Tips on Credit Card, Credit Card Debt, Credit Card Application and anything related tocredit cards.

Saturday, March 31, 2007

Use of Postcards as a Promotional Tool

Most businesses sometimes overlook the power of promotional postcards. They don't realize the effectiveness of this small, lightweight object.

Using postcards as a promotional tool could be very rewarding because it is very easy to make, effortless to use and offer fast message delivery. Let us explain in detail the benefits of using promotional postcards

Postcards are easy to make. The size of the postcard made it very easy to make. But you have to think very hard on what you would want to put on the postcard because of the smallness of the size. You should keep in mind that you only need to put necessary things. Things that you know would grab your readers' attention.

It can also be used to promote your business any way that you want it to be. You can make it a response postcard to further elevate the quality of your products and services. You can make it into a subscription postcard where your customers can just mail you the postcard back if they want to continue their subscription or get a new one. And it can even be an order form for your products or services. You can do anything that you want in a promotional postcard.

Postcards can be used effortlessly. Postcards are used very simply. You can just choose from the choices given or simply fill out the form printed on it. So it saves your customers valuable time and you would be getting the response you need fast as well.

Its high visibility helps as well in its effectiveness. No need to open up any envelopes, to turn pages. The information is given to you straight out. And the competition that you get would be very few. Instead of your customers looking over a page of an ad, they would instantly see your promotional postcard and see what you have to offer immediately.

Offer fast message delivery. Due to the convenience of making a postcard, it can be delivered easily as well. Easy delivery would also guarantee fast response. And due to the restricted size of a postcard, you would need to be direct, specific and brief on what message you would want to convey.

The controlled size of your postcard would also help in competing with your customers other mail. The reason for this is because the message would be conveyed immediately to your readers and can immediately get the reaction it wants.

Most postcards are already prepaid as well so no use in putting in stamps. Some also already have the return address printed on it so no need to fill out the return address. Postcards also have the instructions already written on them so your customers could just follow these and they are all set.

These are just some of the reasons why using postcards as a promotional tool would be very convenient for any business. Aside from saving on money for the printing of postcards, businesses could save on time and effort as well in creating one.

A successful postcard used for promotion is simple, concise and direct and this would help a company prosper in a big way.

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Thursday, March 29, 2007

Blindfold Marketing - You Cannot Manage What You Cannot Measure

There are few things in life we choose to do while blindfolded – the act of covering our eyes while performing a task, even a routine one, instills emotions such as fear, anxiety and confusion. With our eyes covered, any acts we attempt are done with uncertainty, taking a longer path toward our goal, if we reach the goal at all. A perfect example is the adolescent game of pin-the-tail-on-the-donkey, which invokes instinctive and reactive behaviors, often ending with a misplaced tail.

Metaphorically speaking, the billion-dollar industry of online marketing grinds forward in a similar fashion, driven by millions of visually impaired marketers in pursuit of a moving target with a recipe that rarely produces the same results twice. And if it did, they would be none the wiser.

The Internet evolution has been one giant paradigm shift, which now touches almost every aspect of daily life and is redefining the very core of the global economy. At the epicenter is the rapid proliferation of faster and cheaper technology, which is fueling growth of online window shoppers and the ever-increasing need for targeted and effective marketing. Yet, for most businesses, Web-based marketing remains elusive and mysterious.

"I know that half of my marketing is working. I just don't know what half!"

This well-known marketing lament may be humorous, but it is also much too true. Unfortunately, for many marketers, if half of their efforts were successful, they would be doing far better than they currently are. The stark reality is that most marketing campaigns are executed without measurement, and the success or failure of that effort goes unknown. To make matters worse, these impotent attempts are often repeated because of the lack of any evidence to indicate a subsequent attempt has any merit.

If you don't measure, how can you manage?

This is a question I ask business owners every day. Most who do some sort of measurement consider their current methods sufficient and the results a foregone conclusion. What they fail to recognize is that, in this era of rapid technology growth and invention, new tools are emerging that are as dynamic and evolved as the very people they seek to purchase their products and services.

For those who "market by blindfold" and are looking for a better mousetrap, there are tools and services available that are designed specifically for various marketing vehicles such as Pay-Per-Click, banners, e-mail, newsletters, and others.

I often hear, "I get Web analytics from my hosting provider, and it's free." Immediately, I picture someone trying to build a house with only a hammer and a few nails. If you rely on a free tool to determine the effectiveness of any marketing that directly impacts your financial marketing budget, I strongly urge you to consider another age-old adage, "You get what you pay for." Whether it is Google or your Website host, "free" does not make it the right tool for the job.

You must consider the tools. A few needed for effective marketing management include:

  • Managed e-mail distribution

  • Real-time visitor tracking (Web Analytics)

  • Pay-Per-Click and banner ad conversion analysis

With a little looking, you will find that many tracking services are less than $100 a month. Consider this: If you spend $1000 on marketing and $100 to track it accurately, you could realize what half is ineffective (saving you $500 the next month). Then, by the end of the 2nd month, you are ahead $300! It would then follow, if you applied $500 more to the marketing that is actually working, you could continue to improve your efforts by tracking it and applying what you learn from the results!

Managed E-mail Distribution

Whether you send 10 e-mails or 10,000, knowing the "who and what" of that campaign is vital. Many managed e-mail distribution services make sending opt-in e-mail newsletters and offers very simple and affordable. The benefit of using a service is that they have relationships with the largest ISP's and SPAM filters, which ensures your messages will arrive.

For example -- if you sent 10 e-mails and you could actually track the results and see that one was a bad address, two were never opened, seven read your message, and two from the seven clicked through to your Website…what would you do? You could immediately re-send to the two that did not read the message and re-market to the five that did not click through. 100% effectiveness, 100% proven results.

Real-Time Visitor Tracking (Web Analytics)

Let's say we have executed our marketing strategy and people are clicking on our Website. Now what? Can we see how many people are responding? What they are doing at our site? Web Analytics provides the clues and evidence that show the cause and effect behind your marketing campaigns. Tracking the activities of your Web visitors will give you valuable insight not only to the effectiveness of your marketing, but the virtual merchandising of your Website.

