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Business in Canada is the same as in the US, only different March 23, 2010

Posted by Edwin Ritter in Grab Bag.
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I attended a presentation today that focused on doing business across the border with our neighbors to the north, Canada. Actually, the speakers discussed doing business in both the US and Canada.  The presentation today was another is a series provided by a local group called Digital Rochester (DR). The DR group is self-described as a community of technology professionals and entrepreneurs in Upstate NY. I enjoy their events and also the networking before and after the formal part of the agenda. For those in Rochester, consider joining DR if you have not so already.

Thinking about expanding your business north of the border? Better do your homework and connect with a local company.

The full agenda is listed on the current Knowledge Upgrade page on the DR site. Selected aspects of working in Canada mentioned today include :

Geography is more important than language. It is no surprise, then, that the golden triangle in Canada includes Toronto, Ottawa and Montreal.

There is a high degree of market concentration with few secondary markets. Metro areas listed above are the major ones along with Vancouver in B.C.. But, the other cities are considered secondary.

Canadians prefer to purchase from Canadian companies. If you partner with a company similar to yours as a VAR, your chances are greater for success. Also, your expenses are lower with that partnership.

Most Canadian companies (approx. 98%) have fewer than 50 employees. Sounds a lot like Rochester.

Marketing costs are 3X higher than product development costs.

Sales cycles are longer than in the U.S. Decisions are made faster in the U.S. – adjust for that.

Canada’s government is a lead adopter of technology.

Canadians prefer to purchase from Canadian companies. If you partner with a company similar to yours as a VAR, your chances are greater for success. Also, your expenses are lower with that partnership.

Connect with resources on both sides to assist expanding your business into the other side of the border. While there are many similarities to the U.S. and Canada, you need to understand the differences in order to be successful working in Canada. Canadians are friendly , have an open door and are readily available to talk about doing business with us. Use the resources on both sides of the border – you don’t have to go it alone.

The US government has offices in Buffalo, Rochester and Syracuse to assist with getting doing business in Canada. Check their export focused site for some of the resources along with contact information. They can help with market research, connect you with target companies and in some cases, provide translation services.

I hope this terse overview gives you an idea of how doing business with Canadian companies is like those in the U.S., only different. Happy exporting!

Connecting Twitter with SEO March 5, 2010

Posted by Edwin Ritter in Trends.
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I just came across an interesting vlog that talks about using twitter with Search Engine Optmization (SEO) efforts. It is very timely and the vlog is fairly short. This is what makes working in this space so interesting and fun The vlog talks about using twitter as a research tool for SEO and is included in a series titled ‘White Board Friday’ by the SEOMoz group. As the title implies, each week, there is a video on a specific SEO topic. This week’s entry caught my attention as I use twitter and have been working on organic SEO for some time now. Watch the video here.

WBF video from SEOmoz

Video on using twitter for SEO Research

The main message is how to use information from twitter such as trending topics to determine the proper timing for your blog posts. The key is to post in the right window -not too soon, not too late. Another takeaway is in leveraging a Google algorithm based on content freshness. By posting within the window, you take advantage of the spike in real time search for a popular topic such that your blog post will be found using their Query Deserves Freshenss (QDF) algorithm. As that content is fresh and trending, your chances for getting indexed are higher and will be found sooner. Brilliant! Part of the same storm lifting all boats, to use an old phrase.

I have used twitter for quite a while and was aware of the trending topics shown on Twitter. Until watching this video, I did not make the connection on how to use this information.

What other tools can we use in combination to gain further insights into web traffic and behavior? Have any favorites you’d care to share?