channels and devices, and they tend to purchase more from brands they trust. The competition is fierce, so it is more important than ever for businesses to build a consistent brand identity to maintain an emotional connection.

Developing brand trust is a long-term commitment and needs to be done through a cohesive online communication strategy if you want customers to “buy in” to your authenticity and trustworthiness. Your marketing methods of communication need to be aligned with your brand image and personality at all levels, that means your logo, website, product design, brand voice, customer service and even company culture should reverberate with your marketing messages. Such consistency can instill relevancy and confidence in your consumer’s decisions.

Cross-channel Marketing = Conversions

A constant message across all channels can improve purchase intent by 90% and brand perception by 68%.

(Source: Econsultancy)

Although a most basic understanding of cross-channel marketing is about reaching a broader demographic by expanding into new channels, the most effective results l always come from a cohesive integrated marketing strategy. A seamless approach to this equals higher success moving potential customers down the funnel.

Prove it…

Consumers are rapidly evolving and so is their behaviour online. The concern about how to better understand your customers and how to adapt requires an “always on” approach to strategy and insights.

(TM Forum’s customer experience survey)

When considered with conversion tracking and data analysis, integrated digital marketing strategies help collect user data from multiple channels and bridge the gap between what you are expected to provide and where you are missing out. Conversion tracking can be done through various devices and channels from mobile, website, social media, Apps to even QR codes. With the right method on data analysis, you will find great insights on the following aspects:

• Identify which tactic is working

• Benchmark performance against competitors’

• Map out your customers online shopping journey

• Optimize executions

Adopting a data-driven strategy means less guesswork in your marketing decisions, and more proactive planning when consumers decision-making process changes.

Being Flexible

In the digital era, changes to search engine algorithm, devices, social media, data tracking capabilities happen overnight. From a business perspective, a stream of new revenue might pop up on some new channel; On the customer’s side, younger generations, in particular, are nimble adopters to trendy platforms and new technologies. All of these require marketing strategies to be flexible and easy to change on the fly – new creative and budgets must be quickly rolled out to keep up, also both brand guidelines and content strategies should be adapted seamlessly.

In A Nutshell…

Diversity is always an asset in marketing, and it means even more for businesses nowadays. We believe integrated digital marketing will be in demand and adopted as it meets our expectations on strengthening brand personality, retaining loyal customers, generating valuable leads, measuring ROI and eventually driving the success of your business.

This strategy requires not just a holistic view of your business, but also a set of strong, versatile skills arranging from creative design, social media, SEO, SEM, email marketing to data interpretation – things we do at BTI Brand Innovations every day.

Contact us to embark on integrated digital marketing today and learn more about how to integrate your digital marketing strategy!

Digital Marketing Trends of 2018

Now that we are settled into 2018, we have been a-brewin’ about what the big focus for marketing this year will be. We aren’t alone with this question. According to a survey taken by Smart Insights, content marketing was named the single most important tactic for digital marketing this year. Content marketing does not stand alone, often times it is just a part of a company’s complete marketing strategy. As such, we will be diving into the top three trends: content marketing, big data and artificial intelligence/machine learning, plus our trend prediction for this year at the very end.


Content Marketing

Content has gotten a lot of attention over the last few years. It has been realized by marketers far and wide that the quality of content you produce can make or break your campaign. Content creates the engagement that brands are hungry for and it often translates across various different platforms – websites, apps, emails, and more. In our world of sponsored posts, photos and videos, it is really hard to stand out unless you are “paying to play”. At BTI we believe that all great content begins with a story. What does your story tell?

Big Data

What good is your strategy if you don’t have the data to back it up? At BTI, insights are our game and creating plans always starts with thorough research. Insights help us zero in on which techniques and tactics to use to build plans that move the needle. In addition to ensuring we have the “why” answered before we even get started, big data is also critical when it comes to measuring campaign results. For us, this means understanding the details of the customer or potential customer’s journey and sometimes, it means changing up the game based on this response.

