Google Analytics: Everything You Need to Know to Track Your Traffic

If you are a business owner, you know the importance of an online presence for your company. Even if you don’t sell your products online, you need to create brand awareness through marketing and advertising to build a strong and positive reputation. Simply creating a website is not enough for this endeavour. To make your efforts more effective, utilize Google Analytics for big benefits for your business!

What is Google Analytics?

Google Analytics is the world’s biggest freemium (free and paid options) web analytics solution. It provides information about web traffic of websites, apps and offline channels. It offers a suite of options to help owners improve their online presence and target their specific audiences.

What are the Benefits of Google Analytics?

  • Improve marketing campaigns to make them more effective
  • Improve website usability by tracking visitor patterns
  • Learn the demographics of your target audience
  • Learn which sources provide the best return on your investment
  • Connect with your customers by creating valuable content

How Does Google Analytics Work?

To start reaping the benefits of this solution, follow these steps:

  1. Sign up for a Google Analytics account here. You can also register using your Google+ account, if you have one.
  2. Set up a property, a website or app whose data you want to track here. You can add up to 50 properties under one account. 
  3. Add the tracking ID code and/ or the JavaScript tracking-code snippet Google Analytics will provide you to the property to start tracking results. Use this for help in finding your codes, and install it on every single page of your website. 
  4. Set up Site Search, which will track and report what users search for on your site. 
  5. Configure user management by managing user permissions for your marketing, graphic designers and PR teams (if applicable). You can grant some of them access to simply view the data, while others can make changes affecting your account. 
  6. Configure what Google Analytics tracks by focusing on where the audience clicks on your site; these can be links, videos, photos, etc. 
  7. Set up goals to monitor if/ when your objectives are met. Goals will let you know when a purchase has been made, a newsletter signup has been received or a link has been clicked. Goals are crucial to evaluating the success of your campaigns.

How to Read Google Analytics Results

Once you setup your Google Analytics account, you view the Audience Overview report for each property you had added. You will be able to view traffic results based on specific date ranges, or compare one day, week, month or year to another. Hovering over certain parts of the report will provide you with more information on each section.

Under the metrics, Google Analytics provides top ten results for countries, languages, browsers, etc. that characterize your audience. Clicking on the report will also provide additional information, such as the parts of the country.

There are many other paid, premium features on Google Analytics which can help you make better business decisions. If you need help investing in these solutions, IOU Financial can help! We offer small business loans in just 24-48 hours!


When Should I Hire a Virtual Assistant For My Small Business?

Your business is growing and that once small start up has turned into a solid, reputable, and stable small business. While you grow your business, you may also find yourself considering the idea of hiring a virtual assistant: someone to tackle the day-to-day scheduling of work tasks or business meetings, and handling administrative duties to help you take your business to the next level.  You may even ask yourself where, when, or how to go about hiring a virtual assistant. In this post we will tackle the 4 key factors to consider when you’re considering bringing on a virtual assistant. Let’s jump in!

You’re ready to hire a virtual assistant:

When you lose track of keeping track

One of the simplest yet most important factors to consider when hiring a virtual assistant is knowing the right timing. If you find it hard to stay on top of simple day-to-day tasks, and you find your attention is being pulled away from the important roles you have, it may be time to bring an assistant on board. When your systems such as Evernote, Slack, Trello Boards and beyond start becoming overwhelming to keep organized by yourself, an assistant may be the solution. When you see it’s hard to keep track of things, don’t lose track anymore-bring on an assistant. 

When you have the business down to a science

When your business starts becoming a well-oiled machine and the products, services, and business model you run can be set to “cruise control,” you may be able to bring on an assistant. Your business is now solid, so bringing on an assistant may free up some of your mental energy and allow you to tackle the next steps for growth. Think about building a house: If your foundation is solid and in place, you can start tackling the framing of the walls. Allow an assistant to keep things running while you move on to framing up your next big project.

When finances make sense

Before you dive into hiring an assistant, be sure to consider the cost to do so. Virtual assistants are not minimum wage jobs, they can be costly if you’re hiring top talent. Make sure your business can justify and support an assistant. The intention is to bring in more business by hiring an assistant, so ensure the financial pros/cons are considered. You may not be able to pay a full year salary today, but can you justify the initial cost by allowing it to add revenue elsewhere?

