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Lessons Learned From My Scythe-Wielding Days

Tales from the Online Marketing Crypt – Vol. 6

How to Set Yourself Apart as a Business Leader in Today’s Economy

My Dad was, and still is, a practical man. Growing up, he would often give me odd jobs to do on the farm that seemed quite unrealistic to achieve-at least to my 10-year-old self!

He didn’t give me these jobs to toughen me up or help build character. Nope. They needed to be done. I was available. Tag, I was it to do them.

One summer our lawn mower broke down and the front lawn grass was getting long. In Dad’s infinite wisdom, he put me to task by delegating me to “cut” the lawn.

With a hand scythe.

Being the dutiful daughter that I was and trying to hide the incredulous look I desperately wanted to give him, I took this curved monstrosity from his hands and got to work.

It didn’t go so well.

By the time my Dad got home from work, my left hand was full of nicks and cuts from the blade. It was not a pretty sight and I was pissed.

While standing at the sink getting all cleaned up, he asked what happened. I told him what seemed to be pretty obvious to me: that the scythe was heavy and the grass too short, leaving little room for error while slicing through the blades.

His response?

“Well, be more careful next time.”

Like I said, he was a practical man.

I remember feeling utter despair at the complete lack of compassion that I was receiving.

Where was the empathy? Where was the concern for my well-being?

I’m sure it was there; he just missed the part of expressing it to me and sent me back out to the front lawn in the morning.

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The Bridge Between Digital Marketing and E-Commerce

Bill Gates once said “The Internet is becoming the town square for the global village of tomorrow.”

Belive it or not, it is very true. E-Commerce is the business transaction that takes place completely online, i.e. whenever you use internet to buy/sell a product, you are involved in E-Commerce on the other hand digital marketing refers to advertising our company/product using various digital channels like social media marketing, search engine optimization, websites promotions, e-mail marketing or mobile apps.

Now the question is, why is digital marketing important for e-commerce?

Digital marketing has become the king of advertising.

Earlier, a lot of companies used to advertise using the traditional method like broadcast, newspaper, magazine,billboards,flyers,print ads or direct mail but now everyone is busy on their phones and have no time to pay attention to such advertisements.

This is the world of Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, WhatsApp, Snapchat and more, basically, it all sums up to the term called “Social Media”. So if you want people to pay attention to your company or product, there is no better way other than Digital Marketing.

Frankly speaking, the present generation is too lazy to go to shopping malls,outing instead they prefer to choose their clothing, books, electronic appliances,groceries,household items etc online using different apps.

In this pace, online dealers will become more popular than actual shopkeepers.

Which clearly means we need to hurry and catch up to the present change as well. In fact 65% of India’s population is full of youngsters, this means the chances of online shopping hitting the peak very soon is a guarantee.

In a technology advanced world, even a 5yr old has access to electronic appliances.

So, connecting to our target audience can be easily done using Digital Marketing.

Benefits of Digital Marketing

  • It is cost effective.
  • It helps you to target your ideal buyer.
  • Almost all your customers are online, so you can reach them anytime.
  • SEO helps you find qualified buyers online.
  • User engagement
  • Most powerful platform for Marketing
  • Easy to Measure your reports
  • Easy Brand Development for business
  • You can easily adapt your strategy and tactics for the best results.
  • Allows your company to be more competitive and productive.

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Tales From the Online Marketing

What Local B2C Businesses Need to Focus on to Stay Open
Since COVID-19 barged in on our lives, there’s been a lot of rallying on social media about the #ShopLocal movement. I’ve been on that cheerleading team too-what about you?

But when push comes to shove, are you REALLY shopping local or just supporting from the sidelines while continuing to order from Amazon or some big-box store in a different country, capitalizing on all the juicy sales happening during the holiday season?

It’s OK. I think many of us are guilty, myself included.

Which leads me to why I’m writing this piece…

The dilemma of supporting local: sometimes it’s just not easy to do so.

The other day we needed a part for our BBQ. We called a few local stores, and no one carried the part we needed.

Amazon did. And we got it the next day.

Last Saturday I was bound and determined to support local businesses and set out to buy several gifts on my Christmas list.

