You don’t have to search for long to see that most businesses in Whistler conduct excellent customer service on social media. But how many businesses consider it to be their main support channel?

As we move further into the digital age, emails and phone calls are taking a lesser role when it comes to customer care. Instead, people are choosing to turn to social media to voice their complaints and complements towards businesses. Offering many benefits to both small businesses and to customers, here’s why social media is the future of customer service, and why – if you aren’t already – you should be consistently and promptly responding to customers online.

The power of social media

Social media already dominates internet activity. With over 1.5 billion Facebook users and 400 million Instagram users, the power of social media is ever-growing, and becoming increasingly accessible to people all over the world. With so many users, brands are able to reach an unlimited number of potential customers.

It’s customers preferred method of communication

90% of users prefer to use social media over other methods to communicate with brands. Understandably, people don’t want to wait hours for a response, or sit waiting on hold. Customers require instant gratification, and now expect companies to use social customer service to answer issues and problems immediately.

Phone conversations can occasionally leave customers with a negative impression of a business due to miscommunication. With text-based customer support, it is much easier for your team to understand and translate a customers issues, simplifying the process for both customers and companies.

It’s an inexpensive solution

Shifting customer service to social media has great financial benefits. On average, it costs $1 to solve a customer issue on social media…with conventional phone calls, solving the same issue often costs 6 times as much. This is partly due to the fact that customer service agents can solve problems much more efficiently through social media, and decrease the time spent on each issue.

It improves and increases brand reputation

Thanks to social media, customer service has become a spectator’s sport. But this can really work in your favour!

If you fail to respond, you’ll give off the message that you are arrogant and have nothing to offer in terms of a solution – all of which, as you can imagine, will greatly damage your reputation. However, provided you deal with situations appropriately and promptly, your outstanding customer service will play out in full view of the public. Your audience will be able to see that you are a trustworthy business that cares about your customers, and brand awareness will grow accordingly.

It benefits an integrated marketing approach

A successful marketing campaign can only succeed if it’s backed up by strong and solid customer service. Nailing the social customer service experience is particularly important for local businesses, as potential customers are likely to look up reviews before purchasing your products or services.

We cannot stress enough the importance of an integrated marketing approach. To create a seamless and positive image of your brand, it’s important to consider every aspect of your marketing strategy from awareness building to how you handle post-sale customer service. If you haven’t already invested in social media, now is the perfect time to get started. Cloud9 offer strategy consultancy and monthly social media services, and we would be happy to discuss all the ways in which you can improve the online customer experience. To get in contact, please click here.


Out of all of the services we offer at Cloud9 Marketing, SEO certainly has the most confusion surrounding it. Not only do many of our clients not completely understand what it encompasses, but they often have unrealistic expectations on how quickly it works. Properly implemented SEO will help a website rank well on search engines, with everybody’s goal being that coveted first page spot. Results for SEO aren’t overnight, and it’s important for businesses to realize that its an ongoing process. Here are the top questions we get from small businesses about SEO.

#1 What is SEO?

SEO stands for search engine optimization. In short, it’s how websites get found online with the common number one goal; to be displayed on the first page of the search engine results page. Keyword research, content marketing, back-linking and user experience are all aspects of SEO, but none will be completely effective without the other facets.

SEO is probably the most complicated aspect of online marketing. Involving so many layers and disciplines, some of which can only be properly employed by techy types with knowledge of web design and HTML.  With every business wanting more organic traffic, SEO is the way to get it. Of course you can pay to get traffic to your site, but organic Google rankings convey authority and trust, and SEO is how businesses get there.

#2 Should we pay for SEO in our business?

Although every online business could use SEO, not every business should allocate marketing budget to this area. In some cases, small businesses simply do not have the budget to compete with competitors for the top spots on search engines.

