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Optimized Merchandising for the Thanksgiving Season

2013 November 6
by Ivana Taylor

Getting started on your merchandising can be quite the challenge at first, but knowing when and where to distribute your goods is a practice that gets easier over time. Many big retail corporations plan out very specific diagrams for their store managers. But this becomes mundane and redundant.  merchandising

Consider changing things up so that customers are drawn to various parts of your store. Having a custom display allows flexibility on how to present merchandise to the taste of the local shoppers and trends, but there is a better way to maximize your sales year round.

The simplest way to start is with seasonal displays and it is crucial to start them at least two months before the indicated holiday. This method lends more time for ‘word of mouth’ to spread from regular shoppers and their friends and family on the special goods your store has to offer. It’s November, folks, time to infuse Thanksgiving into your marketing.

Mind the Seasons Right

Having seasonal end caps are a great way to easily sell both holiday items and hard-to sell-items that barely leave the shelf. Start by making a list of the bottom twenty items as good tie-in ideas for your custom retail displays. These custom displays should be a highlight center for products, such as seasonal items, that are distributed to the highest traffic areas of your store. These areas are not necessarily where your regular top selling items are displayed. Most stores have these areas lodged at the front door but depending on your store layout, this is not the only high traffic area to be considered.

Use a highlighter on your floor plan and make note of any special interest spots. For instance, if your store has hand baskets distributed throughout, consider using a hand basket station to lure your customer to your custom retail displays. This type of lure can create more foot traffic to neglected aisles.

Incorporate the Goods… and Not so Good

Once you have your custom retail displays mapped out, it’s time to decide which products to be used and how they should be placed. Whether your display is a stand alone structure or an end cap to an aisle, it is important to draw attention to these special items with colors and banners. Balloons will do the trick but anything unusual should draw the needed attention across the floor.

Consider the shelving when placing key items. Your hard to sell items should be at eye level and then distributed evenly among the key items, which will force attention to the whole of the display and not just the goods. Use your bottom twenty list to match ideas that are related to your key items. If, for example, you are creating a Thanksgiving display this might be the time to push otherwise hard-to-sell products like napkin holders, uncommon tupperware or toothpicks.

So Fresh and So Clean

The more neat and organized the pattern of products, the more lingering time it will draw from the customer at your custom retail display, increasing the chance of a sell. A great way to tie in items is to use ‘dead space’. These spaces are usually corners that don’t have a flat surface to hold an item. Consider instead using smaller items on a clipstrip to hang from shelf corners. Clipstrips are long ribbons with hooks running down the ribbon. These ribbons are then fastened by a bigger hook at the top corner of a shelf, displaying the items in an uncommon space. Many impulse items are displayed this way, so it is a good idea to keep and reuse these strips for your custom retail displays.

Checklist

Once you are finished, review the layout of your store. Are your key items dispersed throughout the store? Are they evenly distributed among hard-to-sell items? Do they have attractive banners or hand basket stations to lure the customer across the floor plan? Do the custom retail displays look organized and orderly? Once you have checked these main points off the list, your store is now properly ready to receive the incoming season.

5 Local Marketing Tactics For Small Business Owners

2013 August 12
by Ivana Taylor

As a small business owner, you may be giving an inordinate amount of attention to social media and other modern marketing strategies to gain new customers. However, you may be overlooking the power of local marketing – an excellent marketing tool to extend business reach and increase profitability.

The biggest example of the success of local marketing comes from China. Most successful Chinese companies like Tencent Technologies first gained momentum in the local market before going international, and they’re now considered among the best in their industry.Marketing and strategy

Effective ways to market your small business on local scale

1.  Postcards

While most small business owners would prefer high-tech marketing methods, they aren’t the only way to promote your business. Some low cost promotional tools can be just as effective (perhaps even more effective) for gaining new customers and promoting the brand.

Postcards can be a powerful marketing tool for small businesses. For example, an individual who’s in the dentistry profession can utilize dentist postcards to get the business some word-of-mouth buzz in the local area. Postcards are easier to glance at compared to opening an envelope, can be customized in any size, gloss or color and have less competition. They can be ideal to differentiate your business from others.

2.  Host a local event

You don’t need to open the internet every time you’re looking to expand and build business relationships. There are several local small businesses who’ll be offering what you need, and who’ll be interested in what you’ve to offer.  A local event can be a great way for networking and discovering about others.

