Archive | List Building

The Signage Evolution

Do you may remember the classic porcelain service station signs illuminated with high-watt light bulbs, like “Texaco” and “Skelly” (which are now highly valued collector items)?

Then came the vacuum-formed, plastic-faced signs that were backlit with fluorescent lamps and used a marquis with changeable plastic “Wagner” or “ZIP” letters for specials and fuel pricing.

Yes, the sign industry has evolved over the past few decades. Today, large LED displays offer high impact, animated message systems that employ a marketing strategy.

One of the latest contributions to the signage evolution is interior digital video signage. More and more restaurants, retailers, service locations and medical offices are using these displays for various content to engage their customers.

“Video enhances the customer experience: People like videos and have come to expect them. And often videos are the best way to impart the information. Video boosts customer service by increasing customer engagement, leading to higher customer satisfaction.” – Right Answers Inc.

The days of the static white board food menu are being replaced with high definition product photographs and videos with brief descriptions and pricing. Digital menu boards help customers make decisions faster and more accurately, while reducing order and wait times. CarterEnergy customer, Sugarfoot C-Store & BBQ, experienced this first-hand when they made the decision to go with digital menu boards for their BBQ and their new Fresh Burrito Bar in their C-Store.

Digital signage is being utilized to highlight a menu of specific auto services that KCI Auto Care offers while customers are traveling through Kansas City International Airport (KCI). Big-O-Tires uses their digital signage for service pricing and to educate customers with Auto Seasonal Preparation videos.

Other digital sign applications include interactive (touchscreen) building directories and wayfinding kiosks, company information in lobbies, trade show booths, in-store video billboards, video walls, cylinders and boxes, to name a few.

But in all things digital signage, bigger is often better. Considered the avant-garde of digital signage solutions, video walls, aka architectural media or techorating, depending on the application, can influence the ambiance of the building by the way it is integrated into the environment. Similarly, creative content can stimulate the senses, arouse and influence behavior that complements the purpose of building designs, which reinforces and extends the core brand image. Dynamic content can immerse control rooms, wrap around buildings, decorate expansive interiors with artistic displays, and provide interactive content into an exciting and over-the-top visual experience.

Take a moment to notice the digital signage around you, and you will be amazed how prevalent and creative this marketing tool has become.

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eBay – The Importance of Effective Listings

No matter what type the market is, a big incentive for a customer to buy an item comes from the trustworthiness and knowledge ability that a seller displays. Although you will most likely never come face-to-face with your clientele on eBay, how you market your merchandise in your listings can either make or break a sale. Here are the basics to listing an item on eBay effectively.

Before you sit down to write a listing, there are a few things you need to decide concerning the item you’re about to sell. First, weigh and measure the item before listing to help determine shipping charges.

Unlike newspaper ads, a photograph of your product is free to add, so take advantage of this. Buyers have only sellers’ listings to use in accessing which items to purchase, so make your listing stand out; pictures are a great way to enhance your item’s chance of being sold. Place the item in a well-lit and uncluttered area. If people have problems discerning the product from evidence of your daily life, they probably won’t take you seriously.

Once a registered member on eBay, you can click on the “Sell” tab at the top of the screen to begin the listing process. The first thing for you to create is a title: the first phrase introducing a potential buyer to your listing. The more specific your title is, the more chances you have to attract buyers. For example, “Antique Quilt” tells a buyer nothing, whereas “1920’s Double Wedding Ring King Size Quilt” narrows the search and attracts a buyers attention. Avoid words like ‘cool’ ‘excellent ‘amazing’ and the like because you’re only wasting the small amount of space provided to you.

The next part of a listing’s text is the item’s description. Don’t be afraid on this section to include as much information on your product as you can; what you think is too much detail could be the difference between a sell and no sell. However, be professional and honest with in this section highlight the features of your product but also pointing out any of its defects. And, be friendly! People like feeling welcomed and will avoid intimidation. In both the title and the description, it is important to use correct spelling, punctuation, and grammar. This will optimize people’s ability to read the text, especially those whose English is a second language.

