Canadian Anti-Spam Legislation

We all know that email spam is a problem. Unwanted emails in our inbox are just a big nuisance. Starting July 1st, 2014 new Anti-Spam Legislation is being introduced in Canada. What does this mean for the email marketer? Or for the community group or volunteer organization? Basically the legislation deals with Commercial Electronic Messages or “CRM” which means e-mails, texts, social media messages or any other form of electronic communication to third parties, whether they are businesses, consumers, members, volunteers or donors. CASL’s definition of “commercial” includes activities carried on without the prospect of gain. There are 3 simple rules to follow when sending CEMs: Consent – You must have expressed or implied consent to send a message. Identification – You must clearly and simply identify yourselves and anyone else on whose behalf the message is sent. Unsubscribe Mechanism – In every message you send, you must provide a way for recipients to unsubscribe from receiving messages in the future. New consents are required Consent under CASL can be express or implied.  Unlike Canadian privacy laws which permit “opt out” consent for less sensitive types of information, such as receipt of marketing information, this form of consent is not sufficient under CASL for the receipt of marketing information by electronic means.

Sign Up App for Groups/Clubs/Events

This is a great online application for organizing sign ups for events, volunteers, and group activities. It is FREE with an option for the advanced paid version. Sign Up Genius makes it easy to build a sign up form and share with social media, Google Calendar, etc. There is a choice of templates to choose from. You can also coordinate sign ups with a payment via PayPal and it is easy to email groups/attendees with updated information and reminders. Also has built in RSVP functionality. This is a great app for any type of group event – highly recommended!! List of Features: Simple Wizard for Building Sign Ups Choose from hundreds of professionally designed themes Upload your own image/logo to your sign up page Use a WYSIWYG interface to create rich-text descriptions Enter hundreds of dates in an instant using our recurring wizard Flexible Sign Up Page Formats Non-date specific sign ups for donation lists or ongoing sign ups RSVP format sign ups for parties and banquets Traditional Date/Slot sign ups for massive volunteer sign ups Sign ups with limited quantities or unlimited quantities Comment field for custom responses on each sign up

Why Google+

Google Rules!  General thinking is that Google search engine results favour websites that use Google products like Adwords, Analytics, Google+, Google Places and the list goes on. And this means that Google + which has integrated Google Places (formerly Google Maps) and Google Reviews is an absolute must for businesses wanting to be found on the web. Google+ is a social media site similar to Facebook and Twitter including following, posting and commenting but with more features like Google Reviews, directions and maps etc. You also have control over who you share content with by creating circles. And of course people you share content with can share with their circles as well. It is easy to share text, pictures, and video. You can also get a Google+ page for your business. The big advantage here is that Google search results show the Google Map results at the top of the page which also links to your website and Google Reviews providing great exposure. Specific searches for a business show your address, directions, contact information and hours. This is better exposure than the Google ads that one pays for. Why not take the advantage of the social media sites to grow your business?

Advertising on the Web

There were two ads shared through YouTube that stood out for me this year. In short there are some advantages to advertising on the web: Don’t have to be big budget Can edit and shoot with non-commercial equipment and post to YouTube Can use your social networking to share It can be entertaining and you can have fun The other interesting feature of an ad that doesn’t come across blatantly as an ad is that it becomes more entertainment and less advertisement. The message is more subliminal. When the ad is shared on the web it comes generally through known sources on Facebook or Twitter or another social platform and it feels more personal – more targeted to you. Just a great way to market your business on the internet. WestJet Christmas Miracle: Real-time Giving 34,130,980 hits in less than 3 weeks Bear Does Laundry : Samsung Washing Machine Commercial Over 2,000,000 hits in 8 months

HootSuite – Manage Your Social Media

This program is an online interface that allows you to manage multiple social media accounts. In one browser window, one can do it all. The functionality this programs provides is extensive. I highly recommend this program. HootSuite’s free plan allows you to enjoy and grow your social networks. Use the basic features of the easy-to-use dashboard to track mentions, messages and keywords on social media. Manage up to 5 social profiles Post to several different social media at one time Scheduling your messages for the whole week and save time Access basic analytics and reporting tools Access Twitter, Facebook, Google+, Linkedin, Foursquare, Mixi and Using Streams: Twitter streams will show you your latest tweets, favourite tweets, my mentions, hashtag search, sent messages, lists and direct messages and scheduled tweets. Facebook streams will show wall posts, news feed, status updates, photos, videos, events, search and schedule posts. Other social media have similar available streams. Using Apps: Dozens of additional apps are available for programs from Constant Contact, You Tube, SurveyMonkey, Tumblr, Flickr, Blogger and many, many more. You can even manage your gmail from within HootSuite. I brought into HootSuite my Constant Contact accounts and can get detailed feedback about each newsletter sent out. The only social media that is missing as far as I can tell is Pinterest. But like I’ve said – really impressive!... Read More

