7 sinful signing mistakes small business owners make

When we think of marketing programs our minds are quickly drawn to social, print and broadcast media. Although these programs can be quite glitzy and create media and consumer buzz they overshadow an extremely impactful marketing program not often considered by managers and owners. It is the signage used at the brick and mortar store itself.

Signs in windows, on doors, over display racks or by the register are interpreted by the shopper to determine the quality of the merchandise or the management of the store. Sometimes only subliminally but always effective in relaying a message.

Whether your store is in a mall, strip center or stand alone, the same psychology of engaging a customer applies. Yet many stores fail to consider the image their signage conveys to the consumer.

Here are the seven worst messages commonly conveyed:

“We sell crap”.
“I don’t do enough business to hire a second employee”.
“This is not a serious business”.
“We keep most our doors locked because we do not trust you ”.
“Go to the bath room elsewhere”.
“Details don’t matter to us”.
“You are not welcome here”.

This is excerpted from “Send customers a positive message”, part of the “How to” series at getmaximpact.com, a website based in Rochester Hills, Mich., dedicated to business and individual growth.

Federal Reserve officials comments raises more questions than answers

Charles Evans, President of the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago made headlines on Tuesday when he spoke at an Economic luncheon in Detroit. Covering all the broad array of subjects from the housing recovery to the labor market, Evens first came out firing with information about short term interest rates.

“We started to taper our asset purchases, but we indicated that the fed funds rate would be near zero for quite some time — quite likely well into 2015. Barring any changes to our outlook, this would translate into seven years in which short-term interest rates would be at their zero lower bound. But policy likely will need to remain highly accommodative for such a time to ensure we make adequate progress toward maximum employment and price stability — the two congressionally mandated goals for U.S. monetary policy”

The asset purchases he is specifically referring to is QE3, the latest in a round of bond purchases by the Fed to stimulate growth in the economy. Whether it has helped or not remains to be seen, however last summer, Ben Bernanke who was the heading the Fed hinted at stopping the program. This immediately had had an adverse effect on the markets, as the Dow went from 15,000 mark down to the low 14,000’s. In an effort to do damage control, a couple of days later Bernanke made a statement using the now famous term ‘tapering’. This word seemed to have a pacifying effect on the stock market as it began to continue its climb up to over the 16,000 point mark.

However, as the forth quarter of 2013 came around, Bernanke felt that there was enough positive data in the economy to justify the early tapering phase. Ten billion a month would be taken off the initial per month policy of 85 Billion dollar bond purchases.

Unfortunately a consequence of this action is to see interest rates rise as a logical next step. This has caused fear in the markets, because since the 08’ crash, equities and foreign direct investment have been low risk/high reward avenues to make some money off the top. As a result of the tapering and implications of rising interest rates, investors have been pulling out of equities and emerging markets.

According to a Businessweek Report. Global investors pulled $6.3 billion from developing-nation stocks in the week through Jan. 29, the biggest outflow since August 2011, according to Barclays Plc, citing data from EPFR Global. The MSCI Emerging Markets Index declined 0.8 percent to 919.48 and has fallen 8.3 percent this year.

As a result, January has been anything but good, the Dow has seen around a 1,200 point drop, with fears of contagion rippling through the markets. So it stands to reason that based on past behavior the Fed would try to make a publicized statement in order to put investors at ease. Which is perfectly understandable, however it just raises some questions of the actual credibility of the statement itself. Some questions being.

What credibility does Mr. Evans have to his word now? Did anyone see a pinky swear? No, well then if the assumption is he is saying that just so the markets can hear it, then what are the negative repercussions if the Fed does in fact have to raise interest rates before 2016?

If this trying to deflect the eventual rise of interest rates, what is the importance of rising rates in relation to the stability in the markets? Would keeping them so low have an equally detrimental effect? And finally, Why wouldn’t the newly appointed Fed chairman Janet Yellen not use this opportunity to come out and make this statement? Wouldn’t such a statement in the face of crisis assert her new position as the head of the Federal Reserve.

35 years of experience offered to you free of charge

Part 1

Why I Wrote Win-Win

Having spent more than 35 years deep in the trenches of developing cross-sector partnerships and cause marketing campaigns with the nonprofit, for-profit, education and government sectors, I have learned what works and what doesn’t. I have developed partnerships – from a local two-person art program, a three-county children’s magazine, regional and national campaigns for Fortune 500 corporations, to cause marketing for an international sports organization, and all sizes and variations in between. I have experienced people in all types of organizations working together. And through it, all I have developed a step-by-step, proven process to planning and implementing successful cross-sector partnerships.

