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True or False: Video Killed Text Content

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We all know what happened when video came along and killed the radio star, but did it do the same for written content across the Web? This is concerning news for any SEO company that offers content marketing services. This is a debate that can go on for many years, but the truth of the matter is this – video has caused a big splash on the Web. You’ll find marketers, brands and even the end users using video content on YouTube, Vine, Facebook and Twitch.

It has even made it as part of the SEO services packages that SEO companies offer to their customers. The uptick in video publishing is likely due to the major impact it has on prospective audiences. Video has shown to be an excellent way to interact with various types of audiences.

According to numbers, video content is highly shared and engaged with by users. Consumers are said to be 39 percent more likely to share video content. 36 percent more likely to comment on a video and 56 percent more likely to like a video.

But does this mean that it’s a done deal for text? One thing we know for sure is that text is still alive and well – it’s just a different type of format that is best used for different reasons. The best case scenario would be to implement both into your Internet marketing strategy.

What Data Shows

The numbers are staggering for video content – the average Internet user watches about 206 hours of video content each month and according to Nielson, 64 percent of marketers are planning to use more video in the near future. Sure, video content beats text when it comes to engagement, but there are situations where users would prefer to read text. An SEO company can help you determine the services that will work for your company and when to use video content and when it’s best to use text.

Videos Are Lazier

The one reason why video content is doing so well is because it doesn’t require much cognitive work. The brain is shown to process videos 60,000 times quicker than text. People today are more inclined to choose to do tasks that are less work. Reading articles and watching video involves two different brain processes. When you read an article, your mind is actively involved and requires a longer attention span. Again, video content can be used in certain scenarios that suit the topic and the user.

Video sounds truly amazing – it’s no wonder SEO company experts swear by them. But it’s also important to note that not all Website visitors will prefer to watch a video. Your Web design can implement video, but make sure that it does so in a strategic way.

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Contractors: Have a Licensing Problem? Use This Punch-List to Pick the Right Attorney

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First, a little background: When it comes to contract litigation and collections work, there are many sources of good information for the contractor who needs to hire an attorney. However, a contractor who needs to hire an attorney to handle the defense of his or her contractor’s license before the Contractors State License Board (“CSLB”) has a much more difficult task: Few members of the public, including the contractor’s widest network of connections, will know a sufficiently skilled and experienced licensing lawyer to recommend. Yet the stakes in a contractor license law matter can be shockingly high – far higher than what is generally at stake in a misdemeanor criminal trial or a routine business dispute that ripens into civil litigation.

The critical degree of risk in a contractor licensing case is obvious: the contractor has devoted much time to a costly and highly specialized educational and/or apprentice program. He or she has studied for months and taken a difficult and expensive examination. Then, a number of years of climbing the steep learning curve and much expense have been invested in developing a viable contracting business. For the contractor suddenly faced with license revocation, the loss of the license is the loss of their job and the loss of their means of making a living, possibly the only such means for which the individual contractor is qualified or hire-able. For the individual business owner, the loss of the license means shutting down the business, forfeiting all income from it, while still being obligated for many of the on-going expenses incurred for the purpose of doing business. There are few civil lawsuits where one’s entire income and ability to make a living hangs in the balance. By this standard, then, licensing law is the ultimate high-stakes territory. Yet, still, it is practiced out of the public eye and few who need “the best” licensing lawyer have any idea how to find even a competent one. This article is offered to meet that need.

Why A Punch-List?

Punch lists. All contractors use them. It is the document used in the building trades to organize the successful completion of a construction project. Set forth here is a contractor’s “Punch-List” for successfully organizing a licensing matter. The criteria set forth are task oriented – meaning that this is a Punch-list for what a skilled licensing attorney should do. It is not an inventory of necessary personal characteristics or qualities. A fine mind, extensive specific similar experience, diligent work habits, impeccable honesty, and strong communication skills are all critical, to be sure. But there is no need to draft a Punch-list for those attributes– everyone can be held to know that those qualities are essential. Instead, this Punch-list sets out what you need your Licensing lawyer to do in your case. Of course, every case is different by its facts and circumstances, and every case presents issues that require particular decisions and actions by the lawyer for the contractor. But based on more than 30 years extensive experience, there is in fact an identifiable “Punch-list” for legal services that will always position the client’s case for the best possible result. So, in addition to the special requirements of your unique licensing law problem, this is what your potential Licensing attorney needs to be proposing to do in your case:

The Punch-list for Effective Contractor License Law Representation:

1. Early, comprehensive and thorough fact-gathering:

  • Issue formal legal demands compelling the CSLB to share ALL of the investigation package and ALL of the evidence the agency intends to use against you.
  • Subpoena all witness statements, photographs, agency records and other material the CSLB relies on for its allegations or decision against you.