When it feels right

There is something to be said for “trusting your gut” when you run a small business. It was that very gut that lead you to start the business in the first place right? Do not leave out the internal thought process for bringing on an assistant. Ask yourself if it feels like the right time, seems like the moment to enter that phase, and do “the cards just fall in place” leading to the perfect fit for your company? If your gut is saying go for it, then it should be worth the thought.

By now you have considered hiring a virtual assistant for your company and ruling out the various pros/cons for when and if that moment is right. Hiring a virtual assistant can be a vital asset to any small business, however the timing, need, and role in your company all need to be considered. By reflecting on the top 4 factors when hiring a virtual assistant, one can better prepare themselves for striking at the right place and the right time.

Need a little extra working capital to hire a virtual assistant?  IOU Financial is here to fuel the growth of small business. We can provide a small business loan of up to $150,000 in as little as 48 hours. Contact us today!

Best Apps to Use to Better Manage Your Business Finances

Whatever small business you run, there is a core set of financial and related functions that just about every business must perform. In 2017, that means choosing apps that meet your requirements and are easy to use on your computer and smartphone without breaking the bank. Here are some of the top apps that fit the bill:

1. QuickBooks:

From tiny to midsize, your company needs a program like Quicken to manage its books and records. This is an easy to use accounting package with cash management capabilities. You can manage invoices, expenditures and revenue, generate financial statements, pay bills and salaries, and track your bank/credit card accounts. QuickBooks works with Square and PayPal, and lets you mark the tax status of transaction to facilitate. It’s a snap to set up recurring payment notifications, as is autopay and financial reminders, that automatically update your bank account balances. You can also set up alerts if your bank account is running low. Runners up: Wave and FreshBooks.

2. TurboTax:

From the makers of QuickBooks, TurboTax is an electronic tax preparer at an insanely low price compared to hiring a bookkeeper or tax accountant. Filing taxes couldn’t be simpler, even if you have complex transactions. When teamed up with QuickBooks, your company’s tax returns basically generate themselves. Runners up: Tax Act, H&R Block, TaxSlayer.

3. PayPal:

The granddaddy of payment systems, PayPal links to your credit cards, debit cards and bank accounts to move money around and make payments hassle-free. You can use PayPal in conjunction with a card-reading device to create a portable point-of-sales terminal for online checkout. PayPal charges 2.7 percent per card read (swipe or insert), 2.9 percent plus $0.30 for online invoicing and payments, and 3.5 percent plus $0.15 for sales entered manually. You can get standard merchant services for free, but the professional plan, at $30/month, adds features and flexibility.

4. Square:

A great alternative or adjunct to PayPal, Square is a convenient mobile card reading device and payment service that is a favorite among street vendors, food trucks, and farmers’ markets. It works just as well at your retail shop or beauty salon. Simply attach the Square reader to your phone or tablet and you have your own point-of-sale terminal. Square charges 2.75 percent for each card read. For a one-time charge of $49, you can add contactless collections via mobile wallets (like Apple Pay and Google Pay). The cost for a manually entered transaction is 3.5 percent plus $0.15. The app is free.

5. Skype:

You don’t need fancy equipment to have a video conversation or conference with Skype. You can also share files and text messages conveniently. Skype helps with your finances by allowing you to hold meetings with anyone, anywhere, without having to spend money on travel or fancy conference rooms. You can get basic Skype for free or spend as little $5/month for Skype for Business, and you can integrate Skype to run Microsoft Office for word processing, spreadsheet generation, and slick presentations. Runners up: Pushover for message distribution; Slack for instant messaging; Fuze for videoconferencing; and Addappt for remote control of calendars and address books.

6. Tripit:

If you are a businessperson on the go, Tripit lets you consolidate your travel plans into a single itinerary accessible from any device. All you have to do is forward your travel-related emails to Tripit and it takes care of the rest. Who needs a travel department anyway? Alternative: Expensify lets you track your business travel expenses and place them on your expense report. You can also photograph your receipts and let Expensify extract the expenses automagically. It costs $9 a month for each corporate user.