Once you have written the text and uploaded your item’s photos, you should choose one of two selling options: auction or “Buy it Now.” Again, auctioning works best for items that are less common the fixed rate option is for popular products or items that people might need immediately.

Be sure to set your price, buyer payment methods as well as shipping and handling fees. Make sure to look everything over – a mistake could cost you a sale or could even result a bad feedback score from a buyer. Save your listing and hit the ‘submit’ button. You will receive an email confirmation stating that your listing was published on eBay.

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Instead of Getting Angry, Learn to Write a Complaint Letter in Business Format

This is the correct business format for a Letter of Complaint to another business. Use your words with caution because people are often funny about their money.

Tips and Hints to consider:

Keep in mind that Business Writing is about “Getting to the point”

Think about what you want to say before you start writing and get your facts straight.

Stay objective and considerate throughout the letter even if you are feeling angry.

Your letter will include the following:

1. Contacts

2. The complaint

3. Reason why you are complaining

4. The amount to be refunded

5. How long you are willing to wait (be reasonable please)

6. Reason why they should refund you

7. “Thank you” as well as any enclosures such as statements, receipts etc…

Remember to send copies of the receipts, not the originals. However, the original letter you type up and sign should be sent to the recipients. Make a copy for your records.

If you do not receive the response you had wished for, you may want to consider writing a second letter with a firmer tone, or you can contact the next person on their chain of command.

Your number and street address

Your city, Your state Zip code

Phone: Your contact number

Email: your email

The Date

Their Name, Company Title

Company name

Their company street number and address

Their city, state and zip code

Dear Mr. Name,

It has been excellent for my company to use your services for many high-quality door and window projects. I have always been satisfied with your services, however I am writing to you with a concern that I hope you will be able to address.

My company ordered from Custom Wood on July 2 by telephone. We ordered double-glazed, made-to-order oak French doors. When they arrived on July 25, my carpenter informed me that the doors were cut too small. Instead of measuring a total of 11 feet by 8 inches, the doors measured 11 feet by 4 inches.

After waiting three weeks for the door to remodel a kitchen, it was obvious that the customers were not going to wait any longer to have their kitchen finished. My carpenter was able to fix the mistake and did so at the expense of $455.50.

I am requesting that Custom Wood reimburse the $455.50 paid to fix the doors sent in error to my company. I am including the carpenter’s bill, and would appreciate prompt attention to this matter.

I would like to continue business with your company, as I have always been very satisfied in the past. Thank you very much for you time.

Sincerely,

My name

Company name

Enclosures (2)

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How To Use The VBA Current Region Method In Excel

Accessing the Current Region is one of the most valuable VBA techniques in Excel. Not only can it select a data set or table, it enables you to access individual cells, rows and columns within the region; making it very useful for new Excel developers:

  • Search an entire table
  • Select multiple columns to use in a chart
  • Define rows and cells for highlighting

An Example Of Selecting The Current Region

The normal syntax for selecting the currentRegion is as follows:


Range(cellAddress).currentRegion.select

While it makes sense to use the first cell of the table as the base for the region, any cell reference within the region can be used. Let’s look at an example of how you can use the current region in real life.

Let’s say we need to search an entire table starting at “A1” for a defined text string:


myText="text to search for"
myRange="a1"
range(myRange).currentRegion.select

for each c in selection
if instr(c,myText) then
' match found
End if
next

Accessing Cells, Rows And Columns Within The Current Region

Because a region covers multiple rows and columns there are a few different techniques to access items within the region:

In a 2 row by 4 column table (2 x 4) you might want to know the address of the last cell in the table, so you can add data to the next row. This code identifies the next cell address for data input by finding the final row and moving to the next cell.


