THE BLOG

04
Apr

3 Things Small Business Owners Need to Know in 2014

If you’re a small business owner, you are well aware that the digital world is a fast-moving monster. The good news for you is, this monster can be tamed! This article features multiple topics that you will need to know in order to grow (or stay afloat) in 2014.

1) Canada’s New Anti-Spam Legislation

This is probably the most important topic of 2014 from a marketing perspective. This July, Canada will begin to enforce it’s incredibly rigid anti-spam bill. Spam has many definitions, but falls under the category of a “CEM” or “Commercial Electronic Message”. Businesses will have a new set of rules to comply with or run the risk of suffering charges up to $1m/day of being in breach of the new legislation. The rules are quite simple to follow, however businesses both large and small need to go over their subscriber lists and re-examine what their versions of “Commercial Electronic Messages” are within their company. For details on the new legislation, click here.

ANTISPAM

2) Mobile-Optimized Sites Are Now a Standard … Not a Luxury

A recent study by Google shows that 61% of mobile internet users will leave a website if it is not mobile-optimized.  With continual growth in SmartPhone sales, it’s no wonder that over 50% of local search traffic is performed on mobile devices.

But what does “Mobile-Optimized” really mean? Most business owners believe that because their website can be seen and navigated on a SmartPhone–they therefore have a mobile-friendly website. The truth is that “mobile-optimized”, really means that your site has the ability to “respond” to the device it’s being viewed on; thus making the navigation, design and flow of the website much more intuitive and enjoyable for your potential customer.

mobile

Above is an example of a “desktop” view of a website (left) compared to a “mobile optimized” view of a website (right). Note the clarity and ability to read text without having to “pinch-to-zoom” on the mobile-optimized website?

3) Social Media is “Word Of Mouth”

shareAs each year comes to a close it becomes more and more apparent that social media is here to stay. It’s no secret that people are influenced by their peers and Facebook has become a megaphone. “Keyboard Courage” has given introverts the power to voice their opinions with minimal implications. The already vocal extraverts are expressing their ideas to larger audiences–Facebook has become a culture. Reviews are posted on a second-by-second basis by everyday people with an average audience of 300 readers.

Businesses-to-consumer businesses who have not made the jump to social media (or have social media but aren’t executing properly) are going to be facing the repercussions of their lack of online efforts in the year 2014.  Don’t be left in the dust!

 

16
Dec

Why Our Clients Dominate the Online Market

After two years of providing Steinbach and Southern Manitoba quality web design services, we are proud to say that nearly every client of ours dominates the online market in their industry by showing up first on Google when their industry and location are searched (Eg: Steinbach Mortgage Brokers, Niverville Home Builders, etc.).

This is neither luck of the draw or a random success. Virtually every client that we take on for website design sees this success and therefore sees more traffic and receives more recognition than their competitors.

See Our Web Design Success For Yourself

Search the following on Google:

Steinbach Mortgage Brokers Castle Mortgage Group Steinbach
Niverville Home BuildersHeritage Lane Builders
Deck Builders Winnipeg Deck City
Fence BuildersSilverfox Enterprises
Steinbach Prayer SoakingEagle’s Loft
Brandon Christmas Light InstallationsNorthern Lights Installations
Steinbach DJ ServicesSummer Bounce Entertainment
Steinbach Auto SpaTimber Falls

View more of our work here

 

 

24
Sep

5 Tools to Simplify Your Business

As a business owner, I know how important it is to use my time effectively. The old adage “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” is no longer relevant. We are coming into an age that requires every business owner to strategically focus his/her time. This article contains easy steps/programs that will save you time and as an end result save you money.

1. CRM – Customer Relationship Software

If you are still using an excel spreadsheet to keep track of your clients, chances are you are headed for or already have a headache. Using Cloud-Based  CRM software, you can keep track of your current and past clients using simple online technology that you can access from ANYWHERE.

Don’t discredit CRM’s by labelling them “online databases”. Most CRM’s let you track the progress of your potential clients by labelling them from leads to contacts to clients. An incredibly effective sales tool.

Industry leaders:

2. Email Program

Most companies once again use spreadsheets to compile long lists of clients to email in mass quantities. If done too often, your email address or worse, your website domain may be marked as a spam source. This can permanently disable your email and/or website. Using a proper email program is cheap and extremely effective.

The best feature most email programs have is the ability to keep separate send lists (i.e.: potential clients, current clients, employees, partners, etc). You can also use built in tracking programs to validate the success of your sent emails by discovering how many people opened your email, who clicked what link, who is interested in your current promotion, etc.

Industry Leaders:

3. DropBox

How many times have you tried to send an email with an attachment but the attachment was just too big to send? How many times do you wish that your folder of current projects was accessible by your co-workers? DropBox is the solution to these headaches and many more.

