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Protect Customer Information with SSL

Protect Customer Information w...
You have likely at some point noticed the padlock icon just before the URL when visiting a website. Sometimes the icon takes the unlocked shape and other times it is locked. When the icon shows locked, that means the page you are viewing encrypts any communication between your browser and the server. The server and the browser share a key to decrypt the communication between them, so it is secure unless someone figures out the key to decrypt it, which is very hard to do. This technology is called Secure Socket Layer (SSL) and it protects passwords, financial information, bank transactions, online credit card payments, etc. You can also tell a website is secure when the URL starts with https:// (s at the end of http) versus http:// by itself.

For you the website owner, this means all the data you receive to your server from your website’s online form or payment submission is encrypted, keeping your customer’s information secure from hackers. If you are unsure if your site is protected by SSL, please consult with the person who built your site. If he or she has no clue, you should give us a call at PSPinc and we can help. It’s extremely important to protect your customer’s sensitive information.

We do not recommend collecting any sensitive information through your online forms such as social security or credit card information unless you are sure the data on the server side is encrypted correctly. You do not want to store raw, unencrypted information on your server because if your web server gets hacked, you put your clients’ information in the hands of hackers, and that’s devastating to both your business and the customers.

SSL is a license you need to purchase annually and it must be installed on your server by a professional. If you are not sure how to install the SSL license on your server and your web pages, please talk to your web developer or web hosting provider, or get in touch with us at PSPinc to answer any questions.
#PSPinc #Blog #Advertising #OnlineMarketing #SmallBusiness #DigitalMarketing #Marketing #SSL #SecureSocketLayer #OnlineForms #CustomerFeedback

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The Different Types of Online Forms

The Different Types of Online F...
Although you may not be the actual person developing the online form for your website, it is always helpful to be aware of the different styles you can choose from:

Text Input

A simple box in which you have the freedom to type. This may be formatted for words, letters or numbers only.

Text Box

This is a larger text input area, often used for more comments. One way it differs from text input is that you can write paragraphs within the form, using the “return” key without submitting the form.

Pulldown Menu

When you want to give certain choices to select from, pulldowns are used. Pulldowns are great when there are many choices (like the list of 50 states) to choose from.

Radio Button

Like the pulldown, you can have a set of choices shown. Radio buttons are good when there are not that many choices needed for an answer (maybe less than 20) and if you want the end users to see all of the choices. You can enable or disable a default selection for radio buttons.


When there is potential for multiple answers to a question, a checkbox form is helpful. Or when a website owner would like the end user to recognize and agree on a term or a condition, they ask you to mark the checkbox in agreement.


Captcha is a system that ensures form submissions are made by humans, not by machines. You may have been asked to type in a box a set of alpha numerals within an image, or asked to click an area of the image which is missing a piece. Often these are used to avoid spammers.

Required Fields

You can make a field in your form a requirement to fill out, such as asking for a name or email address. But you need to make sure you indicate that in the field clearly so people don’t get frustrated when they try to submit it without success.

Any and all forms should be constructed with the end user in mind. Difficult forms to fill out will be abandoned - and that is your loss, not theirs.
#PSPinc #Blog #Advertising #OnlineMarketing #SmallBusiness #DigitalMarketing #Marketing #Surveys #Customers #Feedback #Websites

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The Basics about Online Forms

The Basics about Online Forms
You can generate online surveys, RSVPs, inquires, and other contact forms very easily nowadays. Many of these online forms can be built or added very quickly with user-friendly tools such as our own Here are some basics you should know before you construct your forms:

What happens to the data?

The data collected via online forms can be sent to you via email, or saved on a server to download later, or both. Depending on the program you use to create your online form, the location where the file is saved may be different so be aware of this and find out exactly where and how the information is saved.

What kind of format choices do we have?

You have seen the different types of forms before, they might include a comment box, a radio button, a pulldown list, checkboxes, etc. I am going to cover each of these choices more in depth in my next blog post so stay tuned. The rule of thumb is to make sure forms are easy for people to fill out so they don’t abandon them, but it’s also important to make the answers consistent and objective so you can analyze the data effectively.

Should we use encryption technology (SSL)?

