Blog http://www.inmca.com/ en-us Tue, 16 Dec 2014 00:00:00 MSTimages/header.jpghttp://www.inmca.com/ Ten Tips For Better Small Business Search Rankings http://www.inmca.com/Blog.asp?id=74 Tue, 16 Dec 2014 00:00:00 MST

Mac has a small ‘craft’ soap company he calls Soapy Sales. He makes high quality cleansing bars with luxurious scents his customers love. Many of his customers buy his soap for gift giving rather than personal use, however, because it is pricier than mass-produced soaps. Mac sells his soap at craft sales, farmer’s markets and recently, has bought a website from a reputable web design company to market his products to a wider audience. At first, Mac was excited about the prospects of having a website. He realized with this window to the world, instead of reaching hundreds of people with his marketing efforts, he could reach millions, maybe even billions.

Striking a balance

Although Mac rightly insisted on keeping control of the reins on his website, he knew web design was something he knew nothing about. That was why he left many aspects up to the professionals. Mac, however, was wise enough to ensure the site was set up by experts who could teach him how to maintain his own pages once it went live on the Internet. He knew full well he didn’t have time to learn how to build the site but felt he could spare the time to keep it up on his own.

That first Google search

To see how his website was doing, Mac ‘googled’ the word ‘soap’. To his surprise, none of the first set of ‘hits’ of the 22,400,000 he encountered, had anything to do with soap as he understood it, other than paid advertisers. He knew he’ll never beat out those Olay people but was shocked that most listings for soap had nothing to do with, well… soap. He found lots of stuff about “Simple Object Access Protocol” and even information on an old sit-com, but as far as personal hygiene products, not so much. He never did find his site listed, it was buried too deeply.
Unfortunately, Mac failed to grasp one of the essential truths about a website. It is only as effective as the promotional and marketing efforts that go into it. As well, Mac didn’t grasp that ranking in search engines doesn’t just happen. Effective search engine optimizing is an ongoing activity, not something you do once and walk away. What Mac also didn’t know was what he could do to improve his positioning and increase the promotion of his products. Here are ten tips to help Mac maximize the potential reach of his website and sell more soap.

 

 

Ensure your professionally designed website can be updated often.  
Just as the mantra of real estate sales is ‘location, location, location’, the SEO version is ‘Update, update, update.’ Google’s web-crawling spider-bots, much like squeegee kids, love change. If they get bored, (the bots not the squeegee kids) they won’t return to your site and your rankings will be hurt. Also, the chances are that if the bots find you boring, so will your human visitors. Embrace change!

Insist on your website having a blog page.
One thing Mac has that the masses do not, is expertise in soap manufacturing. A blog is a great way for Mac to share that expertise and establish himself as an authority. If the blogs are interesting and well promoted, they will get read and people will more likely believe in his expertise,,, as well as his contention that his soap is superior. Also of equal importance is that writing regular blogs is an easy way to have something new on your site on an ongoing basis. (Remember Rule Number 1!)

Engage with Social Media as much as time will allow.
Mac believes there are few enough hours in a day as it is and therefore none to spare for the time commitment social media sites demand. In this view, he is as incorrect as when he thought soap with the aroma of runny cheese might sell. Social media is his surest bet to promote his product and increase sales. How else can he tell people around the world what great soap he has and where to find his website?  The reality is that a website may be Mac’s best marketing vehicle, but social media is the engine that runs it.

Have a photo gallery on your site.

People love the visual impact that photographs and other graphics provide. On websites, pictures paint far more than just a thousand words. As well, much like having a blog system, a photo gallery is a fast, simple and effective way to make changes to your website to attract Google’s algorithmic army. Pictures of healthy, attractive men and women would probably work quite nicely for Mac.

Include links to sites from which your customers will get good value.

Another SEO technique is to link your site to other sites with information of interest to soap-minded people, such as, ‘The History of Soap’, ‘How to Make Your Own Soap’ or ‘The Latest Fad; Living Life Soap and Shampoo Free’. The goal is to get other sites to link to yours because of the quality content.

Prioritize your site’s landing page and contact page.

All of Mac’s webpages are important, of course, but two are paramount. Number one is the page visitors will see first; the landing page with the offers his marketing thrust use as ‘bait’ to attract customers. The second is the page that allows his customers to contact him. It is vital for Mac to realize that any links, content or pages that aren’t directly supportive of the landing page offers or that doesn’t directly urge visitors to go to the contact page are a distraction to the customer and counter-productive to capturing leads.

Avoid features that slow the response time of your site.

When Mac accidently found Soap, the TV show, on Google, he thought it might be funny to feature a video snippet of the program for his site. Unfortunately, features such as video tend to slow down how quickly a webpage can load. The slower the load time, the worse your SEO.

Use Tags to Influence your SEO.
For our friend, Mac, it is imperative his tags, titles and text are directly geared to shout ‘GREAT SOAP FOR SALE!’ It is equally important, however, not to overdo it as Google will penalize Mac if he tries to use the word ‘soap’ too often. Knowing how much is enough or more than enough is vital.

Employ the strength of others in areas you’re weak.

Given the lack of spare time Mac has to spare for marketing, it is simply smart business to outsource the aspects of his website he lacks expertise in. Whether it is in the design of the site, writing the text and blogs or enhancing search optimization, there is no point in Mac wasting hours doing what a professional can accomplish in minutes. This is an area where a ‘do-it-yourself’ mindset may be the entirely wrong approach.  

Give visitors a reason to bookmark your site and return often. In Mac’s case, having ongoing promotions on certain aromas, printable coupons and feedback tools might increase revisit rates. One example of the latter could be a poll regarding what new scents to offer next. This would encourage customers to contact you with their email address which in cyberspace is worth real money as it allows you to identify individuals who are your best target market.

 

Thanks to Mac slowly, but regularly updating his site to reflect these ten tips, he has finally begun ranking on Google where he can actually see his site’s link and monitor the effects of any other tweaks he makes. He may never make page one for just the word ‘soap’ but then again, neither did Dial, or Zest or Irish Spring. When, however, he googled ‘hand made craft soap’, he found himself ahead of those other guys because he narrowed his focus and helped his potential customers find him.

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What is Panda 4.1 and Does it Even Matter? http://www.inmca.com/Blog.asp?id=73 Tue, 16 Dec 2014 00:00:00 MST

Recently, the company known as God… I mean, Google, updated their electron-based algorithmic droids, their ‘algo-bots’ to once again tweak how their SEO ranking systems work. The company claimed that the reconfiguration was designed to boost the websites that have original, high quality content against those that regurgitate content found on numerous other sites. The stated goal was to reward small to medium-sized websites that contain rich, informative content, as well as to increase the usability of the search engine for a world that loves to ‘google’ stuff.

Since understanding Google’s all-powerful algo-bots is the Holy Grail of SEO gurus, the search optimization community immediately weighed in on the effects of the switch. Reading the myriad of “expert opinions” regarding the initiative, it seems the winners and losers were a great deal different than what Google had foreseen. Content that was supposed to be suppressed as “thin” or lacking originality and fraught with reprints, such as song lyric sites and medical advice sites were definitely adversely affected. The sites that ranked much better following the change, however, were most curious. They included such sketchy web places as Pirate Bay, which appears to encourage copyright invasion, and a vast array of extremely naughty porn sites which I now have to explain to the boss why I visited.

Ultimately, the reality is that, although there are some SEO techniques that are universally accepted as having a positive ranking effect; using all your tag fields properly, for instance, there really is only one sure way of getting noticed by those web-crawling spider-bots. Forget them. Ignore them. The most important thing you need to do to maximize your organic reach in any search engine is to ensure your site has high quality, original content updated regularly. If you make your website as interesting, user-friendly and fun to visit as you can, the bots will do the rest.

For the number crunching enthusiasts in the crowd, here is a comprehensive list of the winners and losers of Panda 4.1 out of the gate thanks to searchmetrics.com. Hopefully we won’t get beat up for publishing second-hand content by the bot police.

Domain - Loser Before After Change in %
yellow.com 16383 3413 -79%
similarsites.com 118771 25197 -79%
free-coloring-pages.com 12268 296 -76%
dwyer-inst.com 13225 3229 -76%
issitedownrightnow.com 69354 18376 -74%
updatestar.com 13232 3788 -71%
office365.com 29365 8781 -70%
findthebest.com 30848 93937 -70%
homewyse.com 14161 441 -69%
adelaide.edu.au 20351 6537 -68%
pearltrees.com 16769 5503 -67%
ok.co.uk 18226 5995 -67%
socialcomments.org 27476 9058 -67%
mybillcom.com 12258 4136 -66%
tgiblackfriday.com 10037 342 -66%
discountsstory.net 20907 7337 -65%
indyweek.com 13373 4826 -64%
zabasearch.com 42679 15697 -63%
exacttarget.com 14849 5729 -61%
okc.gov 12547 4907 -61%
no1reviews.com 18403 7235 -61%
mademan.com 23006 9779 -57%
studymode.com 10756 4611 -57%
thefair.com 14067 6277 -55%
appappeal.com 11265 5149 -54%
chronicle.com 17244 8208 -52%
lyricstranslations.com 16944 8077 -52%
onhealth.com 118017 56735 -52%
cherrybam.com 20178 9736 -52%
nerve.com 17264 9016 -48%
emedtv.com 30739 16266 -47%
hubpages.com 30493 163548 -46%
brothersoft.com 25357 13969 -45%
collider.com 47733 26383 -45%
337.com 21172 12141 -43%
hypestat.com 18047 10553 -42%
telecomfile.com 17652 10448 -41%
discountednewspapers.com 19472 11624 -40%
bugmenot.com 25339 15152 -40%
medterms.com 286956 172836 -40%
translationcloud.com 43295 2674 -38%
archive.today 48603 30085 -38%
game-oldies.com 47279 2932 -38%
kxan.com 26622 16609 -38%
thinkbabynames.com 22762 14246 -37%
amtrakcalifornia.com 18965 1192 -37%
theepochtimes.com 34385 21638 -37%
addresses.com 33042 21012 -36%
hrblock.com 24599 15775 -36%
areacode.org 33412 21799 -35%
buzzle.com 76279 50134 -34%
militarycac.com 30014 1977 -34%
howstuffworks.com 1251213 827093 -34%
eprize.com 42565 28358 -33%
travelandleisure.com 110818 74347 -33%
webutations.info 190251 127762 -33%

 


 

Domain - Winner Before After Change in %
comdotgame.com 2632 38231 1353%
hongkiat.com 135 68372 406%
babble.com 8963 42916 379%
rd.com 17209 71434 315%
mediamass.net 6839 27876 308%
hotelguides.com 8563 32957 285%
yourtango.com 30624 109148 256%
moreofit.com 6431 22864 256%
celebrity-gossip.net 10727 38068 255%
spoonful.com 2813 89573 218%
ivillage.com 11818 37065 214%
800-numbers.net 11809 34631 193%
thepiratebay.se 2571 67457 162%
aceshowbiz.com 21679 55059 154%
dummies.com 42806 104764 145%
geekwire.com 11606 28319 144%
ispot.tv 12242 28062 129%
womansday.com 11868 27195 129%
bncollege.com 36738 76969 110%
afterdawn.com 18519 38775 109%
allwomenstalk.com 19836 41088 107%
livescience.com 79499 164323 107%
savings.com 25874 52886 104%
fastcodesign.com 25303 50326 99%
mystore411.com 24262 47482 96%
health.com 120733 212827 76%
unblocksit.es 23559 40897 74%
newseum.org 36201 59205 64%
netdoctor.co.uk 25973 41246 59%
celebdirtylaundry.com 34511 53817 56%
digitaltrends.com 137257 21076 54%
quickanddirtytips.com 28288 43284 53%
tvtropes.org 105715 160152 51%
simplyrecipes.com 100684 149017 48%
glamour.com 53907 77933 45%
astrologyzone.com 45185 65237 44%
chow.com 117933 168931 43%
arstechnica.com 121742 171708 41%
parenting.com 49936 70185 41%
realsimple.com 180553 252922 40%
webopedia.com 153512 213758 39%
healthgrades.com 70386 97103 38%
laptopmag.com 53221 73249 38%
dispatch.com 44614 60412 35%
dealcatcher.com 95757 128887 35%
businessdictionary.com 104606 140213 34%
vice.com 157693 208496 32%
smithsonianmag.com 18069 238733 32%
thefreedictionary.com 2124356 2774647 31%
internetslang.com 50578 65093 29%
appbrain.com 59235 40254 -32%
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The Many Reasons You Can't Afford a 'Free' Website http://www.inmca.com/Blog.asp?id=72 Thu, 11 Dec 2014 00:00:00 MST

A kid came to my door the other day with such a deal; free puppies! They were cuter than a bug’s ear, or indeed any other part of an insect you could name. (Who, after all, has ever seen a cute Lepitdopteral thorax or set of mandibles?) Despite their soul-rending plaintive whines and heart-melting puppy-dog eyes, I let logic make my decision. This was no free offer, despite the entreaties of the 8 year-old scam artist on my doorstep. The small factoid the wee lad was hiding from me was that these puppies may not cost anything at the outset, but according to the Ontario Veterinary Medicine Association, the cost of caring for a “free” dog is over $2000.00 a year. “Free” kitties are only slightly less expensive at a whopping $1500.00 per annum. Over the cost of the life of the pet, you can be looking at between $20,000 to $40,000. Pretty expensive investment for a free commodity, although some might argue it’s the only true way you can actually buy love.

Free websites can cost even more than free puppies

Now consider one of those “free” website offers that are ever floating around in cyberspace. In many ways, they are about as free as those puppies were that landed on my doorstep. I was certainly taken in by the thought of something so valuable, a well-laid out, attractive website, being priced so low. In fact, I even “bought” one back in the day to promote my writing career. It was a real learning experience and the first thing I learned is that it was a long ways away from being free.

Stupidity may be a factor

The problem is that, at the time, I was a freelance writer; long before I had joined a team of website development experts.  Therefore, in order for me to get a decent-looking website, the first thing I had to do is to spend hours and hours on a difficult learning curve trying to become proficient at something I’m certain I will never be all that good at doing. Sadly, it was just as I tell my wife when she wants me to do plumbing work in the house, “My talents lie elsewhere”.

The learning curve for me was so troublesome, in fact, that I actually hired a consultant to help with my website design education. The lady was a real pro and did help me a lot… for a fee. When I proved to be a terrible student, she eventually gave up on me. Ultimately she generously laid out the site for me which she hadn’t agreed to do, then cashed my check and blocked all my emails. Although I had a pretty good looking, operational website, at first, ever since it went online, it has been going seriously downhill. One can’t neglect a website and expect good results any more than one can neglect a pet.

How will you be paying: cash, credit card, debit or precious time off your finite life?

Figuring that a fairly decent average wage for a guy my age and life situation is, say, $25.00/hour, after a month spent trying, failing, fiddling and cursing, not to mention paying my consultant, I estimate the first 30 days of website ownership probably cost me about $500.00 in time and cold, hard cash. Factoring in the constant updates and extra education I still needed, I anticipated this “free” website, over the course of a year, could cost me thousands of dollars. My time, as discussed, is not free and the work doesn’t come even close to qualifying as playtime. Website design is real work.

There‘s more? What the SEO are you talking about?

Unfortunately, depending on the purpose of your website, your mounting costs have yet to be capped. There are still other considerations that could definitely have a monetary impact on you. If I am selling a product, for example, I would have to factor in the cost of lost business because of a whole litany of reasons. For example, take SEO. Until recently, I thought it stood for Social Entertainment Options. How can I possibly get decent Google rankings when I don’t even know the jargon, never mind the techniques that enhance it?

Is your site driving profits or driving customers away?

I should also factor in the cost of poor graphic design. Experts can tell you where to put images for greatest impact, how far your text should go down the page and how to phrase things for the most persuasive effect. Large, hugely successful companies know the value of effective design and invest a lot of money into it. Poor design, however, confuses customers and can drive them away just as surely as cramming them into the trunk of your car and speeding off.

 

There’s a reason people pay for Marketing courses

Another cost that “free” sites fail to mention is that their offers do not come with any marketing expertise. If you are putting up a site with no marketing savvy, rather than a sales tool, you will only be the owner of an Internet footnote. Let’s be clear; knowledge and understanding about effective marketing strategies is not information one is born with. That’s why they offer it in college and university courses. Like so much in life, marketing expertise is often a case of you get what you pay for.

Do you want to sell a product or be a product?

One vital issue that must be brought forward when dealing with “free” is the cost to your personal, professional and system security. There is a saying in cyberspace that if someone is offering something for free, YOU are likely the product. No one does anything for nothing; therefore you have to ask yourself how companies offering freebies make their money. More often than not, the price you’re paying is the information the company is mining off of you through your “free” site. They may even be stealing your customers right out from under your prose.

It’s like buying a car with no motor. Or headlights. Or steering wheel. Or windows…

Lack of functionality is also an added cost that must be factored in when comparing “free” websites with their paid counterparts. If commerce is your goal, do the webtools available through your provider give you all the elements you require to run a successful web-based business? Do they have features such as a Shopping Cart, Blog Space, a Product Catalog, Customer Login, Private Area, Lead Capture capability, a Newsletter system, Photo Gallery, Ad Manager, Traffic Analytics, Customer Service, Cool Sliding Graphics, Job Postings, Job Applications, HR Integration, Testimonials, and is Mobile Responsive to boot? The latter is of grave concern since Internet analytics show that the majority of users who will be viewing your site will not likely be on a desktop computer. The majority will access your site through a tablet or smart-phone that can mash up your graphics like you’d thrown them in a blender. Then who will you be selling to? Picasso? Salvador Dali?

 

 

What? You mean there are yet more costs to consider?

Besides the multitude of costs already listed, there are many more factors that can lose you money, fail to make money you should have made, or outright costs you money, These would include:

 

  • Cost of not having a home page that tells your visitors what you sell, how to get it and why they should do business with you. There is a whole science behind effective landing pages. If you don’t know the science, you may as well open your windows to allow the winged dollar bills to fly out.
  • Cost of not knowing what to do after having a new website up and running. If you build it, they won’t just come on their own. There is, after all, no successful product ever developed that didn’t require at least some promotion to make customers aware of its existence.
  • Cost of having competitors ads on your website. Most, if not all, “free” website hosters demand their site users have ads on your pages of the hosting company’s choosing. This takes away greatly from your professionalism and depending on the ad, it might even rob you of customers.
  • Cost of having a slow website. Free websites are hosted on crowded server farms. Google penalizes slow websites and will send less traffic your way. Slow websites are not just infuriating but downright painful to navigate. Surely your customers have enough irritation and frustration in their lives.
  • Cost of paying your nephew or to get ‘the cousin of a buddy’s former roomate who can do it cheap cheap’ to help you fix your site, if you can actually get them to answer their phone. You might have to block your number or borrow a friend’s cell phone to call them.
  • Cost of eventually having to build a professional website after wasting your time working on the free one. For a small fee, they may even line you up with a counselor to help you move past the remorse of the bad decision to try a “free” website provider in the first place.



So, can you afford free?

In the end one needs to be realistic about your website needs. Are you a professional business person or just a hobbyist with time on your hands? If you are on the net to make money, you must accept there are always costs. However, if you have trouble filling your day with things to do, a “free” website might just be what you need. Either that or a free puppy.

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Introducing Our New, Improved Website http://www.inmca.com/Blog.asp?id=71 Wed, 10 Dec 2014 00:00:00 MST

Classy, Quick, and Quite An Eyeful

We’re not talking about the latest Hollywood starlet or a ’57 Chevy convertible, we are referring to our brand new website masterfully produced by the creative minds at Industrial NetMedia to showcase our company. Bathed in cool blues with great use of a dynamic rotator above-the-fold display, the Home Page is visually stunning and instantly captivating.


Look Out Below!


Below the fold you will see that a precision scalpel has been applied to the clunky, wordy text of past iterations and what remains is slick, readable and eminently engaging. With convenient tabs highlighting the company’s strengths such as Web Design, Database Programming, Branding and Marketing, the page delivers a model that swiftly directs you to exactly where you want to go.

 

Services With a Smile

 

A glimpse at our Services Page will show the continuation of the home page dynamism with lots of short blocks of texts alongside easy to find link buttons leading to the various services provided by Industrial NetMedia. In no time at all, you can get a comprehensive overview of all the ways INM can help your business prosper in the Internet Age.


What Have We Done For You Lately?


Check out our Portfolio Page to see a selection of the latest websites we have built for some of our clients. See what we’ve done, what you like and what you’d like to see on your own site when you make your first foray into cyberspace.


Get With the Program


A trip to the Products Page will provide a panoramic view of the great line of business-centric software that has been proprietarily produced by INM. We have available a litany of software such as HR Director, ShiftShaper, SafetySpot and many more off the rack business hacks for Alberta businesses; particularly the oil gas and alternative energy industry. If you have a business, we have a product you need.

 

You’re in Good Company


Learn about our company and the things we hold dear on our Company Page. See how we endeavour to be a great corporate citizen with our community efforts. We even offer discounts for non-profits and small businesses; both of which combined, are the threads that hold the fabric of Alberta society together.

 

The Blog Driver’s Waltz


A peek at our News Page is an entertaining trip through our blog library featuring information and opinion on business-related topics that speak to Business Managers, HR Directors, Safety Supervisors and others in a firm’s head office hierarchy. Take a stroll through the published pieces and you’ll be sure to discover new information that will help make your business better.

 

Get a Contact High!


Here’s our Contact Page so you can get the high points of our products and services. Let us start on your new website today! Inquiries are always welcome and estimates are always free.

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New Blogs Abound in the World of INM http://www.inmca.com/Blog.asp?id=70 Wed, 10 Dec 2014 00:00:00 MST

It is an exciting time at Industrial NetMedia as we have had an explosion of content grace our sites. There has been a renewed effort to share our expertise and opinions with our current customers, potential clients and the world at large in a number of areas.

Our very latest is a timely piece about how management can maximize the team-building opportunity presented by the annual company Christmas party in an HR Director blog, “Managing the Annual Christmas Party”. Check it our for valuable insights into doing it right no matter what the budget.

Another recent addition to our SafetySpot blogs is an article concerning the “Top 10 Terrific Reasons Your Company Needs Safety Training Software”.   If you don't have this software, you won't want to miss the blog.

If your HR department is tired of the revolving door represented by serial onboarding, here are  a baker’s dozen of tips to prevent your best talent from looking for greener pastures. You can thank us later.  It is called, “13 Terrific Tips For Improving Retention” although, sadly, it won’t improve your memory.

 

We also have a revealing article about the health risks of working shift work and what can be done to soften the body blow throwing your circadian rhythm out of whack delivers. The blog is entitled “Negating the Effects of Shift Work”  and has been shared by more Facebook users than any other of our posts.

 

Last, but certainly not least is a humorous article written for the HR field that shows a fanciful history of the HR profession from 4 Billion years ago to the present. The piece which actually does have real facts contained within, albeit well hidden, is sure to entertain. You’re sure to enjoy “HR Timeline From 4 Billion BC to Present”.

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INM Celebrates Two New Websites Going 'Live' http://www.inmca.com/Blog.asp?id=69 Tue, 28 Oct 2014 00:00:00 MST

Industrial NetMedia may be a full service online and ‘real world’ marketing company but our first love is definitely designing and building high quality websites for our clients. This is why last week INM took such great pleasure in bringing not one, but two websites live to the Internet on behalf of a pair of very important clients (like there are any other kind).



Another VSU to Add to Our Portfolio

 

Sylvan Lake Victim Services WebsiteIndustrial NetMedia has been a part of the web presence of over a dozen community Victim Service Units in Alberta, including Bow Valley, Grande Cache, Leduc and many others. This is why we were infused with personal satisfaction in creating another; this time for the Sylvan Lake district. It is always a challenge to design new websites for these vitally important victim care and advocacy bodies in our province. Providing each of these victim aid groups with a site that showcases their own unique flavour, identity and style is our goal and in the case of Sylvan Lake, it is readily apparent that goal was achieved.
The project scope included the creation of a new logo, a twenty page premium website, update training and, of course, all the technical domain details.

 

You can check out our work here at the Sylvan lake Victim Services website.