2. Early and regular intervention to reduce the case:

  • Immediately intervene with the CSLB investigator and other officials to persuade the agency not to go forward, or to go forward on a less serious set of allegations and proposed penalty.

3. Regular and on-going skilled negotiations with Board representatives, including the Attorney General or CSLB Counsel, and including an Administrative Law Judge sitting as Settlement Officer, to reduce the allegations and the proposed penalty.

  • Presentation of alternative proposals for license discipline, or case specific conditions for license issuance.

4. Professional preparation of your case:

  • Identify, find and prepare for direct and cross-examination all witnesses supporting your position.
  • Prepare cross-examination of all witnesses opposing you.
  • Create diagrams, video, maps, photo-journals, bench-book and other exhibits that support your case.
  • Prepare, file, and argue legal motions that may limit the CSLB’s ability under the law to discipline you, or may keep out of evidence material that is unfavorable to you.

5. Presentation of your case at hearing:

  • Object to the admissibility of unreliable evidence against you.
  • Offer into evidence all exhibits that support you.
  • Examine and cross-examine all witnesses.
  • Argue the case and submit a thorough post-hearing brief applying the law to the evidence admitted at the hearing.

6. Completion of any applicable post-hearing processes:

  • Submit formal written objections to an unfavorable proposed Decision and argue a request for re-consideration of any unfavorable decision.
  • Appear before the Contractors State License Board to argue in support of or in opposition to the Proposed Decision.
  • Preserve your rights to file an expedited writ proceeding challenging in civil court an unfavorable agency decision.
  • Preserve the integrity, accuracy and completeness of the administrative record in the event that a challenge in court is necessary.

That’s it! That’s the Punch-list for skilled representation in a contracting licensing matter. When you go for your free consultation, these are the tasks you need to be listening for when the attorney describes his or her plan for your case. If all of the lawyer’s talk is about hearings – or all about negotiations, or all about any other limited slice of a contractor licensing case – beware and move on. If the proposed Agreement for Services or Retainer Agreement doesn’t spell out the entire Punch-list, you need to talk further or talk to other lawyers before you sign and surrender a check.

When your livelihood or business is at stake, you need a lawyer who can do right by you in all aspects of your fight. A licensing dispute in which your professional identity and ability to earn a living are at stake can be the single most significant, expensive and emotionally challenging legal battle you will ever in life go through. Don’t go through it alone; don’t go through it with anyone who is less skilled, less able, or less willing than you need and deserve to protect your right to your occupation.

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The Lost Art of Email Marketing in the Social Media Age – Part 2

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In part one of this post we have discussed why it is so important to use email marketing. In this part we will be discussing some of the steps on how to actually accomplish it. When you can grow your business without having to do much work, and spend minimal money; you’re able to have a much larger client base to work with.

Obtain an Email Marketing Platform

These choices provide all the tools you need to create and manage an email marketing campaign, including: list management, performance tracking, customer unsubscribe and subscribe.

Sending email to a large amount of recipients from your personal account will most likely tag your email as SPAM. So using a personal email is not suggested when sending out marketing emails. Choosing one of these email marketing clients will provide you with a better basis for sending out mass emails to potential customers and clients.

Some of the ideal email clients to go with for email marketing include, but are not limited to:

MailChimp – For an affordable price per month, you’re able to enjoy list building, email blasts, email templates and just about any other marketing email service you’re in need of. Enjoy the benefits of effective email marketing blasts.

iContact – This platform allows you to build onto the templates that they’ve put together. This is a great way to learn how to market through email, but can also be ideal since they provide extra help as needed.

AWeber – It is inexpensive and high end, making it an ideal choice. With multiple functions, the emails you send out will be received easily and effectively while not being overly complicated.

Build Your Email List

It’s the technology age, so forget handing out clip boards or luring people to provide their emails to view their photos on your website. Rather leverage how your customer’s currently interact with you online to build your email list.

