eScoop - issue 6 - Winter 2017


Winter 2017/2018


An Interview with Dorothy Brown, Owner of

AKB Small Business Marketing

by Grace Nasralla, OSBN

Q: Dorothy, you are known as a good marketer. Is there anything in

your upbringing that has contributed to that?

A: First, thanks for the vote of confidence. I am quite humbled by your

kind words. Each day I show up to work I am driven to provide the best

value for my clients. My mission is to help them win so they can achieve

the marketing payoff they need in their business.

As it relates to my upbringing, my innate strength is my ability to connect

and communicate with people. This was fostered and honed throughout

the various stages of my life. I believe the ability to connect and

communicate has served me well in marketing.

In this Issue:

Grace Nasralla

Founder, OSBN®

An Interview with Dorothy

Vernon Brown, Marketing


Dorothy Brown


AKB Small Business


Q: How did you start your professional journey as a marketer?

A: Upon reflection, my parents definitely had an entrepreneurial spirit

but I believe my biggest influence was the incredible experience I gained

working for a start-up financial institution after leaving

university. Founded by a brilliant woman named Joan Duncan, this

company was 20 years ahead of its time. We lived and breathed the

customer experience; we were genuine and deliberate in building

authentic relationships. The culture was about being exceptional –

mediocrity was not tolerated. We had a lot of fun though. We worked

hard and we played hard. To this day, they attract the best and

brightest – graduates aspire to work there. They are the 800lb gorilla in

the financial services industry in the Caribbean. This was a stand-out

experience and the fundamental marketing lessons learned, I still use


Mandeep Kalsi


Making the Most of Your

Digital Marketing

Blake Wyatt

Owner and Founder of

GNR8 Online Solutions

The Hashtag Myth and How

to Get More Engagement on


An Interview with Dorothy Brown,

Owner of AKB Small Business Marketing (cont’d)

Q: What obstacles did you face and how did it affect your professional journey?

A: As a young marketer, you always had to prove yourself. I worked hard and stayed hungry. These habits have never

left me.

Q: In your opinion, what is the key marketing trend that will shift the marketing paradigm in 2017 - 2018?

A: There are several key trends that are happening that we need to pay attention to as small business owners.

‣ ‘Micro-moments’ which is the impulse to reach for our mobile phones to find reliable answers when we – need to

know, need to go, need to do or need to buy. Why is this important as marketers and small business owners?

Because, brands and companies who understand how customers and prospects consume information and then

respond with an appropriate strategy will win. Consider this: 96% of users reach for their smartphones to conduct

research at the very moment they ‘need to know, need to go, need to do or need to buy’. (Source: Google

Purchased Digital Diary, May 2016)

‣ Big Data. Predictive Analytics in which companies and business owners can use data to predict customer

behaviour and/or improve sales, conversions, traffic etc. This is a great opportunity for small businesses to

become granular with their data and respond with an appropriate marketing strategy.

‣ Marketing Automation (includes behavioural email and web personalization.) Another severely underutilized

strategy for small business owners. Contrary to popular belief, email marketing is NOT dead. Done right it can

help to turbo charge sales and conversion. What it does for example, is to help to lead score a prospect or help

you deliver appropriate content along the customer journey. It’s a great lead generation and nurturing system.

Small business owners have a significant opportunity here.

Q: What advice do you leave the startup marketer with?


1. Narrowly define your audience, your sweet spot. You cannot be all

things to all people.

2. Focus on your customers and deliver exceptional value. Make it

about them. All the time.

3. Focus on the core marketing tools and strategies that will help you

and your clients win. You can’t master everything, choose wisely

and choose what makes sense for you. Focus and execute –

consistently -each and every day.

Dorothy Vernon-Brown is a marketing strategist and coach. She helps to

equip small business owners with modern marketing strategies and tools to

set them up for success and end their struggle to find profitable customers.

Making the Most of your Digital Marketing

by Mandeep Kalsi, Elixirimc

Digital Marketing has always been tricky. This is a one domain where I have seen

Businesses generating great ROI with limited budget and some businesses not

getting enough results despite of spending huge budget.

Though it comes with the ease of setting up campaigns from your computer and

setting up a payment method to put your ads online, it’s important to understand

and evaluate a few points before diving into Digital Marketing.

