Sites provided by Rob Lewis, a commentator at eBizBlog.ca, an information source for small business, which came on stream about one month ago.
- news.google.com (Click
on News Alerts in left-hand margin)
Google’s News Alert service is essentially an online newspaper clipping service that browses 4,500 news sources on an ongoing basis. You may want to use it to keep tabs on a specific industry or technology — or even a competitor.
Type in your keyword(s), provide your e-mail address and tell Google how often you want to be updated. Whenever one of your keywords appears in a newspaper Google follows, you receive an alert via email with a link directly to the story.
“Big businesses pay big money for this kind of service and this is available to anybody that uses Google, says Lewis. “Whenever we tell anybody about it, they’re always shocked that it’s actually available and it’s free.”
Salesforce.com offers a popular customer relationship management (CRM) product that a lot of worldwide enterprises use. What many small businesses don’t know is that there is actually a personal edition available for free on the company’s Web site, Lewis says.
“If you’re only using it for personal stuff then it’s free, but there’s no reason why a small businessperson starting out couldn’t use it to manage their contacts, tasks and their calendar. You can also sync it with your PDA and Outlook if you want to have access outside of the office.”
While it is a very basic version of the full product, Lewis says it will provide enough information for you to decide whether you want to buy the full-featured version.
Rich with case studies and detailed discussion of many best practices in marketing, advertising and public relations, this site is designed to help companies improve their overall marketing efforts.
Visitors can sign up for four different e-mail newsletters. Lewis recommends Email Sherpa as “excellent for reading about some successful e-mail marketing campaigns.”
Business-to-Consumer is designed for those looking at ways to market to consumers and direct customers. Business-to-Business is also “not bad,” says Lewis. “It’s not really a small business-oriented one but the other two are.”
“A lot of people are excited about Internet marketing but really have no idea what they’re doing,” Lewis says. But, he adds, those wishing they had a base knowledge before stepping into it can get a free membership with the Association of Internet Marketing and Sales (AIMS).
The membership gives you the option of subscribing to the AIMS discussion list, which Lewis recommends strongly. “It’s almost like you’re eavesdropping on conversations amongst professionals in the industry, but you certainly don’t have to be in the industry to join, and you don’t have to join the discussions.”
Those with an Internet marketing problem wanting comments can submit something to the list and get feedback from numerous sources.
Once you get on the Canada Business Service Centres page, you can choose from any of 13 province or territory sites for more localized details.
According to Lewis, any Canadian wanting to start a business, register a business name, write a business plan or do market research will be interested in these pages, as information on all such government programs resides here.
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