Marketing - Watering the Money Tree of Business. In Pitt Meadows, suburb of Vancouver, CanadaP-Zip Marketing brings decades of marketing and business experience in all sizes of business together with over 20 years of experience with the internet, to help your business market effectively to today's technologically connected customers.
Dealing Locally but Working Globally - a Vancouver, BC area Business
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Canadian Version of CAN-SPAM Act is "Worse"

General News

Well, not worse if you are a typical Netizen trying to use email and your computer for real work or pleasure, but for those of us who use email for our business communications it may turn out to be a real pain.

Bill C-28, Canada's Anti-Spam Legislation. That's the title of the page that introduces you to what I feel is a very tough and potentially (for some companies who just don't get it) devastating piece of new legislation. In contrast to the CAN-SPAM act in the US, this law has a "sundown" period of only 2 years on contacts without getting them to re-up to your email list, or after your commercial transaction that legitimises your contact with them.

The potential penalties are huge - up to $1 million per day! 

The major questions are - what will be in the regulations and what will be the actual fervor this law is prosecuted under?

Over and above the email sections, this law also deals with the likes of unauthorized installation of software on someone else's computer and prohibits the collection of personal information by such programs.

Website Redo - Part 2 - What Tools and Identify The Goal(s)

Web Site Redo

Identify the Goals of Your Website

The Old Goals

When you first had a business website put together your goals in doing so may not have been entirely clear. Some companies did it simply because "it was the thing to do" in this new (early 1990's) internet age. They'd purchased a domain name and somehow it just seemed right, once the internet evolved to include the facility called the World Wide Web, to create a web site.

If you were really early in the game (1994) then you could have ended up with a site that was largely text with a few GIF (256 color block graphics) images. Not too much later "continuous tone" JPG graphics were included and your site probably included some fairly fancy graphics. Many design houses spend hours and days (and charge tremendous prices) creating and then carving up fancy graphics into the pieces necessary to create borders and buttons and getting tables and iframes to fit "just so" so that the site looked like the pages of a brochure - at least on one or two browser types.

If your site has been updated in the past 5 years or so it likely has evloved to include "Cascading Style Sheets" (CSS) - but it still looks like a brochure - maybe on more browser types if the webmaster knows there stuff.

The goal of many of these sites was simply to be first a "place-holder" for the domain - and then maybe to augment the physical paper brochures and business cards that marketing produced and salesmen gave out. In many cases it saved printing costs and mailing costs and that pretty much was it. Recently, if the webmaster or in-house web person was on the ball, the key words in the site may have brought some people to the site via search engines.

But that was it! The rest of the interaction with customers and potential customers was done by phone and in person, or possibly by email.

But there's more to the web today.

Only recently have the tools to craft sites that build pages "on the fly" based on scheduled events, external events, viewer input and preferences come down in price (hey, free is pretty good!) and up in capabilities to the point where the average business can afford to use these tools to truly craft a site that is more than just a brochure on the screen.

Now the active site is practical, what exactly is it that you hope to accomplish? What CAN you accomplish? Read on...

Website Redo - Why and How?

Web Site Redo

First in a series on redoing your existing website

The web today is so different from what it was even as little as a couple of years ago. It is far more interactive. This means it is drawing in more and more people who formerly were only "looky-loos" and they are providing feedback, commentary and invective about what they do with products/services as well as what they find good/bad in their use of those products and services.

Because the web has changed, the typical small business web site needs to change too - and so too does the small business attitude toward the web need to change. The web is no longer just the realm of a business-card or brochure style web presence. Today the web needs to be the focus, or at least one of the major focusses of your customer interactions.

In addition, a recent Forester study - US Interactive Marketing Forecast 2009 to 2014 predicts that the interactive (i.e. web 2.0) will cannibalize traditional media which means that you will have to at least do something on the web in addition to what you do with advertising and marketing in traditional media.

Why We Cater To Home and Small Businesses

General News

The "Homepreneurs" are finally getting recognized as the powerhouse in the economy that they are. We've known this for many years, having been home-based for most of the past 40 years.

That's why it's nice to see the opinion expressed by Emergent Research for Network Solutions.

Here at P-Zip Marketing, we help you deal with both the technologies of home and small business as well as the marketing of your business. Our parent, Pacific Data Capture, deals with all manner of technologies and systems, including remote facilities and integration.

If you're working from home, especially in the Vancouver, BC area but really, anywhere, please give us a call.

Launch Your Web Sooner Rather Than Later

General News

We have to learn from our mistakes too - here's one.

A long-time customer of mine decided they wanted to put together a new social site beside their already very active and profitable base site. The social site was in some respects a reaction to the fact that there was some new competition to their main site that was using social software - and not doing a very good job of it I might add - but that "might" take away from their main site's popularity.