SSL stands for “Secure Socket Layer,” and it is an encryption technology used to encrypt the data from the browser to be sent to the server. You will see the lock on your browser when there is an SSL on a webpage. You will also see it in URL - instead of http:// you will see https:// in the address. SSL secures your online transactions but only for the communication between the client and the server. Whether to use SSL or not all depends on how sensitive the data is that you are collecting through the forms. More about SSL and security concerns will be in another blog post next week.

You can always consult with your web developers about the risks and benefits of creating an online form so you can make the right decision for your website.
#PSPinc #Blog #Advertising #OnlineMarketing #SmallBusiness #DigitalMarketing #Marketing #Surveys #OnlineSurvey #CustomerFeedback #Customers

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Understanding Customer Relationship Management Software

Understanding Customer Relatio...
You may remember a song called, “To Know You is to Love You.” It’s a great piece of song lyric because I believe it applies in business. Yup, to know your customer is to love your customer. But, to know your customer you need to understand them with something called Customer Relationship Management software, or CRM.

CRM is not only for large corporations but it is also a great tool for small businesses, and it’s more affordable than you think. PSPinc will have this feature available soon.

So what is CRM?

Customer Relationship Management is “a term that refers to practices, strategies and technologies that companies use to manage and analyze customer interactions and data throughout the customer lifecycle, with the goal of improving business relationships with customers, assisting in customer retention and driving sales growth” according to Tech Target.

CRM software allows you to keep track of the existing and potential customers’ contact information, the history of your interactions, their online behaviors and preferences, as well as notes and other data. You don’t have to capture all the data but it sure helps if you can learn more about your customers. The more you learn (and love) your customers, you will be able to make the right decisions about how you operate your company and how you market your business. CRM can also help provide continuity when it comes to your customer service.

Some CRM systems can complicate your business process. Choosing the right tool for you and your team is a critical decision. Always stay focused on the ultimate goals for your company and use CRM as a means to help you make decisions that will help you achieve them.
#PSPinc #Blog #Advertising #OnlineMarketing #SmallBusiness #DigitalMarketing #Marketing #Analytics #Customers #CustomerRelationships #CRM #CustomerService

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30 Years: PSPinc Celebrates a Milestone Anniversary

30 Years: PSPinc Celebrates ...
This month, PSPinc is celebrating its 30th year in business, and we appreciate everyone who has helped us along the way. As we celebrate Independence Day today, we take a little bit of time to reflect on the American ideals, and how important small business is to our great economy. Here is a little bit about our history and growth in business:

Founded in 1987 on Mercer Island, Washington by Ken Uchikura, the vision for PSPinc was to help the Japanese market grow by popularizing the PC in Japan using already established U.S. software technology. At the time, the use of personal computers was minimal in Japan, in part because software solutions built in the U.S. were limited to domestic machines – unfit for Japanese hardware and language requirements. Ken sought to fix this disconnect and close the technology gap between the two countries. For the next 10 years, PSPinc licensed, exported and published U.S. software for Japan from our home office in the States. We provided translation and adaptation services to American software companies that wanted to enter the Japanese PC market. At the same time, we published KanjiWORD, a Japanese-language word processing software, enabling Japanese language capabilities for users of non-Japanese versions of Windows. Following that success, we published KanjiKIT, which became the standard software for using Japanese tools on non-Japanese versions of Windows.

In the 1990s, PSPinc shifted focus to offer proprietary software applications and internet services to businesses of all sizes domestically and abroad. In 1995, Ken brought a T1 internet line into PSPinc’s office, which was followed by the first web server going online in January 1996. A data center was built in 2000 to provide reliable, secure web and email hosting services to PSPinc’s first clients seeking a presence on the web. With that, websites were developed for companies such as Tully’s Coffee, Pro Golf Discounts and Park Place LTD in Washington.

Our web services eventually outgrew our internal data center so we moved into the data center at Fisher Plaza in July 2007, where it currently resides and is overseen by our dedicated server team. In 2009, PSPinc broke ground on a secondary data center at our Bellevue headquarters, giving us the capacity to service more than 40,000 customers. That same year, Ken Uchikura stepped down as CEO to focus on research and development for the future, naming Mayumi Nakamura as his successor, and she remains PSPinc’s current President and CEO.