Hosting events doesn’t have to be expensive. You can simply book a local hotel conference room for few hours or even host the event in local space. Another option is to host local events in conjunction with NGOs, which is also a great way to promote your business as a socially responsible one.

3.  Search for a local welcome vehicle

Your local area may have a welcome vehicle such as a wagon service that collect information from small businesses and deliver them to homeowners. You can search for such a vehicle and get information about your business on the list.

This can also be a great way for generating leads because sometimes welcome vehicles ask homeowners to sign up for email alerts.

4.  Go live on air

A lot of businesses rely on radio stations to promote their products and services. Teaming up with the radio station is a great idea to get active listeners to know about your business. You can even announce a contest or giveaway to generate greater interest. On air exposure may even get your business listed on the station’s webpage.

Local radio marketing is cost effective can reach people who’re driving, at the gym or out shopping. You may also be able to target a particular demographic of audience as stations are usually aware of the interests of listeners.

5.  Start giving classes

You may not be good at teaching, but you’re likely to be good at your business. You and your employees can start giving local classes (teaching students about how the industry your business is in works, how to get into this business etc.).

You may feel as you’re preparing more competition, but the bigger picture is that your business will become the go-to resource in your industry.

Do you rely on local marketing for business promotion? Do you find these tips helpful? Feel free to share your thoughts.

 

Build Your LinkedIn Company Profile

2013 July 29
by Ivana Taylor

Image is everything in the business industry, whether you’re selling cars or running a marketing firm, people will always judge the caliber of your business based on how well you represent your brand.

One of the easiest ways to lose customers is by not being accessible or visible online. It’s extremely important to build and maintain your company’s online image or profiles through social media networks.social_media_marketing

Facebook and Twitter are usually the go-to social media channels that business build their company profiles. Though easily kept, these social media channels can be like shooting an arrow without a target, you can set them up, but there’s no guarantee you’ll be able to generate a following.

LinkedIn is considered the largest professional networking site in the globe, with hundreds of thousands of networks spanning across dozens countries and hundreds of industries. By building an attractive company profile (image) on LinkedIn, not only will you be able to reach thousands of professionals in need of your services, but you’ll be able to generate a pipeline of business just by being accessible to LinkedIn consumer markets!

But how does one go about building an attractive company profile? Consider the 5 rules of LinkedIn company profiles:

1. Using SEO strategies

Search engine optimization, or SEO, is a marketing tool used by companies that places keywords within the body of content generated by that business. That body of content can be an article, blog post or even a social media profile. You can use SEO to build an optimized profile, which will make it easier for professionals to find your company profile a lot easier.

2. Be Straightforward With Your Business Title

Give your clients a reason to connect with your company profile! Have an attractive headline that summarizes who you are and what you do. Use riveting statements and compound adjectives to set up your profile header.

3. Grow Your Network

LinkedIn is known for connecting professionals and through social networks, why not connect with other companies and professionals too? Building a profile on LinkedIn doesn’t revolve around attraction of consumers, it centers around relationship building! By connecting with groups, companies and other industry professionals, you’ll be able to grow your network substantially, make your presence known across multiple industries, making it easier for prospects to find you.

4. Appealing Content and Stellar Recommendations

Content is everything on LinkedIn. The first few lines of your profile summary will either captivate or lose your client base. Make sure to make your profile content appealing. Don’t just embellish your summary, be factual, direct and creative. Rich Gorman, nationally-recognized creative marketer emphasizes the need for simplicity in content creation. So, when you’re writing your summary, don’t over think it! Be sure to expand on your strengths, recognitions and past projects. It would also help to ask past clients to write and upload recommendations for your profile to give you that extra boost of credibility.

5. Follow Up With Connections

One of the rules of proper netiquette is thanking those who follow or like your page in social media. The same rules apply with LinkedIn. Once someone begins to follow your company, send them a message thanking them. Not only will you be building a relationship with the person (potential client) or company, you’ll be building on your reputation as a company that takes the time to acknowledge all their clients. You can also build on that relationship by following up with them on a regular basis.

Forget Facebook and Twitter, if you really want to connect with potential customers, create and build your LinkedIn profile! There’s no doubt that soon after, you’ll be generating a lot more leads than you would’ve in non-professional social media sites.