 

Making Contact With Great Chemistry 

 

The other website brought to the world wide web was for Contact Chemicals in Wetaskiwin County. Their old-style, text-heavy website needed modernizing with eye-catching, colourful images, staff bio pages, product and service pages, and a beefed up contact page. A site visit had been arranged to get an understanding for what energy sector pipe chemistry was all about, and with that knowledge, the new site was developed. It was a fascinating peak into a crucial element of the Alberta oil and gas business.
Krista McLeod, office administrator for Contact was enthusiastic about the launch, saying in an email, “Excited that the site is live! Thanks for all of your hard work, it looks great!”
You can have a look at the results of our efforts here at Contact Chemicals new website.

 

INM; Helping Albertans Get Their Message to the Masses.

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You've Built a Better Website. Now What? http://www.inmca.com/Blog.asp?id=68 Wed, 26 Mar 2014 00:00:00 MST

Websites Designed to be Remembered

You have finally bitten the bullet and hired a great website design company to develop an Internet presence for your business. It has cost you a whole lot of time, a whole lot of money or, quite possibly, a whole lot of both. Now that the your new website is complete, you are hoping it will make your sales and profit graphs leap skyward so you can sit back and simply wait for the profits to start rolling in. Unfortunately, however, your new webpages, no matter how well designed aren't like the sign in front of your store that remains unchanged for many years. Your site must be a dynamic, constantly evolving, representation of your company for it to attract visitors.

If my Website Is So Great, Why Must I Market It?

In order for your potential customers to find you, you must market your website to make it as visible as possible. There are many ways to increase your online business profile and most of them have to do with improving your search rankings in Google, Bing and Yahoo. Believe it or not, there is a whole industry behind the science of what they call “Search Engine Optimization” or “SEO”. We will look more closely at ways to improve your rankings without getting too involved in the jargon and theory behind it. 

One of the most important behaviours you can adopt to attract more visitors to your site is to update your website constantly. Adding something new on a daily basis would be the ideal but it is difficult when, like most other business professionals, you already have so much on your plate. Reprioritize your website updates to a less demanding rotation if you must, but you shouldn’t leave it for more than two weeks. The reason for this is the Google bots that decide where in the search results to place your website, love new content. These web crawlers scour the Internet daily looking for fresh, original content to inform them as to how ‘alive’ your site is. The more often you give the content robots something new to look at, the more the bots will boost your site.

Website Care Made Cheap and Easy

Constant care of your website to keep it fresh sounds a little daunting but it doesn’t have to be. You don’t need to change the entire site to keep the robots interested; just tweak it here or there. For example, maintain a weekly blog discussing your products and your industry on one of your pages, Blogs are quite easy to update and important to keep the conversation with your clients going.

Another simple idea is to have a promotional page that you use to highlight different products on an ongoing basis, much like how grocers manage their end cap displays. Keep changing it up like the stores do. You won’t get many repeat visitors if they see the same site and read the same information over and over. Nobody likes reruns.

Because your website is well designed with an uncluttered layout and lots of bright, attractive images, another way to freshen it up is to change those images on an ongoing basis. Make sure they are relevant to your message and that when you hover your cursor over them, the ALT descriptions include lots of specific keywords describing what the picture is all about. Google-bots only read text so they won’t be impressed with your images, no matter how stunning, if you haven’t explained them in text form.

Picture Perfect: Ensuring Images Are Copyright Compliant

When using images for your web pages, it cannot be stressed enough that you must only use photos that are royalty-free or be willing to pay for their use. Downloading pictures from sites like Google Images certainly appears convenient enough. Heaven knows it seems everyone on Facebook and other social media sites do it all the time, but if you use them for your company site, you are playing with some serious fire.

Every image on the web is owned by someone, other than those pictures so old they are in the public domain (pre-1928 images, for example). Using someone else’s photos without their permission, even if the picture has gone viral and covers the social media landscape a foot deep, unauthorized use of it is an invasion of copyright. There may have been times in the past where you’ve already rolled the dice and posted an image that is “just perfect” for your use and nothing bad happened. Be aware; this practice could still cost you dearly down the road. It might take months but one day a lawyer-ish looking letter may show up on your desk, advising that you have stolen their image and want you to make financial restitution. Not getting approval ahead of time can cause the price to inflate by many times its original worth.

Take Care To Avoid Being Taken to Court

The best way to avoid getting pricey snail-mail in stern legalese, besides paying for every image you use, is to establish the rights associated with that image every time. If you don’t know who owns it, don’t use it. To be safe, choose an image site like Flickr.com and, in their ‘advanced search’ option, check off the ‘Creative Commons’ box to narrow the search to images that are royalty free. You still have to take care to display the rights for each image as they change subtly from pic to pic.

Some, for example, allow people to reuse the image but not to manipulate or ‘photoshop’ it. Others allow you to use the image any way you wish as long as it is not for commercial use. Only the ones specifically tagged as being allowed for commercial use are safe to use. They must have a rights page called, “Attribution 2.0 Generic” that lists the following rights: “You are free to:
Share — copy and redistribute the material in any medium or format Adapt — remix, transform, and build upon the material for any purpose, even commercially. The licensor cannot revoke these freedoms as long as you follow the license terms.”

When you find an image with such a designation, you still have to employ due diligence to make sure that you’re not only safe now, but in the future. Only by capturing and storing screen prints of the original image, along with the links to the rights page, can you be assured of ongoing safety. There have been cases where this was not done and the image was later sold, changing the reprint rights without any warning. Unless you can prove you used the image legally, originally, you may still be on the hook for its use if you don’t maintain accurate records.

How to Use Alt Tags and Descriptions

You can choose to pay for the pictures you use on an image-by-image basis or purchase a suite of stock photos. That way you will have a large selection of images to choose from and be able to change your graphics often, which is mission-critical.

The other option is to take your own photos. This is easily the least expensive and safest method as there is no question who owns the photos and there is no need to pay a photographer or image company for the rights.

However you obtain your pictures, however,make sure they have 'alt tags' to inform the Googlebots what the images contain and how they're relevant to your message. Employ Alt descriptions so a caption will appear over pictures explaining what is contained in the image. to It is a great opportunity to use these tags to increase your SEO by including keywords judiciously, and for no extra cost.

What Other Updates Would Maximize My Website's Reach?

Another option at your disposal for keeping your site dynamic is to link your site to other websites that have information or content that would be of interest to your own clients. If you are re-selling a product or offering a value-added service to an existing product, consider linking your site to your suppliers and manufacturers’ sites. This will allow your customers to get the straight information on the products without you having to duplicate it on your own site. It will also count towards your “click-through-rate” which is vital for optimal ranking purposes.

You can also link to sites that discuss similar products or that describe the best way to use the products. The important thing is that the links you use must be relevant to your clients and your products to impress the web-bots.

Change Is Good (and we don’t mean your coin collection).

The most important thing to remember about keeping your site fresh and dynamic is simple; don’t let it sit idle like a sign in a window. As with every other part of your business, it needs ongoing attention to be effective. Changing images, adding new text and creating relevant hyper-links on a steady basis will make all the difference.

Oh, and One More Thing…

Have fun with it!

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10 Magic Sales Words http://www.inmca.com/Blog.asp?id=67 Tue, 25 Mar 2014 00:00:00 MST

Word Wizardry For Fun and Profit.

You are a professional sales person and your boss is applying subtle pressure to ramp up your game (“Increase your sales or you’re fired!”) You know, of course, that your boss just doesn’t understand your situation. It’s not like there are magic words you can use to control purchasers’ minds; nothing like an “abracadabra” or “hocus-pocus”, to bring to bear, or so you think.

Here’s the good news, though. There's a whole list of words you can use to magically get more sales and in this report, we will explore the top ten. They may not be exotic-sounding like “a la peanut butter sandwiches” or the other arcane incantations already mentioned, but they still work almost like magic. The social scientists that discovered the power of these words know why they are so effective, but for your purposes, you only need know that they are.

Now, for my first trick…

You're now ready to learn what the first magical word is, I mean right now, as in immediately, if not sooner. In fact, the first magic word sales folk can use to increase sales is “NOW”. That is the time frame every sales professional is working in. “Now” is when your customer wants the information he needs to make a decision. “Now” is also the time period when the purchaser wants to receive the goods that were ordered. This is because, as a sales professional, your main job is to solve purchasers’ problems and we all know when we want our problems solved; right now! Smart sales folk also know that the here and now, while your client is across his desk from you, is when they have their customer’s fullest attention. They are also aware that the farther from “now” a purchasing decision is made, the weaker any magical words will be. The word “now” is all about action and immediacy.

Can’t eliminate this word, it’s too valuable.

Another great word that is loaded with sales power is “ELIMINATE”. It speaks of getting rid of a problem completely and with finality, much like a crime boss with an irksome competitor. It is another action word that has so much more muscle than its weaker cousin, “reduce”. Being able to eliminate your customers` problems and concerns will clear the way for purchasing decisions to be made that your client will feel good about. The more worries you can eliminate for your client, the less likely your boss will seek to eliminate you.

Because it tells you why.

Another extremely effective magic word at the smart sales person’s disposal is, “BECAUSE”. The power of this word is due to the fact we have all, since we were carpet-critters and yard-apes, grown up knowing this word is the answer to the burning question, “Why?” We start asking it as soon as we can talk and we never, ever stop. No one likes to think they are blind followers. They need to know the wherefore and the why of everything they do. Purchasers in particular want to know why they should trust you, listen to you or buy from you. Using the powerful magic of “because”, answers all of their concerns. Giving that buyer the “because” of their decision will allow him to answer to those above him who also ask why. Being able to fully defend his actions armed with the “becauses” you supplied means more confidence for the buyer in his decision and more sales for you.

Simplify your client’s life while you simplify your own.

To really catch the attention of an overworked and harried purchasing agent, another powerfully magic word to use is “SIMPLIFY”. Everyone wants their lives simplified in this hectic world we live in. No company has pared every facet of their operation to its simplest form but the goal to do so remains, for practically every manager. Simple means easy to control and control is what it’s all about. Everyone seeks control in their lives because without it, we actually suffer stress. If you can show a prospective client that your product will simplify any part of that person’s life and increase their control over any element in their day-to-day, you will likely get that sale.

Magic words from way back when.

The next magic word is actually two words, but two words that are often lumped together, must never be used together or they reduce their power substantially. The words are “PLEASE” and “THANKS”.

We have all known these two words are magical since we were tots. “Please” will get us a cookie but the transaction doesn’t end there. The “thank you” is vital because it isn’t the end of the transaction but actually the first part of your pitch to get another one. No one is so important or influential they shouldn’t continue to use these words in their daily interactions. Not only is it the polite and respectful thing to do, but we are instinctively geared to doing whatever action the “please” is associated with.

“Can you please…” is also far more effective than the modern, “I need you to…”,   People who think merely identifying their need motivates another person more than a polite request, just don’t understand people.

As well, you’ve heard some individuals use these two magical words together, as in “Do this task, please and thank you.” It is meant to be chatty and informal but what it means to the listener is that the request, signaled by the please becomes an order when the thanks is part of the same sentence. Saying “thanks” immediately after the “please” informs the listener that a negative response isn’t even a consideration. So please use these two words judiciously and you will see your sales grow.

You can profit from this word.

It should come as no surprise to anyone in business that one of the most powerful words in corporate communications is “PROFIT”. This is, after all, the very point for being in business. Very few people engage in commerce for their health. The point of running a company is to create and expand profitability, and so any discussion that includes that magical word will garner a lot of attention.

“Profit” is also one word that can be tied to two other words to boost and increase its power. Indeed, the two words that expand the muscle mass of the word “profit” are “boost” and “increase”. Both words have similar meanings but are not interchangeable. The former suggests a dramatic spike, whereas the latter speaks more of sustained growth. If you can prove to the purchaser in your pitch that they should buy your product because it will positively affect their company’s profitability, science says you’ll likely get the sale.

Just imagine what this word can do for you.

Now imagine a word so powerful, it actually encourages your clients to look at theoretical possibilities. The word is “IMAGINE” and it is critically important for selling, especially for the first sale of a product to a prospective client. For a buyer to do something they’ve never done before, such as giving you a big fat order for product, for instance, it is essential that they can imagine doing it. They have to accept it into their minds before it will ever translate to a completed page in a Purchase Order book. Urging your customers to “imagine” does just that. It gets the idea planted firmly in their head which allows them to examine the ideas you are promoting without making any commitments. Once they have imagined the effect of your presentation on their business, this opens up opportunities for concrete action.

You can achieve great things with this word.

Like "IMAGINE" this next muscular word for effective sales presentations works on the emotional centre of the person listening. This emotionally-charged word is “ACHIEVE” and those that use it wisely often achieve stunning results. This is because the word is a mental shortcut to feelings of success and importance. Winners achieve. They earn their success and it comes directly from their own efforts. No one achieves mediocrity. The very use of it speaks to coming out on top.

Another nuance to the word “achieve” is that, in our psyches, achievements carry a connotation of permanence. Use of this word in your client communications, in phrases such as, “Because with this product, we can now help you achieve maximum profits” is golden. It is an unspoken guarantee that dealing with your company will lead to professional success for your client and profitability for their business. Signing your purchase order won’t just be a mechanical part of the job but will allow them to believe they have accomplished something really great. The buyer will have achieved a goal and that makes them feel good. Purchasers that feel they are achieving excellence with your product are obviously more likely to buy than those that don’t.

Such a beautiful noise our name is to ourselves.

Last on this list but certainly not the least powerful of sales words is, of course, the clients’ own name. Our moniker is the most beautiful sound to our ears, they say, but we guard against the effect judiciously. We know it is our weakness. When we hear something like the following sales pitch, “Hey, Bob, how you doing, Bob? Let me tell you, Bob, I have a great deal for you today, Bob! ” we are instantly on red alert. We know it’s a ploy. It sounds unnatural to the point of stupidity. Experts suggest there are actually only two points in a sales call when using the clients name is effective. They are at the very beginning of a call and then at the very end. Obviously if you are in a long conversation and you can work it in sparingly, that is fine but it’s definitely the word in this list that would suffer the most through repetition.

Thanks, Science!

So there you have it; a list of ten words that science assures us will have a positive and substantive effect on your sales numbers without costing your company a single cent. Please imagine now the profits that you will achieve because you simplified your pitch with these ten words.

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How to Tweet Sweet - Lesson 4 http://www.inmca.com/Blog.asp?id=66 Thu, 20 Mar 2014 00:00:00 MST

Like other areas of human interaction, Twitter has its own set of guidelines to follow in order to be a polite and popular part of the group.

Here are some tips to help you.

  1. When engaging in social media marketing on Twitter, always acknowledge new followers. It takes little time to send a quick “Thanks for following me” that may pay dividends down the road.
  2. Thank fellow Twitter members, known as 'tweeters', for forwarding your tweets to their own followers. Retweets (RT’s) are a favour and must be acknowledged. Failure to do so will almost guarantee you fewer RT’s. Another, often better way of thanking them, is to RT a post of theirs, but make sure it is relevant to you so you don't sound like the robotic response of an auto-tweet program. Add value to the other person's tweet with a comment or observation about it.
  3. Always respond to tweets aimed your way so you’re not perceived as a snob. If no response is required (the initial tweet was a statement, not a question, for example) just tag it as a “favourite” to show you acknowledged the statement.
  4. Avoid the use of automatic systems for retweeting your followers’ comments. It doesn’t fool anyone but tells them you aren’t interested in what they say and aren’t above faking it. This is probably not the message you want to convey. Automatic DM’s (direct messages) fall into the same category. They impress no one and fool just as many.
  5. Be aware that anyone can go to your Twitter account and read everything you’ve tweeted. If you are on Twitter for business, this means being professional. This does not mean being impersonal.
  6. Following back everyone who follows you isn’t necessary but it’s advisable to follow those in your industry that choose to follow you. When in doubt, follow, rather than not, as it is easy enough to unfollow them later if necessary.
  7. Stay positive. The public square is no place for negativity or swipes at your competition. How you communicate with others is a reflection on yourself, no matter what the medium.
  8. Don’t post the exact same tweets over and over. Mix up the phrasing to make it fresh every time. You don’t want people in the habit of ignoring your posts.
  9. When retweeting others, comment on why it was worth retweeting for you. Add value to the conversation. Do not simply regurgitate what has already been said.
  10. Do not overtweet or undertweet, If your messages cram a person’s twitter feed, they will likely dump you in a heartbeat. If you don’t tweet often enough, you risk becoming irrelevant and ignored. Experiment to find out how much is right for you. Start with one tweet per hour and tweak your tweets from there.
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How to Tweet Sweet - Lesson 3 http://www.inmca.com/Blog.asp?id=65 Thu, 20 Mar 2014 00:00:00 MSTThursday, March 20, 2014

You now have legions of followers and know just what to say and do to get them to pass along your promotional posts. You do not want to merely count on these fellow tweeters alone to get your message out, of course. To widen the net you’re casting will require the use of address prefixes and “hashtags”.These are the @’s and #’s you see so often that aren’t part of a swearing a blue streak. (&%#@#$^!!!)
The two icons are similar in that they direct your message to other conversational threads but differ in the type of thread to which they send your message.

@

This character is used to direct your tweets at a specific person. For instance, you can use @StephenHarper or @BarakObama if you want to get some political opinions off your chest.  People as famous as these folks will have a blue checkmark beside their names which prove they are, according to Twitter, the real Prime Minister of Canada or President of the United States.
Many celebrities have these blue checks beside their name for the same reason. Therefore, if you are looking for someone specific to tweet to, use the search window on the Twitter page to put in the @ and the first few letters of the person’s name you seek. Twitter will offer up a list of tweeters that use the letters you’ve typed.

#

Hashtags are similar to “keywords” and are used to direct your tweets to threads about specific subjects, as opposed to specific people. There were a number of hashtags that led to Olympic Games threads, for example. These included #Sochi #Olympics and #Olympics2014. If you go to the search field and put in any of those, you would see every post that anyone created that had that hashtag topic in the body of the tweet. You will even likely see mostly different posts between #Olympics and #Olympics2014, depending on which version previous posters used. You may wish to find all pertinent hashtags for the messages you’re sending, so those interested in the topic will find your tweets and, ultimately, your messages and contact information.

Conversely, hashtags are also handy for searching information related to whatever you need to find out about. If you want some giggles in your day, for instance put #humor in the search field and, voila, yuks aplenty, For funny Canadian or British tweets, try the alternative spelling; #humour. Note that if you change even one letter in a # listing, such as using Canadian spelling, in the humour/humor example, it changes the content completely.

 

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How to Tweet Sweet - Lesson 2 http://www.inmca.com/Blog.asp?id=64 Thu, 20 Mar 2014 00:00:00 MST

In order to reach out to the legions of followers you have now developed, it is critical to tweet correctly. Like everything else in life, there’s a right way and a wrong way and tweeting is no different. Here are five fast rules to maximize your tweets.

 

1. Twitter provides space for 140 characters of text per message to play with but don’t feel you must them all. By leaving 10 or 15 characters unused, it allows your followers to add their own addressees (@’s) and hashtags (#’s) to spread your word. They are less likely to do so if they have to erase some of your tweet.

2. Do not use too many @’s or #’s or the message may get lost.

3. If you’re including an Internet link, do not let it get surrounded by @’s and #’s or people may either click the wrong thing or refuse to click it at all.

4. Do not tweet your own promotional messages exclusively. Everyone on the site wants promotion and will refuse to RT you if you fail to RT them.

5. Don’t be all business all the time. Part of successful salesmanship is developing a relationship with your intended demographic. Therefore, reply to your followers’ tweets and talk about their messages, too. Don’t forget to post humorous or insightful observations, besides your own marketing messages. Make sure people will look forward to your tweets, not prepare them to whiz past your constantly repetitive promotional posts. A simple rule of thumb is to divide your tweets in more-or-less equal thirds; promoting your own message, promoting your followers’ messages and making interesting conversation that will train people to watch for your tweets.
 

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How to Tweet Sweet - Lesson 1 http://www.inmca.com/Blog.asp?id=63 Thu, 20 Mar 2014 00:00:00 MST

The Village Square

Twitter is the modern version of the village square, populated by a similar array of citizens, strangers, sellers and swindlers. Newcomers to the global village’s cyber-square, who are looking to sell their wares, can be overwhelmed by the strangeness, the variety and the sprawl of humanity on the site. Most are excited, however, with the fabulous reach that Twitter provides. One can advertise for free around the world if you know what you are doing, but what if you don’t?  Here are some commonsense tips to get your message out for those new to Twitter.
It’s good to be picky who you hang out with

Since the entire point of your presence on Twitter is to have the maximum number of people aware of your product, service or message; gaining as many followers as possible is one of the keys to being successful. You don’t want just any followers, however. People who aren’t active on the site are not of much use to you. Neither are those “tweeters” that are focussed solely on their own thing. The power of the medium isn’t so much in your original tweet to your followers, but how often your message is sent along to your followers’ followers. Called the “Retweet” (or simply “RT” in Tweet parlance), it is the goal for the majority of social media marketers.
 

Follow me; follow you

One vital fact about tweeters is that, often, though certainly not always, they will follow you back if you follow them. Practically everyone who brings their business to Twitter needs followers, so they know they need a follow-back policy in place to maximize their own numbers. If you don’t follow back, the other guys have no motivation to follow you.

Indeed, Twitter even forces you, once you have achieved 2000 fellow tweeters following you, to make sure you have followed back 90%, or at least 1800 other tweeters. If you hit 2000 following and have fewer followers than you should, Twitter will limit your ability to follow anyone else.

Follow the stars and the stars’ followers

Therefore, if you want to increase your follower base quickly, think of the people in your target demographic and who those people would already be interested in following. Got a hit rap song to promote, for example? Display the followers for a fellow rap star and follow them all. This will virtually guarantee an instant following of your own. Managing the new followers properly however, is critical. To maximize the impact of your future tweets, it will be necessary to examine each new follower individually.

To do this effectively, wait a week or so to allow those you’ve followed to follow you back. Not everyone tweets daily and that’s okay. If they only tweet monthly, though, they are, generally speaking, of lesser value for spreading your message and won’t likely be missed. You can find out their tweeting habits by displaying the account of each new follower and looking and what and when they tweet. This will inform you as to whether they refuse to RT any of their followers’ posts, if they only tweet their own stuff, or if they hardly tweet at all, Feel free to unfollow these tweeters as the chance of them reading or retweeting your posts are poor. As much as this would be a surprise to many tweeters, the reality is, for marketing purposes, it is about the quality of your followers, not the quantity.

Two of the most important Twitter words: ‘Thank you’

By diligently following these steps, you can create an instant target market suited to your tweet recipients. For those that do follow back, be gracious and send them a tweet thanking them for the follow as this is how tweeters form relationships that are beneficial to your business interests. People you have made an effort with in this way are far more likely to retweet your messages than those with which you have not personalized the relationship.

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Six Scientific Strategies for Persuading Your Market http://www.inmca.com/Blog.asp?id=62 Thu, 20 Mar 2014 00:00:00 MST

Bill and Bob are twins. They are identical in almost every way. Hard to tell apart, they even have a habit of getting similar haircuts. They act the same, sound the same and although they work for competing companies, there is virtually no difference between their two product lines. Bob, however, is exceedingly successful in his sales job while Bill… well, not so much. He lives in Bob’s basement.

Besides their financial success, the main difference between the twins is that Bob knows the secrets to persuading his customers that have been discovered by in-depth marketing research. There are only six of these secrets but with them, Bob constantly blows the sales doors off of poor Bill.

Reciprocity; The Gift That Keeps On Giving

The first strategy Bob employs, once he gets that meeting with the buyer, is to try and get him to feel he owes Bob something. It doesn’t have to be much. This is because, science tells us we all keep a mental accounting of gifts and favours we strive to keep balanced, irrespective of the size of the favour. When buddy buys you a beer, you buy him one back. You don’t ever want to be seen as “that guy”. You know who I mean; the one that never buys.
“We just got in a new shipment of promotional pens,” Bob will say heartily. “Here, have a couple. Grab a few more! Spread them around to your staff!”

Bob’s buyer is now interested. Even more importantly, he’s indebted, even if ever so slightly. When Bill comes in with the same product and the same pitch but without the pens, science says there’s no way Bill is getting the order. The tiny debt the buyer owes Bob, that’s worth not much more than a dollar, two at the most, will likely translate into an order valued at hundreds; maybe even thousands of times what those pens were worth.
Poor Bill. For want of a pen, the order was lost.

