Guest Posts

17
Oct

The Do’s and Don’ts of Direct Mail Marketing

Direct mail campaigns can offer companies a cost-effective and precise means of reaching their ideal target audience. Without basing their campaigns on the optimal direct mail strategies, even the most respected brands are doomed to fail in their marketing initiatives.

To be effective in their direct mail marketing campaigns, companies must consider the industry-wide best practices.

The Do’s and Don’ts of Direct Mail Marketing

DO Utilize an Effective Call to Action

The success of a direct mail marketing campaign will be largely based on how well the company communicates with their audience. The first step in this process is the call to action within the campaign. It’s imperative that the call to action tells the audience precisely what action they are required to take to move the business relationship forward. Companies can use urgency to improve the impact of their call to action. For example, businesses might use the phrase; “Call today – Limited Stock Available” to inspire action.

DO Commit Resources to Proofreading

A direct mail campaign is one of the best ways of communicating quickly and effectively with a core audience-base. Companies that make errors in their grammar and spelling are doomed to campaign failure. It’s the reason that it’s so important that organizations employ an expert proofreader before sending out their direct mail marketing campaigns. The proofreader can ensure that all content is clearly and professionally written and can reduce miscommunication issues.

DO Set a Goal For Your Campaign

It is always a good move to set a goal before you start your marketing campaign. And set a target for each of your campaign so that at the end of the day we can easily say if the campaign was a success. And if the first time was a success it would encourage the stakeholders and excite them.
And also evaluate which mode of direct marketing is giving more results so that we can focus more on that the next time.

DON’T Send Out Campaigns Without an Effective Testing Plan

In order for companies to experience the lasting benefits direct mail campaigns can bring to their marketing processes, they must have a plan for testing their campaigns. Companies should be continually testing their new campaigns and comparing their “A” mailing with their “B” mailing. This commitment to testing and research empowers companies to determine which strategies yield the optimal results.

DON’T Over Exaggerate

Make sure that the description is not over the top or too much fluffy. People may not tolerate all those adjectives and your mail may go straight into the dustbin. Always be to the point and describe how the product is going the benefit them. And try to make them curious about the product, that works mostly.

DON’T Send Out Impersonal Mailings

Direct mail should be personalized for the recipient. It’s important the recipient feels as if they are being reached out to directly by the company. By using the recipient’s name in addressing direct mailings and mentioning their name often within sales letters and other direct mail documents, companies can help forge a strong connection between themselves and their potential customers.

By simply learning the do’s and don’ts of the direct mailing industry, and by basing their campaigns on the proven effective strategies utilized by the market leaders, growing businesses can achieve an exceptional return for their campaign investment.

 

10
Oct

Make Web Pages That Actually Convert

Considering your website like your job interview helps in many ways. There is only one chance to prove it to be a good website and to make a good impression. Once you know what you have to exhibit when it comes to your website, it is a good idea to write it down, make a list of what you should and should not do.

There are certain things that you should and should not do when it comes to website designing. Even if you want your website to be remembered, do it by making it so with the appropriate content, not flair that will get you little to nothing.

Web Pages

When it comes to professional websites, the pressure is immense. It has to be an individual branch of the company but at the same time it has to be integrated with the company itself. If the website looks nothing like the company is promotes, it will only confuse the people who visit it and fail to impress them.

Make it Clutter Free

Things like ads, pop ups, icons, badges, gadgets, buttons and etc. all might have been entertaining when the internet trend started, now they are annoying. They break the thought process a person has when they are looking through your website and more often than not, they irritate. Trying to keep everything simple and embracing flat designs rather than flashy ones will do your website a lot of good.

Research

One of the best things you can do it to go to popular websites and see what they are presented like. Notice what you like about them, think on why they are so popular. Research before you make your website and it will benefit the company represented by the webpage and, by association, your work.

Use Visual Hierarchy

This term defines what your eyes are drawn to when you first open a web page. Is it a certain pattern or the search bar, everything at the top of the web page or do the features on the sides of the page attract your attention? All these questions mean that the most important spaces will be revealed after a quick scan. Make sure to put all your important information in these places so they are easily seen.

Make it Legible

Text of a website is crucial. It will be your means to get the information across and answer the questions before they have been asked. However, there has to be a certain font that you have to use. Do not make your readers squint to read what is written, make it easy on their eyes. What you should focus on when it comes to the font must include:

  • Careful color schemes
  • Font size is legible
  • Stick to one font

Making the website as user friendly as possible is one of the most important things you can do when it comes to designing a webpage. If they can’t tolerate it, it will go to waste. It’s all about thinking about the user, really!

