smart small business

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Five Ways to Make Your Handmade Items Stand Out in a Crowd

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Etsy, the world’s biggest handmade marketplace on the net, has over seven million registered users and many, like you, are small business owners. It isn’t easy to stand out in a crowd of sellers stemming from all corners of the globe, but if you don’t find a way to set yourself apart, someone else will.

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In the Trenches: Tax Season Approaches

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The arrival of my first 1099 the other day is a sober reminder that tax season is just about here. That makes a lot of people sweat, especially people with new businesses who haven-t done this before. I would be one of those people, too… if I hadn-t hired an accountant.

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Protecting Your Business While Extending Credit to Your Customers

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Many small businesses are acting as a banker to their customers without even realizing it. How does this happen? When you deliver a service or good to a customer, and then allow the customer to pay you at a later date. The amount the customer owes you is entered into the Accounts Receivable balance, and voila, you-ve become a banker.

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Three (Free!) Expert Sustainability Sources

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Not every sole proprietor or small-business owner cares to invest time or money in attending one of the sustainability conferences suggested last week. The good news: You don’t have to go anywhere — or spend a dime — to hear what the experts have to say. Many of their inspiring talks and innovative ideas are available online as audio or * - recordings. Here are three websites that invite you to tune in for free.

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Working with Groupon and -Daily Deal- Sites: Is It Worth It?

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Last October, Mulberrys Garment Care in Minneapolis and St. Louis Park, Minn. offered a special deal: $15 for $30 worth of dry cleaning and laundry services. Some 500 customers signed up for the promotion, which was available for just one day through Crowd Cut, one of the many local daily deal sites that have become popular in the past year.

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How to Boost Your Trade Show Attendance With Social Media

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Michael Markarian wanted to let college students in Boston know about his new venture, I Am Hungry, a mobile coupon app for area restaurants. So, last fall, he attended a Boston trade show called CollegeFest, where businesses could pitch goods and services to students.

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The Small Business Outlook for 2011

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As 2010 came to a close, we published an infographic that offered a look back at the biggest rewards and challenges of being a small business owner in 2010, plus a look ahead at the small business perspective as we entered 2011.

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How One Tennessee Small Business Owner Fought for His Beliefs

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Each year, many small business owners across the nation find themselves confronted with ethical dilemmas that pit their deepest beliefs against their bottom line. Though speaking out, especially on controversial political issues, can often polarize customers and employees, it’s the uphill battles that tend to create community leaders, as Nashville restaurateur Randy Rayburn (of Sunset Grill, Cabana, and Midtown Cafe) discovered amid the economic whirlwind of 2009.

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Seven Steps to Establish Your Small Business on Twitter

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The microblogging juggernaut known as Twitter is only four years old, yet it presently boasts more than 175 million registered accounts – 100 million of which are younger than one year old. Incredibly, during just the past twelve months, users have tweeted some 25 billion times. But Twitter-s growth simply reflects the rapid expansion of the entire social media universe, which is now heavily populated by businesses both large and small looking to capitalize on digital marketing.

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The Economics of Spam

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By Sam Vaknin

Monday, December 13, 2004; 10:40pm EST

Tennessee resident K. C. "Khan" Smith owes the internet service provider EarthLink $24 million. According to the CNN, last August he was slapped with a lawsuit accusing him of violating federal and state Racketeering Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) statutes, the federal Computer Fraud and Abuse Act of 1984, the federal Electronic Communications Privacy Act of 1986 and numerous other state laws. On July 19 - having failed to appear in court - the judge ruled against him. Mr. Smith is a spammer.

Brightmail, a vendor of e-mail filters and anti-spam applications warned that close to 5 million spam "attacks" or "bursts" occurred last month and that spam has mushroomed 450 percent since June last year. PC World concurs. Between one seventh and one half of all e-mail messages are spam - unsolicited and intrusive commercial ads, mostly concerned with sex, scams, get rich quick schemes, financial services and products, and health articles of dubious provenance. The messages are sent from spoofed or fake e-mail addresses. Some spammers hack into unsecured servers - mainly in China and Korea - to relay their missives anonymously.

