ISP Guide: How to generate the most business from CanadianISP
The following is a guide applicable to ALL ISPs listed on CanadianISP. It is designed to help you get the most out of this site in terms of getting the most customers from our site to yours.
ISP Website Quality
First and foremost, your own website needs to be up to snuff: You face competition not only from fellow small and medium sized ISPs in the industry, but also from the major Telco and Cablecos with multi-million dollar marketing budgets. You certainly don't have to spend millions on your website, but it must meet a few, key criteria:
- It must be professionally designed and laid out: It cannot "look" like it was a childrens' gradeschool art project
- Navigation must be intuitive, easy to understand and present on each page: The golden rule is you must be able to get to anywhere on your site from anywhere on your site within three clicks of the mouse.
- You must have prices on your web site. Some believe in the stone-age idea that if you don't put prices online, people will have to call, giving you the chance to use a harder "sell" on them: Your competitors are putting their prices on their sites and people will go to them if you will not.
- The main areas of your site (services, pricing, common tech support issues) should not be overly technical or filled with acronyms and jargon: Ask yourself if an 80 year old grandfather who's farmed all his life can understand your site. Not everyone is an IT expert or even familiar with a PC more than is required to turn it on and check email.
- If you serve an entire province, or the entire country, do not use too many location-specific references or imagery. If you are based in Toronto, Ontario, also serve Victoria, B.C., but have images of the CN tower on your site, customers from other provinces may think you only serve Toronto.
- If you have bilingual staff, you should also have a bilingual web site. Computers and Internet issues can be difficult enough for some people without trying to figure it out in a language they are not most at home with.
Remember: If you get five thousand visitors a month from CanadianISP, but your company website sucks, you will convert a lot less of those visitors into paying customers.
CanadianISP Profile Quality
Your CanadianISP profile is the next thing that should be maintained. Here are the important details that will get you more attention:
- Keep your listing up to date! ISPs that update less than once per year disappear from the search results. Also: If you make a change in your pricing or caps to your site, update them on CanadianISP.ca, too - Customers notice when an ISP says one thing on CanadianISP, but another on your own site!
- Take a good look at all the options in the ISP profile and make sure that you fill them out if you offer them. If you fail to point out that you offer free webspace to your connectivity clients, you will lose the customers that value that as an add-on. The same thing goes for anti-spam services: If you offer them, brag about them!
- Pricing: Ideally, prices listed should be for 5 megabit DSL or 10 megabit cable, but that's not how most ISPs are listing them: Many ISPs have chosen to list their 'lite' speed packages, making their monthly pricing appear lower. If you offer a lite package, you should put this as your "package one" pricing: If you don't, your competitors will and one of the first things people compare ISPs on is price. If your price is significantly higher than that of your competitors, you really need to take advantage of the Blurb feature, below:
- The Blurb: This is a fairly under-utilized feature of CanadianISP, but several ISPs have really shown how to use it: It accepts HTML: You can use layout and remote imagery to actually have a page within a page in your Blurb area, giving customers a LOT more information and branding impact.
- VoIP pricing and features: This has become a really popular feature on CanadianISP: If you offer VoIP, fill out the VoIP options tool.
- Customer ratings and comments: This, too, is a very heavily used feature by the visitors to the site: You should make an effort, at least on a bi-weekly basis, to respond to your customers comments, both good and negative. The public understands that no company is perfect and there will be screw-ups: It is how you handle those screw-ups that can make a major, major difference. There have been ISPs listed with a mix of positive and negative ratings that have seen more clickthroughs than ISPs with solid positive ratings, simply because the ISP responded professionally to all ratings and made their efforts to resolve unhappy customers issues public. (CanadianISP is also fair-minded: We review each and every comment that comes in: Comments that are blatantly libelous or unrelated to actual service are removed, as are schilling attempts to boost an ISP unfairly)
- Industry News Feed: CanadianISP has an industry news feed that is available both on the site, as well as an RSS feed: You may absolutely include your own news releases here, including new service changes or offerings. Given the fact that CanadianISP is literally the #1 destination for both Google and Bing searches for Canadian related ISP searches, your visibility can only increase.
Following the above advice will see a lot more of the CanadianISP visitors click through from our site to yours. If you feel your throughput traffic is still low, despite all your best efforts, you can always contact me and ask for thoughts and opinions: I have been involved in Internet marketing and communications for over twenty years and can probably point out more than a few specific areas that can help you out. I offer this as an absolutely no-charge, goodwill service to any and all ISPs listed on CanadianISP, be you a paid advertiser or a free listing from site inception.
Advertising and promotional services to increase your ISPs' visibility and position in search results are available and completely optional. ISPs may choose to remain listed on CanadianISP, using the free listing, for the life of the website and will never be forced to pay so much as a penny.