Use These Tips to Build a List:

Encourage your guests to RSVP for your events or signup for your newsletter by providing their email addresses. There are applications that make this easy for all to do. Once they sign up, you cannot be referred as SPAM through the system.

Pair RSVP and newsletter signups with incentives / promos in order to encourage people to take action. For example you can offer free entry before a certain time or free drink tickets in the case of newsletter.

To get the most results, encourage your guests to sign-up for your newsletter or RSVP in all of your marketing campaigns, including social media website

Decide On Your Content

The general rule for email marketing content is to keep it relevant to your customers and give your customer a call to action. After all, whats the good that comes from investing in an email marketing platform if you don’t ask your customers do anything with it. The good news for nightlife is you have great content at your disposal in the form of your events. Make sure when sending your events to your clients you urge them to RSVP, a call to action that invites them to do so with ease.

Want to offer additional content? Consider putting together newsletters revolved around the latest happenings with your event or venue, pop-culture and music news, life hacks or any other information your target audience might find appealing. You will want to find creative ways to ask your guests to do something, whether it is checking out your upcoming events, visit your website, sign up with your venue, etc.

Distribute Your Content

Once you’ve decided on your content and have your email marketing platform packed with emails, the next step is to use the platform to run your campaign. Take advantage of scheduling features to send repeated marketing campaigns. Use performance and tracking features to track the performance of your campaigns and gather intelligence on your guest habits. Find out just how many leads you’re getting from emails, all from the one email client doing the work for you.

This will end up bringing a lot more clients into your bar, restaurant or club; allowing you to increase your overall revenue.

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Cost Effective Small Business Marketing Strategies and Tips – Part Three

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In this Part 3 article on Small Business Marketing, I am going to explore Marketing Research and Target Marketing. Both are very important in marketing your small business, and the quality of the market research process will define your targeted marketing. See my previous article for information on Marketing Methods and Strategies.

MARKETING RESEARCH

Questions to Ask:

– Is a combination of goods and services a better, more competitive offering for the market than just a product or service?

– What is your advantage? Price? Superior Product or Service? Timing? Barriers to entry?

– What should you emphasize? Quality, Selection, Location, Service, Your Expert Status or the History of the business?

– Can you effectively compete?

– Define your Competition. What’s their Edge?

– Who are your best customers? Why?

* What are their Demographics? Psychographics?

* Why do they buy?

* What media do they interact with?

* What is their spouse doing for a living?

* What is their purchasing outlook for the next year?

– What are the best aspects of your business in the customer’s view?

* What improvements do customers want?

* Do they want more free interaction like a Newsletter, E-book, Articles, Forums, etc? Customers, whether current or prospective, offer the very best marketing info. Prepare a questionnaire for them! Put surveys on your website. These are excellent ways to fully define your “best” customer, and what makes them decide to buy.

– Gives invaluable information on your competition and how you stack up. Marketing Research Bonanza is the Wide World Web!

– Use multiple Search Engines.

– Use Chat Rooms and Forums. They can search as Focus Groups and provide invaluable Marketing Research. Determine your Marketing Appeals or your customers’ hot buttons.

At the conclusion of your initial Marketing Research, ask yourself:

– What customer needs, wants and niches translate into “x” amount of profitability?

– What improvements are needed for your biz?

– How can your competitors hinder your growth?

– How can you lose current customers?

– What measures need to be taken to ensure your Products and Services don’t become obsolete?

– What changing Trends affect your business?

– Who do you need to advise you about running your business? Spark new ideas?

Remember: The Quality and Source of your Marketing Information define the efficacy of your Research. You need High Quality and Reliable Information, and these two variables are the key to your future success.

TARGETED MARKETING

Targeted Marketing doesn’t have to be expensive, rather, it is the focused and personalized nature of inexpensive Targeted Marketing which make it worth considering. Some examples include:

– Email: Opt In

– Online Boards and Groups

– Free Offline & Online Ads

– Increase response rates with Toll Free Numbers

– Newsletters

– 900 Numbers

– Inexpensive Regional Magazine Editions: great credibility builder!

– Newspapers offer low-cost targeted geographic zones and neighborhoods.

– TV Ads are much cheaper and targeted now.

– Home Shopping Networks can be highly targeted and great to advertise around.

– Cell phone text messaging: Opt In only!

– Video Brochure: the paper brochure is a harder sell now days. Bring your Business, Products and Services alive with Video and/or Audio.

– Look at targeted media like airplanes, airports, taxis, buses, checkout counters, restrooms, banks, etc.