11
Aug

Steps Before Hiring A Web Developer

There are several minor steps that have to be taken before, during and after a webpage has to be designed, developed and published. If you are new to the entire process, you have to ensure that each step is conducted with complete care and precaution. If you are hiring a professional, you will have lesser things to worry about.

However, if your developer does not know what he is doing, things might get worse. Therefore, when hiring a web developer following is some of the most important steps that you must go about.

These steps will ensure the protection of your entire business and smooth running of your website:

  1. You should know exactly what you need.

    It is true that you are hiring a web developer because you want to get things done and need their help. But this does not mean that you act like a completely ignorant web person in front of the developer. This might make them feel like they can fool you into paying more than their job is worth.

    They might also deprive your webpage of its integrity by doing things their way and not your way. Therefore, before setting up a meeting with your developer you must know what your needs are.

  2. Every person on the journey to earn money chooses to invest little but profit a lot.

    When it comes to web designing, this might just be the biggest mistake you make. It is not a smart decision to pick a web developer who is cheap. Cheaper is not always better. Why would you want to pick someone who is less experienced only because he is cheaper?

    He might cost you your business by mishandling it. It is better to invest a lot in the development of a website because it is the highest form of marketing. If you invest well in developing it, your profit will definitely be higher too.Web Developer

  3. If you have finally found someone who you feel can do the job the way you want it to be done, do not just rush into hiring them, check their credentials.

    A web developer might be a con artist and you do not want to pay him a lot of money and be left empty handed by the end of it all. Once you have picked someone, see if they are affiliated with a company or not. More so, talk to their old clients to see if they are as good as they claim to be. This step is to have you feeling completely at peace with your decision.

  4. Choose a web developer who takes what you want, a step further.

    Though it is okay if a web developer does as you tell him to, it is even better if he gives way to your expectations in the grandest way possible. Pick an individual who does what you say but kicks it up a notch and educates you along the way.

With these steps you are guaranteed to find someone who fits your needs and is the perfect choice.

[box type=”note” align=”” class=”” width=””]

Edinburgh based Scott Heron has been a web designer and SEO expert for over 10 years now. Visit Scott at this website for his web design services.

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5
Aug

How To Succeed Through The Probation Period

There is hardly any job out in the world today that immediately hires someone without testing their skills and capacity. A probation period can very easily be known as a testing or a trial period during which the skills and abilities of the potential employee are tested in apparent and relevant situations. If you have been hired on probation, it is okay to get excited and celebrate, but also remember that if you do not play your cards right, you can also lose your job just as easily. Following is a thorough explanation of what the probation period is and how one can manage their way through it, successfully.

Probation

What Does It Mean To Be On Probation?

A probation period follows a hire. All the potential candidates who have all applied for a similar job are interviewed. At the end one among the candidates is given the position. The probation period basically means that you have been hired for the job because you surpassed as the most promising candidate. It also means that this is a time when you will be assessed closely. During this period, your employer keeps a close look on your performance to see if you are practically as promising as you seemed during your interview and in your resume. It is also the time when an employer ensures that you get along with the rest of your colleagues. For the colleagues it is important to ensure that you transition into the new work circle smoothly and understand how things function.

You should also remember that it is not necessary that each job would have the same probationary period. There are some companies who hire their employees on probation only for a month, whereas, in other areas it can go up to several months. Commonly, the length of a probation period is also identified by the performance of the candidate. If he learns and adapts quickly, the probation period is shorter. If he takes time, his probation is extended.

What Should You Do?

What a lot of people fail to understand is that being on probation can be a very beneficial thing. Always remember that while the employer is assessing you, you are also assessing yourself in the new job. Sometimes, the employer might find you fit for the job but you may not feel like it is something you wish to do. The probation period allows you to easily resign without making the situation too uncomfortable or awkward.

On the other hand, if you feel like the job is for you after all, the period allows you to establish yourself as a strong employee from the very start. You can get on your employer’s good side and start with an edge. However, you should push yourself to extremes you know you won’t be able to achieve later. Your fall after probation might put your employer off, and you would not want that.

Therefore, you should see your probation period as your strength and utilize it to the very maximum.