Spam is an industry. Mass e-mailers maintain lists of e-mail addresses, often "harvested" by spamware bots - specialized computer applications - from Web sites. These lists are rented out or sold to marketers who use bulk mail services. They come cheap - c. $100 for 10 million addresses. Bulk mailers provide servers and bandwidth, charging c. $300 per million messages sent.

As spam recipients become more inured, ISP's less tolerant, and both more litigious - spammers multiply their efforts in order to maintain the same response rate. Spam works. It is not universally unwanted - which makes it tricky to outlaw. It elicits between 0.1 and 1 percent in positive follow ups, depending on the message. Many messages now include HTML, JavaScript, and ActiveX coding and thus resemble viruses.

Jupiter Media Matrix predicted last year that the number of spam messages annually received by a typical Internet user is bound to double to 1400 and spending on legitimate e-mail marketing will reach $9.4 billion by 2006 - compared to $1 billion in 2001. Forrester Research pegs the number at $4.8 billion next year.

More than 2.3 billion spam messages are sent daily. eMarketer puts the figures a lot lower at 76 billion messages this year. By 2006, daily spam output will soar to c. 15 billion missives, says Radicati Group. Jupiter projects a more modest 268 billion annual messages by 2005. An average communication costs the spammer 0.00032 cents.

PC World quotes the European Union as pegging the bandwidth costs of spam worldwide at $8-10 billion annually. Other damages include server crashes, time spent purging unwanted messages, lower productivity, aggravation, and increased cost of Internet access.

Inevitably, the spam industry gave rise to an anti-spam industry. According to a Radicati Group report titled "Anti-virus, anti-spam, and content filtering market trends 2002-2006", anti-spam revenues are projected to exceed $88 million this year - and more than double by 2006. List blockers, report and complaint generators, advocacy groups, registers of known spammers, and spam filters all proliferate. The Wall Street Journal reported in its June 25 issue about a resurgence of anti-spam startups financed by eager venture capital.

ISP's are bent on preventing abuse - reported by victims - by expunging the accounts of spammers. But the latter simply switch ISP's or sign on with free services like Hotmail and Yahoo! Barriers to entry are getting lower by the day as the costs of hardware, software, and communications plummet.

The use of e-mail and broadband connections by the general population is spreading. Hundreds of thousands of technologically-savvy operators have joined the market in the last two years, as the dotcom bubble burst. Still, Steve Linford of the UK-based Spamhaus. org insists that most spam emanates from c. 80 large operators.

Now, according to Jupiter Media, ISP's and portals are poised to begin to charge advertisers in a tier-based system, replete with premium services. Writing back in 1998, Bill Gates described a solution also espoused by Esther Dyson, chair of the Electronic Frontier Foundation:

"As I first described in my book 'The Road Ahead' in 1995, I expect that eventually you'll be paid to read unsolicited e-mail. You'll tell your e-mail program to discard all unsolicited messages that don't offer an amount of money that you'll choose. If you open a paid message and discover it's from a long-lost friend or somebody else who has a legitimate reason to contact you, you'll be able to cancel the payment. Otherwise, you'll be paid for your time."

Subscribers may not be appreciative of the joint ventures between gatekeepers and inbox clutterers. Moreover, dominant ISP's, such as AT&T and PSINet have recurrently been accused of knowingly collaborating with spammers. ISP's rely on the data traffic that spam generates for their revenues in an ever-harsher business environment.

The Financial Times and others described how WorldCom refuses to ban the sale of spamware over its network, claiming that it does not regulate content. When "pink" (the color of canned spam) contracts came to light, the implicated ISP's blame the whole affair on rogue employees.

PC World begs to differ:

"Ronnie Scelson, a self-described spammer who signed such a contract with PSInet, (says) that backbone providers are more than happy to do business with bulk e-mailers. 'I've signed up with the biggest 50 carriers two or three times', says Scelson... The Louisiana-based spammer claims to send 84 million commercial e-mail messages a day over his three 45-megabit-per-second DS3 circuits. 'If you were getting $40,000 a month for each circuit', Scelson asks, 'would you want to shut me down?'"