– Marketing messages on a Telephone “Hold” Session.

– Use low cost special effects to appear to have a bigger look on TV advertising.

Targeted Marketing Methods

Canvassing/Cold Calling: I am not a huge fan of Canvassing or Cold Calling but it can be effective/required in the early stages of your business, especially when money is tight. You can enhance your method by:

– Putting out flyers/mailings prior to initiating contact

– Go to Networking Events (i.e. Chamber of Commerce or a Professional Network Group) as a Guest of a member for free and make it count.

– Be direct; look people in the eye; and most importantly, offer value. Never hesitate to respectfully ask for the sale.

– Free Demonstration, a Sample or leaving a Product behind for free use can be very effective, if your product is highly effective and can sell itself.

– Try to quickly qualify the prospect and always ask for a Referral regardless if a sale was made.

– Look for ways to reference another mutual relationship to warm up a cold prospect

– Make the prospective customer feel important

– Educate your prospects; empower them and they will buy from you

– Identify your unique benefits and advantages, giving the prospect a great reason to buy

– Do your homework prior to contact and tailor your presentation for a particular prospect

– Mention your current customers, show testimonials and talk about your past successes.

– Show pride in your product/service offering

– Know the prospect will buy from you and always try to close at different points in your presentation

– If the sale isn’t consummated, ask why. Use the answers to tailor your presentation, rework your product/service offering or alter your pricing/credit structure

– The presentation should be brief and engage the prospect along the way.

If you follow the above pointers, Canvassing can be very effective and inexpensive. However, it demands a lot of time, discipline and consistency.

Biz Cards: Use both sides of your card, and it should sell something, offer something and point to your website for a special offer. It is a Sales Tool – use it as such!

Letters: Personalized letters are a thing of the past, but an art form which is worth using today. Why? Simple: no one else is and you will appear unique. The letter should solve a prospective customer’s problem or point to a website presentation that does. Use online or offline questionnaires to capture valuable information which you can use to sell the prospect – it sets up your sale. Some tips:

– Follow up the first letter with a second letter and then a phone call. All this should be done in 10 day’s time. Follow up letters and calls should offer new information.

– Always ask for the sale! Often, the third time is the charm.

– Include personal references, people you know in common and testimonials in your letters.

– Combine a letter with a Questionnaire, which asks a prospect to provide an Opt In Email address. Send all further communications via email for cost effectiveness and immediate yet convenient to the prospect contact. Remember, an email can be a Newsletter, Audio or Video Recording, a Power Point Presentation – the sky is the limit!

– Remember: Confidence, Quality, Selection and Price. Address all four in your contact; a sale is eminent, provided the prospect is qualified.

– Letters are an easy, cost-effective way to stay in contact with customers whether you make a sale or not.

– Personalize it: Address to a particular person, hand sign it and write a personal P.S. by hand. You can even follow a sales letter with a hand written note in a second mailing before or after a follow up phone call. This can be very effective!

– Your letters should not ask the prospect to respond. Rather, it will tell the prospect when you will call to set up an appointment and/or answer questions leading to a sale. Either way, on the phone call, Always ask for the sale.

– Stick with just a short letter. No other enclosures. You have a better chance to be read. You can always email (save postage) a brochure once you have retained the interest.

– If the prospect cannot wait for your follow up phone call, have a website address with an exclusive offer that points to a well crafted Sales Web Page (see my Online Marketing Article for more details).

– Sign your name in Blue color, along with the P.S. The Reader will read the P.S. first so put some thought into it.

– State your offering’s benefits to the specific prospect without really saying what it is. This will drive the prospect to check out your Sales web page.

– Include a short Customer Testimonial with the Customer’s contact info. Let your current Customers do the selling for you!

– The numbers: Mass Mailings are deemed successful with a 1-2% Response Rate. If a personal letter is done right, a 10-20% sales rate (not Response Rate!) can be achieved!

* If you do Mass Mailings, a Personal Letter as stage 2 to your responses can be highly effective as well!

– On your Online Sales Page always give the prospect the opportunity to Opt In their email address so you can automatically send them Newsletters, Articles, Special Offers, Bonafides and the such.

– How to get a sale? Simple: Eliminate all risks of doing business with you and make sure the prospect understands the benefits and value of your offering. Pair that with passion and straight forward ethics and you will close again and again. You will have to ask for the sale at a minimum of three times on average; so ask!