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Mary Hobkins is the author of this article. If you click here you will come to know of one of the best recruitment agencies that have really helped her through.

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13
Jul

Things to Consider When Coming Up With Promotional Ideas for Your Company

In order to grab the attention of your customers, you will have to find a way to promote your business in a unique way. There are a number of different ways to get the word out about your business. By consulting with your employees, you will be able to get some promotional products ideas. The more you are able to find out about the ideas of your staff, the easier you will find it to get the right products in place.

Promotional Ideas

Here are a few things you have to consider when trying to find the right promotional products for your company.

Who Are You Marketing To?

The first thing to think about when trying to find the right promotional products for your business is who you are marketing to. By finding out who your audience is you will be able to get the right mindset when it comes to promotional products. The more you are able to find out about what is going on with your audience, the easier you will find it to put out the promotional products. The time that goes into this process is well worth it in the end.

Who Will You Use?

The next thing to consider when trying to find the right promotional items is where you will get them. Usually, you will have a number of different companies to choose from, which will require you to do some research. The more you can find out about the professionals in your area, the easier you will find it to get the right company hired. Be sure to do some research online to figure out which company can offer you the best deal on what you need for your business.

Where Will You Give Them Out At?

When trying to choose the right promotional products for your business, you will have to make sure you find out where you will be handing them out at. If you are going to a special event to hand them out, then you need to make them themed to coincide with the event.

By finding the right professionals, you will be able to get your product customized the right way. Make sure you do a fair amount of research before you go out to get your products made due to the benefits that this can bring to you in the end.

[box type=”shadow” align=”” class=”” width=””]At White Paper, you will be able to get the products you need for your business. They have a wide selection of products that are both high in quality and low in price.[/box]

2
Jul

The Top Four Team Collaboration Myths

Team collaboration is crucial to performance, and especially achieving enhanced performance. Yet, many managers and team leaders consider team collaboration to be a passing phase and yet another buzzword in the management lexicon. Collaboration is the glue that holds together not only teams, businesses and organizations, but our entire society – just think about the collaboration involved in driving into work this morning – how many people ran a stoplight in front of you? Hopefully none – and that is collaboration in operation.

Team Collaboration

Here are the top four myths associated with Team Collaboration and why you’re getting it wrong if you’re doing any of these:

System Failure

Adding team collaboration tools will cause the business process to break down or become inefficient.

This is Myth #1 – to begin with, your IT systems are not going to fail over because you add a team collaboration tool which promotes data and file sharing. Secondly, the ability to quickly communicate and share information and files in one repository will actually make your team more efficient because they get what they need faster.

Thirdly, the claim that user adoption will be slow and there will be a need for training does not hold water either – online collaboration tools are easy to use, intuitive and user adoption has repeatedly been demonstrated to be extremely high in all forms and sizes of business and organizations.

Confidentiality Risk

Increasing the ability to share data and information increases the risk of breaching company confidentiality and sharing information with unauthorized people.

This is Myth #2 – unauthorized sharing is always a risk to any business, and the answer is always the same – establish clear policies on what is in the public domain and what is not. At the same time, establish effective security measures to prevent unauthorized access and sharing.

Again, many online collaboration tools use role-based permissions to enforce compliance with company procedures and secure data and information within the company.

Productivity Will Fall

Because people are spending more time talking to one another and not doing the work, productivity will suffer.

This is Myth #3 – working together involves talking to one another – it is how we get things done faster. Not only this, even non-productive chatter is good for team performance, because this is one way in which social bonds, mutual respect and trust are fostered and built. This also improves team confidence because they know one another well, including each other’s abilities, working habits, skills and experience.

Sharing Knowledge

If I share my knowledge, experience and skills with other people, I will not be so important and essential to the business and less secure in my position.

This is Myth #4 – knowledge hoarders are rarely viewed as essential to the team or business, instead they tend to be regarded as uncooperative, difficult to work with and obstructive.

Sharing skills and knowledge, especially showing others how they can get things done better for themselves and the team, means you are regarded more as being helpful and more essential. This improves authority status, but also it means the whole team or business is gaining because everyone is learning how to get things done better, faster and easier.

[box type=”shadow” align=”” class=”” width=””]Jane Wrythe is a business and technology writer who is currently focusing on team collaboration solutions such as Lean Bpm Pioneer, JobTraQ.[/box]
29
Jun

5 Online Security Mistakes You Might Be Making Right Now

With hackers and identity thieves continually prying for information, you need to make sure you are taking every measure you can to protect yourself online. There are a lot of mistakes many people make that greatly compromise their online security. Take note of these five security mistakes so that you can change your habits and warn any friends who might be making these mistakes as well.