Beginning with my first job at Cedar Point, the world’s largest pure amusement park in Sandusky, Ohio, where I developed a relationship with the state-sponsored Ohio Travel Council, I discovered the many benefits of bringing different sectors together in a mutually rewarding relationship. A few years later, I was hired by Marriott Corporation as Public Affairs Manager and given the task (at age 25) to design the opening promotion of its largest project in history: the family entertainment center Marriott’s Great America in Santa Clara, California. It was here where I conceived and directed my first comprehensive cross-sector partnership campaign, which I define as a partnership between two or more partners from the nonprofit, for-profit, education and government sectors, with the March of Dimes. This campaign raised $2.5 million (and in 1976 that was a lot of money!), 40% more than ever been raised by the March of Dimes Chapters West.

Through the challenges, opportunities and understanding gained through this relationship, the main theme of my career was set: cross-sector partnerships provide more benefit to all the partners than each could have ever accomplished alone.

From those early experiences and beyond, in my work as Public Relations Director of the United States Olympic Committee, to the founding of The William Bentley Agency, an integrated public relations/marketing agency, to the honor of serving as director of marketing & communications for the American Red Cross (San Francisco) Bay Area chapter, to my current role as Founder/CEO of Bruce W. Burtch, Inc., a cross-sector partnership consulting and training firm, each role and relationship along this path have created a foundation of knowledge that I wanted to share.

I wrote this guidebook because I have seen thousands of organizations from all sectors struggling through the recent economic times. I have seen and still see a lot of pain and a need for help and real answers. Yet I know from experience that there is an extraordinary amount of opportunity lying in wait for the right combination of partners, on any issue, in any sector, in any small town or metropolitan city, in any corner of the world. Cross-sector partnerships can be extraordinarily successful when these partners join together for their individual and mutual success, while focusing on creating benefit for the greater good.

Win-Win for the Greater Good is a guidebook, not an overview, not a nice collection of stories. My goal is to take years of experience in developing partnerships between all sectors and provide you with the blueprint, the materials and the tools that will guide you in developing highly successful, highly profitable cross-sector partnerships. Here you will find information from the very basic to more challenging concepts. Each reader comes to this guidebook with different experiences and different levels of expertise.

In 1978, I was asked by the president of a large foundation what I wanted to do with my life, and almost without thinking I said, “I want to do well by doing good”. He leaned back in his chair, laughed heartedly and replied, “I’ve never seen anybody do that before.” That very phrase to “do well by doing good” has been my personal mantra and foundation of my work from that minute forward. From the bottom of my heart I believe that doing good is the necessary prerequisite for doing well. Doing good benefits everything you do and everything you are. Doing good and doing well can best be accomplished through win-win partnerships.

The 7 benefits of video blogging

A Video Blog, also known as a “vlog” is a clever way to increase brand awareness, gain a greater following and most importantly, generate additional business. If vlogging is not yet a part of your digital marketing strategy, it’s time to jump on the video blogging wagon.

The 7 benefits of Video Blogging:

1. Good for your SEO strategy.

YouTube is the second largest search engine after Google. That means potential customers are more likely to search for a service, product or information on YouTube, than they are on Yahoo or Bing. See more from this awesome infographic. When you post a video, and somebody is searching for that subject, it will likely show up in a search engine if you have optimized it correctly. SEO quick tip: You can embed your video on your website and transcribe it increasing your chances to include the important keywords mentioned in the video.

2. Develops trust.

When a follower watches you in a video, he begins to feel like he knows you, delivering a sense of trust. People by nature are more inclined to use a company for business when they are able to put a face to a name. Even more so, if they already know how you talk and have seen you “in action”.

3. 2 minutes provides concise, quick information.

As a general rule, savvy marketers know to keep videos under the 2 minute mark, as to not lose the attention of the viewer. People are more likely to click on a video blog over a written one because it requires less effort to watch than it does to read, while still delivering the same results.

4. People are visual.

People prefer to see something visually over reading content (which forces them to use their imagination). By providing the visual stimulation, you require viewers to do one less thing.

5. Videos generate more shares than any other type of posts.

If you want something to go viral, a video blog is the key. Currently, the most shared and “liked” content on Facebook is videos followed by pictures followed by articles.

6. Excellent for How-Tos or tutorials.

Again, since people learn best visually, videos are a great platform to teach your customers something new. Video how-to’s give your viewers the chance to see exactly how something is done and to pause or rewind when needed.

