Blog http://www.inmca.com/ en-us Wed, 26 Mar 2014 00:00:00 MSTimages/header.jpghttp://www.inmca.com/ So You Have a Website. What Now? http://www.inmca.com/Blog.asp?id=68 Wed, 26 Mar 2014 00:00:00 MST

Don’t just sit there when you’re off and running.

You have finally bitten the bullet and gotten yourself a website 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 site is complete, you are hoping it will make your sales graph leap skyward and you can sit back and simply wait for the profits to start rolling in. Unfortunately, however, your webpage isn’t like the sign in front of your store that remains unchanged for many years. Your website must be a dynamic, constantly evolving, representation of your company for it to attract visitors.

 

If I already like it, why change it?

 

In order for your potential customers to find you, you must make your website 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.

 

Who’s got time for that stuff?


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.
 

Don’t get caught in the image trap.
 

When using images for your website, 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 does it all the time, but if you use them for your company webpages, 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. Using someone else’s image 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.
 

How do I protect myself from lawyer letters?


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.


Is there a less complicated way of using legal images?

 

The simple answer is yes, but will involve either time or money. 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.

 

What else can I do to change up my site?


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

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”, or so you think.
Here’s the good news, though. There really are many magic words you can use to get more sales and in this report, we will explore the top ten. They may not be exotic-sounding like “al la peanut butter sandwiches” or the other arcane incantations already mentioned, but they still work almost magically. 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 are 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 that a sales person 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 MSTThursday, March 20, 2014

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. 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 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 or you will appear robotic.
     
  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 MSTThursday, March 20, 2014

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 MSTThursday, March 20, 2014

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 MSTThursday, March 20, 2014

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 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. 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

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

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

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 the showroom to keep them looking fresh but made sure the products on the shelves 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
 

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

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 he have kids? Is he a sports fan? 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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Why You Need a Website http://www.inmca.com/Blog.asp?id=61 Thu, 20 Mar 2014 00:00:00 MSTThursday, March 20, 2014

Meet Jack and Jill

Jack is a small business person. It’s a one-man show; just him and his bobcat. 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 but has no idea how. Jack really needs a website badly but thinks it expensive and that he is not cut out for all this Internet stuff. He still owns a flip phone.

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. 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 don’t seem to help all that much having experimented with them on a limited basis. Jill obviously needs a website, 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. A website is 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.

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. Yellow Pages listings, while also available around the clock are not in a medium people spend hours in pleasurable “surfing”. 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 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 the farmers market.

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 that is looking for someone to clear an oil lease, has no idea who he is. When the oilman searches for a area 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 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 levels 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, both Jill and Jack can draw 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 with key words, 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 industry 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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INM on SEO 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. It 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 SEO gurus in the social media landscape. They all are hard at it, parsing equations, developing 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 an SEO expert wanting to share their optimization theories; often for a price. This is because if you do SEO properly, in conjunction 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 totally 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 an SEO guru 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 SEO as the Holy Grail of modern 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 using various techniques to force your way to the top of Internet search pages such as Google, Yahoo and Bing. SEO gurus study how very specific layouts of a website’s information will affect the search engine rankings. They know that making even minor adjustments can have a demonstrable effect on placement. 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, 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 Yelp or people flaming you on Facebook. Worse, it might be an issue much more serious where reporters from all over the world 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 leaves a bad review for poor customer service, it can seem like a crisis. Bear in mind, however, that the Chinese character for “crisis” is a combination of two words; danger and opportunity.

It’s is important to deal with issues promptly. How you deal with issues early on is very important. Your company reputation is at stake.

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 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 delete someone’s bad review. This is actually an opportunity for you to demonstrate the responsiveness of your customer service team. Think of it 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, 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. Make sure someone with 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. 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. 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 needs to feel that the situation is being handled competently. It does not matter how well you and your team can handle the crisis, it matters how you communicate that you have a plan.
  5. Make sure your messages are focused by staying on topic. Don’t try to divert attention.
  6. 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. 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. 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. 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 ever joke about the situation or belittle anyone. Be very caring towards the victims.
  11. Don’t ever compare your situation to the victims. It is not about you. Don’t play “poor me”.
  12. Make an offer that shows that you are capable of solving the problem. This is now a cost to build your brand, not any specific product. The price to rectify the situation is simply one of the costs of effective, crisis-resistant marketing.
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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 MST

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.

Ad Director is available exclusively through Industrial NetMedia. Call 780-739-5850 today to get started!

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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.

Contact Industrial NetMedia today for a demo of Site Builders Tools easy web management system.

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

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.

Call 780-739-5850 today or use our online contact form to talk to our experts about your social media campaign.

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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.

INM includes a mobile responsive site with all new websites. As mobile devices continue to gain popularity, it will become more and more important for your website to be functional on phones and tablets, as well as desktop and laptop computers.

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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

By Mike Kuefler

Project Manager, Industrial NetMedia

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 MST

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!

To learn more about any of INM’s online business products, check out our website at www.inmca.com or call 780-739-5850.

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

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.
Industrial NetMedia is taking the lead on this issue by building responsive formatting into all of the websites we develop. Dedicated mobile websites are also available if clients want to go that route. By choosing to work with INM, our clients will find that their websites work well on all types of devices.

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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 dubble 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 rittled 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 credability? 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.
Still don’t believe it? What went through your mind when you noticed the spelling errors in the above article?
For the record, this writer does know how to spell double, riddled and credibility.


INM is an Edmonton Web Development company with a focus on Internet Marketing, Social Media and Search Engine Optimization. We also specialize in Website Rescue and Redesign, taking old, tired or outdated websites and bringing them back to life.
 

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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?

Industrial NetMedia is an Edmonton Web Design company that specializes in Internet Marketing, Search Engine Optimization and Social Media. For more information or to arrange a free consultation, please call 780-739-5850 or visit www.inmca.com

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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 cliché 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 predesigned 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.

Let the professionals at Industrial NetMedia in Leduc take the guesswork out of your online marketing plan. Call 780-739-5850 or visit www.inmca.com today to book your free consultation.

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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.

Industrial NetMedia has thoroughly researched the new Facebook Timeline format and we’ve already updated our own and several clients’ pages, including installing apps and designing unique cover photos. If your business’s Facebook page needs a new look, INM can help. Visit our Facebook page or call 780-739-5850 today to arrange a free consultation.

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