Importance Of PR (Public Relations) For Small And Medium Level Companies

It’s not only large companies that can make use of public relations (PR) firms; small and medium businesses can also benefit from these professional firms.

If you have a small or a medium sized company and you are wondering how a PR firm can be of importance to you, here are some of the benefits that come with Public relations:

Create a positive Image

A PR firm not only promotes your business, but also puts your business in the limelight. This plays a major role in creating a positive image about your company.

One of the ways in which a PR creates a positive image is by getting you, your products, or your business featured in newspaper or magazine stories. By doing this, many people read your story and form a positive image about your business.

Increase profits

Other than helping you to create a positive image about your business, a good PR firm will also help you to increase your profits. A good PR firm will do this by identifying your target market and help you to advertise your business in an area where you will make more sales.

For example, the firm will help you get an opportunity to talk about a product on television or radio and this will increase your exposure. When many people know about your business the more they will buy from you and as a result the more you increase your profits.

Reduce costs

Although, it can be expensive to hire a PR firm, it tends to be cheap over the long run.

For example, you may be required to part with thousands of dollars to hire a good PR firm, but the firm will help you or your representatives to be booked for interviews on television shows and newscasts which will give you a lot of exposure which would have cost you millions of dollars.

Offer intelligent advertising

Newspapers, magazines and online platforms may not be interested in promoting your business, but they may be interested in giving information to their readers.

If the information is related to your company, the PR will help you in drafting an intelligent press release that won’t sound like an advertisement. The release will not only give information to the readers, but it will also give your business the much needed exposure.

These are some of the benefits of hiring a public relations firm if you have a small or medium sized business. To ensure that you hire the right firm, you need to do a lot of research.

What You Need To Know About App Notifications

Notifications rank amid the most widespread features in mobile apps. Whatever they may concern – a message or a comment in a social network, an update of an app, an announcement or a reminder – notifications are made to bring useful information to users in a convenient way. However, these seemingly simple parts of your software require as much thinking as anything else, especially in terms of the message you want to send. After all, if you pay less attention to tinier things, it’s much easier to make them bad.

What’s In A Notification?

Apple divides notifications into local and push (remote) ones. The difference has been very clearly set by Apple:

– Local notifications are scheduled by an application and delivered on the same device.
– Push notifications, also known as remote notifications, are sent by your server to the Apple Push Notification service, which pushes the notification to devices.

Aside from alerts and banners, notifications include sounds and badges, as exemplified by iOS. This is what’s visible to users. Badge numbers usually indicate a number of specific things (upcoming events, unread messages, or updates /files to download). An app can also specify a short distinct sound to alert the user.

Functional Notifications: Right Time, Right Place

Local notifications are delivered to users when the app runs in the foreground. They are often used for asking users to rate the app and write a review, offering rewards, offering to download and install a new update, as well as offering to show new features afterwards. All this works for encouragement of users, for the sake of rich experience.

Push notifications involve interactions with the server, and they are usually delivered to users when the app runs in the background. While local notifications engage users, push notifications draw users back to the app.

In a nutshell, quality of the message defines its success. Both push and local ones are widely used in mobile marketing. And it’s quite easy to keep in mind the following things that will help your notifications be healthy.

Notifications In Marketing: How Not To Overdo

Notifications are made to draw users’ attention. But for the same reason they get overused, since any app owner can find so much to inform users of. But notifications in marketing must mean effective dialogue and clear answers to their questions, not mobile spamming. Let your users decide whether they want to receive anything, how they will receive it, and which topics would be relevant for them.

– Abusive apps are generally hated – irrelevant and interruption notifications are treated by many as eye-offenders, and are hated as much as irrelevant ad banners with striking colors. While users love the value that’s given by apps, they hate everything valueless.

– Content and frequency of notifications matter. The less personalized these notifications are, the more annoying they will seem to users. Different users find value in different information and different message. Then they can decide whether to open the app or dismiss the notification.

– Timely notifications mean success. The schedule of notifications must be properly written, with adjustments to time zones. They can be recurring – daily, weekly, monthly, etc.

– It is always recommended to take notice that push notifications, requiring Internet access, drain the smartphone battery – another good reason for not to overdo it.