Starting, Operating and Securing a Successful E-commerce Site

2013 June 26
by Ivana Taylor

In my mind, there are three keys to success for any e-commerce site. First is mastering the startup phase and building process themselves to ensure success. Second is developing a solid marketing plan aimed at providing you with month over month growth in income. Third is securing it all from hackers and con men.

Running a successful online business isn’t easy, but mastering these three keys certainly makes it run a bit more smoothly.

Startup

Choose your niche and implement niche marketing in your business operations. It is safe to say that you are not the only one with a brilliant idea. It is pretty common for self-starters to want to have a broad range of items for sale. A great example is cell phone cases, which is a hot market as we all want to protect our beloved mini-computers. This is a decent niche; however, you are entering an extremely competitive world of quality case-makers. I recommend you narrow it down to one original, functional and specific type of case.

Marketing your Site

If you would like to see consistent growth, direct marketing is essential. You have two choices; you can sit and wait for consumers to find you or you can find them. By running promotions and advertising through social media you can achieve just that. You will also want to seek out repeat business through email. In any business, customer service is the best way to earn trust thus opening the door for word of mouth advertising.

Next, familiarize yourself with SEO. Hopefully by this point you have basic knowledge on what SEO is and simply need a refresher course to enable you to use it properly. If you don’t have a blog, you will want to add one to your site ASAP. Linking your blog to your products is one of the most overlooked ways to drive traffic to a site. Other good tactics are guest posting and participating in forums. Through forums on your niche, you can link visitors directly to your products.

Blog posts is key. If you aren’t much of a writer, it’s time to hire one or to become proficient in the craft. Continue to produce quality content and you will see an increase in visitors as well as sales. You will also want to update old content sporadically to regenerate leads. Another sound piece of advice is to repurpose old promos and reuse them via the web.

My final tidbit on maintaining a quality site is to analyze regularly. Through tools such as Google Analytics you can stay current on traffic as well as sales. You will also want to keep tabs on your SEO performance. Through this you can change your strategy as needed.

Risks and Security

One of the biggest and most obvious risks is credit card theft. Sophisticated cyber criminals also known as hackers use bot nets to coordinate attacks against unsuspecting sites. They find those that are vulnerable and steal the credit card information of consumers. This is bad for business, but is avoidable.

In 2004 five credit card security programs linked together and formed the PCI DSS. Basically they have created an extra level of protection making sure you as the merchant meet basic levels of security when it comes to cardholder data. There are 12 requirements you must comply to unless you want to risk losing the ability to sell online. It’s a good idea to familiarize yourself with these guidelines.iStock_000010784876XSmall

Another security issue you could face is one of physical belongings. Just because you are running an e-commerce site doesn’t mean you don’t have important information stored in your PC and your home. Solve this problem by investing in two things:

First, you will want to purchase cloud backup. By doing this you are essentially storing all important information including bookmarked pages, passwords and account information. You can retrieve this information by simply logging into your email from any computer.

Second you can never be too safe with your physical belongings. As vigilant as you are about securing networks, creating hack-proof passwords and backing up to the cloud, you have to think of the physical security of the device as well. I purchased an alarm for my home from http://www.securitychoice.com/ and it’s worth mentioning that Security Choice reports the most common targets of thieves are small grab-and-go electronics like laptops, tablets and cell phones. I run my business from home, but if you have a storefront or warehouse, the same principles apply.

Running an e-commerce site is a way to fulfill your dreams of being your own boss, but going into it blind can be an expensive investment that is doomed to fail. Taking the right precautions can very well help you succeed.

What did you do when you started, operated and secured your e-commerce?

How can Digital Marketing Help Your Small Business

2013 May 20
by Ivana Taylor

The old ways of digging out the phone book to find small businesses in your area are being phased out. The new king in the small business marketing game is digital marketing. Whether you’re a running an auto body shop or pizzeria, a paint store or restaurant, if you want your business to thrive in this digital world, you have to adapt.  iStock_000010784876XSmall

Adjusting your marketing plan for the digital age doesn’t have to be a struggle, though. There are dedicated digital marketing and search engine optimization (SEO) companies out there that can handle all of this for you.

Below, some of the important services these companies can provide your business so that you don’t miss a single customer.