Over the years, we have grown into a team of skilled software designers, web and graphic designers, programmers, account managers, customer service and support to keep up with the ever-changing world of online business.
#PSPinc #Blog #PacificSoftwarePublishing #BusinessAnniversary #30Years #OnlineMarketing #SmallBusiness #DigitalMarketing #WebDevelopment #WebHosting #Websites #WebDesign #Software

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The Value of B2B Referral Marketing

The Value of B2B Referral Ma...
“Referral marketing is a method of promoting products or services to new customers through referrals, usually by word of mouth. Such referrals often happen spontaneously but businesses can influence this through appropriate strategies.” -

As I’m sure you’ve done in the past when choosing a vendor to work with, we call our trusted friends, mentors, and acquaintances to get some referrals. Why do we do that? Because we don’t have all day to do our research on vendors. Time is money, but it may not be worth our time or money to hire a vendor that doesn't give us the quality work we seek.

In business, saving a dollar here and there may not always be the best thing for operations, so we tend to look to trusted resources for advice. Our friends may give us the cheapest options, but more likely they will refer us to whom they trust to do the best job based on their own experience.

So what does this mean for your business?

In B2B marketing, referrals play a very powerful role. A referral may come directly from your trusted advisors in person, but they can also come virtually through media like LinkedIn or Google. All you have to do is ask your satisfied customers to mention you and write reviews about you in these social spaces.

Putting their testimonials on your homepage as a video, or as a paragraph with their real names and photos can be powerful online marketing. Instead of listening to your sales pitch, more and more people are listening to what others are saying about you.

You and your team will need to build a systematic way to make sure you ask for such referrals and reviews in a timely manner. To make this easy, you might want to consider a follow-up letter to existing clients and give them a link so they can put a referral on Google, LinkedIn or any other social media platform without having to search for it online.

If and when you receive such review, don’t forget to thank the person!
#PSPinc #Blog #Advertising #OnlineMarketing #Referrals #Reviews #SmallBusiness #DigitalMarketing #Marketing #B2B #B2BMarketing #Business2Business

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LinkedIn: Social Media for B2B Connections

LinkedIn: Social Media for B2...
When discussing social media, we tend to view it as an outlet for individuals, but when it comes to B2B, there is one social space that is very effective for connecting with other businesses – LinkedIn.

LinkedIn was founded in 2002 and purchased by Microsoft in 2016. It focuses on business and employment-oriented social networking, and currently there are about 500 million active accounts in 200 countries. If you don’t have an account yet, it would benefit you to create one. Like many other competitors, LinkedIn’s primary source of income comes from Google AdSense and other premium paid services.

LinkedIn has two sides – 1) the employment / recruiting side, and 2) the networking side. The first is pretty self-explanatory. People who are seeking new jobs post about their skills and experiences. When it comes to B2B marketing, however, the networking and influence side of things is more appealing.

LinkedIn has various interest groups, and people are networking / connecting / learning virtually online within the LinkedIn network. The same way you can publish a blog to get out important business information, you can “write an article” in LinkedIn to demonstrate your professional skills and highlight your business.

LInkedIn also offers advertising platforms for you to promote your articles:

Sponsored Content: For a price, your article can appear within the feed of people who fit your target profile.

Sponsored InMail: This is a different delivery method from sponsored content - it goes into the inbox of those people who fit your target demographic.

You can also look into text ads, display ads and dynamic ads that fit within your budget. The basic fee structures are the same as Facebook, but LinkedIn is more focused on business connections than personal connections. Take a moment to check out LinkedIn as another effective option for B2B marketing.
#PSPinc #Blog #Advertising #OnlineMarketing #SocialMedia #LinkedIn #SmallBusiness #DigitalMarketing #Marketing #B2B #B2BMarketing #Business2Business

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E-Newsletter Etiquette Tips

E-Newsletter Etiquette Tips
E-Newsletters are one way to stay connected with your existing customers, your new customers, and other business partners. Unlike the B2C (Business to Consumer) market, you probably want to send information in your newsletter that is pertinent to your potential customers’ business. If it can help their business in some way, address that. We don’t recommend sending ads because they become more of a distraction and people are likely to unsubscribe.

Check out some etiquette tips when sending B2B newsletters:

Stick to a regular schedule. Don’t send newsletters when you feel like it. Make sure you have a calendar commitment and stick to a regular schedule.

Be informative and consistent. Newsletter templates like the ones at make it easy for you to have a clean, easy-to-read newsletter style. Make sure the information you share is relevant and consistent with your brand message. Don’t venture out beyond your knowledge and stick with your core competency.