The rule here is turn to the right people with the right offer and be moderate at that. Unfortunately, each of us must have encountered at least one app where this rule is broken to a certain extent. Instead of location-aware and relevant offers, news, and reminders, users can simply get a perfect anti-engagement tool, which will be abandoned.

Why to Choose a Lead Generation Service?

Lead generation is a critical component of online sales and a proven strategy for an organization’s profitability.

Firms generate around 60% of more sales with the process of online lead generation than traditional methods of marketing.

A reputed service provider offers a wide range of online marketing services, including search engine optimization, paid search, email marketing, social media, telemarketing and traditional mailing. There are three main parameters to consider while planning an online sales strategy for an organization.

Tracking

Tracking the performance of a lead is essential to map its progress towards making a sale. After the initial contact with a potential lead, service providers track its performance in order to instigate to turn it into a buyer and help in achieving the sales target of an organization.

Outsourcing firms empower entrepreneurs to track a lead’s behavior, for instance, how likely they are to buy from an enterprise or what kind of response do they give to sales professionals during follow-ups. Service providers increase the chances of making a sale by mailing or calling the leads just when they need it.

Reporting

Enterprises that want to outsource an online marketing service rather than doing it in-house, can take the help of service providers. These vendors do a proper analysis and provide reports of the progress of a marketing or sales campaign to an organization. This helps in exploring the strengths and improvement areas of engaging prospective customers online.

Help & Support

Organizations strive to make productive sales. By implementing effective marketing techniques entrepreneurs can do so efficiently. With a quality sales mechanism, service providers bring new customers on-board, while entrepreneurs focus on serving existing customers better.

Some of the popular ways of generating leads today are via:

  1. Banner Ads
  2. Pay-per-Click (PPC) campaigns
  3. Viral videos

Out of all, although PPC ads might generate immediate results, though, organizations need to spend continuous money on this to fetch desired results. Apart from the ongoing expenses, the quality of leads generated from PPC tends to be lower than those generated from other organic channels.

There are plenty of people who want to buy what enterprises are selling. The problem is finding those customers and letting them know about the service offerings of an enterprise.

A good marketing service helps an entrepreneur to connect with its potential customers in order to make maximum sales. Most marketers target people who are already thinking of buying a product or a service. This is done by using online research and marketing techniques.

Being one of the most popular ways of online marketing, lead generation enables businesses to:

  • Regulate pricing on a per lead basis
  • Select the product or service entrepreneurs wish to offer to its prospects
  • Choose the geographical area which interests an organization
  • Control the number of leads an organization wants to receive per month (it helps in budgeting)

Freight Forwarders – Great Help for All Transportation Requirements

A freight forwarder is an agent hired by importers, exporters and companies to efficiently and safely transport goods from one international location to another. Used for multi-national or international import and export, freight forwarders do not in most cases perform the transportation task by themselves. They actually serve the purpose of establishing an effective communication between the client and the transportation services, thereby playing the role of an intermediary between the two.

A freight forwarder takes full responsibility of organizing and handling the large number of carriers, legalities and requirements involved in transporting goods internationally, thereby relieving customers completely of the hassles and botheration involved in the process.

These agents make sure that they use the most efficient, reliable and safe transportation means for delivering your goods to the desired location, with regard to the type of goods and your individual transport requirements. As per the situation and requirements, they make use of all kinds of freight operating systems, including air freighters, ocean liners, trucking companies and rail freighters. Whatever the means of transport, they guarantee the delivery of your goods on time and in the best condition. They always aim at offering the most affordable rates by negotiating with the freight operators to take the most economical and reliable route while transporting the goods.

The function of a freight forwarder may vary to some extent depending on the client requirements and type of goods. However, some of the common activities performed by them include:

  • They play a significant role in determining and organizing the most suitable transportation route based on the type, fragility or hazardous nature of the goods to be delivered.
  • Negotiating with the freight operators on the costs of handling and transporting the goods.
  • Taking care of the safety of the goods by ensuring the most efficient and reliable packing, warehousing and delivery.
  • Verifying and arranging necessary documents required for clearing customs, meeting insurance needs and obeying the rules and regulations of overseas countries.
  • In case of any damage to your goods, they take full responsibility of arranging for the insurance claims.
  • Using various advanced methods, including internet technologies, e-commerce and satellite systems to facilitate customers with real-time tracking of their goods.
  • Serving the purpose of making as well as collecting payments on behalf of the customers.
  • Verifying the urgency of the delivery in order to determine the means of transport. For example, they opt and arrange for air transport for goods that are of high-value and need to be delivered on an urgent basis.

