Making people smile since 2013

2013 Year In Review From The Offices of Strategy Lab High Above Regina

Strategy Lab November from Strategy Lab on Vimeo.

As I fill my coffee cup with my second shot of Bailey’s this morning, it’s left me a tad sentimental looking back on a great year, one I may never forget.

Starting a company isn’t an easy task, the odds that you’ll go bankrupt are hovering around 90% in your first year, 80% in your second year and only around 10% in your tenth year. What does that mean for Strategy Lab? We have ten years to wait, ten years to stay above the death line, as the goal with any new born organization, survival is the key priority.

This brings up an interesting predicament, what do you focus on?  In the website/marketing consulting industry how do you “survive” per se? How do you ensure you’re focusing on what you need to to ensure you’re around for year ten and beyond?

Sadly I don’t have the answer to this question. My best guess is the little things (I’ll explain later). I wish I did, however I do have an idea of what not to focus on. Pleasing everyone. You can’t do it. ‘Yes man’ philosophy only works to an extent. When you say yes to something you’re saying no to something else. I’m starting to learn about this, it feels like experience creeping up on me, then I pinch myself and remind captain ego that I’m still very young in my field and having patients will be an asset very soon.

As you gain more experience in whatever field you’re in, you begin to learn lessons. They aren’t easy, they’re learned from making mistake, and I’m sure many people don’t see the lessons life is trying to teach them through set-backs and adversity. Most people give up or take an easier path. Life throws them lemons, they set them down, run to Wal-Mart and buy a bottle of lemonade. Work ethic gets recognized these days because it’s so rare to find in our over-educated yet knowledge seeking, work avoiding, know-it-all generation we’ve become. The most important lesson I’ve learned this year is that no matter what industry you’re in the secret to success is not a secret at all, it’s hard work.

The most difficult part of the year has to be parting was with Linden. It wasn’t a bad breakup, we’re still friends, but someone leaving your company is never an easy transition. We’re on good terms, just going in different directions. We wish him all the best and would love to work with him again one day.

The biggest accomplishment as a company has to running our first conference/workshop, #Awesome2013 took over Twitter on the morning of July 18th 2013. We filled a room at the Regina Inn, had four brilliant local speakers, and learned a little bit about running a workshop. Since then we did a Google Analytics session at Capital Ford and a Website-In-A-Day workshop. They’re fun, interactive, prizes, and you learn a lot. We’re excited to start a new Workshop series in 2014.

The-Strategy-Lab-workshop-series

 

The biggest accomplishment personally, was finally seeing the new Regina Police Service cars driving around with their mission statement on the side of the car. It wasn’t my idea, nor did I come up with the mission, but while working with some very smart folks at the Regina Police Service we helped them change their core values, vision and mission.

I still remember one question that came up during the project, how will we keep everyone who is a part of the RPS reminded of the new core messaging? The idea from a very smart person was to print it in more places, make sure every employee can see it every day. In offices, on walls, in conference rooms and, yes, on the cruisers. What a brilliant way to remind yourself of what you stand for. If you want to read more about how we got “Public Service First” on the side of Police cruisers click here.

The coolest project I was a part of this year had to be the Regina and District Association for Community Living (RDACL)’s Sharing your Awesome On An iPad. It was a six week course we developed for people who applied to learn how to use an iPad. We created the program for RDACL so they can use it else where and build on what they’ve already created. Here’s a video Brandon made on Sharing Your Awesome On An iPad.

RDACL Workshop from Strategy Lab on Vimeo.

My most fascinating project I worked on (and am still working on) is the Hospitals of Regina Foundation (HRoF). An organization full of passionate people, an amazing history, and brimming with potential. I’ve met a lot of brilliant minds working together to enhance our health care system, an endeavour that affects everyone in Saskatchewan. The future of what the HoRF can do is amazing, I’m very much humbled to be a small part of it.

I’m excited about the opportunity Brandon and I have working with some of the most amazing organizations in and around Regina, helping them take over he world. To 2014, may it be your best year ever.