Website Building and Revamping

Unless you’re one of the few holdouts, your company already has a website. It doesn’t matter whether your company is strictly online or has a brick and mortar presence. To put it in context, even traditional offline businesses like vending machines now use online strategies in order to reach more customers and potential vendors. A great example of this is 1800Vending, which allows prospective business owners to compare technology and strategy for 3 different kinds of vending services.

If you are one of the last remaining people without a dedicated website for your small business, you’re doing more harm to your business than good. The age of the internet has been upon us for a while and now there’s a smart phone in the pocket or purse of nearly half of Americans. It’s with these tools that people now find all of their information, so now, more than ever before, a website is integral to any marketing strategy, not just the digital kind.

If you’ve got a website up and running, but it’s not getting you the leads your business needs, maybe a website overhaul is due. Marketing agencies employ digital design professionals that can offer your website a more professional and industry-appropriate look, which will encourage visitors to explore your site and lend your business a certain level of professional credibility.

Search Engine Optimization

Another aspect of digital marketing is SEO. While search engine optimization is not the same thing as digital marketing, the two go hand-in-hand. SEO is the practice of driving traffic to a website via various online methods. Some of those methods include press release writing, blogging, on-site optimization of website content, and more.

Think of SEO as digital PR. Sites of all kinds use it to get mentions from huge media outlets (as seen on their website) which give them a PR boost as well as a bump in the search rankings.

One of the big ideas behind SEO is that when people search for information on Google, Bing, and Yahoo, there is a certain way they formulate their search terms. One of the ways SEO helps your business’s website get found in the search engines is by optimizing it for specific keywords and search phrases related to your business so that when people type them into the search engines, Google, Bing, and Yahoo know that your website is relevant to those search terms and brings your site up.

Social Media Management

In the last decade, the way individuals communicate on the internet has dramatically changed because of social media. Sites like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, and more have given internet users new tools and ways of creating and sharing information with one another. The way small businesses interact with their customers has changed as well. For one thing, the norm these days is for a business to have social media accounts through which customers and potential customers can interact with a business.

This is a good thing, though. Because so many people use social media, it plays a role in how they search for and choose businesses to support. Digital marketing and SEO companies often offer social media management as part of their monthly packages and may also offer social media training for businesses that are more comfortable having an employee interacting with users.

So, if you’re company has been struggling to find customers, leads, and sales, digital marketing will definitely make a great addition to your marketing strategy. As the world becomes more digitally centered, it’s adapt or die, as Darwin would say—so what are you waiting for?

Making Business Email Work For You Safely And Effectively

2013 April 15
by Ivana Taylor

 

This is an excerpt from the third edition of  Words@Work: A Business Writing Handbook For The Internet Savvy.

E-mail is so common and useful in business that it is bears a detailed examination. Here are a few helpful E-mail Do’s and Don’ts.New message

Style still counts. Treat all your business email as communication from you to another person or group. Worry about your content and don’t alter what you have to say because the message is being transmitted electronically instead of going on paper. What you write represents you so make it clear and polite. An email letter is still a letter and your reader should be shown the courtesy of being taken seriously as an educated person with good standards of language.

Next time you read or write your e-mail, imagine what it would be like if your letter was the electronic equivalent of an open letter to anyone on the globe, including your boss, the government and your friends and family. Well, you don’t need to have to have a very vivid imagination, because it is!

Nothing is totally private in the contemporary world of e-mail. The technical reasons for this are varied, but the principal causes include the proliferation of network monitoring/tracking software within corporate networks, government searches for illicit on-line content, and the near-universal practice of server backups and archives. Even if you compose and get your e-mail on a non-networked PC, remember that the Internet is a network and most of the servers it passes through backup and archive all content that runs through them, including your e-mail. Consequently, it is reasonable to assume that everything you send or receive over the Internet is in the public domain. It is a brutal fact of life that if the government, your boss or your competitor really wants to read your e-mail, they can acquire the technology to do it and some already have and use it routinely.

Even mail you think you may have deleted may reside on some server archive or can be found by a technological wizard who wants to find it badly enough, as several high-profile computer executives have found out to their determent in antitrust or copyright infringement trials where their company was the defendant.

Here is some practical advice on how to handle e-mail. As for what is already out there, just accept the fact that it’s floating out there in cyberspace and move on. You cannot undo what has already been done. By following these simple rules, you can stop worrying whether your e-mailing will get you in trouble and start taking advantage of one of the truly remarkable inventions of our century.