The line between permission-based or "opt-in" e-mail marketing and spam is getting thinner by the day. Some list resellers guarantee the consensual nature of their wares. According to the Direct Marketing Association's guidelines, quoted by PC World, not responding to an unsolicited e-mail amounts to "opting-in" - a marketing strategy known as "opting out". Most experts, though, strongly urge spam victims not to respond to spammers, lest their e-mail address is confirmed.

But spam is crossing technological boundaries. Japan has just legislated against wireless SMS spam targeted at hapless mobile phone users. Four states in the USA as well as the European parliament are following suit. Expensive and slow connections make this kind of spam particularly resented. Still, according to Britain's Mobile Channel, a mobile advertising company quoted by "The Economist", SMS advertising - a novelty - attracts a 10-20 percent response rate - compared to direct mail's 1-3 percent.

Net identification systems - like Microsoft's Passport and the one proposed by Liberty Alliance - will make it even easier for marketers to target prospects.

The reaction to spam can be described only as mass hysteria. Reporting someone as a spammer - even when he is not - has become a favorite pastime of vengeful, self-appointed, vigilante "cyber-cops". Perfectly legitimate, opt-in, email marketing businesses often find themselves in one or more black lists - their reputation and business ruined.

In January, CMGI-owned Yesmail was awarded a temporary restraining order against MAPS - Mail Abuse Prevention System - forbidding it to place the reputable e-mail marketer on its Real-time Blackhole list. The case was settled out of court.

Harris Interactive, a large online opinion polling company, sued not only MAPS, but ISP's who blocked its email messages when it found itself included in MAPS' Blackhole. Their CEO accused one of their competitors for the allegations that led to Harris' inclusion in the list.

Coupled with other pernicious phenomena, such as viruses, the very foundation of the Internet as a fun, relatively safe, mode of communication and data acquisition is at stake.

Spammers, it emerges, have their own organizations. NOIC - the National Organization of Internet Commerce threatened to post to its Web site the e-mail addresses of millions of AOL members. AOL has aggressive anti-spamming policies. "AOL is blocking bulk email because it wants the advertising revenues for itself (by selling pop-up ads)" the president of NOIC, Damien Melle, complained to CNET.

Spam is a classic "free rider" problem. For any given individual, the cost of blocking a spammer far outweighs the benefits. It is cheaper and easier to hit the "delete" key. Individuals, therefore, prefer to let others do the job and enjoy the outcome - the public good of a spam-free Internet. They cannot be left out of the benefits of such an aftermath - public goods are, by definition, "non-excludable". Nor is a public good diminished by a growing number of "non-rival" users.

Such a situation resembles a market failure and requires government intervention through legislation and enforcement. The FTC - the US Federal Trade Commission - has taken legal action against more than 100 spammers for promoting scams and fraudulent goods and services.

"Project Mailbox" is an anti-spam collaboration between American law enforcement agencies and the private sector. Non government organizations have entered the fray, as have lobbying groups, such as CAUCE - the Coalition Against Unsolicited Commercial E-mail.

But Congress is curiously reluctant to enact stringent laws against spam. Reasons cited are free speech, limits on state powers to regulate commerce, avoiding unfair restrictions on trade, and the interests of small business. The courts equivocate as well. In some cases - e. g., Missouri vs. American Blast Fax - US courts found "that the provision prohibiting the sending of unsolicited advertisements is unconstitutional".

According to Spamlaws. com, the 107th Congress discussed these laws but never enacted them:

Unsolicited Commercial Electronic Mail Act of 2001 (H. R. 95), Wireless Telephone Spam Protection Act (H. R. 113), Anti-Spamming Act of 2001 (H. R. 718), Anti-Spamming Act of 2001 (H. R. 1017), Who Is E-Mailing Our Kids Act (H. R. 1846), Protect Children From E-Mail Smut Act of 2001 (H. R. 2472), Netizens Protection Act of 2001 (H. R. 3146), "CAN SPAM" Act of 2001 (S. 630).