Artificial Intelligence

It is no surprise that AI makes the top of this list of marketing trends in 2018.  AI has the capabilities to rock almost every industry, but no one is certain exactly how just yet. Never one to shy away from technology, BTI has been thinking about why machine learning matters to us here and here too. From a marketing perspective, AI has the potential to automate personalization and segmentation, and that’s a pretty big deal.

Bonus trend:


One trend, not noted in this survey that we know will be a recurring theme in 2018 is customization. All of the above trends fall into this category too. Customization is so important because marketing works better when you have the right audience. So take your awesome content, your data and insights and make sure it finds the right eyeballs. Eyeballs that care. This goes for all sorts of business, no matter how specific their product or service. It really doesn’t seem that futuristic when we consider how far we have come already.

What do you think will be the next big marketing trend? Contact us, we would love to talk!

What Is The IoT?

The Internet of Things or the IoT, is the latest buzzword – but what does it really mean?

The IoT is the concept of connecting our “things” to the internet (and/or to each other). And no, I am not talking about computers and smartphones – that is so 2005. Think cars, coffeemakers, toasters, thermostats even thermometers. The IoT is a network of internet-connected objects able to collect and exchange data. But what this means for us is that slowly but surely, all of our appliances and gadgets are going to be online and connected – all in the name of convenience.

Here are some quick facts to help you gauge the potential impact of the IoT:

  • Nearly $6 trillion will be spent on the IoT over the next five years
  • The IoT isn’t all about spending – Barcelona saves $37 million a year, thanks to smart lighting and the city’s many IoT initiatives have created 47,000 new jobs
  • It is expected that there will be more than 24 billion IoT devices by 2020 – that’s approximately 4 devices per person
  • Intel’s projection is even bigger – the company forecasts 200 billion connected devices by 2020
  • Business will be the top adopter of the IoT, using it to reduce operating costs, increase productivity and expand product offerings
  • Governments will be one of the second-largest adopters
  • Technology is already in our clothes – according to Reportbuyer, there were 968,000 smart clothing units sold in 2015, a number that will reach 24.75 billion in 2021
  • Business Insider forecasts that by 2020, 75 percent of new cars will come with built-in IoT connectivity
  • IoT security and regulation will become key priorities

Predictions for the IoT are big and they bring with them bright and endless opportunities for connection to take place. Although it is impossible to say how it will affect us exactly, we can only imagine the potential impact on our roles as business owners, employees and as consumers digesting the byproducts of this IoT mayhem in our everyday life.

How do you think consumers will be affected by the IoT? Share your thoughts by leaving a comment below.

Want to learn more about how the Internet of Things is affecting your business? Let’s talk!


Digital Marketing For Restaurants In 5 Steps


Owning and opening a restaurant requires a person to wear many hats. You would think that a chef’s hat would be enough, but in reality, restaurant owners are project managers, contractors, accountants, marketers and so much more. Serving great food and perfecting every piece of your décor is important, yes, but is it enough to thrive in today’s competitive restaurant industry?

Beyond the world-class dining experience your guests have come to expect, what can restaurant owners do to win at online marketing? Here are 5 steps for consideration when taking your brand online:

1. Understand Your Audience

Who is going to enjoy the food at your restaurant and come back with their friends again and again? Establishing a target demographic and understanding their psychographics is vital when it comes to online marketing. By doing so, you are able to target that specific group of people directly and ensure that you don’t waste any resources when advertising. Not only does being familiar and confident in your target audience give you leverage when marketing, it also provides advantages when making decisions that impact your business, from defining your brand voice to and mapping out your weekly specials.

2. Knock-out Visuals 

It is true that we eat with our eyes before our mouth, so a unique visual style that is captivating and enticing should start with your branding. After all, that is what your guests will see before they even try the food! Incorporating your brand’s style using your colours, custom designs and memorable messaging is how you create brand familiarity that differentiates you from everyone else on the block.

