Monthly Archives: December 2009

A Deeper Look Into Canada’s SMB Video Portal by YellowPages.ca

If content truly is king then you need to have a lot of content to pull off a portal dedicated to videos for small and medium sized businesses in Canada. Yellow Pages Group, Canada’s leading directory provider, is one such company that can make this come true and have just launched its Canadian Business Video Portal. Connected to Canada’s leading business directory, YellowPages.ca, the content of its video portal is both rich in breadth and depth.

For small businesses in Canada who are using video as a means to attract new customers this is a real win. First Yellow Pages Group launched its Canadian Business YouTube Channel, second it incorporated all its videos into its iTunes, Blackberry and Android applications and now it further distributes this content through a dedicated video only portal that connects consumers back to their profile page on YellowPages.ca. This kind of reach for a business owner for video advertising in Canada is truly unprecedented. Check out some of my previous posts on the above topics; youtube channel and mobile applications. NOTE: as of this posting, the videos on the YouTube Channel from Yellow Pages Group has received over 589,000 views, which is pretty decent considering these are informational about local businesses and not entertainment videos.

So let’s take a walk through of the video portal:

The Home Page

First thing you will notice is that this site uses IP detection to automatically assign a city – in my case Calgary, Alberta. In some cases you may notice that the city that is defaulted is not your city at all – this is an issue with IP detection and your host provider may be routing from another city. No worries though, in the top left hand corner you can simply change your default location.

The layout is pretty simple – navigation categories on the left, main video content in the middle and related videos to the right. Recently added videos are located towards the bottom of the page. Here is a screen shot of what I see this morning. What is neat is that if you refresh the home page, you will get a new profiled video so the site is changing all the time.

Canadian Video Portal Home Page

Social Elements

What good is a video channel if you can’t share it with your friends. Every video has 4 social elements – Add to Facebook, Add to Twitter, Copy URL and Embed Video. The Embed Video is nice for any small business owner who wants to add their video to their website. The Add to Facebook will load Facebook.com directly and the Add to Twitter will launch Twitter.com.

Social Features of Video Portal

Example of the Add to Facebook feature:

Add to Facebook from the Video Portal

Example of clicking on Embed This Video:

Embed a Video from the Video Portal

After you copy the code, here is what the embedding actually looks like. In this case I have decided to use the video from Universal Ford Lincoln Sales.

Category Refinements

There are 17 main categories in the video channel, but with tens of thousands of videos you need further refinement options. Here is an example of clicking on the Automotive, Sales and Services category and what the refinement by category looks like. If you are searching for a business by name, you can also sort alphabetically. Other popular categories include; Eat In & Out, Health & Beauty, Home Improvement & Real Estate and Travel and Accommodations to name just a few.

Category Refinement for Video Portal

If you select Automobile Dealers-New Cars, you will get a nice small list as follows:

Category Refinement for Video Portal

Destination for Any Click on Business Profile

Throughout this video portal you will notice links that say “See Business Profile”. All these links will go to the profile page on YellowPages.ca for all these businesses that contains some pretty rich information. Here is the example from Universal Ford. You will notice the video, link to website, opening hours, products and services and other features such as weather conditions, driving directions and what’s nearby.

Merchant Page on YellowPages.ca

Final Thoughts

As local business video is becoming more and more part of the buying decision, I think more and more Canadians will be demanding a richer experience. There truly is something about video that makes the experience so much richer than simply text on a web page.

I hope that you found this walk through interesting. If you have comments, please leave them in the comments section. As the Director of Business Development for Yellow Pages Group, I can ensure you that your comments will reach the right people.

6 Travel Tips for the Frequent Flyer in Canada

I travel a lot for my work as head of business development for Yellow Pages Group. In fact, I have spent so much of my time in airplanes and hotels that I have achieved Super Elite status with Air Canada and a Platinum member at Starwood Properties. I was telling some of my co-workers things that I do to help in speeding up travel and they suggested that I should write a blog post about some travel tips that anybody can use. .

So, here are some tips that I have put together that make my travelling life a little easier. Hopefully you find a couple of these useful in your travels.

Tip #1 – Purchase Some Space Saver Bags (the non-vacuum type)

I try not to check any luggage preferring instead to take carry-ons; I find it much faster when you don’t check luggage to get out of the airport. The issue with carry-ons is making sure you don’t exceed the size limit. What I find works out well to allow you to pack up to 7-days worth of clothing is the space saver bags. However, make sure you don’t buy the ones that require a vacuum cleaner (good for when you leave, not so good when at the hotel) – instead buy the ones that you simply use your body Lose Weight Exercise to push out the air.

Space Saver Bugs for Travelling

Personally, these have helped a great deal in not having to check luggage. They are great if you are using a airline size piece of luggage or simply looking to add your clothes to a backpack – it keeps them nice and tight. Downside; you may run into the issue where some clothes need to be ironed.

Tip #2 – Know Your Airplane and Which Bag to Bring

I mostly fly Air Canada and when you book with them they always tell you the airplane in which you are flying in. Notice the screenshot below but the numbers that are E90, 320, 321, tell you the aircraft. The one to be particularly aware of is the E90 or the CRJ because checked luggage can be an issue if you are sitting in executive class. For example on the “left side of the plane” if you are looking towards the cockpit in seats 1a, 2a and 3a the overhead bin is extremely small and will not fit any luggage. On the “right side of the plane” the bins are larger but you cannot exceed the recommended size of luggage. This overhead bin will fit jackets, backpacks or even a small duffle bag.