Online Security

Here are five online security mistakes you should beware of:

Using Terrible Passwords

The best passwords are those that are both strong and not included on the list of the most commonly used passwords (also known as the list hackers use when they try to guess your password). A strong password is one that is not a word in the dictionary, uses different types of characters and numbers, is not easily guessed by anyone you know, and is between 10 and 12 characters.

You should also take note not to use the same password everywhere and also make sure to change your password every couple of months.

Giving Out Too Much Personal Information

If you give out enough personal information, then you can probably be tracked. This is bad in terms of both your data security and your physical security. You don’t know the intentions of everyone looking at your personal information, and in some cases certain websites will collect your data in order to sell it. Double check before you type in your name and address anywhere, and look up any website if you have even the slightest doubt about it.

Not Using a VPN

If you ever use public networks or do a lot of torrenting, then you need to make sure you are using a Virtual Private Network, which is an inexpensive service you can use to connect your computer or other device to an offsite server. This server will then send you the data you desire and upload anything you need uploaded for you.

With this service, you will be able to mask your IP address, which means that your privacy will be protected regardless of who wants to take a look at what you are doing online. All they will be able to know is that you are using a VPN. In addition, the encrypted connection will make sure you are safe when using a public network, where hackers will typically intercept your data.

Here are some of the top and best VPN service providers:

 PureVPN
Tunnelbear
AirVPN
ExpressVPN
TorGuard
CyberGhost VPN
IPVanish
VyprVPN
PrivateInternetAccess
BolehVPN

[box type=”shadow” align=”” class=”” width=””]I’m pretty sure that there are still a lot of reliable and notable VPN providers. Please feel free to suggest them in the comment section. [/box]

With many VPNs on the market, you should investigate VPN reviews to find the best match for you.

Not Protecting Your Email Enough

To put it simply, your email is the nexus of most of your online life, whether you know it or not. When you sign up for a social media account or an online shopping account, there is a strong likelihood that you use your email.

If someone gets ahold of your email, then that means with a little bit of time they can get into almost any other accounts that you use. Think about the collected information you have spread over all of those accounts. You do not want someone to get ahold of your email, and you should create a stronger password for it to make sure that it doesn’t get out.

If you are ever concerned about which websites or people might have your email, then create a junk or throwaway email account that you can afford to lose.

Using Questionable Websites Without Preparation

If you are using torrenting websites, streaming websites, or other unprotected websites without any protection on your computer (or at least some form of awareness), then you are putting yourself at great risk. You should check to see what protections a website has before you give it any financial data, and you should also check to see if it tries to spawn pop-up ads (generally a bad sign) when you first arrive.

As a general rule, you should at least have heard about a website before using it, and you can check its rankings to see how many other people use it. If you are uncertain, you can always search for it online to read reviews before you give them any data or any additional views.

27
Jun

The Most Relevant SEO Tips for 2015

There are numerous tips that can help you substantially increase the search engine performance of your website. This articles sums up the best tips you should adhere to in 2015 and why.

SEO

Generating content and creating links

Good content and relevant links to your websites are still things search engines care about as much as they did 10 years ago and perhaps even more. The more relevant and high-quality links you have, the better. Google gives a rank of between 0 and 10 to all sites. Those sites that have the most links will rank closer to 10.

Keeping things simple and understandable is very important when writing content for your website. Ensure it is easy for visitors to tell what your website is about as you usually have no more than 8 seconds after someone visits your website to make the proper impression, according to one Toronto SEO company.

Adhere to your keywords

Using the Keyword Planner Tool of Google is the best way to do so. It allows you to keep tracks of the most relevant Google keywords for your campaign.

There are however some tips to keep in perspective while doing so:

– It is usually better to switch to “specific based searches” when using this tool as “broad based” is too general and will not come up with the stuff you are after.

– Focus on your target objectives and pay attention to the keywords that attract most visitors to your site.

Blog often

Everyone is constantly repeating the phrase “content is king”. While this is certainly true, good content should include no less than 500 words in length. Search engines are very fond of new and original content so feed it to them!

Another important thing to keep in perspective is to blog around a specific keyword and use it in several places of your content.