7. MailChimp:

Control you email advertising campaigns with MailChimp in a very cost-effective way. You can create mailing lists, newsletters, response emails and reports that track how recipients react to your emails. These reports can help you craft more effective email strategies and improve marketing performance while saving a lot of money.

How to Create a Personalized Customer Experience in Your Store

It’s not surprising news that brick and mortar locations around the country are in trouble, with many closing doors because they are failing to attract and keep customers. Retail owners should not despair, however, and focus on creating a plan to attain brand loyalty and increase sales. The best way to achieve this goal is to create a personalized customer experience inside the store.

“With customers changing quickly and expecting retailers to know their needs and habits and provide them with personalized offers and experiences, the question for retailers isn’t whether they need to change — it’s ‘Where to start?’” states PricewaterhouseCooper’s (PwC’s) report.
If the process of creating a personalized experience for your shoppers sounds unattainable, take it one step at a time. Incorporate the following tips in your operations to increase your customer base and maximize profits.

Build a Website 

Customers are making their opinions heard, and they are no longer interested in stopping by a store, purchasing an item and leaving. They want a connection with a brand instead of a simple transaction. Business owners can achieve this by infusing the shopper’s experience with the digital element. This is especially important as “modern consumers don’t differentiate shopping on a brand’s ecommerce site versus their store — they want a cohesive experience no matter where they engage a retailer,” another source comments.

To start, create a user-friendly website that will allow customers to view and interact with your products or services, even if you don’t introduce an e-commerce option on the site. A website is useful to engage with your users via newsletter signups, product descriptions and recommendations.

Create a mobile-friendly website or an app that will allow your shoppers a cross-channel experience where they can view an item online and purchase it in the store, and vice versa.

Utilize Social Media 

When it comes to creating meaningful connections, social media is the most important tactic to engage your audience. PwC’s report found that 40% of individuals surveyed reported being swayed by social media content, and 84% of people aged 18-24 based their shopping habits on it.

Make your presence known on social media platforms, such as Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, Snapchat, etc. If you don’t have the time to devote to all of the sites, select the ones most utilized by your specific audience.

Increase your social media reach by paying for campaigns or working with influencers in the space, such as bloggers with a heavy following who can help to spread the word about your brand.

Curate Products

Shoppers are overwhelmed by the mass amount of product ads they are bombarded with every day. Most of them don’t have the time to research the best options, which is why individuals stay loyal to businesses that help make their shopping decisions easy.

Brands that are thriving are not simply selling products, they are curating them. They track their customers shopping habits, and recommend items that are right for them.

Amazon is a perfect example of a retailer that is getting the curation process right. They recommend products based on the shoppers’ searches, which allows them to upsell before the customers checks out. This strategy is so successful that it accounts for 35% of their revenue.

Utilize the same tactic to train employees to remember repeat customers, notate their favorite products and specific needs, and make recommendations based on that.


Let IOU Financial help you create a personalized customer experience for your shoppers. We can help with the funds needed to create a website and spend on social media advertising with a business loan of up to $150,000.

Surefire Ways to Turn Potential Customers Into Loyal Customers

Every business owner knows that the way to successfully grow a business is to have a loyal customer base. The increasing competition in the global marketplace makes customer acquisition costs (aka the amount of money it takes to land a sale) higher than ever before. Plus these days, the cost of online and traditional marketing that lead individuals to visit a website or a retail location doesn’t guarantee a sale. So how can businesses guarantee growth?

The businesses that have grown have found that the only way to do so is to turn potential customers into loyal ones. In fact, “on average, it costs approximately five times more to attract a new customer to your business than it costs to retain an existing customer,” according to one source. The companies that are not able to secure long-standing clients find that the price of constantly chasing after new customers often can’t sustain the business. But how can businesses land loyal customers? Follow these tips!

Consistent Communication

How many times have you purchased an item you simply loved, but then couldn’t recall the website or store where you found it? This is a problem many business owners have not found a solution to, although the solution is fairly simple. As with any relationship, if you want to upkeep a relationship with your clientele, you need to work at it. The way to do that is to keep in constant communication with current and potential clients.