 

Rules For Safe And Smart Emailing

  • ·         Assume your correspondence will be read by your boss, your spouse, your co-workers, friends, enemies and so forth and write accordingly. A little diplomacy and judgment go a long way toward avoiding problem e-mail.
  • ·         Resist the temptation to send copies of your e-mail to too many people. We all get too much e-mail and any cc mail that causes the reader to ask “Why is this being sent to me?” should not have been sent. There is too much room for misunderstanding if an email is not received in a crystal clear context.
  • ·         Don’t ever email jokes (no matter how seemingly funny) or ‘politically incorrect” messages. Save them for face to face discussions with friends.
  • ·         Avoid the temptation to hide behind the supposed anonymity of e-mail sent to even the technically unsophisticated. Headers usually give the sender away and easy-to-use network software can trace the origins of almost any e-mail indefinitely.
  • ·         Haste is dangerous, especially in a convenient and instantaneous medium like global Internet e-mail. Next time you are tempted to dash off an e-mail motivated by a strong emotion like anger or greed, whether to a friend, foe or stranger, don’t hit the “send” button until you have had a chance to calm down. Place what you have written on hold to revisit after a few hours or even a whole day. If it still seems to be the right thing to send, revise it using the other rules you find here before sending it.
  • ·         Resist the temptation to reply to unwelcome and unsolicited e-mail. It usually encourages mailers to send you more. Ignoring it is usually the best policy. An exception to this rule is when the mail is slanderous, libelous, threatening, fraudulent or simply untrue and may have been disseminated to a large audience. In this case, send a polite but firm e-mail telling the sender you offended by his or her untruth and warning the sender to cease and desist. If it continues, do not engage in continued nasty exchanges, but take appropriate, measured and legal steps to deal with the matter as the situation might warrant. In the case of threatening or fraudulent e-mail, do not reply to the sender. Inform the proper legal authorities and follow their advice.
  • ·         Style still counts. Despite the convenience of e-mail, the conventions of good and polite communications that respect your reader have not been repealed. You demonstrate respect to your reader when you start with a greeting (Dear Madam, Sir, Bill, Mary, etc.), end with an appropriate closing, (“Sincerely” or “Regards” are appropriate words in business communications). Also, it is good e-mail etiquette to identify yourself by signing your letter with an electronic e-mail signature. This is usually just a little file created in your e-mail software that includes your name, title, email, web site and only the briefest marketing message, if at all. Keep it to four short lines or fewer.
  • ·         Remember that an e-mail letter is a still a letter and should follow the common-sense rules of good letter writing. Have a purpose for writing, write with your reader in mind and take pains to make your mail well-composed, organized and concise. Even an informal note should be well-written and never sloppy. or cryptic.
  • ·         Mind your personal and business image because everything you write is an expression of you and your business and you don’t have a second chance to make a decent e-mail impression. Use your spell-checker and proofread what you have checked after the spell check and before you send it since spell check can lead  inadvertently to the wrong word. If your spell checker does not allow you to do this conveniently, change software to one that does. Also, if grammar is not your strong suit, it is OK to use a commercial grammar checker. It may make your writing bland if you follow it too slavishly, but it will also make it grammatical.

By following these simple rules, you can stop worrying whether your e-mailing will get you in trouble and start taking advantage of one of the truly remarkable inventions of our century.

Author bio: jo 2009

Jeffrey R. Orenstein, Ph. Dis the Chief Executive Officer and co-founder of Suncoast Digital Press, an eBook-age book publisher in Lakewood Ranch, Florida. During his previous 25 year career as a political science professor at a large Midwestern state university, he wrote several textbooks and public policy analyses for Harper Collins, Praeger, Kendall Hunt and others and scores of policy monographs for professional meetings.

Since retirement from his first career, he has been a newspaper editor, author of business articles in national magazines and guest editorialist in daily newspapers.

He is the publisher and executive editor of Living On The Suncoast, a glossy lifestyle monthly magazine in the greater Sarasota area of Southwest Florida. Feel free to e-mail your questions or comments about business writing to him at jorenstein@suncoastdigitalpress.com.

Orenstein has a B.A. from Ohio State University and an M.A. and Ph.D from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, all in political science.