A reliable and reputed freight forwarding service has the expertise and skill to provide efficient transportation services while saving their clients a great deal of time and headache required to handle such procedure. They efficiently take care of all the necessary requirements involved in transporting your goods internationally. These include maintaining effective communication with all parties involved, handling and storing the goods in the most appropriate manner and delivering them to the desired location in the best condition. For any company having the requirement to transport goods internationally, a freight forwarder can be of ultimate help.

How To Keep Your Manufacturing Business Safe And Productive

There are many types of manufacturing facilities that must be operated according to standards to ensure they are safe. Depending on the types of products manufactured, there are always risks associated with the operation. Every manufacturing facility needs a well-planned risk management strategy to address the different situations that occur as a result of the manufacturing process. Although this will help reduce risk a great deal, there is never a guarantee that accidents cannot occur. Manufacturing insurance is designed to give manufacturing companies the protection they need when the precautions they take aren’t enough.

The reason that many manufacturing facilities fail to reach their maximum productivity level is their lack of understanding that productivity and safety are dependent on each other. Putting a risk management strategy in place and having appropriate manufacturing insurance will result in their keeping safety incidents to a minimum and having financial coverage when incidents do occur.

Creating an Effective Risk Management Strategy

Just as different manufacturing businesses operate differently, they also have a different approach to risk management. Those who have successfully implemented risk management into their operation to make it more productive and safe are likely to start by assessing the likelihood of diverse events for assets and operating procedures and then continue with assessing the impact of these adverse events. Next, they will rank the risk for adverse events in these areas and then create a closed loop process to mitigate the risk in each area. This basic structure incorporates identification, quantification and mitigation.

Backing up Your Strategy with Manufacturing Insurance

Nearly every manufacturer needs insurance regardless of the products they make. There are laws imposed on the need for manufacturers to carry insurance that may vary on a state-by-state level. Even in those situations where the rules and regulations are limited, manufacturers should consider their risk potential when determine the degree of manufacturing insurance they need to protect them. Insurance can cover the cost of equipment repairs and replacement, damage to the facilities, or for medical liability in case employees are injured on the job.

General liability is a type of insurance that protects the manufacturer when an injury takes place on their property and they are found to be at fault. Lawsuits can be devastating to your business if you do not have the protection you need to cover any losses that may be awarded. General liability should be the basic part of your coverage that is included in addition to that which applies to your specific risks.

Value of Insurance Your Business

When accidents occur, it can have an impact on your manufacturing business at any level. Loss of equipment or employees can lead to downtime that has a significant impact on your bottom line. Lawsuits or excessive damage to the facility could cause you to lose your business altogether. Understanding your risk and having the manufacturing insurance to cover your losses can often be the difference between a business that fails and one that is both safe and productive.

How to Exude Power: A Few Practical Steps

Let us start by clarifying that this article is not meant for those who were lucky enough to be born powerful. First of all, unlike money and other material things, power is an abstract concept which we should analyze and understand in order to use it to our advantage. In fact, rich and poor people alike can easily trick others into believing that they are powerful, thus making it easier for them to attract friends, clients, customers and even success. For example, every experienced salesman will tell you that people analyze every single aspect of your personality and appearance in order to get a general idea of who you are and what you can do for them. If we keep this simple and yet extremely important rule in mind, it will only take a few easy steps to start exuding power.

Personality and Tricks: Whether you are confident or insecure, you cannot exude power while interacting with people unless you pretend to be confident about yourself. Look into their eyes, be firm, talk about things nobody would disagree on, such as higher values (i.e. the importance of friendship, ethics, morals, love, and professionalism). If you are not a born smooth talker, stay quiet and get others to talk more than you by asking them key questions about their work, family, love life, general views etc. Always try to stay away from sensitive topics, such as religion and politics, as if you disagree with your interlocutor, he will lose his interest. A very useful piece of advice most personality coaches give their patients and clients is that people love hearing their own names, which is why we should do our best to say their names as often as we can during a conversation. Last but not least, do not mention sad or depressing stories and do not talk about your problems, otherwise people will not see you as a charismatic, powerful leader.