Range(myRange).currentRegion.select
lastRow=selection.rows.count
cellAddress=selection.rows(lastRow).cells(1).address
range(cellAddress).offset(1,0).activate

Similarly, if we wanted to format each row, we’d need to know how many columns were included in the region:


cols=selection.columns.count

And if you had 3 columns and wanted to return the 2nd column to include as a series range in a chart you could use this line of code:


myRange=selection.columns(2).address

In a 3 x 4 table, this would return a value in the form $B$1:$B$4 which coincidentally is the format to include the column in a chart.

It might be useful to think of the Current Region as a collection, and the cells, rows and columns are items in the collection having their own properties. In this way when you need to access the items within the region you can do so intuitively, rather than relying on knowledge of specific properties and methods.

Summary

The Current Region is one the most useful tools for both new and experienced VBA developers. A good understanding of its methods and properties is essential for effective and productive Excel applications.

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How to Estimate the Age of Furniture Using Castor Wheels?

Castors are attached to home furnishings in order to make housekeeping and rearranging easier. But apart from these, do you know that castor wheels help antique collectors in estimating the age of furniture? By simply examining the type and characteristics of the castors, experts are able to identify the time range in which they are manufactured. This allows antique dealers and collectors to price the furniture appropriately.

Nonetheless, even non-experts like you can also date furniture using this same method. This article will show you how to do it. Just follow the simple instructions listed below:

Step 1: Look for a Leathern Roller or Bowl

The earliest kinds of castor wheels are made of leathern rollers or bowls. These castors are attached to furniture manufacture in the early 1700’s during the time of Queen Anne.

Step 2: Inspect if the Castor is made of Wood

During the great Georgian period (1720 to 1760), furniture manufacturers began to make furniture with wooden wheels. The wheels are attached to an iron frame that is mounted at the foot of the furniture.

Step 3: Examine if the Castors is made of Cast Iron

For almost a decade after the Georgian period, manufacturers started to produce furniture with castors made from cast iron. Although wooden castors are still manufactured, most of the surviving furniture made during this era which is available in antique stores nowadays has cast iron wheels instead of wood.

Step 4: Check if the Castor is made of solid Brass

The furniture may still indicate that it is manufactured during the Georgian period, however, if it has solid brass castor wheels, then it means that it is manufactured anywhere between 1780 and 1790. The entire Georgian period (starting from 1750 to 1830) is in fact called the “Golden Age of Furniture” because it is during this era that majority of the innovation on furniture had been introduced to the public.

Step 5: See if the Castor is made of Rubber or Polyurethane

These castor wheels are manufactured in modern times. Thus, it is possible that the wheels of the antique furniture that you are eyeing on have already been replaced.

Warnings and Tips

Be reminded that castors are easily replaceable. This means that you should not base your assessment of the furniture’s age on the castors alone since it is possible that the wheels are only replaced so as to give the impression that the furniture are as old as it is. If you are not confident or if you do not trust your antique dealer, might as well get a second or third opinion from someone who you think is trustworthy. Do not forget that the antique industry is filled with scammers and opportunists who are only waiting for you to fall into their traps.

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Muscle Milk: Muscle Milk is the Perfect Protein Powder

Muscle Milk is a protein powder designed after mother's milk. It is a nutritional supplement used by athletes and body builders. This protein powder also promotes fat burning, quicker recovery from exercise and helps grow lean muscle. It also has an amazingly good taste and is easy to blend in water or milk.

The Lean Lipids in Muscle Milk promote fat loss instead of fat storage. The medium chain triglycerides in Muscle Milk are burned for energy instead of being stored as fat. 20% of the lipids in this protein powder are medium chain triglycerides. The long chain polyunsaturated fatty acids are also not likely to be stored as fat as they have been engineered that way. Studies show that calories from engineered lipids promote leanness.