 

Love,

Jeph

 

 

* – I said I’d explain the “little things” later so here goes. Our world is very paradoxical, people are irrational and often react in the opposite way we might think. Markets react in the opposite direction as we predict, everything thing in our world has a paradoxical opposite side to it, like the Seinfeld Bizzaro Jerry episode! So as a consultancy (and maybe all companies) to get big, you’d think it would be doing the big things. The flashy things that get you noticed, the bigger the client landed, the more prestigious your brand gets. But you’re only as good as what people say about you, your “brand” is what they say about you behind your back.

We measure this by referrals, the best compliment a client can give you is referring a friend, which unconsciously says: “I was so happy with you guys that I think my friends and colleagues will as well benefit from working with you!”  What can be better than that. People don’t just refer anyone, referring someone is a reflection of your own brand after all. So as an organization, you want to be a brand that people would want to associate themselves with, or co-brand themselves with. The only way to do that is to get the little things right. From your e-mail tag line to your business cards, every single touchpoint people have with your brand they are making a judgement, it’s up to you to influence if that judgement is positive or negative. Over time those judgement add up to what people perceive as your “brand”. Once people have made up their mind, it can be impossible to convince them otherwise.

you-can-fit-in-or-standout-but-you-cant-do-both

How Long Should A Website Take To Build? A Highschool Website Experiment

Campbell BusinessThe other day, Brandon and I went to a Campbell entrepreneurship class taught by Jordan McFarlen. Mr. McFarlen invited us to talk about how we started Strategy Lab and the entrepreneurial experience. The way Mr. McFarlen teaches the class is he divides them in two groups and they have to start companies which over the semester they will run like an actual company (last years company actually imported iPhone cases from China, pretty awesome). Mr. McFarlen is one in a million and the Campbell Business program is very lucky to have him. The passion and excitement for learning he has is such a bright light in our ever troubled education system.

Instead of talking about ourselves for an hour, we decided to do something different.

In the first 15 minutes we talked about as a company what we believe in, our 10 values, and the story of how Brandon and I met.

Then Brandon went to work.

This first thing Brandon did was made each company decide on a domain name and he bought for them. Then he set each website up on WordPress and give them the login. There’s a lot of technical work that Brandon didn’t do (like 18 hours worth of work he’d do on a regular website) but the students will figure that out, they can learn how to hack WordPress to get it to do what they want.

It was amazing to see the looks on their faces. Something that most people think takes days, weeks or even months, Brandon created in front of their very eyes. It was amazing to witness. A website doesn’t have to take months to create, you can have one in an hour, it won’t look great but you’ll have your very own online publishing platform.

Websites don’t take that long to build. Yes there is a lot of technical and design elements that you should trust a professional on but for the most part people spend an insanely long time on design. Why? Because they’re trying to appease everyone. But when need to build a bridge, you don’t ask a committee or a board, you hire the best dam bridge builder around. Something to think about the next time you want to “re-design” your website.

I’m really excited to see what the students at Campbell will end up doing with the websites. The last thing we said on our way out was, experiment, try new things, and try to break the website. Get Creative.

Hopefully they teach us an entirely different way that websites should look and feel.

PechaKucha Night in Regina: Presenting YQRs Most Creative

PechaKucha Night Regina-poster

Next Thursday at the Artful Dodger, along with David Tapp, Riley Lawsen, Tori Dundas, Brandon Wu and myself are hosting PechaKucha! I know what you’re thinking. How the hell do you pronounce that? Well it’s Pea-Cha-Ka-Cha, so fun to say!

PechaKucha is ten presentations, all of which are 20 slides and 20 seconds per slide. It’ll be an wildly interesting night, the assortment of speakers is all over the map so you will be entertained. If you wish to see who’s speaking check out the list here. Also, I will be MCing the night, so prepare yourself for some of the best PechaKucha commentary ever!

Tickets are $15 and can be purchased here: Buy PechaKucha Regina Tickets.

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“The Performance Begins Long Before The Curtains Open”

Globe Theatre Regina Website

On September 16, 2013 the wonderful staff at the Globe Theatre in Regina and I shared a laugh or three. It was a lot of fun. It was on the five keys to customer service in 2013 and beyond.