Just think – if you had 10 Website visitors, seven of them left after viewing your home page and three viewed only a couple of pages. What would you do? You could immediately

  • verify that your marketing message and audience reach is relevant to your business;

  • ensure your home page conveys your sales and marketing message;

  • test your Website to be sure it displays properly in a variety of Web browsers;

  • test your navigation to be sure there are no broken links.

  • Pay-Per-Click and Banner Ad Conversion Analysis

    Tracking ad conversion is actually easier than you might think. Tools to track conversion are available by most Pay-Per-Click providers. However, tracking visitors through to checkout is also possible with Web Analytics tools. This is sometimes more insightful, as you are able to identify behavioral patterns with analytics that may lead you to further refine your marketing and Website messaging, resulting in greater returns.

    A Proactive versus Reactive Conclusion

    When it comes to online marketing, there is nothing better than seeing the fruits of your efforts in real-time. This is a paradigm shift in itself for many marketers because many of the tools that allow a "big-brother" view are relatively new. To be able to watch your visitors click on your ads, and to see how they interact with your Website once they arrive, allows you to make decisions about your marketing approach proactively. This gives you the ability to make changes on the fly, increasing effectiveness and reducing cost immediately.

    It is absolutely possible to spend less money on marketing and increase your sales. Marketing is the catalyst that drives revenue and maximizing your performance will have a direct impact on revenue. Good Web Analytics allow you to feed your marketing engine and feed your bottom line.

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    Wednesday, March 28, 2007

    Cross-Cultural Values - Ignore At Your Peril

    Your culture and your conditioning cause you to perceive things differently. Some cultural values are worldwide, like showing manners, while many others are not. Your age also affects your perception; when you were six, red jelly and ice-cream was a great treat, now you're 26 you may find it a bit silly.

    Most people, whether consciously or unconsciously, behave in a way that is mindful of what others think. We try to look good to impress others, buy the latest gadget and say we are among the first to get it, drive a shiny new car, or go to places that you might bump into a celebrity. Since our behaviour affects our buying, as a marketer you had better tune into your target market's values, or risk losing their custom.

    No matter what race, nationality or religion you are, variety, pleasant stimulation and value are all desired in our lives. When a task you were asked to do starts to conflict with your values, your mind starts to reject this burden and find a way around it. For example, I have a value that says men should try to do as much housework as women in their time off, since we are equal beings. So when I feel I'm shouldering all of the tasks, grumbles come out of my mouth and often an argument is caused. Many women are looking for ways to even up the chores or take time for themselves.

    Another important value is protection of the environment, which is a concern of most young citizens, and a growing number of older ones. Products that can highlight this include reusable nappies, biodegradable products, and fabric shopping bags. Does your product have an eco-friendly aspect?

    For marketers, it is important to recognise the different values in different cultures, and in specific demographics. It is a mistake to assume that the whole world thinks with a western capitalist perspective and that everyone celebrates Christmas for instance.

    After much target market research, the next step is to integrate how your product lives up to their values in all advertising, brochures, correspondence, and overall marketing strategy. The values can be a subtle undertone or a totally focussed campaign, the choice is up to you.

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    Monday, March 26, 2007

    Problems Building Your Downline

    As almost every Affiliate or Networker sure knows, it may sometimes be hard to get a WORKING
    downline. It is often easy enough to get a couple of guys to sign up under You, but then...

    Why do they STOP?!? How hard can it be for them to sign up a few names, when it was so easy for You?

    During the last five or so years I have been involved in a lot of different projects. With a great variety of
    success. I have sold everything from telecommunication to vitamin pills for old ladies. The only thing
    common to these projects has been the fact that they all work as some kind of MLM or, in the worst
    cases, as a pure pyramide scam. Downlinebuilding.

    So what have I learned?

    - NEVER, ever invest a dime in a MLM or similar until You have a solid ground of resellers to stand on!

    - Get experience and knowledge. There is nothing worth more than experience and knowledge of the program You currently are selling. You have to be able to answer the questions You get from people You try to sign up.

    - Do not be afraid to fail. The problem is not necessary in You OR the product. There is a multitude of reasons why a project can fail.

    So how do I achieve all that?

    The cheapest way, of course, is to sign up for one of those gazillions of "free" programs out there. Scam or not. That way (with a bit of luck) You can obtain both a downline and experience in the field at the same time. Don't count on it to happen immediately, but in time You get one contact here and another there. Before You know it You have a few names. That is the beginning of a LIST. And if You have a list of contacts, You have the beginning of a working business.

    Work only at one project at time. You cannot expect Yourself to have the ability to get a multitude of projects running with no previous experience. Not even WITH experience I recommend trying that.

    When and if You get one program working properly, then start another. Don't forget working on the first one! And when You get someone to sign up, try to combine Your downlines. Be careful You don't scare away the ones You've managed to sign up!

    AND: One of the easiest, cheapest and best tricks of all - keep in contact with Your downline! Encourage Your people!

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    Sunday, March 25, 2007

    Getting One Way Links From Link Directories

    Many ponder the question of how to get one way links pointing to their site, well one way to do this is by placing your links on web directories. In the technological world of websites, search engines and web directories have a long-standing relationship. Search engines look at directories and place a high value on them because they are human edited.

    Did you know that a key factor in the ranking algorithm of search engines is link popularity? Spiders released by search engines will add your site to search engine indexes.

    One link from a directory is counted as a back link and hence increases your link popularity. Before placing your link on a directory make sure the directory ranks well and is SEO friendly, which means that is optimized for each category this will increase the value of your posted link.

    To start pulling in traffic a great strategy to use is to place links on web directories, this will build the one way links that you need. Posting links on web directories draws website users. Placing links on directories is a good strategy but if you are placing the links buy purchasing them it can become expensive.

