It’s Here and Now: Virtual Reality

Unless you’re Patrick Star from SpongeBob and have been living under a rock, you’re probably familiar with the Netflix series phenomenon, Black Mirror. Even the name sounds intimidating and intense, but I digress. 😶

Now, one of Black Mirror’s episode explores the trending sensation of virtual reality and the potential (not absolute, keep in mind) alarming and horrifying consequences that it bears for our distant (or maybe not so distant) future. (By the way, I’m referring to Playtest from episode 2 of season 3 if you’re curious hehe). If you’re not a Black Mirror fanatic (which I definitely am not 🙃) and haven’t watched the episode yet, then it tells the story of an American traveler stuck in Europe who accepts a one-time trial job offer from a video game company – unbeknownst to him, his life is about to become literally forever changed. No spoilers here, you’ve got to watch it for yourself.

But I’ve talked enough about Black Mirror. While the story that this episode employs is particularly extreme (for now, at least 😳), virtual reality isn’t all bad and scary. In fact, it’s being used and conceptualized today (for good!) in ways that you might never expect. Used in the best interest for humankind, virtual reality has the power to alter the way we experience everyday life.  

Entertainment

For the everyday person like you and I, one of the most obvious ways we can incorporate or use virtual reality is through entertainment. Maybe it’s through video games, museums and galleries, theme park rides or even movie theatres! The possibilities are endless.

However, even if you haven’t had the chance to experience virtual reality yourself, you’ve likely seen the white egg-shaped capsules in malls before … these capsules bring users into a different reality, a different dimension. With these capsules, you can experience what it’d be like to be in space with no gravity, or somewhere deep in the middle of the jungle surrounded by tropical trees and wild animals, or even what it’d be like to actually play your favourite hero in your favourite video game. With virtual reality, you decide what world you want to immerse yourself in.  

Space

Space, space, space. If you’re like the 99.99% of us, you’ve probably never been in space and never will be. Sigh 😪. But that’s okay, because we don’t need to be in actual space to experience what it would be like, thanks to virtual reality. At CES (a global technology exhibit event), NASA used virtual reality technology to allow guests to feel what it would be like onboard some of their various spacecraft vehicles and machines.

Along with this, NASA used virtual reality in actual space to control robots on Mars and provide astronauts with a way to de-stress. At NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, researchers connected Oculus Rift (a virtual reality device) with motion-sensing equipment from the Kinect 2 sensor and Xbox One game console to control a robotic arm with the operator’s gestures. How cool is that!

Medical

Believe it or not, virtual reality used for medical purposes can help stop the brain from processing pain and cure soreness for patients. Yup, you heard that right! Just by immersing yourself in a different reality, your brain can actually minimize pain. For the patient, virtual reality offers motion and visual based experiences that help fix brain discordances. With this innovative and unique process, the time patients spend in the hospital is significantly shortened and the cost of treatment is lowered.

Another way virtual reality is used in the medical field is through 3-D models that help plan surgery operations. As you can figure, being a doctor and performing high-risk surgery is no easy feat. Virtual reality helps doctors visualize 3-D organs on actual 360-degree graphics (instead of on 2-D paper, which as you can imagine, doesn’t do much). With virtual reality, computed tomography (which is a representation of a cross section through a human body) can be used to create 3-D images in real-time.

Shopping

For those who are guilty as shopaholics, this use of virtual reality is probably your favourite. If you don’t already have enough excuses to go browse through your favourite shops, this one should top the list.

Trillenium is working on developing an augmented and virtual reality shopping experience that allows users to immerse themselves into a different universe (or so feels like it for the shopaholic 😜). Trillenium is exploring the viable possibility of allowing shoppers to virtually try on merchandise through their mobile devices, switching through different options with every swipe. With this kind of service, shoppers would be able to point their phone at their feet and swipe through shoes, as if they were physically putting them on with every swipe.

Along with this, Trillenium has already developed and released virtual tours of entire stores where shoppers can experience real-time shopping in the comfort of their own home, or anywhere they want. In fact, massive online retailer, ASOS, is already on board with Trillenium for this. Imagine being able to shop (and not just online!) from your couch or bed. Sign me up!!