Businesses looking for immediate results will not benefit from SEO as SEO strategies take time (three months minimum for any impact). For small businesses operating in a competitive online space, who don’t have the budget to compete with online titans or who are seeking immediate results should opt for paid advertising, or other online marketing methods instead.

#3 What services does an SEO company provide?

Some SEO companies provide the gamut of SEO services while others focus on specific areas such as content creation, on-page optimization or link building. Having an audit done of your website is the first step to establishing your SEO needs.

Once you know what you’re dealing with, and understand the market in which you are competing, you can decide if and which SEO company can help you reach your goals. You may need someone who can cover every aspect of SEO from the technical to the content, to the links and authority; or you may simply need someone who can make some changes to the back-end of your website so it’s more search engine and user friendly.

#4 Can we do SEO ourselves?

There are some things businesses can do themselves to help optimize their website. Installing an SEO plugin such as Yoast can help ensure pages and posts are properly optimized for search engines using meta descriptions, title tags and focus key words. Blogging is an excellent way to increase organic page rank and can be done internally. By using popular key words for your business and industry you can generate more rankings for specific search terms. There are also a handful of free and cheap tools online that allow businesses to check their SEO status;, Ahrefs and Google Keyword planner are some excellent places to start.

#5 Why aren’t we getting instant results?

As a marketing agency that provides SEO services we are constantly abating client concerns about the lack of overnight results. It takes a minimum of three months for SEO results to flow in, and this can be even longer for websites that have had particularly poor performance or in ultra competitive market places. Patience with SEO is key. Understanding that SEO is a long game not an overnight miracle worker will help set realistic expectations when trying to improve your businesses SEO.

If you’re looking to rank on the first page of google and up your organic game on search engines, we can help. Cloud9 Marketing offers free SEO audits at no obligation.

Video Mistakes You Might Be Making

It’s no secret that videos are trendier than ever. From hilarious cat videos, to live news on your smart phone, our society is in love with videos. Embracing film as part of your marketing strategy can drastically improve your reach. We are all for video content because we know how powerful it is, when it’s done right that is. Whether you are gearing up to incorporate video into your marketing strategy or already have it implemented, these considerations for a successful video are key.


Whatever your concept is, make it clear in the first 8 seconds. The first couple of seconds are when the viewer decides if it is appealing or not. This is your do or die window for their attention. Reflect on what audience you are trying to reach and what you are trying to say about your brand, this is your time to shine.


Finding the balance between being clear about your product or idea and drowning people in it can be tricky. The goal with any video is to make a lasting impression and call the viewer to action. You want them to remember your brand, and dig a little deeper on their own free will. It’s about creating engagement from the viewer. Rather than spill all the beans, lead them on with excitement and have all the info they’ll be craving ready in another video, or written on your website and point them in that direction.


Everyone needs more feedback. Ask strangers in your target audience what they think about your video. Outside sources are best for feedback as your team, family and friends will have a bias.

Call to Action

As mentioned in overselling, each video needs to call the viewer to some kind of action. The call can be just to create curiosity, generate a referral, get a free quote, how to use your product and so on. Maybe all you are trying to do is get them to like your Facebook page, whatever it is, make sure it is clear in your objectives before and after the video is created.


A few things can make a video boring. If it is too long, it’s boring. If the concept isn’t portrayed in an engaging way, it is boring. If the people in the video are, well boring, it is of course going to be a boring film. Spending a couple of extra bucks to hire someone to film and act in your video could make all the difference. This is something you’ll need to weigh out for yourself, but if you were planning on using Larry, the monotone receptionist as your lead star, maybe rethink that one.


Now that you’ve created your perfect video, don’t let it go to waste! Placement on your website should be front and center. On YouTube it should be on your own channel which will eventually have more videos to fill the auto play, this will keep your target audience much more excited about your company as there is even more material for them to view. Be sure to cross post on other outlets like Vimeo and Facebook. If you choose to do paid advertisement with your video choose the sites that will appeal to the right demographic, and again watch placement of where your video will be on each page that you are paying for.