Scarcity: Feeding the Fear of Being Left Out

Back in the buyers office, Bob is reviewing his catalogue of products with the buyer.
“This is a great little unit you can really use but we don’t have many in stock. The manufacturer can’t keep up with the orders. I’m trying to hang onto them as much as I can in order to make them last until the new shipments come in.”
Not wanting to be left behind, the buyer quickly jumps on board. He doesn’t want to explain to his boss why they ran out, no matter the price. The laws of supply and demand are so ingrained in our psyches, unconsciously; we prize what is rare, irrespective of its intrinsic value. You’ll never see Apple drop the price of any new version of their iPad, until the market is completely flooded. Why would they if people are willing to pay top dollar?

Authority: Impressing the Client Like a Boss

Both Bill and Bob have the same level of education, experience and expertise but once more, Bob managed to tilt the playing field his way. He did this by establishing himself in the eyes of the buyer as an authority on his subject. Although both salesmen know their product line well, Bill made sure the buyer knew of his expertise by sliding in small conversational comments such as “In all my years in the field,” and “When you have seen the market change as I have,”.  Bob also had established a rapport with his inside sales and company contacts so when his customers would call, his colleagues would also put in their own two cents worth, “You want Bob to call? No problem. I know he understands this stuff thoroughly,” they would say, for example.

The buyer was guided into the knowledge that Bob was an authority on the matters at hand and felt much more comfortable dealing with someone he viewed as an expert.

Consistency: Surprise! Purchasers Love Routine and Hate Surprises

One of Bob’s advantages over his brother was being aware of the importance of consistency in messaging and manner. By initially establishing small patterns of behaviour, Bob ensured buying from him was familiar and routine; feelings of comfort for us all. He’d done this by meeting the buyer in a repeatable, predictable fashion, the first Tuesday of every month, for even the tiniest order the buyer would give him. Eventually, it became easy to give Bob more of his business because he knew when Bob would be there to take care of his needs. He could plan around the frequency and order quantities of product that would not overload them or have them run short. The more consistent Bob’s approach, the more comfortable the buyer felt about giving him more and more of his business.
Even back at his showroom, Bob’s company displayed great wisdom with consistency. Bob’s inside sales manager, back at the office was wise, too, in that she kept updating the product displays in their showroom and on their carefully designed website, to keep both looking fresh. She ensured, however, the products on the shelves and web pages were all where the customers were used to finding them.
Bill, however, was all over the map. If no one was calling him, they obviously weren’t in need of anything, he figured, so his visits were never part of the buyer’s daily, weekly or monthly routine.

Consensus: Giving Buyers the Confidence to Sign That Purchase Order
 

Bill always believed if he earnestly laid out the advantages of his products, no buyer could fail to see that his products were the smart choice. These people were empowered to make big dollar decisions and would not need any other blandishments besides logic to get the sale.
Bob, on the other hand, knows that everyone, including buyers, have issues with niggling self-doubt. They have bosses and budgets to answer to, as well. Giving the buyer ammunition to defend his purchasing decisions helps to save the buyer from second-guessing himself.
“This is a great product,” Bob would say. “I’ve sold this same unit to four of your competitors for exactly this purpose and they were more than satisfied with the performance.” The buyer now has the knowledge he is doing what all his peers are doing and feels there is safety in numbers. Bob got the order again.

Likeability: "They Love Me! They Really Love Me!"

Bill and Bob are so alike, you’d think they would be perceived as equally likeable, but this is not the case. Although intrinsically they are friendly, kind, decent people, Bob knows how to project that image. He starts with his first visit to the prospective client’s office. He brings donuts for the staff and kids a bit with the receptionist, Phil. As the gatekeeper to the entire business, Bob knows it is important to stay on Phil’s good side and that he can even be a great resource for learning more about the buyer. Does the purchasing manager have kids? IAre they sports fans? Who o they cheer for? Any nuggets of information Bob learns, he tries to relate to his own life to draw parallels. This shows the buyer that they have common ground on a personal level.
Bob knows the friendly conversation before the pitch may be even more important than the cleverness of the pitch. We all prefer to deal with people we like and often go out of our way to do favours for friends.
“I hear you’re a hockey fan, too,” Bob will say as they shake hands in the first meeting. “Sucks to cheer for the Oilers right now, eh? Not like in the glory years. I sure miss the Battle of Alberta.”

Another thing Bob does is bring the buyer’s family into it. “You have kids in school?” he’d ask, “Maybe they can use some of our free pens, too.” Making a guy look great to his bosses and staff is good but making him look great to his kids is gold.

Bill, on the other hand, wants to appear efficient and professional and uses his whole time to discuss his company and his products. In other words, he only talks about things that are most important to Bill, not to the buyer. He doesn’t understand that time spent in small talk establishing a relationship and a rapport is far more important than efficiency at that moment. This is part of why Bill is a perennial basement dweller.

The moral of this story is: If you’re in sales and don’t learn the six strategies of persuasion, you may be stuck with the Bill.

 

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Vital Lessons: Why You Need a Website http://www.inmca.com/Blog.asp?id=61 Thu, 20 Mar 2014 00:00:00 MST

Meet Jack and Jill

Jack is a small business person working from his farm outside of Edmonton, Alberta. It’s a one-man show; just him and his bobcat; very like dozens of small operators in the capital region. He does snow removal in the winter and dirt work in the summer. His entire marketing thrust is a phone number in the Yellow Pages. Jack’s been in business forever and doesn’t feel he has ever needed anything more than a phone book listing to keep him busy. Now, however, he just doesn’t get as many phone calls as he used to. He would lay off his secretary if he had one. He knows he needs to expand his customer base to other nearby centers such as Leduc, Wetaskiwin and Camrose, but has no idea how. Jack really needs a well-designed website badly but thinks it too expensive and that he is not cut out for all this Internet stuff. He still owns a flip phone., for crying out loud.

Jill also owns her own business, too. She makes hand-painted pottery at her home and does pretty well at craft sales and farmers markets in the central Alberta region. Like Jack, she could use more customers but isn’t sure the best way to attract them. Ads in the paper are so expensive and she feels they don’t seem to help all that much, having experimented with them on a limited basis. Jill obviously needs  to develop a web-based marketing plan, too.

In fact, anyone who has a product to sell, a service to perform or a message to deliver to the community or the world, needs a website. Instead of you spending time looking for new customers, a website allows your customers to easily look for you. Skillfully developed web pages are a much better approach to enlarging your clientele than any other method for the small marketer for a number of reasons. Here are the major ones.

With a website, you are available to your customers, 24/7.


Not everyone has the same work schedule as you and you want your products and services in people’s faces when they want to view them, not when you have time to display them. Yellow Pages listings, while also available around the clock, are not in a medium people spend hours in pleasurable “surfing”. Their entries are short and often contain as much information about your competitors as it does you. Most people, other than Jack, of course, no longer “let their fingers do the walking”. Removing limitations for your customers to reach you is vital and a careful built website takes away the time boundaries a retail operation would impose.

A website puts you in a global marketplace.

Having a website provides far greater geographic coverage compared to hardcopy newspaper advertisements. Since websites have a reach that spans the globe, Jill can realize greater profits if she views the entire planet as her market, instead of the people in the newspaper’s circulation region or the ladies filing past her at a craft sale.

Even Jack, bound by the nature of his business to a comparatively limited geographical area, can benefit greatly from a website. Everyone around town knows Jack, but that oil executive sitting in his Calgary office looking for someone to clear an oil lease, has no idea who he is. When the oilman searches for a local service provider, he’ll probably ignore a company with no website, if he can find him at all. It is the modern watermark of professionalism.

Websites help the web aware find you even if you’re computer illiterate.

Jack doesn’t realize he need not be a computer programmer to have a website. Being ‘old school’ he is unaware the website can be designed to list all of his services and provide his contact information; including his ‘snail-mail’ address and flip-phone number. This means customers can still contact him in the manner he has been used to for decades. Nothing really changes for Jack, other than having to answer his phone more often to book his equipment.

A website flattens the playing field between different-sized companies.

No large company would be caught dead without having a website, nowadays. These big operations know how effective a cyber-presence is for engaging clients. Having your own website puts your company in the big leagues, to those looking for your products or expertise. A well designed website can give Jack’s company the same polish bigger contractors have on display on their websites. Also, when young, net-savvy customers are looking for bobcat operators, they’re not looking through a phone book. That’s so last millennium. They will only consider a vendor who is professional enough to have a website.
Additionally, having a website will help Jack’s Google positioning. He will get those calls that once went to his competitors by default, thanks to his previous lack of a website.

A website marketing model is far cheaper than any retail operation can be.

Jill’s virtual store is never closed. People can browse her wares at their leisure anytime day or night and it costs Jill next to nothing, compared to having a retail outlet with staff. Another advantage of the website for Jill is she can provide images of her range of products without having to invest in a lot of inventory. Maintaining a large stock of products costs a great deal of money and will negatively impact a company’s bottom line.

A website sharpens your focus as to who your customers are.

With careful use of keywords and other standard SEO strategies, both Jill and Jack can attract customers who are looking for the exact items and services they are promoting. The people engaging with their companies over the web will be precisely the people targeted with the content, Jill can even bolster traffic with a blog that can be updated to “maintain freshness”. Jack probably won’t blog but he needs a website just the same to attract his target market, too.

In comparison to every mass-media advertising platform such as TV, radio or hardcopy newspaper advertisements, having a website is the most inexpensive way to inform old customers, attract new customers and engage with your clientelle, your industry partners and the world. It’s not that you can’t afford a website; it’s that you can’t afford not to have one.

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Web Design With SEO In Mind http://www.inmca.com/Blog.asp?id=60 Tue, 18 Mar 2014 00:00:00 MST

What you should know about SEO.

Search Engine Optimization, or SEO, is more than just the most popular Internet marketing buzzword since the World Wide Web was developed. SEO has, for all practical purposes, become a science. Getting your Google on has become so important in the cyberspace marketplace, suddenly it seems, there are thousands of self-proclaimed website design and optimization gurus in the social media landscape. They all are hard at it, parsing equations, formulating theories and testing hypotheses to present themselves as the only person who really understands this SEO creature correctly.

It is difficult to spend any time on any social media sites, such as Twitter, without hitting a website development 'expert' wanting to share their optimization theories; for a 'reasonable price' of course. This is because, if you do website architecture and SEO properly, with eye-catching, visitor-friendly text and images, your website really will float to the top of search engine rankings. This is critical, as the higher up your site is positioned; the more likely your web presence will translate into increased client engagement and better results for your bottom line.

SEO  experts; the new kids on the block.

It is worth mentioning that SEO was practically unheard of before the new millennium, and now consultants, who claim to be knowledgeable about it, are commanding top dollar. Some know their stuff but others seem to specialize more in being jargon mongers. Since ranking improvement expertise is such a new discipline, there are very few ways for web design gurus to demonstrate proficiency or become officially accredited. Often it becomes a battle of buzzwords as company marketing managers wade through the various SEO experts’ opinions.

With the rise of search ranking improvement as the Holy Grail of web marketing, it brings up many questions for advertising and marketing specialists in practically every industry. Old school sales teams are trying to come to grips with the fundamentals of this new science. They want to know what SEO is, how it works, whether it is important to their business and why.

What it is, man.

Put simply, Search Engine Optimization is a method of tweaking your website design using various techniques to force your way to the top of Internet search pages such as Google, Yahoo and Bing. SEO specialists study how very specific layouts of a website’s information will affect the search engine rankings. They know that making even minor adjustments to the design of a website can have a demonstrable effect on placement, for good or bad. These adjustments include such fine-tuning as changing keywords here or there, locating the keywords closer to the top left of a website and including your most important keywords in ALT descriptions on your page’s visuals.

 

To Keywords… and Beyond!

There is so much more to SEO than just keywords and where they go, however, as was the case in the Internet’s early days. Now there are hundreds, if not thousands of factors that influence your site’s positioning. These factors are all based on a myriad of mathematical formulas, referred to as ‘algorithms’ that search engines perform billions of times a day. How many visitors you get, how long they stay, where they go after they have been to your site all are reflected in your search engine rank, Just attracting someone to your site isn’t good enough like it was in the old days of the Internet. Now, search engine crawlers and robots perform a whole litany of tests to try and establish what sites are the most relevant to a human user. It is so much more than just keywords, click through rates and bounce amounts.

Too much of a good thing.

This brings us to the most important fact about SEO. Attempts to optimize your website artificially, using only SEO tricks, are destined to fail. It does not work to design your website to attract a robot when it is living, breathing humans that you are trying to engage with. Getting people to your site is only a part of what makes a website achieve the highest ranking. What is far more important is how enjoyable your website is to navigate, how helpful your site is to those that end up there and where they go after landing on your front page. Search engine bots don’t actually read your content the way a human would, They look for other pieces of evidence to assign their rankings, They need to look at the objective, not the subjective.

For example, if a visitor’s next page click is to go further into your site; that is great. If, however, they click one of your links, even if it is to access a competitor’s page, it will still elevate your website’s search engine placement more than your rival’s site you’d linked to. It is all about demonstrating you are the most authoritative resource on the Internet. Period.

The bottom line; make your site for real people, not robots.

This is the truth of the matter that some SEO specialists and website developers, particularly those that mostly sell social media jargon, tend to overlook. Search engines do not manufacture popularity, they only reflect it. It is a critically significant point, since focussing on SEO strategies that don’t improve your site for the end user is probably a waste of company money. The best SEO decision a business can make is to create an attractive, stylish, even fun website that is the most relevant for delivering information the world is looking for, on the topics your site covers. Sure you can tweak it here and there to make the algorithms happy, but if you make your visitors happy instead, you will succeed in Internet ranking improvement where SEO gurus will not.

Photo: Some Rights Reserved by Find Your Search - original image here

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Crisis Communication http://www.inmca.com/Blog.asp?id=59 Thu, 27 Feb 2014 00:00:00 MST

Never let a serious crisis go to waste... it's an opportunity to do things you thought you couldn't do before. - Rahm Emanuel

A crisis can strike your company in many forms, at any time; usually the very second you turn your back. It might be something fairly minor; a bad review on your web pages or people flaming you on Facebook. Worse, it might be an issue much more serious where reporters from CBC Edmonton are thrusting microphones in your face as you leave for work, (a sure sign of a very bad day ahead.) Most corporate crises aren’t TV News extreme, of course, but when someone writes a bad review for poor customer service, it can seem like a crisis in its earliest development stage.. Bear in mind, however, that the Chinese character for “crisis” is a combination of two words; "danger" and "opportunity".

How you deal with issues early on is very important. It is imperative you tackle the situation prompty as your company reputation is at stake. The longer you drag your feet to face the catastrophe, the longer the crisis will stick in people's minds.

Here are some important crisis communication tips:

  1. Don’t delay. Meet the problem head-on. How you deal with issues in their early stages is mission critical for designing a strategy for softening the blow to your company’s image. Dragging your PR feet will only cause negative press to escalate. Being pro-active, though, will buy you respect in the public sphere. Every company makes mistakes. It’s how they’re dealt with which separates the greats from the also-rans.
     
  2. Don’t dodge. In the case of a rotten review on your website, do not delete the negative opinion from your pages. Design your review/feedback section to allow, not just complaints, but your response to the concerns to appear on the website This is actually an opportunity for you to demonstrate the responsiveness that your customer service team has developed. Instead of bad news, view negative comments on your site as an advertising opportunity. People pay a lot of attention to bad press, just as people can’t avert their eyes from a car wreck. Generally, though, if you deal with the issue compassionately, the public may actually side with you and view the complainant as a bully or whiner, depending on the issue.
     
  3. Don't delegate. Whether you're running a small business or an international corporation, ensure someone with real authority deals with complaints. People want to believe they’re being heard and won’t feel that if they can’t get past the receptionist. Equally important is that the message must be unified and represent the company. Instruct all other employees to direct all inquiries to one person. No one else should answer questions.
     
  4. Don't dither. Always appear prepared and in control of the situation. Act confident. Don’t fumble around or stammer. Be sure of your facts and maintain focus. The public must feel the situation is being handled competently. It does not matter how well you and your team can handle the crisis, it matters how well you communicate that you have a plan.
     
  5. Don't digress. Make sure your messages are focused by staying on topic. Don’t try to divert attention.
     
  6. Don't dissemble. Make sure you understand the situation and the consequences. Always be honest. Concede that you understand how people will be affected. Don’t downplay the damage. Apologize if you need to. Courts in Canada have now established an apology is not an admission of guilt. Being open and accountable in a crisis will create a positive image that can remain with you and the company for a long time.
     
  7. Don't disregard. Ask the customer how they would like the problem resolved. Quite often they just want to be heard. The cost of your public apology may be enough. Or they may ask for a reasonable compensation. People do not want to look greedy or unreasonable. Asking what you can do to make amends is the fastest way to solve a problem.
     
  8. Don't dilly-dally. Prove that you are committed to solving the problem and mitigating the damage. Take action so people know you are committed to following through on your promises.
     
  9. Don't denounce. Remember the 3 Cs. Don’t Criticize, Condemn or Complain. These will never end well. The 3 Cs should be applied to everyday communication.
     
  10. Don’t deride. ever joke about the situation or belittle anyone, especially on social media. This has damaged bigger players than you. Be genuinely caring towards the victims.
     
  11. Don’t deplore. Never compare your situation to the victims. It is not about you. Don’t play “poor me”.
     
  12. Don't dismiss. Make an offer that shows that you are capable of solving the problem. This is a chance to build your brand, not to promote any specific product. The price to rectify the situation is simply one of the costs of effective, crisis-resistant marketing.

     

Receiving negative publicity or being embroiled in a serious public relations flap is a concern of most business owners. When you're calling the shots in a crisis, you have a chance to be a hero or a goat. By embracing these suggestions and avoiding all the 'don'ts', you have a much greater chance of surviving the situation intact, and maybe even gaining strength through adversity.

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Build your future at Archways Healing College http://www.inmca.com/Blog.asp?id=56 Fri, 3 Jan 2014 00:00:00 MST

Industrial NetMedia was pleased to work with Archways Healing College to develop a brand new website for the school, where students learn the art and science of massage therapy and reflexology, through a combination of ‘hands-on’ practical lessons, lectures and seminars.

Archways founder Barb Carlyon is a certified Registered Massage Therapist and Reflexology instructor.

She opened Archways School of Reflexology in 1988, changing the name to Archways Healing College in 2002 when Massage Therapy and other courses were added to the existing programs.

The school offers one- and two-year diploma programs in Reflexology and Massage Therapy, as well as continuing education classes so students can upgrade or maintain their certification.

The new Archways website is bright and visually appealing.

 

The design and layout are intended to cater to students and make it easy for them to learn about the school and the available programs and courses, as well as accessing other necessary information.

Students can also register for their preferred program or classes online, directly through the website.

It was important to Carlyon that the website be designed to work well on mobile devices since a growing number of students access the Internet through their phones much of the time.

The convenient calendar shows the college’s entire schedule of classes at a glance.

The college continues to grow, always adjusting course offerings to meet the needs of the students.

Mobile Massage and Reflexology training options were recently added to allow students to receive one-on-one instruction in their own homes.

To learn more about Archways Healing College, visit the new website at www.archwayshealingcollege.com

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Mazco Products and Services http://www.inmca.com/Blog.asp?id=55 Thu, 26 Dec 2013 00:00:00 MST

Industrial NetMedia is happy to announce the launch of a brand new website for Mazco Products and Services, featuring the innovative Safe-T-Stopper line stopper tool.

Safe-T-Stopper was developed by Mazco as a way to quickly and efficiently remove service tees while the main gas line is running, without releasing product.

This is safer for employees and better for the environment.

Along with Safe-T-Stopper, Mazco has also developed the Safe-T-L-Stopper, which removes elbow swing joint service connections.

Mazco owner Ivan Mazur developed these products in response to a need that exists in the natural gas industry.

He realized that millions of service tees and compression fittings used in utility gas lines across North America all need to be serviced and replaced on a regular basis.

Before Safe-T-Stopper, the only safe way to do this was by stopping the main gas line.

Safe-T-Stopper doesn’t require the main gas line to be stopped. Instead it interrupts the supply of gas so service and maintenance can be safely performed without exposing workers to a hazardous gas-rich environment.

For Ivan, worker safety was the most important factor in developing these tools. Natural gas is highly flammable, as well as being potentially harmful to the worker and the environment. Ivan’s goal was to reduce the risk by eliminating the release of product.

Safe-T-Stopper features up to 80 psi stopping operation and works with various sizes of service connections for pipe type service tees, Mueller No-blo service tees, street tees and other manufactured tees. Safe-T-L-Stopper is designed for elbow swing joint service connections from threaded couplings on the main line or on the pipeline wall.

The new Mazco website is designed to appeal to industry professionals. It features videos of the Safe-T-Stopper in action on various types of service tees, a blog with news about new Mazco products in development and information about local distributors.

To learn more about Mazco Products and Services, visit www.mazcoproducts.com.

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Merry Christmas from Industrial NetMedia http://www.inmca.com/Blog.asp?id=58 Tue, 17 Dec 2013 00:00:00 MST

The staff and management of Industrial NetMedia would like to wish all of our customers and new friends, a Merry Christmas and all the best in the New Year.

As we embark on a brand new year, we reflect back on the year and see how we did. What worked? What did not work? We are all about improving our relationships and services.

The same is true for Marketing Plans. It’s a good time to take a closer look at your current Internet marketing plan and see what worked. Perhaps it is time to try some new strategies. Consider how your business is using Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and the other social networks.

Did you know, engaging customers through social media has become the most effective way to reach your market?

The good news is, it doesn’t have to be a chore!

Pick your favourite social network or the one where you are most likely to find your customers hanging out, and focus on just that one to start. Try to post something new at least once a week. Remember that photos tend to be more appealing to people than any other type of content, but photos and text work best in combination.

Be sure to return regularly to check for comments and questions from your clients and respond promptly! Don’t automatically delete negative comments. Instead use them as an opportunity to inform and educate your customers. As you become more comfortable using social media, you can expand to two or three different ones.

The New Year brings with it promises of growth and change for our company as we look to expand our staff and our client base. At INM, we never stop learning, researching web design trends, developing online apps and finding new ways to grow our clients’ businesses. We look forward to working with all of you in the coming months. Please make a point of stopping by for coffee. We would love to hear what is on your mind.

Our hope is that you take time this holiday season to enjoy your family and friends. Enjoy the days away from the grind and come back refreshed and ready to get down to business in January.

From our family to yours, have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

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Facebook changes aim for improved user experience http://www.inmca.com/Blog.asp?id=57 Mon, 16 Dec 2013 00:00:00 MST

It appears the free ride is coming to an end for Facebook Business Pages and, to put it mildly, marketers and business owners are not happy about it.

Facebook says recent algorithm changes are intended to create a better overall user experience, but most aren’t buying that argument.

Once upon a time (way back in 2012), marketers happily competed for ‘likes’, knowing that once someone ‘liked’ their Facebook business page, every subsequent post to that business page would appear in that fan’s newsfeed. From that point on, fans could like and share individual posts, further improving the reach of that business page.

You could also count on the fact that if your business page had 250 fans, everything you posted would be delivered to 250 newsfeeds, with the added benefit that these were people who had already chosen to engage with your business at least once.

Make no mistake about it, marketers and social media managers invested a lot time and money – as much as $1 per like - building Facebook followings for their companies, knowing the payoff could be huge in terms of reaching new customers.

Drop in shares and likes

Over the past several months, however, some people started noticing that the number of likes and shares on their posts were dropping significantly.

It didn’t take long to track that decline back to the fact that their posts suddenly weren’t reaching all of their fans.

In the past, a page with 1,500 fans would see its posts reach nearly 100% of those newsfeeds. However, with Facebook’s recent algorithm changes, that reach has been reduced to less than 5% of those fans.

It took a while for marketers to really register the decline, but now that they have, reactions have been pouring in.

“And just like that, Facebook goes the way of magazines and television commercials – priced only for the big boys and shutting the door in the face of small business,” commented Julie Sturgeon, owner of an online newspaper, in reaction to the Ad Age article Facebook Admits Organic Reach is Falling Short, Urges Marketers to Buy Ads.

 

Pay to play

“But the real problem, I think, is that businesses are allowing Facebook to perpetuate this system and encourage it. Facebook is creating a Pay to Play system and everyone who participates is feeding the system,” said social media manager Mike Alton in a recent article published by The Social Media Hat, Why You Should Opt Out Of Facebook Advertising. “How long before businesses have to pay for every post to be seen by even one person?”

“The future of businesses on Facebook looks grim for those who don’t want to pay to play,” said Jennifer Slegg, a writer with Search Engine Watch, in her article entitled Facebook Admits: Expect Organic Reach for Pages to Continue Declining. “As more businesses are forced to turn to paid promotion, the cost of promoting posts on Facebook is set to skyrocket. The way businesses do business on Facebook is changing and it’s going to be expensive.”