Ambiguity Is the Future’s Best Friend

As discussed above, not all cases of virtual reality are morbidly traumatic and frightening (ahem, thanks a lot Black Mirror 😩). Some of them actually help to make people’s lives better and make some of our everyday processes more efficient – which all makes for the world to be a better place 😌.

In the future, near or far, don’t be surprised to see virtual reality used more ubiquitously in all kinds of industries. Who knows where the future might take us …

Breaking Down SEO: A Guide

If you’ve come here for an easy to understand guide on SEO, you’ve come to the right place. If you’ve come for a rather morbid joke, you’ve also come to the right place:

“If you ever need to hide a dead body, you should place it on the second page of Google search results.”

What an opening. While not actually true (obviously!), it emphasizes the significant importance of SEO.

Breaking Down a Foreign Language: SEO

Whether you’re a business, a marketer, or just you, you’ve probably seen these intimidating words … SEO. How daunting. What do these letters even mean? If you’re not familiar with SEO, it probably sounds like a foreign language (and probably is to most of you!) But don’t worry, that’s why we’re here. We want to help you understand SEO and its BIG picture.

What Is SEO?

Let’s start with the basics: SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization and according to Google, refers to the “process of maximizing the number of visitors to a particular website by ensuring that the site appears high on the list of results returned by a search engine.” WHOA. What?? What does that even mean? That’s definitely not the basics.

No stress. Let’s break it down further. Simply, SEO helps your website (or content) appear as a top result for searches of a certain keyword.

For example, if you’re a shoe retailer and your potential customer types in “comfortable everyday walking shoes” on Google, you want your business (or at least your comfortable walking shoes!) to appear at the top of the list results – which is exactly what SEO helps you do.

Instead of you reaching out to your audience like many marketing strategies would do, SEO allows your potential audience to reach you when they are actively searching for information related to your products and/or services. Because of SEO’s unique outreach strategy, leads from SEO have a 14.6% close rate, whereas other marketing channels only have a 1.7% close rate.

Why Are 3 Letters So Important?

With thousands, if not millions, of websites on Google’s search results, how can you make sure that your website is the one that appears at the top of the list? The answer to this question rests on 3 letters (hint that’s not really a hint: SEO) because it’s your new best friend that’s going to help your business grow and reach your corporate objectives.

It’s a fact: the majority of search engine users are more likely to click on one of the top 5 suggestions on any results page. If your page isn’t even on the first page, then you’ve already probably lost your target audience’s attention. So, it’s really important that you optimize your page to appear as close to the top as possible. The end goal is to have your page appear as the first result on the first page.

As a marketer or business owner, you probably don’t need to be told that the credibility of your business is important. Because your credibility is important, put yourself in the shoes of your audience for a moment and think about this question: If one business appears on page 1 and another appears on page 6, which one do you think will seem more reliable and credible? Understandably, your bet is probably on the first page and you’re right because your customers think the same way.

Your audience makes a mental note of the rankings for the terms they enter into search engines – for them, these rankings serve as a vote of confidence. With a higher search ranking, you will appear more credible in their eyes.

What Are the Benefits of SEO?

Maybe you’re still hesitant about SEO and need a little more convincing? That’s understandable but you’d be missing out and we don’t want you to miss out, which is why we’re here to let you know about the benefits of SEO.

1. Increased Traffic and Higher Quality Traffic

This one shouldn’t come as a surprise, it’s SEO’s entire purpose! The whole reason you want your website to rank higher for specific keywords is to receive more traffic. On average, the #1 position on Google has a click-through rate of 27.5%.

You probably also have the question of why does SEO pull higher quality traffic? Simple. Because people on search engines are actively searching for the product that solves their problem. Instead of pushing your product towards your audience, SEO pulls the traffic of people who are already interested in what your business offers.

