Join Mhairi at Small Business BC to learn about the basics of social media for Small Business.
Thursday, December 4, 2014 – 1:00pm to 3:30pm
Social Media and On-line Marketing Tactics
Just because you know what social media is, does not mean that you necessarily understand how to use it to grow and develop your business. This workshop focuses on understanding social media, what is it and how it’s connecting people.
- Learn how/if social media should be an important part of your marketing strategy.
- Understand what opportunities are available for you to leverage social media for business growth and prospecting.
This seminar is hosted at Small Business BC in Vancouver and delivered to other locations via live webinar. All webinar participants will also receive access to a recording for seven days after the live session.
Buy Now, choose your preferred location:
Help Us Spread the Warmth
All this cold weather has me thinking how thankful I am to have a roof over my head and warm clothes to wear and especially of those less fortunate who don’t have these luxuries. So when Marc Smith put out the call for participants in his annual Thirty Days of Kindness project I jumped at the chance to take part.
On November the 28th we will be collecting warm items in and around Vancouver: gently used or new blankets, hats, gloves and coats. If you have any of these items that you no longer use or have grown out of or if you would like to donate a new item please let me know.
Marc and I will be collecting these items to donate to Blanket BC a local charity that has assisted more than 50 other charitable organizations, shelters and Churches that open their space to the homeless and families in need of help.
Please contact email@example.com to arrange for pick up on the 28th. Thank you for helping us spread the warmth!
Design and development aren’t the only things you need to factor when launching your small business website. It is very important in the design and development phase to consider optimizing your site so that it is more likely to be found by your target audience when they search on Google.
Here are some simple SEO pointers I shared with a client recently to help his WordPress website rank higher – I thought you might be interested in too:
1. Each page on your website including your blog posts should have a META Title Description and one keyword in the META – you can use as many keywords as you like in the content just don’t use them overly repetitively.
In order for you to rank more highly for that keyword in Google search your keyword should be contained:
- The in the URL of the page
- In the headings on the page
- In the content of the page (less than 6%) rather than repeating the keyword too often you can use other secondary keywords.
- In the META Title – Should be less than 60 characters in the format: [Company Name | Short Description of page]. The description should include keyword you have identified as the one most likely to get you the most targeted traffic.
- The META Description which should be less than 160 characters and should tell people what you do and who for with a call to action i.e. find out more / sign up now.
2. Use the All in One SEO Plugin to add the META Titles and Descriptions to our WordPress site – you add them by going to each page separately and scrolling to the bottom where it allows you to enter your META ‘Title”, ‘Description’ and keyword. All in One SEO has a red, amber, green light system that helps you to visually determine whether your SEO ducks line up.
3. Brainstorm, research keywords and use your knowledge of the industry to come up with words that people would use to find you. Put yourself in the shoes of your audience. Use Google to try out different terms and see what the results are. Come up with a list of a few words for each page. Check in on Google Webmaster and Analytics to see what words people are using to search and find you and include those on the list too. Use Google Analytics Keyword Tools to research keyword volume and competition based on PPC data and Trends to track trends over time. You are aiming to have a main keyword (which will be used in each area outlined in 1 above) as well as secondary relevant keywords that you can incorporate into your content on the pages of your site.
Need help with SEO? It’s what we do. Call 604 909 3532 to see if we might be a good fit.
A1 Window’s old website looked fine but it was difficult and costly to update: the interface was cludgy and it often took a while to get changes made because they had to go back to the developer each time they wanted anything done.
A1 needed a website that they could easily manage, add content to in house and that generated leads. After going through an in depth proposal process they decided to work with Out-Smarts. We built them a brand new, easy to update WordPress site complete with calls to action and lead flow integration.
They can now add pages, post content and upload new product images and information in house easily and quickly. Not only that but the new site allows them to promote their latest specials front and centre.
I was watching the Daily Show the other night – maybe you saw it too – there was a segment about journalism (and side boobs…) that intersected journalism students and their idea of what headlines are best with a guy from Gawker sharing his experience of what drives click online. The students were using traditional approaches using headlines that actually described the content of the article but were a little boring whilst the Gawker guy was all in for the sex and sensationalism sells even if the titles had little reflection on the content.
It got me thinking about blogging and how challenging it can be to come up with blog titles that are short, sweet and compel people to click whilst at the same time representative of what the article is about.