– Partner up with other ethically sound business people to pair your offering and make a truly unique offering and/or tap the partner’s customer base. An experienced partner can add a lot of credibility to your offering.

– Ask for Referrals from the beginning, whether or not the prospect buys from you. If they don’t, make sure you offer them an Opt In so you can continue to stay in front of them with Specials, Newsletter, Company News and Events, Articles and the such.

– If targeting businesses, ALWAYS send you letter to the President and then follow up with a phone call after you sent a hand written note two days later. Two things will happen, you have his/her attention, and your initial call will be routed to the right decision maker in the company.

– Remember, letters are all about psychology so keep the emotional sale in mind when preparing the letter.

Note: A lot of these methods and strategies described under “Letters” can be applied to many different marketing tools – use them!

Telemarketing: I am not a huge fan of cold calls (and this coming from someone who built initial sales and companies on cold calling). Now, a professional telephone campaign linked to a mailing of some sort (letter, brochure, marketing piece) can be quite effective. In-bound telemarketing can be profitable if done properly. The bottom line: 51% listen to telemarketers when called, so it can be a worthwhile strategy. Here are some keys toward running a successful telemarketing campaign:

– Research the prospect: know the important things about your prospect and how they relate to your business.

– Link your telemarketing with a personalized letter so your call is a follow up from an expected source, verses a pure cold call.

– I hate scripts. Your telemarketing should come naturally and lead to pre-planned destinations and decisions (i.e. more info, website link, a free analysis, newsletter or article, or a sale).

– Know your hot-button words, such as, “profitability, increase profits, lower costs and expenses, increase cash flow, money and time savings, competitive advantage and edge, market share” and so forth.

– Remember, an Objection is a faster way to a yes. Address an Objection adequately; you are one objection closer to the sale (typically 3 objection average per sale).

– Keep it simple: Contact, Warm Up, Present, Answer Questions/Address Objections and Close (try to close twice before your final close).

– Ask the prospect questions and clearly understand his or her issues/problems so you can provide a solution.

– When you close and ask for the sale, always state the benefits prior.

– A close doesn’t have to be a sale. It could be you ask for the sale and the prospect isn’t convinced. Do not destroy your sales opportunity by trying over and over for a final close. Rather, set up an Appointment and send follow up information and a Sales Webpage link. Stay in front of the prospect (I am assuming this is a well qualified prospect).

– Keep a Special Offer in your back pocket and only use it if you think the prospect is more motivated by price than your value added benefits.

– The hard numbers:

* 100 calls to close a sale

* 5 minutes average per call = @ 8 hours for a sale

* 5 sales = @ 40 hours of time

* The average call transaction when one business telemarkets to another is @ $550, which means telemarketing can be quite profitable

– You can certainly increase the before mentioned odds/percentages to the better by developing and implementing a warm-up campaign that involves a personal letter, other type of mailing, email, etc. Warming up the prospect really pays off for the follow on Telemarketing.

Fliers/Circulars/Brochures: Fliers and Circulars are a short, concentrated, single message, specialty piece while a brochure is more detailed and longer. I am not a big fan of any of these business promotion mediums, unless they are used in a well thought out, targeted system. Here are some tips to draw clarity on what I mean:

Fliers & Circulars:

– If you need to distribute a large volume, in conjunction (as a follow on) with a Mass Mailing, use Circulars.

– Gets Instant action if implemented correctly.

– Clear Offer

– Urgency

– Straight to the Point

– Instruct Prospect what to do Next

– Clearly Ties in to a Previously Established Identity

– Content is very important, as well as, Process.

* Factual/Explain

* Inform

* Sell

– Help a Prospect visualize your Content with a Picture

– Use Headlines & Bullet Points

* List the greatest benefits for the particular audience

– Test out your Brochure with a Circular/Flier for cost effective Test Marketing

– Use Action Words

– Learn Desktop publishing and produce your own materials at a fraction of the price. Get a Graphic Design Student intern to create your Artwork for a small fee.

– Color and Gloss are expensive. If you aren’t selling a luxury, premium product, consider colored ink and colored stock to bring your piece to life. However, if you self produce, I prefer Gloss and Colored Pictures – it is worth the added cost but mitigated when self produced.

– ROI: One Sale/one job should handily pay for your entire creation and distribution costs, otherwise, reconsider your campaign.