We had a meeting at which I suggested the possibility of using the open source package ELGG - at that time a fairly new social software package that I'd done some testing on and that I was fairly confident would not only do what was necessary, but do it quickly and inexpensively - while allowing the site to grow and add features over time. This I explained would allow us to inexpensively test the waters of "vertical market" social sites for their market, and get us up and running quickly enough that the impact of others jumping onto the band wagon would be met with "we're already here". ELGG had more than enough features and abillites at that time to do a better job than any of the earstwhile compeitors in their market had done - and with a bit of help from their webmaster in pulling some graphics together as corner-pieces, the site could be up and running in a weekend.

 

Why You Should Use A Content Manager for Your Website

General News

My daughter-in-law has been struggling with the creation of a couple of new web sites, one for her boss' business and one for her seasonal wreath business she shares with her mother.

She's been doing all the design using a graphics program, then writing the content and doing page layouts - for more than a month now.

Last week I sat her down beside me and created her wreath site for her - in about 1/2 hour from start to finish.

OK - to be sure, it was nothing like what she thought she wanted but then again, it was up, running, submitted to the search engines and available for her to chop and change and add content from anywhere on the internet she could log in from. She didn't have to have the page layout software on the computer she used - in this case borrowed from her mother - so was not tied in time or place. A standard web browser enabled system was all - and I know she has one at home because she loves the Linux system I gaver her earlier this year but that's another story.

Anyway, she loves it!

You might be interested in why and how  P-zip came to be doing this kind of web site in stark contrast to the really pretty and minimally functional ones that the web is litered with.

The Power of Interview

Services

Today's customers are skeptical. They take a long time to warm up to new business relations, preferring to deal more and more with the ones they know. They revere WOM (Word of Mouth) information from those they trust, and getting to the point where they hear positively about you, your products and business can be a very trying experience.

This is where the paid personal interview comes in handy.

Unlike its cousin the personal advertising spot, the personal interview done by a well known interviewer works fully into the viewer's world in similar fashion to word of mouth. Even as little as 5-10 minutes will put a potential customer at ease, but if your product is complex and the subject is one that is near and dear to the customer's heart, like finance, then a series of one hour interviews may make all the difference in the world.

That's what Dan Walkow of Seabank Capital is finding. Dan's company has arranged for Dan to be featured monthly on David Ingram's Around the World webcast show. In addition to the live show during which there may be call-ins, the shows are archived and featured on David's site - and linked directly to the Seabank Capital site.

Tag: video streaming video interview marketing

Around the World with David Ingram

General News

P-zip Marketing's technical division, Pacific Data Capture, has been working with David Ingram, aka "The Taxman" on his new live streaming online call-in and talk show - Around The World.

Setting up and marketing shows like this and getting you interviews on them is just one of the services we provide.

 

Effective Newsletters Today - Part 1 - Getting it There

Services

Back in the days before compters and networks became mainstream - in fact back before most people had access to a computer at all, businesses used to create newsletters to keep in touch with their customer base.

The newsletter was created and printed, typically by a professional service, and stuffed into an envelope along with maybe a few coupons or other items, and mailed via 3rd-class or sometimes first-class post to the customers whose address you had. Prior to the computer revolution, the addresses might have been kept on metal plates that were used to imprint the address on the envelope - and might also be used to address invoices and statements.

Returned mail was checked and someone went through and tried to get in touch with those who had moved - by telephone (we're still in the communications age - just not the computer age)

If you wanted to send out something to non-customers, you "rented" a mail list based upon either a geographic location or demographic slice, you did a "postal walk" mail drop for X$ per house, or you paid the local kids or newspaper delivery person a few dollars to add your message to their route.

Thank goodness we're over that old, mechanical and labour intensive method - right?

Well, maybe.

E-mail Marketing Losing - RSS Feeds Winning

Services

Over the past 30 years I've been involved with electronic mail (email or e-mail) I've watched it evolve from a strictly internal system for business and "BBS" (bulletin board systems) to then becoming first THE standard method of connecting people on the internet and now becoming the bane of many people's existence due to the amount and content of spam.

Email spam (spelled with all lower case letters - SPAM is a meat product) has become the bulk (95% is recent estimate) of the email traffic in recent years. More sophisticated anti-spam filters are required, tuned daily and even hourly to catch and discard (or at least mark) the incredible numbers - and allow email customers to see the real traffic they expect.

The problem is that the spammers are getting so good at looking legitimate that the filters are discarding more and more real email (false positives) along with the spam - to the point where doing legitimate email newsletters and using email for other legitimate purposes is all but impossible. I know, We both run an email service and help other companies with their email services, some of which are commercial (re-sellers of email services) in nature.

I'm not just talking about email newsletters either. The spam filtering is affecting things like authorization email from social sites and web 2.0 active sites that solicit membership and do things like inform members when a reply to their post has been posted. These active sites generate email that in many cases gets blocked by some of the major ISPs and no small number of the smaller ISPs - blocked because the site owner either does not know how or does not have the authority to put in place the "white-list" deals that ISPs require if your site sends more than a very minimal amount of such email. We deal with this problem in several ways but today I'm talking about general marketing email - opt-in lists and direct customer relations mail.

There are a couple of facilities that are helping businesses deal with this problem and this article is about one - RSS, or Really Simple Syndication.