In a nutshell, this is what I found:

  • I drove 45 minutes round-trip to pick up a $10 item, so I could save a $10 shipping charge.
  • Due to COVID-19, I had to stand in line outside, in the cold, for about 10 minutes before I could enter the store and look around.
  • Across the street was another store I wanted to check out. The line-up was twice as long so I passed on that idea.
  • One store I really wanted to go to (and support) was closed by 2pm. It was 2:30 when I got there.
  • Two of the boutique stores I went to had a fraction of the inventory they normally have during the holiday season. Again, because of the pandemic they had to remove the centre aisle shelves in order to accommodate social distancing.
  • Another small specialty store only allowed one customer in at a time and there were two people in front of me. I was running out of time, so I went back to my car.
  • And don’t even get me started with the stress of dealing with the traffic jams and finding parking…

I was gone for four hours, doing my best to support local but dang-it wasn’t convenient at all! Not to mention how exhausted I was by the time I got home.

Now in the spirit of full transparency, I did go to one big-box store and guess what?

No line-ups at the door due to the large store size.

I found exactly what I wanted.

I also found a 30% off coupon on my phone while standing in line that I used towards my purchase.

And I was in and out within a few minutes.

It’s tough for local small businesses to compete with that.

But they’re going to have to if they want to survive.

Big-box stores, including Amazon, offer the selection and competitive prices they do because they have the infrastructure to support those value-based initiatives.

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Types of Versatile Uses of High-Quality Booklet Printing

Even though we are living in a digital era, the good old print marketing tools are not obsolete yet. So, are you thinking of using some custom print marketing product for promotion among your niche audience or looking for rather extensive use of a regular product? If yes, then you should opt for booklets. Versatile, customizable, and affordable, booklets are often used for many purposes.

If you are not familiar with what a good old booklet can do for you, you are in the right place. Take a look at the following points to know how you can use booklet printing to get the most of its versatility.

Creative Excerpts Booklet

Maybe you are an author whose new book is coming out soon. Do you want to get the attention of your target audience? When they are at a bookstore getting the books from the same genre, an excerpt booklet can make them more interested in your writing. For example, you are a thriller writer, and the readers are probably buying books by John Grisham or Keigo Higashino. So, let the store executive hand them a booklet that showcases your book cover and a chapter for an excerpt that ends at a cliffhanger. It will surely make these readers buy your book. A gloss paper cover with 80lb or 100lb paperstock will create the desired visual appeal for your book.

Fun Comic Books

There is hardly any child who doesn’t love a good colorful comic book. Now, if you are an obsessive creator of some really fun comics and want to turn them into a book, then go for color booklet printing. You can opt for any page numbers, from 8 to 48 pages. Get saddle-stitched booklets ready with your full color printed comics. If you want, you can also customize it with glossy paper for a better appeal. Any reputed printing company will be able to help you get high-quality comic books printed.

Children Books with Illustrations

Making children read a book is not an easy deal. Unlike grownups, children cannot focus on a book that only has text printed. That is why thinner booklets with illustrated glossy pages along with text can help the kids read better while they enjoy it thoroughly. So, are you writing a children’s book and want to make it widely popular? Then go for high-quality booklet printing with any number of pages. Opt for UV coated gloss printing for better protection of the pages. Find a printing company that offers custom booklet printing no minimum and place your order.

High School Sports Booklets

For any high school, the sports teams are their pride and their achievements are honors. Do you want to showcase the amazing performance of your school sports team? A glossy full color printed booklet with the students in action can be the perfect choice for you. These booklets will surely inspire other students to participate in sports and activities too.

So, find a reputed printing company that offers low minimum order as well as bulk orders. You can choose any size from 5.5×8.5 inches to 8.5×11 inches for a better appeal. You can design the artwork. Or you can ask the printing company to tweak it up for you. Place your order and enjoy the versatility of the booklet.

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What Is The Price Of A Good Pair Of Hair Scissors?