“Bold move, Facebook. All this will do is continue to push people (users and businesses) to use Twitter to interact with businesses and brands that they ‘like’. I understand wanting to get paid (if you can) for something that is free currently, but this is pushing the money grab a little too much. I don’t ‘like’ this at all.” A comment posted by JoshFialky in response to a Search Engine Watch article, Facebook Admits: Expect Organic Reach for Pages to Continue Declining.

There’s no question the reach of business pages has been reduced and will probably drop even further, according to a recent statement from Facebook.

“We expect organic distribution of an individual page’s posts to gradually decline over time as we continually work to make sure people have a meaningful experience on the site,” Facebook said in a document sent to the partners in November 2013 and released to Ad Age. The document goes on to suggest that marketers should consider paid distribution if they want to be in the newsfeeds.

And that’s the bottom line: If you want a guaranteed spot on anyone’s newsfeed, you’re going to have to pay for it.

If you choose not to spend any money promoting your Facebook posts, they will only be seen by a dwindling number of your fans and you will, naturally, see fewer likes and shares per post, as well.

 

The other side of the story

But back up a second. There was something in that statement about creating a ‘meaningful experience’ for users. Could there be another side to this story that shows Facebook as more than an evil money-grabber?

Forcing business pages to pay for a guaranteed spot on the newsfeeds benefits Facebook, of course, but it is also good for users.

Think about it. What would you rather see more of in your personal Facebook newsfeed?

“We’re getting to a place where, because more people are sharing more things, the best way to get your stuff seen is to pay for it,” a Facebook spokesperson told Ad Age.

 

Lost in the crowd

The reality is, Facebook is becoming a crowded super highway of information. Users can only take in so much. So Facebook has been forced to limit the business posts people are exposed to in order to keep their newsfeeds interesting and filled with content they want to engage with – namely interesting articles, videos, photos and updates from their friends. It’s not that users don’t ever want to see posts from businesses they have liked. But they don’t want that to be all they see on their newsfeeds.

“If brands were to continue reaching the same amount of people as a percentage of their fan base, (Facebook would) be giving preferential treatment to them over a user,” said Alex Jacobs, VP-Social Marketing with Digitas.

Business pages are the only losers in this scenario and they only lose in the sense that their ‘free ride’ is over. Savvy marketers and business owners recognize this reality and are already making the mental transition.

“It’s annoying to pay for something we once got for free, but unless we pound the pavement and interact with individuals face to face, it is costing someone time and energy to connect us with another person. It’s important to plan for and expect a bottom line when receiving a ‘free service’ and to know how to get by without it.” – Joye Johnson, commenting on an article from Ad Age, Facebook Admits Organic Reach is Falling Short, Urges Marketers to Buy Ads

“I can also understand why Facebook is cutting back on businesses showing up in the newsfeed organically. The last thing we want is a bunch of short-term minded businesses spamming the newsfeed all day trying to cram their promotions down Facebook users’ throats – this would truly make Facebook obsolete. We want Facebook to keep the user experience high for the end user, not for us business owners. It may be a little more difficult now but it can be much more profitable for those willing to put in the work and the right systems.” From a comment posted by Keith Kranc in response to an article from The Social Media Hat, Why You Should Opt Out of Facebook Advertising.

 

Weigh your options

Marketers do have other options to promote their businesses online, including refusing to pay or simply leaving Facebook altogether to seek greener pastures with Google+, Twitter or Pinterest.

However, Facebook is still the social network with the most users, by a fairly healthy margin. Google+ boasts about 500 million users, while Facebook has well over a billion.

Smart marketers won’t just jump ship, leaving that many users behind.

And remember, just because G+ and the rest are allowing free promotion of business posts now, doesn’t mean they won’t soon switch to their own ‘pay to play’ model.

Every social network is a business first. However they may market themselves, their end game is to make money, the same as it is for any other business. If they can find a way to increase revenue while still keeping their users happy and active on their sites, why wouldn’t they do it? Facebook happened to be the first to try and strike that balance.

They won’t be the last.

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Putting Keywords into Context http://www.inmca.com/Blog.asp?id=54 Wed, 4 Dec 2013 00:00:00 MST

Keyword searches are quickly losing ground as the main focus of search engine optimization, for both web content developers and Internet surfers.

Google is leading the charge to shift the focus away from keywords towards context. This has been made clear over the past couple of years with the demise of their popular keyword tool and more recently the loss of keyword data.

However, with the advent of social networks and blogs, increased use of mobile devices and rampant link sharing across all platforms, search engine optimization was already destined to undergo a dramatic change.

Context has always been important but now it is vital that web developers consider the intent behind the keywords people use when searching the Internet, if for no other reason than to avoid the shock of watching your website traffic drop in the wake of the next wave of search engine algorithm changes.

Looking beyond keywords

Most people who use the Internet regularly are savvy enough to realize that they need to provide as much detail as possible when they perform a Google search, but what if they don’t bother?

More significantly, what if they didn’t have to? What if Google somehow knew what people were looking for without them having to spell it out in the search bar?

 “Imagine a prediction of what you’ll be doing next as part of the context of search. It sounds crazy, yet in some aspects, we are already there,” said Tom Anthony, a writer with SEO Moz, in Keywords to Contexts, The New Query Model.

“Google’s aim from the beginning was to eliminate the need for explicit search query (by being able to) predict what a user will do next, based on current and past activities.”

‘New’ SEO = Explicit + Implicit search terms

‘Explicit’ search is the actual words you type into the search bar.

The other part of the equation is ‘implicit’ search, the things you don’t say but that Google can pick up by noting your location, the device you are using and your online history, among other factors.

For example, if someone types ‘taxi’ into the Google search bar, are they looking for a ride home or the 1970s TV show starring Judd Hirsch?

By looking at the explicit search query and also considering the implicit data (location – 40 Ave. and 50 St.; device – tablet; history – recently searched local restaurants and current movie listings) Google will conclude that the searcher likely needs a ride. The search engine results page (SERP) will then show local cab companies first.

The reality is, the implicit information available to Google goes well beyond your location, device and recent search history.

Do you have a Facebook profile? Are you on Google+, Pinterest or LinkedIn? Are you a regular tweeter? Ever ‘liked’ a page, posted a photo or shared a video you saw on Youtube?

As far as Google is concerned, anything you do publicly on the Internet is fair game and can be used to improve your search results. Not to mention help determine what ads they will display for your viewing every chance they get.

Consider the following scenario. You are away from home and looking for a grocery store to buy some snacks. You type grocery stores into the search bar.

There are dozens of possible stores Google could direct you to, but if you’ve already liked Safeway on Facebook or regularly tweet about your love of all things Sobeys, it makes sense that the search engine results page would feature the nearest location of your favourite grocery store and directions for getting there from your current location.

But what if the SERP could go beyond simply showing your favourite store at the top of a list of random grocery stores?

What if it displayed ads, coupons, in-store specials, recipes and news items related to your preferred store? What if the SERP could inform you when your store was out of a popular item and suggest alternative locations to buy that item?

Sound futuristic? Welcome to the future.

Redefine search

So what does search engine optimization look like in this new world, where context and intent seem to matter at least as much as specific keywords?

At the very least, we need to re-examine our definition of SEO.

“Search has outgrown our definition of search,” according to Anthony. “Keywords are not dead (but) they no longer give the whole picture.”

The main message to content developers seems to be that we can no longer rely solely on keywords when optimizing web pages for the search engines.

In fact, we need to start developing pages based on a topic or a specific client need, rather than focusing on just one or two individual keywords.

Keywords will always help clarify a user’s intent, but as Google moves from indexing to understanding, the link between keyword searches and search engine listings will no longer be as direct as it once was.

“We need to be focusing on what the user is looking for rather than specifically all the ways they can phrase it,” said Kate Morris, a writer for SEO Moz, in Stop Thinking Keywords, Think Topics.

SEO is changing, not dying

So much of what we read on line these days suggests that SEO is dead or dying, but that simply isn’t the case.

SEO is not dying but it is certainly evolving.

We can’t simply apply our efforts to rising the ranks of the search engines and call that good enough anymore.

In fact, one could even go so far as to say search engine rankings are less important than they once were, considering all the different ways that exist these days for people to find our websites, besides organic searches for the products and services we provide.

That is not to say that search engine rankings don’t matter. Of course they still do and always will. The point is, the SERP ranking is not the be all and end all that it once was.

If you want to drive traffic to your website – and more importantly keep people there long enough to convert them to customers – your website must still rank high on the search engines but also be linked through your social networks and blog articles. Plus, it has to load quickly, be easy to navigate and generally be a pleasant place to spend some time. That means providing a lot of valuable content, with a focus on topics as well as keywords.

By applying this ‘new’ SEO strategy, we actually reduce our dependence on Google and the other search engines to drive traffic to our websites and assume full control of the success or failure of our own websites.

At that point, the search engines can make whatever changes they want without seriously affecting the bottom line of our websites or our businesses.

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HR Director http://www.inmca.com/Blog.asp?id=53 Thu, 21 Nov 2013 00:00:00 MST

HR Director is a Human Resource Manager, designed to make the system your HR manager lives in more livable.

HR Director is a cloud-based Human Resources Management System (HRMS) that has been organically designed to streamline employee administration from hire to retire.

What makes HR Director different from other HRMS?

HR Director is built around the people in your industry

Your employees want to be great at their jobs. They aren’t going to be content just being another cog in the wheel or simply shuffling a process along.

HR Director streamlines talent management and employment history, improves performance and efficiency in the workplace.

With HR Director, your employees are encouraged to excel. As your workers find greater success, it will be reflected in the growth of your company.

The only HRMS your company needs.

The developers of HR Director worked closely with industry leaders to integrate the best practices of your human resources department.

HR Director integrates every aspect of the employee process, from hire to retire. Internal personnel transfers, promotions, vacations, safety days, training, certifications and equipment needs are all accounted for within the system.

Created for today’s HR manager

Most work force management systems were created decades ago, before the Internet even existed. They were structured on old technology and are severely limited by today’s standards. An outdated HR system cannot effectively support the needs of today’s workplace.

HR Director was built from the ground up in a 100% network environment and designed to serve today’s social, mobile and ground workforce.

Harmony, not disruption

Keeping track of important information on multiple database systems and various spreadsheets can lead to disaster. Using disconnected, non-integrated HR applications creates an unproductive environment. Most employees will either take short cuts or not use such a system at all.

HR Director brings all of your employee management documents and systems together in one place, easily accessible from any computer. Lose that disconnected feeling, reduce loss and errors and lower stress levels with HR Director.

Secure deployment options

In-house or cloud-based, HR Director is password protected and secure.

With two working levels, HR Director gives your company the option of starting slow and upgrading to full reporting features.

The Human Resource Manager

HR Director is a Human Resources Management System (HRMS) targeted towards midsize companies needing HR management with crew capabilities. Ideally suited towards industry, HR Director incorporates recruitment, talent management and human resources functionality. HR Director can increase employee productivity, improve compliance and reduce HR costs.

HR Director increases productivity by centralizing your HR data, integrating all aspects of employee management and providing remote access to managers and administrators.

HR Director aims to increase productivity by centralizing HR-related data, integrating aspects of HR with one another and enabling remote access for managers and administrators.

HR Director was developed in partnership with leaders in the energy sector and is ideally suited to industry, construction and any business that uses work crews.

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Is your website earning its keep? http://www.inmca.com/Blog.asp?id=49 Fri, 15 Nov 2013 00:00:00 MSTFriday, November 15, 2013

Have you ever wished there was a way you could use your website to earn money? Not indirectly by attracting visitors and converting them to clients, but by bringing in actual cash?

Introducing Ad Director from Industrial NetMedia. Ad Director is an ad management system that creates advertising space on your website home page. You can then sell that space to existing clients and website visitors!

The opportunities this opens up are almost limitless!

For your clients and web visitors it’s a chance to advertise their products and services in a relatively inexpensive way to a whole new audience of potential customers. The ads can be linked to direct these new customers right back to the advertiser’s website.

For you, besides the obvious financial benefits, it’s a chance to improve your website’s position on the search engines by establishing solid back links.

Ad Director is customizable to different sizes of display or banner ads and includes an easy uploader and auto rotator. Because the ads rotate, it keeps your website dynamic and fresh looking.

You choose how many ad spaces you want on your site, what size and how they will be arranged to complement your own content. One ad space can accommodate several different ads, thanks to the rotator, which changes them regularly for equal exposure and keeps your website looking fresh and dynamic.

The ad space could even be used to promote your own products, services and specials.

Ad Director lets you track client campaigns, impressions and visitor clicks and then generate reports for accountability.

And that’s not all!

Join the network

Once you have Ad Director, you can opt into Industrial NetMedia’s growing network of websites and tap into an even greater source of income and opportunity.

Advertise your own business on more than 50 websites, across Alberta and beyond, further improving your position on the search engines and gaining exposure to thousands of potential new customers. Bring your current advertisers, clients and visitors into the network to generate even more income for yourself and better exposure for them.

And remember, when you opt into the network, your website does, too, bringing a greater variety of ads to your site, increasing the number of back links and bettering your bottom line.

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You're gonna 'like' this! http://www.inmca.com/Blog.asp?id=6 Thu, 14 Nov 2013 00:00:00 MSTThursday, November 14, 2013

You keep in touch with your friends on facebook, you’re a regular ‘tweeter’, you read and comment on several different blogs, but it’s all just for fun, right?

Did you know you can use social media to help grow your business as part of your Internet Marketing Plan?

In fact, if your business isn’t part of the ‘social network’, you could be missing out on connecting with hundreds of potential clients.

Consider the following statistics, posted by the social networks.

Facebook Facts

As of October 2013, Facebook boasts 1.26 billion users and 1.19 billion active users every month. About 76% of them log on daily.

The average facebook user has 130 friends.

66% of millennials (15 to 34 year olds) are Facebook users.

The average number of weekly local business page views is 645 million.

The average number of weekly comments on local business pages is 13 million.

Facebook stats say Canada is the country with the most active users.

Twitter Trends

Twitter now claims 'about a billion' users, as of September 2013.

29% of millennials say Twitter is their favourite social network.

It is estimated that 55% of Twitter's ad revenue in 2013 will be from mobile.

85% of B2B Marketers use Twitter.

Tweets that ask users to 'retweet' receive 12X higher retweet rates than those that don't. Yet only 1% of brands implement this strategy.

Blogs

The power and value of blogging may still be underestimated by many, but the simple fact is, blogs are one of the most effective inbound marketing tools for your business. Each blog article you write is a distinct web page, linked to your main website, and capable of being indexed by the search engines. Since search engines love fresh content, blogging regularly is a great way to get their attention.

Blogs can be linked to your social networks for easy sharing, thus creating direct links back to your website.

43% of marketers generated a customer via their blog this year, though the blog requires roughly 9% of marketers’ total full-time staff dedications and just 7% of their total budget. This means that marketers spend 55% more time than budget
on blogging. (Hubspot, 2013 State of Inbound Marketing Annual Report)

Seventy-nine percent of companies who have a blog report a positive ROI for inbound marketing this year, compared with just 20% of those companies that do not have a blog. In fact, 82% of marketers who blog on a daily basis acquired a customer using their blog, as opposed to 57% of marketers who just blog
monthly – still an impressive statistic! (Hubspot, 2013 State of Inbound Marketing Annual Report)

77% of Internet users read blogs. (Ignitespot infographic, The Blogconomy, August 2013)

23% of Internet time is spent on blogs and social networks. (Ignitespot infographic, The Blogconomy, August 2013)

Companies that blog have 97% more inbound leads. (Ignitespot infographic, The Blogconomy, August 2013)

61% of US consumers have made a purchase based on a blog post. (Ignitespot infographic, The Blogconomy, August 2013)

70% of consumers learn about a company through articles rather than ads. (Ignitespot infographic, The Blogconomy, August 2013)

What does all of this mean to you, a business owner looking for creative ways to draw traffic to your website, attract new customers to your business and improve your bottom line?

Industrial NetMedia can set you up with a custom facebook business page that reflects the style and design of your website. Once the page is set up, every person who ‘likes’ your business page puts you in direct contact with all of their facebook friends, who will see your updates and blog links in their news feed.

Your facebook, twitter and blog accounts can be linked so every tweet, comment or facebook update you make appears on your other social networks, as well.

How do you attract ‘likes’?

They say you can’t make people like you and that’s probably true.

However, you can offer them a compelling incentive to ‘like’ your facebook business page, knowing that every ‘like’ exposes your business to an average of 130 potential customers.

The best way to attract 'likes' and followers is to consistently post valuable content and compelling images that people will want to share.

Industrial NetMedia can set you up with a customized facebook business page, a twitter account, a blog or whatever social network you prefer.

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Revolutionary system makes web editing easy http://www.inmca.com/Blog.asp?id=52 Thu, 7 Nov 2013 00:00:00 MST

“One thing that frustrates me about my website is that I can’t update it myself. Every time I need to change something, even if it’s minor, I have to go through my web developer, which is time consuming and expensive.”

We all use websites everyday, for business and in our personal lives, yet they remain something of a mystery in terms of how they actually work and most of us wouldn’t even know where to start trying to edit a web page.

In fact, website editing is usually best left to the programmers and web developers, as it often requires extensive knowledge of computer coding and language. For most of us, just the thought of trying to read code is enough to send us running.

The good news is, it doesn’t have to be that way!

Take control of your website with Site Builder Tools from Industrial NetMedia.

SBT is a website management system that makes web editing as easy as using a word processor.

Improve your page ranking

There is a lot of controversy about changing trends in search, the most effective ways to drive traffic to your website and the evolving use of keywords on web pages.

One thing we can all agree on: Google likes websites with fresh content.

That means regularly editing the information on your website, deleting outdated content, updating phone numbers, addresses and staff members as they change.

SBT is revolutionary in that it puts website editing in the hands of anyone who has been assigned the task of maintaining a website, even if they have absolutely no prior coding experience.

SBT is built into every INM website and can be customized to suit the needs of your business. Ask about various available extras, including a rotating message board, photo gallery and events calendar.

With Site Builder Tools, it's never been easier to:

  • Add and delete web pages
  • Edit text
  • Create links
  • Upload photos
  • Upload videos
  • Manage website extras, such as a blog system

Training on Site Builder Tools is also included with your INM website. Our experts will show you how it all works and even leave you with a step by step Help menu, just in case.

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How does your Business Rank on the Internet? http://www.inmca.com/Blog.asp?id=51 Fri, 23 Aug 2013 00:00:00 MST

The Internet has become the source people turn to most often for news, product reviews and business information. Think about the last time you needed to buy a certain product or wanted to look up a business phone number. Did you dig out the Yellow Pages? Pick up a newspaper? Of course not, you Google’d it!

Ever tried to find a business online only to realize they didn’t have a website?

Or worse, the website they did have was not very useful, boring, confusing or slow to load?

What do people find when they look up your business on line? Google your business name and find out.

You can have a better Google ranking.

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is a term that’s tossed around a lot these days. In simple terms, it means designing your website to rise to the top of the search engine rankings. Part of this process is to research words people will use when searching for the products and services you are selling and then working those key words and phrases into the content and design of your web pages.

The search engines – Google, Yahoo! & Bing – scan the pages of your website looking for those key words so they can match your site with the people who are looking for it. The best matches are then ranked in descending order on the search engine results pages. The person who made the query gets a long list of websites to choose from. The more authoritative and relevant your website is for the search keywords, the higher it will rank on the search engine pages.

You may have heard of Black Hat SEO. These are SEO tricks used to fool the search engines. If you get caught, the consequences are serious. Yes, there are wrong reasons for Google to be interested in your website. Google does blacklist websites for using SEO tricks.

Are new customers finding your website through the search engines?

You need a fresh website.

Don’t let your website get stale. This is one of the worst mistakes you can make with your website. The search engines love fresh, dynamic content. More importantly, your customers want to know that the information on your website is current. The quickest way to lose a customer is to greet them with outdated news on the home page. How do you feel when you visit a website and see something announced as ‘Coming in July 2011!’ If no one bothered to remove such an obviously dated announcement, how can you trust that anything else on their website is up to date?

Styles, colour preferences, trends and technology evolve over time. Websites built today have a very different look from those created five years ago, last year, even six months ago!

Can you edit your website easily or is it a chore that you put off? Are you comfortable uploading photos and creating links? Do you know how to add new pages to your website?

You need a mobile friendly website.

Mobile devices have exploded in popularity over the past few years. Estimates vary but as many as 35% of people now access the Internet exclusively through their phone or tablet. About 40% of all your website traffic will be on a mobile device. It’s no longer enough to design a website that looks great and works well on a large screen, it has to function well on mobile devices, as well, or you risk losing the customer.

There are two ways to handle this issue:

1. Create separate websites for mobile devices and large screen computers.
2. Design a single website that recognizes that there are many visitors who use mobile devices and many who switch back and forth. These websites, commonly known as Responsive, reformat according to the size of the device being used so the content is always readable and functional.

Do users find that your website works just as well on their phones as on their desktop computers?

You can have a better website.

INM builds better websites.

At INM, we are SEO experts. There are dozens of factors that affect how well your website ranks on the search engines. We know how to create a website that the search engines will notice for all the right reasons.

Why is it important for your website to rank higher on the search engine pages? Chances are people won’t look beyond the first two or three pages on Google before they either find what they are looking for or do another search. Ideally, you want to be on the first page of Google.

INM builds websites that also appeal to people, with stunning graphics and pictures, clean designs, professional copy writing, user-friendly apps and add-ons, blogs and videos. Having lots of website visitors doesn’t do much good if they don’t stick around long enough to turn into customers.

Along with optimizing your website content, we’ll set you up with social media pages, online ad campaigns and links to bring in even more traffic.

We can’t guarantee to put you at number one, but we can promise to help improve your rank on the search engines. Most importantly, we’ll help drive more visitors and qualified leads to your business.

Every Industrial NetMedia website comes with Site Builder Tools (SBT), an easy to use web page editor. With SBT, you become the content manager for your own website! SBT makes it easy for absolutely anyone to edit their website, keep the content current, add and delete pictures, create links and add new pages.

Website add-ons such as blogs, message boards, newsletters and calendars are also administered through SBT.

SBT gives you control of your website, with password-only access. As a site administrator, you can add and delete users, as well as restricting users’ access to certain areas of the website.

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How to market your business http://www.inmca.com/Blog.asp?id=50 Mon, 19 Aug 2013 00:00:00 MSTMonday, August 19, 2013

When I want to buy a product, I research it first. I look for the product's specification page. I also look for opinions and customer experiences.

If you don't make this information available, it could seem like you are trying to hide something. At the very least, people will continue looking and researching until they find the information they are seeking, even if that means moving on from your product entirely.

Custom content such as articles, a blog or social media, can increase sales from your website by as much as 67% over a traditional website alone. The search engines rank content, such as blogs and articles, very high - sometimes even higher than your products and service pages. Custom content creates very rich pages for both the search engines and for your visitors. This is called Content Marketing.The articles you write concerning your products should offer your own opinions and user experiences, supplemented by testimonials and reviews by others not directly connected to your company.

I am sure that you would rather have the sale go to your company than let it go elsewhere. Don't let another website take these customers away from you.


When planning your content marketing, consider the following:

An organic search lead has a 15% close rate as opposed to less than 2% for direct marketing.

 


Blogs generate 67% more leads.


Blogs give websites over 400% more content and twice as many links to index.

90% of customers find custom content useful for product research.

 

"Interesting content is perhaps the main reason people will follow a company on social media."

 



80% of all internet users regularly use social media and read blogs.

68% say they have read content from the websites of the companies that they buy from regularly.

 

“Most consumers trust editorial content”

 


Articles with images get 95% more views.


Social media and blogs account for about 25% of people's online time.

 

40% of marketers say that blogs are
the most important type of content marketing.

 

“People believe that companies with good content are interested in building relationships with their customers”

 


Small companies allocate 40% of their marketing budget
to content marketing.


65% of content marketing is outsourced.


40% of websites are now being optimized for mobile devices, up from 15% in 2011.
How does your website look from a smart phone?

80% of marketing experts think content marketing is the future of marketing
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No more free phone calls in Google AdWords http://www.inmca.com/Blog.asp?id=48 Thu, 14 Feb 2013 00:00:00 MSTThursday, February 14, 2013

Google just announced changes to its Ad Words policies for phone numbers that will impact your budget and ad performance.

