Jun 25

Five quick marketing ideas

As a good businessman or -woman, you know that continuous sales or jobs are a must to keep your business alive. But what can you do to minimize the unavoidable dips every business experiences in these tough economic times?

Here a list of five quick, simple marketing ideas that could lead to more projects or sales for your business.

  1. Keep in touch with your past clients via email or snail mail. It could be a simple “checking in” or even better, send an article or link they might find useful. It’s a lot easier to sell to existing clients than acquiring new ones; you may just have to remind your clients that you’re still there for them.
  2. Set up a meeting with potential new clients. No matter how busy you are, don’t ignore new opportunities. Grab that phone and set up an appointment right away.
  3. Keep a list or journal of all your new marketing ideas, even if you will not use them right now. No more scrambling for new ideas when you need them, they’ll be on your list!
  4. Don’t stop the flow of communication because you’re busy working on current projects. Set aside some time (30 minutes) to read and reply to messages two or three times a day.
  5. Make sure your marketing efforts are continuous. Listen and stay up to date on new developments, but more importantly, know what your customers (may) need by listening to them.

This is just a short list, but it’s better to have some ideas than none right?

Good luck and keep yourself on the market!

May 15

Website or blog?

You are ready to start or promote your business online, but not sure if you should go with a website, a blog or both. Does that sound familiar? It’s a question many people ask themselves and not knowing the difference does not help to make a decision.

Simply put, a website is a collection of web pages located on a server that provides access to the internet.

A blog is also a collection of web pages on a server but the main difference is that it has a diary or journal type format.

To create a website, a designer either hand-codes the pages or uses editing tools like Dreamweaver, Frontpage, WebPlus, etc. on their own computer. Any changes to the website will have to be done with the software before it can be uploaded to the server/internet.

Blogs are created (online) with a blogging platform such as WordPress, TypePad, etc., usually with direct internet access. WordPress can also be downloaded to your computer, but it is much easier online, because you can access your blog from any computer with an internet connection.

Because of the ease and flexibility to edit or add content to a blog the site becomes dynamic, depending on the frequency of entries. This is a feature that the search engines really like and may help push your site to the top pages of search results. So blogs are good for people who want to continually add new information (stories, updates, recommendations, opinions, photographs, etc.) to their site.

On the other hand, if you only need an online presence for users to find basic information about your business, including your location and contact information, then all you need is a static website. Such sites are also called ‘brochure’ websites, with the advantage that you can have much more information on your website than you can possibly print on a brochure.

Another difference between a website and a blog is the language or tone of voice. A blog is much more personal, reflecting someone’s personal voice and style, while a website is usually more serious and business-like because it represents a company or products.

What if you need a website for your business but also like to provide regular updates? That would be the best of both worlds right? Fortunately it is possible! There are several ways to accomplish this. You can have a static website with an integrated blog, or you can have a blog with static pages like this one. This will require some design tweaking and editing skills but we’re here to help you.

Submit your comments below or via email and we will reply as soon as possible.

Apr 21

New look!

It’s been exactly four weeks since I announced some changes to this site and … VOILA!

How do you like our new look? So far I received only positive feedback and I have to say that I’m happy with the design myself. Isn’t it peaceful?
That’s because it is called “Peace on Earth” 🙂

It “only” took experimenting with about 12 different themes (blog designs), 9 different plugins (mini programs to improve the site), and “some” tweaking of the content. I also wasted at least 8 hours on themes and plugins that just would not do what I wanted them to. Patience is one of my virtues, but even I had to admit defeat after struggling for 6 hours tweaking, customizing, deleting, and (twice) reinstalling a new theme that I really liked a lot! But, as difficult as it was, I finally had to give up because all that twiddling was just not worth it anymore.

Yes, I wasted a lot of time, but I also learned a lot and gained more experience in customizing a blog.  You see, I truly enjoy problem solving and trouble shooting these type of challenges, but at the same time I know that I don’t always have the answer. That’s when my research skills jump in and thanks to the internet, I can always find a solution on expert sites, showing me that my problems are (thankfully) not unique.

So while I could have finished my site sooner, the whole process was still a valuable experience. One that increased my skills and will surely benefit my clients!

Mar 18

Change is good

November 2008? I can hardly believe it myself!

That’s how long it has been since I wrote my last post on this site. I have been walking around with plans and topics to write about, all in my head.  December holidays, New Years resolutions, increasing productivity (needed that one myself), financial crisis, layoffs, …  Wow! I didn’t realize it, but my topics were unconsiously going in a downward spiral, no wonder I couldn’t find inspiration to write! But here I am, full of good intentions to improve this site.

A lot of things happened these past couple of months and being up close to people who were laid off (some happy, some sad), others who lost almost everything they had, or needed to undergo surgery, all made me realize that life is really too short to waste time. Well, I did some of that partly due to being in shock, but I can’t say that I really wasted time.

About a year ago I found my technical soulmate and we’ve both been on a educational rollercoaster. Together we dived deep into the world of blogging, learning all kinds of tricks to enhance our blogs, find topics, get inspired, and there is still so much more.  To see what we’ve been doing, you can go to my friend’s site www.corsicajourneys.com or my foodblog at www.multiculticooking.com. Feel free to leave a comment to let us know what you think.

After experimenting with the foodblog, I have decided that I’m ready to have a makeover on this site. Yes, this site will undergo some changes, but not to worry, they say that “change is good” and I’m am ready for that. So notepad, colored pens and mindmaps will be my tools in the next couple of days.

I cannot change the current financial crisis, but I can change myself, my site and my outlook. That’s what I’m going for!

Nov 26

Expand your world with Google Translate

Did you know that you can now translate foreign language articles in your Google Reader?

Google Translate is a great tool if you want to have an idea of what an article is about. You can subscribe to the feed in another language and check off “Translate into my language” (Feed Settings). When you are ready to read, the feed will already be translated.

The source (original) text is copied and pasted in the appropriate box and clicking the Submit button will render the translation in the language of your choice. This type of translation is called a machine translation because it is performed entirely by a computer. It is a handy tool to get a quick translation and a general idea of what the article or website is about, giving you endless possibilities to enrich your knowledge.

However, beware of such translations. You may encounter translations that don’t make much sense, depending on the topic or vocabulary. Following are some examples.

I have enclosed our statement for our work on the project – Source text
He cerrado nuestra declaración de nuestro trabajo en el proyecto – Spanish translation
Back translation: I have closed our statement for our work on the project.

This happens because a computer cannot distinguish between words that look alike but have a different meaning. A machine does not understand context or tone of the information it is fed. For this, human intervention is needed and this is where translators come in.

We have billed this matter on a discounted basis – Source text
Wij hebben gefactureerd deze kwestie op een contante waarde – Dutch translation
Correct: Wij hebben deze zaak gefactureerd uitgaande van een reductie.

It is therefore not recommended to use the results of machine translations for business purposes, unless the translation is reviewed and edited by a translator. Most translators however, prefer to start from scratch, because machine translations can be very awkward.

Besides the various free tools on the internet, there are many translation software programs on the market, ranging from $50 to $900 or more, used by businesses and professional translators.

Feel free to comment below or send me an email.