Brochures: More expensive, more detailed, larger pieces which instill confidence and credibility. Moreover, it provides a more finesse, elaborate sales process. As a mailing, I prefer a Circular. For customer location placement, I like a Flier. Brochures are great for in-house advertising; give to existing clients with a referral section; perfect to use online in combination with Website Marketing. I like all my referral sources to have a replenishable stack of brochures that contain a referral section. Also if you don’t make a sale, send a few brochures and ask the prospect to give out for a referral fee (and to stay in front of the prospect).

– The best use of brochures in my opinion is online and as a PDF product, as well as, a Video and/or Power Point product.

– Color is good. It increases your retention rate by over 50% and affects the buying attitude by 40%.

– A brochure that costs a $1 to produce can have 8 pages, so use them wisely. Tell a story, build credibility, make it personal and keep a professional, clean look.

– If you have products that change rapidly, consider using a pocket brochure for product update inserts. Great for price lists too!

– Customer testimonials are a must.

– Have the brochure point to specific web sales pages for more information.

– Call for Action in your brochure. Direct the prospect.

– A low cost way of producing a brochure is having a magazine, which you advertise in or publish in, produce the ads / story as a brochure for you.

– A great combination if money is a premium (it always is with a small business, isn’t it?) is to run small print ads in many publications which point to a FREE Brochure, which could be an Online Brochure. Give people a reason to request the FREE Brochure.

– You can personalize a Brochure Request by including a handwritten sticky note on it (this can be done digitally as well).

– Be sure to follow up with the Brochure Requester within five days.

– Brochures should only go to interested prospects. Circulars can be more mass market. Brochures should bring you a closing rate of about 30%.

– An Online Brochure can have links to Video, Power Point and Audio Presentations. These really increase your chances to make a sale.

Classified Ads: These types of ads can be low cost, cover a specific region or even neighborhood or take you national and international. For a targeted audience, concentrate on Magazines. An important stat: 60% of Americans read a magazine entirely but from back to front. So, your ad has a good chance of being read.

– Consider Classified Network for targeted, multimedia ads at a great price.

– Use a short Headline in all CAPS. Only use abbreviations people will understand.

– Personalize it

– Direct the reader to a Web Sales Page

– Consider putting your phone number

– Read the other ads in your advertising section and write an ad that contrasts

– A great way to sell a Book, offer a FREE E-book or Article

– Use Facts in the AD

– Create momentum and call the reader to Act

– Accentuate benefits

– Classified Ads are short and sweet but you need quality of message. Start with a bigger AD and cut it down to the lines you need for the small Ad. You need very tight copy. Study competitors Ads to spark ideas and angles.

– I am not a fan of online classifieds. I think they get lost on the websites which they are displayed. For this reason, I recommend Print. If you find a Classified Online Forum or Service or Directory you like, the downside is you have to resubmit the Ad daily to keep visibility.

– Offer something FREE!

Gift Certificates: This can be an overlooked area for many businesses. Promote your Gift Certificates on the Home Page of your website. Do not have an expiration date. Specialize for Holidays. Put a link in your email address highlighting your certificate offerings. It is a great way to Brand your name.

Signs: Signage can be quite expensive so pick a business location which requires minimum outdoor signage exposure. Indoor or Sidewalk Signage is much less expensive and can be quite effective. Be sure to keep your signs consistent with your logo, meme, advertising message and branding. Consistency in identity and image across the board in all the media types you are employing is paramount to converting a Prospect to a Customer.

– Keep the sign short, concise and use persuasive, action words. Have a visible, identifiable logo.

– Sidewalk signs should be designed to stop the pedestrian, for that person to pause. Then a sign and/or merchandise in the window has a chance of pulling that prospect in to your business. Better yet, put your best priced merchandise outside your door. It can cause an impulse buy and/or create an invitation to visit your business.

– Promote Cross Selling Opportunities

Use Brochures, Biz Cards, Gift Certificate and Coupon Displays with your signage. At the very least, a non-buying prospect can leave with something, if not a Gift Certificate. This creates great viral based, inexpensive advertising.

– Remember, Ads can become a sign – just blow it up!

– Use point of purchase signs to get the instant gratification sale.

– Check out your competition and see what they successfully use.

Free Bulletin Boards: Depends on your type of business. For instance, if you deliver pizza to a college, then Bulletin Boards can be your best advertising. Bulletin Boards are very time consuming as you need to check the board and refresh your offering at least twice per week. Hire a part time student to manage your Bulletin Boards so you can spend your time more wisely.