That being said, however, promoting your ISP on Canadas' #1 Internet Service Provider Search and comparison website works very well. Here are the services available, their benefits and who would benefit most from using them:
- Guaranteed Rank:
What it is & Benefits: ISPs may purchase a guaranteed spot from positions 1 through 10. Depending on the market and service being searched, some results lists can be quite long: Aside from the guaranteed rank ISPs, the sort order is completely random, so the risk of being "below the scroll line" is a definite possibility: Just like in search results on Google, if you're not on the first page, your chances of being clicked on diminish significantly. Guaranteed Rank includes Coloured Link and Coloured Background
Who should use it: ISPs serving urban/high population density areas where search results tend to be greater than 20 ISPs from any given search for "All", "DSL" or dial-up. ISPs serving low population areas / rural areas will not benefit as much from Guaranteed Rank and can use other services, below, to greater effect with a much lower cost.
- Text Below ISP:
What is is & Benefits: Allows up to 150 characters of text that is displayed below the ISPs' name in search results. In addition to providing extra information about the ISP, its services or a special promotion, it makes the ISP name stand out as the entry is larger, vertically, than its neighbours, drawing the eye first. Text Below ISP may be changed at will by the ISP via self-serve tool in the ISP login section.
Who should use it: Text Below ISP benefits any ISP using it, regardless of any other promotional product they may or may not use. It is, however, particularly effective for ISPs using the Guaranteed Rank service.
- Coloured Link / Coloured Background:
What it is & Benefits: This allows the ISP to change either the colour of the font of their listing and/or the colour of the background of their listing (depending which service is taken - or both in the case of Guaranteed Rank customers). This makes the ISPs' listing stand out from others around it, drawing the eye to the entry. Both coloured link and background may be changed at will by the ISP via self-serve tool in the ISP login section.
Who should use it: Again, this service is usable and beneficial by any ISP listed on the site, but is particularly useful for ISPs serving low population / rural areas, or those with restricted marketing budgets. It is also very beneficial to ISPs targeting specialized audiences or business-only customers.
- Horizontal Banners:
What it is & Benefits: CanadianISP offers two locations and two instances of horizonal banners: Locations are top-of-page (integrated into the nav bar) and bottom of page (below results). The two instances are prior to search results (on the search options page) and the results page.
Prior to search is more expensive because it is more effective: Banners are presented before any ISPs are displayed, meaning the chance of visitor attention is higher.
Top of page is more expensive than bottom of page because top is always seen, regardless of length of results. Banners may be updated and changed on a reasonable basis simply by mailing a new banner file to CanadianISP. ("Reasonable" meaning as long as it is not several times a day, we'll do our best to accommodate)
Who should use it: ISPs with long term advertising plans and brand-awareness campaigns. Consumers are so used to seeing banners on websites that they are not the heavy impact vehicles they once were, so expecting short-term results from a horizontal banner is unrealistic. However: The long-term brand awareness and constant exposure to the company name, logo and message has been proven time over time to have an effect on consumer behaviour. Horizonal banners on both pre and post search pages are fairly low-cost, recognizing the long term need for their effectiveness and can fit in most companies' yearly marketing budgets.
- Tower Banners:
What it is & Benefits: Tower banners are much larger, vertically, than horizontal banners: They grab the eyes' attention a lot more readily, especially when an animated GIF format is used (Which not only grabs the eye from movement, but can present a lot more information than a static image). Positions are both left and right of search results, as well as left and right of the search form - Both positions where the eye naturally starts and stops reading information on a page, thus are far more impactful than horizontal banners at the top or bottom of a page. Banners may be updated and changed on a reasonable basis simply by mailing a new banner file to CanadianISP. ("Reasonable" meaning as long as it is not several times a day, we'll do our best to accommodate)
Who should use it: Given they are more expensive than horizontal banners, they are best used for high volume search pages, such as for urban areas. They are also particularly effective for promoting a new service or pricing scheme.
Statistics and other benefits
CanadianISP provides regular statistics to all our ad partners; While ISPs have access to a tremendous amount of data in the ISP Login section, our access to the raw databases allows us to provide in depth histories and comparisons for your business' performance on the site, as well as individual performance on your ads. We can, on request, also provide comparisons to competitors listed on the site and provide suggestions as to why you may be doing better or worse than they are.
We also monitor stats on a regular basis: If we feel your company is performing less well than it should with promotional services active, we will pro-actively look at your listing, your ratings, services and web site to provide insights as to how your firm can do better in terms of attracting new business. It is to our mutual benefit to see you do well: If you see more customers and are therefore happy with the services, you will be more likely to renew the services, which means both sides increase revenue and profit.
First time advertiser 50% discount
We are so confident with the effectiveness of CanadianISP promotions, we offer a 50% discount to any and all ISP first ad contracts, up to six months for any combination of services . If an ISP decides to start with a full year of services, they may take advantage of the 50% from the six month rate and enjoy the pro-rated 50% of the one year rate.
If you have questions about our promotional services, please do not hesitate to contact us. We can provide statistics showing before and after effects of advertising on CanadianISP, including stats showing the change in traffic when ads stop running.
Promotion on CanadianISP nearly always ends up paying for itself in the end.