    Using reciprocal link exchange is a great strategy but should not be the only strategy you use, search engines give some weight to reciprocal link exchanges but one way links are looked upon as more important, try to have a diversified strategy when building you link campaign, don't stick to one method.

    Many webmasters feel they are able to receive traffic by listing their sites in web directories, so will even pay a fee to get their sites listed quickly and place the web directories link on their site to get listed.

    There are many benefits associated with gaining free traffic from web directories. An economical way of building traffic is to place your links on free web directories. Basically web-hosting directories are of two types: paid WHDs and free WHDs.

    You need to figure out if you should pay for a link on a web directory or not, a good rule of thumb is if the directory does not have higher than a 4 page rank don't pay if the page rank is higher than a 4 then pay. The options are many and stem from two main categories: free directories and paid directories. Placing links on web directories is sometimes free and sometimes you need to pay for the links, usually the pay for directories are those directories that have a high page rank.

    There are many free directories to submit your links to; one of the most important directories is If you haven't submitted your website(s) to this directory you must do so. Make sure you follow the guidelines when submitting to The other free directories you can find by going to the search engines and doing a search under free link directories, once you have the list start submitting your site(s). Make sure you don't reciprocate the link because this defeats the purpose of the one way link.

    There are software programs that can help submit to these directories, the plus side to using the software is that they update them regularly with new directories and the list of directories is at your finger tips.

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    Thursday, March 22, 2007

    Marketing With Plastic Business Cards

    Business cards have been used both as a common form of advertising and as a means of exchanging contact information between business people and the public. More recently, with the introduction and increased popularity of plastic business cards, businesses have discovered a newer, durable and longer lasting way to make a memorable impression.

    There has been a significant increase in the use of plastic business cards. The once-common business card has now evolved into a visually striking and powerful marketing medium.

    Plastic business cards also provide a permanence and durability that effectively brand a company's identity and message in new and exciting ways. The use of color, combined with a variety of clear and tinted formats, allows for a very creative approach to many different types of messaging, branding and image building.

    A business card that looks and feels like a credit card is perceived as having a high value, increasing the chances that the card will be kept by the customer. It is also more unlikely that the card will be discarded.

    Value-based offers via plastic cards are especially powerful with this type of marketing. If you receive a professionally designed plastic card by hand or by mail, and the card includes a discount of offer, chances are you will keep it for future use. That is the real power of plastic value cards.

    Meanwhile, the applications and practicality of plastic cards extends far beyond the simple business card. Plastic cards have changed significantly over the years. Now, it is difficult to even think about modern life without the availability and convenience of plastic cards.

    Today, consumers pay for at least half of their purchases with plastic cards. Most large retailers, online retailers and supermarkets accept plastic cards for purchases.

    The early versions of plastic cards were very different than the popular plastic cards in widespread use today. Those early plastic cards have transformed into plastic cards that utilize sophisticated technology on all levels.

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    Wednesday, March 21, 2007

    Corporate Party Games - Livening Up Your Next Work Function

    At any corporate party, games are great for two reasons – they allow workmates to bond and have fun together, and they are an ice-breaker for people who may not know each other. Here are 2 corporate party games to play at your next corporate party:

    "The Gift Game" Corporate Party Game

    This is one of the simplest corporate party games, but is still loads of fun. Prior to the event, purchase and wrap 10 cheap gift items for the game. Before guests arrive, hide 10 coins in and around where the party is being held. Guests have to search for the coins, and the people who find them can exchange their coin for one of the gifts, as long as they don't open them yet. All the partygoers stand or sit in a circle, with one person reading a made-up story containing the words "left" and "right" many times. Every time the word "right" is mentioned, guests have to pass their gifts to the right, and the same with the word "left". Once the story is finished, the people left holding the presents keep them.

    "Pass the Hat" Corporate Party Game

    This, more than many other corporate party games, requires cooperation and imagination. Party guests have to stand in 2 circles, one inside the other. One player from each circle starts the game wearing a hat, which has to be passed around the circle without anyone using their hands. The first team to pass their hat all the way round is the winner.

    At almost any corporate party, games can generate laughs and make the event really enjoyable for everyone. All that's needed is a bit of imagination, and people willing to 'have a go' for the sake of team building and having a good time.

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    Tuesday, March 20, 2007

    Digital Signage - The Future of Advertising Technology

    Digital signage is new and experimental way to reach people when they are outside of their homes. Usually, this kind of advertisement consists of colorful banners, videos with or without audio and simple text messages that are displayed on electronic screens, displaying different advertisements at different times toward target audiences. Although Digital signage does initially cost more than the traditional television, radio, or old fashioned word of mouth advertising, it has been proven to have a greater return on the original investment. A firm could also choose to use more Dynamic digital signage which includes high definition resolution, 3D environments, and impressive audio tools to heighten the quality of ads. These signs are more effective because they are flashy and can grab people's attention easily from across a crowded mall.

    Many companies are now trying to develop digital signage software to keep up with the changing advertising world. The goal is to create cutting edge software that will attract broader audiences for whatever products or information a firm is trying to promote.

    Plasma screens and LCD displays are used right now in order to do a variety of things. They can easily broadcast information, link advertising of third party companies that are affiliated with a certain company, enhance a customer's experience at a certain store or restaurant. Many restaurants now are using digital signage in order to reduce wait times by displaying menu demonstrations in order to allow people more time to decide before they order. It can also influence the behavior of a customer by displaying commands. The post office has adopted this type of signage because it easily directs a person toward automated stamp and mailing machines which shortens the line for other customers. Nike now uses video advertising in their stores as well in order to provide and build back story for their brand.

    But the Digital signage solution still has many issues that are making firms hesitant to switch to it. For one, the initial investment would be staggering for large restaurants like McDonald's or any other chain restaurant. Since it's relatively new, it hasn't been widely accepted by advertisers to be, hands down, better than television or newspaper ads. Plus, the technology required to run these screens are rather complicated, making it more likely for things to break, causing down-time.

    Digital signage is a revolutionary technique in advertising that will eventually take over traditional ways after it becomes more readily available at a reasonable cost. Look out consumers.