A simple strategy to implement that relationship is to create a database of your online and physical visitors. In order to collect your customers’ information, you should ask them to sign up for a newsletter or enter their email to receive exclusive coupons and discounts, as well as helpful articles and announcements about new products or services. Doing so will not only keep your brand fresh in your customers’ minds, but will also encourage them to shop with you.

Customer Service

Other than quality offerings and affordable pricing, one the most important characteristics that separates successful businesses from unsuccessful ones is customer service. Although some business owners try to cut costs in that area by automating the process or transferring services overseas, the truth is that companies can’t afford not to invest in excellent customer service.

World-known brands, such as Amazon and Zappos, developed their entire business plan on the importance of the customer, treating them with respect and integrity. When your organization has a solid customer service plan, you offer a value to you clients that will set your business apart from the competition, leading to repeat sales.

Become an Authority

While every business owner wants to be great at sales, the most successful entrepreneurs know that one sale doesn’t lead to lifelong loyalty. They have caught on to the fact that while customers can purchase products from anyone, they are much less likely to be swayed by competition if they trust the source they are buying from.

How do you get your customers to trust you? Honesty and transparency are two ways, but authority is another. If you become an authority in your niche market, you will put yourself in the position to give shopping advice and curate what your customers should buy, instead of leaving the decision up to them.

By truly becoming an expert in your field, whether it’s health, marketing, accounting, etc., you can write helpful articles, answer questions and make online videos that educate your clients about your space. When you are seen as a leading figure, your potential customers will turn into loyal customers.


The truth is that while it is more cost-effective to land a repeat sale than a new sale, you will likely need help in investing into a customer loyalty program. IOU Financial is here to fuel the growth of small business. We can provide a small business loan of up to $150,000 in as little as 48 hours. Contact us today!

Why Restaurant Owners Should Think Carefully About Their Menu Design

There are many things to consider when you are planning to open a restaurant. You need to find the right space, hire employees and create the perfect menu. In the hustle and bustle of trying to get a new restaurant off the ground, one important step is often not given enough importance and is quickly completed at the last minute before opening. This step is menu design, and one that can have significant impact on yo

ur business. Read on to find out why!

Why is Menu Design Important?

While a menu can seem like a simple list of food and drink options offered in your restaurant, it is so much more than that! It is an internal advertising tool that every single patron of your restaurant, as well as online visitors, have access to. This document does much more than describe what people can expect to eat or drink, it “should communicate a brand, the vision, the ambiance and feel of the restaurant and the food and the experience a guest can expect to have,” according to one source.

What are Tips for Successful Menu Design?

Involve the Chef

While anyone in your restaurant can jot down the food and drink choices, it is only the chef that can transform a boring list into an appetizing and enticing experience. By highlighting special ingredients and local and organic products, the menu can provide more details to your customers.

When creating a menu description, focus on senses, such as the look, taste and texture of food when describing “the experience” in your menu. Use descriptive words that will bring the image of the items to life!

Finally, ask the chef to suggest pairings between food and drink options that can help your patrons have a more-pleasing experience (and help you push sales!)

Focus on the Image

Since a menu is typically a one or two-page document, it provides a small space in which to communicate your entire brand. It can be beneficial to employ the services of a professional menu designer to craft your menu.

Consider that the layout, fonts, colors, images and type of paper used in the menu – this will not only describe the food, but will also speak volumes about the type of restaurant (casual or upscale), food (Mexican or French) and environment customers can expect.

Add Value

One source suggests that there is a way to make a dish more enticing by highlighting its value. This strategy includes stating the geographic region where the item is from, such as:

  • Tuscan Olives
  • New England clams
  • Parisian baguettes

To differentiate yourself from the competition, highlight the exclusivity of the item by mentioning the very farm it came from, such as Sun Valley local eggs. You can also mention brand names if they are well-known and considered to be premium.

Whether you are opening a new restaurant, or simply reinventing your image with a new menu design, you may need financial assistance. IOU Financial can provide you with the help you need with a loan of up to $150,000. Contact us today to find out more!