– Everywhere has a Bulletin Board. Try to choose those that are well maintained (so you remain visible) and have the right prospect traffic.

– You can use your Circulars to post on the Bulletin Boards. Always have precut strips or peel offs for prospects to take your information with them.

Yellow Pages: One question: Why? Print Yellow Pages are expensive, and in the Internet world, hold much less influence and utility. If you feel that you must advertise in the Yellow Pages, put tracking devices on the Ad so you can measure its effectiveness. Moreover, one Ad may not do it as people may search in more than one category to find you.

– Is the answer online Yellow Pages? No! Consider Google Local with Google Maps verses using the online Yellow Pages.

– The largest Ad wins in Print Advertising. So, instead of paying the extra bucks for one large Ad on a page put two smaller ones to prevent being overshadowed by a large ad

– Color pays. Spend the extra bucks for it.

– Offer something for FREE

– Make your AD personal – address that person looking at your Ad

Use the Power of Desktop Publishing: Learn to use graphic design software and design your own logo, brochures, circulars, ads, business cards for a fraction of the cost. Take a class on the software you will be using so you can create professional looking materials. Then you can always hire a pro to clean up your designs. There is no need to spend thousands of dollars on your designs using a graphic designer – you can use a pro when you are successful and the cash flow is there.

In my next blog post I will discuss the Power of Mass Media. Stay tuned!

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Mobile Marketing – Branding on the Go!

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With the proliferation of SmartPhones (3G iPhones), and now SuperPhones (4G Android OS), it has never been easier for consumers to connect on social media channels, surf the web, and make purchases online wherever and whenever.

When an advertisement sparks your interest, pertinent and relevant information is immediately available on your SuperPhone. New technology enables you to simply scan QR Codes with an App on your SmartPhone, and be instantly connected to a website, a video clip, phone number or to whatever the online marketers opt to link to that QR Code.

According to ComsScore’s new Mobile Metrix 2.0 report highlighted USA SmartPhone users vs Desktop users on Facebook:

SuperPhone: 441 mins. per month (7 hrs. and 21 mins.) vs

Desktop Computer: 391 mins. per month (6 hrs., 31 mins.)

Shared Advantages

Mobile branding shares many of the same advantages of Internet marketing. However, the First Mover Advantage (FMA) for marketers and businesses, unlike more traditional forms of media, is that the results of Internet and mobile marketing are measurable and traceable. Online marketers can now see the efficacy of certain Internet campaigns, they can track who is accessing their website, the means of access, and the duration of the visit. The consumer may feel somewhat uneasy with this tracking feature, but marketers find the information invaluable when determining the effectiveness of campaigns and the measurable results attained. Additionally, although the cost of mobile and Internet marketing is considerably less than traditional media, it offers a local and global reach. Why spend tens of thousands of dollars on TV commercials that are broadcast in but one specific region and language, when at a fraction of that expense, your mobile message would enable you to reach potential customers on a global basis 24/7/365? On the flip side your mobile client is always moving, easily distracted and highly demanding. Speed of execution and a focused and relevant content strategy are critical to your campaign’s long-term and short-term success.

Mobile Website Checklist:

– Create a Mobile Search Plan

– Understand Search Engines for Mobile(Google Mobile, Bing Mobile, Yahoo Mobile, etc.)

– Add a Click-to-Call Button and Additional CTAs

– Build a Mobile Website Map and Keep Your Code Clean

– Optimize Browser for SuperPhone Speed

– Install a Sensor to Confirm Browser Device (iPhone, Android, Blackberry, etc.)

– Keep it Simple with Streamlined Features (I.e., avoid flash intros, etc.)

– Be aware that Websites are designed to be viewed on a 20″ monitor vs a 3.5″ HD SuperPhone

First Mover Advantage

Acknowledge that the mobile device has become the ultimate source of information and research for many global users. Only a handful of B2B and B2C companies actually tailor their websites to mobile devices, thus the user-friendly mobile website optimized for a mobile search is an indispensable component of any company’s brand marketing and business development plans. If your site is not easily accessible, your target audience instantly exit your site and enter your competitor’s.

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Finance

Can Pay Per Click Advertising Really Grow Your Business?