3. Google It

As a restaurant owner, Google is your friend. You already know this from your own Google search habits, but it is certainly true for restaurants. This is where your potential guests are going find your location, hours, menu, read reviews and even make reservations, so it is important that you are found and found on the first try. Explore ways to highlight your Google presence using search engine optimizationonline advertising and reputation management to give your brand a boost.

68% of millennials trust online reviews, as opposed to the 34% who trust television advertising

4. Social Media 

While being active and engaging on social media is easier said than done, it is something today’s restaurant patrons have come to expect. Participation across the many channels available because you feel like it is something you have to do will lead to mediocre content and an uninterested audience. It is best to pick a channel or two and really give it some thought. How can you stand out on this particular medium? What needs to happen to enable you to share content on a regular basis?

72% of customers used Facebook to make restaurant or retail decisions based on comments and images shared by others.


5. An Authoritative Home Base

2017 is all about websites! You need it and there is no way around it. Of course, putting up a website is not enough but with enough effort, your website can become your brands home base, working for you anytime, anywhere.

Here are two of our favourites: Chaska – Indian Street Food Obsession and Lazeez Shawarma.

57% of consumers order from a restaurant website daily, weekly, or monthly

At the end of the day, there are many avenues to marketing your business in the online space, but it all starts with understanding your audience and doing your due diligence before diving in head first. Here at BTI, we help our clients realize their vision and use insights driven strategy to ensure all tactics work together to support your business goals.

Wondering what your restaurant would look like in lights? Let’s talk!

WeChat: Why China’s Largest Social Network Matters In Canada


You may consider yourself savvy with social media, but what if we told you there’s a social media platform out there that outranks Instagram, Twitter, SnapChat and Pinterest – and you’ve probably never even heard of it?

This is the reality for many of us because even though WeChat is 5th largest Social Media/Messaging app in the World, it is unheard of to most Canadians.

Most famous social media networks worldwide as of April, 2017

(ranked by number of active users in millions)

(Stats from

WeChat use is not exclusive to China though, its usage outside of China spans 70 million active users from 200 countries and over 2% of mobile users in the United States alone. Nearing a million monthly active users worldwide, WeChat is an app that dominates daily life in China. What started out as a messaging app has evolved into a complex social media platform, now engrained in all aspects of modern Chinese culture – expanding social networks, consuming information, shopping, transferring money, buying tickets and playing games to name a few. So much so, that WeChat generates over 1 million transactions every minute! It is no exaggeration to say that the super-fans of this super-app are not going anywhere.

By combining social media, messaging and e-commerce functionality, WeChat has a direct influence on the behaviour of its users, which is why it is such an important platform for B2C businesses looking to tap into the Chinese market anywhere in the world.

The popularity of WeChat produced a wave of successful digital marketing campaigns from a variety of brands. What these brands do on WeChat ranges from regular account updates and seasonal promotions, to over-the-top offers from some of the world’s most premium names. Luxury brands like Chanel, Dior and Cartier have all contributed to turning WeChat into a buying force to be reckoned with.

There are thousands of Chinese immigrants and international students arriving in Canada every year, and they continue to use WeChat to take advantage of no-cost messaging and calling features to keep in touch with friends and family. As such, ethnic marketing has become an essential investment for brands who want to keep up with Canada’s growing population, tap into new markets, or better spend their advertising dollars by communicating to specific communities. For marketers, this means the ability to take culturally resonant content and distribute it to a very targeted audience. By having an official WeChat account, brands get an opportunity to convert online followers into offline buyers and thus collect data that drives results.

So tell us, is your brand on WeChat yet?  




Website Design: Professional vs. DIY

Small businesses need a website to be their virtual store location to serve clients 24/7. With a virtual space, your business is never “closed”; there is always a way for consumers to find information about your brand from who you are, what you sell, hours of operation, appointment scheduling, to online shopping.