7. Generate income from your videos on YouTube.

YouTube allows you to monetize your videos by permitting YouTube to place ads in the video. Ads are always content appropriate and if you generate high viewership, you can make anywhere from $0.01 to $2.00 per 1000 hits from YouTube!

Bill Gates Quotes – The Best Quotes for Life and Business

Bill Gates is one of the most well known and sought after entrepreneurs in the world. He’s been at the top of the Forbes’ Richest People in the World list for many decades now. As such a high profile individual, entrepreneurs and now philanthropist, it’s no wonder why so many people are searching for “Bill Gates Quotes” on the internet.

Seeking out quotes from your favorite celebrities, athletes and individuals around the world is a great way to get inspired and put you back on the right path in whatever it is you are trying to achieve.

I’ve written a 1,200 word post on my favorite Bill Gates quotes and what they’ve meant personally for myself and my business. Now it’s time for you to look through some of Bill’s greatest quotes below and see which of them are your favorites and apply to your currently lifestyle and business.

15 BILL GATES QUOTES TO GET YOU MOTIVATED

“Success is a lousy teacher. It seduces smart people into thinking they can’t lose.”
– Bill Gates

“It’s fine to celebrate success but it is more important to heed the lessons of failure.”
– Bill Gates

“If you can’t make it good, at least make it look good.”
– Bill Gates

“Technology is just a tool. In terms of getting the kids working together and motivating them, the teacher is the most important.”
– Bill Gates

“I believe that if you show people the problems and you show them the solutions they will be moved to act.”
– Bill Gates

“Your most unhappy customers are your greatest source of learning.”
– Bill Gates

“I’m a great believer that any tool that enhances communication has profound effects in terms of how people can learn from each other, and how they can achieve the kind of freedoms that they’re interested in.”
– Bill Gates

“The first rule of any technology used in a business is that automation applied to an efficient operation will magnify the efficiency. The second is that automation applied to an inefficient operation will magnify the inefficiency.”
– Bill Gates

“As we look ahead into the next century, leaders will be those who empower others.”
– Bill Gates

“I really had a lot of dreams when I was a kid, and I think a great deal of that grew out of the fact that I had a chance to read a lot.”
– Bill Gates

“Just in terms of allocation of time resources, religion is not very efficient. There’s a lot more I could be doing on a Sunday morning.”
– Bill Gates

“If GM had kept up with technology like the computer industry has, we would all be driving $25 cars that got 1,000 MPG.”
– Bill Gates

“At Microsoft there are lots of brilliant ideas but the image is that they all come from the top – I’m afraid that’s not quite right.”
– Bill Gates

“I think it’s fair to say that personal computers have become the most empowering tool we’ve ever created. They’re tools of communication, they’re tools of creativity, and they can be shaped by their user.”
– Bill Gates

“We always overestimate the change that will occur in the next two years and underestimate the change that will occur in the next ten. Don’t let yourself be lulled into inaction.”
– Bill Gates

Things to keep in mind when advertising internationally

It’s always a big step when companies decide to advertise internationally. It means new customers, new exposure, and especially new profit. However, all it takes is just one silly faux pas to ruin a whole campaign.

Language is always a barrier and phrases are constantly being lost in translation. The famous and beloved 90s “Got Milk?” campaign hit a wall when trying to convert the ad into Spanish. Allegedly the translated quote ended up saying “Are you lactating?”, which didn’t make for an affective ad and it flopped.

Cultural expectations for what’s appropriate also varies from country to country. A 2005 clothing ad was banned in France by the Catholic Church. The ad was based on Da Vinci’s Last Supper with models looking fabulous while replicating the painting. China put a halt on all ads containing pigs in order to maintain peace with the Muslim population.

How to Find SEO for Your Business

When looking for a new company to help you with an area you don’t have much experience in it can be slightly overwhelming. You might not know entirely what you’re looking for, and so just type general phrases such as ‘SEO Norwich’ into the search engine. Click through a few of the results and it might not get any clearer.

While you might have heard that looking for SEO will help your company’s marketing, you might not understand how, and therefore it’s easy to get it wrong.

What is SEO?

SEO is search engine optimisation, so when you search for SEO Norwich, you are looking for experts in this who are based in the Norwich area. You don’t necessarily need to localise your search, as the practise is online it can be done remotely from anywhere in the country. If you want to have regular meetings though, a local company might be best.

When looking for SEO, Norwich and other big cities have lots of choice, so there is no need to settle for the first company you come across.