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    Sunday, March 18, 2007

    The Art of Business is the Art of Relationships

    The Art of Business is the Art of Relationships. After all, wouldn't you rather do business with someone you know and like rather than with someone you don't know or don't like? So if that's the case, doesn't it make sense that the more relationships that you have, the more business that you will also have? So how do you create more relationships? Networking, that's how.

    I've said it many times, the art of networking is the most crucial skill to your sales career. Networking leverages your sales ability by maximizing the amount of eyes and ears that are working to send you recommendations and warm leads.

    Networking is not about using people. In fact, it's quite the opposite. Networking is about forming deep and long lasting relationships with people that hopefully can help you to achieve your goals. And the best way to get what you want is to help other people get what they want.

    I've been to networking functions and seen "sales professionals" walking around with a pocket full of business cards, just handing them out to anyone that will take them. They walk up, introduce themselves, hand out their card, ask for a card in return and then without much more investment of time, they walk off looking for someone else to do it again with. How much benefit do they really believe that they are going to get by spending an average amount of about five minutes with each person that they meet? How much can you really find out about someone in five minutes? How much real bonding is going on here. The problem is that unless there is an immediate reward, most people don't want to invest much time in building a new relationship.

    The other mistake that I see at networking functions is when the attendees seek out people that they already know and spend most of their time just chit-chatting. This is not networking. As long as you are taking the time to attend these networking functions, you might as well try to meet some new people. And when you do, take a real and genuine interest in them and their careers and look for ways that you can be of benefit to them. By taking an interest in them and their job, you are demonstrating to them the value of a relationship with you. When they realize that you are not trying to get something out of them, but instead you are looking to help them, the seeds of trust are planted and trust is the foundation of a strong relationship. But what about you and your needs? Well, the rule of reciprocity will take care of that. No one can be helped without them feeling a need to return the favor. And here is where a leap of faith comes in. Even if the person that you are helping is not in a position to return the favor immediately, somehow, someway, your benevolence will be reward, perhaps even from some unexpected source.

    By repeating this process multiple times over the course of your career, you will create a network of valuable business contacts that leverage your sales ability by having more eyes and ears looking out on your behalf.

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    Saturday, March 17, 2007

    GSA - General Services Administration

    GSA (General Services Administration) a direct vendor for the US Government General Services Administration is the direct contact to become a vendor for the U.S. government. The General Services Administration is like the business manager or purchasing agent for the US government. The GSA has a protocol to follow in order to become a pre-approved vendor to sell products and services to the US Government. Contracts or "schedules" as the GSA would call it have to be approved before services can be rendered.

    An example of a government contract or schedule would be a 70 gsa contract. A GSA Schedule 70 contracts include all types of US Government IT contracts from IT products and Professional Services to Software Sales and IT Classroom Training.

    The products and services that can be provided are the same products and services that any large business would need to function on a daily basis such as IT services in both computer hardware, software and service, business management tools, environmental services, law enforcement fire and rescue equipment supplies, engineering contract services, advertising and marketing services, building materials services and supplies and medical equipment. The list of services is endless but to have your foot in the door one would need to follow the protocol that is set by the GSA.

    Once a company is approved, a GSA contract is in place for five years, with three additional five year extensions available.This GSA protocol to pre-approve a company can be overwhelming and time consuming.

    Fortunately there are GSA assistance classes that can assist in the process. The first place one can go to is directly to the website to the section stating "For contractors or vendors" and selecting "GSA Training programs" There on should be able to obtain asistance from the GSA directly to get training on how obtain "GSA Schedules."

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    Friday, March 16, 2007

    The Secret of Determining if Your Advertising is Profitable

    As a marketing consultant and owner of a marketing firm, a big mistake I see businesses make is they do not take into consideration the value of repeat sales when they review if their advertising is profitable.

    When determining if your advertising is profitable, you need to look at advertising as a long-term investment, just like buying stocks, real estate, or mutual funds. When evaluating your advertising you need to take into consideration repeat sales from each new customer your advertising produces. Nearly all businesses earn the majority of their sales and profits on repeat sales, NOT first time sales. Understanding this concept is one of the secrets to building a successful business.

    For example, let's say you run a small quarter page ad in your local shopper coupon magazine. This small ad costs you $300. From that single ad you attract three new customers who each buy $50 worth of your merchandise. From that information you would think that you had a loss of $100 on that ad because you paid $300 for it but you only generated $150 in sales. But let's look at the long-term effect of those three new customers.

    Let's say that each of those three new customers purchases an additional $250 of merchandise from you over the next 11-months. When you take that into consideration, your $300 ad has now generated $900 in sales. And, what if each of those three customers purchases an additional $300 of merchandise from you the following year? Now, your original $300 ad has generated $1,800 in sales over a 24-month period. To put that into perspective, if you bought $300 worth of mutual funds and in 2-years your $300 investment was worth $1,800, you would be jumping for joy! That is why you need to view the profitability of your advertising on a long-term scale, not on a short-term 1-2 month scale. Advertising is an investment to generate long-term customers and repeat sales. Your focus as a business owner must always be on generating faithful long-term customers, NOT one-time sales.

    Let's broaden the picture even more. Let's say one of your three new customers loved your merchandise so much that she told two of her friends about you, and her two friends each becomes a long-term customer of your business. And, what if those two friends each buys a few hundred dollars worth of merchandise from you over the next couple of years? Do you now see the tremendous long-term value of that $300 ad you placed?

    Now that you have a better understanding of advertising as an investment, it is vitally important that you track the source of every new customer (i.e., did they find you in the yellow pages, direct mail, radio, Internet, etc.). Whenever you talk to a new customer you must ask the customer, "How did you hear about us?" Then, you need to track the source of that customer in a spreadsheet or a CRM system and track how many sales that customer makes over time. This is the only way you can truly determine if an advertising strategy is working. Yes, this takes time but it is worth it. And, a good CRM software application can make this tracking very easy.