Anti-spam laws fared no better in the 106th Congress. Some of the states have picked up the slack. Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Idaho, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Maryland, Minnesota, Missouri, Nevada, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Tennessee, Utah, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, and Wisconsin.

The situation is no better across the pond. The European parliament decided last year to allow each member country to enact its own spam laws, thus avoiding a continent-wide directive and directly confronting the communications ministers of the union. Paradoxically, it also decided, three months ago, to restrict SMS spam. Confusion clearly reigns. Finally, last month, it adopted strong anti-spam provisions as part of a Directive on Data Protection.

About the Author

Sam Vaknin ( http://samvak. tripod. com ) is the author of Malignant Self Love - Narcissism Revisited and After the Rain - How the West Lost the East. He served as a columnist for Central Europe Review, PopMatters, and eBookWeb, and Bellaonline, and as a United Press International (UPI) Senior Business Correspondent. He is the the editor of mental health and Central East Europe categories in The Open Directory and Suite101.

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Small Businesses Still Struggling with Wikipedia

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Now in its tenth year, Wikipedia boasts a massive volume of user-generated content that ensures it comes up in the top few results for virtually any search engine query. The site is incredibly useful and is an undeniable success story… but not everyone is thrilled about it.

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10 Untraditional (and Inexpensive) Marketing Strategies

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Marketing is key for any business to expand its customer base and profits, but it can also cost a chunk of change. We assume you-re already leveraging a Facebook page and tweeting on Twitter. What about some other ways to promote your business with little or no money outlaid? Here are 10 ideas almost any small-business owner can use for maximum marketing power.

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8 Tips For Avoiding an ADA Lawsuit

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Like it or not, as a business owner you are responsible for remaining compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act. The law, in a nutshell, requires compliance to make your facilities accessible to the disabled, but it isn-t until someone sues you citing the ADA that things get really expensive. The best tactic is to try to avoid these lawsuits before they happen. The good news: As a small business owner you may also qualify for tax credits by making the necessary changes.

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11 Conferences to Inspire Your Sustainability Efforts in 2011

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So you’ve resolved to make your enterprise more sustainable this year. Now what? Greening your small business and planning for its financial success will require some work, but you can simplify your efforts by establishing helpful new contacts, gathering data, and seeking out working examples and inspiration.

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In the Trenches: Going Corporate

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Last week I wrote about how we were looking at making some changes as a result of the December rush, but one thing I didn-t mention was that we-ve gone corporate. That-s right, break out the suits. Instead of focusing solely on individuals, we-re moving toward the small business market as well.

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Top 5 CES Small Business Gadgets

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Tech companies and their gadget-loving fans just kicked off the new year in Las Vegas at the annual Consumer Electronics Show, unveiling several of the most anticipated products that will hit the market in 2011.

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Breaking Up with a Bad Client

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Let’s face it; some clients are simply not worth the trouble and stress they bring into the business relationship. Perhaps your bad client consumes significantly more of your time and resources than others, or they are that dreadful type that just never seems to be satisfied with your services, demanding change after change after change.

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GoPayment Goes Free

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For small businesses that need to get paid on the spot when they-re on the go, we have exciting news to share with you. We at Intuit are today announcing that small businesses who sign-up for our mobile payment service, GoPayment, by mid-February will receive the service with no monthly fee attached and will receive our newly introduced credit card reader for free. The free credit card reader is compatible with a variety of iPhone, Blackberry, and Android devices.

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How to Keep Your New Year-s Resolutions

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Whether it-s your business, your life, or a combination of the two that requires a few tweaks in 2011, there-s no time like the start of a new year to chart a course for personal and professional improvement. Yet the time honored tradition of making new year-s resolutions can quickly result in frustration and, ultimately, failure. Fortunately, there are several savvy steps that can be taken to ward off the weariness that can result from trying to go the distance with your resolutions.

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8 Low-Cost Ways To Fight Shoplifting and Theft

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If you run a retail operation, this number will sound scary: According to the Loss Prevention Research Council, 1 out of 11 customers is a habitual shoplifter, and their actions result in losses of nearly $10 billion worth of merchandise each year in the United States. To cover the cost, retailers are often forced to pass the cost on to law-abiding customers, raising prices for everyone.

