It is a rare opportunity to get to visit the hallowed halls of the Google offices, at least for us regular folk. Then something brilliant happened. Anjum Choudhry Nayyar, the publisher behind Masalamommas, an online magazine for the modern mom with a South Asian connection, had an idea that came to fruition at the perfect time (for me!). The magazine’s first networking event series called ‘Ladies Who Chai’ was born. A platform to provide resources to the small business owner, entrepreneur, blogger or the mom just waiting for the right encouragement to start her own thing!
The series aims to create workshops and bring expert speakers to enlighten and teach this community of Masalamommas about the business tools needed to bring OUR dreams to life! (That is right; I am a proud Masalamomma myself!) Guess who the first event partner was? None other than Google Canada
Talk about perfect synergy with the supporter and the series to kick off the event. For anyone starting out trying to get their name or their brand out there for the very first time, you know that in this day and age the internet better become your best friend. And maybe it’s just me, or maybe it’s just the truth but when I think of the World Wide Web and technology, I simply think of Google. #GoogleFanGirl
Haven’t heard of Google? Um…just google it! Unless you are a Traditionalist (born 1925-1945), you’re somewhat excused, but seriously if my 88 year old grandfather knows of its awesome search engine prowess, you must be living in a cave (no offence) that does not have Wi-Fi accessibility, because I am sure somewhere there exists a cave with connectivity.
Google Inc. is the brain child of Larry Page and Sergey Brin that specializes in Internet-related services and products. From search, cloud computing, email, software, social media, mobile, online advertising and other technologies. Its mission statement is “to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful”. (Source: Wikipedia). I would say they have been successfully achieving their mission. Gmail, Google Maps, Google Earth, Google+, Google Drive, Google Now, Google Analytics, Android, YouTube, Blogger, Chrome, Nexus…to name a few. Sound familiar? We are living in a Googalaxy™ (I just Googled the term, didn’t find it, it’s mine. Royalties welcome!)
Ok so you get it. If you want to grow your business, you better understand what Google is, what it does and how it can help you, because, boy can it help you. The team from Google, led by Leslie Church, Global Communications and Public Affairs, explained just that. The first speaker, Wendy Bairos, gave a brief introduction to Gmail, Google+, Google Hangouts, Google Now, Google Drive, Google Docs and its various templates and how we can seamlessly integrate these into our daily lives, both personal and professional, all manageable through our beloved smartphone. (Raise your hand if your smartphone is within arm’s reach, if not snuggled right next to you!). FYI, all this time I had been avoiding setting up my Google+ profile because I had “heard” that it was just another Facebook. I have since been enlightened, and am quite excited to learn more about it. It really is not intimidating to set up. Rather a refreshing change from all that blue and white (functionally and visually). Misconception cleared. Another plus in G+, link your desired website to it and it will help with the search rankings.
The next speakers were the Sarah duo (Yep, both young ladies names are Sarah- could not catch their last names- sorry!) who function as consultants to their clients educating them on getting AdWords suited to their needs. These tech savvy (naturally) women did an overview on how AdWords work, which is essentially about purchasing key words that your target audience would typically search for, your ad will appear next to those key words, get clicked on and be driven to your site. It is a pay per click concept and the purchase rate is up for bid in a behind the scenes auction, where you could have multiple organizations, big and small bidding for the same key word, but only the contender with the most relevant site to the key word would have better chances of winning the bid. Best part about it, you only get charged if the ad is clicked on and there is no minimum budget requirement. Once the budget runs out the key word ad space is available again. Even if you don’t purchase key words, you just have to make sure the content in your site is relevant. It should have information i.e. specific words that are synergistic and related to your brand, product, service or whatever it is you want to be seen. The better the structure of your site using the right kind of words will make your content easier to be found and hence improve you search ranking. This is search engine optimization. Hopefully I explained both these concepts correctly. If not, please by all means, Google it.
Then Google Analytics was touched upon. For a blogger just starting out, this software gave me thrills. It is a complete and thorough number cruncher that will churn out just about anything you want to know about traffic to your site. It is much more elaborate than the analysis provided by my host site. Because of my previous professional experience in the marketing world, the one thing that rings loud and clear to me, is the numbers. They are the health indicators of how your business or blog related site is doing. This is the information you will need to guide your next steps and in my case I could use to pitch to potential editors and publishers that hey, I’ve got a following, an audience that LOVES what I write (hint: subscribe now!), so how about you get me on a payroll so I could bring that great traffic your way and help you make more money? Or maybe land that book deal in the future!
How can you not love Google after this? I already was a fan (thanks to the tech education provided by my tech savvy husband. Yes dear, you did ‘good’ on this one and apparently I was paying attention to all that sweet pillow talk).
Oh and if you want to learn more about Ad Words, there is a free course called Online Marketing 101. And if you are in need of someone to revamp your website but just don’t know where to look, who is qualified and if it is worth your money? How about not wasting precious time better spent on other parts of getting that business off the ground, and let Google Partners find you a web professional with Google’s own seal of approval. Talk about making life easier and a lot more enjoyable. Simply fun.
Disclaimer: This article has not been paid for or funded by Google or any of its subsidiaries. The opinions reflected are purely my own. I am just that kinda gal, loyal to the brands that serve me well.
Let’s not forget that ‘Ladies Who Chai’ could not have happened without the support of TeAlchemy, because it just isn’t a Masalamomma event without some Chai! Founder, Lynda Budd, an enterprising woman in her first year of the tea business has proven her passion for tea successful by launching some great aromatic blends and introducing us to the various cultures from which these historical blends have come from. We got to experience the sensuality of the aroma through a sampling of black teas; Earl Grey, Lapsang Souchong, Cochin Chai and of course a South Asian classic, Darjeeling. This was my first time trying Earl Grey, believe it or not. I just always associate Captain Picard with it and assumed it must be an ‘Old Guy’ tea. Proved me wrong now didn’t it; I have to say it’s a new uplifting flavour to my palette. Thank you for the introduction TeAlchemy! Foodies out there I encourage you to check out their wonderful online tea boutique, teas for drinking chai AND baking. Who would’ve thought!
As with any great event, there were giveaways and a fabulous SWAG bag. The generous supporters of the lovely swag were none other than Tilda, Satya Paul, Jaswant’s Kitchen, Zari & Zevar, Parents Canada, Walmart’s Live Better and Mompreneurs.
Thank you Masalamommas for creating this event series, it really was a great opportunity to connect with other moms in business and feel inspired to get organized and get going. There is no time like the present. My advice to the entire mom community especially, it’s ok to put yourself first sometimes. Forget about waiting for the perfect time. No more excuses, you now have the tools and the resources to get you started and it really is not that difficult. Plus, you’ve got a whole momma community rooting for you. See you at the next event!