Everyday Ways to Promote Your Business

2013 April 1
by Ivana Taylor

If you are a business owner, you are going to want to try out different ways to promote your business. Promotion for your business is a necessity because it will allow you to get the exposure that you need to have the utmost success. If you did not promote for your business, most people would not even know that your business exists. There are lots of everyday ways to promote your business, some of which you may never have given a thought.1 finger

Create a Website

It seems as though this is a must these days. You should create a website for your business that is full of compelling content and then promote it like crazy on social media. It does take time, effort, and an initial investment to get your website up and running, but it will be worth it as a way to showcase all that you have to offer to the potential customers. Your website should appear to be quite professional and it should contain important information, such as the name of your business, contact info, and what you provide. Give people a reason to do business with you by showing them what they can get from you. All types of businesses have websites and they use it for promotional purposes.

Customized Products

You can customize all sorts of products with your business name and logo to spread the word about what you have to offer. You may want your business name featured on t-shirts, sweatshirts, hats, and even custom umbrellas. If you do choose this route, go for bright and bold colors that will stand out to the human eye. You want to grasp the attention of others so that you can get them interested in the name of your business and ultimately have them visit your website to possibly buy items that you are selling or services you are offering. While this may seem like superfluous advertising, it is actually a major component of brand development.

Traditional Business Cards

Along with other promotional efforts, traditional business cards can serve a good purpose, allowing you to spread the word about your business. There are lots of websites that give you the opportunity to customize business cards to your liking at an affordable rate. Once you have them custom made with your business information listed, you can start passing them around. You should also give them to customers to hand out to their friends.

Offer Special Discounts

Everyone loves a good deal so why not offer special discounts to new customers? If you are offering a good discounted deal for merchandise or services, people will more than likely be willing to give your business a try. If they end up loving what you have to offer, you will have gained more loyal customers who will continue to do business with you. Aside from discounts, you can also hold special contests on a monthly basis to gain more exposure for the business.

Being a business owner is definitely challenge, especially when you have to spend lots of time promoting your business. However, there are plenty of everyday ways that you can promote your business without having to do too much work. For example, when you have customized products and people are wearing them, they are actually helping you to promote your business because they are wearing gear with your business logo on the front. These are just some of many promotion techniques that all business owners should try.

 

Types of Promotional Products for Your Startup

2013 March 29
by Ivana Taylor

If you are currently working on putting together a new startup company, you are going to have to take the initiative to advertise and market the business in a promotional effort. The purpose of marketing would ultimately be to help build your business from the ground up, allowing you to gain exposure and new potential clients and customers who will do business with you. There are numerous promotional products that can be used for startup companies. You can give these products a try to reap all of the benefits.iStock_000002056823XSmall

Choosing a Product

Choosing a product for your business is the most important thing. You want a product that is actually going to represent your startup in a good way. There are so many products that can feature your business name or logo in a marketing sense, so you should choose wisely. Some options that you will have include t-shirts, sweatshirts, hats, mugs, and personalized tote bags. You can create customized hooded sweatshirts with a graphic design that represents your business. These sweatshirts can be worn by all kinds of customers and as they wear the comfortable sweatshirt, they are basically walking around as walking billboards. You can decide on just about anything because the type of product you choose is your decision.

Printed Business Cards

You can customize your own business cards, have them printed out, and start passing them around. There are lots of online websites that make this undeniably easy to do. Interestingly enough, this is one of the oldest forms of advertising for a business and it is still a tried and true method to this day. Every business owner should have promotional business cards on hand at all times because they do come in handy. You can place them at the front of your business so that customers can grab a few and pass them out to their friends. You can also ask to place them in other local stores and shops around the area. Try to create eye-catching and professional printed business cards so that they are visually appealing and actually get positive attention from possible customers.

Offering Coupons

You may not have realized this but offering coupons is much like offering a promotional product for your startup. Aside from coupons, you can also offer discount specials to get people to buy something from your business. The coupons or discount codes should include the name of your business so that people automatically know what store the code is for. It is important to remember that customers enjoy sweet deals and discounts. If this is what you are offering, they will likely try out something that you have to offer, and you can end up gaining loyal customers from this.

There are so many promotional products that you can use for your startup. It is always good to use a few of these promotional products, especially if you are trying to increase traffic for your business and gain more customers. These marketing efforts can prove to be very worth it in the long run, especially when it comes to building a loyal base of customers who will continually choose to do business with you. Get creative when it comes to the promotional products and choose items that you think represents your business in the best way.