I won’t even list competitors for this service. DropBox is the most user-friendly Cloud-Based file sharing system on the internet. Purchasing DropBox for your company’s employees will save you hundreds of hours of wasted time.

Get started with DropBox here

4. Synced Calendars

Have a list of corporate events coming up but don’t want to print out hundreds of memos on paper and hand them out? Using a cloud-based calendar may be the ultimate solution. Give your employees access to only the events you want them to see, syncing with their SmartPhones and desktops.

Industry Leaders:

5. Receipt Tracking & Accounting

Wave is a very cool program that allows you to also integrate your smartphones and use them as scanners for your expense receipts. This program keeps track of your employees receipts and replaces the shoebox full of unorganized proof of spending.

14
May

Why Choose Us For Web Design?

In the last year an a half, we are proud to say that we have stayed true to our mission statement:

“To provide small businesses with high quality marketing services and superb customer service.”

We can’t begin to describe how lucky we feel with the clients that we have been blessed with in the last year and a half. The feedback and comments we have been receiving about our services are absolutely staggering.

As a result driven company, we have to set a standard when it comes to web design in Steinbach. This list of standards is in place to assure customer satisfaction with EVERY website we create. These standards are essentially a “website checklist” that we follow every time we build a website:

Search Engine Optimized Website:

All of our websites are built with the intention of you being found by consumers who are searching for services you specialize in. If you are “123 Roofing Co.” you want to be found when someone searches “Roofing companies in Steinbach”.

User-Friendly Backend:

When it comes to updating your website, you shouldn’t have to pick up the phone every time you need a photo changed. Instead we equip you with a user-friendly log in section of a website for you to make the changes easily.

Learning Session for Backend:

The alternate name for this is “Nerd Academy”. We will sit you down with an expert of ours upon request to learn how to use your website effectively; be it writing a new blog, updating a photo or changing content–we’d be happy to teach you how to do it yourself!

Mobile-Friendly (responsive):

Having a mobile-friendly website is no longer a luxury, it’s now a standard. As more and more searches for local services are being performed on mobile devices, we’d like your website to transition flawlessly to your audience’s hand held devices.

Social Media Integration:

Want to integrate your Twitter, Pinterest or Flickr feed to your new website to boos search engine ratings? We can help with that! Just send us the links and we’ll do the rest.

Photo Galleries:

What better way to showcase your services and/or products than with a beautiful and flowing photo gallery on your website.

Complimentary Blog:

We know that the word “blog” may have a negative vibe surrounding it, however, once you sit down with us and discuss the amazing possibilities that are achievable with an informational blog, you may just change your mind!

Google Analytics:

Google Analytics are available upon request. This is a free tool that is offered by Google to track and measure the success of your website–giving you in depth reports of how effectively your website is competing online.

Contact us today for a free consultation of your current website or discuss ideas you’d like for your website!

16
Feb

Your Audience Doesn’t Care

As harsh as it sounds…this is what we tell our clients to keep in mind when building a marketing strategy. Create your advertising with the knowledge that the general public doesn’t care. This will force you to be effective as possible in the least amount of time.

The average person is exposed to over 10,000 forms of marketing on a daily basis…that’s 7 messages a minute! That gives each piece of marketing 8.5 seconds to get their message across. The only way you get those 8.5 seconds is by grabbing their attention and in the marketing clutter of today, it’s not easy.

If you had 8.5 seconds to tell someone about your company, would you bombard them with information faster than you can speak? Or would you rather give them something to remember you by–an incentive that gives you permission to have their full attention later down the road.

As a small business owner, I personally find it hard to do this. I take pride in my business and am excited to talk about it–it’s human nature; However human nature has it’s counterparts: where one cares, the other does not.

30
Jan

Steinbach Graphic Design

Graphic Design In Steinbach

Three Marketing’s biggest advice to local businesses when it come to branding goes:

Don’t Sell Your Brand Integrity Short.

Far too often you see a company who invested in their logo and their website but compromise when it comes to any future graphic design. Shoddy flyers, tacky tag lines, clip-art ads, poor font selection (namely the use of the dreaded “Comic Sans”)–the list goes on. All of these marketing faux-pas’ can be detrimental to your brand.

If you want to be viewed as an industry leader, you must look the part. Having a team member or outsourced vendor dedicated to cross platform brand integrity helps sustain the life of your brand; It also ensures that your customers aren’t confused when they see promotional materials from you.

If the following  graphic design items aren’t strengthening your brand…they are hurting it:

  • Flyers
  • Business Cards
  • Online Ads
  • Print Ads
  • Social Media Images

There are many self proclaimed graphic designers all around the world. Some online, some from right here in Steinbach–some said to be from Steinbach but are outsourcing to India or the Ukraine. Many of these graphic designers are great and many, not.