Better to be safe than sorry. If you are not sure about a person's title, it’s better to be safe than sorry. For example, when addressing your audience, should you use Mr. or Ms.? Or should you just say, “Hello, friends”? Consider your opening greeting and play it safe, rather than be wrong and be sorry.

Demonstrate your knowledge and professionalism. If you don’t have anything useful to say to other businesses, no knowledge that could help them, then you might as well not send a newsletter. Don’t just send a bunch of advertisements. A B2B newsletter should show off your knowledge and professionalism, so try sharing bits and pieces about your expertise in each newsletter. Perhaps highlight a recent client you helped or a new piece of technology or a new service you have to offer.

Don’t try to sell. You don’t need to sell your products or services in your newsletter. Let your knowledge as a company, and sharing your expertise in the newsletter sell your products or services instead.

Have a way to unsubscribe. Allow people to unsubscribe and opt out of your newsletter. And try to assess why someone might opt out when you get notification of it, and examine what you can do better.
#PSPinc #Blog #Advertising #OnlineMarketing #SmallBusiness #eNewsletter #Newsletter #DigitalMarketing #Marketing #B2B #B2BMarketing #Business2Business

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Engage your B2B Contacts Regularly

Engage your B2B Contacts Regu...
Unlike consumers who are emotionally driven to purchase, business purchases are driven by needs and demands, which may come unexpectedly. So, being available when needed is one of the key elements for successfully engaging a new B2B relationship. But how do you do that?

There are several easy ways for you to stay connected in B2B relationships:


Sending regularly scheduled newsletters on a relevant topic will help your potential B2B customers stay aware of your business offerings. All the emails and advertisements we get in our inbox daily can be overwhelming, so don’t just send any newsletter, make sure the information you send can be useful to them, and let it demonstrate your knowledge, your ability, and your brand message. Keeping in front of them consistently will help you be there when they need you the most.


Like newsletters, demonstrating your professional ability and knowledge can help other business owners be successful. Plan on showing your skills to other companies via free seminars. Online seminars are now easy to host, but for industries with less internet-savvy users, you might want to host these seminars in person. The virtual connection still cannot outdo the human connection – not yet.

Season’s Greetings

For season’s greetings, birthdays (if you know them), business anniversaries, or any other occasions you can think of, send your contact a message, a card, or a letter. Sending a greeting will give you the opportunity to remind them about your business without having to engage in a sales pitch.
#PSPinc #Blog #Advertising #OnlineMarketing #SmallBusiness #DigitalMarketing #Marketing #B2B #B2BMarketing #Business2Business

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Conducting a Successful Online Survey

Conducting a Successful Online...
With the right technology at our fingertips, it’s easy to conduct an online survey. But having the right questions for your survey takes some thought, and that is the key to getting the results you really need.

Here are some points to be aware of when building out a survey for your business:

Explain what the survey is about.

People will not take a survey if they have no idea what it is for. Be clear in stating its purpose right up front. Sometimes a little incentive like a small gift or coupon can help get people engaged.

Respect the participants’ time.

Even if you have a lot of questions you want answered, don’t make the survey too long. If you would like the participants to finish the entire survey, be respectful of their time and whittle down the questionnaire to your most important ones to get them completed in a timely manner.

Keep the questions simple and easy to answer.

Your questions should not only be easy to understand but the answer should be quick and easy as well. If the questions are long and take time to read or have to be re-read multiple times to understand it, people will not effectively participate in your survey. In fact, using yes or no questions is most effective.

Define the answers with more choices if needed.

If you can’t get away with using yes or no questions, try something different yet simplistic. Formulate your questions so participants can answer on a scale of 0-10, perhaps. With more quantitative answers to choose from, the better analysis you can make from the results.

Don’t lead the questions.

Choose the right words to construct your questions, and don’t lead the participants to answers. Take the last blog post’s example regarding the Xerox fax machine survey, for example. The question was worded so poorly and confusing, it led people to answer no.

Thank the participants.

Obviously time is money and don’t forget to thank those who helped you with the survey. You could make your survey anonymous which people might appreciate (and be more honest), or you can ask them to give you their names and email address so you can follow up with a thank you, or even incentive gift. Think about what might go over well with your customer demographic.
#PSPinc #Blog #Advertising #OnlineMarketing #CustomerSurveys #CustomerFeedback #SmallBusiness #DigitalMarketing #Marketing #B2B #B2BMarketing #Business2Business

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