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Small Biz Weathers the Storm

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Whether a small business is based indoors or outdoors, chances are it is affected by severe weather sometime. Snow storms, heavy rainfall, high winds, and the like stall outdoor labor (like construction) and keep people off the streets - both employees and customers - from coast to coast.

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The Future of Advertising

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By Jon Wuebben, Professional Website Copywriter

Wednesday, May 25, 2005; 11:00am EST

Advertising is a medium that constantly evolves. It changes with the times. It adapts to new technologies. It is unrelenting in its desire to find new and better ways to reach an ever-growing consumer marketplace.

But its not simply advertising that evolves. Consumers and consumer behavior are changing too. As we look at the future of advertising, it's important to look at how the two interact and change together over time.

Without a doubt, the Internet has revolutionized the industry. It has taken the world - and the advertising world by storm. And it has only just begun to make an impact. The Internet has become a global medium with massive potential. Forty years ago, television was considered new media. Fifteen years ago, it was cable. Today, people spend increasing amounts of time online at the expense of other media. The first evidence of this audience migration appeared in 1998 in a Forrester Research report.

The researchers asked PC users which activities they were giving up to spend more time on their computers. 75% of the respondents said they gave up television.

Interactive. That is the real key behind the power of the Internet in advertising. The Internet is really the only medium where we see true interactivity. In addition:

' It means greater viewer involvement.

' It means users can access services according to their interests and their tastes.

' They can request and receive specialized product information, make an instant purchase, all the while saving time and expense.

' The effectiveness of Web advertising appears to relate to the fact that surfing the web is an actively engaging experience, similar to reading magazines.

Consumers also have the choice to 'opt-in' to receiving additional information on a particular product or service. In Seth Godin's groundbreaking book, Permission Marketing, he said, 'By reaching out only to those individuals who have signaled an interest in learning more about a product, Permission Marketing enables companies to develop long-term relationships with customers, create trust, build brand awareness - and greatly improve the chances of making a sale.'

All the Rage: Pay Per Click and Natural Search Using SEO

It's no secret what has taken over the business world, in industry after industry. Pay Per Click and Natural Search Using Search Engine Optimization (SEO). Today, being on the first page for your most popular keyword phrase is like having the most memorable prime time television commercial in 1973.

Pay per click advertising on search engines allows you to choose keywords you would like your site to appear under when a potential customer engages in a search. You decide how much you are willing to pay each time a person clicks on the search results. But it can be competitive ' and expensive if you are trying to use keywords that are very popular.

Natural Search or Organic Search is the non-biased, non-paid results that come up when you do a search. This can be influenced heavily by what's called 'Search Engine Optimization' ' the complex and time consuming practice of ensuring that your website is doing all the right things in order to rank high for certain search terms. In this arena, smaller companies can out maneuver large corporations, so there's a lot of excitement generated because of this.

Essentially, that's where the power of advertising is going. It's all about Search. And Search is only going to become more important over the next ten years. If you can get on that coveted first page organically, well then, more power to you!

Web Sites, Banner Ads, etc..

The other forms of on-line advertising vehicles are of course, web sites, banner advertising placed on others sites, newsletters, ezines, and email. They are used in many different combinations, for different purposes at different times. But most savvy companies are using all of them. The value of banner ads has been hotly debated for a number of years. Opponents argue that the click-through rates have gone down so much, that banner ads are nothing but wasted money. But research clearly shows that banners are very effective in building brand awareness. On-line users may not click on a banner, but if they see it enough times, the company's name is drilled into their head. When its time to shop, that product or service is first in their mind. Simply being exposed to the brand as one surf's the web is enough to make a big impression.

The impact of banners on brand awareness was tested for the first time in fall 1996 by Millward Brown International. Three brands were tested including a men's apparel brand, a telecommunications brand and a technology company. The findings were significant and conclusive for each brand. Awareness was significantly greater among the banner-exposed (test) group than the non-exposed (control) group. Specifically, exposure to the ad banners alone increased brand awareness from 12% to 200% in a banner-exposed group.