Google added a new policy prohibiting advertisers from posting their phone number in the text of the ad. This change is intended to force searchers to click the ad to get the phone number of the business. As things are now, businesses have a pay per click (PPC) budget and rely on a combination of clicks and Free Impressions to get the most bang out of those advertising dollars.

It is quite common for people surfing the web to simply read the phone number off of a pay per click ad and then call the business without ever clicking on the ad. This is what business owners call a Free Impression.

Of course, from Google’s perspective this is not a good thing because the more clicks an ad gets, the more money Google collects from the advertiser.

To enforce this change, any ad submitted with a phone number in the display text will now be held indefinitely (until the phone number is removed).

If you still want to have a phone number connected with the ad, Google will install a little ‘phone’ icon that encourages people to click your ad and reveal the phone number.

With this change, pay per click ad budgets will be eaten up much faster than in the past. Conservative estimates suggest that for every click on an ad, businesses were getting as many as five phone calls from Free Impressions. So what will businesses have to do to get the same ‘juice’ out of their existing pay per click ads? Double, triple or even ten times their previous PPC budget?

And there’s more bad news!

With the growing popularity of mobile devices, Google has given advertisers the option of adding a clickable call button to every PPC ad. With this option, mobile users will be able to call you directly, simply by clicking on your ad.

This sounds like a great idea, until you realize that Google will charge a minimum of $1 for every one of these direct phone calls, plus the cost of the ad click, which ranges from $1 to as much as $8 for highly competitive ads.

These changes are set to take effect in the spring of 2013.

Industrial NetMedia has already filed a complaint with Google. Their response? “The majority of our customers won’t be affected. This will add conversion tracking for phone calls, which is a big benefit to the advertiser.”

Well, if that was true, what would be the point of Google implementing these changes in the first place? Of course advertisers are going to be affected.

What recourse do businesses have?

Let Google know what you think. Here is a link to many methods to contact Google to provide feedback. https://support.google.com/adwords/answer/8206?contact=1&rd=1

Another recourse is to find a way around using Google, which really isn’t an option. As long as the searchers are using Google, businesses will continue to advertise there.

You will have to stop putting your phone number in your pay per click ads and instead direct people to your website, where they can find all of your contact information. This will be a very expensive and inconvenient alternative when your business relies on phone calls for sales.

Until these changes take effect, Industrial NetMedia will continue to use PPC ads as we always have, with phone number available on the display text for the Free Impressions. After that, we will be removing phone number from our PPC ads and advising our clients to do the same.

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Bill C-28: The Cost to Business outweighs the Benefits. http://www.inmca.com/Blog.asp?id=47 Mon, 4 Feb 2013 00:00:00 MSTMonday, February 04, 2013

Bill C-28 deals with the sending of mass emails, and specifically targets those who employ mass emails as a regular marketing technique in business. Although the term spamming comes to mind, there is a legitimate role in mass email marketing that does bring financial benefits to businesses. That being said, Bill C-28, will bring about legislation that will hinder marketing from businesses and can reduce the viability of small businesses.

The forthcoming Act, that will stem from Bill C-28, can bring about a shift in how we do business. But, before we continue, it is important to address the popular position of many in business towards Bill C-28.

Many have used an alarmist approach to this issue, which does not fairly garner a balanced response. Correspondence is circulating with the position that Bill C-28 will bring about regulations that take a "ban-all" approach to commercial electronic messages (CEM) or emails. This is misleading.

The “Ban-all” position is not true, because Bill-C-28 does address what it identifies as, "implied consent", and defines that consent liberally even to the point of placing a time limit. In business, that time limit is two years in order to establish a commercial business relationship that provides consent to send an unsolicited CEM. Although this appears to be restrictive, It is reasonable to assume that many business owners who are emailing clients have a business relationship that has been established within a two year period. The Bill goes so far as protecting that business practice for services, products, subscriptions, investments, goods, land interest, property rights, investments and gaming, even bartering. All these are covered by definition as found in Section 10 of Bill C-28.

Bill C-28 also provides the ability to CEM, where the business doing the communication is an Association, such as the Chamber of Commerce, Political Parties and Charities, and those organizations that have a two year relationship with individuals on a volunteer basis.

It is important the business commuity take a more balanced approach at this forthcoming legislation instead of using the alarmist "ban-all" position.

With the provisions of implied consent, and the requirement of obtaining consent prior to communicating electronically with a prospect, Bill C-28 is at least identifying two legitimate sales practices, while clearly preventing the act of mass emailing prospects based on purchasing data mined from other sources. In this respect Bill C-28 will not actually hurt small business. However, as in many foisted regulations it will force businesses to compliance and in doing so expend capital and resources through changing business practices.

An area that may cause concern is found in the penalty sections of Bill C-28. Specifically, how the Act will dole out punishment. Like many laws it will take time for Canadian businesses to adjust, and like many laws there will be casualties. Specifically the contradiction found in the penalty section of the Bill. Section 20(2) states, "The purpose of a penalty is to promote compliance with this Act and not punish."  After stating that position, we see in Section 20(4), "The maximum penalty for a violation is $1,000,000 in the case of an individual, and $10,000,000 in the case of corporation."  Although these are maximums, the forthcoming Act will leave a great deal of interpretation and power to whomever sits in judgment of the person accused of contravening the Act. It is reasonable to assume that even a penalty of $5,000 can kill some businesses.

The costs to businesses to create policies and procedures to protect themselves from false accusations will be stifling. It will cost in terms of time and resources. It will cost in terms of increased liability insurance. It will cost in terms of decreased marketing efforts. In the end, due to the international nature of the internet the sincere efforts of the Canadian parliament will not solve the original problem, the proliferation of spam.

Bill C-28 should be looked at from a financial perspective. When the root of most decisions is usually driven by money, what is the financial motivation for this bill? A simple look at the fundamentals of the situation, reveal a possible motive. Marketing for business is a revenue generator for many major corporations. Facebook and Google are great measures of how big this industry is. Their model is to gain profit from advertising. Until now, there has been no way for government to gain any revenue or tax from email. The choices for the government to gain revenue from email advertising would be to license and tax CEM or regulate and penalize. The first step in this process would be to regulate through bill C-28 then at some date in the future, apply licensing to gain revenue. You can see this already in motion. There will be a public outcry over C-28, that says we still need email as a form of marketing. This will pave the road to implement licensing on email advertising to avoid penalties.

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Leduc restaurants directory http://www.inmca.com/Blog.asp?id=46 Thu, 20 Dec 2012 00:00:00 MST

Ever felt like you had to travel to Edmonton to find a decent restaurant? Did you know there are more than 64 restaurants in Leduc, offering a variety of elegant, fast food, casual and ethnic dining options?

And those numbers are increasing!

What’s the easiest way to keep up with Leduc’s ever growing ‘menu’ of restaurants? www.leducrestaurants.com is a brand new directory that lists all of our city’s restaurants. Listings include food style, menu items, contact info and links to the restaurant’s website and Google map location. Sort the list by name or cuisine to speed up your search on this mobile-friendly website.

www.leducrestaurants.com also includes restaurants from Nisku and from the Edmonton International Airport.

Whatever you’re hungry for, find it at www.leducrestaurants.com

Don’t see your restaurant in our directory? Visit www.leducrestaurants.com to add your listing or to inquire about advertising opportunities in this directory.

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Take charge of your labour force http://www.inmca.com/Blog.asp?id=45 Tue, 20 Nov 2012 00:00:00 MST

Are you planning to hire more staff in the coming months? Have you noticed that it’s becoming more difficult to find qualified applicants for open positions within your company?

The Alberta government is predicting an increased demand for trades people, labourers, oil & gas workers, electricians, machinists and miners over the next several years.

In fact, the province is anticipating a shortage of about 7,000 workers across all industries in 2013 and an accumulated shortfall of about 114,000 workers by 2021.

A number of factors are expected to contribute to this predicted shortfall, including continuing economic growth, increased global energy requirements and the loss of retiring baby boomers from the job market.

Businesses can’t enjoy all the benefits of economic growth in this province if they don’t have enough workers to do all the jobs required.

Consider this:

  • The number of employed Albertans is projected to increase by 206,300 between 2012 and 2015
  • Labour supply pressures in the oil sands are expected to increase
  • The demand for supervisors across all industries is expected to be above average in the coming years
  • Alberta’s unemployment rate was sitting at 4.5% in October 2012 and expected to drop further in 2013.
  • In 2006, 10.7% of Albertans were aged 65 or older. By 2026, it is expected that 17.9% of Albertans will be aged 65 or older.

The good news is, migration to Alberta from other provinces and countries is also expected to increase over the next few years as the unemployed come here seeking jobs and the already-employed come in search of higher paying jobs.

Is your company prepared?

  • To replace retiring veterans with younger workers who don’t have the same experience and skill levels?
  • To capitalize on the influx of people who will be coming to Alberta in search of jobs?
  • With strategies that will inspire loyalty in your existing employees to keep them from being lured away to other companies?

Act, don’t react.

Get ahead of the game by planning today for your future employment needs with innovative online business products from Industrial NetMedia.

HR Director helps streamline your human resources department. Keep up with your employees – past, present and future. Capture and process new applications directly on your website. Easily track and organize work crews. Access complete employee files, including certifications, training schedules and performance records. Plus HR Director is fully integrated with your business website.

ShiftShaper lets you take control of your employees’ schedules, while complying with union rules about rescue crews and finding replacements for workers who are sick, late or on vacation.

SafetySpot and EduSpot make it easy to set up customized training, safety and orientation courses to bring new employees up to speed with your company policies and procedures. Courses are set up online so they can be accessed anywhere you have an Internet connection. Employees don’t have to be sent out for training courses, saving you time and money!

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INM Insider http://www.inmca.com/Blog.asp?id=44 Tue, 18 Sep 2012 00:00:00 MSTTuesday, September 18, 2012

Let us introduce you to The INM Insider a quarterly update from Industrial NetMedia!

What’s happening at INM? Let us tell you about some exciting projects we are working on, introduce you to some great new websites we’ve designed and share what we’ve learned about the latest industry trends.

SiteBuilder Tools

Do you know how to edit your website? INM’s custom SiteBuilder Tools is one of the most user-friendly website editing tools in existence. We ought to know ’cause that’s how we designed it! Keeping your website fresh and up to date is vital, but often neglected because website administrators are sometimes intimidated or afraid to mess up the code on their website. Some websites editors are simply too complicated for the average website administrator to master.

SiteBuilder Tools, on the other hand, is as easy to use as any word processor. SiteBuilder Tools training is included when you have INM build your new website. During training, we show you how to use the web page editor, add and delete pages from the website menu, insert pictures, videos and links – we even tell you what to do if you make a mistake!

Do you know how to get help?

We recently installed a comprehensive SiteBuilder Tools Help menu on all of our websites. Here you’ll find step by step instructions for completing almost any editing task on your website. Of course, you can still call INM for extra assistance if you get stuck. We’re always glad to help. In fact, if you have new people in your office who aren’t familiar with SiteBuilder Tools, call INM today to book a training session – 780-739-5850.

Trends in Technology

How does your website look on a tablet or cell phone? Responsive vs. Mobile Design is the latest topic of discussion among bloggers. It references the growing number of people who access the Internet exclusively through their mobile devices, which of course, have smaller screens than laptops or desktop computers. Websites built for laptops and desktops, with lots of text and pictures and complicated coding, don’t function nearly as well on smaller devices. The main point of discussion centres on whether it’s better to go with a dedicated mobile website – which will probably require you to have two websites – or with a responsive web design that adapts itself according to the screen size on the device you are using.

INM is taking the lead on this issue by building responsive formatting into all of our websites so our clients can be confident their websites will look good and function well no matter what device they are viewed on.

This topic is explored more fully in a recent INM blog post – (blog url coming Thursday)

Insider Tip of the Month

If you find it daunting to keep up with all of your business’s social media sites, save some time by setting up Cross Posting. This means you can have your Facebook updates posted to Twitter and your tweets automatically posted to your Facebook page. Two posts for the price of one? Sounds like a great deal!

In Facebook, go to the admin panel, choose Edit Page then Update Info and Resources. Under the heading Connect with People find Link Your Page to Twitter.

In Twitter, find the head icon in the upper right corner, click the arrow and choose Settings, then Profile. Find Facebook and follow the directions.

Of course, if you are an avid updater and understand how to use Twitter, you should keep them separate and make unique posts to each. This will make higher quality Tweets.

Recently Launched Websites

We love to brag about your new great-looking websites! Check out some of our favourites from the past few months:

Alberta Heater Sales & Service

Alberta Mobile Power Service

Cast Perfect Products Inc.

Wilhauk Beef Jerky

Fort McMurray Victim Services

Leduc West Antique Society

Products under development

Rig Management System. We are currently working on a Rig Management System that can be fully integrated with your website. This system will accept online employee applications and can integrate with employee tracking systems, training courses, rig assignments and rig profiles. Accessible remotely with a fluid, easy to use design, INM's Rig Management System can become an industry standard.

In our next issue …

Have you heard about Bizoogle?

Bizoogle is a free business directory and search engine currently under development right here in Leduc! Learn more in the next edition of The INM Insider, coming in January 2013.

To discuss your project ...

Please contact Brian K. Hahn, Accounts Manager at Industrial NetMedia
brianh@inmca.com
780-739-5850
#206, 5904 - 50 Street; Leduc, AB; T9E 0R6

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Small screens revolutionize web design http://www.inmca.com/Blog.asp?id=43 Thu, 13 Sep 2012 00:00:00 MST

Do you know how your business website appears on mobile devices?

How important is it to have a website that functions as well on mobile devices as it does on lap tops and desk top computers?

According to recent statistics from Pew Internet (June 26, 2012), 55% of adult cell phone owners in America use their phones to go online at least occasionally. The same study found that 31% of those cell phone Internet users go online almost exclusively using their cell phones – and that number is growing fast!

The convenience and portability promised by the first cellular phones, released in 1983, have finally been delivered by today’s mobile devices that have features, coverage and even battery life that few could have imagined 30 years ago.

As cellular technology improved so did signal quality, making mobile phones more practical for regular use in an ever increasing number of locations around the world. Then came texting, GPS and data plans, smart phones and tablets with touch screens. Today a growing number of people rely solely on their mobile devices for phone calls and texting, business calendar, camera, games and books and access to the Internet.

Like it or not, mobile devices have arrived and they are here to stay.

So what can you do to ensure your website appeals to visitors (and search engines) no matter what device is used to access it?

There are two main schools of thought on this issue:
1. Businesses should develop separate websites for desktop devices and mobile devices – including repurposed content and smaller pictures more suitable for mobile
2. Businesses should develop websites that automatically reformat themselves depending on which device is being used. This is known as responsive website design

Mobile sites
Creating a separate website for mobile devices seems like the obvious answer for businesses that want to appeal to mobile users. With a dedicated mobile site, content, pictures and design are optimized for smaller screens and the interactive features of mobile devices, such as touch screens and click to call directly from a website. Having a dedicated mobile website can really benefit certain types of businesses where clients are most likely to want immediate and direct interaction for things like movie listings, restaurant reservations, book downloads and online ordering.

However, developing two websites raises the cost significantly, as well as increasing the amount of time required to properly update and maintain both sites.
Another consideration is that if you have two different websites, your ‘link juice’ will be divided between them, making both weaker in the eyes of the search engines. Back links are one of the most important factors that search engines like Google consider when ranking your website so you want to squeeze every possible bit of ‘juice’ out of those valuable links.
And just as important, users don’t want to feel like they are missing something by using a stripped down version of the ‘real’ website.
What users want is the full website experience on any device they choose to use, whether that’s a laptop, desktop, tablet or smart phone.

Responsive websites
As the name implies, responsive websites are built to automatically reformat themselves for particular devices. What happens is, the website developer sets up parameters that determine the layout of the web pages depending on the screen size. So the web page displays a certain way on your laptop, reformats itself when you bring it up on a tablet and then again when you access the same website on your smart phone. Responsive design even adapts to the horizontal or vertical orientation of your device.
Reformatting can involve a lot of different things: moving and truncating menus, hiding photos and changing text layout, for example.
There are many benefits to using responsive design, starting with the money and time you save by developing and maintaining one website, rather than two.
Responsive design is better for the search engines as it reduces duplicate content, doesn’t dilute your link ‘juice’ and is preferred by Google.

One major downside of responsive websites is that the pages are often larger and load slower on mobile devices. Users expect pages to load quickly and won’t wait around long if they don’t. Web developers have to keep this in mind, taking advantage of new technology like HTML5 to design responsive websites that work well on both large screens and smaller screens and also accommodate the interactive nature of mobile devices.

Mobile first
From the beginning, the idea of responsive design has been to downsize a ‘regular’ website to fit the smaller screens of mobile devices. However, some web developers have recently started promoting the idea of mobile first, which basically means designing a mobile website and expanding it to fit larger screens rather than the other way around.
Mobile first makes mobile design a priority rather than an afterthought, according to Brad Frost, a blogger and speaker who has done extensive research on responsive vs. mobile design.
“This mental shift in design strategy has designers wire-framing, Photoshopping, prototyping and presenting on small screens first (rather) than trying to cram large, complex desktop designs onto small screens,” Frost wrote in a recent blog post.
“Mobile first styling results in smaller, more maintainable and easier-to-read code.”
Blogger Josh Byers puts it this way:
“It’s the idea that you are not building a web page anymore but rather a ‘network of content’ that can be arranged and displayed to show it off in the best way possible, no matter where it is being viewed. We should start designing for the mobile device and its constraints and then allow the site to grow.”

Mobile first also refers to an entire generation of people who primarily access the Internet through mobile devices.
“One of the most potent facts here is … that many users will likely only ever see the mobile version of your site. That’s an astounding revelation, isn’t it?”
– J. Johnson (March 13, 2012)

With all of the arguments surrounding responsive and dedicated mobile websites, everyone seems to agree on one thing: improving the overall user experience has to be the priority because if users don’t have a good experience with a particular website, they will leave and they likely won’t be back.

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Can you hear me now? http://www.inmca.com/Blog.asp?id=42 Mon, 20 Aug 2012 00:00:00 MST

The ability to communicate using sophisticated language is what sets us apart from the animals. We begin using language before we can actually speak and by the time we hit Kindergarten, most of us have a fairly impressive vocabulary and are certainly capable of using those words to get almost anything we want.

So why is it that communication between intelligent adults can sometimes be so difficult?

Somewhere between learning to talk and taking our first steps into the working world, we realize that everything we say will not always be greeted with praise and adulation. We also learn that expressing our ideas and opinions opens us up to criticism so we compensate, either by speaking less or by speaking louder.

Considering that the design team is mainly made up of communications professionals and that the website is itself a communications tool that will be used by the client to ‘talk’ to her customers, communication issues on such projects should be fairly minimal, right?

Well, not exactly. Like true love, the course of a website development project doesn’t always run smoothly from beginning to end.

Good communication between the client and the design team is essential to ensuring the final product looks and functions as the client intended and is something all involved can be proud to put their names on.

Job #1

When it comes to developing a website, there will be things the client knows or does best and certain things that can best be accomplished by the design team. So, the first step is to establish “who needs to do what”, so the project can proceed efficiently.

The client is the expert on her business. She knows her industry, customers and products. She has all the practical details that are so important, like contact info, hours of operation and specific services offered.

The client also has to tell the design team her preferences in terms of colours, styles and other websites that she likes or does not like.

In the end, the website represents her and her business, so the client is responsible for the information and graphics that are published. She needs to be confident that the website is properly branded to her business and does not contain any false information or project an image she does not like or that she disagrees with.

The more information the client can provide up front, the easier it will be for the design team to create the website she wants. Better to offer more information than necessary and let the design team whittle it down. Otherwise your website may end up being little more than an expensive online business card.

The design team consists of at least one project manager, programmer, web developer, graphic designer and copy writer. Each member of the design team has his own area of expertise and they work together to develop the best website possible within the scope of the project. While the client will own the website, the design team also has a stake in the finished product and certainly wants to create something to be proud of.

For the process to move along smoothly, the client has to step back and let the design team do its job. She has to remember that she hired them for their expertise in web development.

As for the design team, they have to keep in mind that the client ultimately owns the website and has the final say when there are decisions to be made.

Keep the lines open

Communication is vital throughout the website development process. If the design team stops consulting with the client, the website can easily veer off in a direction she doesn’t like or agree with. If the client stops responding to the team’s requests for feedback and further information, frustration can quickly set in as the development process grinds to a halt.

The important thing is for the team and the client to keep talking. When communication breaks down and things start to go wrong, it can be easy to forget that everyone involved has the same goal: to create an amazing website both client and design team will be proud to put their names on.

Tips for clients:

  • When it comes to designing a business website, there is literally no limit to the things you can do and the ways they can be done. Because of this, it is very easy for the scope of a project to expand beyond the original plan. To guard against cost overruns, you need to be very clear with the design team about what you want your website to look like and what your website goals are.
  • Frequently Asked Questions are a great tool for developing content for your website. Come up with a list of questions that you know your customers ask you all the time, answer them and provide that information to the design team. Consider having an FAQ page on your website as this is great for helping improve your site ranking on the search engines. FAQs are naturally rich in key words and phrases that people use when searching for your products and services on line.
  • It is vital to have strong graphic images and compelling photos on your website. You can take your own photos of various aspects of your business: staff, buildings, products, equipment, clients, etc. In some cases, it makes sense to hire a professional photographer to make sure your photos are top quality. If there are certain graphics you want on your site, you can inquire about the cost of having your design team create them for you. Photos and graphics can also be purchased from online sources, such as istock.com. Remember that copyright laws do apply to graphics and images found in the Internet. When you download images from the Internet, there is no guarantee the photos will be of good enough quality to use on your website.
  • Before talking to the design team, take time to surf the web. Look at competitors’ websites along with others and really think about what it is you like and don’t like about them. Take notes and write down website addresses. Bring this information to the design team as it will help when they start to develop your website.
  • Ask questions! There are no stupid questions. Better to ask than wish you had. Things left unsaid or questions left unasked can create problems later in the process.

Tips for Design Team:

  • Be sure to take notes at every client meeting, write down what is agreed upon and also save all e-mail correspondence. That way you will have written documentation of the project scope and also a list of everything you need to do for this particular website. You may think you’ll remember everything that’s talked about, but you won’t!
  • Don’t hesitate to ask for what you need from the client and ask questions if something is unclear. Better to get everything straight from the start than being forced to back track because the project started moving in the wrong direction.
  • Keep the tech talk to a minimum to avoid boring the client or scaring her away with confusing jargon. That doesn’t mean you should patronize or talk down to the client either.
  • Don’t do all the talking. Listen to the client and give her time to think and respond to your questions.

Tips for both client and design team:

  • Set a realistic timetable and a deadline for going live and try to stick to it.
  • Be understanding if there are delays. Things happen – people get sick, people get busy, machines and cars break down … Sometimes deadlines have to be pushed. There’s no point stressing about it if there are legitimate reasons for the delay.
  • Agree on a communication timetable. Set a regular time when the client can expect an update on the progress of her website, whether it’s once or twice a week or Monday mornings at 10 a.m.
  • Answer e-mails and return phone calls as soon as possible.
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Writing it Right http://www.inmca.com/Blog.asp?id=41 Thu, 2 Aug 2012 00:00:00 MST

Is it really THAT important for your website, blogs and social media pages to be free of grammar and spelling errors?
After all, it seems that very few people on the Internet even bother trying to use the correct terminology, spelling, tense or punctuation in their status updates, posts, blogs or even online ads!
Actually, that’s a good enough reason right there! You can stand out from the crowd, just by double checking your spelling and grammar before posting something online.
The sad reality is, people don’t generally notice good spelling and grammar, but they almost certainly notice when you get it wrong.
How many times have you been reading a blog or someone’s Facebook post and given up completely because it was just so confusing, unclear and riddled with mistakes? Or pointed out those mistakes to everyone in the vicinity so you could all share the joke about someone’s really bad typo?
Everyone makes the occasional typo. No one is exempt from that rule!
Plus, everyone has certain words or grammar rules that they continually struggle with, whether it’s remembering the difference between it’s and its or forgetting when exactly i before e applies or never knowing when words starting with w require an h, we all have something that trips us up.
But that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t try to get it right more often than not.
Think about that last post you read that was full of errors. How quickly did you lose all faith in the writer’s credibility? After the first error? The fifth? The fifteenth?
At what point did you just give up and move on to the next article, realizing that whatever information you might gain was simply not worth the effort of trying to decipher the actual meaning behind the words?