Most hair scissors come in prices that indicate quality. Unlike other consumer goods that often have sales or value bundles, quality shears, trimmers and scissors are often priced to cover the cost of the metals that were used in the construction processes. High-quality hair cutting tools are made from strongly tempered stainless steel. When bargain prices are showing on stainless steel hair cutting products, these items are often made out of inferior materials. People get what they pay for when they buy hair shears and scissors.

What is the price of a good pair of hair scissors?

Hairdresser scissors and barber shears are tools that industry professionals cannot do without. It is important for every serious stylist to own at least one pair of high-quality cutters to ensure that all types of projects can be completed in a successful manner. Hair cutting tools are precision instruments that are designed to glide through the hair. When lesser products are used, individual hair shafts can rip or tear during the cut for a finished appearance that is frizzy. Messy cuts never speak well about the hairstylist.

When people are new to the hair cutting industry, they are often shocked at the cutting tool prices. Cheap shears or scissors can cost as much as a night out at the movies, and the expensive cutters can cost as much as a new laptop computer; prices vary drastically between the cheap tools and those that are made for professional uses. It is possible to find cheap hair cutting tools that are made in the same shapes as the expensive tools; however, when soft metals are used in construction, tool cutting edges can bend easily.

Hair cutting tools have blades that are sharpened into thin razor-like edges. When a softer form of steel is used in construction, the thin edges will bend out of shape easily during use. The hairstylist will experience this slight edge bending as a dull quality to the shears or scissors. Professional sharpening services can shave the metal edges back into shape, but the cheaper priced steel tools will continue to lose their cutting ability quickly. Strong tempered steel is made from formulas that will not bend easily during normal uses.

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Investment in National Savings Certificate of India Post

Indian citizens are quite familiar with India Post since their childhood. It was the only medium of communication for millions and now it has become a popular financial service provider in the country. Since 1st September 2018, India Post is running the IPPB (India Post Payments Bank) throughout the country. This is a 100% Government owned bank that has allowed near about 17 crore postal savings bank accounts with IPPB. This bank provides an array of financial services to Indian citizens including, account services, QR code payment services, UPI (Unified Payment Interface), NEFT (National Electronic Funds Transfer), IMPS (Immediate Payment Service), real-time gross settlement, Bharat Bill pay, DBT (Direct Benefit Transfer) etc. through its wide network of post offices and e-banking. This is all about the spread and reach of IPPB now. If you are thinking of any safe investment start banking with IPPB. Post office has many saving schemes that will help you to save your money and earn as you are investing them. For income taxpayers, NSC (National Savings Certificate) is a popular investment option. Let’s get to know more about this investment scheme as described by the India Post.

National Savings Certificate (NSC):

As discussed earlier, this scheme is very popular among income tax payers. Many people might not be aware of such scheme that offers a safe and convenient way of investing their hard-earned money.

Investment tenure:

NSC has a defined period I.e, 5 years as per 8th issue.

Rate of interest:

If you are investing in NSC, you will get 7.9% (from 1st July 2019) per annum and it gets compounded annually. However, it is payable after maturity.

Limit in minimum and maximum balance:

A minimum of Rs. 1000/- and in multiples of Rs. 100/- can be invested for NSC. There is no maximum limit for investment. Earlier a certificate was issued and now-a-days (from 1st July 2016), a passbook is issued for the NSC account.

Who can open a NSC account?

Following people can open NSC account in IPPBs and Post Offices

1. On behalf of a minor, one adult can open an account

2. Minors above 10 years of age can open one account

3. A person having unsound mind can also open one account with the help of a guardian

4. A single adult can open an account

5. Joint ‘A’ type account with maximum 3 adults can be opened (In this case, the amount is payable to both)

6. Joint ‘B’ type account with maximum 3 adults can be opened (In this case, the amount is payable to either)

Scope of income tax rebate:

If you are an income tax payer, you might be looking for sources where you can invest and get tax rebate at the same time. NSC is here for you. It comes under section 80C of IT Act. Your NSC deposits qualify for tax rebate, but don’t forget to calculate the total amount of your 80C investments. As per 80C, you can only invest a maximum of Rs. 1,50,000/-.