‣ Understand your WHY

Many businesses fail in digital marketing because they don’t define the WHY

clearly. Why you are choosing Facebook Marketing or going for Google AdWords?

Why not go for email marketing only? Why Online Marketing will be better than any

other Offline Marketing activity to achieve your marketing goal?

‣ Define your Goals

If you are a small business and working with Facebook Ads and Google AdWords

with a limited budget, then it will be beneficial to be very clear about your campaign

goal. You cannot achieve everything with a single campaign. Clearly define the

goal. Write it down. For example, your goal can be “driving students aged 18-23

years old in Waterloo to visit your Online Store”. This will help you in choosing the

right online marketing platform and location targeting for your campaign.

‣ Define Campaign Success Parameters

What will make your campaign successful? Set realistic goals and parameters. If

your campaign objective is to drive sales, then how many sales in a month with your

set budget will make you breakeven and make you profitable?

‣ Measuring Results

How will you measure campaign results? Will you be using analytics of ad platforms

or will be using some third-party integrations? While deciding the right analytics tool,

keep your campaign goal in mind.

Once you are clear about your online campaigns, then use the right expertise to

launch it and don’t forget to evaluate the results in regular Intervals.

If you have any questions in setting up your online campaigns, you can email me at:

The Hashtag Myth and How to Get More

Engagement on Instagram

by Blake Wyatt, Owner and Founder of GNR8 Online Solutions

First, let me share some apps that are helping people choose hashtags

based on popularity in their niche. A few of these that come to mind are:

‣ FocalMark (My Top Recommendation)

‣ Tags For Likes

‣ HashTags for Instagram

‣ Top Tags for Instagram

Now, let me tell you why I wrote this article.

I recently read two articles from top magazines (which I will not name) that

recommended using the most popular tags and using apps that let you

auto-copy the top 30 tags in your niche on your photos to increase

engagement. I am sick of seeing bad advice so I am going to help you for

being kind enough to read my article.

Start at the Right Level of your Niche

These are the problems that lie within using these apps to try and boost

your Instagram posts:

The Instagram algorithm will knock you off the charts if you start

hashtagging your posts on Instagram with the most popular hashtags if

your page is too small. If you only have 500 followers, you have to scale

your hashtags to the size of your own page.

The Instagram algorithm is built to favour pages and people that have a

larger following where there will be more engagement and activity from

those posts.

Use to do Hashtag Research

Make a free account on, and get to work. By typing in

keywords for your niche you will see where you have gone wrong, and

where you need to go. Type the word you’re looking for in the search bar,

and then make sure you click on hashtags to see how many posts there

are for that hashtag. Start with something vague. For example, if you are

in the fitness industry type in the hashtag “gym”. There are currently 89.8

MILLION posts using the hashtag #gym.

If you only have a small following and you use that same hashtag as other

pages with thousands, hundreds of thousands, or over a million

followers…you will never be seen in the noise. It is just the way it works,

and trust me because I used to do this until I knew better.

Here is how to get around that problem:

Scroll down the page and take a look at

some hashtags that are not as popular, for

example #gymswag only has 276.7K posts

Now it is much easier to stand out in a

smaller channel. As your page grows, you

can start scaling up with more popular

hashtags as your Instagram Page will be

much more reputable.

If you are a larger page, then simply apply

the proper hashtags to your niche.

Regardless of your current standings, you

can use an analytics tool such as

Iconosquare to monitor your keyword

selection and performance.

Bonus Tip:

Do not use too many hashtags. Try using

10–15 hashtags that are niche specific, and

then use 1 hashtag that is branded. I often

see 30 hashtags spammed like crazy, or I

see way too many branded or local

hashtags that are not relevant.

The reason why you want to avoid

spamming hashtags is because the

Instagram algorithm frowns upon hashtag

spamming, and rewards the posts that are

more specific. Alternatively, the reason why

you only want to stick to one branded

hashtag is because you want to build your

brand over time with one hashtag. If you

use 5 branded hashtags, you’ve now

watered down your tag list with nonsense

that no one will ever see.

The Hashtag Myth (cont’d)

What to Avoid

‣ Do not get so specific with your hashtags that no one will ever see it. I never told you to go to the bottom of the

list! Be reasonable, and meet in the middle or lower end of the tag popularity.

