Category Archives: Online businesses

Why I’m Excited About Canadian Digital and Tech Businesses in 2016

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It’s going to be a good year, I can feel it. Instead of writing about New Year’s resolutions for my first post of 2016, I’d like to share why I’m excited about the year ahead for Canadian tech and digital businesses.

  1. Bold, brave acquisitions and digital strategies 

    Last week, Canadian retailer Hudson’s Bay Company announced the acquisition of U.S. online excess fashion and luxury retailer Guilt Groupe. I think it’s a smart and brave move by the company to capture a younger, more digitally-savvy demographic. And it makes me proud to see one of Canada’s oldest businesses making smart, bold decisions to innovate in the digital economy.Other retailers like Canadian Tire are getting increasingly bullish in the digital space as well. Last summer, Canadian Tire launched its new digital in-store strategy to cater to a younger demographic and a more omni-channel shopping experience. From the opening of the “Digital Garage” incubation space in Kitchener (with the hopes of developing new innovations in retail), to the digitization of Canadian Tire money, the popular retailer is placing its bets on ecommerce and digital for the future.

    Both of these businesses are laying the foundation for a giant leap towards digital transformation of the Canadian business landscape. And I’m excited to see what Canadian Tire and Hudson’s Bay launches/anounces in the coming months.

  1. It’s getting easier for tech startups to grow in Canada
    It used to be that launching a business in Canada was difficult, not only from a funding and government support perspective but also from a market sizing perspective. With 35 million+ residents, Canada’s population size makes it a much smaller market in which to launch versus the U.S. or UK.But as this recent interview with the founder of Toronto startup Influitive, Mark Organ suggests it’s getting much easier because of great tax credits, local engineering talent and increased access to capital this side of the border.

    In addition, the ability to target a larger, more global audience is much easier to do online. And like Influitive, software as a service (SAAS) companies like Hootsuite, FreshBooks and Shopify are proving that it is possible to go global – even with headquarters based in Canada.

With rumours of possible Canadian tech IPOs on the horizon, I’m really excited to see what Canadian tech and digitally-focused businesses have in the works this year. Watch this space for more updates.

Full disclosure, I work with both the Influitive and Shopify Plus content teams to help tell spread brand message through storytelling.

Image via Pixabay

Playing Nice in the Inbox: CASL Exemptions for B2B Communications

As we celebrate our nation’s birthday on July 1st, the Canadian Anti-Spam Legislation (CASL) Email spamwill launch to make it harder for spammers to inundate our inboxes. As a small business owner, I thought I’d share a few links that help explain the exemptions for reaching out to business contacts:

1. Deloitte’s “Canadian Anti-Spam Law: Key Exemptions” has a great summary.

2. Business Vancouver also recently published a helpful article entitled “The ifs, ands and buts of new anti-spam legislation.”

Both summaries indicate that “there’s an implied consent to receive emails from a business when there is an ongoing relationship.” But you must also provide an unsubscribe option and contact information if you send out a message with commercial intent.

In addition, businesses with direct contact relationships need to be aware that “while implied consent has a shelf life and will expire, express consent does not expire once granted.” That’s where things get a little tricky. And small businesses like mine, who use a free platform like WordPress, need to get creative in re-affirming that consent.

Since this blog promotes my business, I want to make sure that all of my readers who have opted-in to receive my posts via email are ok with receiving them the future. I really value your readership and hope that you will continue to follow my small business journey.

But if you no longer wish to receive blog posts from me, WordPress offers an unsubsribe option at the bottom of every email post that goes out. If you are a WordPress blogger, you can also remove blog posts from your inbox via the “blogs I follow” section. If you ever have any trouble, you can email me at andrea@therunningstart.ca (or respond to the email that goes out with every blog post) and let me know if you need me to look into the matter further.

I also welcome your feedback on how I can make these blog posts more useful to you to keep you reading every month. I want to play nice in your inbox.

Thanks again for your continued support. I hope that everyone in Canada has a great long weekend. Happy Canada Day!

 

How to Save Your Customers Time With Better Web Copy

So, you’ve launched your small business or startup and you’re ready to tell the image with words like strategy and successworld about it on your new website. With so much to say, it’s tempting to include everything you could ever tell your customers about your product and your company in the copy.

But too much copy can be a turn-off. That’s because Internet users are very impatient and want to find exactly what they are looking for when they arrive at your website. And they want to read it in as little time as possible.

Below are some tips for making your website copy easier to digest.

Keep it short and scannable.
You should aim to keep your paragraphs short – just a few sentences. The same goes for your overall copy.

If you can say it in 200 words, rather than 500 words, do so. You’ll be helping people to find the information they need to make their purchase decision faster.

Use sub-headings to break up text.
By highlighting your key points with sub-headings, you will help impatient readers get the gist of your message without having to read all of the copy.

Highlight important information with bullet points.
It can be tempting to write about your company’s key features and benefits as one, long paragraph. But if you want your customers to understand why they should buy from you in as little time as possible, it’s better to separate the information with bullet points.

Say it with an image, video or diagram.
It can be tempting to explain everything about what you do with text. But keep it mind that it might be easier for the user to understand your product through diagrams, images or explainer videos – especially if you sell sophisticated software or anything that takes a long time to explain with text.

Do you have any other tips for helping web visitors to make quick purchase decisions with short and snappy copy? If so, please share in the comments section below.