I. Smile
II. Reciprocity
III. It’s always the little things
IV. No one loves a company
V. Create ‘wow’ moments 

 

***Important*** On the slides that show a website, click the website in the slide, it links to the actual website. 

twitter-bird

The Top 100 Most Engaging People On Twitter In Regina [Infographic]

Follow me please!Hopefully you’ve seen the 100 Most Influential People on Twitter from Regina infographic we compiled last week. 

This list differs from the 100 Most Influential list because this is a list of the people who actually talk to other people on Twitter. So yeah, this is the list of people you’re going to want to follow.

This list is made up of people who have Regina listed in their bio on Twitter. Then I sorted the list of 16,141 people by percentage of @ mentions in their time line. I think this is one of the most interesting lists because these are the people who will talk to you.  Who want to talk to you. These are the folks who engage the most.

Methodology: 

Searched bios on Twitter for: Regina

Sorted by: % of Tweets containing @ mentions

For the entire list of everyone who came up for the “Regina” bio search (and to find your own score), see the Spreadsheet here: 8,267 people from Regina on Twitter.

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20 of the Most Difficult “Regina” Keyword Searches in Google [Top 10 Google SERP included]

Google logoYour search results are wrong. Well not exactly, but kind of. Google personalizes your search results based on your search history and location. To get a true look at the top search results in Google you have to turn off your cookies or use a service like Moz (the company we use).

Before we get into the 20 top Regina keyword searches we need to define a few terms for you.

Domain Authority

From Moz (formerly known as SEO Moz):Domain Authority represents Moz’s best prediction for how a website will perform in search engine rankings.”

  • Based on 40 different signals Moz measures, including linking root domains, number of total links, MozRank, MozTrust, etc.
  • It’s a logarithmic scale so going from 10 to 20 is significantly easier than going from 60 to 70.
  • It’s a relative measurement for predicting Google search results. It’s better to compare Domain Authority to other websites than simply using it to track a single websites’ success.

Page Authority

From Moz:Page Authority is Moz’s calculated metric for how well a given webpage is likely to rank in Google.com’s search results.”

  • Based on 100 measured variables Moz tracks
  • Also a logarithmic scale, going from 10 to 20 will be easier than going from 50 to 60.
  • Page Authority differs from Domain authority as the former measures how well a single page will rank in Google and the later predicts the overall performance of your website in Google.

External Linking Domains

External Linking Domain are hyperlinks on websites pointing back towards your website.

  • Top SEOs believe that external links are the most important source of Google ranking power.
  • Links to your website act as votes to search engines. The more votes you get, the more valuable your website appears to Google

Here are 20 of the most difficult “Regina” keywords to rank for in Google. It’s interesting to compare these keywords to the same for Vancouver, San Francisco and Palo Alto. It’s obviously not as difficult to rank here in Regina, but looking at other centres to see what the future of search engine optimization holds is always a good idea.

SERP

Search Engine Results Page

 

20. Apartment Regina

google-Keyword-search-apartments-regina

19. Dentists Regina

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Give Me a Reason to go to Your Website – A Lesson From [IHeartCultureDotca]

Brandon recently completed a website for Regina Culture Days titled “iHeartCulture.ca“. Then they did the most important thing, they gave me a reason to check it out.

I love when people actually care about their website.

On their launch day at the downtown city square plaza you couldn’t miss this bus:

Iheartculture.ca bus

“Win packages to Saskatchewan Festivals. To enter visit IHeartCulture.ca”

They didn’t go the “field of dreams” route with their website like so many do. Spending a small fortune, you know, the if you build it they will come mentality. Stop it!

Building a website is easy. Getting people to your website again and again is difficult.

You must try harder every day to get people to your website. Obviously you’re going to need to measure what people are doing once they are on your website, but that’s for another blog post you silly nilly!

Good on you iheartculturedotca

Good on you IHeartCulture!

The Top 101 Most Searched Regina Keywords in Google [Infographic]

Have you ever wondered how many people in Regina are searching on Google for what you provide? From Pizza Regina (12,100 monthly local searches) to Yoga Regina (1,900 monthly local searches), some surprises and some obviously very popular searches (Hotel Regina).