The study also compared the impact of the banner ads in this test to television and magazine norms from prior Millward Brown studies. The findings were remarkable: Single exposure to a Web banner generated greater awareness than a single exposure to a television or print ad. Rather, the effectiveness of Web advertising seems to stem from the fact that Web usage is an actively engaging exercise.

Newsletters and Ezines

Most smart marketers out there have either a newsletter or ezine nowadays. These types of customer communication and advertising tools will only continue to grow in use and importance. It goes back to the whole 'what's in it for me?' issue. The customer wants to be part of the process. They want to learn something. Or keep themselves updated on the latest news. Most of all, they want to get something out of the relationship. They want to do more than buy something, they want to improve their lives in some small way ' and they want you to help them do that.

Email Advertising

Email is another of the big three Internet advertising mediums. Companies like Got Marketing, OptinBig. com, and N5R are providing new and exciting email marketing solutions for thousands of progressive firms. Their results are impressive. Consider response rates that average 10 to 20 times those of traditional direct mail. Or campaign Network marketing referral rates as high as 40%. The bottom line is that programs they put together have produced millions of leads for clients. And it's surprisingly affordable. This means that almost anyone can now utilize this advertising medium. But it has to be done smartly, because you don't want your emails to end up in spam filters. That is one inherent problem with email advertising, especially in the past two years.

N5R in particular is now one of the leading direct marketing agencies in North America. They develop innovative one-to-one marketing campaigns that drive a measurable, positive ROI on behalf of their clients by driving acquisition and conversion to trial and purchase for their clients. They have developed award-winning strategies in five major industry sectors. These include Internet Marketing and Online Contests/Promotions, Permission Based Email Marketing, Text Messaging, Success Based Email.

In Internet Marketing and Online Contests/Promotions, marketers can gather and compile behavior and preference data from prospects and customers and use this information to send targeted and relevant information. Developing ongoing programs of one-to-one communication is cost effective and measurable. Contests are the quickest and most effective way to gather this data and build relationships with customers. It's very possible to build a permission-based database of over 50,000 prospects in only 6 weeks, increase web site traffic by 900%, improved online sales revenue by 1,000%, and achieve $40 million in sales from leads generated by an online promotion.

With Permission Based Email Marketing, loyal clients are just an e-mail away. Where traditional marketing campaigns fail, e-mail can shine through. E-mail marketing allows companies to speak one-to-one with their audience in a respectful, intelligent and creative way. It is extremely cost-effective, provides the foundation for future marketing initiatives, and delivers measurable results.

Text Messaging or SMS (Short Message Service) is a technology that allows people to send and receive short (up to 160 characters) written messages on cellular phones. It is already hugely popular in Europe and Asia and is growing rapidly in North America. SMS marketing offers the following benefits:

One-to-one communication with your target group, anywhere, anytime reach, low campaign cost, and very measurable data. Imagine if your mobile phone received an email message, 'You're only a block from a Starbuck's; stop in for a 20% discount on your latte.' The data is available and marketers are starting to tap into these resources.

Success Based Email is free email deployment where companies only pay for results. This "pay-per-click" approach is based on the premise that companies will only pay for each email that receives a "click-through" from the recipient. Not only does the new approach enhance the value of marketing dollars spent on such campaigns, the move will likely trim total dollars spent.

For example if 100,000 emails are sent, 70% are opened and 15% of the recipients actually click on a link in the email then clients will only be charged for the 15,000 people that clicked on the link, not for the other 85,000 that didn't. The return on investment (ROI) or cost savings inherent in this new approach will be very appealing to permission-based marketers. The bottom line is that marketers will now pay for real, measurable results.

The Next Step

Compared with other media, the Web is still limited in its bandwidth offerings. But it's getting better every day. With the continued improvement of bandwidth development, we will soon be positioned well to create full-featured multimedia advertising on the Internet. Once a majority of consumers have DSL capability and the computer power to access it, there will be some incredible things happening. Sites like tvtonic. com are already offering some very compelling visual and audio imagery in the form of movie trailers and music videos.