There a a tonne of things we have to think about when coming up with a good blog title. We have to juggle grabbing attention with making it authentic all within the boundaries of SEO and search limitations. And then I found this great infographic on the Hubspot blog originated from Quick Sprout.:
To encapsulate the things you need to consider for crafting great headlines (I’ve added a couple too):
1. Make them concise and upbeat – keep your titles short so that they look good when people find them via Google search
2. The perfect length for a headline is 6 words – less word = more likelihood of retention
3. The first word and last words count the most so make them stand out.
4. Speak directly to your audience and make it personal.
5. Include adjectives that are interesting such as effortless, strange, essential.
6. Use negative wording – I am not a big fan of this as I see too much manipulation through negativity online.
7. Use numbers rather than words like using 10 tips in the title rather than Ten.
8. Go the extra mile – make it intriguing. The example used on the infographic is 15 Ways to Study (9 is a must!).
9. Formula: Trigger Word or Number + Interesting Adjective + Keyword + Promise – a lot to fit in to a title!
10. This one is mine: Once you have a great headline stick it in a Google search to see if other bloggers have used it. You are aiming for something unique but with all of the content online it’s hard to achieve, if it is though you can get a windfall of clicks.
Today Out-Smarts launched this brand new website for Pam Schmidt Coaching and Consulting.
Pam is a Vancouver based consultant specialising in corporate change management and personal coaching. She wanted a simple, stunning and easy to navigate site that would reflect her personality and showcase her services and experience. She also wanted a site that was easy to manage and to grow. We worked with her to develop her logo and website design and to create a CMS based WordPress site.
Here it is – it’s so fresh you can still smell that new website smell!
In view of the new legislation coming into law soon, I would like to personally share Out-Smarts E-Manifesto with you so that you understand our commitment to you in these our electronic communications.
Out-Smarts E Manifesto
1. Out-Smarts builds business on trust and relationships – not by using slimy sales tactics – we don’t cold call nor do we send spam and we never will.
2. Out-Smarts is committed to adding value and providing Internet and social media marketing information that you can take and apply for yourself. All newsletter communication from us will be educational and NEVER aimed at selling you something you don’t want.
2. Out-Smarts values your privacy and will never share your contact email with third parties or anyone else – unless you specifically ask us to (in writing)!
3. Out-Smarts newsletters will continue to be infrequent (4 per year or fewer) and we will never bombard you with content you don’t need or want.
4. All newsletter communications will contain a mechanism allowing you to easily unsubscribe at any time (usually in both the header and the footer).
5. We will never send you unsolicited communications via text, SMS, IM or Direct Messages on social networks. Promise!
You have my word.
With the Canadian Anti Spam Legislation just days away from becoming the law, here are 12 tips to help you get opt ins and to remain email compliant. If in any doubt or you have any questions, consult a lawyer.
1. Sort your lists – if you already have an opt in process then those contacts on the list that have opted in (either on your website or through filling out a form) don’t need to re opt in. Remember to keep track of them. The rest do, so get ready to send out a communication to those you have implied consent from to get them to give you express consent.
2. There are several exemptions rules such as family members who don’t not need to opt in. Read this post. If your business is as a political party or charity then you are exempt from the rules too.
3. Make sure that your opt in email and all further communications include:
- clear unsubscribe links so that people can remove themselves from the list easily and at any time
- your name, company name and address
- an outline of why they are receiving your communication
4. After you have send out your opt-in email, you have to remove the people from your list that don’t opt in so make sure you have accounted for this in your email process and that you are easily able to track. Most newsletter tools like MailChimp facilitate this although there are varying degrees of easiness in doing so. Delete those that don’t opt in so that you never, ever contact them again.
5. Put in place processes to help you track future subscribers both online and off. This should include having a double opt in when people subscribe via your website (this is not mandatory but more of a safety net just in case). In person you should create a template that states clearly what people are signing up for then have them fill out their contact info to be added.
6. You can’t collect email addresses at trade shows any more and simply add them to your newsletter and you shouldn’t anyway because it’s rather a slimy tactic. Instead have people fill out a form that states clearly that they are subscribing. There are also apps like Chimpedeedo that facilitate this. We haven’t use these so if you have please share your take.
7. If you have a subscription opt widget in on your website make sure it is worded right so that peope know exactly what they are subscribing to. Remember the double opt in for this too.
