Alberta E-Future CBSC Alberta
E-Business Alberta | The Alberta E-Future Centre blog

Follow-up to this Week’s e-Business Sessions

April 4th, 2008
by Roch Labelle

Our sessions had tremendous attendance this week and attendees left with new knowledge they can apply to their business ventures immediately or in the near future.

For those who missed the “Online Marketing” Brown Bag you may find some consolation in that it was blogged live.

Mark your calendar for our last e-business Brown Bag Presentation of the season:
Podcasting for Business
Description: Podcasts, also known as portable Internet radio, allow people to listen to Internet content where and when they wish. Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) can use podcasts to market their products and services into the new web. This session will examine the demographics of the growing podcast audience and strategies SMEs can use to connect with prospects and customers in the web 2.0 space.
Presenter: Dean Owen - BRASSmedia
Date: Tuesday, May 6, 2008
Time: 12noon to 1pm
Location: Across Alberta
Cost: FREE and no registration required

Two E-business Sessions at The Business Link this Week

April 1st, 2008
by Roch Labelle

Back by popular demand, The Business Link will be hosting two E-business sessions this week that were very popular last season. These presenters will keep you abreast of the latest trends.

Have a look at some attendee testimonials from last week’s Brown Bag Presentation posted on YouTube!

Small Business Search Engine Marketing
Wednesday, April 2, 2008 - 1:00PM to 4:00PM
How do your customers find your website? It might be through referrals, your brochure, or a web link, but chances are they found you through a search engine. In this seminar, you will learn how to optimize your website to increase your ranking in search engines and get a chance to have your site reviewed by industry experts. You will gain an understanding of:

    - How you can increase your qualified visitors by increasing your rankings
    - How to make your website search engine friendly by making simple but effective changes
    - How to implement other search engine optimization (SEO) techniques

Presenter: Ian McAnerin - McAnerin International Inc.
Fee (non refundable): $35 - includes GST

Online Marketing
Thursday, April 3, 2008 - 12noon to 1:00PM
Learn how to use Google, Yahoo!, MSN and even Facebook to connect with your local audience or your entire market. See how you can ensure that you’ve set up your campaigns properly to get the best return on investment. There will also be an overview of tracking your effectiveness using Google Analytics. Generate more leads for your business for fewer dollars!

Presenter: David Cree – Clearpath SEO

New Considerations for E-business

February 27th, 2008
by Roch Labelle

We’ve seen great change in e-business and the use companies make of websites over the past few years. There has been an explosion of new tools showing-up and it may seem hard to know when and how to best spend your resources to apply these to your company’s website. We’ve listed a few developments that are new and, yet also effective and affordable. Use them and you may transform your business!

    Set-up a forum for your customers on your site to make special announcements, create a community, set-up focus groups – all geared towards cultivating customer loyalty.

    Use widgets. These little software applications you distribute over the Web have a link to your website. Widgets have been popularized by sites such as Facebook.

    Create an avatar (an animated character) to play the role of a virtual salesperson on your website to greet visitors and tell them about your products or services.

    Allow for impulse buying through a service like Bill Me Later that offers instant financing to customers. This service is geared towards the hesitant potential customer and those who balk when asked for their credit card number.

    And finally, beyond technology, make sure your website is easy to figure out and loads fast. Use clear and concise language. Avoid trying to sound profound by using hollow words that end up making you sound unremarkable.

Also, to learn more on new e-business trends from industry experts, be sure to attend our e-business Brown Bag Presentations this Spring, starting in March.

Do you e-Network?

February 21st, 2008
by Roch Labelle

We all know about the social networking site Facebook. You may lament that such sites may not only eat-up bandwidth but also people’s time – children who should be doing their homework or even employees who should be working. Before you rush to put up a firewall you’ll want to know that although it is not primarily a business tool, sites such as Facebook and the like can be used as ad hoc networking tool and effective marketing tools.

Other sites such as Linkedin, Xing, Plaxo, Ryze and Visible Path are solely business focused. Theses sites focus heavily on finding new contacts by being referred through your existing network – putting the six degrees of separation theory to work. This is a great alternative to cold calling because you may get a warmer introduction from a business contact. Many find it useful to contact potential investors and business partners.

Another interesting feature of a site such as Linkedin is the ability for members to post their c.v. or advertise jobs. Employers/headhunters may also do some pre-screening on potential candidates by reading endorsements by contacts of a member’s network. Therefore, the transparent nature of the Internet increasingly puts the onus on businesses to keep staff happy. Who knows, you may find your next client, partner, investor or employee on a social networking site?

Visit the various business networking sites or read more on the topic here or here.

Is the E-business World Ready for the Next Billion Users of the Internet?

December 31st, 2007
by Roch Labelle

In the spirit of a New Year and new beginnings, the e-business World may be facing enormous changes within the next decade. There are currently more than one billion Internet users worldwide and this number will soon double. Now, how will this affect networks, technology, software and e-commerce?

