Posted by: montegroup | November 8, 2010

Canada Tourism Brand #1

A few days ago Canada’s Tourism brand was ranked #1 by the FutureBrand’s Country Brand Index. This is a great achievement for the CTC; an accomplishment reached in 4 short years!!! From 12th place in 2006 to number 1 in 2010 on the strength of Vancouver Winter Olympics.

Canada Tourism
The CTC is also doing really exciting work in the social media, leveraging platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.

Posted by: montegroup | January 13, 2010

Top Search Engines In Canada

We have been doing some PPC planning and strategizing for a client and the question of Bing came up. More and more I hear from clients that they want to test Bing; and fair enough Bing has done a great job and gained market share quickly since its launch.

My thought on Bing is that it still does not have a lot of traffic for some industries. My rule of thumb has been that if you aren’t maximizing Google yet, then try to focus and optimize further and increase budget.

I have ran many tests on Bing and have found, for now, that the rewards are little for the effort put in.

Here are some recent stats from Hitwise on the Top 10 Search Engines among Internet users in Canada for early January 2010.

Top Search Engines Canada January 2010
One thing I would highlight is Google image search. Whenever  we do any SEO work, we always emphasise that proper image file naming and the use of alt tags will help your images rank better and will bring you traffic.

Posted by: montegroup | October 13, 2009

Travel Sites and Mobile

I know this has been talked about for months, probably for over a year now; do I need a mobile version of my site? There’s no easy answer, I think the most straightforward answer is “it depends”.

Depending on the industry, I would say yes that you need some sort of mobile version of your site. With the focus on Travel, I think the answer is “it depends”.

If you are a Convention and Visitors Bureau, the question is a tough one; I know that many high level executives or decision makers may feel inclined to say that a mobile site is needed, but would your users really use it?

Let’s say you are planning a trip to El Salvador or Australia, most users would very unlikely use their phone to visit a mobile site to do their research and planning. On the other hand if you are local DMO (destination marketing organization), it probably makes sense to have a mobile site where users once at the destination can look up addresses on a map, look for attractions, restaurants, weather forecasts and so on.

So for a CVB going mobile, I would say focus on maps, basic local information and weather info that users may also find useful once they arrive. As a CVB I would aim to have a leadership role in this space by having a solid understanding and helping the local DMO’s go mobile with sections of their sites that would be useful to visitors.

There’s a great service that can easily help your site go mobile; it is not perfect but it is really good. Mobify.me will work for most sites; try it, they have a free option.

Posted by: montegroup | September 18, 2009

WordPress Hosting

I often get asked about wordpress hosting, and which one is the best to use. In reality as long as your hosting provider gives you php and SQL data base support you should be fine. At this point you will have to install the wordpress files and create a data base.

So if this sounds a bit too complicated I would recommend BlueFur.com; they do all the wordpress setup for you, so all you will need to worry about is picking the right theme.

If you sign-up with BlueFur.com use the following promocode MonteDigitalMarketing and save 10%

For more options, visit the list that the wordpress community has put together.

Posted by: montegroup | September 8, 2009

Internet Users Rise in Canada

It’s not a surprise that Internet usage in Canada continues to increase. In a latest report published by eMarketer last month it shows that overall usage is up nearly 6% since 2007 to over 24 million unique visitors per month.

This is an amazing stat given that the total population of Canada is just over 33 million.

So what that this mean for small business? The answer is simple. If you are not online already, you should be. And if you are online, you should review your marketing strategy and ensure that you are putting enough attention to online marketing.

I am often asked by clients about shifting budgets from offline to online; many are afraid as in some cases they have been doing the same thing for years.

So how do you take that step from offline to online?
1. Look at your competitors and see what they’re doing. If you need any validation, you’ll likely get it from here.

2. Measurement. Online can is very measurable. Update online forms and ask users to provide the referral source, or look at your web analytics or if you are doing the transactions on the phone just ask.

3. Start with a small budget and measure. Be sure you give the test a minimum of 3 months (depending on budget) and be proactive by optimizing.

Posted by: montegroup | August 8, 2009

Vancouver Events Calendar

Over the past few months we’ve had the opportunity to work on a new Vancouver events website, 1camila.com.

The site offers users the ability to post events for free or a paid listing where users can post multiple images and embed YouTube videos.

There are over 17 event categories to choose from, plus special sponsorship opportunities and site advertising.

The site incorporates a CMS allowing the site owner to update rates, content and add/or remove categories as needed; plus full control on managing online ads throughout the site.

To post your Vancouver event or find the next thing to do around Vancouver visit 1camila.com. You can also follow 1camila on twitter

Vancouver Events Calendar

Posted by: montegroup | February 26, 2009

SEM is Not Just PPC

Sounds like a very simple concept but many traditional marketers and CMO’s still think that SEM refers to buying keywords such as Adwords.

SEM (search engine marketing) encompasses both SEO and PPC.

SEO stands for search engine optimization; this is also referred to as organic search or natural search.

PPC stands for pay per click and also known as paid search; other think of PPC as just Google Adwords but I guess it speaks to Google’s dominance of the market place.

So in short, next time someone mentions SEM, remember that it’s both SEO and PPC.

Posted by: montegroup | February 25, 2009

US Social Networking Trends For 2009

According to the latest data collected by eMarketer, the social networking is growing fast. In 2008 nearly 80 million internet users visited a social networking site, this translates to about 41% of the US Internet user population; up 11% over 2007.

By 2013 this share is expected to rise to 52%, as more and more people turn to social media sites for their daily updates.

Some of the key trends for 2009 will be the rise in engagement, such as time spent and frequency of use. Another area to watch will be the expanded adoption by Generation X and Twitter becoming mainstream.

Social Media Trends 2009

Posted by: montegroup | February 24, 2009

Success With Web Analytics

More and more companies are shifting budget online because of its efficiency and ability to easily track success; especially now in these tough economic times.

However many companies are running into issues such as lack of clear objectives and internal politics.

This is my personal list that can help you have success with your web analytics.

1. you need a champion in IT
2. you need the buying of management & marketing
3. set clear KPI’s (key performance indicators)
4. measure and test. No test is a failure
5. make decisions on the data

There are certainly more pointers or key areas to focus on, but the 5 above should get you on your way.

Posted by: montegroup | February 23, 2009

President Obama Visits Canada

This past February 19th, President Barack Obama visited Ottawa, Canada. To leverage the buzz, the Canadian Tourism Commission decided to tap into the social media space by filming short welcome clips and uploading them to YouTube.

Here is one of them. Thus far it has received over 30,000 views and nearly 100 comments.

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