Top Marketing Mistakes You’re Making Right Now

A good marketing strategy can make or break a business. There have been startups that have succeeded simply because of their brilliant marketing ideas, and established brands that have failed due to marketing mistakes. Most small business owners don’t have the budget to hire marketing consultants that can advise them on the best way to their spend funds, which is why so many are making mistakes that are hurting their profits. Are you making any of these marketing mistakes?

Not Having a Website

Did you know that 97% of individuals search online before making a purchase? Before you give the excuse that you run a local business, consider that half of those online searches are for local businesses. Whether you have an e-commerce or a brick and mortar company, you must create a website! Not doing so is a huge marketing mistake because if your company is not featured in local listings and on local review websites and doesn’t have an online presence, it is as if it doesn’t exist in the real world!

While it can be beneficial to have an elaborate website with many pages and features, it can also help your marketing efforts to just start with a basic website. Online tools such as Wix and WordPress can guide you in creating a free or low-cost site in no time. You can always customize it later to achieve better marketing results.

Not Targeting Your Audience

Every business has a specific customer base that makes up the majority of their shoppers – for Toys “R” Us it’s parents, for Staples it’s working professionals. Marketing without first establishing your target audience is akin to fishing without having a map of local bodies of water that contain fish. Does it matter if you land in a lake or in a shopping mall? It does, and it matters just as much when it comes to marketing.

Without an established customer base, you are simply wasting your efforts and funds on those that don’t need or aren’t interested in your offerings. Analyze your existing customers to get a good understanding of their age, gender, location, ethnicity and shopping patterns in order to fine tune your marketing efforts to communicate with them more effectively.

Not Tracking Results

If you feel that you have wasted thousands of dollars on marketing and not seen results, you may be correct! However, your feeling on this matter is not enough because you need to have concrete facts at your disposal!

You need to have tracking set up for every single marketing tool you invest in. If you pay for a home mailer, include a special code that customers can use to receive a discount or promotion. For example, if a client uses the code “SAVE10” to save 10% on their purchase, you can track how many times that code was used to see how much revenue that mailer brought in.

If you invest in a social media campaign, you can use online tracking tools to monitor how many people had access to see it, how many viewed your content, how many interacted with it and how much money you made from that campaign.

You must carefully track each individual marketing effort to figure out which ones are effective and which ones are not. Only then will you create a successful strategy to build your brand and increase sales!

For help in marketing your small business, turn to IOU Financial. Whether you want to invest in a full functioning website or in marketing software, we can offer business loans up to $150,000 in 24-48 hours.

MONTREAL, May 3, 2017 /CNW/ – IOU FINANCIAL INC. (“IOU” or “the Company”; TSX-V:IOU), a leading online lender to small businesses (, is pleased to announce its strategic partnership with EVO Payments International (EVO), a leading card payment acquirer and payment services provider operating throughout North America and Europe. Through this strategic partnership, IOU’s direct clients will be able to take advantage of EVO’s innovative merchant services solutions, save money, and allocate more capital to growth.

“EVO’s customers will also now be able to bundle their merchant services with fast and reliable non-collateral loans from IOU. These loans can fund working capital requirements or expansion programs,” said Christophe Choquart, IOU’s VP of Strategic Partnerships.

“This strategic partnership emphasizes values shared by both IOU and EVO, namely to help small business owners with best-in-class payment systems and funding tools,” added Choquart.

“Strategic partnerships are an important part of IOU’s organic growth strategy, which is to connect with like-minded service providers to offer our common merchant customers an easy-to-use, cost-efficient, one-stop-shopping experience.  We will continue to connect with key ecosystem players to provide small business owners with access to fast, high-quality, and responsible funding,” said Phil Marleau, IOU’s Chief Executive Officer.