The majority of the growth will come from the developing world. China is already the second-largest-Internet-using country and will surpass the current leader (U.S.) before 2010. Other countries that will experience tremendous growth are India, Brazil and the African continent. The main challenges are that most new Internet users will not speak English which will lead to increased pressure to accommodate different languages. Furthermore, many new Internet users may have different views on sensitive issues such as online free speech, privacy, and copyright.

An added dimension is that the next billion may use different technology to access the Internet such as the XO laptop that uses open-source operating systems and software. Widespread broadband may be too expensive for developing regions so wireless and satellite-based connectivity will be relied upon by several million users. Users of these mobile devices may experience slower speeds of access and force e-commerce sites to adapt to a changing marketplace.

So, where does your business fit in all this? Will you have to make any changes to your e-commerce site and service offering to increase your global competitiveness?

Read more on the topic at “How the next billion users will reshape all aspects of the Internet”. For more information on starting or growing your e-business, contact The Business Link at 1 800 272-9675.

Recent Survey Reveals Consumer’s Low Tolerance For e-Commerce Failures

November 8th, 2007
by Roch Labelle

We’re just over a decade into e-commerce and many of us are savvy online consumers. Now, how many of us are no longer willing to put-up with online shopping experiences that do not measure up to our expectations?

Well, a consumer survey commissioned by Tealeaf reveals that, for a third consecutive year, nearly 9 out of 10 online consumers have experienced problems. What is more, 42% of these people who’ve had bad experiences have switched to a competitor or have simply abandoned the transaction.

But the problems persist beyond the online storefront and into the call centres. The survey shows that 53% of online customers with issues will contact customer service. Of these, 49% did not have their issue resolved, 68% felt that the service agent demonstrated poor knowledge of the website and 70% did not believe the agents even understood their issue. The survey points-out how poor back-end customer service leads to a second wave of abandonment and even complaints to the BBB.

So, you’ve attracted many customers who are willing to part with their money for your product or service – very good! But what (and how) are you doing when it comes to keeping the customer with good after sales customer service? Would you, as a customer, be satisfied with the e-commerce and in-person support service you provide?

Read the article.

For further reading on the topic read our info-guide:
Attracting and Keeping the Customer.

Internet Security Brown Bag Presentation

October 29th, 2007
by Roch Labelle

Spim & Spam? Viruses & Worms? Firewalls? What does it all mean and how can I protect myself? This presentation covers all this along with the anatomy of a “hack”, domain names, IP addresses, email headers, whois lookups, and how to protect yourself and your computer-all presented in a way that is applicable to a wide range of technical abilities.
Presenter: David Papp – Microtek Corporation

Date: Thursday, November 1, 2007
Time: 12 noon – 1 pm
Location: From Edmonton and VCed throughout Alberta - details
Cost: FREE

On the topic of Internet security…

Top 12 scariest Web Applications
Halloween is just around the corner and Bit9 has just come out with this year’s ranking of the Top 12 popular applications that may cause security issues for your website or network.

To make the list, the applications must, among other things: run on MS Windows, be well-known to consumers and be frequently downloaded. Hence, people love to use these species that roam wild on the Internet. This poses an obvious challenge for IT due to the “unknown threat across the environment”.

Bit9 recommends the following to businesses:
• Define policy for programs, including determining what applications the business will allow its employees to install and recourse in the event of a vulnerability
• Understand what applications are used by the business – perhaps use a software identification service to understand what type of software is installed on PCs and why.

Read the article.

Brown Bag Presentation on Online Branding

October 19th, 2007
by Roch Labelle

Using Web 2.0 to Build Brand Online
For a small business, building its brand is always a challenge, especially on the international stage. Attend this session presented by David Cree from Clearpath SEO and take away new strategies for cost effectively using the Internet to build your brand for your small business.

Presented by: David Cree – Clearpath SEO

Date: Tuesday, October 23, 2007
Time: 12noon - 1pm
Cost: FREE
Location: Across Alberta via videoconference

Click here for further information.

Special E-business Seminar for Small Business Week 2007 (in Edmonton and Vancouver)

October 17th, 2007
by Roch Labelle

Measuring the Success of Your Website

Small Business BC and The Business Link-Edmonton will present a collaborative event on clicks and click throughs?

In this seminar you will learn how people arrive at your website, how they navigate through your site and how the user interacts with your online buying process? This seminar will help you understand more about your customer through the use of Web Analytics and server logs.

Presenter: Andy Latter, eBusiness Consultant – eBC Vancouver

Date: Thursday, October 18, 2007
Time: 1pm - 3pm
Cost: FREE
Alberta location: The Business Link - Edmonton

Click here for further information.

Calgary Chamber of Commerce Luncheon

September 24th, 2007
by Roch Labelle

The Calgary Chamber of Commerce is holding a lunch event on September 27th. The lunch will feature guest speaker Bill Morris, President of Accenture Canada. Mr. Morris will be presenting his speech, “Multiple Challenges/Multiple Opportunities: Competitive Essence in a Multi-Polar World”.

For more information and to register visit the Calgary Chamber of Commerce.