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Posts from January 2013

January 28, 2013

Free List Hygiene Webinar: January 30, 2013 11:00am EST

January 27, 2013

Return on Investment

I am right in the middle of deploying project management software and training throughout our organization. We have purchased our software, have our new server up and running and have started the capturing of our current project processes.  Obviously, one of the areas I needed to look at was the ROI for this program. Here is an example of the formula I used:

ROI = Net Program Benefits / Program Costs x 100

As an example, let’s assume that the benefits of a project management program, isolated from other factors occurring within the organization, are $350,000. Let’s also assume that the total cost of the program is $125,000. The net program benefits are $350,000 – $125,000 = $225,000.

ROI Calc = $225,000/$125,000 x 100

ROI = 180%; thus for every $1.00 invested, $1.80 is returned after the costs of the project management training program are recovered.

Quantifiable Improvements

  • Capture more billable time
  • Improved allocation of resources
  • Increased budget accuracy
  • Reduction on cost overruns
  • Reduction in project failure rate
  • Reduction in project delivery time

Possible Benefits

  • Increased chance of winning bids
  • Decreased time required to create reports
  • Decreased time spent updating statuses
  • Improved handling of change requests
  • Increased accuracy in expense reporting
  • Increased accountability
  • More-accurate expense reporting
(From PMBOK)

January 21, 2013

How to Get More from Your YouTube Channel

YouTube is a great way to get more exposure for your brand and to drive traffic to your site. However, just like with your website, if no one is visiting your channel, it is ineffective as a marketing tool. There are a lot of things you can do to get more page views, more subscribers, and more traffic and conversions on your website.

Here are a few tips for how you can get more from your YouTube channel:

SEO Your Channel

Search-engine optimization is a great way to get more exposure for your website, and the strategy works equally well when applied to your YouTube channel. Get more traffic for your channel (which will then funnel to your site) by using keywords in your page titles, descriptions, and tags. Users in your niche will find you faster and visit your website, as well.

Create Great Content

There's no better way to get more traffic and more engagement than to create great content. Share videos that are truly unique -- that approach an issue from a different angle, that offer a novel solution, or that entertain or inspire. The more interesting and unique your videos, the more traffic you will get for your channel and your site.

Include a Call to Action

If you want your audience to do something, you have to ask them to do it. Don't assume they will know what to do next. That means asking them to visit your site, asking them to check out your products, and asking them to share your video or your links. Include this call to action at the end of every video, either as a note at the bottom of the screen or a verbal request.


Take full advantage of all the tools available to you to drive traffic to your YouTube channel and, ultimately, your website. Promote your channel on your other social networks, in your blog, and in your e-mail marketing. The more traffic you get to the channel (even if they are people who already know about your site), the higher it will appear in search results, and the more traffic it will get. Traffic will beget traffic, and the more you get, the more you can funnel back to your website.

A YouTube channel can be a great marketing tool for your website, but you have to do more than throw up some videos and hope for the best. Use these strategies to get more viewer, drive more traffic back to your website and increase conversions.

What do you do to get the most out of your YouTube channel? Share your tips for success in the comments!

Carmen Brettel is a writer and manager for www.studentgrants.org. In her spare time, Carmen enjoys gardening and volunteering at animal shelters.

January 10, 2013

How to Use Instagram as a Marketing Tool

Using Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest for marketing purposes is now considered standard practice for most businesses. As the realm of social media expands, so do the opportunities to reach out to potential clients and conduct market research. Instagram is no exception, with over 80 million users worldwide. Yet using Instagram as a marketing tool presents unique challenges, as it's entirely based on streaming photos. Just like the program itself, Instagram works best for businesses when it's combined with other social media outlets.

Create an Online Presence

Before any business can start using Instagram for promotional purposes, they will first need to have a fairly solid online presence to fall back on. It's important to create a website for consumers to refer to, along with company profiles for other social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, and Pinterest. Keeping a blog is also essential for online marketing purposes. Instagram can then be added to this mix, used to share photos and cross-post them on your other websites.

Choose Posts Carefully

There are a few features that all successful business Instagram profiles have in common. They use this program to post interesting, engaging photos on a regular basis, while also taking the time to communicate with their client base. Instagram can be used as a clear way to promote your products, by posting creative and appealing snapshots of them. Yet if all you post are product photos, you'll lose viewer interest quickly. Don't be afraid to post behind-the-scenes photos of the faces at your business. Avoid stock photos or overly professional snapshots, and feel free to get creative with new filters and photo effects to create quirky, memorable visuals that viewers will want to share.

Get More Involved

The rules of engagement with Instagram are the same as with any other social media outlet. To successfully use this tool to your advantage, it's best to reach out to your viewers by responding to comments and liking or commenting on their photos as well. Opening up your account to employees can also diversify your photos and make your brand seem more human to the community at large.

Incorporate Promotional Tie-Ins

To encourage your community to share your photos, you'll want to tie in promotional deals, discounts, or contests. Hosting photo contests is one fun way to interact with potential customers, allowing them to submit their own photos of your products. Contest winners can be rewarded with prizes and displays of their photos. Discount or coupon codes can also be used within your photos. These could be subtly hidden to create a scavenger hunt, which is bound to lead to more shares. Instagram features like hashtags and geo-tagging can also be used in creative ways to provide discounts or reward customers. These are all ways to make the user experience more interactive.

As you grow your online presence using a website builder, blogging platforms, and other tools, Instagram deserves to be added to the list. With consistent upgrades and an ever-growing audience, it holds a great deal of promise for business owners who use it wisely.


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