‣ Be wary of spelling errors in the keywords you are researching. A lot of times, you will see a seemingly perfect

amount of hashtag usage, and will want to apply this to your page. Let’s say you are doing some research on

#interiordesign, and you scroll down and see an alternative or extension of that tag with 50K posts. This seems

perfect for your smaller page. However, a lot of people have simple grammar mistakes, and the tag turns out to

be #interierdesigntips. Keep an eye out for things like this because people will likely not continually search

something with bad spelling (I hope).

‣ Not diversifying your search. You want to make sure that if you are targeting #luxury, that you are thinking

outside that tiny box. What else can you search for that is related? Here are some examples: #watch #car

#property #mansion #suit #tailor #shoes. There are lots more, get into your niche’s mindset and what they are

looking for. Do not just type in #luxuryhouse #luxurycar #luxurywatch #luxurymansion #luxurylife. Diversify to

reach a bigger audience more effectively!

Be Specific, Be Seen

Now, this seems counter-intuitive to what I just said, but let’s carry on. The algorithm works in a way that it rewards those

who are specific in their posts. I quickly touched on this in the Bonus Tip that I mentioned above (take a look if you have

not already).

Let’s take a look at this in an example. Two different Instagram pages with 1,000 followers post a picture about a hairstyle

(for the sake of the example, let’s say it is the same photo, posted at the same time, hashtags entered at the same time,

all factors are the same). The major difference is this:

‣ Page Owner #1 Posts: #hair #hairstyle #curlyhair #longhairdontcare #curlyhairdontcare #salon #haircolor

#hairstyles #hairdresser #hairfashion #salonlife #salonmodel #model #cool #instagood #photooftheday

#instadaily #awesome #post #like4like #followme #beauty #beautyblog #beautycare #beautyful #beautiful #girl

(you get the point I hope)

‣ Page Owner #2 Posts: #hairstyle #hair #hairfashion

Guess who’s going to show up in the search results easier? DING DING DING, Page Owner #2. The algorithm sees that

Page Owner #2 has posted something that is more specific and set to a certain niche or just a few pages (i.e. not

spamming like a Hasher…it’s a thing. Click the word if you do not believe me). Page Owner #2 is rewarded by showing

up in those select hashtags much easier and is likely to be more engaged with fans that are searching for cool hairstyles

and fashions.

The Hashtag Myth (cont’d)

Grow your Page to Scale your Hashtags

The bottom line is, if you want to use the top hashtags…then you need to increase your popularity on Instagram to show

that your account belongs with the big leagues. One of the best ways to grow your page, your tribe, and your followers is

to engage with visitors. This has to be one of the biggest problems I see across all social platforms, but Instagram is no

exception. People are always responding and feeding into the haters. Talk to EVERYONE! Tell the haters that you

appreciate their criticism, tell fans that you love them, follow THEIR page, comment on THEIR posts. It is NOT about you,

whether you like it or not.

Another thing that you are going to want to ask yourself before you post anything is: ”What is the value here, and would

this post stop me if I was scrolling through this niche?” If the answer is no, then you need to rethink your post. Make sure

that you are honest with yourself. Posting valuable content is vital to the survival and momentum of your account. Make

sure that the photo is attention-grabbing, and provides something of value. If you have a fitness page, give a tip. If you

have a foodie blog page, give a recipe. It is not that hard to provide value, and when you are not providing value, you

should be:

‣ Sparking a conversation

‣ Promoting a call to action (not selling something though)

‣ Asking fans engaging questions

‣ Following and liking other pages in your niche

You have to make sure that you remain consistent with your account and posting. If you do a post with all of the advice

mentioned in this article and then say, “Hey Blake, you screwed me over man. I did what you said and nothing changed!”

To that, I must reply: “Are you kidding me? One post? Post every day, sometimes twice a day, sometimes three times a

day if the mood is right. Instagram carries with it a momentum when you pay your dues.

By using these tips and some other strategies, I successfully DOUBLED one of my practice accounts in 3 DAYS!

I will give out some other cool tips in the future if you guys found this helpful. If you have any questions, feel free to hit me

up on Facebook or Twitter: Blake Wyatt

An Ontario small business network that

provides business owners and service

providers with marketing tools &

opportunities that increase their business


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