Welcome to the Modern Earth Blog!

Insights into the Online World

The web is a powerful marketing tool, but it is a landscape fraught with pitfalls and distractions. What can you do to ensure that your online marketing efforts will bring you traffic and be profitable?

Modern Earth Web Design has partnered with the University of Winnipeg Department of Continuing Education and Lanoie.com to provide a series of courses called Digital Dim Sum. Check out our course list below - and see what whets your appetite for learning how to maximize your online marketing, increase your Google Analytics knowledge or use of social media to promote your business!

Philip Giles - VP Business Development - Modern Earth Web Design - Online Marketing - Winnipeg ManitobaJoin Philip Giles, VP of Business Development for Modern Earth, for the first of our Digital Dim Sum courses on September 10th from 9am to 12pm at the University of Winnipeg.  Philip will take you through the theory and practice of online marketing - with a focus on identifying where the true Return on Investment (ROI) is, and how to maximize it using digital tools.

In this course, Philip will cover topics such as:

  • Basic Business Sense
  • History of Marketing on the Web
  • Current Trends
  • Website ROI
  • Content marketing
  • Couponing & Discounting
  • Social Media
  • Wrap Up & Questions

Register today - seating is limited! Reserve your seat for only $49 by calling the University of Winnipeg Continuing Education department at 204-982-6633.

Hope we'll see you there!

Every year, we pay a visit to our "regional office" in the north - Tammy and Mark Beese of What's Up Yukon. Each trip, we meet more great clients, and visit some very beautiful places. We first met the Beeses in 2007 at the BDC Young Entrepreneur Awards (Tammy won for the Yukon Region).

Our partnership with them as the Modern Earth Yukon Branch office has been good for both What's Up Yukon, and us here at Modern Earth - allowing both companies to provide services to a diverse range of northern businesses like North Star Mini-Storage, Terrotirial Auto, and the Norcope construction group.

This year, for example, we visited our clients in the Town of Faro, north-east of the Territory's capital Whitehorse. In the picture below, you'll see Tammy Beese and myself with Erica Ward from Faro's municipal office, who we're working with to build a new website to show off the mountain town's charm.

Our partnership with What's Up Yukon and the Beese's has expanded our horizons as a web design and online marketing company by opening up an entirely new market for us - and we are excited by the ongoing and growing business development and entrepreneurship that is happening in the Yukon. It always reminds us of the dynamic growth that is happening here in Manitoba - only with much different scenery. We look forward to exploring more of Canada's north and working with more businesses in the Yukon!

Social Media and Elections - Online Marketing - Modern Earth Web Design - Winnipeg ManitobaYesterday afternoon, I had the pleasure of talking with CTV Winnipeg's Jeff Keele about the power of social media to encourage younger people to vote in the coming provincial election - and get more involved in Canada’s political landscape as a whole.  Recently we have seen the political landscape, in both Canada and the United States, shifting its focus into online marketing - especially using tools such as social media to boost their causes.

This year’s federal election saw just more than 60% of Canadians at the ballot box - only a small increase from 2008’s record setting low.

One of the lowest demographics for voter turnout overall is youth, between 18 and 30 years old. A number of organizations, such as the University of Manitoba, want to change that by finding ways to use social media to encourage young people to vote. Initiatives such as "Vote Any Way" on facebook, take aim at engaging young people in choosing their next government at all levels.

See the clip from last night’s CTV News at 6, "CTV's Jeff Keele on new strategy aimed at getting young people to vote," for more information, and make sure you’re ready to vote in October!

Meet Me In Saint Louis

Dan Belhassen


Last weekend in Saint Louis, Missouri, Modern Earth attended the American Society of Association Executives’ Annual conference as a part of their exposition. The ASAE reported that more than five thousand association industry executives attended the event to take in the conference, walk the exposition floor. Some of the conference attendees even took to Twitter to report their experiences under the hashtag #ASAE11.

We had a great time talking to association leaders about online learning programs for associations, and showing off the latest improvements in our SmarterU online learning system. We’ve worked with a number of associations, such as ICTAM, to develop online learning courses using SmarterU. It’s a great way to keep association members up to date, provide training and information for changing standards, and manage the on-boarding process for new volunteers or newly hired employees.

Saint Louis is a wonderful city – we were delighted to attend the ASAE event there and see the town lit up with so much enthusiasm.


Yesterday, it was once again my privilege to speak to participants of the YMYWCA Self Employment program on how to launch and market their new business ventures online. I visit the YMYWCA offices several times a year to speak to each group of new entrepreneurs who are starting up businesses here in Manitoba.

In addition to the 7 deadly sins of web design, I also talk about how to use social media effectively, as well as the value of search engine optimization. There is the occasional misconception that because Winnipeg is a small market, a website doesn’t have to be optimized – that there are few competitors (especially if we are counting bricks and mortar locations that do something similar). So I spend a bit of time explaining the benefits of optimization, the key things to look for when being quoted for an SEO project, and why being fully SEO’d for Winnipeg as a key term can help bring their business to the top of local search results.

It’s always a pleasure to hear about the great new business ideas that are being prepared for launch. On behalf of all the Earthlings, we wish each participant much success. We understand the challenges of growing a small business – and it’s great to see this new start-ups joining the Manitoba economy.

If you would like to have someone from Modern Earth speak at your conference, workshop, or other event, or arrange a training session for your team on social media, blogging for business or online marketing, we’d be happy to talk to you to see what might be a good fit for your event and your budget.

Call me at 204-885-2469, or email me at susan@modernearth.net.


Yesterday afternoon, I had the pleasure of being invited down to the Winnipeg Free Press News Café in the Exchange to take part in a live chat about Google+ along with local social media strategist Erica Glasier, and GigaOm’s own Mathew Ingram (formerly of the Globe & Mail).

So what’s Google+, anyway?

Launched in early July, Google+ (or Google Plus, depending who you ask), has been touted largely as a competitor to reigning social media content magnets Facebook and Twitter. It’s certainly got a lot of their feel - profiles, photos, news feeds and relationship management are common across all social networks.

However, as discussed during the chat, some of the features that define Google+ clearly make it a new kind of tool, perhaps not a direct competitor to established platforms. Google+ ties in with many of Google’s other services, such as Gmail, Picasa and Google Profiles already - and has the potential to involve even Google’s productivity tools such as docs and calendars in strong ways. The potential not only for communication, but direct collaboration, is really what makes Google+ stand out from the crowd.

The guests asked some great questions!

On a lot of chats like this, viewers either remain quiet, or ask about the business advantages of a given platform. People are often seeking how-to ideas, so they can use new tools such as Google+ better. This live chat, however, had few of those moments. Instead, guests asked the panel for reasons to move away from Facebook and Twitter towards Google+. They expressed concern over “yet another” new community, more privacy concerns, and how to make Google+ interact with other networks to reduce effort.

I believe this is a sign that social media, as a whole, is maturing. When people stop asking questions about the mechanics of a web service, and begin to focus on its real value in their lives - not as business people, but as themselves - it shows a level of understanding and acceptance that’s really encouraging.

Check out the full chat transcript for more in-depth chat about Google+. Thanks again to Lindsey Wiebe and the WFP web team for hosting the chat! It was a lot of fun, and I hope to see and participate in more of this kind of dialogue in the future.