Agency or freelancers

There are SEO Norwich based agencies, and there are freelancers. Each has its pros and cons, so it can be difficult to decide which to go for.

Agencies

– Large range of skills

– Good collective pool of experience

– Multiple points of contact

– Previous experience

– Full service integration

Freelancers

– Lower hourly rates

– Can start quickly

– A more personal touch (although you might still get this with small agencies)

-Well connected

A freelancer will be limited as to the number of clients they can work with at any one time, and as a result, might raise their costs if they’re more in demand. An agency can take on more staff to deal with greater demands, so can keep costs lower.

Do your research

It’s impossible to set a realistic budget without knowing going rates. You could easily end up paying over the odds or not getting enough for your money. Equally you could try to drive too hard a bargain with companies.

Start by seeing if any companies have lists of their pricing online, or ask to see a list of the different campaign options along with costs. The costings are likely to change on a regular basis because it’s an ever changing field. As a result, there are no hard and fast rules which will always work, and ongoing training and changes of tactics are required. A good SEO company will be aware of this issue, and will review prices with you.

Get started

A mistake a lot of companies make is try and micromanage their SEO company. As long as they meet targets and give you regular progress reports, then they’re doing their job. You should see results, but an SEO company cannot guarantee you sales; their responsibility is ensuring that people can find your site. In fact, there are no guarantees with SEO at all, so you can’t ask how much it will cost to get you to the top spot on Google for any given keyword, as there are far too many outside variables, including what other companies are doing, and changes to search engine algorithms.

If you keep all this in mind when you type ‘SEO Norwich’ into the search engine, you can be sure that whoever is ranking highly is a company who have already proven their ability to gain that elusive top position, in a particularly competitive category.

Pop Music In Commercials

Understanding what pushes the consumer to buy

It has been stated that the average home in America has three television sets. Studies also show that the average household member spends a total of three hours a day watching television. This does not include all the Youtube videos and such that are constantly streamed on mobile devices such as iphones and tablets. Such a viewing audience has not been ignored by the music industry or the commercial industry. The commercials that are presented these days follow with the current majority trends in music. Currently, pop music is dominant in its followers. Therefore, one can see that there is a great increase in the pop music in commercials.

Pop music and art merge

When looking at the commercials today one will see that there is more and more the commercials are influenced by the music. From montages that change with the beat of the music to videos of individuals listening to music it is clear that there has been a merger between the pop music in commercials and the art within commercials. Where it has not been a new idea to have sound within a commercial, the dominance of the music over the material has recently taken form as the primary form of presenting commercials. For example, one needs only to look at the latest phone commercials. Version wireless and apple particularly use the method of cutting the video to match with the pop music. Sneaker companies are adding pop music and showing the person walking in beat to the music.

Pop music in radio commercials

Because most people (if they are anything like me) flip the station when a commercial comes on, the commercial industry has made it a point to have commercials sound like musical tracts. Where there is information presented, the tone has gone from the traditional formal presentation to one that is more pop culture based. The idea behind such a marketing move it that if the song is stuck in your head then the product will be stuck within one’s head as well and therefore sell the product. What is a little bit disturbing is that some older pop music which has had expired copyrights are being bought up and used for commercial purposes. Where it is great that these classic tracks are being heard by a newer audience, there is the debate of ownership and such which is to be considered. Many radio stations use such music because it is stock music and can be acquired at little cost. This is not to say that new pop music is not wanted. On the contrary, commercials are driven by the latest trends. Therefore, if you can present a track that is fresh and with the current music trends there is a strong possibility that your track could be used.

What does this mean for the composer?

Composers and artists alike should see this as an ample opportunity to embark on a new avenue in his or her career. Film, television, and advertisement provide great opportunities in which one can present his or her music to be heard by a massive amount of individuals. Think of your most popular commercial. Do you like it because it is so athletically pleasing or do you like it because of the music? Odds are it is the sound track that sticks within your mind. Therefore, as a composer you should think about the market and the potential audience base. If one can compose for commercials then your music will be heard multiple times. More exposure means that you have more chances to becoming a composer that is sought after. Where there may be some that have greatness thrust upon them, most composers and musician alike have to start at some base point and work to that status. It may be more lucrative to present one’s skills to the commercial market than to the barhop audience.