Market researchers, futurists and industry experts predict that interactivity through multiple technologies and devices will change how consumers interact with marketers. Interactive advertising will soon be everywhere. So, in effect, it could be considered the age of mass customization in advertising. Advertisers will have the tools to narrow their targets and address Web ads to individuals and not to a demographic or psychographic group. Why market a commercial to 1 million people, most of who aren't in the target audience, when the same ad could be shown to 10,000 people who are very interested in the product or service? Most of those will even give their name and address.

Interactivity will also be a part of television. Interactive TV will be the norm in the near future, and this too is another exciting opportunity. There will be total integration between TV channels and advertisers web sites. While we are watching TV, we will be able to interact with what we are seeing, ordering hamburgers from the McDonalds down the street or communicating with the local car dealer that we are interested in buying a car. Clicking on products we see in TV shows and ordering them will be easy. Your TV will keep track of what you are watching. Your TV will even know what kind of car you own because you'll tell for the free oil change you're offered in exchange. The oil change will be compliments of DirecTV, and it is only good at Jiffy Lube, which has paid to be the official oil-change provider for DirecTV.' That's the way it will work.

Service Initiative Advertising

Another major trend is what I call 'Service Initiative Advertising'. Let's face it; consumers are tired of advertising as usual. Many people say they hate commercials. The success of Tivo and satellite radio can attest to this. They want more from their advertising. And who could blame them? People are inundated with advertising today - every where they go. Service Initiative Advertising takes the whole process one step further. Essentially how it works is that it requires advertising to offer some value to the consumer.

For example: Kraft Foods creates a website that offers busy mothers a source for quick recipes for the family evening meal. The idea isn't to push Kraft products, but to promote Kraft as a brand that offers a service to customers. There have been companies who positioned their entire marketing strategy on this tenant. Now, it will become a key part of advertising for almost everyone. The consumer wants to know you care.

It's important to realize that advertising mediums of the past will still be here. But, they may look a little different in the future. Direct mail will always be around as long as people like to receive mail. And despite external challenges, the U. S. Postal service will still be around. TV and radio will be here too.

But the future is here. And advertising will never be the same.

One thing that is certain is that it will continue to be as exciting and dynamic as it has been in the past. But now, the consumer is a part of the process.

About the Author

Jon Wuebben is a professional Website Copywriter, SEO Copywriter and Advertising Copywriter with 10 years experience in B2B & B2C copywriting and marketing. He can be reached at (909) 437-7015, or online at http://www. CustomCopywriting. com for any copywriting project you may have or if you would like more articles or a complimentary Website Copy analysis.

Need a custom newsletter or e-zine article written? Call Jon Today at (909) 437-7015 or email jon@customcopywriting. com for a professional Website Copywriter, SEO Copywriter, or Advertising Copywriter.

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How to Close the Sale

. Posted in smart small business

If you’re a fan of Kyra Sedgwick, you probably watch The Closer on TV. This highly rated police drama’s title refers to Deputy Chief Brenda Leigh Johnson. Her job is to “close” murder cases by finding the right suspect and getting him or her to confess to the crime.

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Five Ways to Protect Your Business in a Firing Situation

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Letting someone go is never easy. It’s impossible to guess how an employee will react to being fired. Increased levels of stress and adrenaline can make ordinary people act irrationally, and many disgruntled employees get “lawsuit happy” and take their former bosses to court over the slightest disagreement, sure that they have grounds for -wrongful termination.-

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How To Protect Your Brand

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Branding is an essential component of marketing any small business. Branding encompasses all aspects of your company, from the creation of your name and the design of your logo to your slogan, signage, website, and marketing materials.

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When to Put a Product Out to Pasture

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One of the most difficult - if not agonizing - decisions a small business owner can make is deciding if the time has finally come to discontinue a particular product, especially a beloved yet poor-selling one. Fortunately, there are times when that decision is practically made for you. Every sensible business plan, after all, includes a thresholds for product revenue and products that earn revenue below the established threshold are swiftly yanked.