2. Measurable

While some marketing strategies can deliver vague and/or intangible results, SEO doesn’t. In fact, it can be measured through your organic website traffic and where your website comes up in the search. To figure out the first measure, meet your new (not to mention, free!) buddy: Google Analytics. By using Google Analytics, you can see traffic numbers and how that correlates with your organic search goals, where traffic is coming from, and more. The second measurement is pretty self-explanatory, just count how close (or far! Sad face) your website is to the first result on the first page. 

3. Live 24/7

Unlike your salesmen, SEO works 24 hours, 7 days a week. While I’m sure your employees would love to work for you 7 days a week without any breaks at all (can you sense the sarcasm), SEO already fills that position for them. Even when you’re dozing off with your counting sheep at night, SEO does not sleep or take rest.

4. Improves Website’s Click-Through Rate and Time-on-site

Undoubtedly and logically, high SEO rankings will improve your website’s click-through rate. What’s a click-through rate you ask? It’s the number of people who have clicked on your website divided by the number of people you’ve reached. As your click-through rate increases, your website’s time-on-site will increase as well.

To Do or Not To Do, That Is the Question

From friend to friend (yes, we are friends!), I’ve provided as much insight and information on why you should choose to do SEO to help your business thrive in today’s competitive industry (without trying to overwhelm you).

While the choice is still yours, engaging in an SEO strategy would be one of the smartest investments for your business. If you still have any questions, my friend, email me at service@evilnut.ca and let’s chat! J

The Battle of Quality Vs. Quantity

The Debate Between Quality and Quantity

All writers should know that in a competition between quality and quantity, quantity will always win, right? Well, not exactly. This debate has long existed – is it better to have 10 low-quality blog posts or 1 high-quality blog post. Unfortunately, there is no black-and-white answer, and neither should you strive to publish any low-quality blog posts.

When you’re producing blogs, you need to ensure that quality and quantity are in harmonious balance for your website and company to be as successful as you want them to be. Companies and writers need to realize that producing a lot of content for your audience will not be influential unless it’s good quality and of a subject matter that your audience finds interest in.

The argument between quality and quantity doesn’t realize the equally important balance of each component on the other. Companies and brands that release blogs on a frequent (or not so frequent) basis need to understand that the best blog production needs to incorporate content that your audience is actually interested in. Producing several blogs is important and relevant, but each blog needs to draw the interest of the audience. So, if you know your audience is interested in topic x, don’t publish material on topic y.  

Converting Visitors into Leads with Your Blog

Blogs help your business attract new visitors, receive exposure on search engines, and get shares on social media – all which has the potential to convert these visitors into your leads. The more often your company posts, the more likely you will gain enough of a reputation with your audience to convert them into customers. With consistent updates, your audience will visit your website more often because they know there will be consistent updates on a regular basis.

However, the catch is that this is contingent on the quality of your content.  In order to convert your leads, you need to create valuable content.

In a study researched by HubSpot, it was found that the more blog posts companies published per month, the more traffic they saw on their websites. Companies that published 16 or more blogs per month received almost 4.5X more traffic than companies that published between 0 – 4 blogs a month. However, these positive results are dependent on the quality of the blogs as quality is more valuable than providing content on a planned high-frequency schedule. Companies that make a commitment to habitually post quality blog posts on their websites reap the rewarding results in terms of website traffic numbers and leads.

While blogs give your websites 434% more indexed pages and 97% more indexed links, search engine algorithms place less emphasis on the number of pages and links, and more focus on the quality of the links and shares a page receives.

The Quality Your Audience Is Looking For

Your website is one of the primary ways your customers connect with your company and understand what you are doing. Now that we’ve established that quality is as important as quantity, what makes a blog post of high caliber? Below, we will discuss 3 factors that should be incorporated into high-quality blog posts.

1. Understand Your Target Audience

Before you begin writing, consider who your target market is and understand what kind of content they are engaged and interested in. By understanding the needs, wants, and problems of your particular audience, you can create posts that are beneficial and useful to them.

2. Valuable Content

Like the previous factor, your content needs to be beneficial, useful, and valuable for your audience. In order for your audience to be engaged with your material, you need to make sure it is something interesting and meaningful to them. Your blog post can change your reader’s mind, inspire them to try something new, or teach them how to do something better – which will positively impact their business, thanks to your blog post!