So your website is your brand, and thanks to search engines, potential customers can quickly compare you to all of your competitors to determine with whom they would like to do business. It is easy for consumers to write off your brand simply based on the look, or load speed of your website, so put your best face forward because you don’t get a second chance at a first impression.

There are many tools which allow you to build your own website for dirt cheap, but as the old adage goes “you get what you pay for”. Many of these cheap tools are made for school projects or personal websites but don’t translate well as a professional business website. Like many small business owners, you may believe hiring professionals is not within your budget, but not only can a website be very affordable, but the value of hiring a professional pays for itself.

These reasons explain why your website needs to be built by experts:

1) Branding:
Good branding is Important to your business and marketing strategy. Your website is your brand and should be perfectly branded to represent your business in the best way. From logos to colours and layouts, a website will look professional and stand out in the marketplace when branded properly, and not simply designed to fit a cheap template. You may not have an expertise in graphic design or front-end development, so hiring an expert will save you considerable time in trying to custom design a website to fit your branding.

2) Technical Support:
If you want to add advanced features to your website you need the technical expertise to do them. A website builder or a pre-built website is not able to build advanced features for you. Also, if a feature of your website is not functioning, you will often have to go through pages of forums in order to find the answer you’re looking for, instead of just turning to an expert who can come up with their own solution.

3) Flexibility
A good team of developers can create a website for you that considers future growth and functionality. They will develop the site in such a way that if, in the future, you wanted to add new features to it like e-commerce or forums it can be done in a shorter time at a lesser cost.

4) Cheaper in the Long Term
If you choose the wrong technology on an early version of your website, it will incur costs for you to switch to a suitable technology in the future. Why waste time and money in having to redo everything again in the future? An expert will choose appropriate technologies at the outset and save you from incurring additional costs in the future.

Not only does hiring an expert add a lot of value to your project, but here are some ways which using D.I.Y. tools do more harm than good:

1) Old Technologies
Many website builders use old technologies like Flash. Flash websites are not mobile friendly and many phones can’t even display them. Some website builders don’t produce mobile-friendly websites at all or only have parts of the website responsive.

2) Lack of Flexibility
Some websites are not flexible, as you are limited to the features and allotted number of pages which that software provides. If in the future you need to extend this website, it may not be possible, or, it may cost a hefty amount.

3) Cookie Cutter
Many people are using DIY or pre-built websites, and each of their websites will look just like yours. Often, the template options website builders offer aren’t designed particularly well either. So, your website will not be able to stand out in a crowd and cut through the clutter.

4) Not SEO Friendly
Search engine optimization is a crucial part of the website that can only be done by experts. A website builder does not have the intelligence to do that; it may have a tool or a plug-in, but the information that is input needs to come from someone who has strategically thought about an SEO strategy.

5) Slow Load Times
The DIY website often include lots of unnecessary codes because they are creating a template for generic use instead of designing the site with only your needs in mind. Because of the excess weight, the website is carrying in the form of unused features and plug-ins, your website load speed will be increased which is damaging to SEO and user experience.

6) Deceptive Pricing
These services seem to be cheap but you will be charged extra for each feature you want to add. Some of these services charge you monthly or annually for the website that is built and in the long-run, work out to be more expensive than just working with professionals in the first place.

7) You Won’t Own Your Website
You will not have access to the data or source code of your website because you built it on the website builder’s server and they don’t give you the access to it. If in the future you need to migrate your website to a new server, you won’t be able to do that. This means they own your domain and website.

8) The Site Contains Ads
Visible and hidden notes will be added to your website which indicates that the website is created by that company or website builder.

Web Design is a technical expertise like any other and can be compared to buying handmade, custom furniture vs. DIY box-store products. Yes, there are certain benefits to DIY, especially when it comes to upfront cost, but when you consider quality, longevity, and convenience, some things are better left to the professionals. Are you looking to have a custom website built? Let’s Talk.