 

2013 Advertising Trends

2013 January 22
by Ivana Taylor

Ten years ago, advertising was pretty straightforward. You could buy ads on television, the radio or in the newspaper. If you wanted to get really fancy you could also do direct mail. Today, though, there are a lot more options that are available to you. So how do the ad agencies keep up with the changing trends in marketing, promotions and advertising?

Super Specialty

Some advertising agencies have dug in and continue to specialize in “traditional advertising.” They specialize in television, radio and newspapers. Some agencies are choosing to specialize in “niche” advertising, which means that they are choosing to take on just one kind of promotions or marketing.

The benefit of working with a specialty or boutique agency is that you know that you are working with an expert. Specializing means that the people you work with are going to know their stuff inside and out. This can be a huge benefit to you because you won’t have to worry about the lines getting blurred as you work to come up with a marketing campaign for your product.

Combo Style

A lot of advertising agencies have chosen to eschew the traditional idea of specializing in a specific type of promotions or advertising. They are choosing, instead, to become a hybrid agency. This means that in addition to doing traditional promotions they are also well versed in internet based advertising and marketing.

The benefit of working with an agency of this type is that it cuts down on the work that you have to do. You don’t have to worry about how well what one agency wants to do will coordinate with what another agency will do. Because all of your campaigns are happening under the same route, they will be more cohesive than they would be if you went the specialty route.

How Do You Remain Competitive

This is going to depend largely upon the type of client that you are trying to attract? Typically, though, the agencies that can offer a variety of different promotional styles are going to fare better in the current market. The Internet isn’t a fad, it’s a way of life and business professionals understand that.

As the owner of an ad agency, it is definitely to your benefit to offer a variety of different advertising methodologies and expertise. This helps keep your clients “in house.” Why would you encourage a client to spend money somewhere else when they can spend it with you?

The advertising field has changed dramatically over the last decade. There are two ways to react to this change—you can choose to go hyper-specialized or you can expand your knowledge base and attract more clients. Which route feels best to you?

 

5 Ways to Create Better Content

2013 January 10
by Ivana Taylor

Looking for ways to create better content for the web? Want to write concise and powerful articles that get response? Need to create quality blog posts that don’t get ignored? If yes, then go through the following five tips on writing top notch web content:
#1: Focus on Relevance

Whether you’re creating content for your website or blog, it has to be highly relevant. You’re after all creating content for your target audience, so what’s the use writing about your mother’s cooking or your brother’s dog if it doesn’t relate to your topic?

Web readers not only want information, they want relevant information. The first rule of creating better content is to create content that your readers want. You just can’t make them read your content if it they’re not interested in what you’re writing.

#2: Be Quick to Introduce Your Purpose

A lot of web writers make the mistake of dragging the article and creating suspense before reaching to the actual purpose of the article. When you’re writing content for the web, always remember that your readers have a short attention span.

So no matter what type of content you’re writing, you should not only have a purpose, but you should also be quick enough to introduce it to your readers right in the first paragraph. In short, get to the point in the beginning so that you can expand upon it.

#3: Use Action Words

People consume content on the web with an aim or purpose in their mind. They want to change something about their life or learn something new. So if your content doesn’t give them the motivation to act on the information you’re giving them, it’s useless.

This is why it’s important that you focus on using action words. Tell your readers exactly what you want them to do. Take them by hand and guide them by using an active voice, instead of a passive one. Keep the flow moving.

#4: Leverage Bullet Points

More of your readers will skim or scan through your content when compared to those who read. Why? Because not everybody has the time or inclination to read everything you write. People move from one piece of content to another quickly on the web.

By using bullet points, you make it easy for your readers to scan through your content and stop by any point that interests them. Short lists are great when it comes to creating web content. They’re way better than big chunky paragraphs.

#5: Write Short, Snappy Sentences

Writing short sentences is an art, but it can be learned. The reason why you should aim at keeping your sentences short is because you’ll be able to convey your ideas swiftly without wasting a lot of space and your readers’ time.

Work on writing in a concise manner as it not only shows your writing prowess but also makes your overall content appealing. Try and use only those words that actually contribute to your content and cut out any unnecessary ones. Check out MediaWhiz on Twitter and see how they present quality information in a concise manner.

Creating content for the web is no rocket science. If you know how to talk, then you know how to write good web content. It really is that simple.