Muscle Milk also helps grow muscles faster than just whey protein or creatine. Muscle Milk was engineered to be most like mother's milk which also promotes strong muscle growth. It also has factors that produce the best levels of creatine in the body which also fuels muscles.
It is best to take Muscle Milk before and after your workouts. Before a workout provides the energy and calories needed during your intestinal workout. After the workout Muscle Milk provides nutrients to speed up muscle recovery.

Muscle Milk as you can see is vital for the serous athlete or body builder. It provides energy that promotes leanness and muscle recovery. It is available in quite a few flavors that have always been rated as the best tasting of any protein powder.

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Perch Fishing – Learn The Facts That Can Help You Catch The Trophies

The yellow perch is a fish that is prevalent in quite a few different areas. Some areas that have yellow perch in the lakes and rivers are Canada, the Great Lakes region and even through Pennsylvania all the way to South Carolina.

These sought after fish are also seen in other states such as Iowa, Kansas, Illinois, Indiana and Utah. It is important to learn about the habitat and habits of the yellow perch in order to know the best ways to catch these types of fish.

The yellow perch is found in the states listed above in the many lakes and rivers which permeate those regions. These fish tend to eat during daylight hours and maintain an active lifestyle, so to speak. The yellow perch are most still when it is nighttime, which makes it easy for daytime fishermen to catch this type of species. The yellow perch is part of the Percidae fish family and is related to the walleye and the sauger.

As for the spawning habits of the yellow perch, these fish tend to do so at nighttime in 50-degree water temperature. They produce quite a bit of eggs and are said to spawn anywhere from 4,000 to 40,000 eggs. The spawning period of the yellow perch occurs in the springtime.

As for unusual characteristics, the yellow perch has a unique defense mechanism to protect against predators. When the yellow perch is threatened, it will raise its spiny fins to inflict injury on the predator and protect itself. The sharp fins usually do the trick with regard to warding off enemies.

For those who like to fish for yellow perch, there are a few tips which may help in yielding the best catch. First and foremost, since yellow perch are most active during the daytime, it is wise for fishermen to fish during daylight hours to increase the odds of catching one. Another tip relates to the bait and lures to use for catching yellow perch. Since yellow perch are caught quite easily due to their fondness for a wide array of items, one can use almost any type of bait or artificial lure to reel in the yellow perch.

The yellow perch makes a wonderful catch for fishermen of all skill levels. If one is looking to fish during daylight hours and lives in one of the many areas above, the chances of catching a yellow perch are more than likely.

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7 Blogging Tips to Creating Awesome Content When You’re Out Of Ideas

I love the blank page, but I know plenty of people who literally freak out when they need to sit down and write something. They freeze up, their minds go blank and they don’t even know where to start. Fortunately, for many of them, after a few minutes of staring at a blank page that fear passes, and they’re able to write.

What happens when the fear is gone, but it seems there’s nothing new you can say and you’re completely burnt out? What to do when you’re just out of ideas?

Here, I’m going to give you a quick rundown of some things I sometimes take advantage of, when I have a hard time coming up with ideas for my posts. Some of them might be a little strange, but they’re very stimulating, and if you use them, you’ll have a constant flow of new concepts, angles and completely fresh ideas coming in all the time. Let’s roll, shall we?

1. Base Your Post on a Brand Or a Famous Name

This is by far one of my favorite idea generators. The reason why I like it so much is that everyone loves to talk about famous people or huge successful companies.

I don’t care who you are, if you see a newspaper article that has to do with Facebook, for example, you’re going to want to read it (even if you’re not really a Facebook fan.)

You can take famous brands, such as Pampers, KFC or Ferrari and write about how or what they do relates to your niche, and how your readers can learn from them. This is very easy and extremely fun. Go give it a shot.

2. Do Something You’ve Never Done Before

One of the reasons you’re out of ideas for content is that you’re bored. Maybe your life is very mundane. Maybe you’ve been doing the same thing for years and you’re sick of it. Maybe you think you’ve never done anything interesting at all.