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Six Tenancy Issues Almost Every Tenant Faces

Tenancy is perhaps one of the most nagging issues experienced by tenants. There are many landlords with paranoid attitude or who are not very friendly in renting out their homes to potential tenants. The landlords particularly have usual disregard for the male tenants (mainly those who are bachelors) whom they (landlords) pretend something like “Sorry, there is no room available on rent here.” Some landlords have a very unfriendly attitude towards live-in couples and give downright disapproval to their request for renting out an apartment.

In fact, tenancy issues are so common that it is easy to presume the gravity of mental pressures that a tenant often undergoes. Read the article to know more about it.

1. Mandatory security deposit

This is perhaps the most awful tenancy issue a prospective tenant faces when he is searching for a property for rent. Typically, the landlord demands deposit in a bulky figure at the time of taking occupancy. Prospective tenants are supposed to deposit security in terms of upfront and they are assured by the landlord that the deposited security will be returned to them (tenants) at the time of leaving or vacating the property. However, that is not the exact picture of the story. In fact, a fat chunk of the deposit will be taken by the landlord under the pretext of certain household damages done by paying guests even though the damage was too minor for the amount rebated.

2. Expensive Rent

The rents for a decent-looking accommodation in most areas, especially in the posh colonies are too expensive to be afforded easily. In some cases, landlords increase monthly payment which is usually four times higher than the amount fixed at the time of taking occupancy. Interestingly, the tenants are not served prior notification about the arbitrary hike.

3. Disturbed privacy

Being a paying guest affords another mind-boggling issue in terms of facing untimely visit of the landlord, which is obviously an intrusion to privacy of the tenants. Since they are not in a position to convey their real feelings in fear of earning wrath or possible eviction notice from the landlord, poor tenants have to put up a brave face and welcome the landlord with a grudgingly forced smile.

4. Bear the Cost of Repairs and Maintenance

No matter how good you are as a tenant, when it comes to paying the cost for repairs and maintenance of household things like bathroom fitting; the tenants have to bear the cost, not the landlords. There are also landlords very curious in charging a large amount of money if you hang posters on walls, or if landlord paid the price for certain repairs even though the cost of repairs was minimal.

5. No rooms for bachelors

If you seek a home for rent and stumble upon “TO LET” tagline on a signboard, do not just conjure up the picture that the flat/home is available for everyone. Better ask the landlord to know if he/she is willing to rent out the home to bachelors. This is because of the reason that many landlords are prejudiced about bachelor tenants, believing they are boisterous and will sabotage their property.

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How Real Estate Agents Can Extend the Life of Their Postcard Mailings

You have probably seen many different promotional postcards from real estate agents in your mailbox. Perhaps you’ve noticed that almost of them fall into three predicable types:

1. The “I live here, I work here, I know the neighborhood” approach, which implies a more intimate knowledge of local real estate than others have, or

2. The “Just sold 22 Main Street — OVER ASKING!” approach, which implies not only a strong market but also a slew of buyers waiting to bid up the price on your home, and

3. The “market report” approach, which offers a collection of statistics about home sales, generally and locally, and other information of interest to home sellers.

With that background, I was pleasantly surprised to receive a postcard from a mother/daughter real estate team that uses an eye-catching photograph in a recent promotional mailing.

The photograph, a single sailboat on a calm Lake Ontario framed by trees in the foreground, says much about Toronto’s Long Branch community that words alone cannot express. The photograph includes the caption “Living in Long Branch.”

(What’s that expression? A picture is worth one thousand words!)

However, the photograph could (and in my view, should) be the beginning of the dialogue that this real estate team hopes to have with residents of Long Branch (potential future home sellers) and with potential residents (potential future home buyers). The photograph is missing four words along the bottom of the postcard and those four words are “Learn more at livinginlongbranch.com”.

Obviously, to add these words would require the creation of a simple website — one which would give prospective buyers information about the area and one which would reinforce the unique benefits to those who already live in the community.