Tips for getting it right:

  • Use spell check. But remember that spell check doesn’t know everything. For example, there are differences between US and Canadian spellings – and spell check is often American!
  • Also keep in mind that spell check may not help if you use the wrong word but spell it correctly, such as with compliment and complement. These two words look alike and sound alike but have very different meanings. (When someone compliments you, they are telling you how great you are. When someone complements you, it means you work well together.)
  • Look up words you don’t know before using them. www.dictionary.com is a quick way to check the definition and spelling of a particular word
  • Take the time to figure out what all those squiggly green and red lines in your copy actually mean. You don’t always have to do what spell check/grammar check says, but it’s a good idea to see if they might have some good suggestions to improve your writing
  • Get someone else to proofread your copy. There comes a time when you really can’t see the forest for the trees, so to speak. A fresh perspective and a fresh set of eyes is always welcome
  • Don’t try to impress people by using big, fancy words or complicated sentence structure. Just be yourself. Try to write like you talk.
  • Avoid speaking in the passive voice. Instead, use active sentences. Consider the difference between saying ‘The phone was answered by Bob’ and ‘Bob answered the phone’.
  • Trim the fat! As much as you probably love the sound of your own voice, you would do well to remember the expression ‘Less is more’. When it comes to writing, it usually pays to keep things succinct.
  • Edit your work. The secret to great writing is actually re-writing. And then re-writing some more!

Like it or not, grammar and spelling do matter. People judge the value of your message by the words you use and how you use them, whether it’s a Facebook status update, an ad campaign or an e-mail to a client.

 

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WIIFM? (What's in it for me?) http://www.inmca.com/Blog.asp?id=40 Thu, 19 Jul 2012 00:00:00 MST

"You can have the best product or service in the world, but if people don't buy - it's worthless. So in reality it doesn't matter how wonderful your new product or service is. The real question is - will they buy it?" - Noel Peebles

As a business owner, you likely spend a lot of time thinking about the financial health of your company. Can you cover your costs? Will you make any kind of profit this month? Is there room in the budget for a much-needed capital investment?

What you need to realize is, your customers don’t think about those things. Nor should they be concerned about your bottom line or the future of your business. In fact, when businesses fail, the first thing most consumers want to know is if they can score some of the merchandise or equipment at rock bottom prices.

A consumer is defined as one who consumes or one who acquires goods and services for his own personal needs. By their very nature, consumers are selfish beings, focused on their own immediate needs and wants. In other words, the main question on the mind of a consumer when considering any kind of purchase is: “What’s in it for me?
“If I plunk down a portion of my hard-earned money, what will I get in return?”

It’s your job to convince the consumer that he will get better products, service and value by doing business with you than he will anywhere else.

So how does any of this apply to your business website?

Mike Kuefler from Industrial NetMedia, a website marketing and SEO company in Leduc, says a website visitor will decide in about three seconds whether the website he is looking at will give him what he needs. If the home page is confusing or unattractive, if he can’t easily find what he’s looking for, if the site looks old or contains obviously outdated information or if the links just seem to go in circles, that visitor will be gone and he won’t likely be back.

In addition, by leaving your site so quickly he has told the search engines your site is not relevant. Google keeps track of those ‘bounces’ and counts them against your website. Too many bounces can result in a reduced ranking on the search engine pages.

Look at your website from the perspective of a customer.

  • Is it easy to navigate? Do all the links work? Are the buttons and links highly visible? Do the links help your visitor find what he is looking for?
  • Is the most important information easy to find? Are the menu items clearly labelled? Is your phone number or other contact information prominently displayed? Is all the information on your website current – especially on the home page?
  • Does your home page information tell your visitors exactly what you are selling and why they should buy it from you? Is your home page content compelling, persuasive, readable and interesting?

If you want your website to do its job – which is to draw visitors and convert them into paying customers – you need to stop thinking like a business owner and start looking at your website from the perspective of an impatient consumer whose main concern is WIIFM?

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Improve your drive! http://www.inmca.com/Blog.asp?id=39 Fri, 6 Jul 2012 00:00:00 MST

Know someone who needs a business website?

Refer a friend to Industrial NetMedia and play a round on us at Leduc Golf Club.

Until August 31, 2012, if you bring us a new client, we'll present you with two passes good for 18 holes of golf each plus a power cart rental at Leduc Golf Club!

And hey, if that new client happens to be you, that works, too!

At Industrial NetMedia, we build above par websites that don’t cost a lot of green.

When it comes to Internet Marketing, social media and search engine optimization, we’re the real Pros.

We’ll build you a great-looking website and then use our expertise to make sure it can be found by Google and the other search engines. And we don’t stop there! We’ll make sure to give those who visit your website a compelling reason to hang around for a while and learn more about your products and services.

INM also specializes in Website Rescue and Redesign, which means we’ll take your old, tired, outdated or ugly website and bring it back to life.

Contact INM before August 31, 2012 and quote promo code 4653 to qualify for this promotion

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Template vs. Professional Website Design http://www.inmca.com/Blog.asp?id=38 Mon, 25 Jun 2012 00:00:00 MST

When it comes to Website Design and Search Optimization, you get what you pay for.

It’s a cliche because it’s true.

As more and more businesses realize their need for some kind of online presence, the number of options is also increasing exponentially. Smart business owners do their homework and consider the pros and cons of professional web design versus template or DIY options and even social media pages.

Weigh all your options

Do-it-yourself or template web sites are a much cheaper option than professionally designed web sites. Do-it-yourself means finding an online service that walks you through the process of creating your own website.

The problem here is, you should probably have at least a passing knowledge of computer language, html and other computer code or you could be in for a frustrating time of it.

A template website service gives you a pre-designed site where you just plug in your info, maybe choose your colours and upload a few images.

The downside is the very definition of a template website means your options are limited and your website may end up looking almost identical to someone else’s. In fact, if you choose a popular template design, you could find there are a lot of websites out there that look almost exactly like yours.

But if being unique isn’t something you care about, then a template website could be a good option for you.

What will all those savings really cost your business?

So you manage to get your brand new DIY or template website up and running, but then what?

How will people find your website?

How do you know if your home page is compelling enough to make visitors want to contact you or buy your product?

Do you know how to track website visitors?

What if something goes wrong?

When considering a template or DIY website, you need to think carefully about who will be hosting your site and what kind of support services they offer, especially if your computer skills are limited. Is your host available by phone or online chat any time of the day or night to help you figure out why your site won’t load? If not, can you afford to be without a website for hours, days or even weeks if they don’t respond to your request for help right away?

Another thought on this topic … How much is it worth to you to deal with real people you can talk to one on one, rather than some faceless Internet entity?

Where do you rank?

If you’re looking at getting your own website, you’ve probably heard the term SEO, but do you know what it means? SEO – Search Engine Optimization – is all about making your website attractive to the search engines, like Google, Bing and Yahoo. Those search engines scan web pages using algorithms that determine how those pages will rank when someone types certain key words into the search bar. Professional web designers and SEO copywriters take the time to research key words and phrases particular to your products and services and then use those words when they develop the content for your website. While no one can guarantee you a #1 search page ranking, proper use of SEO can make the difference between having your site show up on page one or page three or page 10 of a search result.

And SEO is only one component of your overall Internet Marketing plan, which could include social media, online ads, blogs and link building.

Location, location, location

When you set up your new website, it will have an address or domain name. You may also hear it called a ‘url’. Your domain name should be fairly short, easy to remember and use words naturally associated with your business, products and services. When you hire a professional web design company, their experts will work with you to get the best possible domain name for your website. If you use a template or DIY website, your options will be limited and you may even have to include the host’s url as part of your website address. For example, www.johnsautoservice.randomwebhosts.com. Not only do you end up with a weak domain name that will potentially direct visitors to your host instead of you, it’s a painfully long web address for people to type in.

It’s all in the numbers

Analytics is another one of those mysterious Internet terms that people throw around, but not everyone really understands. The good news is, professional web design companies have people who DO understand analytics and can make sense of all that data and statistical information. What analytics comes down to is tracking the number of people who visit your website and how long they spend on your site or looking at any particular page. Analytics can also tell you how well your site is ranking on the search engines and identify problem areas for you to address. For example, maybe you aren’t ranking well for one particular key word but a different phrase is doing better than expected. With this information, you can adjust the content, improve your search engine ranking and draw more visitors to your website.

A word about social media pages

What do Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Google+ and the others have in common? They are all great ways to advertise your business and draw visitors to your website at virtually no cost to you! But they are no substitute for an actual website, dedicated solely to your business.

Another benefit of choosing a professional web designer is that they can help you create great-looking social media profile pages and even design a variety of apps to complement them.

Other web site extras you can talk to a professional web designer about include e-commerce solutions, members-only pages, photo galleries, lead captures, blogs and links.

Being a business owner is all about balancing costs and benefits; weighing money saved against time spent and potential profits lost or gained. A template or DIY website might appear to be cheaper but you will probably have to settle for a lower quality product and could end up paying a lot more in the long run when you factor in the time and stress of building and maintaining your own website.

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GSO Guideline Replaces IRP 16 http://www.inmca.com/Blog.asp?id=37 Thu, 21 Jun 2012 00:00:00 MSTThursday, June 21, 2012

The withdrawal of IRP* 16 has created some concern among companies in the oil and gas industry that the safety orientations they have invested so much time and money in will now have to be completely re-written to meet a new set of standards.

According to Roy McKnight, Manager of Initiatives with Enform, that is simply not the case.

Enform, the safety association for Canada’s upstream oil and gas industry, works with six industry partners to help companies achieve their safety goals – the Canadian Association of Geophysical Contractors (CAGC), the Canadian Association of Oilwell Drilling Contractors (CAODC), the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers (CAPP), the Canadian Energy Pipeline Association (CEPA), Petroleum Services Association of Canada (PSAC) and the Small Explorers and Producers Association of Canada (SEPAC).

McKnight said IRP 16 was originally developed in 2001 as a guideline to provide the oil and gas industry with information on Basic Industry Safety Orientation Programs, which outlined what good organizations should be doing regarding the orientation of new, young and inexperienced workers. The idea was to use the information in IRP 16 as a guideline during the development of general safety orientation programs, keeping in mind that provincial and federal OHS regulations would always take precedence. It was hoped companies would use IRP 16 and co-operate on their safety orientations so contractors and employees wouldn’t be forced to re-learn the same basic safety information over and over again.

 

As McKnight explained it, the IRP 16 document got too specific and too complicated and was debated endlessly before it was finally rolled out in 2003. IRP 16 was more than 100 pages long and “very, very detailed” McKnight said, with many “requirements”. He added that much of the information was so specific that it only applied in certain situations, yet there was nothing in the document to clarify that point.

In the end, he said, many companies weren’t following the IRP 16 guidelines anyway, simply because the document was too long, too complicated and too detailed.  On the other hand, he added, some companies were using IRP 16 as if it was to be adhered to and followed above provincial and federal OHS regulations. IRP 16 was never intended to supersede those regulations, McKnight stressed, it was always meant to be merely a guide.

When IRP 16 came up for its regular review in 2009, the first question asked was whether the document was continuing to meet its intended purpose. When the answer was a rather resounding no, the Industry Working Group decided it was time to withdraw IRP 16 and replace it with a much simpler document that would clarify the original purpose.

McKnight explained that it wasn’t enough to simply update IRP 16, a full-scale change was required. For starters, he said, the very name – Industry Recommended Practices – was misleading. The replacement document is called simply what it is: a General Safety Orientation Guideline.

In just 28 pages, the GSO Guideline clearly describes the requirements of General Safety Orientation programs. “It’s shorter, clearer and reflects the western Canadian OHS requirements and nothing more,” McKnight said.

Responding to concerns about existing safety and orientation programs, McKnight said a review process is in the works and will be released by the end of 2012. Companies will be able to submit their existing general safety orientation programs electronically.

McKnight noted that a list of self-reviewed and declared programs will no longer be maintained. He also added that Enform will not be reviewing third party developed orientation programs as the employer is responsible for the accuracy of the content and for making sure all employees have successfully completed the general safety orientation. Because of that reality, it is the company that must submit its own general safety orientation for review.

IRP 16 was actually one of about 24 industry recommended practices that have been developed by industry and administered by Enform. McKnight said the Drilling and Completion IRPs are all very technical documents, on specific topics such as critical sour drilling, minimum wellhead requirements and snubbing operations. They are also regularly reviewed and updated, he said, but at this time there are no plans to withdraw any of those IRPs.

 

In the end, McKnight said, it is hoped that the GSO Guideline will accomplish what IRP 16 couldn’t – assist companies in developing general safety orientation programs for their new, young and inexperienced employees and allow more widespread co-operation among companies and recognition of commonalities in orientation programs, which will help reduce redundancies.

Ian McCabe, a Certified Health and Safety Consultant who provides on site safety training for oil and gas companies across Alberta, is concerned that the issues that plagued IRP 16 won’t be resolved with this new document.

“What I don’t see here is a willingness for each sector to accept each other’s certificates,” McCabe said. “A worker could still end up having to do three of these courses.”

He added that even though the GSO Guideline clearly states that the oil and gas industry recognizes the Petroleum Industry Training program (PST), the Construction Safety Training System (CSTS) and the Pipeline Construction Safety Training Course (PCST) as approved general safety orientation programs, some individual companies are still unwilling to recognize certain of these certificates. For example, he said, company A might insist on all their workers having CSTS certification, while others will only accept PST certification.

“There’s never going to be a standard if they don’t co-operate,” McCabe said.

GSO was officially released as of January 1, 2012, but it is still somewhat in process, McKnight said. Over the next several months Enform and its partners will roll out a marketing plan to explain and promote the GSO Guideline, complementary tools to allow for adoption of the GSO Guideline and an equivalency process for those companies with existing robust general safety orientation programs.

* An IRP (industry recommended practice) is a set of guidelines developed and prepared by government and industry experts to offer advice to management and operators in the oil and gas industry.

For more information on the GSO Guideline or to find out how you can get your own custom safety courses online, contact SafetySpot at 780-739-5850 or visit the SafetySpot website.

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Make Facebook work for your business http://www.inmca.com/Blog.asp?id=36 Tue, 1 May 2012 00:00:00 MSTTuesday, May 01, 2012

Love it or hate it, Facebook’s new Timeline format is great for business pages! It’s visual, it’s easy to use and there are a lot of unique ways you can use it to promote your organization.

Plus, Timeline generated a buzz of renewed interest in Facebook at a time when some users were maybe starting to get bored with this particular social network.

For business owners, your Facebook Timeline page is like having a big interactive ad promoting your company 24 hours a day, much like your website.

Unlike your website, your Facebook Timeline page is extremely dynamic and can be redesigned daily, with input from you, your clients and your fans with every comment and picture posted.

But let’s back up a little.

The first step in creating a successful Facebook business page is to design or post a compelling cover photo. The cover photo is the first thing people see when they visit your business page. It should be an image that people will remember, one that draws the eye and speaks to the heart of your business. Remember, your cover photo image can’t have any obvious sales pitches (like us to win, save 50%, get a great deal, etc.) but it can contain your logo or words pertaining to your business. It can be one strong image or a collage of pictures.

The next step is to go to the admin panel and click ‘Manage’ so you can adjust your settings and permissions, as well as filling in the basic information about your company. Don’t forget to upload a profile picture. This is the image that will appear every time you make a post, upload a picture, comment on someone else’s post, etc.

Also under ‘Manage’ you can add and delete administrators and manage your apps.

Spend some time looking around this part of your page. You might be surprised at some of the interesting and useful things you find.

While you’re on the admin page, take note of the ‘Messages’ field. This is where people can send private messages, rather than posting them on your public page.

The key to getting the most out of Facebook for your business is to keep your content and your page fresh by:

  1. Posting regular comments, updates and photos
  2. Encouraging friends and fans to add their comments and photos to your page and share posts from your site with their friends.

What exactly does ‘regular’ mean?

You don’t have to be on Facebook every hour of the day, but you should be updating your status daily. You should spend some time checking out other people’s FB pages and making comments of your own a few times a week. You should definitely respond to any comments, questions or messages posted to your page as soon as possible, just like you would any other e-mail or phone message. To be sure you don’t miss anyone, go to ‘Your Settings’ and set up automatic notifications to be sent to your e-mail whenever someone posts, comments or sends a message to your page.

What should your posts look like?

It’s tempting to use your status updates to advertise your products and services, but if people just feel they are being ‘sold to’ all the time, they will quickly lose interest in your page.

Better to provide interesting tips and information related to your products and services without actually selling all the time.

In fact, the best way to promote your business is to get a conversation going that draws people to your Facebook page and keeps them there for a time.

If people like your posts and your Facebook page, they will remember you the next time they need what you are selling.

This doesn’t mean you can’t advertise upcoming sales or promote aspects of your business on Facebook, you just shouldn’t do it with every post.

The biggest downside of the Timeline format is the loss of the so called ‘fan-gate’ welcome page that allowed you to offer incentives to visitors to encourage them to like your Facebook page. Of course, you can still try and encourage people to like your page, but the big draw of the fan-gate was that the visitor had to click ‘like’ to gain entry to your main page. It almost made you feel like you’d joined an exclusive club.

Without the fan-gate, you are forced to become much more creative in finding ways to earn ‘likes’ and get people talking about your page.

The upside is, the welcome page you already have doesn’t have to be discarded, it can be converted into an informative app that visitors to your Facebook page can view whenever they want.

Take advantage of Facebook’s built-in options to make certain posts stand out.

‘Pin to top’ keeps one post at the very top of your Timeline. Only one post can be pinned at a time and it only lasts for seven days, but it is a good way to promote upcoming sales or other events. Of course, you can ‘re-pin’ an item if you really want to keep it at the top longer than a week.

‘Highlight’ stretches a post across both Timeline columns. More than one post can be highlighted at the same time and it lasts indefinitely, however, highlighting doesn’t keep a post at the top of your Timeline. It will move down as newer posts come in.

Both pinning and highlighting can be undone any time you want.

One of the great things about Timeline is that it gives you the chance to lay out the entire history of your business, highlighting important anniversaries and milestones that occurred along the way. Look at the status bar where you should see an option for adding Events, Milestones and Poll Questions to your Timeline.

Poll questions are a great way to generate conversation. You can solicit feedback on your products and services or ask customers what they thought of a recent promotional event. You could ask a question just for fun or to start a conversation.

One last piece of advice: make important information easy to find.

One of the main reasons people visit Facebook business pages is to find specific information about that business or organization. If visitors can’t easily find your web address, e-mail address, phone number or whatever it is they are seeking, they aren’t going to spend much time looking for it before they move on.

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Facebook switches to Timeline format http://www.inmca.com/Blog.asp?id=33 Tue, 13 Mar 2012 00:00:00 MSTTuesday, March 13, 2012

The Internet is buzzing with talk of the new Facebook Timeline format, which is already in previews and officially takes over on March 30, 2012.

The jury is still out on whether or not the Timeline format will be good or bad for business in the long run and the debate will likely go on for some time.

The new Timeline format does have its drawbacks, but it also opens up a lot of new possibilities and opportunities for Facebook business pages. The trick is going to be taking full advantage of this new and improved marketing tool.

 

The Downside

The loss of the welcome page is the biggest blow, as it was a great way to encourage page likes and direct visitor traffic. But even this setback doesn’t have to be fatal. The new Timeline format offers plenty of other ways to engage new visitors and old friends.

And by the way, the welcome page doesn’t have to disappear altogether. It can be made available for viewing in the apps section, though, of course, it won’t have the same effect since it will no longer be a ‘fan gate’.

Another downside of the new format is that the Timeline makes it really obvious, really quickly, if you aren’t regularly updating your Facebook page. Anytime you stop updating your page, it shows up as a big whole in your timeline. Many businesses find it difficult to keep up with their social media sites now. The new Timeline format just adds to that pressure.

But you know the point of having business pages on social media sites is to interact and engage with your clients. The ‘new normal’ for doing business in this century means making social media work for you, which includes making the time to keep your Facebook, Twitter and other social media sites current.

In other words, the new Facebook Timeline format just forces businesses to do what they should have been doing all along.

 

The Upside

One of the nicest features of the new Timeline format is the huge cover photo, which presents an amazing opportunity to promote your business visually and make a great first impression on new visitors. This image will be the first thing anyone sees when they find your Facebook business page, so it has to be good!

It should be a compelling image that represents your business and attracts attention for all the right reasons. It should also be branded to your logo, your business cards and your website so you can present a consistent image to your clients.

There are rules about this cover photo. It can’t contain any direct promotional language (Save 50%), calls to action (Click here to get … ; Like this page … ) or contact information for your business.

However, it can be a collage of pictures and it can contain your business name or even a slogan. The cover photo must be at least 399 pixels wide. The maximum size allowed is 850 pixels wide x 315 pixels high. If it’s smaller than that, the photo will be stretched to fill the allowed space, according to Facebook.

Coke and Starbucks are examples of excellent cover photos.

facebook cover photo - coke

facebook cover photo - starbucks

The profile picture, tacked on to the bottom left corner of your cover photo, is the image that will appear in the newsfeed with your status updates and comments. It can be your logo, a business card, anything you want, really, and it can contain promotional language or contact info, but remember, it isn’t very big so too much text will make it seem cluttered.

Directly below your cover photo, on the left side, is the About section. This is where you will put your contact information, mission statement and some general information about your business history, products and services, promotions or whatever else you want your customers to know about your business. Some of the info will appear right on the page, the rest is hidden unless someone clicks for it.

With the new format, photos and apps are front and centre, just to the right of the About section. Photos are a great way to engage people without saying a word. As before, your photos will be divided into albums and there is no limit to the number of albums or photos within each album. So maybe start with a portfolio album, featuring past project successes. Set up an album featuring your product line. How about an album of photos submitted by your customers, showing them using your products?

As for apps, there are dozens of possibilities – online ordering, maps, videos, calendars, job postings, testimonials and customer stories – just use your imagination. (check out Coca Cola’s Facebook page, they have made really good use of this apps section - https://www.facebook.com/cocacola )

And by the way, there are no rules against calls to action and promotional language in this section, so go ahead and post your ads, flyers and other promotional products here.

The Timeline

The rest of your Facebook business page is devoted to the actual Timeline. Posts are arranged around a line down the middle that represents the timeline of your life – or the life of your business, to be more accurate.

Posts are divided by years and months, even days and hours depending on how frequently things are posted to your wall. The Timeline also includes comments and photos that others post on your page, as well as a ‘Likes’ section that shows all the people who have liked your Facebook page.

Again, this new format really forces you to keep your site updated to avoid those dreaded holes in your Timeline.

Timeline posts can be highlighted, which means they will be enlarged to the width of the entire Timeline. Hover your mouse over the right corner of the post box. Clicking the star will highlight the post.

facebook timeline format

Clicking the pencil opens up several editing options. Click ‘pin to top’ to bookmark a post to the top of your Timeline for seven days. This is perfect for advertising sales or other business events. The pinned post is identified by the little gold bookmark in the top right corner.

facebook format changes

Notice there is also a ‘change date’ option that gives you the chance to fill in some of those holes in your Timeline by actually changing the date on a specific post.

Admin Panel

This is the ‘back stage’ portion of your page, visible only to administrators. This is where you manage your page, edit your settings, upload photos and apps, manage administrators and change the information that is visible to the public.

A new feature of the Admin Panel is the ‘build audience’ tab. In a way, this is a substitute for your ‘fan gate’ welcome page. It basically allows you to increase the number of fans and direct traffic to your page by sending notifications to your existing friends and e-mail contacts. ‘Share this page’ puts a general notice about your business on your news feed for all of your friends to see without contacting them personally, much like what happens when you post a regular status update.

‘Create an ad’ does exactly as it says, helps you build a pay per click ad with a link to your Facebook page. Pay per click ads are one of those great Internet tools that allow you to advertise your business while keeping complete control of your costs. As an added bonus, with pay per click you know exactly how many people are viewing your ads so it’s easy to determine how effective they are.

The Admin Panel is also where you will receive private messages and notifications.

This is only a sampling of the many features and options available with the new Facebook Timeline page. As with most things, it has its good and bad points; some people are going to love it, others are going to hate it.

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Marketing your business in tough times http://www.inmca.com/Blog.asp?id=32 Tue, 24 Jan 2012 00:00:00 MSTTuesday, January 24, 2012

When businesses are struggling financially and owners are looking for ways to trim their budgets, the first instinct is often to cut back on advertising and marketing.

While understandable, it’s a short-sighted solution that will likely do more harm than good to a company in the long run.