Whatever it is, I can promise you, if you get out there and do something you’ve never done before (something completely wild and out of your comfort zone) you’ll come back home (or to your office, depending on where you work) and you’ll be stoked.

When that happens, all you have to do is take what you discovered (either about yourself, the world or life in general) apply it to your niche and blog about it. Works like a charm.

3. Check Out Some Crazy Food

This goes along the same lines as what I just told you. If you don’t want to (or don’t have the time) to get out for a day or two to do something crazy, go check out a really strange restaurant you’ve never been to before.

You’ll see the moment you come in, it’ll be a very exotic experience for you, and if you’re like me, you’ll discover a whole lot of stuff to blog about.

4. Talk About Your Failures

This might sound a little strange, especially if you’ve been trying to establish yourself as an expert in your niche, but it works very well. See, no matter what people say, we all know that no one is perfect. Perfect just doesn’t exist.

One of my favorite examples of that is Frank Kern. I believe the guy is a genius and he actually does have super powers (lol), but you got to admit, the dude is a technological idiot.

I mean, he can’t even push play when he needs to half the time. It’s funny and he talks about it all the time. Technology is his weakness. That’s where he fails. I am sure you have something like that, too. As long as you can talk (and laugh) about it comfortably, do that.

You’ll see your readers will love you for it, and you’ll have a whole new angle of blog post content to discuss with them.

5. Get As Personal As You Can

When you feel like you have nothing to talk about, get personal with your audience. Go ahead and take a few pictures of your family and tell them your life story. Share with them how you got started in blogging. Tell them why you’re doing what you’re doing.

When you do that, you’ll bond with your readers, which will come in handy when there comes a time for money to exchange hands.

6. Do a Case Study

Case studies are awesome, because they take very little effort on your part. Here’s what you do:

I assume, if you’ve been blogging for any amount of time, you’ve been able to help someone with your advice (if you haven’t, then maybe you should step it up a little.)

All you need to do is contact that someone or a few someones you’ve helped, and talk to them over Skype (while recording the whole conversation using Pamela for Skype or any other type of recording software.)

When the interview is done, you should have a complete story of how you guys met, what was the problem, and how you helped them.

Just publish that on your blog with a little write up to tell the people what the interview is about. Put in a picture of yourself and the guy in the post and you’re all set.

7. Let Someone Else Write

This can be done either through outsourcing or finding good guest posters. In either case, once you find someone to work with, you don’t have to do a thing and apart from getting a great content without lifting a finger, you’ll see how other people write which will cause you to have awesome ideas for your own future posts. This is it. What are some of the things you do when you’re out of ideas?

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How to Build Backlinks in the Perfect Way

If you are really serious in making your website appear in the top search results then you need to make sure that you get the best SEO techniques. Well, one of the most important techniques used in SEO is building backlinks.

What are exactly backlinks?: Well, there are two types of links- outbound links and backlinks. The links which you make on your site are known as outbound links whereas backlinks are those which come from other websites that point to pages on your website. It is therefore important to make sure that you have more backlinks if your really wish to make your website popular. This would in turn make your website deemed as authority by Google and rank high on its search results pages. It is important to note that Google consider backlinks to be very important which also serves as a sort of recommendation.

Google also monitors in the best way as to how much traffic your website is getting and so it is important to have lots of backlinks that would help to get more people go to your website. This would make Google to rank your site on the search engine ranking pages.

Factors to consider for backlinking: It is very important to ensure that your website has got good quality backlinks and so you have to be careful to find out where your backlinks are coming from to get a clear picture of the same.

  • Firstly, efforts should be made to make your backlinks relevant. For example, if your website is into real estate business then building backlinks from a site that sells cars would not help you at all. It might even get banned by Google for spamming so you should be very careful about it.
  • Secondly, you must make sure that your backlinks have come from authority websites. This would help you lot to get the best ranking for your website in the right way.
  • Thirdly, you have to put your best foot forward to consider variety. If your website is into buying or selling properties online then you have to ensure that you get backlinks from site that provides all the important information about the real estate industry.
  • Finally, you should not try to build thousands of backlinks in just 24 hours. If you try to manipulate your ranking then it would be very harmful for your site as Google hates this.