Looks and Appearances: If you want to exude power, it is very important that you start paying attention to what your clothes say about your social status and professional achievements. What kind of clothes do powerful people wear? Dolce & Gabbana suits, Ralph Lauren polo shirts, Tommy Hilfiger chinos, designer sunglasses, leather briefcases and expensive smartphones. “Cool, but I can’t afford to spend a fortune on clothes every month!” you may say. Well, most of us can’t, so relax. Fortunately for us, there are alternative ways to get clothes and accessories that can help us exude power. Auction websites, promotional offers and used clothes are your best bet! Nowadays, it is very easy to find cheap designer clothes and expensive accessories online. Look for special offers and used clothes (make sure that they are in excellent condition, though), and stay away from fake clothes as wealthy people who are used to wearing designer clothes and accessories will notice straight away and at that point, they will not respect you anymore.

C.A.R.E. To Improve Your Real Estate Business

Do you need more business? Want more money? Want more market share? It’s simple: give more. If you remember anything from this article, let it be those two words – give more. Why? Because it works.

I read recently about research by Arthur Brooks, president of the American Enterprise Institute, who studied 30,000 American families. Brooks discovered a family giving $100 more to charity earns about $375 more income than a non-giving family that is similar in every other factor. For every dollar they give, they earn nearly $4 more. Who would have thought it? In giving, we receive.

But Realtors shouldn’t be giving just because they get something in return. You should give because you earn your living from your community.

But Bob, what should I do? There are so many causes out there.

Let me share some examples. A few months ago NAR highlighted several Realtors making heart-felt differences in their communities:

Bernice and Troy Helman, of Coldwell Banker REALTORS® in Terre Haute, Ind., joined two dozen other business leaders who pledged to live on $4.57 a day for one week (thousands of Hoosiers live on that amount of money every day). It generated tons of local media coverage on the prevalence of hunger. She also launched the “Grillin’ and Chillin'” picnic for local real estate pros that raises $10,000 to $15,000 annually for the poor. And as the 2011 fundraising chair for the local United Way, the Helmans led the charity to a record year of donations — more than $1.8 million.

When Tina McDonough of RE/MAX Select in Renton, Wash., lost her friend, Michelle Brown, to breast cancer in 2008, it touched her deeply. “I watched her 12-year-old daughter and her husband fall apart,” McDonough says. “I had to do something, so I started a team to walk in her memory.” Today, it’s the top fundraising team for the Susan G. Komen organization in the country — it has raised $1.4 million. McDonough also includes the Komen logo on all of her real estate signs.

Joel Pratt of J.L. Pratt, REALTORS in Canton, Mass., raises money and awareness for MatchingDonors, a nonprofit that has saved more than 500 lives by matching kidney donors with recipients. Pratt says every life saved keeps the memory of Lynda, his beloved wife of nearly 25 years, alive. She died in 1998 after a three-year battle with breast cancer.

Kristina Rhodes with F.C. Tucker Emge, REALTORS in Newburgh, Ind., has helped make more than 80 children’s dreams come true with her support for the Make-A-Wish Foundation. When Rhodes learned of Emily Jones, an 11-year-old fighting an aggressive form of cancer, and her dream of taking a Caribbean cruise, she acted. Sadly, Emily’s health never reached a level to allow for the trip. So Rhodes brought the cruise to Emily by arranging a pontoon ride on the Ohio River. “Emily taught me about what’s really important in life and helped me keep things in perspective,” Rhodes said.

So what’s the next step for you? Follow the acronym C.A.R.E. to get started today as a real estate agent who, well, cares:

C – Commit yourself to a cause. If I’ve said it once, I’ve said it a million times: The day you truly commit, your whole world changes.

A – Act on your commitment. The only way anything gets done is through action.

R – Reward yourself. Humans do things because there’s something in it for them. After you act, do something nice for yourself.