The only way to grow your business is to bring in new clients. Without some kind of advertising or marketing plan, how can you make your business known to the hundreds, maybe thousands, of people in your area who would love to buy from you but don’t know you exist?

To be honest, the instinct to move away from advertising in traditional media is not necessarily a bad one. Traditional print, radio and TV ads are expensive and there’s really no way to know for sure if they are working or how many people were reached by a particular ad.

Thanks to the Internet, we are no longer limited to traditional methods of advertising.

The Internet has revolutionized the advertising industry by offering creative, affordable, effective options that allow you to market your business aggressively, even on a tight budget.

Most importantly, the Internet is interactive. People can literally reach out and touch websites and ads, they can click links, comment on a breaking news story, respond to someone’s blog article, ‘like’ things on Facebook, post videos and photos – the possibilities are endless. And the same applies to Internet Marketing – there really are no limits.

Internet Marketing starts with your website

 “A well-designed website is the key to success,” says Mike Kuefler, owner of Industrial NetMedia, a Web Design and Internet Marketing company in Leduc, Alberta. “More customers are searching online for products and services than ever before. Google is the new Yellow Pages.”

Did you know that more than half of your new customers should be finding your business through your website? If that isn’t the case, you need to ask yourself why.

The answer probably lies in the design of your website.

Industrial NetMedia builds websites that act like a funnel, drawing people in and converting them into customers, using search engine optimization, social media, link building, lead captures, unique page designs, compelling copy and interesting graphics.

Online ads

Internet Marketing doesn’t end with a great website. You want to make your presence known on the Internet in as many ways as possible and online ads are a great way to do that. There are several types of online ads, but one of the most popular and effective is the pay-per-click ad. This is exactly what it sounds like – you only pay when someone clicks to see your ad. Not only does this allow you to track exactly how many people are reading your ads, it helps with your budgeting! You set the limit on how much you want to spend so there are no surprises. When the number of clicks reaches your budget limit, the ad is turned off until the beginning of the next cycle. Pay-per-click ads are available for as little as pennies per click. Just as an example, if you set a budget of $100/week and each click costs you 5 cents, when you reach your budget you will know that 2,000 people have clicked on your ad.

You can also purchase ad space on websites, social media networks and search engine pages much like you would a display ad in a newspaper.

Social media

Facebook, Twitter, Google +1, LinkedIn, Youtube – you’ve probably tried at least one type of social media. But did you know your business can benefit from becoming a part of the social network? In fact, it’s not a stretch to say that if your business isn’t connected, you are missing out on hundreds of potential clients. At last count, Facebook was claiming more than 800 million users, about half of those checking in every day. Facebook and the other social networks are a relatively inexpensive way to advertise your business to a LOT of people. INM can set you up with a great looking business profile page. Then you offer an incentive for people to click that little ‘like’ button at the top of the page. The incentive can be more information about your business, the answer to a fun trivia question, inclusion in a draw, a coupon – just about anything you can think of that would tempt people to ‘like’ your page. Once someone likes your page, your business appears in their newsfeed. The average Facebook user has about 130 friends, each of whom will see your company name and something about your business with every status update, comment or post you make from that point on. Ten ‘likes’ potentially exposes your business to 1,300 people.

Link your social media pages to each other and to your main website to bring even more traffic and customers into your business.

You are the expert

Another unique, inexpensive way to promote your business is through blogs, articles and press releases. Don’t let the term ‘blog’ intimidate you, blogs are basically online newsletters that let you reach out to your customers and keep them up to date on what’s happening with your company – upcoming events, special sales, new products, whatever you want to tell them about. Having a blog on your website is a great way to keep the content fresh and dynamic. Blog entries don’t have to be long, but you should add new ones regularly (at minimum a couple of times a month) to continue generating interest.

Online press releases and e-mail flyers are simply the cyber version of the press releases and flyers you are no doubt familiar with. As well as being cheaper to produce and distribute, they are environmentally friendly! Plus, you can target your mailing list to hit specific clients or even send different versions of your flyer to different customer groups. And since there are no printing or mailing costs to worry about, you can create new flyers or send out a press release as often as you want.

It’s probably fair to say no one knows more about your business than you do. You are intimately acquainted with the products and services you sell and could probably talk about them all day long. Why not take some of that knowledge and write it down? Informative articles are a great way to gain the attention of the buying public and set yourself up as an expert in your field.

The main thing to remember is not to think of them as advertisements, but as helpful, informative articles, with tips, tricks and advice for the readers. Remember, people mainly want to read about themselves and things that concern them. Your articles should be interesting and entertaining, as well as offering valuable information that your readers will appreciate. That’s not to say you can’t mention your business at all, just keep the sales pitch to a minimum.

There are plenty of sites that publish online articles in dozens of different categories. They offer guidelines for submission, as well as advice and information to help you improve your article writing. Start with articlesbase.com, ezinearticles.com and copyblogger.com.

When your business is facing hard times, that is definitely not the time to stop marketing. The reality of business is, when you think you can’t afford to advertise, that’s when you can’t afford not to advertise. Fortunately, these days advertising no longer has to be an expensive shot in the dark. You can use the power of the Internet to affordably market your business to the whole world.

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Four easy ways to build a useless website http://www.inmca.com/Blog.asp?id=31 Mon, 23 Jan 2012 00:00:00 MSTMonday, January 23, 2012

You know your business needs a website. There’s no getting around the fact that Google has replaced the Yellow Pages as the go-to source for business information.

Your website can be a powerful marketing tool that brings in a regular stream of customers and helps grow your business.

Or it can be rendered useless by the following common web design mistakes:

  1. Buried benefits – You’ve probably heard the expression ‘bury the lead’. The phrase originated with newspapers and referred to stories where the most compelling and interesting information somehow ended up at the end of the story. Since people tend to skim the first few paragraphs of a story looking for the most interesting bits of information, it’s not good practice to hide those juicy morsels where they may never be found. The same thing applies to your website. It’s estimated that you have about three seconds to grab the attention of any visitors before they move on. What are they looking for in those few seconds that will convince them to hang around longer? Mainly, they are looking for a reason to stay. What is the number one thing people are interested in? Anything that pertains to themselves! You have about three seconds to let them know you have the products and services they are seeking, what’s in it for them if they do business with you, rather than your competitor and that your website is easy to navigate. If you bury that information behind layers of company facts and figures, you will lose them.
  2. No clearly defined goal – The first step in building your website, before you even come up with a design or theme, is defining your website goals. What do you want your website to do for your business? What do you want people to do when they arrive at your website? The answers to those two questions will determine how your website is designed; what extra features you need and how they are laid out; and what content and graphics will be included on your pages. A lot of websites are just put up with little thought given to the actions you want visitors to take that will lead to them becoming a customer. If you don’t know what you want your website visitors to do, how can you expect them to do it? And how will you know if they do?
  3. No stats tracking – How many people are visiting your website on a daily, weekly or monthly basis? How are people finding your website? How long are they staying on your site? What is your bounce rate? The Internet is highly interactive and almost everything that happens within it can be tracked, but many business owners fail to take advantage of the various tracking and usage system available to them. A tracking system lets you know if your website is working the way you intended and gives you a heads up on any potential problems.
  4. ‘We’ focused – It’s worth repeating: People are more interested in themselves than anything else. If your website content – especially on the home page - focuses mainly on your company’s history, accomplishments and staff rather than on the ways your products and services can benefit your visitors, you have not given visitors a reason to stick with your website. All of that other information can and should be included on the inside pages of your website where your visitors can find it once they have decided to explore your website a little further to learn more about your business.

Industrial NetMedia is a web design and Internet marketing company in Leduc. We specialize in website rescue and redesign, which means we can edit your content, give your site a bit of a boost, overhaul the whole site or even start from scratch and build you a brand new site. We build websites that avoid those common pitfalls – they rank well on the search engines, attract visitors and convert those visitors into customers.

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Need to organize your organization? http://www.inmca.com/Blog.asp?id=30 Tue, 17 Jan 2012 00:00:00 MSTTuesday, January 17, 2012

Are you managing a large number of students and classes?

Juggling a busy schedule of client meetings?

Co-ordinating bookings for a sports field, rec. centre or arena?

Let INM build you an online database management system, custom designed to suit your organization.

Our online database management system is ideally suited to keeping track of a database of students, class times, instructors and locations. Student self-registration, online payment, mass e-mails and a bulletin board to announce last minute changes are just some of the options available.

Athletes and sports teams are just as competitive off the field when it comes to securing the best practice times. Keeping several different user groups happy can be challenging for an arena or sports field manager. With an online database, you can easily track practice times, cancellations and schedule changes, making your job that much easier.

Realtors, wedding planners, homes party consultants, contractors and freelancers – if your business involves booking jobs or events or scheduling regular client meetings, it is vital that you keep on top of your availability. INM can set you up with an online calendar, either for your private use or to show open times to your clients. You might also consider an interactive booking form where clients can provide you with their contact information and some preliminary details about their upcoming event.

INM recently developed an online registration system for BMS Bootcamps in Leduc that helps the trainers organize their classes and students. First we built them a brand new website that looks great and is already bringing visitors in and turning them into customers. Then we created the online database system that allows people to register themselves and pay for their classes online. The trainers can keep track of the number of people signed up for each class, they can send messages to individuals or everyone registered for a particular class and they can add and delete classes as necessary. The website also features a banner for announcing location changes and other updates and a blog system that the trainers can use to post informative articles and information.

INM would be happy to talk to you about your website, whether you need a new one or the one you have needs an overhaul, and what it would take to set up an online database for your business.

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Is this really the end for Flash animation? http://www.inmca.com/Blog.asp?id=29 Mon, 9 Jan 2012 00:00:00 MSTMonday, January 09, 2012

Flash is dead! There, I said it. Not quite dead, but signs show that it is sinking.

Change is inevitable and many of the things we count on today will not exist in the future.

This seems to be especially true in the cyber world, where new technologies are continually being developed to replace old or outdated software.

One older technology that has been refusing to ‘go gently into that good night’ is Adobe’s Flash animation.

Flash has been the animation standard for many, many years and can be found on nearly every computer in existence. (Some research suggests it has been downloaded onto 98% of computers).

According to one article, Flash technology is the main reason sites like Youtube and Hulu have exploded in popularity over the past few years. And the main reason we have fast, reliable access to online videos at all.

But now, after years of fighting to save Flash, Adobe has abandoned plans to continue developing new versions of Flash for mobile devices.

It’s difficult to understand why such a popular product has fallen out of favour, but it seems maybe Flash was its own worst enemy. The very fact that Flash was everywhere and used in so many different ways – some of which it was never originally intended for – ultimately led to its demise.

Flash animation is a great way to add movement and life to web pages. It is also used to facilitate streaming of videos on line. Moving characters, changing colours, rotating text, your imagination is really the only limit.

It was so successful that someone had the brilliant idea to build an entire website using Flash animation. The idea caught on and soon Flash websites were everywhere.

One major downside of a Flash-based website is that the search engines can’t read the content, which leaves Flash websites in the dust when it comes to search engine rankings. That problem has actually been addressed to a certain extent in recent years and the search engines have found ways to read more of the content on Flash websites, but non-Flash websites are still much better for search engine optimization.

Another issue with Flash websites is that they are not easy to edit. It’s vital to keep the content on your website current and fresh for both the search engines and for visitors to your website. Outdated content is a sure way to bring your website down in the search engine rankings. With Flash animation sites, very few end-users are capable of editing their own web pages, which means they must pay a programmer every time the website needs to be changed, costing them time and money.

Splash down

Splash pages were a so-so idea that really took a turn for the worse with the addition of Flash animation. A splash page, also known as a splash screen, is a website intro page, rather like the cover of a book. Unlike books, however, websites don’t need a cover page! Well, OK, there are certain cases where an intro page has some benefit, such as choosing which language version of a website you want to navigate to.

For the most part, however, these intro pages are either a chance for the website administrators to advertise products or for web designers to show off. The addition of Flash animation took splash pages to a whole new level of annoying, as users were often forced to sit through some fantastical animated graphics loop – usually accompanied by an unwanted elevator Muzak audio track – while searching frantically for the ‘skip intro’ button.

Splash pages aren’t so bad if directions for navigating through them are clear and precise.

But if almost everyone who stumbles on a splash page immediately starts looking for the exit, what is the point of having a splash page?

Other common complaints about Flash animation include the following: it slows down page loading and can actually bring older computers to a virtual stand still, especially in combination with dial up Internet service; Flash sucks power and creates security and privacy issues on mobile devices; basic keyboard functions like copy and paste don’t work properly on Flash animation sites.

Apple bites back

With all of that, Flash was doing just fine, thank you, until it came up against the power of Apple.

Flash animation is usable on both Mac and Microsoft computers, but it is definitely NOT an Apple product.

That was made abundantly clear a few years ago when Apple made the decision to bar Flash applications from the iPhone. In fact, the Flash animation prohibition became a part of the iPhone user agreement.

Apparently the problem, at least as far as Apple is concerned, is that Flash is not just animation software, it is an application development platform. In other words, by downloading Flash onto the iPhone, users could potentially find a way to download apps, music, videos and games without going through Apple or the iTunes store. This would, of course, cost Apple money. More importantly, it would subvert Apple’s absolute control over their users, in terms of their choice of apps, software and programming.

New direction

Adobe put up a valiant fight in support of Flash and even relished the victory of securing a place for Flash on Android and Blackberry mobile devices.

But in the end, Adobe decided they will no longer continue to develop new versions of Flash for mobile devices, opting instead to embrace HTML5 for the future. In fact, Adobe Edge, an HTML5 and CSS3 animation and design software – in other words, an eventual replacement for Flash – has already been in previews since August 2011.

Industrial NetMedia can use Flash animation to enhance client websites, only when requested, but our web experts prefer to use newer technologies like HTML5 and follow current trends in web design. Flash websites are bad for search engine optimization and continue to present challenges in editing. INM prides itself on building websites that rank well on the search engines and are easy to edit, so it makes sense that we would avoid creating Flash websites.

However, to paraphrase the great Winston Churchill, “this is not the end, it is not even the beginning of the end. It is, perhaps, the end of the beginning …” for Flash.

Flash is still widely used to facilitate online video streaming and it still exists on the vast majority of computers around the world so there is no danger of it disappearing into the ether anytime soon.

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The more things change on your website ... http://www.inmca.com/Blog.asp?id=28 Wed, 28 Dec 2011 00:00:00 MSTWednesday, December 28, 2011

Did you know INM recently updated Sitebuilder Tools and created several new add-ons to enhance your existing website and bring in new traffic?

There are lots of ways INM can boost your existing website, starting with a simple overhaul of the content and photos. Out of date information is one of the surest ways to lose customers – and the attention of the search engines. Google wants to see websites that are current and fresh, not old and stale. At the very least you need to keep your website’s home page current, but the other pages need regular attention, too.

Did you know that all of INM’s websites come with Sitebuilder Tools, a simple editor that makes changing the information on your web pages as simple as using Microsoft Word? No html knowledge is required. If you have never used Sitebuilder Tools, or if you need a refresher course, give us a call and we’ll get you up to speed.

Of course, if you don’t have the time or don’t feel comfortable doing it yourself, INM’s experts can do it for you.

If you are looking for ways to increase the traffic to your website, it might be time to consider setting up some complementary social networking sites. That’s right, Facebook and Twitter aren’t just for fun anymore, they are valuable business tools that help spread the word about your website and your business. INM knows all the tricks to setting up great-looking business pages on Facebook, Twitter, Linked in, YouTube, Google+ and other social networking sites.

Consider setting up a stylized Twitter update that links your Twitter feed to the home page of your website. When you post a tweet, or if someone else tweets about your business, those comments will automatically appear on your home page.

Blogs are another great way to increase traffic to your website and, just like Facebook and Twitter, they generate feedback and customer comments about your business.

Increasing web traffic to your site is a good thing. Turning those visitors into actual customers is even better. Let INM set up a lead capture on your home page and you’ll be amazed at how many potential new customers you make contact with. A lead capture is simply a way to collect basic contact information from visitors to your site. It works by promising something – further information about your business, a coupon, a special discount, whatever you can come up with – in return for a valuable business lead. The idea is, if someone is willing to go so far as to provide you with their name, phone number and e-mail address, chances are they are very interested in your business and the products and services you sell. There are several different kinds of lead captures that INM can set up for you.

Is your website consistently generating new customers and helping your business grow? If not, it may be time to inject some new life into that old, tired website. INM specializes in website rescue and redesign. We'll update the content and graphics, overhaul the SEO and get your website working the way you intended.

There are several ways to rejuvenate your website:

  • Graphic redesign
  • Home page redesign to help convert visitors into customers.
  • Search Engine Optimization – make your website easier to find in Google
  • Cool animated effects
  • Photo gallery
  • Image carousels
  • Facebook pages
  • Integrated Social Media Sharing and news threads
  • Newsletter subscriptions
  • Shopping cart
  • Calendar with announcements and events
  • Blog (Simple or WordPress)
  • Videos and YouTube
  • Secure membership area
  • Professional copywriting
  • Business cards
  • Brochures
  • Lead capture
  • Press Releases
  • AdWords or Facebook pay per click campaigns
  • Prepaid website update packages

 

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Tools for stress-free crew management http://www.inmca.com/Blog.asp?id=27 Wed, 28 Dec 2011 00:00:00 MSTWednesday, December 28, 2011

If you have a large work crew, it can be a nightmare trying to keep track of everyone’s availability, days off and overtime. Not to mention what happens when someone is sick or doesn’t show up for their regular shift.

Shift Shaper from Industrial NetMedia may be the answer.

Shift Shaper is a web-based application that takes the stress out of crew scheduling by tracking everyone’s hours on an online calendar, including overtime, days off, sick days and training days.

With Shift Shaper, rescue scheduling is a breeze! The smart system automatically sorts the overtime availability call list, ranking off-duty crew members according to Union rules for assigning overtime shifts. Start at the top of the list and work your way down until the shift is filled.

Shift Shaper tracks each crew member’s time off by day, month or year. It allows you to place limits on the amount of overtime and track the number of overtime hours. You can even track refused overtime, as per union rules.

Shift Shaper is an efficient program that takes the confusion out of scheduling, reducing the stress on managers and letting them put their time to better use!

Shift Shaper eliminates understaffing and overstaffing. Save money and headaches by having just the right number of crew members on the job every time.

With Shift Shaper you can review employee schedules, manage shift changes, use the call list to fill shortages, set up crew shortage alerts and ensure continuous crew coverage for every shift.

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Word of mouth advertising for your website http://www.inmca.com/Blog.asp?id=26 Thu, 15 Dec 2011 00:00:00 MSTThursday, December 15, 2011

Word of mouth is the cheapest, most effective form of advertising. Thanks to the Internet, you can now ‘spread the word’ about your business without actually saying a word, simply by encouraging other websites to link to your business website.

Link building works by combining word of mouth, networking and calling in favours.

It's all about trust

The idea behind link building is that the person posting the link obviously trusts the business in question to deliver quality products and services or he wouldn’t recommend it to his own customers.

It’s like having a friend tell you they got great service from a particular business. You’re going to trust first hand information from someone you know far more than anything you read in an ad, no matter how clever or compelling it is.

That ‘trust’ factor is what impresses the search engines. They consider every one of those links to be an endorsement of your business. So the more links you have, the better your website search engine ranking will be.

Goes both ways

Link building is not a one way street. The best way to encourage someone to link to your website is by offering to link back to their site.

Use your networking skills, talk to other business owners, particularly those whose businesses complement yours. You already share a similar customer base, why not help each other out?  If you operate a hardware store, for example, your website could exchange links with a contractor. Or a piano teacher could trade links with a music store.

As with every other aspect of your website, the goal is to improve your bottom line by increasing the number of customers who buy the products and services you are selling.

Every business that links to your website exposes your company to more potential customers.

One thing to keep in mind: while search engines do like to see lots of sites linking to your website, they also consider the quality and relevance of those links. According to Google's Webmaster Tools Help, the best way to gain relevant links is by creating unique, relevant content for your web pages; content that will generate interest and gain in popularity on the Internet. Just exchanging links with lots of people, purely for the sake of improving your search engine ranking might actually harm your reputation with the search engines.

Where do you start?

Creating a Facebook business profile page is probably one of the best ways to generate leads and links for your business. The average Facebook user has 130 friends. Every time someone ‘likes’ your Facebook page, they are agreeing to advertise for you because from that point on, your status updates will appear in their newsfeed for all of their friends to read.

Plus, the search engines love Facebook! Links from a Facebook page are considered to be of the highest quality, mainly because Facebook pages have the potential to be seen by so many people.

Ads on Facebook that link to your business website are another great tool. They can be targeted very specifically to appear on the home pages of people who are most likely to be interested in your products and services. In other words, only people who are likely to be interested in your business will see your facebook ad.

After that, link building is all about the leg work. Ask people in your network of friends, family and business associates to exchange links with you, especially if your businesses complement each other. Remind them that links are good for their website, too.

Your business only appears in the newsfeeds when you post something new, so take the time to make regular updates to your Facebook and other social networking sites, at least a couple of times a month.

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Wetaskiwin website design http://www.inmca.com/Blog.asp?id=25 Sat, 10 Dec 2011 00:00:00 MSTSaturday, December 10, 2011

Put your Wetaskiwin business on the map with a brand new website, designed by Industrial NetMedia.

INM is a Leduc web design company that helps Wetaskiwin businesses generate new customers using our expertise in web design, search engine optimization and Internet marketing.

INM will design a great looking website for your Wetaskiwin business and then use SEO techniques to make sure it gets noticed by the search engines and draws traffic to your business.

Search engine optimization (SEO) means using keywords and phrases to help your website rank higher on the search engines – Google, Yahoo, Bing, etc.

INM has worked with several clients in the Wetaskiwin area, including Alberta Box Company Inc., The Pipestone Flyer, Energy Flow Systems, Speth Drilling and Brides Eye View.

Maybe you already have a Wetaskiwin website, but it’s no longer bringing in new clients. Or maybe it’s just old and tired and needs an upgrade.

INM specializes in website rescue and redesign. We’ll rework the design, update the copy, upload new pics, apply the latest SEO techniques and trends and give your website a whole new lease on life.

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Attract more website visitors http://www.inmca.com/Blog.asp?id=23 Wed, 7 Dec 2011 00:00:00 MSTWednesday, December 07, 2011

Quick, what are the two things your website needs to be successful?

  1. Visitors
  2. Turn those visitors into customers

How do I get people to visit my website?

Your website is one of millions that exist around the world. Even in your own town or city, there are hundreds competing for the attention of local residents, many selling similar products and services. Most of your new clients should be coming to your business through your website, but how can people visit your site if they don’t even know you exist?

How can you make your website stand out from the crowd and convince even a fraction of those people to visit your site?

The answer lies in the somewhat mysterious process known as SEO.

SEO, or search engine optimization, is actually a pretty simple concept: figure out the keywords people use when searching for your products and services and then work those keywords into the content of your website so the people searching for your business can find it online. If you think about your own business, you could probably come up with a few keywords right off the bat. They are the words you would type into the search bar if you were trying to find something specific online. INM will seek out the most popular search terms for your business, the ones most people are probably going to use when searching for a particular product or service.

The ‘mystery’ lies in the complex rules and algorithms employed by the search engines that actually determine how websites will rank on their pages. Those rules and algorithms change frequently and each search engine – Google, Yahoo, Bing, etc. – has its own list.

Sounds complicated, but never fear! INM has mastered search engine optimization and has the inside track on the best ways to keep your website climbing the ranks of those search engine pages.

Turn searchers into visitors

So now your website is coming up high on the search engines. The next step is for the searcher to actually choose to visit your website instead of another one on the same search engine page. That’s where titles and descriptions come in. The title is basically a headline that is intended to grab the attention of the searcher and compel him to read the description. The description – also known as a metatag description – is a short paragraph that summarizes your website and gives the searcher a reason to click over to your site.

Once a person clicks over, they instantly change from searcher to website visitor. Mission accomplished!

Well, half of the mission, anyway.

Convert visitors into customers

So now you have people finding and visiting your website. That's great!

But it doesn't do you much good if they just visit and leave without engaging with your business in some way.

INM designs websites that help visitors connect to your business, starting with the compelling design, clever copy and interesting photos and graphics.

Then we install lead captures, contact forms and 'calls to action' that encourage visitors to take that next step.

Lead captures and calls to action are types of contact forms where visitors leave their contact information in exchange for something from the business - information, a price quote, a return call or e-mail, etc.