Take part in social activities

The best friend of a marketer should be Twitter. The social network ranks very high, which is a great opportunity for you to generate links. Besides, when your tweets are re-tweeted, it really counts. The text of a tweet is also very important for search engines so make the most out of those 141 characters you are allowed to use.

It is also important to recognize the potential of Google +. The more + signs your page gets, the more your rank improves. There is simply no reason not to use this tool.

Summing it all up

WordPress is a great content management system that allows marketers to put all pieces (blogging, social activities, and keywords) together and allows for straightforward optimization. If you opt not to use a CMS such as WordPress, you can still perform optimizations throughout your entire websites but keep in mind that you may experience much more difficulties doing so.

25
Jun

Choosing a Web Hosting Service for Your Business

Nowadays, it’s almost unthinkable for a business not to have its own website. Even if you start small with a simple page that includes contact information and a few basic details, you could be losing out on valuable business if you don’t have an online presence. Besides, domain names soon get snapped up, and the later you act, the less chance you have of finding a relevant domain for your business.

Web Hosting Service

But in order to set up a website, you need to choose a web hosting provider. We’re here to explain why this decision is so important, and what to consider when choosing a web host.

Price Tag

When searching online for a hosting service, it’s easy to get drawn in by the cheapest offers and most attractive deals. And whilst value for money is indeed important, you should also bear in mind that in the long run, a reliable and secure website will be worth a little extra cost for peace of mind.

Before you jump on the lowest price, do some research to find out what that includes. Does your domain come with a dedicated email, and the option to add on additional email addresses as your business grows? What do they charge for renewal, add-on domains and other services you may need in the future? Find this out now, and you won’t regret your choice of web host later.

Consider Your Business Needs

The amount you invest in web hosting will depend on your reliance on the website itself. If you have an e-commerce business where sales are directly generated through your website, any downtime or security problems could significantly impact your revenue.

However if your website is there purely for information and to generate enquiries, you may not need quite the same level of security and capacity for traffic.

Regardless of the requirements of your business, you want to be sure that if you have a problem, it’s easy to get the support that you need. Is it easy to contact the web hosting provider via phone or email, or will your enquiry be placed in a long queue and dealt with by an international office? By going with a smaller, UK-based web hosting service, you can feel confident that your business will receive fast and helpful support if your website experiences any problems.

Businesses invest a lot of time and money into making a website that looks good, works well and engages their customers. So it’s only sensible that before you even set up your website, you should treat the decision of which web host to choose as an important one. It can be time-consuming and expensive to change your web hosting provider after you’ve committed to one, so do your research now and avoid any problems later down the line.

Have you had a problem with a hosting service? Or have you experienced an exceptional level of service. Let us know all about it in the comments.

24
Jun

Why Should You Be Using Customer Boxes?

There are so many factors that go into running a successful business. For most business owners, trying to keep up with everything can be a bit overwhelming at times. If you are in the business of producing goods for the public, then you will have your stress level increased significantly.

With all of the many things you have to consider when putting products out for sale, having a game plan will be beneficial. One of the first things you need to think about when selling goods to the public is the packaging you use.

custom boxes

The following are a few of the reasons you need to use custom boxes for your products.

 Custom Boxes are Great For Branding

One of the first benefits you will be able to take advantage of when choosing to use custom boxes is your ability to brand them. In order to get ahead in the world of small business, you will need to have people recognize your brand. There are a number of ways to do this and one of the most effective is by having your brand featured heavily on the packaging of your products.

Just the Right Size

Another great benefit you can gain when using customized boxes is that you will be able to get the right size to fit your product. The last thing any business owner wants to do is to compromise when it comes to the dimensions of their packaging.

By working closely with your box manufacturer, you will be able to come up with a box that is original and just the right size for your product. Make sure you search around to find out which supplier in your area can best meet the needs you have regarding your customizations.

Make it As Durable as You Want

When choosing to use customized boxes, you will be able to make them just as durable as you want. The more you are able to customize the boxes you need, the better equipped you will be to get the durability you are looking for.

In most cases, you will be able to work closely with the supplier you have chosen to get the right boxes for your product. Even if you have to pay a bit more for the boxes you are producing, it will be worth it to give your customers the durability and quality they are looking for.

[box type=”info” align=”alignleft” class=”” width=””]Finding the right custom boxes is easy . Cactus Containers will be able to help you get the best possible boxes for your business. Call them or visit their website for more information.[/box]

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