E – Enjoy the rewards. I promise, once you start giving back to a cause you care deeply about, you will enjoy your life (and your increased business) more.

Let me hear from you. Are you involved philanthropically in your community? If not, why not? Do you believe if you were to give back to your community your business would grow?

Know The Various Factors Determining Container Shipping Costs

Container shipping cost involved in international or multi-national shipping is determined by a number of factors, the two most significant among which are freight charges and port fees. Port fees are charged by these companies in order to meet the costs of custom clearance once the goods are dismounted from the ship.

The value of the services provided by freight forwarders and international cargo depends on a number of factors. Let us discuss in this article some of the significant aspects that you need to know regarding the international shipping costs:

  • One of the most important factors determining the service charges of the international shipping companies is the cost of the container. As you proceed from one country to another, the cost of container starts varying depending on the change in currency values. However, reputed shipping services that are involved in innumerable shipping projects, are not actually bothered about the petty changes in the container costs. Their service charges therefore remain unchanged with slight changes in the container costs.
  • It is extremely important for you to obtain thorough information regarding the cost values of the shipping company if you are planning to move from one country to another. This is important because you need to make sure that you know the service charges you need to pay with regard to the current value of the country you are currently residing in. Often people are unaware of these details, and eventually end up paying more than they are supposed to.
  • Another important factor determining container shipping costs is the method of shipping. For example, opting for liner vessel shipping can cost you less owing to their operating methods where they use fixed routes and fixed schedules. On the other hand, it might cost you more if you opt for charter vessel shipping that works on the basis of market conditions. In this case, the container costs vary in accordance with the changing market conditions.

If you have to trade your goods internationally, or want to relocate from one country to another, there are some important things that you need to determine before hiring a shipping service in order to choose the most appropriate shipping methods:

  • Determine how fast you want your goods to be shipped to your desired destination.
  • Consider the type, nature and size of the goods you want to ship.
  • Consider the total distance between the current location and the final destination of the goods.

In order to avail the most efficient services, it is important to hire the right container shipping service. Let us discuss some of the important points that you need to consider:

  • Make sure you hire a licensed and authorized container shipping company that can offer a wide variety of container sizes and packages.
  • Know the container shipping costs charged by various companies and make a thorough comparison between them in order to get the best deal.
  • It is a good idea to talk to the customer services of various companies to know how well they are able to respond to customer queries.

How Penetration Testing Tools Can Help Secure Your Business Operations

When it comes to online selling, one important thing you should remember is that there will always be customers who will abandon their shopping carts. For one, there are consumers who visit online retailers merely for research and do not really have an intention to finish a transaction. There might also be issues that hinder them from completing the purchase. These may include poor user interface, hidden or high shipping costs, or a lengthy checkout process. Another issue that online merchants have to face is security.

If you work hard for your money, then it follows that you simply won’t hand it over to an online entity promising to exchange a product or service for it. Consumers want to feel secure when they are making an online purchase. Your buyers want to make sure that the exact item they purchased will be delivered to their doorstep.

At the same time, they’d want their credit card information as well as other sensitive data kept secure. As an online merchant, you’d want to keep cart abandonment to a minimum. That is why it is worthwhile to invest in website design and SEO and offer the best pricing, shipping and payment options. But merchants should never put customer safety and even their own network security as an afterthought. One significant step toward guaranteeing your network’s and your customers’ safety is PCI credit card compliance.

From there, several things can go awry if you remain complacent. Although many would like to think of the Internet as a true democracy, it is still far from that. The truth is that it is somewhat akin to a public market place where there are legitimate businesses plying their wares alongside shady sellers and even pickpockets biding their time, waiting for an unwitting customer to make a false move.

It doesn’t help that these baddies are shrouded by the veil of anonymity and even geographical distance. A proactive approach that online sellers use and even enterprises which rely on an IT infrastructure, is to enlist the services of specialists in penetration testing tools. Hackers have, rightly or wrongly, gotten a bad rap for compromising network security and even stealing sensitive information. Indeed, many of these hackers have made a living out of these illegal deeds.