8. Each newsletter or communication you send should state clearly why you are sending and have an easy to unsuscribe link preferably right at the top. Again most newsletter providers make this easy for you to do.
9. Get consent from people in real life – you can’t just add someone to your list because you met them at a networking event. Verbal consent is okay but it is hard to prove so a good idea might be to get new contacts to write newsletter subscribe on the back of their cards. Make sure and keep them in a file though just in case.
10. Never harvest or buy email email addresses. EVER. This is cheap and tacky and says exactly that about your brand. Who wants to do business with someone or some company they can’t trust from the get go?
11. Add value rather than overtly selling. No one likes to be inundated with emails that have the sole purpose of selling your products or services in a cheap and nasty way so instead why not find creative ways to add value for your recipients and tell them something valuable that they don’t already know. Get creative.
What is CASL and why you need to know.
When is it okay to make contact Electronically – CASL
Canadian Anti Spam Legislation comes into force on July 1st. After this date you will no longer be able to send electronic communication via Email, SMS, Social Media or IMS (basically any electronic communication means) and could face hefty fines if you do so unless they fall under the following:
CASL Recipient Exemptions
- you are sending to people you have personal relationships with such as a close friend, family member (not everyone who likes you on Facebook though!)
- you are sending to employees or contractors
- recipients are business partners or service providers
- they are current clients who have ongoing business with you
- if a customer has contacted you in the last 6 months – then it is okay to reply
- they are someone you have a legal issue with
- if the recipient is out with Canada – there are 116 exempted countries
- charities and not surprisingly, political parties are exempt (some of the worst offenders in my mind!)
- if your communication is about a safety issue, warranty or recall pertaining to your products and services
- if your communication is providing information about an account, product use, subscription or ongoing business relationship
- if you are a digital firm providing updates or patches to users then you are good to contact them
- if you have been referred – but remember to make it clear who you are, why you are contacting them and who referred you
New Canadian Anti Spam laws come into effect on July the 1st 2014. These changes affect us all or at least anyone with an inbox and especially those with a small business. The legislation is aimed at reducing the amount of electronic spam we get and with fines upwards of $1m for non compliance (individuals) and $10m (companies), everyone who cares is scrambling to meet the deadline – you’ve probably already received a flurry of emails asking you to opt in.
Personally, I use Gmail which does a fine job of filtering out spam. I don’t expect that the laws will do anything to deter those who have no standards.
Most small businesses have been going about building their email lists and communicating electronically in reputable ways for years. These are the companies that will be impacted by this change in the law, their lists, which, for the most part, have been built reputably, will be decimated and not only will they lose this investment they will also be faced with having to invest more in order to track their compliance and in having to find new ways to prospect.
One great things about the new law though is that it is forcing us to rethink our digital marketing best practises and that can’t be all bad – there’s always room for improvement.
We all hate spam and we all want to stay on the right side of the law so here’s a quick guideline about what CASL is and why you need to know. It is the first in a series of posts we will be making in the lead up to the July 1st deadline so watch this space for more. And remember, we’re not lawyers so you should get a second opinion from a qualified individual if necessary.
What is CASL
Bill C28 introduces sweeping measure to deter electronic spam. The act applies to all communications sent by Canadian companies, to Canadian companies or messages simply routed through Canadian servers. This includes any electronic message sent by email, SMS, Mobile, IM and social media.
Who Needs to Know
If you have an inbox or your communicate electronically you need to know about this. Basically this means you!
In a Nutshell
As of July 1st you could face huge fines if you communicate electronically with anyone in Canada who hasn’t given you explicit consent to do so. The law does not apply if you are sending out with the country nor does it apply to charities.
What Is Consent
There are 2 types of consent: a) express and b) implied. Express is the one that is important and if you don’t have it you basically have to get those who implied consent to opt in to having you communicate to them
Consent can be obtained either in writing or orally. In either case, the onus is on the person who is sending the message to prove they have obtained consent to send the message. In order to obtain express concept, you have to contact them before the deadline to encourage them to opt in. Your communication has to be written in a way that makes it clear what they are consenting to and should include:
Company phone number
Company postal address
CASL Resources you might find useful:
Government of Canada CASL Site
Reminding Businesses about Anti-Spam Laws in Canada
Is Your Business or Charity Prepared for the New Anti-Spam Law