    In summary, before you throw in the towel on your advertising strategies because they are not immediately generating a profit, you must first understand that value of a new customer over time. Stop looking at advertising as a short term expense and start viewing advertising as what it really is, a long-term investment to the success of your business.

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    Wednesday, March 14, 2007

    Why Advertise?

    A lot of businesses advertise, but I often wonder if some of them know why they are doing it. Take the time to look around this week, as you do your grocery shopping, run the kids to hockey practice, and whatever else you do. Who is advertising in your area, and how? If you really pay attention, you'll see some advertising done so badly it may as well not even be there at all. If you had to look to find it, or force yourself to read it, it's probably ineffective.

    Here are the top 3 reasons to advertise

    • Awareness

    • Differentiation

    • Image

    Awareness is probably the most important reason to advertise. If people don't know who you are, what you do, or what your services are, then you aren't going to have very many customers. You have to let people know that you are out there.

    Differentiation. What makes you different from the guy down the street providing similar services or selling the same product? You have to work at motivating people to come to you, do business with you, rather than the competition. Show people the difference between your product/service and what the competition has on offer; give them a reason to come to you and to return later on.

    The final reason is image. People want to do business with companies that they know and trust. Image is how others see your company, its products and/or services. Without a positive image, the previous two reasons to advertise don't matter all that much.

    Keep these reasons in mind when creating copy for your business and get the most for your advertising dollar. Better yet, hire a professional. They can get you noticed, and get you the results you want.

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    Tuesday, March 13, 2007

    Don't Just Interview Sales Candidates; Interview Past Managers, Too!

    I was just spending a few minutes at the Chicago White Sox web site, absorbing some of the techniques being used by pitching coach, Don Cooper.

    He was jumping on his staff for exhibiting too much of a laid back quality. Instead, he wants them to aggressively challenge hitters.

    The article got me to thinking about the coaches I had in baseball. Some were laid back, others were micro-managers. I was trying to recall who I did better with.

    I'd say it was the hands-off leaders that got my best performances.

    My mind shifted to this business question: Why don't we spend more time and invest more effort in interviewing past managers of our candidates? Don't their styles also have a lot to do with the overall success of their "players?"

    If I'm a salesperson, for instance, and it's your job to recruit me, wouldn't it be useful to know that my last manager elicited my best achievements by utterly leaving me alone and staying out of my way?

    What if you're next in line to become my manager and you believe there is only one way to sell, that's it's "Your way, or the highway?" You want everyone on your team to follow a set presentation and not to deviate.

    But I'm your candidate and I'm not used to having someone like you breathing down my neck, or even monitoring my techniques at all. Won't there be an inevitable clash down the road?

    Perhaps we should not only check employment references in a standard way but also it would make sense to probe a little about the management philosophy and styles that were in place at the last locale.

    Manager to manager, we might be able to learn valuable information that would enable us to hire with more intelligence and confidence.

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    Sunday, March 11, 2007

    Significant Ways of Printing Postcard

    Business printing had primarily become one of the sought after printing service known at present. This is because it had brought in tremendous changes in terms of fast printing service and turnaround time. It had efficiently worked to print quality materials and deliver materials on time like postcards, business cards, brochures, catalogs and a lot more.

    Taking part with postcard printing, it is a process in which businesses are able to share the newest and latest updates their businesses have. Through printing card, businesses are able to leave an impression that people and customers will remember. Moreover, in printing postcard there are several ways on how they can be developed. One of which is digital printing and the other is offset printing.

    Do you know the difference between offset and digital printing?

    1. Digital Printing

    Digital printing is known as a process that is actually closer to photocopying than to printing. This is because the prints are made directly from a computer file without film or plates. This method is ideal for lower-quantity and customized needs but can only print CMYK images and files.

    The process that digital printing wants to share is that you can have your cards printed in short turn time but limited number of copies. The advantage of printing card through digital printing is that you are able to have your materials printed on a rush job and delivered before the given deadline.

    2. Offset Printing

    On the other hand, dealing with offset printing is also a good choice. Offset printing postcard is a widely used printing technique where the inked images are transferred from a plate first to a rubber blanket, then to the printing surface.

    The advantages of using offset printing for print postcards results to bring:

    •Consistent high image quality – it brings sharper and cleaner prints because the rubber blanket conforms to the texture of the printing surface.

    •Usability on a wide range of printing surfaces

    •Quick and easy production of printing plates and

    •Longer plate life for the reason that there is no direct contact between the plate and the printing surface.

    In addition with the advantages that offset printing gives, it can also print high volume commercial printing materials and as well as bring quality and efficient high volume jobs. Although digital printing is said to be influencing more of the print jobs still offset printing is the one preferred when it comes to high quality of work.

    Generally no matter what printing method you apply in printing postcards, both are good enough to be applied and used in developing quality prints.

    Saturday, March 10, 2007

    Top Down Management and Trust...Or Rather the Lack of It!

    Now here are some little gems emerging at the same time that the Chairman of P & G was admitting that a "mind shift" was needed in an attempt to establish relationships with consumers/viewers?

    As your reading these little "gems", I ask you to consider the fact that we are talking about trust, because, and as you will know, once trust is lost it is horribly difficult to get it back!

    LONDON - ITV has temporarily suspended all its premium interactive services and withdrawn its gaming channel ITV Play in response to the controversy surrounding premium-rate phone numbers, which could put some of its top shows including 'Dancing On Ice' under threat.

    The move comes as the premium rate phone regulator Icstis launches an inquiry into voting on ITV1's flagship Saturday night show 'Ant and Dec's Saturday Night Takeaway'. Allegations have been levelled that premium voting lines had still been open, even though contestants had already been picked for the show.

    Additionally revelations last week indicated that viewers tuning in to the 'X-Factor', broadcast on ITV1, had been charged an extra 15p for phone votes during the last series.

    It identified that incorrect payments were collected through red button applications on the Sky platform during the last series of the 'X Factor'.

    In the programmes broadcast between October 12 and December 16 2006, viewers had the opportunity to participate in the show through the red button in two ways, either by taking part in a prize competition, costing £1 an entry, or by voting in the show, costing 35p an entry.