3. Easily Scannable

With the number of things competing for our attention, it’s essential to make blog posts easily scannable. Blogs with headings and subheadings allow the reader to easily look over a post to get the big ideas. Readers often scan over a blog’s headings and subheadings to decide whether to even bother reading the content – so make sure your headings are catchy and entice your reader!

The Harmonious Balance

Overall, think about it this way:

When it comes to ranking highly on your website, quality is always more important than quantity. BUT, when it comes to being what you need for your consumer base, quality and quantity are equally important. Your blog posts need to find an equal balance between each component in order for your website to receive the most amount of conversions and engagements. So, make sure you prioritize both quality and quantity in your future blog posts!

Why Your Business Needs An App!

In 2018, there were approximately 25.32 million smartphone users and counting in Canada alone. These 25.32 million users are bound to have at least a few apps on their phone – whether they’re social media, shopping, traveling, or other related apps.

Less and less people are spending time on their desktop and laptop computers as mobile use now accounts for approximately 65% of total digital media consumption. With these numbers, it would seem like an advantageous idea for your business to invest in developing an app – and it is! Back in 2016, there were 90 billion app downloads, a significant increase from 2015’s 77 billion app downloads.

Mobile apps are programs downloaded onto mobile devices – making it easily accessible. Apps can serve multiple purposes such as entertainment, shopping, or customer service functions for users. 

If you know that your business has a problem that needs to be solved or an optimization that needs to be made, you should consider developing an app. The most successful apps aren’t created because a channel needs to be filled, but because there is an opportunity to optimize a process. Apps don’t need to be able to do everything or have an eternal lifespan, instead, the best apps identify short- or long-term purposes and determine how that purpose can be conveyed in the app.

1. Push Notifications

More than ever before, individuals (and youth especially!) are glued to their phones and receive a rush of thrill when their phones light up with notifications from social media networks and their friends. With an application, your business can submit these push notifications to your users as well. The ability to notify your users about important information on their mobile device becomes invaluable. These notifications can inform users of abandoned shopping carts, new products, special offers, and upcoming events. Your business and brand become easily available for your customers – making your content visible and relevant.

2. Constant Visibility and Exposure

With the amount of time that the average person spends on their mobile device, having an application can increase exposure among your customers. While only a handful of apps consume the majority of mobile consumption time, it doesn’t change the fact that users still need to unlock, scroll, and scan their device for the apps that they’re looking for. Because of the way our mind unconsciously records every image and/or text we come across (even if it’s unnoticed), being “in the way” can be advantageous for your business.

3. Superior User Experience

Your app will and should be developed in a manner that allows users to engage with common, desired functions, without the messiness of a website. Apps will seamlessly guide them where to go and what to do in a personalized manner. With superior user experience, there will be more positive reviews, more followers on social media, more brand loyalists, and more repeat customers.

4. Stronger Customer Engagement

Apps maximize customer engagement with your brand and business and allow users to easily connect with your company on social media. With easily shareable content, your customers will want to share – helping expand your social media reach and earning you new followers.

Regardless of what type of product or service you provide, your customers need a way to quickly contact you. Having messaging features within your app can improve communication and engagement. Providing the ease of being able to contact you directly without any tedious processes encourages your customers to be more inclined to connect with you.

5. Brand and Recognition

By having a mobile app for your business, you contribute to your brand awareness and recognition. By developing an app, you can showcase your brand in the palm of your customer’s hand. The way your app is designed and functions is up to you – so use that to your advantage to highlight and emphasize your brand! With a beautifully-designed functional app, your customers will more frequently visit your app. The more often your customer frequents your app, the sooner they will be inclined to buy your product and/or service – referred to as the “effective frequency.” The more often your visitors are exposed to your brand, products, and services, the more likely they will engage in an action or response.

With the number of people globally who have and use smartphones, it’s a smart idea to invest in an app.  If you’re interested in building your own app for your business, contact Evilnut today!