ESTHER WILLINGER; CEO, EDEN ADVERTISNG & INTERACTIVE Exclusive Interview
In a very competitive market, businesses need to get the customer’s attention, stand out among the crowd, and most importantly, compel the customer to buy.
Businesses rely on websites, online searches and marketing to do some of the attention-grabbing – but how that is done (and done well) requires a certain amount of know-how. From brand development, to market strategy, web design, search marketing, social media management, to and everything in between, Eden Advertising & Interactive’s got your back.
Founded by Esther Willinger in 1998, Eden has since become one of Toronto’s premiere boutique web marketing agencies, dedicated to providing clients with engaging advertising solutions in across a range of online and traditional media channels.
Their team includes highly experienced designers, programmers, writers, search and social media specialists, as well as marketing strategists who are able to approach adapt to any project effectively, from every any angle.
With clients such as Print Three, What a Bagel, Terminix Canada, National Benefit Authority, Magical Credit and many more, Eden has made good on its promise to combine creative, technical and online marketing expertise to meet clients’ growth objectives.
Recently, Eden was a finalist of for Search Engine Land’s 2016 Landy Award, Recognizing Excellence In Search Marketing. “It’s something that we’re really proud of,” Esther noted. “It was very rewarding to be recognized internationally, especially in the category of SEO & SEM initiatives, which is extremely competitive and challenging.”
My Business Magazine spoke with Esther about Eden, and how companies have benefited from their services.
MBM: Tell me more how Eden helps clients.
Esther: Our focus and our passion is in optimizing our clients’ advertising, to maximize their results.
Much of that path is through the web.
What makes one website different from any other are all the small but significant details that go into a site that will turn it from brochure-ware, into a marketing engine that will pull traffic in and turn those visitors into business leads, and ultimately, into customers.
We approach a website project from all angles.
It’s not merely a page with a logo, picture, and some bland information about your company that nobody wants to read. If you want a web site like that, there are a lot of free out-of- the-box website builders, or companies you can hire from overseas to build template sites that will get you no results, and you’ll wonder why other businesses are so much more successful than yours.
We optimize and customize our clients’ websites to reflect their brand and image, so that they are proud to use it as a marketing asset for their business. More importantly, due thanks to our years of web expertise and knowledge of user-experience, we optimize design and copy to capture visitors and connect with their needs from the second they land on your site.
Our strategies ensure that your website becomes a marketing magnet that ranks on Google, to drive driving targeted traffic to your site, creating positive user-experiences that takes those visitors through a funnel of next steps that will lead them to an action or goal that you want to achieve through your site – whether it’s generating phone leads, receiving business inquiry forms, applications, or direct sales online.
We also look at all the online and offline marketing channels that reach your target market, and we optimize advertising campaigns to grab their attention, and drive them to a web site or landing page that has high potential to convert that lead into a new customer.
Above and beyond that, we implement strategies to amplify your marketing initiatives, drive repeat visits, gain returning customers, content sharing, referral programs, email marketing, and even get customers to market for you through social media.
MBM: Tell me about your team.
Esther: I feel very privileged to have the team that I have. I have a Senior Project Manager, who’s been with me since I started Eden, 18 years ago. She’s pretty much my right hand.
I also have a team of programmers, designers, and copywriters who are search engine and social media specialists. Our team is very talented and works together really very well to combine their expertise to produce above average results for our clients.
I not only seek out people who have a specialty; I seek out team players who are eager to learn, grow their knowledge, adapt to change and thrive on challenging themselves to continually surpass expectations.
MBM: What did you do before this, and how did it help you?
Esther: My father is a serial entrepreneur, and I was working for a lot of his businesses before I even started my own. I got to understand everything from reception, to accounting, to PR…, and then I got into marketing.
I really discovered my passion for marketing, when I became the Marketing Director for Print Three Franchising 20 years ago. I started that job around the time that the internet and websites just started becoming a part of the business landscape. I was tasked with building Print Three’s first web site. Then, I needed to travel around the Print Three network throughout Canada to meet with each franchisee, and teach them everything that they needed to know about the web, and how their new website would help market and grow their business. Once I accomplished this fundamental online marketing project, I found the urge to do this for more companies.
So, I started my own business. One of my first clients was an online casino that was a pioneer in the industry. These were exciting times – everything was new, but competition was growing quickly and we had to be creative, strategic, and wise about every effort we made. I got to explore a variety of campaigns – from cinema advertising, to radio, billboards, magazine, and of course web. This was when Google came into the picture, and the only way to rank on Google was organically. You couldn’t pay to be on Google. So our team needed to figure out how to optimize our client’s site to rank on Google for “online casino”, and every casino game they offered. We accomplished this goal very successfully, and yet again I added Search Engine Optimization (SEO) as a service to our marketing mix. Later on, when Google started paid search services –; also known as PPC or SEM –, we added that to our offerings.
Years later, social media came into the picture, and that became another area of expertise.
Part of being in this industry is you have to keep your finger on the pulse, and adapt your services and expertise to continually generate the most optimal results based on how things are evolving. Change is the nature of our business.
MBM: How do keep your finger on the pulse of new technologies?
Esther: You know, being in this industry, you always have to stay on top of everything! When I find out about something, I bring it to my team, who offers further insight, and we explore whether this is something we need to add to our mix or whether it is a trend that will quickly pass. Clients sometimes ask about new things that they hear about through the grapevine. If we know about it already, we’ll educate them on it and provide deep insight to help them make wise decisions for themselves. If it’s something that we haven’t heard about, we immediately do our research and learn about it instantly.
You definitely can’t be in this industry if you don’t like change, or are scared of advancing with technology. We are learning, growing, and evolving daily. The key is having a strong base to know what to change and when to change, as some things are quick trends that will end abruptly and waste a lot of time. So knowing which things to change and adapt to are key for success - for us and our clients.
MBM: A company comes to you and says, ‘why Eden?’ What would you say?
"We take the time to really get to know and understand our clients. We have a proven track record.I think the one thing that our clients know about me personally, and then which I think it trickles into my team, is that we are obsessed about getting results."
We dig deep to understand our clients’ goals, customizing solutions that work for each one of them. We also provide detailed reports that help them understand everything we’re doing, and showing them exactly what results they’re getting from our efforts. We’re obsessed about tracking results and making sure that clients are getting a return on their marketing investment and growing their business. By providing them with new knowledge and data that they previously didn’t have, it helps them make better-informed decisions about their marketing efforts, and helps them grow their business efficiently.
With over 20 year of experience, we have a history of successful case studies and clients that rave about the results they get with us. What better peace of mind can a new client have than a proven track record and referrals of other clients who have been with us for years?
And last but not least, when people talk to me, they often tell me that they sense my excitement and passion about what we do at Eden. When clients work with us, they see us as an extension of their team and they love that we care about their business as much as they do. We put a lot of heart into our work. Clients see that, and the results show it, too.
Dave Gordon has penned more than a thousand articles, and more than five hundred editorials, on every topic imaginable. He writes regularly on domestic and international politics, current events, culture, relationship issues, and much more.
He has spent time in the newsrooms of the Toronto Sun, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Baltimore Sun, National Post and eye Weekly.