    Consider this please, there are millions of pounds spent on advertising on these channels, at the same time that the channels were in the process of ripping off their viewers!

    Advertisers are finding it difficult enough to have their advertising noticed, and then believed without, I suggest, having this sort of information published!

    Another fine mess bought to you by those fine people at Top-Down-Management Limited!

    The mistake came to light two weeks ago when the broadcaster received the latest red button revenue statement from Sky for the operation of the last series of 'X Factor'. This statement showed a surplus to ITV of £200,000.
    The broadcaster has not been the only television network to be embroiled in a premium-rate phone scandal of late.

    Channel 4 came under fire early last month when it came to light that viewers trying to participate in its 'You Say, We Pay' quiz spot during its teatime ratings winner 'Richard and Judy', had been convinced to phone premium-rate competition lines even though participants had already been chosen.

    The scandal grew with the news that the BBC One show 'Saturday Kitchen' had encouraged viewers to phone premium-rate lines to vote on a competition during a pre-recorded show.

    Is it any wonder that people are turning away from terrestrial broadcasting and resorting to the Web, after all the Web has some limited interactive (FREE) capabilities. Thus allowing all those frustrated one-way viewers to vent their rage and frustration at all those wonderful Top-Down-Management boffins who spend their highly paid days dreaming up these scams!

    Interestingly some research has come to light recently, which discovered the following:

     An overwhelming majority of consumers (95% in the UK, 94% in the USA) say they trust the opinions of friends and family more than doctors, non-profit organisations, charities, academics, sportsmen/women, non-government organisations, government organisations, journalists, celebrities, bloggers and politicians.

     In fact, politicians were the least trusted of the bunch (9% in the UK and 11% in the USA), even less than bloggers (15% in the UK and 20% in the USA).

    So if they don't trust journalists, politicians, among other, do you really think that they trust advertising at all?
    So just how many millions of pounds/dollars are being wasted each and every day because of a lack of trust?
    I think the figure would astound us all if we knew!
    Meanwhile Top-Down Management was having another field day with the long running BSkyB-Virgin Media saga. Virgin says it will sue if Sky refuses arbitration, they will sue Sky for anti-competitive behaviour. Virgin Media objects to the price that Sky wants for its basic channels, including Sky One and Sky News. It said that Sky wanted to nearly double the annual fee to £48.5 million!

    Top-Down Management must also be delighted with the result of their fight with Virgin Media it is has emerged that Lost dropped 100,000 viewers on Sky One following their Virgin spat

    "Sky One's prized US import 'Lost' jettisoned an estimated 100,000 viewers last night following BSkyB's decision to pull its basic channels from the Virgin Media platform."
    According to unofficial overnight figures, 'Lost' pulled in 781,000 viewers and a 4.6% share. "

    The drop is another blow to Sky's decision to outbid Channel 4 for the third and fourth series of 'Lost', which is proving to be a costly acquisition for the channel.

    When the series made its debut on Sky One in November, it was averaging around 1.4m viewers.

    That figure soon dropped to just under one million until last night's low, while the second series averaged almost 3m viewers on Channel 4. Sky is now paying more than £1 per viewer, a ratio it will find hard to justify.

    Don't you think that BSkyB management team deserves a special "Top-Down-Management Oscar" for some really spectacular foul-ups?
    It makes you wonder what these "Top-Down-Management" teams will do when genuine interactive communications appears…or may be they will be totally unemployable by then!

    Friday, March 09, 2007

    Year of the Pig Can Mean Big Bucks for You!

    The Year of the Pig is being seen as a great marketing boon. By connecting to the Chinese New Year with promotional information for your business, you can raise the brand awareness of products to an all time high. Your market does not have to be the Chinese or Chinese- Americans to use this promotion. If you are able to tap into popular culture then this could be use to you. When you tie into something that is a national headline or a huge cultural event, you can begin to increase sales.

    Here is an example of what I am talking about. Swatch, the watch maker came up with a new way to package their watches. Because all of our devices have watches on them, sales of watches are going down. People are not even wearing watches unless they have the luxury or popular status. Swatch is letting people know they will be lucky and trendy when they wear this culturally branded watch. The package the watch comes in also contains a beautiful golden piggy ban. It's still the jelly band, but the pig face covers the band and the watch face. With all the accessories, this swatch stands out. The year of the Pig means you have an entire year to work this particular line of product connection.

    With most holidays you have a week or at best a month. You can tie in by creating events.
    You can tie in by creating a new joint venture with another company who is also going to tie into Chinese New Year. You just have to take a few moments to think about how you can serve your customer in a creative way,

    Customers do not want to be bored. There are too many choices and too many things being shoved at them that do not help them create the life they want. With a market comprised of women, you have to create some value in it for them. It needs to be an experience they can enjoy. If they enjoy the experience, they will tell others and begin a word of mouth flood that will drench your pockets with money. Make the year of the pig an experience for your customers.

    Wednesday, March 07, 2007

    Incredibly - I Just Have To Return To The Subject Of Top-Down-Management

    -BskyB and Virgin Media!


    Because of several reasons.

    The first is the fact that we are passionate about our belief in the sheer superiority of interactive communication and the implications for the future.

    Secondly Sky is constantly boasting about their interactive capabilities, yet it is obvious, from the very way they are treating viewers that they haven't the faintest idea what the word "interactive" really means!

    To them it is merely a facilitator to leverage more money out of gullible advertisers, and in that, they are ably supported by their second line troops, advertising agencies!

    From everything we read about the fight between BSkyB and Virgin Media it is obvious that they don't recognising that their most important relationship is not between the company and the brand and any given consumer, but between the latter and other individuals.

    What happens in real life is what matters to or between them. BSkyB and Virgin Media should focus on creating real world social interaction or support the group's interests-rather than forcing meaning on individuals through brain washing or bribery.

    Thus, BSkyB and Virgin Media must change the way they think about their media properties, firstly it must be a major shift away from thinking about Sky and Virgin as 'channels' down which they tip messages and information.

