Monthly Archives: April 2014

Paperless Tax System for Canadians

Every year around tax season I always swear that I’ll be more organized next year. Then next year rolls around and I’m still matching up a box full of receipts with my credit card statements. In every other aspect of my business I have systems in place to keep me ultra organized, except when it comes to my taxes.

I’ve always wished that there was a better way to organize my taxes throughout the year. Ideally I’d like to ditch the paper receipts completely and go to an entirely digital system.

Ideally I’d like a system that:

  • Is entirely digital so I can get rid of paper receipts as soon as I receive them
  • Support the ability to import / forward receipts I receive by email since I do a lot of online shopping for business supplies
  • A mobile app so I can take pictures with my iPhone
  • Ability to save the GST/PST information from receipts separately for tax purposes
  • Ability to save receipts into different Tax Categories (Fuel, Education, Supplies, Meals, Etc.)
  • Support for exporting into TurboTax / Or has support to generate reports that makes doing taxes at the end of the year easy

I did some research and I found a few products and services that fill this market but none of them met all of my criteria. There were several solutions that were close but they didn’t have support for Canadian users.

Read More…

Reusable QR Codes in Your Marketing

This week I’ve got a guest post from David Ranalli. David is a professional magician based out of Indianapolis. In the post below he shares some great tips on how to implement QR codes into your marketing mix.

qr2What is a QR Code? A QR (Quick Response) code looks like the image to the right. People can use an app on their phone to scan the code and it will either show them some information, or direct them to a website page.

DR - Mediterra - 69“QR Codes are a great way to get fans or prospective clients to engage and go to a video, coupon, or other special offer. However, QR codes are often used very poorly, even by large companies with huge marketing teams. I’ve scanned a code and been sent to a 404 page, or on a hunt to find whatever the original code was meant to provide to me. If you are going to try using a QR code, it is important to do some research and look at proven strategies.

When you do take the plunge to trying one out as I did recently, you run into a problem; you may want to change the place your original QR code led to.

For example, you decide to include a QR code on your business card that links to your newest promo video on Youtube (not the most creative example, but stay with me). When you decide to update your promo video, your old business cards cannot link to the new video, only the old one. Meaning, people you have met in the past cannot link to your new video by scanning the code. Your new business cards would need an entirely new QR code on it. This is a waste of print materials, and doesn’t help keep your clients up to date on your current offerings.  Read More…

Sending Emails to Unknown Contacts Without It Being Interpreted as Spam

On Facebook Craig asked this question:

“Does anyone have extensive knowledge of CASL (Canadian Anti-Spam Law)? I am looking at doing some email marketing, but have this weird aversion to law suits… I’m basically just googling Industry X in Location Y, going through the various websites to gather emails, and blasting from there. It’s not opt-in, but there is a caveat for obviously available addresses. Thoughts? The main reason for this method is that I am trying to reach a new market, and don’t have much of a current ‘in’ with it.”

delete spamThe CASL is the Canadian Anti-Spam law, which is basically the equivalent of the CAN-SPAM act in America.

Making sure your email isn’t marked as spam can be a tricky problem to solve. The best solution in my opinion is the most obvious but people don’t do it because it requires so much more work.

If you don’t want your email to be interpreted as spam then you’ll need to make sure that it is targeted. That means that you’re sending an email to someone that will find it helpful rather than thinking it’s a shameless sales letter.

You can do that by writing in the name of the person you’re sending it to at the start of the email (ex: Good morning John), the company, and other specific information that makes that particular email unique.

Here’s a little trick I’ve used in the past. Your first email can just be an email asking for information about the correct person to contact. Then once they reply you can send off your more sales information to the right person.

The downside to this technique is that you have to wait for them to reply. But if you write your email correctly and send it to the right person you should get a reply most of the time.

The upside to this technique though is that you know that your information is going to the correct person. Plus you’ll also begin to build a relationship with that person in a much more meaningful way than if you had just directly sent your promotional packet. Building a relationship this way makes it easier for you to contact them in the future with new information because you already have an existing relationship.

Unless you’re doing huge amounts of email you don’t really need to worry about CASL. Instead you’ll want to send small amounts of highly targeted emails. If you need to use some sort of mail-merge or bulk email sender, that should be a red flag that your emails aren’t targeted enough.

Just don’t spam people and you should be fine.

 

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