However, some have reformed their ways and now help organizations pinpoint weaknesses in their network infrastructure through network penetration testing. Through this test, a business can learn its vulnerabilities and put into place the necessary remedies that will reinforce security. With the aid of these experts, you do not have to watch at the sidelines.

Are We Losing The Art Of Conversation?

It struck me today when I was at lunch just how quiet the kitchen was. There were 5 of us all huddled together, a variety of different sandwiches and salads adorning the table, and guess what, we were all looking at our phone screens, flicking and tapping randomly, furiously and laughing all in our own little bubbles.

Tonight I changed a habit. While having my dinner instead of reading the journal. ie or checking out what was happening on Facebook, I turned the phone off, left the tablet in the bag and watched and listened as my two kids laughed and sang along to the film Frozen. My little girl in particular loves this movie and wants to be Elsa, so as soon as the song “Let it go” came on she started to sing without been prompted. She saw me looking at her in pure daddy awe and smiling that proud, that’s my little girl smile, and she gave me a little wave as if to say “thanks for listening to me daddy”

It touched me deeply because had I been engrossed on my phone I would have missed that moment of innate connection between us, where no words were spoken, but my face and body language expressed 100’s of words, emotions, love and pride.

Don’t get me wrong I think the strides we have made in technology are incredible.

I love social media marketing so much that I went back to college by night to get my diploma in Digital Marketing and Facebook and Twitter have both allowed me to stay in contact with great friends who are now in the four corners of the globe.

But I think we need to just now and then take a check that we are controlling our technology not the other way around.

I first started in Marketing when I was 16 in 1987 (oh god I feel old) working in Arnotts department store as a sales assistant.

Social Media was not part of our lives and a phone was something you dialed on the desk by the cash register. At 16 I was thrust into the world of face to face conversation and having to talk to people I did not know.

I had strangers come up and look me in the eye and ask me to help them find the right shirt, jeans or suit. After all I had the white shirt and tie on, so I was the expert in their eyes, although the mother who asked me to measure her little boy for trousers, who I then proceeded to advise that he had a fifty inch waste, would probably beg to differ. I never did get the hang of the measuring tape!!

However, the point I want to make is that when each of these customers came into the shop in person looking for my help I could not text, email, tweet or Facebook them the answer. I had to stand there in person and communicate to them both verbally and with my body language to find out what they needed, solve their problem and ultimately create rapport.

As business has evolved and the technology has increased we seem to be spending less time talking to each other in person and instead we use technology to do the engagement for us.

Just think about how many face to face meetings you now have for reviews or general catch up with a client in person. It probably is very different to what is was 3 to 5 years ago as we now communicate via non face to face methods. I myself have clients who I have spoken to numerous times on the phone or via email but who I have never met in person even though I have tried to get that face to face meeting. Everyone is just too busy it would seem.

This train of thought was further highlighted when I was recently at a networking event and I found it strange just how many people there were conducting online conversations and staring at their phones rather than talking face to face with the other people in the room.

I recently came across a great article entitled, Saving The Lost Art Of Conversation by Megan of the Atlantic, and in this piece she starts to review these very points that I am touching on.

In her article she recounts her interview with Sherry, a hugely respected psychologist and a professor at MIT. Sherry was working on a new book called “Reclaiming Conversation” and from her research she came to the conclusion that we’re talking all the time, in person as well as in texts, in e-mails, over the phone, on Facebook and on Twitter.

Obviously I don’t want to sound like a hypocrite or that the art of conversation is doomed. I know I am using the power of technology to share this post with you, and don’t get me wrong, I do love all the advances and the ideas of what is coming down the line in the future, such as wearable technology, apple I watch, near field communication etc, but let’s not forget that we are social and tactile creatures, and I hope that human interaction and face to face conversation will not die.

I think back to when I was a teenager and all the excitement followed by utter or was it mortification, and then the elation, when after an hours of eye contact and finally plucking up the courage to go over to that girl I fancied in the disco and asking her to dance and she says yes. Oh the joy and then the fear as I realized I can’t dance!!!

That whole scenario obviously would have been completely different and nowhere as emotionally charged or exciting if done by text or tweet.

So I challenge you, as I will be challenging myself each day, to put the phone and tablet down a little more than you do right now and let your other senses do the conversing.