So, you have to make sure that right steps are taken by you to look forward to the reputed SEO Company that can help a lot in building backlinks. With the right skills and expertise, you can expect to make your website get listed in the first page.

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The Power of Planning

I am surprised how few sales professionals, independent consultants, and small business owners take the time to plan the strategy for their business. Most people spend more time writing out a grocery list or planning a vacation than they do planning the direction or exit of their business. Many will determine a vague or general idea of ​​what they want to accomplish but very few actually identify the specific action steps that they will need to take in order to achieve their goals. I'm not suggesting you create a 25-30 page business plan like a good friend of mine writes every year, but I do recommend that you start outlining the goals you want to accomplish and how you plan to get there.

It is one thing to set a target for yourself, it is quite another to actually plan how you will achieve it. When I establish my annual goals (which get more challenging every year), I ask myself, "How will I accomplish these goals?" This forces me to plan the tactics, strategies, and actions I need to undertake in order to achieve my targets. For example, if your business relates primarily on referrals, identify what you can do to increase the number of referrals you receive.

In her book, Get Clients Now !, author CJ Hayden suggests using a monthly tracking sheet. This means setting specific monthly goals, planning what action you will take to generate new business, and tracking your progress. She suggests that you engage in a minimum of ten different marketing activities each week. This can include; Networking, prospecting, cold calling, sending mailers, speaking, etc. A speaker I know spends most of his Monday planning and strategizing his week, determining exactly what activities he will execute in the upcoming few days.

How should you plan your business? It all depends on what you want to accomplish and what is important to you. I know I could probably increase my revenue significantly in the next 12 months, but it would require spending less time with my family. Only you can determine what is important. And this will change depending on what stage of life you are in. What is important to you now may be completely insignificant six months from now. Here are five key areas to plan.

Revenue. If you are like most businesses, you probably have more than one product or service. Therefore, breaking down your sales into specific categories makes sense. This allows you to track your progress in each area and see where you can improve year over year. Plus, I can also determine the products or services I should stop selling because they do not generate very good sales.

Profit. Obviously, determining your gross sales is important. More importantly, though, is the amount of money you have left over at the end of the day. In other words, what profit are you going to generate? A professional speaker I know plans his business by deciding what profit he wants to earn by each year. He then creates his plan backwards to determine how he will achieve this. Remember, you can incredible sales but still go out of business.

Expenses. Controlling expenses is a critical aspect of running a profitable and successful business regardless of the size. All large organizations budget expenses but most independent business owners "wing it" and pay the bills as they come in. If you want to increase your revenues, you need to know how much it will cost you to generate your targeted sales. I remember talking to another trainer a few years ago who had learned this lesson. She began analyzing all of her expenses and found several areas she could trim. This freed up cash which she used to market her business. The result was more revenue with no additional out-of-pocket expense.

Vacation or Personal Time. How much free time do you want for yourself in the next year? I have learned that it is very easy to get sucked into the vortex of running a business and forget to take a vacation or personal time to recharge my batteries. Block those days in your calendar early in the year. This signifies a commitment and allows you to plan your business around these personal days. A friend of mine spends most of his summer scuba diving so he plans the rest of year accordingly. He works extremely hard but this frees up almost 3 months for him to partake in his favorite past-time.

Personal Development. I have found that the people who invest in themselves consistently outperform those who do not. Identify the skills that will help you become more successful. Determine what books, programs, courses, or people can help you learn these skills and take action.

Planning does take time. However, it is time well invested. Make the time in your hectic life to create a plan for next year's business. Review it regularly and make the necessary changes as you progress forward. You'll be glad you did.

Copyright 2004 Kelley Robertson. All rights reserved

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