Pop art in commercials is not a sell out to the industry as one may conclude. It is actually an expansion of the culture. If the commercials only had the pop music as the background music or as a secondary function to the commercial there may be a point. Yet, one can see that because pop art has the forefront when it comes to its use within the commercial world, that the music has not been desecrated or demeaned to suit a materialistic world. I know that many composers want to ensure that the music is made for the art and not the dollar. However, keep in mind that one has to fund the music somehow, get heard by somebody, and market oneself. Why not look into putting your pop music in commercials and expand upon a market that is ever growing?

Video Production Services for Marketing Brands With Innovative Ideas

There are different types of strategies that are widely followed in advertisement process which helps for building business to a wider extent. Many business companies prefer video services for advertising their brands with powerful messages. However, it is not an easy task to make videos and one need to seek support from reputed companies for achieving goals. This will help for targeting audience with unique ideas to increase sales. Many advertising agencies and firms offer product video production and corporate training video production services for those who want to create best impressions on the viewers while promoting the brands.
Expert teams and professionals will give ideas on making videos for establishing brands in the markets. Services are an ideal one for all types of business firms to increase sales. Instructions for making advertisement films are available for business firms to get optimum results. Latest technologies such as graphic designing and multimedia applications are also used in advertisement process which show ways for experiencing desired outcomes.
Business organizations can know the details of advertisement companies through different sources for choosing services depending on the projects and budgets. Online also plays a key role in this process by providing information about them. Video production services are a suitable one for television, websites, and internet for generating high conversion rates and leads. Another advantage is that they allow business firms to improve brand reputation within short period of time. In addition, it is possible to find new customers in the markets with video services for earning high revenues and profits. Different types of packages are offered for business companies to select services at affordable rates.
Instructions for creating videos with scripts are available from advertisement agencies to make impacts on the viewers. This will ultimately help for boosting sales in the markets by meeting exact requirements. Advertisement agencies also provide product video production services for business companies to gain reputation in the markets quickly. They are an ideal one for internet and social media marketing purposes to grab the attention of visitors. Ideas for making videos with infographics and animations can be gathered from advertising companies for reaching a large audience.
Advertising companies organize corporate training video production programs for those who want to develop their skills in an efficient manner. Reviews and testimonials of video production firms are available for business companies to identify a right one according to needs. With video production services, it is possible to make promotional activities a successful one. Business companies can focus on reducing competition levels in the markets with them to attain high positions. Complete details about the services can also be gathered from advertising agencies to develop standards in the video production process.

Spending on SEO Services: How Much Should You Spend for It?

With the essence websites have on a majority of business owners today, it is important to decide how much should you be spending on SEO services. What is affordable SEO and what is over the top? With the growing competition in e-commerce, it is important to invest in SEO services that can give you the best visibility at all times.
While ‘affordable’ and ‘cheap’ are subjective, it is important to know the payment methods SEO companies offer in general. A common SEO payment model is a monthly retainer. Optimisation activities include regular analytics reports, on-site content improvement, keyword research, article and press release submissions and blog & forum commenting.

There are also contract services that prospective clients can get and pay for at a fixed price. Firms advertise their services and their service packages on their respective website along with the prices. A common practice of SEO companies is to provide their clients with a complete website audit, which provides insight on the current strengths and weaknesses of a website. This website audit also includes recommendations that the SEO company can offer should the prospective client continue with the business engagement. Aside from service packages, custom SEO packages can also be sought after from SEO agencies as contract services.

Actual figures on SEO services vary due to different factors. Clients pay for SEO services depending on the size of their website, the kinds of optimisation activities they want to focus their money on and the extent of the services they want for their website. From a survey conducted by SEOmoz in 2011, monthly SEO retainer fees fall between the range of 750 to 5,000 dollars per month. For contract services, the prices are varied. For instance, content marketing can cost 15 cents to half a dollar per word and set up of social media accounts can cost anything within 300 to 1,000 dollars. Also, hourly consultancy rates fall within the range of 100 to 300 dollars per hour.

Be careful of certain marketing tactics when looking for an SEO company. When a company guarantees you first place on Google results, take it with a grain of salt. With the constant changes occurring in the search landscape, nothing can ever be guaranteed except maybe for continuously implementing up-to-date SEO activities and tactics. Just as placement on search cannot be guaranteed, there really is no such thing as instant results either in good SEO. It can take a while for SEO services to bear fruit. Most firms that promise instant SEO results are those that may still be tied to black hat practices that are flagged down immediately by Google once detected. Be careful too about the kind of link building practices a firm is specifically engaged in. Make sure that they only follow ethical and trustworthy link building practices.

At the end of the day, the need for SEO is present. The only contention now is how much should you spend for it. Online marketing revenue is important and it starts by choosing the SEO company to invest in.