Further details about partnering with IOU can be found at

About IOU Financial

IOU Financial Inc. provides small businesses throughout the U.S. and Canada access to the capital they need to seize growth opportunities quickly.  Typical customers include medical and dental practices, grocery and retail stores, salons, gas stations, auto repair shops, and restaurants.  In a unique approach to lending, the IOU Financial advanced, automated application and approval system accurately assesses applicants’ financial realities, with an emphasis on day-to-day cash flow trends.  It makes loans of up to US$200,000 to qualified U.S. applicants ($100,000 in Canada) within a few business days, with affordable charges favorable to cash-flow management.  Its speed and transparency make IOU Financial a trusted alternative to banks.  To learn more visit:

About EVO Payments International

EVO Payments International is a leading payments service provider of merchant acquiring and processing solutions for merchants, financial institutions, Independent Software Vendors (ISVs), Independent Sales Organizations (ISOs), government organizations and multinational corporations located throughout North America and Europe. A principal member of Visa and MasterCard, EVO offers an array of innovative, reliable and secure payments solutions and merchant services, backed by an uncompromising commitment to exceed the expectations of our customers and partners. For more information, please visit

Forward Looking Statements

Certain information set forth in this news release may contain forward-looking statements that involve substantial known and unknown risks and uncertainties.  These forward-looking statements are subject to numerous risks and uncertainties, certain of which are beyond the control of IOU including, but not limited to, the impact of general economic conditions, industry conditions, dependence upon regulatory and shareholder approvals, the execution of definitive documentation and the uncertainty of obtaining additional financing.  Readers are cautioned that the assumptions used in the preparation of such information, although considered reasonable at the time of preparation, may prove to be imprecise and, as such, undue reliance should not be placed on forward-looking statements.  IOU does not assume any obligation to update or revise its forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new information, future events, or otherwise.

The TSX-V has not reviewed and does not accept responsibility for the adequacy or accuracy of this release.


For further information: For more information, please contact: Philippe Marleau, Chief Executive Officer, +1 (514) 789-0694 ext. 225; Benjamin Yi, Corporate Development & Investor Relations, +1 (647) 295-0654

For more information regarding strategic partnerships with IOU, please contact: Christophe Choquart, Vice President, Strategic Partnerships, +1 (678) 264-8584

How to Successfully Capture Customer Reviews

The global market has led to increased competition for business owners. Nearly every service and product available today can be easily duplicated and offered at a lower price. While big brands can outcompete their rivals with million-dollar advertising campaigns, small business owners find themselves at a loss for how to promote their brand and stand out from the competition.

One strategy that works and is extremely affordable is customer testimonials, or reviews. When your customers describe your product, service or customer service, it helps other people decide to shop with you rather than someone else. Did you know that 90% of shoppers check online reviews before frequenting a business, and 88% look upon reviews as personal recommendations?

There is no doubt that customer reviews are effective, but what is a good way to capture those reviews? Read on to find out.

Ask for Them

One of the biggest differences between businesses that have a multitude of online reviews and those that don’t is one simple fact – they ask for them. While some shoppers will turn to the internet to describe an extremely positive or negative experience, a large percentage simply won’t take the time to take this step. However, if the business owner or employee asks them to write a review, chances are they will!

The best way to ask is to do so in person, when the individual walks into your store or office. In fact, a source claims that an in-person request is seven to eight times more effective than a request via email.

If you don’t have the time or opportunity to ask for reviews in person, email would be your next step. This is a challenging tactic, however, because you don’t know the experience all of the people who have frequented your business have had. This is why it may not be the best idea to send an email to your entire database. Instead, send out a survey or request for feedback, and then only contact the people that provided positive feedback to ask them to leave a review.


To get better results, you may consider incentivizing your customers for the effort it would take them to write an online review. Offering a discount, a free item or service, or an entry into a contest can provide a push to the individual to leave a review.

This tactic can be tricky, however, because some review websites, such as Yelp, do not allow businesses to pay for reviews. Some savvy business owners have found loopholes in this rule by offering freebies, such as free desserts to restaurant diners who leave a Yelp review instead of a monetary discount. Don’t be afraid to get creative!

Promote Existing Reviews

Most of us like to feel noticed, valued and special, which is why promoting existing online reviews is a great strategy to get more reviews. When you single out customers who have left you a positive review and blast it out to your email list or put it up in your store, others will notice it and want that same recognition. You can always count on a person’s ego to urge them to take an action they wouldn’t have otherwise.

If you need financial help in order to invest in incentives to provide to your customers to increase your online review database, let IOU Financial help! We can provide business loans in under 48 hours to help you grow your business in any way possible!