    Sky and Virgin Media are part of the biggest mass medium, which is broadcast. And that is command and control management, complementing big business thoroughly. Both are all about imposing control top-down and both are driven by ratings, research and cost per thousand.

    Given the disgraceful episode of last week (and continuing) is it any wonder that people are turning away from 'broadcast' in their millions because of a number of reasons, together with disgusting episodes like this one, they have acquired other interests and concerns which broadcast cannot provide. Plus the fact that people are heartily sick of the sterile pronouncements of corporations and broadcast media.

    I mean to say, just listen to this statement:

    "We've seen this in the past. Sky is one of the most dynamic media companies anywhere in the world. I am very comfortable about the way we have conducted these negotiations. We have behaved very reasonably."

    This from the television company that has just deprived 3.3m cable television customers their ability to watch some of their favourite programmes!

    If Sky or Virgin Media really understood the human desire for interaction
    and put it into everyday practise they would never have arrived at this stalemate and, more importantly, they would, to day, have many many more satisfied viewers .
    Of course neither company has given any evidence that they are at all concerned about their advertisers…talk about biting the hand that feeds them!
    So the customers are now interacting with the few (partly) interactive vehicles open to them.

    At websites such as MSN, BBC News and Guardian Unlimited, hundreds of viewers complained bitterly against what they saw as a childish row between those two arch Top-Down-Management devotees, Rupert Murdoch, Chairman of BSkyB and Richard Branson, Virgin Media's biggest shareholder.

    It would appear, judging from the on-line statements, that many people blame Sky for the breakdown in negotiations that resulted in the Sky channels being removed from cable TV last week.

    So much so for the statement "…We have behaved very reasonably." Does the Sky spokesperson really believe this drivel?

    Certainly one of the things broadcast people have lost sight of is that television, like all media functions, is done to attract viewers and then retain them.

    Likewise they have lost sight of the fact that the sole purpose of programming is to get more advertising people to buy more of Sky & Virgin Media programming, more often, for more money.

    So let's review the human desire to interact in terms of the marketing of programming and TV stations. At the same time, hope that those people working within BSkyB or Virgin Media read this simple lesson and learn a little of what they should have already known and been doing, on behalf of their clients and in turn, their viewers.

    And that is to start a regular interactive dialogue with their viewers and, for once in their lives, listen to what they are saying and do something about it!

    Tuesday, March 06, 2007

    Review on All Networkers claims to be an advertising service that costs $29.95. You can then make a monthly residual income from the site, or you can use the tools available to promote your other home businesses. At this time, the tools seem to include mostly organizational items such as calendars, contacts, reports, etc.

    The company pay plan is based on a 3 x 7 forced matrix and each person can earn up to $11,592/month. According to the website, takes the idea of duplication and automation and adds relationships to the mix. The concept allows plenty of help for members. The company is currently still in pre-launch and has had some technical issues that have delayed its launch.

    Where is the product here, you should ask...Are they selling picks and shovels to other gold-miners?

    There's a lot of this going on today...Everyone's looking to make their fortunes, but the real money is in selling people on how to find the gold and not telling them where the "gold" is

    Recommended? After reviewing the site, I'm still not sure what the product is. They say advertising, but I don?t see any advertising links. The concept of extra support is good. The price is not out of line. It might be best to bookmark this site for now and check it again in a couple months. I review home-based businesses for a living, and the best one I've found so far with a system proven to work is at

    Monday, March 05, 2007

    Marketing with Masquerade... Or.... How To Mislead Your Customers

    One of the trends today is to hire undercover marketing representatives who hang out in bars and restaurants, particularly at the bar, flirting with real bar patrons. Their job is to subtly impart the sponsor's message when it's just the right time to do so. The sad part about all this is that this trend is growing.

    I am dead set against this practice, not because it's illegal -- because, technically, it's not -- but because it is deceptive, dishonest, and because practitioners don't reveal they are being paid by sponsors to put forth this subterfuge. It's immoral marketing from my perspective. No one is overtly trying to actually sell you something. They are just trying to get you to think about it and "want" it. Then, later, they want you to buy it and tell all your friends about it. It's not a soft sell, a hard sell, just a "secret sell."

    Many regional and state marketing associations are taking note of this nasty practice and are moving to outlaw such, at least in terms of their own membership. These marketing-oriented organizations have looked at the much bigger picture, compared to the greedy, short term approach of the "anything-goes-for-getting-the-message-out" marketers. These immoral marketers give all marketers a very bad name.

    The key question to ask is: what happens a week, two weeks, or a month down the road when the people discover they have been duped? We must constantly keep in mind that consumer trust and credibility are of utmost importance in establishing an environment in which quality goods and services can be sold. This requires transparent disclosure of identity. Confusing or misleading the customer, or not coming clean with them -- as to the true identity of the individual with whom they are communicating -- is totally and clearly unethical. Put bluntly, this is a problem of "identity fraud."

    Clandestine marketing consists of claiming to be something you are not. Try doing that in any legal agreement, and you will be in breach and subject to losing any legal suit brought against you by the other party. Those who employ this tactic, invoke the concept of caveat emptor: it is up to the public to be smart enough to know what is going on. This is nothing but a lazy and convenient cop-out. It is corrupt. The bottom line in this scenario is that this is a degradation of trust.

    If everybody might be somebody else, nobody's sure of anybody. Up go the barriers of skepticism and cynicism. The values that support the open and honest interchange of trust – including reliance, confidence, and expectation – start to erode, if not decay completely. This makes for a necrotic business relationship with the public; and can eventually lead to no one having any degree of trust with anything or anyone. It is up to all of us to be responsible, honest, open marketers.

    If you see a firm adopting these tactics, report them to your local better business bureau, your chamber of commerce, your local authorities and to the nearest marketing association chapter so these officials can take the appropriate action. If you don't want to be humiliated or embarrassed by being caught in such subterfuge, don't even think about doing it. You will pay big time in the long run.