A Mobile Friendly Website is a Necessity

According to Google,  mobile internet use will surpass desktop use this year (2013). Consumer behavior mandates that your business is accessible anytime/anywhere your customers need you and therefore you need a mobile version of your website is a necessity. If you already have a website likely it is accessible on a mobile device, that is good news. However unless you have a mobile version of your website,  it probably looks pretty crappy. If it looks crappy then that is bad for your business. Mobile Statistics: 46% of all cell phones in the US are smartphones. Research predicts that by 2013, more people will be accessing the Internet on their mobile phones than those who will be using their desktop computer. 87% of the world’s population is now using a mobile device. Research indicates that 49% of mobile web users have bought at least 1 item via their mobile device within the last 6 months Mobile sites should have: Simple navigation. Larger font size Optimize the site for a mobile – no bells a whistles Make the file sizes smaller to increase the speed the site loads on a mobile device Fast loading websites that don’t require a lot of data to be loaded – customers will appreciate it. Scaling images and fonts that adapt to screen size No flash elements that many smart phones can’t... Read More

Facebook Privacy & Security Settings This is a great article with step by step instructions on how to protect your Facebook account. Part of being a responsible member of any  online community is educating yourself and your loved ones on how to properly configure the privacy and security settings offered by the platform. Article covers: Account Settings Security Settings Privacy Settings Timeline and Tagging Blocking App Settings Additional Info Public Pictures – Your profile picture and cover photo are public by default, and this setting can’t be changed. If this concerns you, then don’t use a personal photograph. Also, be sure to use sharing controls for your photos and albums. Be careful what you post – once you post something online it can potentially come back to haunt you. Use the built in sharing controls for status updates and other posts to limit access to the intended audience.  Be careful what you click – Even if all of your controls are set properly, clicking malicious links and installing malware can not only wreck your computer system, but it can affect your privacy and online safety as well. Logout of Facebook – Facebook has been known to track user activity on other websites, so logout when you are not using Facebook. Also, staying logged in can make it easier for your account to be hacked if you login from shared computers. Anti-virus software – install a... Read More

Why You Should Have Social Sharing

Today the most efficient way to spread content around the web is to use social media. Social sharing buttons are the easiest way to spread tour website content around in the internet. With one click of the button a viewer can share your content with their social network. It is easy (and possible) to go viral – as long as you create quality content and allow your visitors to share that quality. Social media gurus recommend that every website should have the four main social media buttons (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Google+). Get The Most From Your Blog Blog take time to brainstorm a topic, write posts, edit them, post them, and then monitor the comments. If you’re going to dedicate all of that time to your blog you want to get the most out of it by spreading the word and hopefully increasing the number of people who find and read your blog. One easy way to increase readership is to include social share buttons on every blog post. Search Engine Optimization Don’t miss out on this opportunity. Search engines now judge the strength of a link in social media when developing rankings. Search engines consider the number of times that content is shared, tweeted, liked, and posted in social media. Content is getting shared frequently will improve its search engine ranking for relevant... Read More

Why Blog?

Best Website Marketing Advice #1 best internet marketing tip is start a blog! Then blog regularly with informative and interesting content. Adding social sharing buttons for Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, etc. to your blog posts, make it easy for viewers to share the content within their own social networks extending the reach of your blog content. Blogs Live Forever A blog post, lives forever unlike a media campaign which has a limited life span. Attract Viewers with Interesting Content Blog posts can include various other types of media and are not limited to text. Adding media like videos, galleries and images make for a better user experience and deliver the content that will appeal to a wider audience. Generates Quality Leads Blog posts are usually topic specific enabling the use of lots of topic specific keywords. The blog should also include a call to action, preferably clickable. This makes it easy to provide more content and information, hopefully turning that prospect into a lead. Readers came to your blog because the topic was of interest, therefore the blog post is aligned with their interests which is a great way to generate quality leads. Grow Your Email List Blog posts are great for growing your email lists and contact database. Offering viewers a way to subscribe to your blog will help get quality leads with people that... Read More

Accept Credit Card Payment Via Mobile

There are a few options for accepting credit card payments via your mobile device in Canada. Perfect for small business. No merchant account needed. Typical charges are %2.75 and .20 cents per transaction and the Mobile Card Reader  is free. It is simple and affordable. The swipe device is an encrypted credit card reader that plugs into the audio jack of your smart phone or tablet. It’s really that simple. We have been using Kudos – for a while now and really this is so easy and economical to use. Works on iPhone and iPad. Another popular service is with similar charges and works on iPhone and android devices. 2.75% per swipe for Visa and MasterCard. Free app, free card reader and free shipping. No merchant account, monthly fees or set-up costs. Manually-entered cards cost 3.5% + 15¢ per transaction.