We can’t say this will make video-making fool proof, but it is a step in the right direction. When creating or perfecting your video content keep these helpful hints in mind. If you are interested in video marketing but don’t know where to start, check out Cloud9’s video production & marketing services.

email marketing

Originally posted on Mashable: 5 Tactics to Grow Your Email List.

Back in January, many email marketers said increasing their lists was their top goal for 2013. Well, spring is here. Is your mailing list growing as fast as your flowers and lawn? If not, it’s time to execute a new plan.

Many marketers have email addresses only for 30% or less of their customer and prospect lists. They’re tempted to revert to their direct-mail experience and reach for a quick fix like email append (“e-append”) and list rental/purchase.

But in today’s engagement-based inbox placement world, this “quick fix” approach can give you more headaches than new sales.

If you seek quantity over quality in list growth, you’re practically inviting the ISPs either to block your entire opt-in mailing list or route everything to your recipients’ bulk folders, where they’ll languish in obscurity until the ISPs dump them automatically.

So, what should be in your email list growth plan? Below are five tried-and-true methods to ignite your email list growth, in a safe, permission-based way.

1. Make It Easy to Opt In on Your Website

Your customers and prospects must be able to find your opt-in form easily on your home page. This advice has been around for years, but today’s web designers apparently didn’t get the memo. They position Facebook and Twitter icons prominently but send you on a search-and-rescue mission to find the opt-in field.

Many websites undersell the email value proposition, using just a link saying “Sign Up for Email” relegated to the homepage footer. Worse, the email opt-in call-to-action isn’t even on the page. Make your forms stand out.

If you want to get more opt-ins, make the email invite more visible. Use a benefit-based call-to-action, and test an offer that you subsequently deliver in your welcome series.

2. Don’t Stop at Just One

Add more opt-in forms throughout your site and in various placements: above the fold (the horizontal halfway point on your website, like the fold in a newspaper), below the fold, in the right rail, in left-hand navigation and on a dynamic layer that displays according to visitors’ site activity.

Test these locations to see how many more opt-ins you can drive, each one alone and in combination with each other. One opt-in form on a page might drive X, while having two opt-in form placements on a page might drive 1.5X to 2X.

At the EEC Summit in 2012, Tommy Hilfiger reported that his company drives 2% of all site visitors to opt in by using a dynamic opt-in layer served to new site visitors on site entry.

3. Collect Emails at Your Stores

Ask your customers to opt in for email at your checkout counter or when requesting an email receipt. However, be sure you are collecting high-quality names.

You’ll have to develop a request procedure that helps you overcome two big pitfalls of point-of-sale requests: phony addresses, either provided by reluctant customers who can’t say no to the request or keyed in by sales associates who have to meet email quotas.

Mistakes, which happen when sales people misspell a written address, misunderstand a customer’s spoken address or omit a crucial detail like the “@” symbol.

Here are a few suggestions for collecting more and better addresses:

  • Let customers type in their email addresses on a POS touchpad or credit card terminal.
  • Give them an offer or benefit for signing up in-store.
  • Explain what they’ll be receiving.
  • Get explicit permission before adding the address.

4. Make It Mobile

Consumer adoption of mobile sites and apps makes mobile another important collection point for opt-in for both email and SMS text. The best mobile site home pages have two opt-in forms: one for email, one for SMS. Remember the constraints that mobile puts on viewing and data input.

Don’t ask users to fill out lots of form fields. Keep the form short and simple. You can collect more information later in your welcome series using progressive profiling.

5. Remember Your Social Networks

Give your Facebook followers a simple opt-in form page. Call out the benefits and differences between your social experience and your email communications.

Consider using social login, also known as social sign-in. This uses existing login information from social networks such as Facebook or Twitter to sign in to a website without having to create a separate login account specifically for your website.

You can also use this process to allow your site registrants to quickly and easily sign up to receive your marketing emails.