Once someone has provided their contact information, your business has gained a genuine lead and that person can legitimately be called a customer.

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Internet marketing & website design Camrose http://www.inmca.com/Blog.asp?id=22 Mon, 5 Dec 2011 00:00:00 MSTMonday, December 05, 2011

Just an hour down the road, you'll find Industrial NetMedia in Leduc, a website design and Internet Marketing company that specializes in helping your Camrose company bring in new customers.

Did you know most of your clients should be generated by your website? Industrial NetMedia knows how to help you make the most of your website, using search engine optimization and other Internet Marketing techniques and tricks.

Search engine optimization (SEO) simply means figuring out what keywords and phrases people use when looking online for the products and services you sell and then strategically embedding them into the content of your website. At INM, we are SEO experts and have the skills to help your website rank higher on the search engines.

Central Alberta is where we live and where we find most of our clients, including a few you might recognize: The Pipestone Flyer, Bosch Hydraulic Connections, Springer Valves, Leduc Co-op and Stageworks Academy of the Performing Arts. We would love to add your Camrose business to our growing list of satisfied web design and Internet Marketing clients.

Industrial NetMedia offers competitive prices on premium websites for small businesses on a budget. We also offer a 20% discount to non-profits and charitable organizations.

Our websites are custom built to suit your goals and your budget. Site Builder Tools make editing and updating your site as easy as using Microsoft Works. But INM is happy to take care of maintaining your Camrose website if that isn't something you want to do.

INM also does website rescue and redesign. If you have a website that is no longer generating new customers or just looks old and tired, let the experts at INM bring it back to life.

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Website design Fort McMurray http://www.inmca.com/Blog.asp?id=21 Thu, 1 Dec 2011 00:00:00 MSTThursday, December 01, 2011

Industrial NetMedia is a website design company based in Leduc.

We are experts in web design, copywriting, SEO, Internet Marketing and creating unique, compelling online and print advertising materials, including logos, business cards, e-mail letter campaigns and brochures.

We custom build premium websites to suit any budget. Start with our small business package and then add whatever extras you need, such as photo galleries, secure log-in-only areas or additional pages. Our custom Site Builder Tools make it easy to edit and keep your Fort McMurray website current. Of course, if you'd rather not, INM is happy to handle the maintenance and upkeep on your site.

Industrial NetMedia is very community minded. Here in Leduc we are active in our Chamber of Commerce and other local organizations. We also offer a 20% discount on products and services to any non-profit or charitable organization, such as Victim Services or FCSS.

INM has worked with companies of every size, from first time entrepreneurs to large corporations, and in just about every industry you can imagine - oil and gas; trades; construction; schools; health, wellness and self-improvement; pet care; weddings; etc.

INM specializes in website rescue and redesign. If you already have a website but it isn't getting the results you hoped for, let INM give it new life. We'll rejuvenate the design, overhaul the content, update the graphics and apply search engine optimization techniques, whatever it takes to ensure your website starts getting noticed by the search engines - Google, Yahoo, Bing, etc.

 

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Online Health & Safety Training courses http://www.inmca.com/Blog.asp?id=4 Wed, 30 Nov 2011 00:00:00 MST

Industrial NetMedia creates affordable, custom, online health and safety training courses – specific to your industry, your company, your policies and your people.

You provide the information, INM puts it all together into an easy-to-use training program that is available 24/7, anywhere your employees have Internet access.

With Safety Spot, your employees can complete their safety training at work, at home, even on the road, any time of the day or night.

Reduce costs

Sending employees away to training courses can be expensive. Online safety training courses from Safety Spot eliminate travel costs and the need for replacement workers.

Relevant training

With Safety Spot, your employees don’t waste their time and yours learning irrelevant information. The lessons, exercises and tests are all based on information you provide, using equipment and policies your employees will encounter every day on the job and set in locations they will actually recognize. Course administrators assign employees to individual courses and modules so they only take the ones they need.

Because we build the courses based on your information, Safety Spot training works for any industry – oilfield, food services, hospitality, construction, telecommunications, etc.

Safety training is not an option, but you can choose the most cost-effective, convenient, relevant way to get your employees up to speed and safely on the job in record time.

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Community-minded web design firm http://www.inmca.com/Blog.asp?id=18 Mon, 28 Nov 2011 00:00:00 MST

Industrial NetMedia knows what it’s like to be a small business because we ARE a small business, located in a small city. We know how important it is for businesses to work together and support each other and their community.

INM is proud to be an active part of the business community in Leduc and supports several local non-profit and charitable organizations, both financially and with donations of time.

Those organizations include the Leduc and District Chamber of Commerce; the Leduc Black Gold Rodeo Association; Leduc Drama Society; Leduc Links Connect; Leduc Victim Services; Rise Up Ministries; and Equitable Child Maintenance and Access Society.

INM offers competitive rates on services for small business owners on a budget. We also offer a 20% discount to non-profit and charitable organizations. Past clients include Victim Services, an Edmonton preschool and many people just starting out with a new online business.

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Cost-effective Internet ads http://www.inmca.com/Blog.asp?id=17 Sat, 26 Nov 2011 00:00:00 MSTSaturday, November 26, 2011

How many times have you paid for a newspaper ad or one on radio or TV, and wondered if it was really worth what it cost? Is there any real way to determine how many people actually paid attention and absorbed the information you were trying to impart with traditional media ads?

Advertising on the Internet is a whole new ball game.

The Internet is interactive. Customers can literally reach out and touch your online ad.

The Internet is dynamic. Online ads can be almost anything you want them to be. With animation, graphics, audio and video tracks, the possibilities are endless.

The Internet is immediate. Ads can be posted online and live within minutes.

The Internet is accountable. You can keep track of every time someone reads your online ad, either with a built-in tracker or by using pay-per-click ads.

Pay-per-click ads are just what they sound like: you are only charged when someone clicks on your ad so they can read it. That has to be the most cost-effective type of advertising ever invented!

Pay-per-click ads start as low as a few pennies per click, depending on where your ad is posted. The best part is that you have complete control over the amount you pay. For example, you could set a limit of $500 a week. When the clicking on your ad has reached that limit, the ad is turned off until the next cycle starts. So if your pay per click cost is 5 cents, when you reach that $500 limit you will know that 10,000 people have read your ad.

There are so many ways pay-per-click ads can benefit your business.

First of all, they help with budgeting. No longer do you have to wonder how much advertising might cost you next month. You set the limit.

Another benefit is that your ads end up being seen almost exclusively by those who are truly interested in your products and services. The reality is, we all encounter enough ads every day that it’s unlikely we would deliberately click one open unless we were really interested in what that ad was offering.

Online ads can be linked to your business website. They can be designed with lead captures built-in, so those who click on your ad can leave their contact information. They can be posted to the search engines, to facebook or other social media sites, to popular news or information sites or on the website of another business.

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Boost your website ranking http://www.inmca.com/Blog.asp?id=15 Thu, 24 Nov 2011 00:00:00 MST

A copywriter uses words to persuade people to take certain actions. A website copywriter has the added task of strategically embedding certain keywords and phrases into the content of a website to attract the attention of the major search engines.

"Google' it

Think back to the last time you turned to the Internet in an attempt to find some information. Maybe you would say you 'Googled' it. Google is certainly not the only search engine, but it is arguably the most well known. Yahoo and Bing are the other big ones that you've probably heard of and used.

Most of us use these search engines regularly, without giving much thought to how they actually work. The search engines, like Google, have devised a system that scans websites and uses a set of complicated algorithms to determine how those websites will rank on the search engine results page when certain key word phrases are typed in by the Internet surfer. The point being to give the searcher results that match as closely as possible to what he is looking for.

If you were searching for a mechanic to fix your car, for example, you wouldn't want the search engine to show you car washes, gas stations or movies with the word car in the title. You would want a list of mechanics and car repair shops, preferably in your local area, to get your car fixed as quickly and affordably as possible. That's what the search engines do, they filter the results to weed out the millions of websites that don't contain the information you are looking for and narrow your field of choices.

What's the word?

If you live in Leduc and are looking for someone to help treat your bad back, what would you type into the search bar? Leduc chiropractor; chiropractic services Edmonton, massage therapy Leduc, Leduc physical therapist ... as you can see, there are dozens of possibilities. INM seeks out the best keyword  phrases and works them into the content to bring your website closer to the top of the search engine rankings. This is known as Search Engine Optimization. The better the SEO, the higher the website will rank on the search engines.

Search Engine Optimization has been undergoing some major changes over the past couple of years. In the past, it might have been enough to simply stuff your website content with lots of strong key words to gain a good search engine ranking, not really considering how the content would sound to the actual humans you were hoping would find your website.

SEO in 2013 is more about writing content that appeals to those humans, rather than the search engines. In fact, search engines employ much smarter technology and algorithms today. This means you can write strong content, use keyword phrases naturally (rather than stuffing them in every which way) and still rank well because search engines are much better at determining context and relevance than they were even a couple of years ago.

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Internet Marketing from the ground up http://www.inmca.com/Blog.asp?id=14 Tue, 22 Nov 2011 00:00:00 MST

You would never consider starting up a new company without having a business plan in place. And that business plan would almost certainly include marketing ideas and strategies.

So why is it that so many business owners put up a website without even considering an Internet Marketing Plan?

Having a business website these days is a necessity. People expect it.

By people, I mean all of those potential customers out there who are looking for the best place to buy the products and services you are trying to sell.

But your website has to do more than sit there, looking pretty, waiting for people to notice it, because that just won't happen.

For your website to be effective, it has to be designed in such a way that it stands out from the crowd, ranks high on the search engines and converts Internet surfers into visitors to your website. Only then can you turn those visitors into customers.

Website goals, you say? That’s right. Before making any layout, content, keyword or photo choices, you need to decide exactly what it is that you want your business website to accomplish for your company.

Those goals are the foundation of your Internet Marketing Plan, nothing else will work or make sense until you have them in place.

What are your website goals?

Are you a new company that needs customers to get off the ground?

Maybe you’ve been in business a while but are looking to boost sales.

Maybe you’ve decided to start selling products and services online.

Could be that your business is expanding and growing and you want a fresh new website to help get the word out.

Or maybe you want an online presence to promote your business and advertise your phone number and address to new and existing clients.

Your goals and your Internet Marketing Plan are unique to your business and your situation.

INM will research your competition and their websites, apply our expertise in Search Engine Optimization to get just the right keywords and phrases into your content and use the various other strategies at our disposal, including social networking, ad words, link building and lead captures, to establish your Internet Marketing Plan and help you reach those website goals.

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Website titles and descriptions http://www.inmca.com/Blog.asp?id=16 Mon, 21 Nov 2011 00:00:00 MST

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) gets you noticed by the search engines and helps improve your ranking. But it's the titles and descriptions that help convince searchers that your site is the one they have been looking for. A top ranking on the search engines doesn't mean much if people still aren't choosing to click over to your website.

As the name suggests, the title, also known as the title tag, is the 'headline' that appears on the search engine page. Like any headline, the title should grab the searcher's attention and provide a snapshot of the products and services you offer.

Leduc - Edmonton Web Design company

Website design Alberta – experts in Search Engine Optimization

The description, also known as the metatag description, is the short paragraph that appears under the title. It gives you a chance to provide more info about your business and really let searchers know they have found the right website.

Edmonton web design and Internet Marketing specialists in Leduc. We are experts at creating dynamic Edmonton websites that dominate search engines.

You may have already noticed that the title and description are rich in keywords. SEO applies to every aspect of the website content and design - titles and descriptions are no different. If anything, strategic use of keywords in titles and descriptions is even more important than on the rest of the page.

The title and description are your one chance to sell your webpage to Internet surfers and persuade them to visit your site,

Put yourself in the mindset of the searcher. The more clear, concise and compelling the information in the title and description, the more likely you are to click over to that website. No one wants to waste time visiting a website that doesn't have what they are looking for so if your description is muddled or confusing, it's less likely someone will choose to visit your site.

Every page of your website has its own title tag and metatag description and provides another opportunity to use search engine optimization to draw traffic to your website.

The experts at Industrial NetMedia have mastered SEO and know how to write effective, compelling titles and descriptions that turn Internet surfers into website visitors.

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Multi-media presentations http://www.inmca.com/Blog.asp?id=13 Sun, 20 Nov 2011 00:00:00 MST

Impress your colleagues at the next AGM with a professional multimedia presentation that packages the necessary information in an interesting and memorable format. Create custom-built safety and training videos to bring new employees up to speed on your policies and procedures. Use video sales aids to connect with your customers and improve your numbers. Be the hit of the annual office Christmas party by presenting a hilarious slide show of candid pics.

Let the experts at Industrial NetMedia take the stress out of preparing for your next presentation by combining amazing graphics and photos with the necessary facts and figures and your selected music tracks to create professional-looking PowerPoint slide shows, CD-ROMs, training and promotional videos, sales aids or web-based presentations.

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Are you bored by your website? http://www.inmca.com/Blog.asp?id=12 Fri, 18 Nov 2011 00:00:00 MST

Stale colours, tired designs, outdated information, bad photos and you can never seem to find what you’re looking for.

If you find your own website boring, confusing or frustrating, imagine how your visitors feel!

Could be that’s why the calls have dried up. You know, the ones from people saying they found you through your website.

Don’t give up on your website! Let the experts at INM jumpstart your old website and get it working for you again!

We’ll start with a redesign of the home page layout, change the colour scheme, add in some sparkling new graphics, give the whole thing a fresh new look. INM can install social media links and lead captures to get the traffic flowing to your site again, set up a blog system so you can easily keep visitors and clients informed about anything new going on, and link your facebook or twitter feed right to your home page.

To really drive in the traffic, INM will do a search engine optimization (SEO) overhaul on your entire site. We’ll update the content, make sure the information is all current, and research the best keywords and phrases, the ones people actually use when looking for the products and services you are trying to sell. INM’s experts know how to use those keywords and phrases, strategically embedding them in the content of your website, to improve your site’s ranking on the search engines.

We’ll make sure your web page titles and descriptions are compelling. Titles and descriptions are what appear on the page after you type your search term into Google or Yahoo. They are your only chance to convince an Internet surfer to visit your website, so they have to be good! Remember: a high ranking on the search engines isn’t enough if your titles and descriptions don’t turn surfers into visitors.

But what if my website was built by another company?

Well, that’s where the rescue part comes in. INM can move your site over to our servers, rework the layout and content and basically bring it back to life. You can even keep your old domain name – or we’ll set you up with a new one if that works better for you.

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Site Builder Tools makes web editing easy http://www.inmca.com/Blog.asp?id=10 Wed, 16 Nov 2011 00:00:00 MST

It’s vital that you keep your website up to date. Nothing turns a visitor off faster than clicking over to your website and seeing outdated information. If you don’t care enough about your business to keep things current and fresh, why should they?

Unfortunately, many people are intimidated by the thought of actually making changes to a website page.

If the idea of editing your website pages gives you nightmares - or worse, is preventing you from setting up a website in the first place - Industrial NetMedia has the solution.

Thanks to INM’s custom-built Site Builder Tools, updating your website information is as easy as using Microsoft Word. Even those with only basic computer skills can learn to perform quick and easy updates.

Site Builder Tools is a part of every INM website design. With a quick tutorial from the experts at INM, you’ll soon be editing text, adding and deleting pictures and many other things you never thought you’d be able to do with your own website.

What else can Site Builder Tools do?

With Site Builder, headers, footers and sidebars can be edited all at once, with just a few keystrokes. This saves you countless hours, especially when your website grows beyond 10 or 20 pages.

Internet browsers are constantly being improved and upgraded, which can alter the look of your website. As the Internet grows and changes, so does Site Builder Tools. INM applies all relevant updates to your website so that it continues to function in the way you intended.

And you know, if you do run into problems with your website that you can’t resolve on your own, INM is available 24/7 to help get you back on track and your website back online.

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Learn to share with Social Media http://www.inmca.com/Blog.asp?id=9 Mon, 14 Nov 2011 00:00:00 MSTMonday, November 14, 2011

What’s trending on Twitter today? What’s the latest topic being discussed on Facebook?

What if people were talking about your website or telling their friends about the great service they got at your store or about an amazing new product they could only find through your business?

INM will install social media links that connect your website directly with Facebook, Twitter, Linked In, Youtube and other social networking sites so visitors can ‘like’ your site, make comments or share a link to your website.

It's a similar concept to the comment cards you used to see in restaurants, but social media links work so much better because they are immediate and easy for the customer to use, customers get to say whatever they want (not fill in some pre-written survey) and the information goes directly to other potential customers.

It’s no secret that word of mouth is the most effective - and cost effective - type of advertising. If someone you trust tells you they had a great experience with a certain business, chances are that’s where you’ll turn the next time you need what that business is selling.

When someone talks about your business on Facebook or Twitter, they are sharing that great experience with dozens of their friends and acquaintances all at once.

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Beaumont web design http://www.inmca.com/Blog.asp?id=20 Sat, 12 Nov 2011 00:00:00 MSTSaturday, November 12, 2011

What are your goals for your Beaumont business website? Industrial NetMedia specializes in web design and Internet Marketing for small businesses like yours.

We offer affordable, competitively priced products and services for businesses on a budget, starting with our small business package. Various add-ons and extras allow you to customize your website to your personality and your business needs.

But we don't stop there! Our SEO experts make sure your website gets noticed by the search engines, draws in visitors and turns them into customers.

We also specialize in website rescue and redesign. If your existing website is tired, outdated or just isn't getting the job done for your business anymore, the experts at INM can give it a new lease on life.

Industrial NetMedia has designed websites, logos and print advertising materials for several Beaumont and area businesses, including Berube Homes, Ensign, Ellerslie Road Preschool and Hitek Nisku.

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Write it right http://www.inmca.com/Blog.asp?id=7 Fri, 11 Nov 2011 00:00:00 MST

Copywriting is the art of using words to inform, persuade and/or convince someone of something.

In terms of web design, professional copywriting informs about the business, convinces visitors to stay on the site and persuades them to buy the business’s products and services.

Good copywriting grabs the reader’s attention

It isn’t often that you go looking for advertisements, yet you know you encounter dozens of them everyday - on TV, on the radio, in newspapers, on roadside billboards and online. Think about a couple of ads you noticed today. What made them stand out from the rest? Why did you remember them and forget most of the others?

The first objective of copywriting in web design is to capture the reader’s attention and hold it. This is why headlines are so important. Headlines are your first chance to make an impression on your reader. If the headline grabs their attention, they will probably read the first paragraph. If the first paragraph is good, they will continue reading and so on.

If the headline on the web page doesn’t grab them, they will be gone.

A second objective is to impress your web page on people’s memories so the next time they are thinking about the products and services you sell, your name is the one that comes to mind.

A third objective is to have that website page or ad read by as many people as possible. This can happen a couple of different ways. One is by having people see your website and tell their friends how great it is. Another is by driving traffic to your website using Search Engine Optimization (SEO). In fact, if you want your website to help grow your business and reach your Internet Marketing goals, both of those things have to happen.

Good copywriting is customer focussed

What is the one thing people care about more than anything else? Themselves!

If you want to keep someone’s attention, talk about them and the things they are interested in. Talk about what’s in it for them if they stay on your website. Tell them about all the ways they will benefit from doing business with your company. Give them a reason to contact you for more information.

Good copywriting is easy to read

As important as the words themselves is the way they are presented on the page. For most people, a large, solid block of text is intimidating and they won’t even attempt to read it. It doesn’t matter how clever the copy is if the website visitor is turned off before he reads the first line.

It’s better to have the text broken up into shorter, easy to read paragraphs, using subheads, graphics and bullet lists. If the text layout encourages them to read the first paragraph, then that clever copy can actually have the chance to grab their attention and keep them reading.

INM's experts know how to create web pages that are appealing and readable.

Search Engine Optimization

SEO simply means using keywords and phrases to increase your website’s ranking on the search engines. The trick to SEO is figuring out exactly which keywords and phrases people use when they are looking online for the products and services you sell.

For example, if someone living in Leduc is looking for a web design company, what words will they type into the Google search bar? Web design Leduc, Edmonton website design, web design companies, web design for small businesses - the possibilities are endless.

INM has mastered SEO and our experts know how to choose the best keywords and phrases and strategically embed them into the content of your website to draw the attention of the search engines and attract visitors.

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Gone in three seconds http://www.inmca.com/Blog.asp?id=3 Mon, 7 Nov 2011 00:00:00 MST

Do you know what it means to 'bury the lead'?

Essentially it means hiding the most important, interesting or attention-grabbing information somewhere down the page rather than putting it up front and centre where it belongs.

The phrase has its origins in the newspaper industry. People who read newspapers tend to skim for the most interesting bits. If you want someone to read your whole article, you have to catch their attention and give them a reason to keep reading.

If you put the most interesting or attention grabbing facts too far down the page, your readers may not stick around long enough to even see it.

It’s the same thing with websites. When people are surfing the Internet, they tend to skim around until they find something that grabs their attention. The key is to hook them fast. Statistics suggest you have less than three seconds before they move on.

Why is it so important to keep visitors on your site?

There are several reasons, actually, the simplest one being the longer a visitor stays on your website, the more likely he or she is to become a paying customer, which is the whole point of having a website in the first place – to sell your products and services.

Another reason is to keep your bounce rate low. When someone visits your website and immediately clicks away, that’s called a bounce. The visitor didn’t find a compelling reason to stick around so they left.

Search engines obviously don’t like to see a high bounce rate, as that implies there is something about your website that turns people off. Once the search engines notice a high bounce rate, they will reduce the ranking of your website.

What can you do in three seconds?

In short, tell your visitor what's in it for him if he hangs around a little longer. Keep your main message simple and strong. Use bold phrases and short paragraphs. Make good use of graphics, pictures and colours.

Be creative! Remember that people love discounts and specials. They love to feel they are getting in on some deal that no one else knows about. Make them an offer, such as call and mention our website for 10% off your next purchase.

Be careful not to promise something you aren't willing to deliver on, however. When people get great service they will tell people. If they get bad service they will tell EVERYONE!

Try adding a Call to Action (CTA) that compels your visitors to leave their name and e-mail address in exchange for something they want - a free quote, an ebook, more information about a particular product or a blog subscription, to name a few.

To learn more strategies for driving traffic to your website - and keeping it!

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Web hosting all about customer service http://www.inmca.com/Blog.asp?id=5 Thu, 3 Nov 2011 00:00:00 MST

According to Wikipedia, a web host is a company that leases out space on a server and provides Internet connectivity to its clients.

Industrial NetMedia is a web host that does so much more!

INM doesn’t just set up your website and send you off, armed with nothing more than log in and password information and a bunch of buttons you are afraid to click on.

At INM, we put the service back in web host service. And we’re available any time if you experience problems with your website or other online services.

The best part is, you can be as ‘hands-on’ or hands-off’ as you want. Affordable maintenance packages allow you to hand the reins over to INM and let us have complete control of your site’s functionality.

Or we’ll teach you how to manage your website, update content using Site Builder Tools, add and delete pages, change out photos, etc.

But what if my website wasn’t built by INM?

That’s OK. We can take over hosting and administration of an existing website, whether you built it yourself or had it done by another web design company.

If your website also needs to be updated, refreshed or renovated, we can do that, too! In fact, we specialize in website rescue and redesign.

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Edmonton websites for less http://www.inmca.com/Blog.asp?id=19 Wed, 26 Oct 2011 00:00:00 MSTWednesday, October 26, 2011

Industrial NetMedia builds websites that generate new customers and help grow your business. We are located just 15 minutes south of Edmonton on the QEII, across the highway from Edmonton International Airport. In fact, it's probably an easier drive here from Edmonton's south side than to the city's downtown!

We provide web design, Internet Marketing and other services to many Edmonton and area businesses, including Ellerslie Road Preschool, Seasonal Impact Group, Argus Machine, Arctic Spas Edmonton and Africa Untamed.

Once we have created your custom-designed website, we'll put our SEO experts to work making sure your website ranks high on the search engines and brings in visitors.

Keeping your website up to date has never been easier, thanks to Site Builder Tools that make editing your web pages as simple as using Microsoft Word. Of course, if you'd rather not go there, we're happy to keep the site current for you.

We also offer a line of innovative online business solutions, such as HR Director, News Director and Ad Manager. Call 780-739-5850 today to learn how these products can help grow your business.

All of our websites, marketing packages and products are custom-built and can be adapted to suit any budget. Affordable maintenance packages let you control as much or as little of the website upkeep as you want.

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