Below you’ll finally get an idea of how many people actually Google Church Regina, Lawyer Regina, and Party bus Regina. We also solve the age old question, what do people from Regina Google more, Pizza or Chinese Food? (hint, pizza Regina wins by a long shot. Shocking.)

***Warning*** these numbers aren’t’ perfect, they are the average and they fluctuate just the same as local demand fluctuates. If you want to find the search volume of your own keywords check out Google Adwords Keyword Tool.

Listed below are 101 of the most searched Regina keyword terms in Google. Listed is the local search demand and the global search demand in Google.

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5 Ways To Be Awesome Online

Screen Shot 2013-06-28 at 3.11.23 PM

1. Be Remarkable

These days, everyone and their dog has Twitter, Facebook, and a website. The quickest way to get lost in the noise is to do exactly what others are doing and expect a different result. Learn to pivot and don’t be afraid to take a leap to get noticed. People will find it refreshing and maybe actually listen to you and follow you. A good way to do this is to create a social object. A good example of this is GEICO and their gecko. They’ve  taken a dull as dishwater insurance industry that has little or no place on platforms people use to be entertained like Facebook or Twitter and entertained people with their little warm-climate lizard.

2. Solve Problems Simply

Contrary to the popular belief that people go online ‘for no particular reason’, people go online for two main reasons. The first of which is to solve a problem. You’ll see the second reason if you scroll down to the next point. But don’t just yet! Think of the problems your clients might have. Even if they’re not directly related to the kinds of problems you solve for them offline, use your expertise and your platform to become the go to place for solving problems of that kind. The successes of mayoclinic.com, livestrong.com, and webmd.com are no accidents. They’ve tapped into the wealth of health problems that people face on daily basis and have become the front-of-mind destinations for people wanting to get to the root of their symptoms. How can you do something similar?

3. Entertain

Here it is; the second reason people spend hours online. The television spots you remember are the entertaining ones. The reason you’re tired at work is you were up late watching 2012’s worst wipeouts on YouTube. It’s no secret that you scroll through Instagram because it adds some entertainment to your day. In terms of your business’ online content and social interactions, seek to entertain. Try different methods, measure, learn, and pivot until you find something that resonates with your tribe.

4. Be Awesome Offline

Who’s awesome on Twitter? Well, typically it’s people that you’d actually enjoy going for coffee with. You think Kelly Oxford only strings together controversial but oh-so-true observational sentences on Twitter? No, I’m willing to bet my first 100 followers that a coffee with her would be the most entertaining encounter of my week. Don’t view your online personality and interactions as being different from your offline ones. Talk to people as though you’re running into them on the sidewalk, not as though you’re yelling at a crowd through a foghorn. Put as much effort into responding to and wowing friends and customers alike as you would if they were standing at your house’s front door or in your store.

5. Attend Our Workshop 🙂

I wouldn’t be adding this point to this post if I didn’t truly think July 18th will be an extremely valuable, collaborative, and informative day. Instead of us telling you what we’ve done with clients and what we do with our own platforms, we’re bringing people we’ve worked with and people who have influenced us from the community. We’re sure you’ll find them to be remarkable, problem-solving, entertaining, and just plain awesome.

PRESENTING: Strategy Lab’s How To Be Awesome Online Workshop 

 

 

 

PRESENTING: Strategy Lab’s How To Be Awesome Online Workshop

internet workshop

The date has been set! Some amazing marketing influencers and presenters are ready and eager to spend a morning in July imparting upon you their experiences marketing online in this rapidly changing business world.

Kaeli Decelles of the Regina Police Service, Mitch Gallant of Capital Ford, Jackson Middleton of First Foundation, and Brin Werrett of Rockstar Homes all have experience in the trenches and want to share them with you.

The day will be a combination of short presentations and interactive panel discussions designed to equip you with a deeper understanding of how to crush it online. And, of course, our very own Jeph Maystruck will be on the microphone with his unabashed opinions and signature candor.

Whether you’re just beginning to think about marketing online or have vast experience, this interactive, informative, and collaborative day is for you and your company.

See you there!

Register Now

Speakers:

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