Email Signature

An e-mail signature, is a block of text appended to the end of an e-mail message often containing the sender’s name, address, phone number, disclaimer, Skype info, IM details or other contact information. This is a great way to drive traffic to your website, include your company branding and link to your latest twitter feed. Some Signature Tips 1. Keep it as short (four lines is the accepted standard). 2. Condense information into fewer lines by using pipes (|) or colons (::) to separate the text. 3. Remember that simple plain text is best; skip colors, special fonts and graphics. 4. Be careful with HTML formatting because it may not appear how you want it to for everyone. 5. Test your signature with as many email clients as you can, especially if you use HTML. 6. Optimize your logo or other graphics, upload the files to your server, and use an absolute URL. 7. Provide written out URLs instead of using hyperlinks in your email to ensure the link will go through in the sent message. 8. Avoid including multiple phone numbers and email addresses. Pick your contact preference and get rid of the rest. 9. Only include IM details and Skype account information if you want to be contacted that way by anyone who sees your message. 10. Skip your mailing address — not... Read More


Being a visual person Pinterest is quickly becoming a favourite. Pinterest is a social bookmarking site where users collect and share photos of their favorite events, interests and hobbies. One of the fastest growing social networks online, Pinterest is the third-largest such network behind only Facebook and Twitter. Pinning A pin starts with an image or video you add to Pinterest. You can add a pin from a website using the Pin It bookmarklet or upload an image right from your computer. Any pin on Pinterest can be repinned, and all pins link back to their source. Boards Basically one can catalogue content on the web into categories (called boards) that show an image and then link back to the original content.  You could pin ideas for remodeling your bathroom to books you have read, movies you would like to see, for example. Boards can be secret or public, and you can invite other people to pin with you on any of your boards. Follow When you follow someone, their pins show up in your Pinterest home feed. You can follow all of someone’s boards or just the ones you like best. To manage who you’re following, go to your profile and click Following. Pin It Bookmarklet The Pin It bookmarklet lets you easily pin things you see on websites and blogs. To get the bookmarklet or learn more, check out our Goodies page. Pinterest for Business Pinterest can also work... Read More

Password Security

The Only Secure Password Is the One You Can’t Remember Top Bad Passwords 123456, password, 12345678, qwerty, abc123, 12345, monkey, 111111, consumer, letmein, 1234, dragon, trustno1, baseball, gizmodo, whatever, superman, 1234567, sunshine, iloveyou, starwars, shadow, princess, cheese Examples of Weak Passwords Default passwords (as supplied by the system vendor and meant to be changed at installation time): password, default, admin, guest, etc. Lists of default passwords are widely available on the internet. Dictionary words: chameleon, RedSox, sandbags, bunnyhop!, IntenseCrabtree, etc., including words in non-English dictionaries. Words with numbers appended: password1, deer2000, john1234, etc., can be easily tested automatically with little lost time. Words with simple obfuscation: p@ssw0rd, l33th4x0r, g0ldf1sh, etc., can be tested automatically with little additional effort. For example a domain administrator password compromised in the DigiNotar attack was reportedly Pr0d@dm1n.[25] Doubled words: crabcrab, stopstop, treetree, passpass, etc. Common sequences from a keyboard row: qwerty, 12345, asdfgh, fred, etc. Numeric sequences based on well known numbers such as 911 (9-1-1, 9/11), 314159… (pi), or 27182… (e), etc. Identifiers: jsmith123, 555–1234, your username, etc. Anything personally related to an individual: license plate number, Social Security number, current or past telephone numbers, student ID, current address, previous addresses, birthday, sports team, relative’s or pet’s names/nicknames/birthdays/initials, etc., can easily be tested automatically after a simple investigation of person’s details. What Makes a Good Password A strong password... Read More

Doodle – Easy Scheduling

This is a free and very handy online program where a group can schedule a meeting or an event easily, efficiently and hassle-free. Steps: 1. Create an event 2. Add description, location and other details 3. Choose a date and a few time choices 4. You can poll people by email to figure out the best meeting time for the most people. There are built-in setting you can use: Additional ifneedbe answer for busy participants. Confidential participation: Only you can see the answers. Participant can only choose one option By default all options are selectable. This settings limits the choice to one option per participant. Limit the number of participants per option Poll as registration form: As soon as the indicated limit has been reached, the respective option is no longer available. Ask your participants for additional pieces of information:  Postal address  E-mail addresses  Phone number  

QR Codes

QR codes have many different applications but the most common is the ability to scan contact information into a smart phone. Using your smart phone and a QR reader (app) you can instantly add contact information into your phone. Other applications: Business cards Brochures and other marketing materials Decal on trucks and trailers. Product packaging Convention and event nametags Restaurant menus Event ticket stubs Point-of-sale receipts Location on Google maps Play a Youtube video Add an entry to the user’s calendar Start an image gallery Ease installing an app from the App Store or Android Market Send a predefined short message (premium services) Send a Tweet with your content Visit Google+/Facebook profile Call a phone number Show contact data as a vCard/meCard Show your branding on textiles (T-shirts, bags) and other articles like mugs Show your profile on recommendation services like Qype QR codes have the ability to: Link to digital content on the web Activate a number of phone functions including email, IM and SMS Connect the mobile device to a web browser Connect people with each other Connect to multimedia digital content Sharing – There’s no limit to how, or even how much, you can share with QR codes.  While a video or landing page is easily shared, you could go further and share an entire eBook and even multiple pieces of content that share a common... Read More