Imagine a website that has these 7 pages:

1. History: Long Branch’s history is long and interesting,

2. Location: Twenty minutes to downtown and 20 minutes to the airport,

3. Photo Gallery: More photos — more proof — of this unique community,

4. Public Transportation: Both TTC and GO trains are nearby,

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Ways to Market Yourself As a Real Estate Agent

Congratulations on passing the state licensing exam and getting placed with an agency! Now it’s time to find your clients – and to have them find you. Some agencies will provide assistance for marketing, but they might not give you all the tips you need. Read on to learn more about tips to market yourself as a real estate agent.

Your new agency may give you some leads to get started with. But those are not going to expand your business very well. You can also start with marketing to your so-called warm market – your friends and family. It’s the least expensive type of marketing, and you know that your audience will be receptive, or at least polite and hear your message. They can also give people they know a referral to you, and that kind of marketing is both free and invaluable. Your warm market paired with your agency’s leads will be a solid place to start.

Adding on to that, there are traditional types of marketing like newspaper ads and local city magazines. But in today’s digital age, these marketing formats don’t yield very strong results. Here is where you can let your creative talents shine. Think of ways to make digital videos that not only make your clients’ home look dazzling, but get you noticed.

Viral videos can take off and get people watching them for reasons other than their original purpose. Even if 90% of people viewing your clip are doing so for reasons other than buying a home, your name is getting out in front of all of them. One clever agent in Northern California did a parody of “YMCA” and garnered so much business, he was named by the Wall Street Journal as the top real estate agent in the country.

You should also have a robust website that invites people to click and contact you. Use those clicks to collect e-mails for your newsletter that you can also use when you get a new property to sell. Having good topics like ways to get stubborn grease off of your range hood or quick fixes for a leaky toilet will keep people coming back for what you have to say and build loyalty to you.

Keep up with your Facebook and Twitter accounts, too. These are the two most popular social media sites. If you have the time, you should maintain Google+ and Instagram accounts as well to broaden your horizons.

Lastly, know your market and use that knowledge to your greatest ability. There are all kinds of things people from out of the area need to know about schools, traffic patterns, and shopping, just to name a few things. Your local market guide will be a great asset to them – and lead to you getting more business. People want an agent who knows his or her stuff about the area. Your market guide shows potential clients that you are that expert.

Remember, a comprehensive marketing plan is not inexpensive. You will have already paid for your license and your testing fees, so be sure to factor marketing into your starting budget. While your agency might give you some tools like a set of personalized postcards or business cards, you will still need to have your own personal marketing set of tools as well.

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Real Estate Agent Cover Letter

The key to writing an effective Real estate Agent Cover Letter is to write it from the perspective of a customer. Most importantly though is that every letter should have a clear, specific purpose. So, as you sit down and prepare to write a letter make sure you are clear about what it is you want to accomplish.

Do you want a listing, or are you interested in showing the recipient a property? Whatever it is be specific about what your most desired response is and once it’s clear to you it’ll be easier to effectively communicate it to your prospects. So, think like a customer. What will make them interested in your product or service?

Here’s another bit of advice for both beginning and senior agents; don’t make the letter about you or your company. Your readers could care less about that. They’re more interested in what’s in it for them. So, your focus should be on the customer, their problems and how you can solve them.

Next up are headlines, arguably the most important part of your marketing letter. Generally, headlines should be longer than three to four words, but less than seventeen. Take a look at newspaper headlines and other sales headlines for inspiration. Then practice as often as you can.

Sometimes I use a nifty piece of software called Headline Creator. It prompts me to enter specific information and serves up a hundred or so possibilities. And while all of the possibilities aren’t useable, there are plenty of good ones to choose from.

Here are a few more points about a good Real Estate Agent Cover Letters.

  • Don’t exaggerate or lie about what you can do. If you do you run the risk of prospects getting wind of it and abandoning you for another agent.
  • Avoid long sentences. Be brief and to the point.
  • Use subheadings to make your letters easier to read. The subheadings should give enough information for someone skimming down the page to understand your offer.

Once you feel your letter is complete put it aside for a while and then proof read it again. I actually walk away for a full day and reread it the next day. It’s easier to spot mistakes when I do it that way.

Also, ask someone else to read it for you. Specifically, ask them to skim through it to see if they get the main points of the message. The feedback you receive can be the difference between a letter that you might like and one that a customer may love.