We at Three Marketing can assure you that ALL of our services are local (that includes web development and hosting as well) and we take pride in it. The graphic design that we offer is nothing short of industry standards. Our team is always using the latest graphic design software, keeping up to date with the latest graphic design trends and most importantly we are sitting down with our clients and acquiring specific direction and information on their businesses.

Graphic design doesn’t have to break the bank, in fact we are proud to announce that our graphic design rates aren’t marked up from 15 minutes to equalling an hour. Often a small ad only takes a half hour so and you can rest assured knowing that you will be billed at an honest rate.

steinbach graphic design

steinbach graphic design

21
Jan

Email Marketing More Effective Than Ever

From one business owner to another, I can honestly say that our #1 sales tool in 2012 was our email campaign and tracking program “Bloomerang”. This program has absolutely everything a business needs when it comes to email marketing.

What does Bloomerang offer?

  • Drives traffic to your website or Facebook page
  • Gently reminds customers about your brand
  • Informs customers of “insider” promotions
  • Allows you to track how interested they are in your content so you can make refinements
  • Gives a geographical insight as to where your clients are based
  • Very mobile friendly

Fun Stats:

54-smallbusinesses

54% of small businesses surveyed rated e-mail as the top online promotion to drive site visitors and customers to their websites and strorefronts

Source: DMA Interactive

 

69

69% of US e-mail users have made online purchases as a result of receiving permission e-mail marketing.

Source: DoubleClick

78

Permission-based email is far and away the preferred method of communication for consumers. 78% of consumers rated email as their preferred way to hear from their favourite merchants and businesses.

Source: DoubleClick
11
Jan

Are You Overpaying For Website Hosting?

Here in Steinbach (and other areas of the province), too many businesses have come to us who have been overpaying for their website hosting. If you want the absolute honest truth about hosting, here it is:

Web hosting costs roughly $100 for the average website per year.  (This does not include major corporation websites or sites with online stores.)

There should be no monthly fees. If your hosting service or web designer is telling you otherwise, you may want to reevaluate.

What does Three do for website hosting? We charge $109/year. We have a $9 markup for the 15 minutes it takes to pass your information over to our web hosting service.

Our web hosting service isn’t a mysterious entity that is never seen nor heard of, it is an active part of our growing business that is readily available as the rest of the services offered by Three. Not only do we host your site for an honest price, we also keep a backup server running at all times in case one server goes down.

If you want to have minor updates done, rest in the assurance that we will take care of any bug fixes, maintain hack protection and keep your website up to date with Google–we have a packaged service that fits your needs. We offer a “Web Maintenance Package” for an additional $119/year. No monthly fees, no outrageous set up fees, just one honest rate as a “value added service” to our customers.

THAT is the truth about website hosting.

 

17
Dec

Happy Wife. Poor Husband.

Happy Wife. Happy Life. As a newly-wed I can’t begin to explain how many times I’ve been told this by not only respected elders, but strangers in retail stores as well. I always thought that as a husband it would be my duty to handle the finances, it took me only but a month to realize that “handling finances” in marriage language translates into “balance the chequebook and pay back mastercard”.

As a marketer, I pay attention to advertising more than the average person. It suddenly hit me one day (I believe I was standing in HomeSense with a box of scented candles and our now 4th vintage styled wall clock) that at the end of the day, my wife is holding the plastic card.

Looking into this more we found some statistics that we expected but not at such high numbers. It turns out that the majority of households in North America feature women who make final purchase decisions for nearly all products.

The infographic below features the data we collected. (click the image to enlarge it)

web design steinbach

Not only is this information interesting but it can help you with future advertising and marketing campaigns. Don’t appeal to the masses, appeal to your demographic.

01
Nov

Three’s Fight Against Prostate Cancer

Three Marketing is proud to announce their official fight against prostate cancer.

Along with Prostate Cancer Canada, Three Marketing will be both raising awareness locally and online AND raising funds for cancer research.

How are we raising awareness?

First of all, we are growing moustaches and are encouraging the local community to join us as well using a campaign on Facebook. We are making it fun and engaging to make it go viral in a local form. Gathering the community in laughter and creativity we are holding a moustache contest in which the winner will receive an Apple TV.

To join in this contest click here.

How are we raising funds?

Through our new email program “Bloomerang”. Bloomerang is a customized email campaign program used to generate leads and retain clients. For the entire month of November, Three will be selling Bloomerang for it’s regular price ($499) and donating %50 of it’s sales to Prostate Cancer Canada.

Three is also encouraging it’s community to donate directly to Prostate Cancer Canada via their website here.