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Around 80% of all internet traffic passes through at least one Google page en-route to finding what they’re looking for online. This treasure trove of potential clients, all searching for a specific product or service, makes pay per click advertising the best way to grow your business.

With a well written advert and a carefully chosen set of keywords, your business could well be their first port of call. And if it’s not, then you don’t pay. Not only are you reaching clients at the exact moment in which they are searching for the services you offer, you’re doing so on a pre-determined budget. Depending on how successful your campaign is and how much capital you are prepared to invest, the budget can be raised and lowered at any time. If you have a special offer or your product is time sensitive for example, the daily budget can be temporarily boosted without worrying about sustaining the increased expenditure long term.

A Flexible Friend

This ease with which pay per click outgoings are controlled is undoubtedly its greatest selling point. No other advertising medium gives you the same level of flexibility as a pay per click account. Your advert text can be updated daily and adapted as your business grows. Introductory offers, new product lines, special events – all can be added at the touch of a button for no extra cost. With traditional radio or print advertising such changes would require expensive new campaigns.

Advertising on a platform such as Google AdWords also gives you greater control over who sees your advert and when- you can set languages, time zones and even choose to show your ads to users only in specific cities or regions. Add to this the option of creating several different campaigns for disparate product areas or client bases and it’s easy to see why an estimated 150,000 businesses are currently using AdWords to cost effectively gain new customers.

Outsourcing Optimisation

Of course, with so many options and so many competitors all starting from the same level playing field, internet marketing is not all plain sailing. Pay per click optimisation is a skill that few companies posses. To obtain the best results, it’s often easier to outsource the management of your account to a professional pay per click management consultancy such as Top Position.

Competition for the coveted top spot is fierce and influenced by many complex factors. If you don’t have the time or know-how to tweak your campaign it can be hard to make your budget work for you. There’s nothing more frustrating than investing time and money in PPC only to see your advert seemingly glued to the outer reaches of a search result page.

The best way to avoid this is to use a professional account management service. Not only will this give you the best possible return on your investment by introducing the most relevant keywords and a realistic cost per click to your ad groups, it will free up valuable business time and physical resources.

Maximising Performance

Good PPC management will see your AdWords campaign running at its optimal level for the minimum cost per click. A savvy account manager will know when to try new things and monitor what does and doesn’t work for your campaign.

Look for the ‘Qualified Google AdWords Professional’ certification before employing the services of a PPC account manager. This shows that you’re outsourcing the management of your campaign to someone with Google training. This rubber stamp guarantees that your new account manager is familiar with the Google AdWords platform and trained to a high standard by the search engine themselves.

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How to Make Money Online Through List Building

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List building can be defined as the procedure of building a subscriber list by collecting names and emails among other details. The essence is to use the list you come up with to email the subscribers any information related to your business. It is one of the best ways any business can use to make money online fast. The more helpful the information you share with your subscribers the higher the chances that they will be interested in what you are offering them. You however will need to start somewhere with the link building.

Find email marketing software – Good software will help in storing the collected emails and subscriber information. It also makes it easy to schedule emails and send them to the subscribers. The market has a bunch of software solutions you can choose from to get the best for your link building efforts.

Find proper web hosting – Hosting your web will mean that you have enough space for your online files. It is in this space that you can put all files and web pages you want to share with the world. Hosting plans can be free or paid and you definitely should find a plan that benefits your business from all angles.

Create a squeeze page – If you want to make money online fast through link building, you should make it easy for your user to subscribe. This is exactly what a squeeze page will do for you. You can give incentives for every subscription such as e-books and other helpful things to the users. Free monthly gifts can also work with this strategy if you manage to make them reach you by email so you can continue building on that list.

Do affiliate marketing – This is another fast way to make money online. Affiliate resources will without doubt allow the generation of money. There are so many popular affiliate marketing networks you can use to your advantage. You can sell products using the networks and make commissions. Affiliate marketing is one of the best ways through which you can monetize your list building.

List building can seem like an easy job anyone can handle any given day. However, it requires strategies to impress your target audience and make them want to jump into your subscription offers. You will need to put in a lot of effort to get it right, but in the end you will love the results the efforts fetch for you. If you are not very familiar with list building or how to go about it, you can use the help of professionals for the sake of the business. Through professional marketing strategies, you can take your business to the next level.

You will also get plenty of advice on how to make your online brand better and more valuable to you. The professionals have the right tools and know just the right channels to get your brand out there and help you start make money online fast.

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