Air Canada Aircraft Types

When I am doing a short-haul, less than 3-nights (usually this means Calgary-Montreal), I will pack in a small backpack my clothes (using a space saver bag) and liquids. Specially here I will use the backpack because it allows me to use the small overhead bins. There is always lots of room, easy to grab stuff out when you deplane and you don’t have to worry about anybody squishing your stuff.

Tip #3 – Know your Airports for Mobile Checkin

This one is probably going to change, but here is my experience this year with mobile checkin. The Montreal airport has the proper scanners to get through the priority line as well as security. I find that Toronto, Calgary and Vancouver tend to take longer when using mobile check-in because they don’t have the proper mobile scanners. I even had one person tell me that this was not a boarding pass, thank goodness for other employees in the security line. For now, if I am leaving out of Montreal I will go mobile check-in all the time. For the other airports in Canada, I will use a paper boarding pass and flying out the US (at least the places I have been) I will continue to use a paper boarding pass.

Note: in Montreal you don’t have to be a frequent flyer to use mobile checkin. Anybody can and if you select that option, you can get through security much faster.

Tip #4 – Know Which Clothes Set Off the Security Alarm

Flying out the US it is a policy to remove your footwear. In Canada, it does seem to be a hard and fast policy (sometimes I have gone through with shoes, sometimes I am asked to remove them). I have one pair of shoes that always set-up off the alarm. When I wear these, whether asked or not, I will remove them – otherwise I will end up spending more time in the security line.

This is the same for belts. Some of my belts will not set-up the alarm, others will. I have a good inventory of knowing which ones will and will not. That said, this is a trial and error learning, so this tip is really meant for those frequent flyers.

Tip #5 – If you have a an iPhone, useful Mobile Applications I use when travelling

iPhone Applications

WeatherEye by The Wether Network – know the weather of where you are going and dress/pack accordingly. WeatherEye for iPhone (links to iTunes).

YellowPages.ca Business/People Finder – handy application, very clean and simple (read one of my previous blog post on this application) and a great tool for looking up businesses and/or people in your destination city. YellowPages.ca iPhone launches iTunes, YellowPages.ca Android and other devices. For Blackberry text – blackberry to 411411 for the application.

What’s On – A great application to know what is on in your hotel room and what channel. Works in Canada and the US. What’s On for iPhone launches iTunes.

ATM Hunter – this is issued by MasterCard and is a great location based application when you need to find an ATM. ATM Hunter for iPhone).

Skype – this is a killer application that can save you tons of money on roaming charges. Note: you need to be connected via WIFI to use, but most hotels offer WiFi. You can then make calls use this application and forgo any roaming charges (great when you are in the US) and pay Skype’s low per minute fees. The only issue – if you receive a text or you have your calendar set to notify you of a meeting, it will drop the call. Still not 100% but I have saved hundreds this year on long distance/roaming calls from my cell. Skype for the iPhone.

Here are a few other applications that I use when travelling:

Restaurantica – good for looking at reviews of Canadian restaurants
YellowPages.com Mobile – US based find a business search
Globe and Mail – keeps me up to date on CDN news when I am away
Shooger – mostly US, but a great application for coupons and deals
Yelp – really good for restaurant reviews while in the US
Facebook – you need to stay connected
Tweetie 2 – a must have if you use Twitter

This are a few that I use regularly when travelling – if you have others that you recommend, please enter them in the comments section.

Tip #6 – Bring the Right Power Connections

If you plan to work on the airplane there are two power connections that you can leverage. The USB connection that is in the TV (great for charging your phone) and the regular power jack that is connected to your seat.

For MacBook Pro users, remember to bring your regular power cord attachment for the 3-prong, otherwise, your standard power cord won’t work on the airplane.

MacBook Pro Power Cord

Those are 6 of my most common travel tips that I would recommend. If you have other travel tips that you would like to share, please feel free to comment.

Interested in a Marketing Role with Canada’s Leading Online Commercial Directory; YellowPages.ca?

Over the past two months I had have the pleasure of meeting a lot of new marketing candidates who have joined Yellow Pages Group Canada. The range of experience and quality of people is absolutely. This past week, I had the pleasure of meeting Martin Aubut who is a clear leader in social media, check out his linked profile.

Since I joined YPG in 2006 (as an employee, been working with the organization since 2001), I sometimes have to remind myself how incredibly lucky I am to be surrounded by high quality people. It is true that at the heart of any great company is people and YPG is not short of talent, which is probably one reason why YPG has been recognized as one of Canada’s Leading Employers.

Canada's Leading Employees

I am currently looking to hire 2 Senior Managers of Business Development for YellowPages.ca, Canada’s Leading Online Commercial Directory. I need one located in Montreal and one located in either Calgary, Vancouver or Toronto. If you are interested, please check out Yellow Pages Group HR Page and search for Job #1802 if interested in Montreal or #1836 if interested in Calgary/Vancouver or #1954 if interested in Toronto.

Here is a snapshot of some other interesting performance marketing roles.

The Performance Marketing Training Specialist will be part of a team of experts (Performance Marketing Delivery Team) mandated to provide dedicated support to sales representatives in achieving their targets of print and online products, with particular emphasis on Search Engine Marketing (SEM), Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and Social Media. Check out the YPG HR Page and if you are interested in Calgary, search for posting #1811 and if you are interested in Burnaby search for posting #1795

Check out all the positions that are currently being recruited for.

If you have any questions about working with YPG, please feel free to post a comment.