    ©Copyright, Roy MacNaughton, 2007

    Saturday, March 03, 2007

    Direct Mail Sales Letters - 10 Key Elements to Creating Marketing Pieces That Get Results

    If you want to have any success with your business, you already know you need to advertise. While there are many methods available in today's marketplace, the one best suited for any small business with a limited budget is without a doubt, a well written direct mail sales letter.

    While a well written sales letter definitely has the most potential for generating a flood of new business, it also has the potential to be a huge failure if not done correctly. You see, consumers today are absolutely bombarded with marketing materials and advertisements. So much so that if your piece doesn't stand out from the crowd, it could easily get lost in the avalanche of junk mail.

    So, to help combat this potential disaster with your next direct mail piece, here are 10 key elements that will help you deliver a super-successful marketing piece:

    1. Use An Attention Grabbing Headline

    With so much advertising already competing for your prospect's attention, it's critical to your success that you grab their attention right off the bat. In fact, you should think of your headline as the ad for your sales letter. You MUST give your reader a strong reason to read what you have to say or you might as well save the postage and printing costs.

    2. State the Problem Your Prospect is Having

    Right off the bat let your reader know that you understand the pain and frustration they're feeling. No matter how big or small the problem may be in reality, the pain and frustration they're feeling is very real and it represents an opportunity for you to be the hero.

    3. Agitate the Problem

    After bringing the painful problem to their attention, paint a picture of what this problem is costing your potential customer in terms of health, wealth, time, status, or frustration. Helping them really feel the pain of the problem will urge them to continue reading as they're now looking for a way to eliminate their pain and frustration.

    4. Paint a Picture of a Brighter Future

    Once you've painted a clear picture of what this problem is costing them, it's now time to repaint the picture and give them an image of what it could look like. Just as you painted a clear picture of everything this problem is currently costing them, you want to paint an equally vibrant picture of what life COULD be like if this problem no longer existed.

    5. Lay Out Your Solution

    Now that they have a clear picture of what life could look like without the frustrating problem affecting their life, tell them how your solution can make that happen. Don't just list all the various features associated with your product or service, but smother them with the numerous benefits they'll receive as a result of your solution.

    Sure, you need to describe your process and how you'll accomplish this pain-free picture you painted, but be sure to explain each step in the process in terms of how it will benefit them.

    6. Overcome Objections

    Unfortunately, no matter how well you paint the pain-free picture and describe your process for making it happen, your potential customer will have some questions or objections. Don't worry, its human nature to be skeptical.

    However, it does require that you address as many of these objections as you can. This can be accomplished by including a FAQ section, testimonials, before-and-after pictures, or listing your qualifications. There are numerous ways you can overcome these questions and you should employ as many as it takes to help set your prospect at ease.

    7. Present A Valuable Offer

    Remember, the whole point of your direct mail sales letter is to eventually get sales. As such, it's critical to the success of your mailing to present your prospects with an offer that gets them to move to the next step in your marketing process.

    However, don't assume that just because you listed all your various products or services that they're going to jump all over it. You need to present them with a very clear offer so there's no confusion as to what the purpose of the mailing is.

    8. Create A Strong Call To Action

    Again, don't just assume that because you sent a sales letter that lists your phone number or website somewhere on the letter that your prospect knows what to do next. Tell them exactly the steps they should take to respond to your offer and tell them exactly how to accomplish each step.

    For example, "Pick up the phone right now and call (704) 444-5555, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to schedule your FREE, no obligation estimate." Don't assume anything or leave anything to chance.

    9. Create Some Urgency

    Unfortunately, we live in a society of procrastinators. Unless you give your prospects a reason to respond to your offer immediately, chances are pretty good that your sales letter will end up stuck on a refrigerator never to be looked at again or in some pile of papers the does little more than collect dust. Avoid this undesirable fate by giving your offer a deadline, limiting the number of packages available, or by using any number of 'urgency creating' devices.

    10. Don't Forget the P.S.

    Believe it or not, the P.S. is the second most read part of any letter, following only the headline. As such, it's important to include one that restates your offer and chief benefits your prospect will receive. If necessary, repaint the picture of what life would be like without the problem and remind them of your offer for creating this new scene.

    Include these 10 elements and watch your next sales letter pull like a super-charged magnet.

    Remember, a powerful direct mail sales letter can be a powerful tool in your marketing arsenal, if done correctly. Include these 10 elements in your next letter and prepare yourself for the surge of new business that will surely be headed your way.

    Friday, March 02, 2007

    Business Operations: The Chicken Before The Egg

    There are a few businesses that do not have a need for managing their business operations. And they are just a few. So few, I can not think of a business that does not have some sort activity they do in business that could not be considered their business operation. Something as given as making a bank run or going to the office supply store or having new business cards and contracts made up, all could be considered business operations. If one of these activities was not done or done correctly how would it affect the business?

    However, most businesses operations are much more complex. Especially where there are employees involved. Even then there should be a separation of operations and the human resources.

    What is taken place today is more businesses are trying to do more with less. Business owners, in hopes of saving a buck, are doing away with operations managers and taking upon themselves to do the work of a COO. I consider and coach my clients that if there is a need to cut budget while evaluating strategies, to make the cut on the front end, not where the quality is produced.

    One of the biggest mistakes made by business executives and owners is to take for granted the management of their operations. Too many business people put far too much emphasis on marketing and sales when operations need to play an equal or greater role.

    Over the years I have sat in many meetings where the conversation come down to the 'Chicken or the Egg' theories. The sales groups claim that if it was not for their efforts to bring in the revenue there would not be a reason to generate a product. While operations saying that if there was not for them producing a quality product to show the client there would not be any sales made to generate any revenue.

    And this debate still goes on today. Who wins? Well, as unpopular as it is for the high strung sales people to take, it is not sales that comes first.

    Since the Chicken is the operation that produces the egg, you have to take care of the Chicken to insure there is a quality product. Once there is a product then it should be simple for sales to sale it, but not before then.

    Yes, business' operations has to be established before a business knows what it is they are selling.